Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

From Margaret Mezzacapo

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois

Does five minutes a day to make artisan bread seem too good to be true? Yes? That’s because it is too good to be true. The bread’s going to take you a lot longer than that. However, the basic premise is simple—prepare the dough in advance, and then just pinch off and bake the amount you want for that day. This book seems well suited for large families and/or real lovers of bread and baked goods. Includes a number of recipes for different breads, pizza dough, soups, etc.

The complete guide to vegan food substitutions : veganize it! : foolproof methods for transforming any dish into a delicious new vegan favorite

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Steen, Celine
The complete guide to vegan food substitutions : veganize it! : foolproof methods for transforming any dish into a delicious new vegan favorite
I’ve read dozens of vegan cookbooks over the years, but this one knocks them out of the ballpark. There is an “Ingredients” section at the start to explain how certain foods or spices are used and where they can be purchased. At the start of each chapter is a guidelines chart.  They’ve organized the book into chapters highlighting a certain ingredient that can be made vegan, for example, “How to Substitute for Dairy”. They have a list of vegan dairy substitutes that you can make at home. I never even thought I could make my own nondairy buttermilk or sweetened condensed soy milk. There are color photos that accompany some, but not all, of the recipes.  You must try the recipe for Nutty Pepperjack which stands in for Monterey Jack cheese.  The fondue recipe is absolute genius.  And there are two out-of-this world red or green spicy macaroni salad recipes.  To show off, try the Sesame Orange Tempeh with Caramelized Onions Pizza or the Fish-y Sticks with Tartar Sauce. I tried the gluten-free version of Pizza Pepperoni Topping (I doubled the recipe), and it was to-die-for.
You’ll eat it by the spoonful. The recipes are easy to follow. I think this book could convert the most dedicated carnivores to vegans in no time.  This is a completely original cookbook which is inventive, delightful, and should be referred to for years to come.

Muffins and mayhem: recipes for a happy (if disorderly) life

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Beecher, Suzanne
Muffins and mayhem: recipes for a happy (if disorderly) life
A memoir laced with recipes.  The author is the creator of,
an online book club. As a member, I know that she prefaces each online
installment with her daily column.  In this book, she details her humble
beginnings as an only child in Cuba City, WI.  In spite of an alcoholic
father and an indifferent mother who doesn’t understand her, she has an
indomitable spirit.  She is not afraid to make (big) mistakes, and to make
fun of herself. She seems to be a business/marketing genius, without any
college degrees.   After a failed marriage, she finds Mr. Right, also
divorced with kids. She and her husband move to Sarasota, FL. She has a
son and a daughter, but hardly mentions them. I would like to have read
why she married him so soon and why in Iowa City, and what it was like to
raise a blended family. Her take on living with an eye disorder was
inspiring (she learned to love the disorder instead of fighting it).

I didn’t like the recipes very much: the potstickers seemed too difficult
and others were too pedestrian.  Some of the chapters are verbatim from
her online column.  The grief over losing her mother is raw and if you
have been in a similar situation, you can relate.

Fit for a king : the Elvis Presley cookbook

From Jackie Cantwell
author: McKeon, Elizabeth, Ralph Gevirtz & Julie Bandy.
Fit for a king : the Elvis Presley cookbook
Recipes that were actually used at Graceland, by Elvis’ cooks or
relatives, or were popular during  that time period.  Many of the recipes
are surprisingly easy to make, and require readily accessed ingredients. I
tried the rum cake on p. 171 ; it won raves.  Includes reminiscences of
Elvis’s friends and fans. Features photos of Elvis from his childhood, his
Army days, publicity shots for movies, and with his fans and family. This
is true southern cooking, so count on generous portion sizes, rich tastes,
and high calories.  The recipe for Elvis’ favorite Peanut Butter and
Banana Sandwiches is here. The key is to mash very ripe bananas with the
peanut butter, before spreading on the bread and grilling. Buttermilk
finds its way into many recipes, as do pineapple and bacon.  Fantastic
recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Cake,  Cocoa Praline Cake, Scalloped
Eggplant, Chocolate Oatmeal Cake, Fudge Cookies, Sweet Chocolate Pie,
Mocha Pecan Bars, Peanut Butter Bread with Buttermilk, and Oatmeal Bread.
Warning about Spicy Lime Chicken on p. 135: Either boil the used marinade
or discard. Never top a cooked poultry dish with a marinade that came into
contact with the raw poultry; this could lead to food poisoning.