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Fantastic Origami Flying Creatures: 24 Realistic Models

Fukui Hisao, trans. from the Japanese. Tuttle, $19.99 (112p) ISBN 978-4-8053-1579-8

Crafters looking for diversion from a stressful world may well find what they are looking for in this delightful origami design collection. Origami artist Hisao, making his English-language debut, details 24 beautiful and intricate creations, including peacocks, an eagle, Chinese dragons, and a bevy of flying insects. In the introduction, Hisao explains that folding origami models is an art. At the same time, he believes people of any skill level should be able to make each of the designs depicted, and to that end uses diagrams, photographs, and written directions to make them achievable for the devoted crafter. However, as the projects grow increasingly complex, the two-dimensional color drawings can be hard to follow, but Hisao remains reassuring, writing that while one’s own attempts may not be exactly as pictured, that’s okay—giving the figures one’s own unique touches is part of the origami tradition. This guide shows that practice and patience—and sometimes a little bit of glue—are all that’s needed to create an origami menagerie of one’s own. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Statement Macramé: Create Stunning Large-Scale Wall Art, Headboards, Backdrops and Plant Hangers with Step-by-Step Tutorials

Natalie Ranae. Page Street, $22.99 (168p) ISBN 978-1-64567-007-0

Fiber artist Ranae (Macramé at Home) provides an appealing guide to supersized versions of macramé that can span walls and divide rooms, or hang dramatically from the ceiling to the floor. She divides her 12 projects into three sections: Headboards and Wall Hangings, Plant Hangers and Home Décor, and Backdrops and Curtains. Each project contains step-by-step photographs of the knots required—from the “Lark’s Head Knot” to the “Diamond of Double Half Hitches.” Among the most alluring projects are a multiple planter, the “Ravana,” which offers a visual riff on the craft’s hippie past, and the “Venice Backdrop,” which shows how large-scale macramé can enhance any domestic space by adding a dash of the house-proud, fixer-upper aesthetic. Near the end, Ranae discusses her process and how crafters might individualize their own projects. Rounding things out are a brief resources section on the best places to purchase rope, metal hoops, and wood rings, and an invaluable reference guide to knots and patterns. Though not recommended for beginners, Ranae’s collection of intricate designs will give creative satisfaction to accomplished fiber artists. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Share and Savor: Create Impressive and Indulgent Appetizer Boards for Any Occasion

Kylie Mazon-Chambers. Page Street, $21.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-64567-013-1

Cooking with Cocktail Rings blogger Mazon-Chambers debuts with a lavish spread of impress-your-guests boards and platters. The fare has a global flavor profile and recipes are organized by theme (classic entertaining, special occasion, international Mediterranean, close-to-home favorites), with presentations showcasing options including a charcuterie cheese board with raspberry-habanero jam and maple-apple baked brie; a Tailgating Board of Korean chicken wings; and a seafood platter full of buttery mini lobster rolls. Italian, Greek, and Turkish recipes comprise Mediterranean platters featuring spanakopita bites and rice and beef dolmas. The Hawaiian pupu platter stars ahi poke cups, while a Mexican board includes a simple shrimp ceviche. Recipes include planning timelines (what to do early in the week; the day before; an hour before), and lush photos serve as inspiration for arranging eye-popping platters. These innovative, crowd-pleasing spreads elevate the standard meat and cheese board. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious

Gordon Ramsay. Grand Central, $32 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5387-1933-6

Chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy, Lean & Fit) extends a guiding hand to those who need to quickly get dinner on the table in his excellent latest. Ramsay incorporates elements of American, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mediterranean, Moroccan, and Thai cuisines, and his pantry contains ingredients that are now widely available in large supermarkets. Dishes are kept at two or four servings, reflecting what is served at Ramsay’s restaurants and cooked for his own family. Zucchini fries, for instance, are made using the same technique as at his Union Street Café in London (they are crispy thanks to a semolina coating), and spicy beef and bean quesadillas disappear quickly at the Ramsay dining table, he reports as a chef dad. Many of his tips are familiar (lining up green beans to trim their edges at once), while some of his methods underscore the chef’s kitchen smarts, such as choosing larger turkey cutlets instead of chicken for a kiev treatment, and enhancing the flavor of hummus with black sesame paste instead of just tahini. A metric conversion chart is provided, as the recipes feature imperial weights and measures. This accessible volume presents many ways for home cooks to expand their weeknight repertoires. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Flower School: A Practical Guide to the Art of Flower Arranging

