Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Fiery Ferments, by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher ShockeyIf you follow food blogs, you’ll know that fermented foods are gaining new interest, beyond sauerkraut. Turns out you can ferment almost any vegetable, though obviously some lend themselves better to the pickle-y flavour than others. Having made my own sauerkraut with surprising success, I am interested in furthering my forays into fermentation (sorry – I simply cannot resist a powerful alliteration). In this follow-up to their first book, Fermented Vegetables, the Oregon couple has put together an excellent recipe and instruction book for creating “hot sauces, spicy chutneys, kimchis with kick, and other blazing fermented condiments,” according to the lengthy sub-title. Read More »

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How to Brew, 4th ed., by John J. Palmer (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
How to Brew, 4th ed., by John J. PalmerWowzers! This is a massive resource for anyone interested in brewing their own beer, whether novice or expert. This is the fourth edition, updated and revised to include coverage of the many improvements in brewing technology and techniques in the past decade since the last edition was published. In the preface, author Palmer notes when the book was first published in 2001, people entered the field in hopes of brewing better beer than what could be found on store shelves. Since then, of course, craft brewing has exploded, and you can find tasty beer on shelves and in pubs. So why brew then? For the sheer love of creating a great beer, natch! Read More »

Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead, by Shaye Elliott (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from the Elliott Homestead by Shaye ElliottThis isn’t the first book on homesteading I’ve reviewed, but it’s certainly one of the best. Shaye Elliott began sharing her farmgirl dream in 2010 via a blog, and has created a compilation that is beautifully illustrated with full-colour photos and hand-drawn art. It’s also comprehensive and well organised, complete with a well done table of contents and an absolutely excellent index. Elliott opens with an introduction that explains how she, the granddaughter of an orchardist, managed to convince her non-farmer husband to move across the country and take up farming. She then gets down to business, starting with gardening, focusing primarily on how to build a potager or kitchen garden that will fully meet your family’s needs. Read More »

The Elements of Pizza, by Ken Forkish (2016)

Nonfiction
Adult
The Elements of PizzaIn my continuing search for a better pizza dough recipe, I discovered this new offering that takes homemade pizza to a new level. It opens with an exploration of the differences between the classic pizzas of Italy and its best delicious derivatives in North America. Breadmaking expert Forkish presents what I dare to call the terroir (normally referring to wine) that makes each region’s specialty unique and delectable – the geographical nuances of taste and culture. In its birthplace of Naples, Forkish tells us, the original recipe included eggs and sugar, but not tomatoes. The form we know and love today emerged about 300 years ago, Read More »

Bread by Mother Earth News, edited by Karen K. Will (2015)

Cookbook
Adult
Bread, by Mother Earth NewsI am on the hunt for a simple, tasty pizza bread recipe. We enjoy healthy homemade pizza in our home, but the crust simply falls short. Mine is bready, and I want the chewy kind. So off I headed to my local library branch to explore the shelves, and discovered a gem of a new title. In this collection, subtitled “Our Favorite Recipes for Artisan Breads, Quick Breads, Buns, Rolls, Flatbreads, and More,” Mother Earth News editor Karen Will has compiled recipes, tips and techniques for more than 150 different homemade breads, including bagels, doughnuts, and pretzels. and a welcome section for gluten-free baking. Nearly every recipe includes a full-colour photo of the final product. Read More »

Maple Syrup Cookbook, by Ken Haedrich (2015)

Nonfiction
Adult
Maple Syrup CookbookNot just for Canadians! In fact, author Haedrich hails from New Hampshire, where he wrote the first edition of this book some 30 years ago, celebrating the sweet amber-hued syrup we love on our waffles and pancakes, on our carrots and yams, in our desserts and even our wine. Maple syrup is good stuff, and worth our worship. “It takes four maple trees, at least 40 years old,” Haedrich writes, “to yield enough sap in 6 weeks to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.” (p. 59). This third edition includes colour photos and a dozen new recipes from Haedrich’s kitchen. He opens with a short history of maple syrup, from its mysterious origins among indigenous North Americans to modern production methods. Read More »

Cookies & Beer, by Jonathan Bender (2015)

Nonfiction
Adult
Cookies & BeerMove over, milk. Cookies have grown up and found themselves a new drinking partner. And it looks like a lot of us are ready to give it a try. Whenever I mention this title, people break into a grin of anticipation – finally! Two of our favourite things at the same time! Bender (I know) and 34 others collaborated to create a compendium of cookie recipes, each with a suggested beer pairing and what notes to look for in the beer. The book opens with a handshake – an introduction of craft beer for experienced bakers, and of baking for beer drinkers. But it’s a short intro, getting right into the good stuff. Bender provides 40 recipes for cookies that will surely satisfy any occasion or taste desire, Read More »