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Cookbook reviews

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, March 2010; written by Tammy Dinsmore

I enjoy cooking, but on a busy weeknight it’s hard to come up with something new that’s quick and satisfying and that my whole family will like.

Browsing through the new books section at the library, I picked up a couple of cookbooks that looked promising.

I started with a recipe for Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho soup from “The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner” by Jaden Hair. For starters this recipe took less than an hour to make (That was a bonus right off the bat), all of the ingredients were readily available here in Ketchikan, and it turned out pretty well.

At the beginning of the book are a couple of glossaries explaining the tools and ingredients used in the recipes. Also at the beginning are recipes for common Asian sauces & dips. There are lots of pictures to guide you through the step-by-step instructions and each recipe has a paragraph or two with tips or shortcuts to make things easier.

If you finish the 101 recipes in this cookbook, the resource guide at the end of the book lists several Asian cooking blogs worth looking at online. I am looking forward to making several more dishes from this cookbook.

“Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes” is part cookbook and part guide book. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich (You may recognize this name from her PBS television series “Lidia’s Italy”) presents recipes from each region of Italy, from north to south, highlighting regional specialties and then at the end of each chapter daughter and co-author Tanya Bastianich Manuali takes you on a little tour, with pictures of the area with lists of some of her favorite places to visit.

Specialties include handmade pastas from the Emilia-Romagna region, Rice dishes from the Lombardy region (the Rice with Butternut Squash is especially good) and a fish or seafood dish from almost every region.

No matter what your food preferences are, I’m sure we have a cookbook here at the library that will satisfy your particular tastes.

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