Monthly Archives: May 2012

America’s Best Ribs | Ardie Davis & Paul Kirk

 

Kickoff your summer in smoky style. Presenting an entire book of great rib ideas.

America's Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home

TITLE: America’s Best Ribs
AUTHOR: Ardie Davis & Paul Kirk
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
CUISINE: Barbecue

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Featured Ingredient: Chili Powder

I love this versatile spice. Along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and some type of sugar,Red Peppers Bali by Jeda Villa Bali chili powder makes up the the basis for most rubs used on pork and beef. For the purposes of this cookbook, chili powder makes an appearance in quite a few recipes. If you’ve been smoking or grilling ribs for any length of time you know just how important the inclusion of this spice can be to the success of your final product.

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First Impressions
I love ribs. And, I think I put out a pretty darn good slab. So, a book committed to the subject already has a big jump on the race for my affections. As you would expect, this cookbook has a bright, colorful and fun feel. Given the subject, it’s a good approach. After all, we’re talking about ribs, not, the intricacies of French sauces. All of the recipes take up a full page and are easy to read through. Lots of great images and drawings are liberally spread throughout.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)

  • Rib Basics
  • Pork Ribs
  • Beef & Bison Ribs
  • Lamb & Mutton Ribs
  • Sides
  • Desserts

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I ran across this video recently. It touts “perfectly cooked pork ribs”. That’s a pretty big statement. Check it out for yourself and see if you agree.

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Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Baron’s Basic Barbecue Spice Memphis-Style Grilled Baby Back Ribs
First Time Grilled Baby Back Ribs Lazy Daisy Cake
Grilled Peppered Dry Spareribs Jay’s Tangy Grilled Beef Short Ribs
Texas-Style Smoked Beef Back Ribs Whiskey Ribber Grilled Lamb Ribs
Joellyn’s Smoked Mutton Breast Hush Puppies
Slow-Cooked Baked Beans Smoked Alabama-Style Country-Style Ribs

 

I’ve never been able to get my wife to fully embrace the short rib thing. I can’t figure that out. I’m going to give the Simple Smoked Beef Short Ribs a try. It will be my last attempt to convert her. Wish me luck. I’ll post the results here in a couple of weeks.

A lot of the recipes contain similar ingredients and processes. Some might think this makes for a lot of repetition. I look at it from a different angle. It allows you to see the nuances of the individual recipes. Slight changes that make a big difference. There were lots of side dishes I would give a big thumbs up to. The Heartland Grilled Corn on the Cob, Tomato Bread and Ribilicious Potato Salad all sound like solid winners.

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Special Features
It seems like every great rib recipe has a story attached to it. There are plenty of these tales nestled in the pages. Ribs yarns taken right from the source. Tucked in the back of the book is a short list of additional reading on the subject. There are also some online resources for meats and smoking woods. A page of metric conversions is also included. If you ever have the need to know how many milliliters are in 1⅔ cups, look no further.

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Conclusions

It’s hard not to like America’s Best Ribs. Even if you think there is no room for improvement in your personal recipe (like me), there is still a lot to learn. I wanted to attempt about 80% of the recipes in the book. That’s high, even for me.

America's Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home

The stories help bring the recipes to life. You won’t try each and every recipe, so the included commentary will help you appreciate the dish even though you may not be cooking it. Great images. Some seem pretty random. That’s appealing to me.

The only small issue I had with the entire book came when I closed it. It’s on the back cover. At the bottom, in not so big print it states, “Printed in China”. How can a book on “America’s Best Ribs” be printed in China? I don’t know. But, given the decidedly American subject matter, the text on the bottom of the back cover should scream, “Proudly Printed in the USA!”. Maybe even a flag (OK, that might be overkill).

I loved this book. And, I would easily recommend it to rib novices and pit masters alike. With summertime here, it will really get you motivated to break out the grill or smoker and get cooking.

Culinary Expertise Required: 5.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Want your very own copy of America’s Best Ribs? We can help you out. Get yours here.

