Spring Cooking

As we prepare to face a second spring largely indoors, it’s a good time to be inspired by some new culinary skills and dishes. Here are a baker’s dozen of cookbooks coming out this spring to enjoy, whether cooking solo or for family and friends.

Nigella Lawson returns with Cook, Eat, Repeat, her first cookbook in three years, which combines imaginative recipes with delightful essays. The latest from Julia Turshen, Simply Julia, puts fuss-free healthy comfort food like Kitchen Sink Frittata front and center. In Cook This BookInstagram fave Molly Baz (620,000 followers and counting) delivers 95 easy recipes for those new to home cooking. Continue reading “Spring Cooking”

Pandemic Garden Reset!

Did you pick up a new hobby last year? At the start of the pandemic, many of us dived into bread-baking, knitting, music-making, or any number of social-distance friendly hobbies. Mine was panic-gardening. I say panic-gardening because I started by haphazardly pulling out a small patch of lawn and throwing down whatever random seeds and plant starts my local nursery had leftover to see what would take. Needless to say, you won’t find my method of gardening in any recommended books or blogs on this subject…

In the end, the small harvest of lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes that I got was still enough to hook me on gardening. This year, I’m hoping to return to my garden patch with a lot more forethought and planning. I’m currently writing this blog as our city is blanketed by snow, so though it might seem early to be thinking about Spring, it’s actually the perfect time to get started on plants with a longer “days to maturity” period—like onions.

As I started reading up on this subject, I realized quickly that to start gardening as a novice is to be met with a million decisions: Should you start seeds indoors or sow directly? When should you plant seeds? What plants are best suited to our cloudy and wet springs? How important is your soil’s pH level? The world of gardening books is vast and initially overwhelming but here are a few books that have helped me make more sense of the basics:

The New Gardener’s Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Grow A Beautiful and Bountiful Garden by Daryl Beyers is an all-purpose guide to growing that serves as a refresher for basic plant science, like the parts of the plants,  types of roots, etc… It also walks you through steps of plant care that beginners might overlook, like how to prune your crop or collect seeds for next year.  But gardening isn’t just about maximizing your yields or growing the biggest pumpkin you can.

Continue reading “Pandemic Garden Reset!”

Tales (and Recipes) for a Winter’s Night

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice – no matter the form it takes – tales and food so often play a part. Stories of memories, tales passed on from generation to generation, and recipes too following down the line from grandmother, to daughter, to granddaughter, to great-grandson. The ties that bind us during the holiday season whether near or far or a picture of remembrance that sits upon the mantel. 

Here are a few books in our collection to get you started on making those traditions: 

The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Winter by Nigel Slater

A stunning read by author and food writer Nigel Slater, who has more than a few foodie books in our collection. From November to February, Nigel will take you through his winter rituals with folktales, recipes, and personal stories and gorgeous photographs. Truly an ode to winter! Continue reading “Tales (and Recipes) for a Winter’s Night”

Three on a Theme: Vegan Cookbooks for Autumn

Autumn is a great time of year to turn inwards and do some experimentation in the kitchen, whether this means cooking delicious warm meals or exploring new baked goods to munch on while things get colder and darker outside. This post compiles a list of plant-based (vegan) cooking and baking resources offered by the Library that can help guide you on your autumn kitchen adventures. Whether you are already eating plant-based foods or not, these are sure to yield some yummy treats for this yummy season.

Vegan Casseroles by Julie HassanVegan Casseroles: Pasta Bakes, Gratins, Pot Pies, and More by Julie Hassan

Nothing says autumn like a nice gooey, crispy, scrumptious casserole taken fresh out of the oven. This cookbook by Julie Hasson is designed for the “health-conscious” vegan while also prioritizing the things that make casseroles a traditional comfort food. According to critical reviews, her recipes succeed in delivering flavor even without the dairy products that we tend to think make casseroles so good in a non-vegan context. With categories sch as “one-dish appetizers,” “pasta casseroles,” “dessert casseroles,” and an entire section on “sauces, toppings, and basics,” this is a very varied collection for anyone looking to expand their recipe repertoire this season. Continue reading “Three on a Theme: Vegan Cookbooks for Autumn”

Our Table: Sharing Stories and Meals

We begin, as with so many meals, with thanks. Thank you to our grocery clerks, farmers market vendors, restaurant owners and employees for all you do and all you have given for your neighbors, your customers and fans. Thank you for sharing what Seattle needs: sustenance for body and heart.

To satisfy both, look to the intersection of cookbook and memoir. The library’s ebook collection is filled with ways to sharpen kitchen skills, bring new adventure to pantry staples, and invite guest chefs into your home. These are more than recipes. They are acts of creation and expression, transformed over many incarnations by home cooks and trained hands over generations. American Chef James Beard said “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” What experience will you share at these tables that span cultures and lifetimes? Continue reading “Our Table: Sharing Stories and Meals”