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Just Your Type: The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Training Right for Your Body

Phil Catudal, with Stacey Colino. Da Capo, $18.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7382-8548-1

Fitness trainer Catudal introduces a diet and fitness program based around one’s individual “genetic blueprint,” which promises progress “more quickly than you ever have [attained] with other programs,” but fails to entirely convince. He explains “somatotypes,” or different physique types, in terms of celebrity examples: Barack Obama is a “lean and slender” ectomorph, Dwayne Johnson a “naturally muscular” mesomorph, and Jennifer Lopez belongs to the endomorph group, who have “wider hips, more narrow shoulders, and more pear-shaped bodies.” After taking four body measurements—around the upper arms, upper thighs, chest, and waist—readers learn “metabolism math” to calculate their individual metabolic rates. Catudal’s presentation is certainly detailed, with most of the book devoted to body-type-specific plans that include meal plans and “slim down, shape up workouts.” The biggest question, however, is left unanswered: can readers make the demanding program work on their own, without a trainer’s help? It’s hard to imagine this thorough guide achieving the results it promises without a professional there to personally oversee one’s progress. Agent: Rick Broadhead, Rick Broadhead & Associates Literary. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Tel Aviv: Food. People. Stories

Haya Molcho, Elihay Biran, Ellen Lewis, and Walther Hetzer. ACC Art Books, $35 (280p) ISBN 978-1-78884-029-3

Molcho, chef and owner with her four sons of Europe’s Neni restaurant chain, collects Israeli recipes in this enticing cookbook. As inspiration, Molcho and her sons spent two weeks in her birth city of Tel Aviv, interviewing a number of restaurateurs, and collecting and recreating recipes. For example, there is a profile of caterers Yael and Keren Stellegofen who share their recipe for Israeli seafood paella that employs feta cheese and sourdough croutons instead of rice. Other options in the diverse seafood chapter include deep-fried sardines with green aioli, and a focaccia topped with beets, pickled onion, and raw, marinated salmon. An expansive section focusing on vegetable and grains features stewed cabbage with goat cheese and chimichurri as served at chef Asaf Doktor’s eatery, Dok. The comparatively brief chapter of meat dishes includes a shakshuka of merguez sausage, egg, and tomato. Nuriel, the eldest son, serves as the book’s photographer and provides scenes of the busy streets, portraits of the interviewees, and food shots including a pan of coiled, dark orange, char-grilled octopus. The Molcho family’s tantalizing culinary look at Tel Aviv will transport readers. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking

Editors of America’s Test Kitchen. America’s Test Kitchen, $29.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-945256-77-6

In another excellent offering, the team at America’s Test Kitchen provides practices for enhancing the flavor of snacks, entrees, and desserts through spices. They create 47 blends, dry mixes, spreads, and infusions, and sprinkle, rub, or drizzle them across more than 125 dishes. Each entry begins with a summary of “why this recipe works” that explains the balance of tastes, textures, and fragrances. The first chapter is devoted to pepper: unripened peppercorns are used in seared duck breasts with green peppercorn sauce (“the slightly gamy flavor of the duck... tames the pungency” of the peppercorns); while pink peppercorns, which are actually berries, add a hint of fruit to pan-seared steaks with brandy-pink peppercorn sauce. Rubs for meat, fish, and poultry fill the second chapter, while the third is an exploration of the hot and smoky flavors found in chilis and curries. Wasabi tuna salad, balanced with pickled ginger, is a highlight of a section centered around spiced sauces and finishing blends. For dessert, there is the familiar, such as pumpkin spice muffins (with allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon), and the daring, as in a ginger-tumeric frozen yogurt. Home cooks wanting a deeper appreciation of the contents of their spice cabinets will gain it from this unique collection. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Simply Delicious: The Classic Collection

Darina Allen. Kyle, $27.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-857835-55-0

