cover image Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures

Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures

John Kanell. Simon Element, $32.50 (320p) ISBN 978-1-982178-37-6

“If I can teach twelve-year-olds how to do algebra, I can teach you how to master Swiss meringue buttercream/poach an egg/conquer roast chicken,” promises Kanell, a middle school teacher turned food blogger, in his terrific debut. With a vibrant assortment of recipes inspired by his eponymous blog, he takes readers on a culinary jaunt through the seasons: for fall, there’s spiced pumpkin soup with garlic-chili oil, and apple cake with maple buttercream, while notable recipes for the spring include steamed mahi-mahi with macadamia nuts and spring herbs. Kanell, the son of a Mexican immigrant mother and Greek-Canadian father, draws from the diverse flavors of his background in such recipes as avgolemono (Greek chicken soup), and fish tostadas with green tomato and mango salsa. Meanwhile, his breezy encouragement (“it’s not much more effort than making a quick hot breakfast cereal,” he says of polenta) and make ahead tips (the candied carrots for his chocolate carrot cake can be made several days in advance) will motivate home cooks of all levels who are pressed for time. A smattering of “special projects”—such as creating winter wreaths, and pressing flowers—are sure to keep readers entertained while away from the kitchen, too. For home cooks looking to entertain with exciting meals, this is indispensable. Agent: Janis Donnaud, Janis A. Donnaud & Assoc. (Oct.)