Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Great Lobster Cookbook

More than 100 recipes to cook at home
By Matt Dean Pettit
Trade Paperback, 216 pages

Join the Crustacean Nation and get cracking!

I love lobster. I really do. I came to it a little later than some. Was already grown up before discovering how truly special and delicious it is. I have one to myself for special occasions. With butter of course, lots of butter. But it has never occurred to me to try it in different forms and styles.

Matt Pettit is an Ontario fellow who discovered his crustacean crush early and went with it. His story of starting small in Toronto and rising within the food culture there is joyful to read and very inspiring.

His book not only gives more than 100 recipes, but also teaches you everything you need to know about choosing, preparing, cooking, and eating lobsters.

He takes the fear and mystery out of this fun and delicious food and makes us comfortable with utilizing it in different ways.

After Lobster 101, the recipe chapters include:

Brunch * Small Plates * Soups and Salads * Rolls, Tacos, and Burgers * Big Plates * Sides * Desserts * Drinks * 
Sauces and Staples

From the Back Flap:

Lobster has long been thought of as a staple of haute cuisine and a dish of indulgence, something that only a true expert in the kitchen can perfectly execute.

From Matt Dean Pettit, chef and owner of Rock Lobster Food Co., comes a collection of more than 100 simple and delicious lobster recipes showing how fun, easy, and stress-free cooking with lobster can be.

A lobster lover since he was a little boy, Matt Dean Pettit started Rock Lobster Food Co. after an eye-opening experience on the East Coast. He had eaten lobster everywhere he could find it, from fresh-off-the-dock to dive bars, and was left wondering why lobster could be so readily available (and so reasonably priced) at the source but reserved for high-end restaurants across the rest of the country. He pledged then and there to bring lobster to the masses.

The Great Lobster Cookbook includes more than 100 of Matt’s best recipes—from the famous Rock Lobster Roll and the Classic Lobster Boil to Lobster Eggs Benny, Lobster Poutine, and even a mouthwatering recipe for Vanilla Bean Lobster Ice Cream. Star chefs, such as Mark McEwan and Roger Mooking, also share their favorite lobster dishes.

With easy-to-follow recipes, notes on lobster anatomy, and basic cooking techniques, Matt demystifies the lobster, highlighting its versatility and taking readers on a cross-country journey into its world, from claw to tail.
A new cookbook classic for every lobster lover, The Great Lobster Cookbook shows that lobster doesn’t need to be reserved for special occasions. Join the Crustacean Nation and get cracking.

Matt Dean Pettit has loved cooking since, at age 13, he got his first job as a prep cook in his home town of Midland, Ontario, Canada. In 2011, Matt started Rock Lobster Food Co., Canada’s first lobster-centric food company, showcasing lobster and making it easy and accessible for Canadians to eat on a regular basis. Matt is a Canadian culinary brand ambassador for Samuel Adams, and he is also the founder and owner of Camp 416 Food Trading Co., which distributes the Matty’s Seafood line and other quality food items across Canada. Rock Lobster started as a small pop-up food truck and now has multiple locations in downtown Toronto.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics

Best of Bridge Holiday Classics
225 Recipes for Special Occasions
by The Best of Bridge

Hardcover, 330 pages

Two months til Christmas! 

I'm hungry already. And, as much as I love to play around with new techniques and exotic foods - my family would never let that happen during the holidays. They are all about the classics. Just like Grandma used to make. And this is exactly what you will find in this cookbook. No harrissa rubbed turkey breasts, smears or foam here - these are all the recipes from the family dinners of yore.

Seriously. This book made me miss my Grandma. And assorted aunts who showed up with the trimmings. A delicious tradition.

Contents include:

Sample Menus
Holiday Brunches
Cocktail Parties Plus
Buffets and Potlucks
Sit-Down Dinners 
Holiday Cookies and Squares
Desserts and Other Sweet Treats
Food Gifts

From the Back Flap:

Now available for the first time, the definitive collection of holiday recipes from the ladies of Bridge.

