Edible Reads: Edible Idaho South's Spring List

By Alyson Oüten & Casey O'Leary | March 01, 2014
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Edible Idaho South's Spring List

Almost Vegetarian: A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time & Altogether Well All of the Time
By Diane Shaw

When I scan my cookbook collection, one clearly stands out as having the most bookmarks, hand-written notes and foodstained pages. It’s not fancy or glossy… it doesn’t even have photos. But for me, it’s been a go-to guide for nearly two decades.

It’s called Almost Vegetarian: A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time, & Altogether Well All of the Time. Diana Shaw published more than 130 recipes in this 1994 publication and, judging from my book, I’ve made most of them.

Mushroom Noodle Pudding, Linguini with Mussels and Shrimp, Lemon Risotto (my notes say I served the risotto with Snapper Étouffée in 1997 and that it was “super good!”), Cheese and Potato Pierogun, Steamed Holiday Pudding and on and on.

Aside from the recipes themselves, I really appreciate Shaw’s unpretentious approach to cooking and her inclusion of supplemental information with each recipe. She tells you how long each dish will take to make, gives a nutritional breakdown and serving suggestion sidebars with each recipe: “Serve Chicken and Lentil Stew with Eggplant Pancakes and Chocolate Bundt Cakes.”

In addition to the sidebar recommendations, there are also helpful menu ideas. At the beginning of the book, Shaw lists recommended recipe combinations under the titles “All Vegetarian,” “One Dish Dinner” or “Menus for Mixed Company.” Altogether a super-accessible, friendly and inspirational approach to quasi-vegetarian cuisine.

— Alyson Oüten
 


The Drunken Botanist
The Plants that Create the World’s Great Drinks

By Amy Stewart

Being the type that doesn’t need much encouragement when it comes to alcohol consumption, I generally steer clear of the harder stuff, giving myself a fighting chance by sticking to wine and beer. However, this enchanting and highly educational book makes my plant-geek self giddy beyond measure while enticing me into the vast, rich world of liquors, liqueurs and cocktails.

This is the book every booze-loving gardener has dreamed of writing, but Stewart gives the subject a much more thorough treatment than most of us could muster. Better treated as a coffee table book than a cover-to-cover page turner, Stewart takes us on a mind-boggling, alphabetically-organized world tour of plants and their various alcoholic associations best suited to ingesting in small sips.

Turn to “Spruce” and learn how ship captains brewed and drank spruce beer to prevent scurvy on trips across the ocean. “Potato” might disappoint Idahoans: the Russians and Polish didn’t originally make vodka with potatoes and even today potato vodka is looked upon as a lower quality spirit than vodka made from rye or wheat.

Thus, Stewart continues boldly through the botanical world, weaving history, botany and chemistry with recipes and growing tips for creating your own living liquor cabinet. Practical and fascinating information graces nearly every page of this delightful book, so settle in with your favorite drink and prepare to fall deeper in love with it.

— Casey O’Leary


Weeknight Gluten Free (Williams-Sonoma):
Simple, healthy meals for every night of the week

By Kristine Kidd

Author Kristine Kidd is no stranger to the kitchen. In fact, she was the former food editor of the beloved Bon Appetit magazine for over 20 years before writing her first and recently published cookbook Weeknight Gluten Free (Williams-Sonoma).

A jewel of a cookbook, this beautiful creation is loaded with over 100 gluten free recipes to be enjoyed by not only those of us with celiac disease but anyone who enjoys cooking without gluten. Kidd really gives home cooks who are gluten free an amazing repertoire of recipes that are nutrient-rich, naturally gluten free and, as the title says, easy enough to fix on a weeknight.

I especially enjoy how Kidd takes the guesswork out of cooking gluten free foods, allowing for recipes to retain their original character. The cookbook is concise and easy to follow since it’s organized by cravings, with chapters of dishes you feel like eating: poultry, seafood and meat. It also offers a repertoire of beautifully shot photos that inspire readers to try dishes and experiment with them.

As someone obsessed with stocking up on the right ingredients in my kitchen, one of the highlights of Weeknight Gluten Free is the chapter that offers tips on setting up a gluten free pantry as well as a robust list of sources for favorite gluten free and specialty products. It’s a practical, beautiful cookbook that any home cook should have on their bookshelf.

— Aimée Eiguren

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