America's Best Ribs: Tips and Recipes for Easy, Lip-Smacking, Pull-Off-the-Bone, Pass-the-Sauce, Championship-Quality BBQ Ribs at Home

Links, Resources and Other Press
America’s Best Ribs – Andrews McMeel Publishing page
Fantastic rib resource – amazingribs.com
The Kansas City Barbecue Society
More info on Ardie Davis aka Remus Powers

Edible Seattle: The Cookbook | Jill Lightner

 

Wouldn’t it be great to bring a touch of Seattle straight into your kitchen?

Edible Seattle: The Cookbook

TITLE: Edible Seattle: The Cookbook
EDITOR: Jill Lightner
PUBLISHER: Sterling Epicure
CUISINE: Regional Food – Pacific Northwest

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Featured Ingredient: Chanterelle Mushrooms
Chanterelles | By Philip FerratoMushrooms can be a mystery. That’s unfortunate, because they really don’t need to be. A lot of people have a hard time getting out of their grocery store, mushroom comfort zone. How many white button mushrooms can one person consume in a lifetime?

The chanterelle mushroom flourishes in the Seattle Washington area. You can usually find these delicious golden beauties gracing any farmers market worth a damn. The rich, earthy flavor makes these mushrooms an ideal choice for so many dishes. They lend themselves well to sautéing. Chanterelles are considered by many food professionals to be one of the more sought after mushroom varieties. They’re right up there with the morel and truffle.

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First Impressions
The book feels much like the magazine. The paper choice, a soft matte, was right in keeping with the Edible image. When you read through an Edible magazine you come away with a certain classy and thoughtful impression, The cookbook is no different.

“Edible Tips” are sprinkled throughout the pages. There are also short one page stories featuring local Seattleites who have an impact on the local food community. Again, a comfortable and natural extension of the periodical. The book really invites you to try some or all of the dishes contained. A lot of cookbooks miss that mark.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)

  • Starters
  • Side Dishes
  • Main Dishes
  • Sandwiches, Suppers and Snacks
  • Desserts and Drinks
  • Resources

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Seattle has lots of great food and for that matter, food attractions. None is more popular than Pike Place Market. In the market you’ll find Pike Place Fish. YES, that’s the place where they throw the fish. If you haven’t seen it in person we have a treat for you. The next best thing, a video. Check out all of the action at one of the area’s most unique food finds.

 

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Best of the Book

Carmel Apple Cider Cupcakes Salty Green Potato Salad
Salmon Run Vegetables Jam Oatmeal Streusel Bars
Soothing Seaweed Soup Saag Paneer
Feisty Chicken Karage Dungeness Crab Melt
Razor Clam Linguine Sausage Rolls
Mama Lil’s Dipping Sauce Chanterelle Puffs

 

The recipes contained in this cookbook represent all that is great about the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. Lots of great uses for locally grown or sourced ingredients. That’s not to say that anyone cooking outside of the Seattle area wouldn’t enjoy cooking from it. On the contrary. It represents an opportunity for those living in other parts of the country or world to enjoy what makes this regional cuisine so special.

As you would imagine I had some favorites. The Tavern Law Fried Chicken is a standout. For those of you lucky enough to have visited this Capitol Hill neighborhood hotspot, you know what I’m talking about. The Oyster Stew and Salmon Tacos also make their way to the top of my heap. The area is all about great seafood. I would have loved to have seen a recipe for halibut included. It’s one of my personal favorites. And, a really great halibut recipe is hard to come by.

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Special Features
The back of the book contains some resources. Seattle being a big food Edible Seattle: The Cookbookcity, so, a food guide is helpful. A list of Farmers Markets is nice. People sometimes think that Pike Place Market is all that there is. So not true. There is also a useful guide to local artisan food producers. Too many cookbooks contain a table of weights and measures just tossed in that back of the book. This isn’t the type of cookbook that would lend itself to that. I’m glad they resisted the urge.

