New cookbooks for armchair droolers, chefs at Juneau libraries

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010

New cookbooks for armchair droolers and kitchen doers are filling up the shelves at the public libraries - here are just a few.

"Simply Scandinavian," by Tero Kallio and Kimmo Saira.

This is a long-shot cookbook: while Scandinavian and Southeast Alaskan climes are fairly similar and the two cultures draw from many of the same ingredients (nettles, salmon, potatoes, moose), this Scandinavian cookbook has taken a gourmet approach to the ingredients. Some of the more recognizable dishes for American palates include nettle pesto pasta, moose soup with baked cheese, fresh pea soup, and rhubarb smoothies. More adventurous cooks and eaters might try the grilled raw spiced salmon or the rye cannelloni. The photos are truly gorgeous, but non-gourmets, beware!

"Seasonal Spanish Food," by Jose Pizarro.

Pizarro is a London-based, Spanish-born chef who loves to share the cooking of his homeland. Here he offers up some not-too-unfamiliar recipes for beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts, alongside dishes you may never have encountered before, such as crema catalina with carmelized figs or wild mushroom fideos. Lovely photos whet the appetite and make this a book for browsing as well as cooking. Substitutes are offered for most of the harder-to-get ingredients, and the instructions are easy to follow. It's divided seasonally, with autumn recipes including plenty of apples, mushrooms, and squash (take a look at the Spanish Apple Pie), all of which are available now.

"How to Build a Gingerbread House," by Christina Banner.

This is a complete step-by-step primer on making a basic gingerbread house, and includes two dough recipes, a reliable royal frosting recipe, shapes to form the house walls, and instructions for putting it all together. Then the fun begins, with tons of photos of ideas for roofs, fences, wall and window decorations, and even ground covers, including gardens, paths, grass, and snow. And, though we mostly think of gingerbread houses as reserved for Christmas, Banner includes instructions for creating houses for other occasions as well: Valentine's Day, Easter, and birthdays, to name a few. Along with other helpful tips on getting the best results, there's a timeline for each house - read carefully - a good house takes time and planning. Guaranteed to spark your creativity!

"Jewish Cooking Boot Camp," by Andrea Marks Carneiro and Roz Marks.

Mother and daughter pair Roz and Andrea came up with this book when they realized that the annual Chanukah gatherings of friends and family would soon begin to change - and then who would bring the brisket? Working together, they collected the tried and true recipes they'd all enjoyed through the years, grouped them by holiday and included helpful tips about wine pairings, the meaning of kosher, fun song lists, tongue-in-cheek playlists, and short writings about the meanings of holidays and different family traditions that have grown up around them. Not a pretty coffee table book, this is delightfully funny and useful, and geared towards anyone, Jewish or Gentile, who wants to learn more about Jewish holidays and the foods that go with them (or who just wants to make a good latke).

"Fish Tales," by Bart van Olphen and Tom Kime.

Nine sustainable fisheries from around the world are highlighted here as examples of the Marine Stewardship Council's worldwide mission. Alongside stories of the fisheries, look for recipes using Vietnamese clams, Danish mussels, Californian tuna, and South African hake, to name a few of the fishing locales and their primary catches. Read about a large fishing family in the Netherlands and find a recipe for spicy fish tagine (with plaice), a Vietnamese cooperative clam fishery and a recipe for baked clams with white beans and chorizo, and many more. Beautiful photos of both the fisheries in action and the tasty dishes abound.

"The Fishes and Dishes Cookbook," by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, and Laura Cooper.

This collection of recipes and stories comes directly from the authors' lives as fisherwomen in Alaskan waters. The three authors have served at various times as crew, captain, engineer, deckhand, and cook, and in addition, they offer essays and recipes from other women with whom they've fished. They give tips on choosing, storing, preparing, and cooking fish, shellfish, and shrimp, and draw from their diverse ethnic backgrounds to present such delicious-sounding recipes as Salmon Namban (crunchy, panko-coated nuggets of marinated salmon), Miso-glazed Black Cod, Shrimp and Orzo Salad, and many more, just as mouth-watering.

Coming up on this Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 5:30 p.m., it's Family Night for Preschoolers at the downtown library. Join us for stories, songs, and activities all about bread.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold, visit or call 586-5249.

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