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Tartine: A Classic Revisited

Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. Chronicle, $40 (328p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7873-8

Prueitt and Robertson update and expand their 2006 Tartine with this impressive new edition, which features 68 new recipes and updates to dozens more. Recipes cover nearly any baking need, from quick breakfast bites to refined desserts, and the chatty headnotes lend the book an informal, friendly vibe. Which is not to say the recipes aren’t on point: they are precise (rendered in both weight and volume measurements), and the instructions are just meticulous enough. The basic croissant recipe—well worth the price of admission on its own—spans four pages before spinning off a number of variations, including for one made with matcha dough and a chocolate croissant, and the show-stopping buche de noel with its numerous sub-recipes should tempt ambitious home bakers. Those with less kitchen experience will find plenty of options for doable but elegant cookies, tarts, and cakes, while the savory options—a ham and cheese bread pudding, a gussied-up corn dog cousin in the form of a croissant-wrapped hot dog, an olive cake—present excellent options for bakers looking to branch out. Much of this may be intimidating to kitchen novices, but for avid home bakers, this is a no-brainer. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for The Modern Baker

Rachel Conners. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-358-11667-7

“I wrote this book because I want you to know that eating dessert is a delicious—and healthy—part of life,” writes Bakerita blogger Conners in her accessible debut cookbook, a collection of dozens of gluten- and dairy-free desserts. Conners instructs how to make popular dessert staples—such as strawberry shortcake, chocolate chip cookies, and apple crumble pie—vegan and gluten-free by replacing traditional ingredients such as all-purpose flour, milk, and white sugar with alternatives including coconut flour, cashew milk, and pure maple syrup. Some of the more inventive recipes include raspberry-lavender scones, peanut butter and fig blondies, and butternut squash pie with oat crust. Beyond desserts are some breakfast options, including blueberry cornmeal muffins and coconut-peanut butter granola bars, as well as DIY nut butters such as strawberry cashew butter and white-chocolate-pretzel peanut butter. Conners shares indispensable tips throughout, such as how to make an easy vegan egg substitute (“Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 2½ tablespoons of water”) or how to prepare cookie doughs for make-ahead purposes (“They will keep in the freezer for about 6 months”). Whether readers have food sensitivities or simply want to make healthier decisions, they will find plenty of satisfying options here. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Beyond Piggy Banks and Lemonade Stands: How to Teach Young Kids About Finance (and They’re Never Too Young)

Liz Frazier. Rowman & Littlefield, $30 (184p) ISBN 978-1-4758-4761-1

Frazier proposes that even preschoolers are old enough to begin learning financial concepts in this straightforward and supportive guide. Frazier, a certified financial planner, is also a parent; from both perspectives, she guides parents toward, among other things, helping their children develop a positive attitude toward managing money and understanding how to make and meet financial goals. Age-appropriate information and activities are offered for children from pre-K through fifth grade, as are reading lists and online resources for parents to use as they incorporate financial education into their kids’ lives, such as by setting limits on spending at events or creating milestones in savings. Making extra money and finding work outside the home are key subjects in Frazier’s plan, which emphasizes that dealing with one’s own hard-earned cash is a pivotal real-life learning experience. An exceptional chapter on sharing focuses on charity, generosity, and why knowing the good that money can accomplish is as important as understanding how it works. This approachable book should alleviate any anxiety parents have about teaching their kids how to handle money. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Creating Wooden Jewelry: 24 Skill-Building Projects and Techniques

Sarah King. Fox Chapel, $19.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4971-0001-5

King, a jeweler, debuts with an attractive guide to making stylish wooden jewelry. She traces wooden jewelry’s popularity back to the 1970s, when people questioned “the nature of... jewelry as a symbol of status and wealth.” To bring the field up-to-date with modern concerns about sustainability, she includes information on obtaining wood locally, suggesting cork as a resource to use, and wooden spoons as items that can be recycled. The projects, each explained via step-by-step photographs laid out in numbered grids, progress from basic to more difficult. Going in order, one can begin by learning to use a piercing saw and a handheld drill to make the “Walnut Squiggle Pendant,” and end by using an acid bath, ebonizing solution, and easy solder paste to make the “Oak Strata Necklace.” King occasionally suggests alternative materials, as in the “Twisted Willow and Cane Sets,” so those without the “patience to carefully coax willow into smaller circles” may instead opt “for a cane version of this design that is much easier to make.” Her well-appointed primer should find an audience both with woodworkers drawn to jewelry, and with jewelers seeking a new medium. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain World

Madeline Levine. Harper, $27.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-265775-6

Psychologist Levine (Teach Your Children Well) offers a practical, wise manual aimed at helping anxious parents with their often equally anxious kids. According to her, overprotective parenting commonly leads to two problems: “accumulated disability,” or “the impairment of life skills,” in kids, and “learned helplessness,” the “belief that you are powerless to change your circumstances.” With empathy, Levine explores the valid anxiety parents and children feel about facing a “world of disconcerting unpredictability and upheaval” and lays out the “foundational” skills children need to develop: critical thinking, curiosity, creativity, flexibility, educated risk-taking, collaboration, perseverance, self-regulation, and the “ultimate life skills: hope and optimism.” Levine also emphasizes the ability to thrive amid uncertainty, illustrated with stories of people who have evinced this skill, both famous—Steve Jobs, who survived being fired from his own company—and not—a medical technician who fled her native South Vietnam at age 15. While the issues raised are relatively familiar, Levine pulls together a solid set of recommendations for dealing with them. Plenty of parents will benefit from her treatise on how to prepare children for an uncertain future. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Kraft-Tex Creations: Sew 18 Projects with Vegan Leather; Print, Stitch, Paint & Design