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Conclusions
Edible Seattle: The Cookbook hits a lot of high notes. I just loved the fact that they stayed so true to the look and feel of the magazine. I know that would be expected. But, it would have been so easy to screw it up. They didn’t. The recipe difficulty spans a range. The ingredients required are in most cases are not difficult to obtain.

Culinary Expertise Required: 6
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Want your very own copy of Edible Seattle: The Cookbook? We can help you out. get your own copy here.

Edible Seattle: The Cookbook

Links, Resources and Other Press:

Edible Seattle Magazine website
Edible Seattle on Twitter
Weekly Seattle Article | Edible Seattle Cookbook
Savor Seattle Food Tours

The Truck Food Cookbook | John T. Edge

 

What could be better than food truck food in your kitchen?

The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels

TITLE: The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels
AUTHOR: John T. Edge
PUBLISHER: Workman Publishing Company
CUISINE: Street Food

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Featured Ingredient: Onions
I think we would all agree that nothing lights up a dish quite like an onion. As ingredients go, the humble onion has more uses than anyone would think possible. Not only is it delicious,Florida Onions but, it might be better for you than you think. It’s been speculated that onions have powers to cure and heal everything from a cold to heart disease.

We love them because they add a distinct layer of depth and texture to everything they’re used in. Left out, a lot of you’re favorite dishes would just fall flat.

Purchase them individually or buy the sack. You just can’t have too many onions on hand when you’re trying out a batch of new recipes from your latest cookbook purchase.

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Observations
The Food Truck Cookbook comes to us from a food niche that didn’t even exist ten years ago. Mobile food prep and sales have come a long way in that time. And, with the popularity of the food truck comes the next natural step, food truck recipes. The Treats Truck Book did it successfully. And, the topic has found a fun and frivolous presentation here too. Fairly easy recipes and playful art is part of what gives this book it’s feel.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)

  • Street Eat Ethics
  • Fries & Pies
  • Waffles & Their Kin
  • Brunch on Wheels
  • Unexpected Pleasures
  • Sandwich Up!
  • Hot Dogs
  • Tacopalooza
  • Rolling in Sweets
  • My Life as a Lucky Dog

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In case you’ve been living under a culinary rock for past five years or so, here’s some of what you’ve been missing.

 

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The Best of the Book:

Lemon Aioli Basil Aioli
Guacamole Salsa Verde Serrano Cilantro Salsa
Breakfast Burgers Grilled Cheeseburgers
California Dogs Dante’s Chicken Dogs
Downtown Dogs Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese
Salmon & Chipotle Fried Pie Sloppy Jerk Chicken & Pork

 

There’s a wide variety of delicious looking recipes to try. Some of the standouts for me were the Elotes from Melissa’s, the Kolbi Beef Sliders courtesy of KOi Fusion and the Taiwanese Fried Chicken served from the NYC Cravings truck, Lots of super interesting sauces and spreads. Burgers and dogs that really separate themselves from the crowd. A few unique desserts and lots of condiments for your creations.

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Special Features

There are scant culinary resources tucked in the back of the book. Standard weights, measures and conversions are about it. Most of trucks that roll through any major metropolis use Twitter as a main form of communication. A list would have been nice.  It’s probably easier (and more up to date) to use your smartphone and look for them yourself. I guess the omission is no big deal.

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Conclusions

There’s lots to like inside these pages. Fun, reasonably easy recipes. A pretty good variety especially when you consider that these dishes were designed to be executed in a 10 X 10 space. Food trucks from all across the country are featured. So, you really get a good picture of what these mobile chefs are up to. The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels

Culinary Expertise Required: 5.5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Want your very own copy of The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America’s Best Restaurants on Wheels? We can help you out. get your own copy here.

The Truck Food Cookbook: 150 Recipes and Ramblings from America's Best Restaurants on Wheels

Links, Resources and Other Press:

Truck Food Cookbook Website
Workman Publishers – Truck Food Cookbook
John T. Edge
CBS News Interview
How to Open a Successful Food Truck
Food Trucks via FLICKR