Bouchon Bakery – Cookbook Review

The latest cookbook choice for The Seattle Cooking Club is Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery. I’ve had this cookbook on my shelf for awhile, so I was excited to dive back into it. But then work happened, and I started traveling a bunch. I got home from a trip just in time for the mid-term “dinner” and I was unable to attend. So I made a few attempts myself and came to the conclusion that as much as I love this cookbook, it’s not an everyday baking cookbook.

 

Thomas Keller – Bouchon Bakery

By Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
Photos by Deborah Jones

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • Beautiful photos
  • I wanted to bake everything!
  • Then I decided I didn’t want to bake everything because I didn’t want to gain 20 pounds.
  • Then I realized many of the recipes require special equipment that I don’t have…nor want to purchase.
  • Other than the negatives, the recipes are clear and easy to follow.
  • The book really walks you through the process, and gives lots of amazing tips and tricks.
  • Very detailed and thorough.

 

RECIPES TRIED

  • Chocolate Chunk and Chip Cookies
  • Pumpkin Muffins
  • Better Nutters
  • Shortbread
  • Bacon Cheddar Scones
  • Regualar Scones

 

OTHER REVIEWS

 

THE VERDICT

I am intimidated by most of the recipes in this cookbook. Quite a few of them require special equipment (that I don’t have, nor do I need). I love some of the more basic recipes…but I don’t think I’ll become an expert croissant maker anytime soon. Other than that, the more realistic recipes are absolutely delicious. I have made the chocolate chunk cookies NUMEROUS times, and the Bacon Cheddar Scones are heavenly.

 

Six Seasons – Cookbook Review

I found this cookbook via an online article about Northwest chefs. I was intrigued…one because Joshua McFadden is from Portland, and Portland has a fabulous food scene, and two because I want to start cooking more vegetables (and not just steamed broccoli.) :)

His approach to cooking vegetables is encouraging and exciting. And his no-nonsense descriptions and techniques really helped me explore vegetables/recipes I would have never tried before.

For a proper review it should take you a little over a year to test out the recipes from each “season.” I started November of 2017…and am still making my way through it!

 

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables

By Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • It’s gonna take awhile to get through this cookbook because to do it right, you really need to embrace the vegetables that are in season at the time.
  • I was excited and challenged to try vegetables I have never cooked before.
  • Read the “My Larder” section before you start cooking. He gives practical examples of pantry items and brands he uses.

 

MY FAVORITE RECIPES

So far everything I have made from this book has been incredible. I can’t picture all of them here…but here are just a few.

The Kale Salad That Started It All

 

Pickled Carrots

 

Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Carrots, Walnuts, Cilantro, and Citrus Vinaigrette

 

Cauliflower Steak with Provolone and Pickled Peppers

 

Raw Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Anchovy, Walnuts, and Pecorino

 

Charred Broccoli with Tonnato, Pecorino, Lemon, and Chiles

 

OTHER REVIEWS

“Most cookbooks have flaws, obvious or not. Six Seasons does not.” – Lucky Peach

“Joshua [understands] vegetables from the perspective of both a farmer and chef. His mouthwatering and terrific solutions…get the most out of vegetables from their beginning to their last act on our plates.” – David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku

Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables is poised to join the veggie canon….The flavors are big….They’re also layered and complex, despite their apparent simplicity. What will really change your cooking is [McFadden’s] approach to seasoning….Trust me: Read this book and you’ll never look at cabbage the same way again.” – Bon Appétit, 11 Spring Cookbooks You’ll Actually Cook From

 

THE VERDICT

Run to the store and buy it.

 

Food52 Mighty Salads – Cookbook Review

We have taken a summer break from Cooking Club, so I thought I’d increase my salad repertoire with this new cookbook from Food52. One of my all time favorite cookbooks is Raising the Salad Bar, so I thought another salad cookbook would just add to my love of making salads over the summer. Boy was I right! This cookbook is fantastic! If you like salads, this one has something for everyone.

Food52 Mighty Salads 

By the Editors of Food52, Amanda Hesser, & Merrill Stubbs
Photos by Rocky Luten, James Ransom, Bobbi Lin, and Mark Weinberg

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • Photos are great.
  • The recipes seem easy, manageable, and tasty.
  • There are “Genius Tips” throughout the book that are super helpful.