Lindsay Conner. C&T, $22.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-61745-856-9

In this attractively designed craft book, quilter Conner (On the Go Bags) shows readers a variety of ways to use kraft-tex, a paper-fabric hybrid. Conner explains how to make projects out of the material, which combines the characteristics of vegan leather, fabric, and paper. It also “looks, feels and wears like leather,” but can also be sewn and cut like fabric, making for an appealing medium for sewers, mixed-media artists, bookbinders, and other creative types. Conner has compiled projects from 12 makers, providing six quick and easy projects—including “pretty vase sleeves,” “meditation flags,” and her own “Kyoto clutch”—and a dozen that are more demanding, including an “accordion card file wallet,” a mini suitcase, and a pair of baby shoes. Because of the straightforward instructions, complete with illustrations and photographs, the higher-difficulty projects should still be accessible to beginner-level crafters. Well-designed layouts balance instructions with colorful photos, making for a visually appealing presentation. The result will be a welcome addition to the library of any avid maker. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Meals in Minutes: 90 Suppers from Scratch

Donal Skehan. Quercus, $30 (224p) ISBN 978-1-47367-426-4

Irish chef and BBC TV personality Skehan (Fresh) presents a scrumptious array of quick and clever meals for busy home cooks. He divides his book into time-saving categories (among them one pot, quick prep/slow cook, six ingredients); offers tips on planning, shopping, and meal prep; and suggests key equipment and ingredients to have on-hand. He also includes a valuable list of kitchen “cheats” that will shave off prep time such as using ready-cooked noodles and prepared bags of vegetables. Delightful one-pot meals include Thai chicken stew, super veggie dahl, and a cauliflower mac-and-cheese bake. For flavorful single-pan meals there’s a chimichurri steak with baby gem and spring onion, a sticky orange chicken stir-fry, and quick kale and mushroom risotto. Skehan also shares tempting recipes for seafood (such as a single-pan Vietnamese caramel salmon), beef (a slow-cooked beef and Guinness stew), and poultry (a garlic and rosemary chicken with gnocchi). Home cooks will be thrilled with the number of easily prepared meals they can add to the rotation. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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New York Christmas Baking

Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup. Murdoch, $26.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-76063-468-1

“New York Christmas Baking is our surrender to all of the sweet temptations that the city... has to offer,” begins this winning debut cookbook by German design team Nieschalg and Wentrup. In addition to such Christmas staples as sugar cookies, gingerbread people, and snickerdoodle cookies, there are a handful of recipes that the authors acknowledge are not Christmas specific (some are borrowed from non-Christian cultures) but are nevertheless ubiquitous in New York City, such as rugelach, black and white cookies (“a true New York classic and sold in just about every bakery”), and challah buns. Theirs is a tourist’s view of Christmas in the city, with accompanying photos of a wreath-adorned Grand Central Terminal and the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree—but the recipes themselves are creative and accessible, among them gingerbread cookie cups filled with chocolate and whipped cream; stained-glass cookies; and upside down cake with cranberries. Other tempting treats include candy cane–shaped bread stuffed with cranberry and cream cheese; pumpkin spice whoopee pies; and chocolate-peppermint pinwheel cookies. This festive and inviting cookbook will certainly put home bakers in the Christmas spirit. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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From Freezer to Cooker: Delicious Whole Foods Meals for the Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer. Rodale, $22.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-63565-312-0

Thriving Home bloggers Conner and Tiemeyer follow up From Freezer to Table with another family-friendly collection of hearty fare that can be prepped ahead of time, frozen, and reheated for mealtimes. The recipes include preparation instructions for both slow cookers and the Instant Pot, allowing readers to make informed choices regarding how and when they’ll prepare dishes, such as cheesy chicken taquitos, Asian turkey meatballs, and a weeknight marinara sauce made with ground sausage and beef. Ease doesn’t mean light on flavor, as evidenced by honey bourbon chicken breasts and Asian-style beef short ribs, which can prepped in minutes in the Instant Pot before dinner or cooked in the slow cooker while gone for the day. Though it may be tempting to race right to the recipes, readers would do well to read the authors’ tips on the various appliances, noting, for example, that while the Instant Pot can handle frozen food, slow cookers cannot. The authors give solid advice on proper freezing (place food in a freezer bag in a circular shape) and thawing techniques, and label each recipe with icons indicating whether they are dairy-free, kid-friendly, or vegetarian. All of this adds up to a useful collection for home cooks pressed for time. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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The Joys of Baking: Recipes and Stories for a Sweet Life

Samantha Seneviratne. Running Press, $30 (206p) ISBN 978-0-762-49253-4

Food writer Seneviratne (The New Sugar and Spice) begins her soulful, accessible baking collection with the story of her divorce and her brother’s death. The recipes are divided into chapters designated Courage, Grace, Bliss, Love, and Wisdom, and open with tender, down-to-earth essays detailing food-centered moments from her life. Stories and food come together in headnotes, including a remembrance of working at a doughnut shop that introduces glazed pear fritters and the early days of motherhood and nuzzling with her newborn that inspired her “pillowy” coconut buns. Sensory details often set the scene, such as her recalling how the music of Enya coupled with the smell of lavender relaxed her as a child, and how she now finds stress relief in baking pain au chocolat topped with an Earl Grey cream. Comfort for Seneviratne is found in baked confections (the closest to savory here are barley oat biscuits that can be paired with cheese), such as a company-worthy Sunshine Wreath—a roasted plum cloud cake, which is Seneviratne’s easy-to-prepare antidote for a cloudy day. This is a solid choice for those who want to share comforting, home-baked dishes. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/01/2019 | Details & Permalink

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