Hey, remember me? I apologize that my blog was down again—Typepad keeps getting hacked lately. And other than that, I've just been busy doing, well, not much of anything worth writing about.
The sciatica gets better, then worse, then different.... I guess it's just going to be a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of recovery. When I woke up Saturday, I thought it was completely gone, but by Sunday it was back. Sigh.
Meanwhile, a bunch of cookbooks I edited last year have come out recently, so I figured I'd share those with you.
Michael Ruhlman's one-topic wonder, Egg, came out last month. The subtitle is "A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient," and that's exactly what you'll get. To showcase the egg's versatility, he encloses a pull-out flowchart showing all the ways you can use the egg: in its shell or not, whole or separated, as an ingredient or on its own, and so on. Each category has a handful of recipes to show you what happens to the egg under those conditions. Omelets! Meringues! Buttercream frosting! Quiche! Mayonnaise! You get the idea. The flowchart was a nightmare to edit, but it's pure genius. And, none of Michael's books would be complete without his wife Donna's gorgeous photos throughout—I'm especially fond of her "process shots," which illustrate the techniques that Michael describes. (Although her photos of the finished dishes are what will get you into the kitchen, and fast.) What a team.
Cheryl and Bill Jamison, who know more about real barbecue than the rest of the world put together, have revised their barbecue bible, Smoke & Spice. It's a doozy, with hundreds of recipes, all the how-to information you could need, and, of course, lots of very funny anecdotes. I've worked with the Jamisons before, and they are delightful—and really know their stuff.
Here's a book that will solve all of your "what do I make for dinner" worries for the next year or so: Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer. The book is organized around different types of marinades—400 of them!—each with suggestions about what would go well with them. So, for instance, if you like the sound of the Raspberry Chipotle Marinade, she gives the recipe for using it with baby back ribs but also says it would work well with chicken pieces, pork chops, or salmon fillets. Mix up the marinade and put it in a resealable plastic bag with your choice of meat, and then fire up the grill when you're ready to get dinner on the table. Easy-peasy!
I've done quite a few vegetarian and vegan cookbooks with Robin Robertson. Her recipes are always delicious and easy to follow. She recently updated her classic, Vegan Planet, and I can assure you that everyone—from vegans to omnivores like me—can find loads of wonderful recipes in here. It's no wonder the first edition sold more than 100,000 copies over the last decade!