In the Stacks: New cookbooks

We’ve indulged in some wonderful cookbook purchases recently at the public library, and this week I’m highlighting a few of our new knock-your-socks-off and/or holiday-friendly choices. (Look for more general-interest cookbooks next week.)


“Great Balls of Cheese,” by Michelle Buffardi.

If you like cheese, look no further for appetizer ideas than this adorable book of cheese balls. Buffardi shows readers how to turn the standard ball of orangish-pinkish nut-covered goo into something everyone will welcome into their home, both for looks and for taste. Look for wintery ideas like blue cheese penguins and holiday wreaths with pesto and sundried tomato, or a sweet double-coconut snowman. We may wait till next year for bite-sized chocolate witches’ hats and the cheddar-poppy seed spider, but we’re coming up on the perfect holiday for the fantastic little Thanksgiving turkey with goat cheese and herbes de Provence and the pumpkin cheesecake pumpkin, and there’s plenty of time to contemplate the right occasions for the herbed caterpillar and the bacon football (known as the Pigskin, of course). Sweet or savory, crowd-sized or bite-sized, Buffardi’s got all of us cheese-lovers covered.

“D’lish Deviled Eggs,” by Kathy Casey.

We’ve just missed Deviled Eggs Day (Nov. 2), but that’s okay – they’re delicious any time! Expand your culinary horizons and try something a little different from the usual picnic fare. Perhaps a few California Roll Eggs (with crab, cucumber, avocado, and wasabi), Thai Curry-Spiced Deviled Eggs with Shrimp, or Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs will be the thing to bring to your next gathering. Or experiment with sweet and savory French Toast Deviled Eggs, or even Pumpkin Pie Deviled Eggs. There are drink-inspired recipes (Bloody Mary and Dirty Martini Eggs), lovely jewel-like Beet’ing Heart Eggs, and ultra-fancy, gold-flake dusted Deviled Quail Eggs with Caviar, and yes, classic, basic Deviled Eggs as well. Bon appétit!

“Cookies & Cream,” by Tessa Arias.

Not just a cookie book, and more than an ice cream book, this lovely little cookbook will have you putting together luscious ice cream sandwiches that look as good as they taste. Arias includes tons of helpful tips about shaping the cookies, making the ice cream, and making sure the finished sandwich is as perfect as possible – read through the first few sections before leaping into the recipes. But, oh, the recipes and their mouthwatering photographs! Cherry ice cream and chocolate whoopie pies become Black Forest Sandwiches. Sugar cookies with cinnamon ice cream become Snickerdoodle Sandwiches. And Cake Batter ice cream plus Funfetti cookies equal Birthday Cake Sandwiches. Mix and match to your taste buds’ content.

“Make Your Own Soda,” by Anton Nocito.

Here you’ll find a bevy of easy to make syrups and recipes for using them in drinks. What do you do with a Costco bag of Meyer Lemons? How about Meyer Lemon syrup for Bitter Lemon Sodas or Refreshers? There are recipes for making syrups from almonds, coffee, bananas (and many more fruits), and ideas for using them in drinks. Feeling nostalgic for old-time soda counter drinks (or wonder what the fuss is)? You’ll find instructions for making classic egg creams and ice cream sodas. There are even some hot drinks like Chocolate Tea with Mint Syrup and Hot Apple Toddy, and a few cocktails made with delicious homemade flavorings, including the Bourbon and Cherry Chocolate.

“Modern Art Desserts,” by Caitlin Freeman.

Looking for the perfect dessert to stun artsy guests? Pick up this cookbook, in which Freeman fuses the art of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art with tasty and appealing desserts. Freeman’s Introduction tells how her love of photography and pastries brought her to a career that integrates both. Her many creations include: Thiebaud Yellow Cake (featuring lemon curd), Mondrian Cake (each slice of which mimics Mondrian’s geometric compositions), Warhol Gelée, and even Koons White Hot Chocolate (in honor of the ceramic Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture), along with many more. Freeman’s multi-step techniques are thoroughly described, and photos of her inspirational images accompany each dessert.

“The Flying Brownie,” by Shirley Fan.

Not all brownies fly well. Some crumble, while others arrive dry and uninteresting. Fan is here to change that with a collection of recipes for cookies, breads, crackers, and yes, brownies that pack well, travel well, and taste great upon arrival. Hints and tips (how to choose the size of cookies or the shapes of breads, for instance) are scattered throughout the book, and though most of her recipes are for decadent goodies, Fan does include a chapter on healthy, but still delicious treats, including Oven Roasted Spiced Chickpeas, Chipotle-Lime Pepitas, and several kinds of granola bars.

Have you always wanted to write a novel? November is NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month) and the library is here to help writers get through the process. Check the library’s calendar for events.

All the local libraries will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11, for Veteran’s Day

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Margaret Brady Fund scholarship applications now accepted

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