Due to overwhelming interest, we’ve compiled a collection of the Bridge ladies’ favorite holiday recipes, as well as some new recipes that are sure to become instant holiday classics. The best roasts and other special entrĂ©es for your celebration are here, along with fabulous recipes for everything from holiday buffets and potlucks to festive libations and treats.
What makes this collection extra-special are the two chapters devoted to Leftovers and Food Gifts. The only problem with holiday repasts is that you’re likely to have leftovers. This chapter includes incredible recipes for transforming unused food into a second delicious meal. And nothing says “happy holidays” more than a gift made from scratch. From homemade toffee to seasoned nuts to preserves, you’ll discover a cache of gift-giving ideas.

As always, the ladies promise you simple recipes with gourmet results. Enjoy!

Christmas Marmalade, page 289

A friend once left this on my doorstep Christmas eve (it was a warm night!) and I’ve made it ever since. Why not make a batch for your friends?

3    medium oranges    3
2    lemons    2
11⁄2 cups    cold water    375 mL
1    bottle (6 oz/170 mL) preserved     1
6 cups    granulated sugar    1.5 L
1    bottle (6 oz/170 mL) maraschino     1
    cherries, drained and chopped
    (add extra green cherries as well —
1    pouch liquid pectin    1

Wash oranges and lemons. Slice paper thin. Discard seeds. Put into large kettle. Add water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until rinds are tender and transparent. Stir occasionally. Drain ginger, saving syrup. Chop ginger finely. Add sugar, chopped ginger, ginger syrup and cherries to orange-lemon mixture. Turn heat to high and bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Continue stirring and skimming for 5 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace. Wipe rims and seal with two-piece canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Check seals and refrigerate any jars that are not sealed.

Makes about ten 8-oz (250 mL) jars.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Eggnog Supreme, page 85

This is a best of bridge Christmas tradition.

12    egg yolks     12
1 cup    sugar    250 ml
7⁄8 cup    brandy (okay! use the whole cup)    210 ml
11⁄3 cups    rye or rum    325 ml
2 cups    half-and-half (10%) cream    500 ml
12    egg whites    12
3 cups    heavy or whipping (35%) cream    750 ml
    nutmeg for garnish

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until lemon-colored and thick. Add brandy, rye and half-and-half. Blend well. Chill for several hours. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat whipping cream in large bowl and fold in egg whites. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Pour into a large punch bowl. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Enjoy!

Serves 24.

Note: This recipe contains raw eggs. If the food safety of raw eggs is a concern for you, substitute pasteurized eggs in the shell.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Roast Turkey with Sage-Bread Stuffing, page 148

Turkey almost always has the place of honor when family and friends gather for holiday meals. It’s perfect when serving a crowd.
It’s economical, too, and everyone loves it.
Best of all are the leftovers that get wrapped and placed in the fridge for hearty sandwiches the next day — or even later that night.

1⁄3 cup    butter    75 mL
2 cups    chopped onions    500 mL
2 cups    chopped celery    500 mL
8 oz    mushrooms, chopped    250 g
4    cloves garlic, minced    4
1 tbsp    dried rubbed sage    15 mL
1 tsp    dried thyme    5 mL
1 tsp    dried marjoram    5 mL
1 tsp    salt    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    freshly ground black pepper    2 mL
12 cups    white or whole wheat bread    3 L
    cubes, toasted on baking sheet
    in 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes
1⁄2 cup    chopped fresh parsley    125 mL
1 cup    turkey gravy stock     250 mL
    (see tip, page 150)

1    turkey (about 12 to 14 lbs/6 to 7 kg)    1
2 tbsp    melted butter    30 mL
6    cloves garlic, unpeeled    6
1    large onion, cut into 8 wedges    1
2    carrots, cut into chunks    2
1    large stalk celery, cut into chunks    1
1 tsp    dried rosemary, crumbled    5 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dried thyme    2 mL
1⁄2 tsp    dried marjoram    2 mL
    Salt and freshly ground
    black pepper

1⁄4 cup    all-purpose flour    60 mL
1⁄2 cup    white wine or additional stock    125 mL
3 cups    turkey gravy stock (see tip,     750 mL
    page 150)
    Salt and freshly ground
    black pepper

Stuffing: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; cook onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until tender. In a large bowl, combine onion mixture, bread cubes and parsley. Spoon into a greased 12-cup (3 L) casserole dish. To bake, add enough turkey stock to moisten stuffing and toss. (If you plan to stuff the bird, omit stock.) Cover with lid or foil and place in oven for the last hour of roasting turkey, uncovering for last 30 minutes to brown and crisp the top.

