Archive | December, 2008

Monday Review: Cool Cuisine

22 Dec


Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming by Laura Stec with Eugene Cordero, PhD  – Gibbs Smith Publisher

By Stephanie Dickison

If you want to step up your involvement in saving our planet when it comes to your food,consider these questions:

  • How far do I travel to buy food and how do I get there?
  • How much food am I buying—will I eat it all?
  • What kind of food am I buying—is it plant based or animal based?
  • Geographically, where is my food coming from?
  • Is my food organic?
  • How processed is my food?
  • What kind of packaging is used for my food?
  • Do I buy too many processed foods that need to be frozen or refrigerated?
  • How am I disposing of the food and packaging waste?

This book is all about getting you to reassess how you are living, how you are buying your food, what you are buying and how you are cooking it.

All of this impacts the earth, so what can you do to change it?

Cool Cuisine gives you the facts and offers ways in which you can change your habits and practices.  It is a really great read on how global warming works thanks to interviews from over 30 scientists, farmers, ranchers and food professionals. It’s like a university course book without all the hard learning and early morning classes!

The book is organized into three sections: the first gives background to global warming- food connections, the second highlights solutions, and the third is a “culinary how-to,” teaching simple techniques and tips for cooking a Cool Cuisine.

This is truly food for thought and since reading it, I have implemented changes in the way I buy food, where I buy it and how I cook it.

When’s the last time a book did that for you?

Monday Review: He Said Beer She Said Wine

15 Dec

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He Said Beer She Said Wine by Marnie Old & Sam Calagione -DK Books

By Stephanie Dickison

If you are looking for a fun, offbeat foodie present this holiday season, this book certainly fits the bill.

He Said Beer, She Said Wine guides you on pairing all types of foods with beer and wine – something that will come in handy with all those hosting gigs you’ve got coming up these next few weeks.

Marnie Old, an esteemed sommelier, and Sam Calagione, owner of the renowned craft brewery DogFishHead are the experts, but they let you know what to look for in simple, easy to understand language.  This means that you’ll be able to not only learn the guidelines, but you’ll be able to navigate the wine and beer landscape on your own soon enough!  They also make sure that the book comes across as a fun guide for beginners and not a heavy-handed serious tome for seasoned oenophiles.  Marnie and Sam introduce themselves and give you their philosophies in a very lighthearted fashion, with step-by-step instructions.

There is a beer primer, wine primer, pairing each with different foods such as cheese, vegetables, poultry and desserts.  But my favourite part is the last one – The Great Debate at Home.  This is where they give instructions on hosting your own beer versus wine party and have the most wonderful recipes for you to make at home and have a photograph and description of both a wine and a beer that pairs beautifully with the dish.

For the parties that we are having this season, I’m going to make the Fig Compote & Red Onion Confit, Vegtable Samosas and Merluza Salsa Verde (or Cod with Green Sauce).

And now thanks to this book, I’ll be able to pair them beautifully.

And just think about how much fun that will be – and how many different wines and beers you’ll get to try along the way!

It’s the best kind of homework, wouldn’t you say?

Monday Review: Salad Days

8 Dec


Salad Days fromThe Australian Women’s Weekly

By Stephanie Dickison

I know that many food outlets and publications will be focusing on comfort food cookbooks at this time of year, but I am still craving salads – almost as much as during summer months.  And there are heartier, bolder salads that are just as suitable in winter months, so I thought I’d share this book with you.

First of all, the photography and layout is gorgeous.  It has the clean Donna Hay look that so many British and Australian magazines and books have.

Secondly, the salads are to die for – there are starters, sides, mains and dressings, along with a glossary and conversion chart.  There are 100 recipes that have been tripled tested, which means that you can make these quickly before an event or party and know that it will turn out just right.

This week I’m going to make a number of the starter salads: Crab and Green Papaya, Avocado and Prawn, Fennel and Ruby Red Grapefruit.  At this time of year, along with wanting the creamy comfort of shepherd’s pie, mashed potatoes and roast chicken, I also want piquant, sour and fresh tastes that bring my tastebuds alive.

These ought to do it.

The best thing about this cookbook, along with the variety of salads that it offers, is that each salad’s ingredients are pretty minimal, yet the recipes are quite decadent, restaurant-quality.  So I can make the Beetroot Salad  with Honey Balsamic Lamb without feeling intimidated or beyond my limits.

This is one of those cookbooks that you go back to time and time again no matter what time of year.

I’m off to make tonight’s dinner – Thai Beef Salad with Chili and Lime.

I can’t wait!