Calvert Crary. Black Dog & Leventhal, $32 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7624-7146-1

This visually stunning offering from Crary, executive director of FlowerSchool New York, highlights the creative potential of flower arranging. In his view, flower arranging can be approached as high art, and he describes the excitement of watching “a bale of branches and a bundle of flowers... turn into a masterpiece in the hands of an expert.” To that end, Crary offers an in-depth description of what it takes to become a master flower arranger—someone who pairs “unique artistic vision” with horticultural expertise and a “deep grounding in the fundamental mechanics of working with cut flowers.” Accompanied by vivid color photography, the text takes the reader through the steps of assembling the necessary equipment (knives, pruners, wire cutters, waterproof tape), deciding on a color scheme (with various possible palettes), choosing the right vase, and then handling and cutting the flowers themselves. The book aims high and might seem daunting for the casual garden stroller and flower snipper, but the pay-off will be rich for any gardener who sees flowers as an ideal artistic canvas. Agent: Judy Linden, Stonesong. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Garden Secrets of Bunny Mellon

Linda Holden, Thomas Lloyd, and Bryan Huffman. Gibbs Smith, $32 (176p) ISBN 978-1-4236-5540-4

Previously unpublished photographs and journal musings from the archive of gardening designer Rachel “Bunny” Lambert Mellon (1910–2014) are beautifully paired in this collaboration between writer Holden (The Gardens of Bunny Mellon), designer Huffman, and Mellon’s grandson Lloyd. Seeking to honor Mellon’s unfulfilled wish, found posthumously in her journals, to write a gardening book, the authors touch on Mellon’s childhood introduction to gardening, initial sources of inspiration (primarily books and illustrations), and the development of her “trial-and-error method of cultivation.” Her garden designs (including her signature “Little Herb Tree” topiaries of myrtle, rosemary, and thyme) expressed her understanding of the need to, in her words, join “the things of nature that correspond to the person.” Mellon’s journals stress the importance of note-taking (believing that happenstance observations can be one’s “greatest teachers”), long-term planning, and working with the “bones” of a garden, such as existing trees. A quote from one of her famous clients testifies to her pragmatic methodology—former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, admiring Mellon’s design of the White House’s Kennedy Rose Gardens, described her as having a “working-at-it kind of knowledge” of her craft. Celebrating Mellon’s life and legacy, this intimate rendering evokes nostalgia and adds nuance and depth to the public portrait of a late, great gardener. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from My Indonesian Kitchen

Lee Lara. Bloomsbury, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5266-0351-7

London chef and food writer Lee brings an intimate knowledge of Indonesian cuisine to this stunningly photographed debut collection of recipes gathered from the author’s Indonesian grandmother and from cooks Lee met traveling through the island nation. The title is inspired by two staples of Indonesian cuisine—coconut in its many forms, and sambal, a ubiquitous chili sauce. She begins with a chapter devoted to snacks like kerupuk, a popular Indonesian cracker that Lee enlivens with kafir lime leaves and peanuts. Soups include an aromatic broth with spiced meatballs. An entire chapter is devoted to vegetable, tofu, and tempeh dishes, such as Gado-Gado (which means “mix-mix” in Indonesian), a peanut sauce–enriched mélange of vegetables, tempeh and tofu. Beef is rarely browned in Indonesian cooking but rather stewed, which, says Lee, requires non-native cooks to toss long-learned “culinary techniques out the window.” Indonesian food can have a kick to it, and Lee offers heat level guides for most of her recipes. Other useful touches include an Indonesian pantry list and recipes grouped by gluten-free, vegan, and other dietary preferences. This sumptuous collection is perfect for home cooks and armchair travelers alike. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Modern Comfort Food

