Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I love cookbooks ... maybe a little too much

I my cookbook collection is pretty extensive, but that doesn't stop me from wanting more. And more. And more. And then the mailman comes.

Here's the latest batch, just in time for you to go last-minutes shopping. Or put them on your "me" list for after Christmas.

Breakfast for Dinner
By Lindsay Landis & Taylor Hackbarth

I'm not big on eating breakfast foods in the morning, but I adore scrambled eggs for dinner, so this seems like a great book for (yawnnnn ... sleepy) me.

There are dishes that are instantly recognizable as breakfast foods with a dinner twist, but there are others that are dinner foods with a hint 'o breakfast.

In the main dish section, I found some interesting twists, like Italian-style Stuffed French Toast, Huevos Rancheros Tacos, and Breakfast Sausage Ravioli.

But this book doesn't stop at dinner - there are drinks and desserts, too. I thought the Mocha Ice Cream Pie with Biscotti crust was an interesting way of presenting coffee and a biscotti.

For me, one of the keys to "do I want this book or not" is whether there are recipes I want to try right away. For sure. The breakfast pizza is pretty high on the to-do list.

The Geometry of Pasta
By Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy

When I was a kid, pasta was spaghetti or elbow macaroni. Sometimes mom would get fancy and buy wagon wheels or bow ties.

It was a looooong time before I realized how many pasta shapes there are. And a lot longer before I realized that the shape should match the sauce. Perhaps because mom only made one sauce and that went with the spaghetti.

Even now, I know that different shapes of pasta are supposed to match the sauce, but ... who has time to look up that stuff? I buy and interesting shape, and then sauce happens. Maybe I'll change my evil ways now that I have this book. It explains the different shapes of pasta, and then has recipes.

There are the usual pasta shapes that we all know, but there were plenty that I wasn't familiar with. AND, there are recipes for making some of the pasta shapes. Awesome!

One thing I wish this book included is a visual index of the pasta shapes, all on a few pages. There are graphics for each type of pasta, but if you know the shape and not the name, it will take some browsing to find it in the book. Probably not a big deal, since most boxes and bags of pasta do have the name, but there are times when something like that could be handy.

I'm a big pasta fan, so I'm looking forward to diving into these.

Winter Cocktails
By Maria Del Mar Sacasa

Ah, cocktails. If it seems odd to have a book specifically about winter cocktails, think about it a moment. There are some drinks that are year-round favorites, but there are plenty of others that are tied to seasons. Light, fruity drinks evoke summer. Mulled wine is definitely a winter drink.

This books includes some classics, but there are plenty of original cocktails, like Mama's Remedy or the Nutella Melt. There are also recipe for simple syrup, mixes, and some small bites and nibbles to go with the cocktails.

Not everything includes alcohol - there are non-alcoholic recipes included, and a few where the alcohol is optional. Some of the recipes include variations, which is nice. And many include tips or tidbits of information.

I didn't see a whole lot of exotic alcohols or specific brand names, and if there was something a little unusual mentioned, there were options included as well. So it should be pretty easy to make most of these drinks. I'm looking forward trying some of the warm cocktails. in particular.

Booze Cakes
By Kristina Castella and Terry Lee Stone

Might as well continue with the boozy theme. This time, we're not drinking, though - these are baked goods that use liquor for flavoring. Some rely on a single type of alcohol like the Pink Champagne Cake while others are all about the cocktail, like the Harvey Wallbanger Cake or the Margarita Cheesecake.

I usually make a rum cake for Christmas or New Year's, so I'm thinking I might try the recipe in this book. Besides a plain rum cake, it includes variations for a chocolate rum cake, one with nuts, and spiced rum cake.

There are also small bites - called Cake Shots here, and traditional cakes with added alcohol, like chocolate lava cakes with port wine. Not enough? There are also toppings and garnishes.

There are quite a few recipes in this book I'm looking forward to trying.

Tiny Party Food
By Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park

Let's face it, small food is cute. And little bites are awesome because you can have just a little taste without facing a whole slice of cake or a giant burger. And then you can have another little taste, or you can choose some other little taste.

 That's what the book is all about. There are little sconces, one-bite crab cakes, And itty-bitty shepherd's pies.

Ooooh, those shepherd's pies look awesome.

And then there are desserts. Mini chocolate raspberry tarts and chocolate eclairs. Fried apple pies. Cheesecake. And breakfast - French Toast or Eggs Benedict. Yup, this book's got you covered.

Besides being great for parties, these would be fun as appetizers and nibbles at home when you want to do something a little special and quirky.

I received these books from the publisher. All words are my own.