Allen, an Irish-born chef and culinary-school founder, presents an enticing collection of her 100 “best” recipes in a standard breakdown of soups and appetizers, poultry, meat, seafood, vegetables and salads, and desserts. Appetizer selections—simple and ideal for weeknight entertaining—include shrimp on brown bread; mushroom soup; and an easy Three-Minute Fish, a fillet with herbs that can be served with “crusty white bread, a good green salad, and a glass of wine.” And if berries are in season, a black-currant whipped cream fool is a satisfying way to end the night. Irish dishes have their place with Lydia’s Traditional Irish Salad, which calls for butter lettuce, pickled beets, eggs, radishes, and a cream dressing; and a Ballymaloe Irish stew, a one-pot classic of lamb, onions, and potatoes made with a roux. A rich vegetarian zucchini-and-basil lasagna is welcomingly hearty, as is a leek, potato, and cheddar cheese pie. This attractively designed cookbook of traditional recipes is sure to please Allen’s fans. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook

Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. Insight Editions, $35 (192p) ISBN 978-1-68383-398-7

The latest from Monroe-Cassel (World of Warcraft: The Official Cookbook) compiles dishes found across the land of Tamriel from the popular Elder Scrolls video game series. The names of the dishes are the most inspired element in otherwise common recipes. For appetizers and sides there are Baked Ash Yams (no actual ash is needed) and Hot Mudcrab Dip; for mains, Monroe-Cassel offers Seared Nordic Barnacles (scallops flavored with juniper and maple syrup), and desserts include the in-game sweet Honey Nut Treats (rolled balls of dates, raisins, almonds and peanut butter). Each recipe is marked with a video game–style health indicator detailing the difficulty level for preparing each dish: flaky chicken dumplings, a kind of British hand pastry (“a specialty of many an inn across Skyrim”), rates a six out of 10; the Argonian Swamp Shrimp Boil in brown sugar and molasses rates at three; the Lavender and Honey Bread requires a skill level of five; and a breakfast soufflé scores a seven. A drinks section includes recipes for brewing mead as well as making grog with, among other ingredients, rose hips and blackberries. More gimmicky than go-to reference, this cookbook will nevertheless inspire Elder Scrolls fans to create at least one feast. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Cru Oyster Bar Nantucket Cookbook: Savoring Four Seasons of the Good Life

Erin Zircher, Jane Stoddard, Carlos Hidalgo, with Martha W. Murphy. St. Martin’s, $40 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-19365-0

The team behind Nantucket’s landmark Cru Oyster Bar shares solid, if familiar, menus inspired by the island’s events—parades, sailboat races, golf tournaments, cranberry festivals—in a collection geared for weekend entertaining, waterfront picnics, or cocktail parties. The recipes rely on seasonal produce and feature local fish and shellfish—not surprisingly, lobster is ubiquitous in rolls, salads, and soups. A chapter called Raw Bar Basics explain how to create Cru’s signature tower of fresh blue crab, oysters, and scallops, with its various sauces. A menu inspired by the island’s kick-off sailboat race weekend is a lunch of fried oysters, citrus quinoa lobster salad, fluke meuniere, and strawberry shortcake. Autumn recipes reflect Nantucket’s “fading lights and fleeting days” in bacon-stuffed clams, lobster bisque, roast chicken, squash with pear and mint, and pear tart; Christmas Brunch includes buttermilk and pecan-butter soufflé pancakes, smoked salmon tartine, and cranberry cinnamon buns. Creative cocktails featuring cucumbers (with vodka and toasted sesame syrup) or strawberries (in a tequila Valentina) highlight the restaurant’s “farm-to-glass” approach. While there are no surprises to be found, this will certainly appeal to Nantucket’s many visitors. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Cooking with Miss Quad: Live, Laugh, Love, and Eat

Quad Webb. Countryman, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-68268-380-4

In this “blueprint to end your cooking woes,” Webb, known for her role in Bravo’s Married to Medicine, shares doable recipes inspired by her Memphis roots for soul food dishes that range from down-home to upscale. Breakfast features twists on grits, cornmeal pancakes, and bacon cheddar biscuits. Deep-fried dishes include crispy chicken sliders and panko-crusted softshell crabs with ginger garlic sauce, while a chapter on grilling showcases Memphis dry rub ribs and grilled lamb chops. Doubling as mains or sides are several salads such as peach, fig, and arugula, and there’s no shortage of seafood recipes, which include pecan-crusted trout, Cajun-style blackened scallops, or cornmeal-dusted catfish. For entertaining, colorful cocktails abound (peach vodka cocktail; Glenlivet mule) along with numerous nibbles to “set the tone”: hot wings, shrimp kebabs, stuffed mushrooms, and oven-baked potato chips topped with melted gorgonzola bacon cheese sauce. Webb’s passion for creating relaxed but exciting food is affectionately presented in these straightforward recipes. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes Through Darkness and Light.

