Monday, March 22, 2010

Cookbook Review: The Branded Cookbook by N. Sandler

✰✰✰✰½ If you are like me, chances are you have one of these popular products in your pantry: Coca-Cola, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Hellmann's Mayonnaise, Kellogg's Cornflakes, and Skippy Peanut Butter, just to name a few. But what if you are looking to try a new twist using these time tested favorite brands? Creative Chef Nick Sandler and writer Johnny Acton have the answer in their new book The Branded Cookbook: 85 Recipes for the World's Favorite Food Brands.

This cookbook was created around 17 brand name products; however, it is possible to make substitutions if you prefer. Each carefully selected product features a fascinating background history as well as classic recipes and newly created ones. The recipes are easy to follow and use ingredients that a probably already in your pantry. It also features lots of color photographs and colorful graphics that bring a sense of nostalgia to the pages. An index is included.

The Bottom Line:
This cookbook is pure fun for foodies. Both seasoned chefs and the cooking challenged alike will enjoy this treat. It's bright and colorful, while the interesting trivia will keep you entertained. I know I'm looking forward to trying Nutella Brownies, Tabasco Spicy Potatoes, Basil and Philadelphia Ravioli, and Malted Camp Coffee Milkshake.

The Branded Cookbook: 85 Recipes for the World's Favorite Food Brands by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton. Hardcover ed. Published by Kyle Books in 2009. 160 p. ISBN: 978-1-904920-91-5

If you like cookbooks that feature brand name products, then try these classics:
Favorite Brand Name Recipe Cookbook, The Old-Time Brand-Name Cookbook, and Hershey's Chocolate Cookbook.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Review: The Darkling Curse: Something Wickedly Weird v. 4 by C. Mould

✰✰✰✰ Stanley Buggles returns for more adventure and excitement in the 4th installment of the Something Wickedly Weird series. Having just recovered the much sought after silver casket, Stanley is looking forward to making Candlestick Hall his permanent home. With his best friend Daisy Grouse and caretakers Mr. & Mrs. Carelli, Stanley settles in to uncover the meaning behind the recently discovered map pieces. However, one piece of the puzzle is missing.

Before they can get to the bottom of it, the peace and quiet of every day life is interrupted by the arrival of thousands of crows. The invasion foretells the arrival of the Darkling family who challenge Stanley's claim to Candlestick Hall. The Darklings move in with their morbid decorations, a coffin, and medicine bottles galore forcing Stanley to divide the house is divided into two sections. Despite the Darkling family's nocturnal habits, Stanley and Daisy race against time uncover the Darkling family's evil plot.

The Bottom Line: The Something Wickedly Weird series is filled with adventure and camaraderie; The Darkling Curse is no exception. Filled with fantastically dark black and white illustrations throughout, this book is just so much fun. Highly recommended for kids in upper grade school and middle school. It's enjoyable reading for girls and boys alike, and I, for one, am looking forward to the next installment.

Details: The Darkling Curse: Something Wickedly Weird v. 4 by Chris Mould. Published by Roaring Brook Press in 2009. 175 p. ISBN: 978-1-59643-387-8

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cookbook Review: Pecans from Soup to Nuts by K. Courrege

✰✰✰✰✰ Whether you say it "pee-cans" or "pa-kawns", the pecan is a tasty treat either way. Suitable for sweet or spicy dishes, this versatile nut can be candied or toasted, added to salads or tossed into main dishes. The first edition of Pecans from Soup to Nuts was published in 1984 and has been reprinted several times. This is a completely updated version and includes recipes from Marcelle Bienvenu as well as recipes from the original.

This cookbook includes five easy to read chapters, a Source Guide, and an Index. Complete information is provided about the history of the pecan, storage, and the different forms used in cooking and baking. The recipes are a cinch to follow with step-by-step directions featuring simple ingredients that are readily available. Each includes a fantastic color photo. Recipes that caught my eye include: Basic Sugared Pecans; Pecan and Chicken Salad; Shrimp, Vegetable, and Pecan Pasta; Pecan Pralines; and Pecan Martini.

The Bottom Line:
The pecan is not only delicious and versatile, but it's nutritious as well. Cooks of all levels will enjoy this beautiful cookbook. Try cooking and baking with pecans today; it's a snap with
Keith Courrégé’s Pecans from Soup to Nuts.

: Pecans from Soup to Nuts by
Keith Courrégé and Marcelle Bienvenu. Published by The Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. in 2009. 128 p. ISBN: 978-1589806481