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Time to Eat: Delicious Meals for Busy Lives

Nadiya Hussain. Clarkson Potter, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-59323-353-5

Great British Bake Off champion Hussain (Nadiya Bakes) makes a strong showing with 100 recipes intended to teach home cooks how to be a “time-smart cook without even really realizing it.” Dishes are modern mash-ups of recipes drawing on Hussain’s South Asian heritage, vibrant global flavors, and classic British fare. Time-saving tricks (like prepping breakfast pastry dough the night before using it) appear throughout, and Hussain is a proponent of quashing mealtime doldrums (“I don’t see why we can’t have French toast for lunch”). For breakfast there’s an impressive olive and rosemary crown bread and spice-infused masala porridge. Lunch features lentil and orange soup and pizza parathas. Tarts and pastry-based dishes such as beef pasties or a puff-pastry wrapped meatloaf roll (“like meatloaf meets Wellington meets sausage roll”) are abundant. The dinner chapter showcases rosemary and rhubarb glazed butterflied leg of lamb, while dessert options include twists on s’mores, handmade pies, and tarte tatin. Hussain also has ample advice on batch cooking and proper freezing techniques, such as always being sure to let food cool completely before freezing so as not to melt items already in the freezer. This cornucopia of delights is sure to please. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/27/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Fantastic Filled Cupcakes: Kick Your Baking Up a Notch with Incredible Flavor Combinations

Camila Hurst. Page Street, $21.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-64567-166-4

Pies & Tacos blogger Hurst makes her shining debut in a collection dedicated to the art of the cupcake. The recipes on offer are a bit more involved than the usual cupcake fare, and each boasts its own complementary filling: “The fillings make the cupcakes more complex, inviting and impressive,” Hurst writes. Fifty-four varieties are included, each with easy-to-follow instructions for making cake batter, fillings, and frosting. She begins with chocolate-forward creations, such as chocolate orange macadamia cupcakes, then moves to cookie-focused concoctions like chocolate marshmallow cookie cupcakes. Fudge and caramel options, meanwhile, include tahini caramel banana cupcakes and chocolate fudge carrot cupcakes. Perhaps most memorable are the surprising savory choices, among them turmeric and latte, pear and olive oil, and honey-rosemary-lemon cupcakes. Indeed, Hurst marries savory and sweet, herby and sugary in ways that shake up the tried-and-true. Home bakers as well as experienced pastry chefs will love this. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/27/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Fearless Gardening: Be Bold, Break the Rules, and Grow What You Love

Loree Bohl. Timber, $24.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-60469-962-3

The home garden should be improvisational, advises garden blogger Bohl in her norm-busting debut. She highlights the inspiration she’s drawn from two eclectic gardeners, Ruth Bancroft and Ganna Walska, who used an “ ‘I’ll do it my way, thank you’ attitude” in creating “one-of-a-kind private gardens that are now open to the public.” Bohl then sets about debunking the “Gardening Commandments.” The first—“Thou shalt plan the entire garden before you begin planting”—is countered by Bancrofts’s approach of planting in small increments; the second—“Thou shalt not purchase plants on impulse”—is rebuked: “I’m here to tell you it’s okay to buy a plant just because you love it, even if it’s not a long-term match for your garden.” The author shares plenty of tips for creating a garden that is individual and artistic, such as “turning an obstacle into an advantage,” citing as an example how a friend of hers painted a dead tree blue instead of removing it. Would-be gardeners intimidated by the thought of taking the plunge will find plenty of encouragement to go forth with confidence and creativity. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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The Lebanese Cookbook: Exploring the Food of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan

Ghillie Bhașan. Lorenz, $35 (368p) ISBN 978-0-75483-469-4

Food writer Bhașan (The Modern Tagine Cookbook) explores the cuisine of the Fertile Crescent in this eye-opening collection. An expansive introduction charts the culinary history of the region, with ingredients being as varied as the terrain and running the gamut from lamb to mackerel and sumac to saffron. A chapter of small dishes features Lebanese hummus with orange, and tartare balls prepared with a variety of spices that bring heat to raw meat. Rice, bulgur, and other grains are the foundation for numerous treats such as bulgur with fruit and nuts, while a myriad of stews include a Jordanian fish stew with tamarind, as well as a lamb and plum stew. For the daring, there are spicy pigeons with olives, or lamb’s liver with pomegranate molasses, while readers with a sweet tooth will want to try a semolina pudding topped with banana and nuts, called Nights of Lebanon. Photographer Jon Whitaker’s photos make the pages pop with images of bright vegetables and golden brown breads. This is a no-brainer for any home cook interested in bringing the region’s flavors to the dinner table. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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How to Sleep: The New Science-Based Solutions for Sleeping Through the Night

Rafael Pelayo. Artisan, $24.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-579659-57-8

“Any sleep patient can improve so long as they’re given the right rules to follow,” advises Pelayo (Dement’s Sleep & Dreams), a professor of sleep medicine at Stanford University, in this concise and thorough guide. The author begins by explaining the biology of sleep, circadian rhythms, and the effects of sleep deprivation (after one day without sleep, “a person’s reaction time is similar to that of a drunk driver”). He then introduces his rules, which include using a CPAP device to stop obstructive sleep apnea, and that insomniacs shouldn’t look at the clock, computer, or TV if they wake up in the night. He sets rules for the daytime, too, such as avoiding caffeine six to eight hours before bed, and gives notes on sleep supplements such as melatonin (“it may help people fall asleep faster, but it does not aid in staying asleep,” he writes). Pelayo explains the science behind sleep accessibly and with a light touch: “our tendencies are not our destiny! A night owl can adjust to an early-morning exercise routine,” he advises. Anyone struggling to get enough shut-eye should give these practical tips a look. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Yoga Where You Are: Customize Your Practice for Your Body and Your Life