 

RECIPES TRIED

I have made a few salads so far, and all have been amazing. The

  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Endive & Apple Salad
  • Toasted Farro & Asparagus Salad
  • Spring Vegetable Panzanella
  • Lemony Greek Pasta Salad

 

OTHER REVIEWS

 

Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California – Cookbook Review

The above is a quote from my friend Kelli, in regards to the dessert Carol brought to Cooking Club Mid-term Dinner. It was the Date Cake with Whiskey Sauce, and a side of Ginger Gelatto. Um yes…it was truly amazing. The perfect mix of sweet and spice. I’m not a ginger person…but I could have had seconds of that dish! I think this quote is a sign of GREAT things from this cookbook.

Gjelina: Cooking from Venice California

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • Photos are gorgeous. It makes me want to try everything in this book despite the fact that I don’t know what some of the ingredients are. :)
  • Quite a few of the recipes refer to other recipes in the book (which isn’t my favorite) but it’s just cause I’m lazy and I don’t want to make 3 recipes just to make 1.

SO FAR…

Mid-term dinner consisted of the following…and ALL of the following (BTW) was fantastic. :)

  • Mushroom Toasts (worth repeating)
  • Arugula & Radicchio Salad with Crispy Shallots & Shallot Oil-Sherry Vinaigrette
  • Beet Carrot Soup
  • Grilled Summer Squash, Za’atar & Cherry Tomato Confit
  • Oven-Roasted Parsnips with Hazelnut Picada
  • Charred Blade Steak with Green Peppercorn & Sherry Pan Sauce
  • Warm Date Cake with Ginger Gelato (worth repeating)

Also made was the Pickled Red Onions. It might sound like a random thing to make on a Sunday afternoon…but there are so many things I can do with them! Top some smoked trout or avocado toasts, or in a lamb burger. They are quite delicious and super easy to make.

Other recipes that are on my list to make is the Grilled Kale with Shallot-Yogurt Dressing & Toasted Hazelnuts, Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Gribiche & Bottarga (if I can find the last two mentioned ingredients) and the Butterscotch Pots de Creme with Salted Caramel.

I have lots of cooking to do!!! :)

Essentials of Italian Cooking – Cookbook Review

I am finally back at our Seattle Cooking Club! I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the group (not intentionally) but life happened and I got busy. I was super excited that the ladies chose Marcella Hazan’s, Essentials of Italian Cooking for this round, because I love Italian food. :) We’ve done a few other Italian cookbooks so it will be interesting to hear how the others felt this one compared.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • No photos.
  • She gained points by the way she describes making salad. She makes the mundane activity of chopping sound enjoyable.
  • Super educational. Who knew “Marinara” means sailor style.
  • I really wanted to make pizza after seeing the recipes. All the recipes called for a pizza stone (which I unfortunately do not have) so I was out of luck. Maybe I’ll ask for one for my birthday. :)
  • My friend Kelli tried the famous Tomato Sauce and said it was a HIT. I must try it.

SO FAR…

First up was the Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Chicken. This wasn’t too bad…but I’ve made better roasted chicken. It was just kind of blah, nothing to write home about. From the looks of the reviews, I should have tried the Roast Chicken with Two Lemons. With the chicken I made the La Grand Insalata Mista. I will NOT make this again. It required quite a bit of rinsing, soaking, squeezing, and chopping. I get that it’s a salad and you gotta do at least two of the four…but this was extraneous. I think the kicker was the onions. It was way too much and it over powered the entire flavor the salad. Plus it gave me a stomach ache, AND really bad breath. No bueno.

For our cookbook club this Sunday afternoon, we had quite the spread. I made the A Farm Wife’s Fresh Pear Tart and the Crema—Italian Custard Creme. Both were pretty easy to make, and were delicious!

The other items on the menu were Lentil Soup, Lentil Soup with Pasta, Bacon, and Garlic, Margherita Pizza, Meatballs, and Layered Crespelle with Tomato, Prosciutto, and Cheese.

OTHER REVIEWS

 

THE VERDICT

The ladies really liked it quite a bit. Despite my salad mishap, I think it has some fairly easy recipes that are rich, and full of flavor! A keeper!