Ina Garten. Penguin Press, $35 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8041-8706-0

Garten (Cook Like a Pro) admits in her delightful 12th outing that she’s been “a little grumpier” than usual during the pandemic and has been reaching for foods that soothe. Fittingly, she here offers simple spins on classic comfort fare: roasted shishito peppers with hollandaise is a new take on eggs Benedict, and chicken soup made with frozen peas and onions is a riff on chicken pot pie, the crust of which is frozen puff pastry punched out with a cookie cutter and baked into large croutons. Garten has a way with irresistible snacks, and a chapter on cocktails and foods for entertaining a crowd includes nachos topped with fresh crabmeat and a cream cheese and mayonnaise mixture. She also doesn’t shrink from fat: a free-form tomato and goat cheese pie that serves four for lunch uses one and a half sticks of butter, as well as a macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and truffle butter. To balance that out, there’s a salad comprising a bright mix of fresh peas, sugar snap peas, mint, and manchego cheese. A chapter of breakfast options includes a puffy apple Dutch baby and hash browns crisped in a waffle iron. Specific brands are frequently recommended, such as the Nabisco ginger snaps in a banana rum trifle, and Pepperidge Farm top-split buns for tuna and avocado rolls. Garten fans will dig into these inviting recipes, presented in her always friendly tone. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/17/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Aegean

Marianna Leivaditaki. Interlink, $35 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62371-874-9

In a standout debut, London chef Leivaditaki, who grew up working in her family’s restaurant on Crete, writes with grace and passion about the region’s cuisine. A recipe for octopus describes how its color will change to red and the sounds it will make as it cooks; and a mixture of parsley, tomatoes, and peppers to accompany lamb meatballs is chopped by hand “as finely as possible”— it’s “a bit messy but it’s totally worth it.” The author often looks beyond Cretan classics, but always has a sound reasoning for doing so: cured cod pastourma hails from Turkey, not Greece, but would fit in “at any traditional village café with old men sipping on raki and bantering about the past,” and she invented cuttlefish with anchovy and goat’s milk curd upon returning from England in an effort to modernize the menu at her parents’ restaurant. Humble ingredients are expertly transformed in dishes like thinly sliced potatoes layered with a paste of tomatoes, peppers, capers, and anchovies, and pork shoulder simmered with the herb malotira, typically used in the mountains of Crete to make tea. Desserts are similarly intriguing and free of gimmickry: crisp shards of phyllo, for instance, are incorporated into the batter for an orange cake. This fresh take on Aegean cuisine introduces a captivating new voice. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/03/2020 | Details & Permalink

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Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon: Recipes for Busy Weekdays and Leisurely Weekends

Tara “Teaspoon” Bench. Shadow Mountain, $32.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62972-785-1

Bench aka Teaspoon, former food editor for Martha Stewart’s Living and Ladies Home Journal, debuts with a stylish cookbook aimed at cooks who “have a passion for feeding people.” Bench begins with a chapter called “Bites, Dips, and Snacks,” which includes burrata with grilled peaches and orange zest chimichurri; a Little Italy antipasto board; and an innovative grapefruit guacamole. “Salads, Bowls, and Dressings” features a salad of butter lettuce, fig, and ricotta, as well as an assortment of vinaigrettes and dressings. Sides include variations on roasted vegetables and a mac and cheese adorned with caramelized onions; a chapter on weeknight cooking showcases chicken and biscuits, while “Meals for Gathering” offers Moroccan kebabs with chermoula sauce (a “party-table centerpiece”), as well as a showstopping three-foot “Never-Ending Party-Sub” that feeds 14 people. For Bench, preparation is key: she lists her go-to equipment (food processor, microplane, stand mixer) and introduces “new pantry staples” (sumac, ponzu, multiple vinegars). Throughout, Bench provides valuable serving and storage suggestions, swaps, and presentation ideas. These tempting, flexible recipes will go a long way in helping home cooks expand their repertoire. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/03/2020 | Details & Permalink

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