Dianne Bondy & Kat Heagberg. Shambhala, $24.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61180-786-8

Yoga instructors Bondy (Yoga for Everyone) and Heagberg (Embodied Resilience Through Yoga) combine decades of experience in this useful guide for teachers and students. Writing that they “firmly believe that all bodies are yoga bodies,” the authors call out a yoga culture that has welcomed primarily the young and the fit. Bondy and Heagberg instead promote a more inclusive practice, which they divide into three parts. The first covers the history of yoga (including a rundown of the various styles and lineages); the second offers a pose-by-pose guide, complete with an explanation of benefits, suggestions for the use of props and modifications, and photographs; the third—most useful for teachers or those establishing a home practice—aids the reader in putting the individual poses together to develop yoga sequences. The authors explain that many students may feel self-conscious when first approaching yoga, and to counter discomfort they encourage teachers to reach out to beginners, students with disabilities, and those with bodies of all shapes, focusing on what students can do rather than what they can’t. This thoughtfully written and visually appealing book will be a welcome addition to any yogi’s library. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal

Amy Zitelman, with Andrew Schloss. Agate, $29 (336p) ISBN 978-1-57284-289-2

Zitelman, CEO of tahini company Soom Foods, debuts with a jolly cookbook focused on all things tahini. Zitelman explores how this one “superfood” ingredient can reduce saturated fat and add nutritional value to a host of everyday recipes, from salad dressings and chocolate sauce to granola and sheet-pan dinners. She dives deep into the ingredient, expounding on its history, flexibility, and nutritional and flavor profile. She then offers six chapters of recipes, beginning with sauces (tahini pesto, tahini mole sauce), before moving on to highlight hummus recipes (she riffs on the classic chickpea/garlic/lemon basic by including, say, beets or pumpkin). Breakfast options include tahini benedict and tahini doughnuts; sandwiches and sides feature tahini fig toast and cold spicy sesame noodles; among the mains are flatbread with pomegranate and green tahini sauce; and desserts offer tahini flan and creamy dairy-free tahini sorbet. Throughout, the tone is best-friend-shares-her-kitchen-secrets (“Tahini can easily replace sometimes troublesome ingredients such as butter, eggs, and cream in many recipes. What’s not to love?”). With helpful cooking tips (“always zest your lemons”) and a wide range of recipes, this is a cheerful, user-friendly, and never pretentious ode to tahini. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Floral Embroidery

Teagan Olivia Sturmer. White Owl, $19.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-5267-5958-0

Embroidery shop owner Sturmer combines her “passion for embroidery, flowers, and Shakespeare” in this beautiful and accessible beginner’s guide to embroidery. Each chapter begins with a quote from the Bard and contains vibrant photos. Beginners will appreciate the chapter titled “The Basics,” which offers a list of materials and instructions for the fundamental stitches used in the projects. Sturmer then presents 10 designs, progressing from “Simple Leaves and Stems,” which uses “the easiest of stitches,” to the intricate “Spooky Bouquet,” which is made up of multiple colors and stitches. The patterns are organized so as to build upon skills and gradually add new ones, culminating in a final chapter that teaches readers how to design their own floral patterns. This colorful, thoughtfully arranged guide is an excellent place for aspiring embroidery artists to start. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Oh She Glows for Dinner: Nourishing Plant-Based Meals to Keep You Glowing

Angela Liddon. Avery, $35 (352p) ISBN 978-0-59308-367-3

Oh She Glows blogger Liddon offers up an irresistible third installment to her cooking series (following Oh She Glows Every Day), this time with a focus on meatless main courses. She includes more than 100 appealing recipes along with time-saving tips, menu plans, and lists that group recipes into gluten-free, freezer-friendly, portable, and single-pot/bowl meals. Portobello boats with rosemary-lentil crumble and balsamic-apple glaze, and salt-and-vinegar scalloped potatoes turn humble ingredients into fine-dining-worthy fare. Most dishes are suitable for busy weeknights, including fajitas, a sweet potato noodle bowl, and creamy mushrooms and toast. Crispy brussels sprouts in garlic oil use only five ingredients (including salt and pepper), and her “O Canada!,” a spiced maple cream torte with apple pie compote, is simply glorious. Vegan home cooks and those looking to add more plant-based meals to their repertoire will delight in these immensely appetizing recipes. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Welcome to Wine: An Illustrated Guide to All You Really Need to Know

Madelyne Meyer. The Experiment, $19.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-61519-702-6

Meyer, whose family has been in the wine business for five generations, brings the inherited knowledge of her family’s business to bear in this pleasing introduction to all things wine. Opening chapters cover glassware and serving temperatures, and offer food pairing suggestions (“Spicy dishes—sweet white wines. Fatty dishes—full-bodied red wines”). There are also tips on knowing which wine to pick for which occasion (when celebrating any “occasion that marks a new direction in your life, cava, a Spanish sparkling wine, is ideal”), and reflections on hangovers (“Blame for the hangover lies not with the alcohol, but with the drinker”). Concluding chapters take a deep dive into grape growing and wine production. The terrors of understanding terroir are eased, and hand-drawn maps plot out wine regions of France, Italy, and Spain. A spread on biodynamic fertilizers and composts is not essential, but is unique (“Yarrow flowers are fermented in a stag’s bladder”), and the ample illustrations are simple, colorful, and fun without being cartoonish. This cheerful wine primer makes for an all-around enjoyable and easy-to-swallow experience. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 11/13/2020 | Details & Permalink

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