Turkey: Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Remove neck and giblets from bird; reserve to make stock.
Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Secure legs by tying with string or tuck under skin around the tail; fold wings back and secure neck skin with skewer. Place turkey, breast side up, on a greased rack in a large roasting pan or broiler pan. Brush bird with melted butter. Lightly crush garlic with side of knife; scatter garlic, onion, carrots and celery in pan. Season turkey and vegetables with rosemary, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of inner turkey thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Roast turkey for 31⁄4 to 31⁄2 hours; no need to baste. (If turkey starts to brown too quickly, tent bird loosely with heavy-duty foil, shiny side down.) Turkey is done when meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C) for unstuffed bird; 170°F (77°C) if stuffed. Remove from oven; cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes for easy carving.

Gravy: Skim fat from roasting pan; place over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine; cook, stirring, until reduced by half. Stir in stock; bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan, until gravy thickens. Strain through a fine sieve into a saucepan, pressing down on vegetables; discard the vegetables. Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 8 to 10, plus leftovers.

Tip: Turkey Gravy Stock: Pat neck and giblets dry. (Do not use liver.) In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp  (15 mL) vegetable oil over medium-high heat; cook neck and giblets, stirring, for 8 minutes or until nicely browned. Add 1 each chopped onion, carrot and celery stalk including leaves along with 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly colored. Add 1 cup (250 mL) white wine, if desired. Stir in 6 cups (1.5 L) water; season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours. Strain stock through cheesecloth-lined or fine sieve; discard solids.
Makes about 4 cups (1 L) stock.

Courtesy of Best of Bridge Holiday Classics by The Best of Bridge 2014 © www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

The Love Song of 
Miss Queenie Hennessy
A Novel
By Rachel Joyce

Hardcover, 352 pages

I read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry two years ago and, like the rest of the world, fell instantly and permanently in love.

The book cemented Rachel Joyce as a must-read author and one of the first on my favourites list.

Now we are given the gift of a companion book to the original novel. Not a prequel or a sequel - but a look into Queenie's life and perspective as she waits for Harold and his incredible journey.

We learn so much about this special woman, and remember so much about the first book - not with parallels but with snips and snatches that are remembered in such a different way by this teller.

It is profound how we can touch each other's lives. Near misses, words not said, things forgotten or unnoticed. Guilt, love, sadness, joy. Redemption.

A beautiful book.

From the Back Flap:

When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait?

A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, 'Even though you've done your travelling, you're starting a new journey too.'

Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.

Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the international bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. She is also the award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She started writing after a twenty-year acting career, in which she performed leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company and won multiple awards. Rachel Joyce lives with her family on a Gloucestershire farm.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Vibrant Vegetable Cooking 
from London's Yotam Ottolenghi 
Hardcover, 352 pages

And the KitchenPuppy award for most beautiful cookbook goes to: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi. I love just saying his name. (Not that I am sure I pronounce it right, but I am in my kitchen most of the time so it's all good.)

This is a stunning book that brings hope and love, beauty, and a sense of aliveness to the plate. Seriously, I could live off the pages alone.

I am not a vegetarian. I guess the term these days is flexitarian. I am just happy to eat for the most part. But in this book you don't even notice or miss the meat. (Not saying you couldn't serve any of these fine dishes with a lamb cutlet, but you certainly don't need to.)

A heady variety of Mediterranean dishes separated by cooking methods, which all sound incredibly sexy to me.

Tossed * Steamed * Blanched * Simmered * Braised * Grilled * Roasted * Fried * Mashed * Cracked * Baked * Sweetened

From the Back Flap:

The hotly anticipated follow-up to London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbook Plenty, featuring more than 150 vegetarian dishes organized by cooking method.

Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents. In this follow-up to his bestselling Plenty, he continues to explore the diverse realm of vegetarian food with a wholly original approach. Organized by cooking method, more than 150 dazzling recipes emphasize spices, seasonality, and bold flavors. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and luscious desserts, Plenty More is a must-have for vegetarians and omnivores alike. This visually stunning collection will change the way you cook and eat vegetables

Yotam Ottolenghi owns an eponymous group of four restaurants, plus the high-end restaurant, NOPI, in London. His previous cookbooks–Plenty, Jerusalem, and Ottolenghi–have all been on the New York Times bestseller list. Yotam writes for The Guardian and appears on BBC. He lives in London. The author lives in London, UK.