The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

By Deb Perelman

The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen – home cook, photographer, and celebrated food blogger.

Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner – she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions – and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?

So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can – and should – be delicious…every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.

And now, with the same warmth, candor, and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook: more than 100 recipes – almost entirely new, plus a few favorites from the site – all gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of her beautiful color photographs.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is all about approachable, uncompromised home cooking. Here you’ll find better uses for your favorite vegetables: asparagus blanketing a pizza; ratatouille dressing up a sandwich; cauliflower masquerading as pesto. These are recipes you’ll bookmark and use so often they become your own, recipes you’ll slip to a friend who wants to impress her new in-laws, and recipes with simple ingredients that yield amazing results in a minimum amount of time. Deb tells you her favorite summer cocktail; how to lose your fear of cooking for a crowd; and the essential items you need for your own kitchen. From salads and slaws that make perfect side dishes (or a full meal) to savory tarts and galettes; from Mushroom Bourguignon to Chocolate Hazelnut Crepe Cake, Deb knows just the thing for a Tuesday night, or your most special occasion.

This book is a perfect holiday gift for fans of the Smitten Kitchen blog, or for any devoted home chef. It’s the new hot cookbook on the market, so it’s sure to be a hit with your favorite foodie!

Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza

By Ken Forkish

From Portland’s most acclaimed and beloved baker comes this must-have baking guide, featuring scores of recipes for world-class breads and pizzas and a variety of schedules suited for the home baker.

There are few things more satisfying than biting into a freshly made, crispy-on-the-outside, soft-and-supple-on-the-inside slice of perfectly baked bread. For Portland-based baker Ken Forkish, well-made bread is more than just a pleasure – it is a passion that has led him to create some of the best and most critically lauded breads and pizzas in the country.

In Flour Water Salt Yeast, Forkish translates his obsessively honed craft into scores of recipes for rustic boules and Neapolitan-style pizzas, all suited for the home baker. Forkish developed and tested all of the recipes in his home oven, and his impeccable formulas and clear instructions result in top-quality artisan breads and pizzas that stand up against those sold in the best bakeries anywhere.

Whether you’re a total beginner or a serious baker, Flour Water Salt Yeast has a recipe that suits your skill level and time constraints: Start with a straight dough and have fresh bread ready by supper time, or explore pre-ferments with a bread that uses biga or poolish. If you’re ready to take your baking to the next level, follow Forkish’s step-by-step guide to making a levain starter with only flour and water, and be amazed by the delicious complexity of your naturally leavened bread. Pizza lovers can experiment with a variety of doughs and sauces to create the perfect pie using either a pizza stone or a cast-iron skillet.

Flour Water Salt Yeast is more than just a collection of recipes for amazing bread and pizza – it offers a complete baking education, with a thorough yet accessible explanation of the tools and techniques that set artisan bread apart. Featuring a tutorial on baker’s percentages, advice for manipulating ingredients ratios to create custom doughs, tips for adapting bread baking schedules to fit your day-to-day life, and an entire chapter that demystifies the levain-making process, Flour Water Salt Yeast is an indispensable resource for bakers who want to make their daily bread exceptional bread.

White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf

By Aaron Bobrow-Strain

How did white bread, once an icon of American progress, become “white trash”? In this lively history of bakers, dietary crusaders, and social reformers, Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows us that what we think about the humble, puffy loaf says a lot about who we are and what we want our society to look like.

White Bread teaches us that when Americans debate what one should eat, they are also wrestling with larger questions of race, class, immigration, and gender. As Bobrow-Strain traces the story of bread, from the first factory loaf to the latest gourmet “pain au levain, ” he shows how efforts to champion “good food” reflect dreams of a better society–even as they reinforce stark social hierarchies.

In the early twentieth century, the factory-baked loaf heralded a bright new future, a world away from the hot, dusty, “dirty” bakeries run by immigrants. Fortified with vitamins, this bread was considered the original “superfood” and even marketed as patriotic – while food reformers painted white bread as a symbol of all that was wrong with America.

The history of America’s one-hundred-year-long love-hate relationship with white bread reveals a lot about contemporary efforts to change the way we eat. Today, the alternative food movement favors foods deemed ethical and environmentally correct to eat, and fluffy industrial loaves are about as far from slow, local, and organic as you can get. Still, the beliefs of early twentieth-century food experts and diet gurus, that getting people to eat a certain food could restore the nation’s decaying physical, moral, and social fabric, will sound surprisingly familiar. Given that open disdain for “unhealthy” eaters and discrimination on the basis of eating habits grow increasingly acceptable, White Bread is a timely and important examination of what we talk about when we talk about food.

A History of Connecticut Wine

A History of Connecticut Wine: Vineyard in Your Backyard

By Eric D. Lehman & Amy Nawrocki

Wine has been meticulously crafted in Connecticut ever since colonists discovered wild grapes growing on their land. At first glance the New England climate appears inhospitable for this fastidious fruit but a number of varieties thrive here, including pinot gris, chardonnay, cabernet franc, cayuga white and st. croix. These carefully cultivated grapes have produced wines of unique characteristics and surprising quality. Join local wine enthusiasts Eric D. Lehman and Amy Nawrocki as they explore the intricacies of the region’s local blends, the vintners that craft them, and the people who taste them. With vineyards and wineries in every corner of the state, you’re likely to find one that suits your palate in your backyard!

Byrd’s Books will be hosting a special author event and wine tasting on Saturday, July 21st. Click here for details!

Simply Great Breads

Simply Great BreadsSimply Great Breads: Sweet and Savory Yeasted Treats from America’s Premier Artisan Baker
By Daniel Leader, with contributions by Lauren Chattman
Publisher: Taunton Press

If bread is the staff of life, then this book by renowned artisanal baker Daniel Leader is every home baker’s must-have cookbook. Featuring an amazing array of incredible delicacies made with yeast, it’s the perfect combination of easy and sophisticated recipes, with the keys to unlocking basics of working with yeasted doughs. Who can resist a collection of 50 mouthwatering treats, essential recipes for everyone who loves bread? The menu includes must-bake breakfast classics like crumpets and English muffins, and the three irresistible Bs: bagels, brioche, and bialys … timeless favorites such as Parker House rolls, ciabatta, and challah … plus waffles, cider doughnuts, beignets, babka, and monkey bread. Bakers of all skill levels will learn tips and trade secrets from Leader, who has shared his vast knowledge with people around the world.

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