Caroline Eden. Quadrille, $35 (280p) ISBN 978-1-78713-131-6

Eden’s elegiac and incredible sophomore effort (after Samarkand) documents the food and culture of the lands surrounding the Black Sea. Erudite without being stuffy, Eden writes with finesse and subtlety about regional traditions: an essay on Odessa’s Jewish food cites native writer Isaac Babel, whose grandson reports that he liked his tea brewed with slices of acidic “sorrow-tasting apples.” Food tends to be hearty—a sausage stew with sauerkraut and prunes from Bulgaria and Circassian chicken, a stew of chicken and bread topped with a walnut sauce, from Istanbul. The three chapters on Turkey are rich with surprises such as a chestnut and sage pilaf and lamb-filled and yogurt-topped manti dumplings. Naturally, seafood is prevalent: spicy mussels from Bulgaria and cured mackerel from Istanbul stand out. Typical of the beautifully told stories of humor and perseverance is one of how, generations ago, men from the tiny town of Camlihemsin, Turkey, a place “as idyllic as it is hopeless,” emigrated to Yalta, where they learned to bake elaborate French- and Austrian-style desserts such as a rich chocolate layer cake with ganache and hazelnuts. Enticing to home cooks and armchair travelers alike, Eden’s spectacular cookbook transports readers to the Black Sea. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Classic

Mary Berry. Trafalgar Square (IPG, dist.), $45 (320p) ISBN 978-1-78594-324-9

Berry (Mary Berry Everyday), former judge of The Great British Baking Show, presents another indispensable cookbook, this time focusing on “essential dishes” that are staples of her repertoire. English cuisine is her focus—lamb shanks with winter vegetables and a Victoria sandwich (jam and whipped cream sandwiched between two sponge cakes) are among the fare—but she looks further afield with such non-British classics as lasagne, moules marinière, and Malayan chicken curry. Berry employs an encouraging, conversational tone (“Don’t be scared of cooking steak; it’s easy”) and provides countless suggestions (“Ginger freezes really well and can be grated straight from the freezer”) and make ahead tips (the guineafowl casserole can be prepared up to a day in advance) that will motivate even the most apprehensive home cooks. Other recipes include fun riffs on classic desserts: she adds ginger and pineapple to the traditional vanilla panna cotta and incorporates mascarpone cheese and sour cream to her baked lemon curd cheesecake. The book concludes with a recipe finder that will help readers select a dish based on any occasion: pork Sichuan noodles are categorized as a “speedy supper” that can be made in 30 minutes or less, while slow-roast duck with port and cherry sauce is ideal for “feeding a crowd.” This book is sure to foster a fondness for classic cooking in kitchen veterans and novices alike. (June)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Playing with Purpose: A Quilt Retrospective

Victoria Findlay Wolfe. C&T, $39.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-61745-828-6

It’s not necessary to be a quilter to feel inspired by this enthusiastic meditation on creativity. Wolfe (Modern Quilt Magic), owner of specialty quilting store VFW Products, begins, in the introductory chapter “Finding My Way,” by sharing her story of growing up on a farm in Minnesota—where she acquired traditional skills, such as sewing—and of moving to New York City to pursue a career as an artist. There, she experimented with painting, photography, and other media before finally landing on her preferred medium. Each following chapter outlines a different aspect of creating, such as “Permission,” in the sense of giving it to oneself; she encourages readers to experiment by combining colors and shapes typically considered incompatible. In “No Mistakes,” Wolfe states that “unattained ideas or unfinished projects are not wasted” and that, upon starting a project, she doesn’t want “to know what the quilt will look like” but to follow her instincts to their natural conclusion. “Healing: Giving Joy” considers quilt making as a way of celebrating happy occasions and meditating on difficult ones, by putting “your thoughts into fabric.” Bolstered by page after page of Wolfe’s original designs, this guide will make a lovely companion for any kind of artist looking for insight into the creative process. (May)

Reviewed on 03/29/2019 | Details & Permalink

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