Friday, November 24, 2023

Books: New Cookbooks, Including From Ree Drummond & Jessie James Decker

As we enter the holiday season, it is a time for gatherings and parties, a great time to add some new recipes to your kitchen repertoire, and these new cookbooks will do the trick: The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook: Dinner's Ready!, by Ree Drummond; Just Eat: More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Recipes That Taste Just Like Home, by Jessie James Decker; The Olive Oil Enthusiast: A Guide from Tree to Table, with Recipes, by Skylar Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani; and Scandinavian from Scratch: A Love Letter To The Baking Of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, by Nichole Accettola.

The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook: Dinner's Ready!

By Ree Drummond

William Morrow Cookbooks; hardcover, 384 pages; $32.50

Ree Drummond is the author of seven #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks in The Pioneer Woman Cooks series. Her award-winning website, The Pioneer Woman was founded in 2006, and her top-rated cooking show of the same name premiered on Food Network in 2011.

In the new The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook: Dinner's Ready!, Drummond focuses on flavorful and fast recipes that fir your schedule, whether you're in a hurry or just want to spend less time in the kitchen so you can do other things you enjoy. 

Ree covers every occasion, starting with hosting guests, with her mom's Seafood Casserole from the 1970s and Pork Marsala with Mushrooms to Pizza Night, with her classic Cast-Iron Hamburger Pizza and gorgeous Rainbow Pizza, to teenager-friendly fun food including Pretzel Dogs and Pickle Chicken Bites. There also are tasty new pasta dishes, such as One-pan gnocchi with sausage and cauliflower and Roasted broccoli and cauliflower pasta; chicken dinners, such as Creamy lemon chicken with noodles and a Chicken pot pie skillet; and fuss-free sides like Crispy Parmesan Potatoes and Pimento Cheese Grits. 

"I still love cooking," Ree writes to open this cookbook. "But over the past two or three years, so much in my life has changed. As of this year, all the kids are officially out of the house. When Ladd and I dropped off Todd at the University of South Dakota and hugged him goodbye, two things happened: First, I cried for three weeks straight.

"Second, Ladd and I officially became empty nesters! So what was once a household of seven has finally been whittled down to two. In the months since Todd left, Ladd and I have been gradually adjusting to schedules that don't center entirely around teenagers and all their craziness: soccer, volleyball, football, curfews, supervising, grounding, blood, sweat, and tears. We both love it and hate it. The house is so quiet! It's terrible and it's wonderful. Empty nesting is not for the faint of heart.

"Not to mention, I'm getting older, friends! And I'm hitting that stage wherein I'm being much more selective about what I spend my time doing. Some days I find myself having neither the focus not the inclination to make long, drawn-out recipes for dinner. Not that Ladd and I alone aren't worth the effort - ha ha! (We are! I think.) It's just that I've gotten impatient! Selective! Over it? (Did I just say that out loud?) And while I still want to cook something delicious for supper, I want to get in and out faster so I can go be the keeper of my own schedule, time, crossword puzzles, walks with the dogs, and reality TV marathons. Again, raise your hand if you're with me!"

Just Eat: More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Recipes That Taste Just Like Home

By Jessie James Decker

Dey Street Books; hardcover, 304 pages; $32.50

Jessie James Decker is a singer, songwriter, TV personality, fashion designer of her personally designed brand Kittenish, a beauty and lifestyle influencer/entrepreneur, and a New York Times bestselling author of Just Jessie: My Guide to Love, Life, Family, and Food. Her first cookbook was Just Feed Me: Simply Delicious Recipes From My Heart to Your Plate.

Decker's multi-faceted career began with her self-titled debut album in 2009, with her authentic style captivating listeners. Her second album, Southern Girl City Lights, was released in 2017 and it debuted on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. She is married to former NFL star Eric Decker, who played for the Jets and Denver Broncos, and their three children, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Just Eat is Decker's second cookbook, and she offers up a new array of recipes that are distinctly her own, presented in a fun way, with plenty of pictures throughout to give it a personal touch. She takes inspiration from her family, her travels, and her home garden, to create 100 recipes of homegrown goodness. 

Decker's recipes can take you through the whole day, starting with Lemon-Ginger Immunity Shots, Cozy Overnight Oats, French Kiss Toast, Louisiana Beignets, and a Monte Cristo. Then, some appetizers before dinner you can make include Maple Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, Deviled Eggs, and a Cajun Snack Mix. Poultry & Beef recipes include Meatloaf, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sammiches, Cast-Iron Bone-in Rib Eye, Chicken and Corn Rice Bowls, and Turkey Potpie. In a section titled Pasta Lover, Decker offers up One-Pot Ground Turkey Spinach Rigatoni, Easy Sausage and Pepper Pasta, Ground Beef Lasagna, American Spaghetti, and Mushroom Ravioli.Last but not least, desserts Decker provides recipes for include Sea Salt Double-Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies, Southern Peach Cobbler, Brown Sugar Apple Pie, Caramel Cake, and Bananas Foster.

"Since my last cookbook, Eric built the most beautiful garden for us to grow our own herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and this has added so much to the way I cook now," Jessie James Decker writes. "I also ask more questions when I go to restaurants and speak to other home cooks and chefs, so I can learn more for myself as a home chef. 

"Just Eat has more easy on-the-go recipes, coastal, Cajun, and family-style dishes, healthy foods to eat while trying to get fit - and even a simple immunity-boost recipe to recharge and reboot your body after a food-and-drink-filled vacation.

"Speaking of vacation, in May and June 2021 my family and I took a twenty-six-day trip to Greece and Italy, island- and city-hopping. I got to cook alongside some of the most incredible cooks and learn so much more about food in many ways I had never thought of. What do they do differently than we do? I learned that less is more and that it's key to use true and real ingredients. What blew my mind is how flavorful the food was with way fewer ingredients and so little seasoning. I decided to take a lot of these food philosophies and bring them back home. Something else I loved? These cooks all keep a garden. Having a mini garden is more common than having a washing machine. I would stand overlooking a city in Italy or Greece with a glass of delicious wine as the sun set. I'd look out across the little towns at all the flats with clothes hanging out on a line, and I'd imagine what the lives of the people who lived inside were like. I could see into the courtyards, see their mini herb gardens and lemon trees, and I was fascinated. It's a priority there to have fresh herbs, and it takes so little to build a garden to plant them."

The Olive Oil Enthusiast: A Guide from Tree to Table, with Recipes

By Skylar Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani

Ten Speed Press; hardcover, 160 pages; $19.99

Skylar Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani are the founders of EXAU Olive Oil and oversee every aspect of the business. In Calabria, Italy, one of their most important olive oil regions where Giuseppe was born and raised, they harvest, mill, and bottle their olive oil before importing to the United States, where it is sold directly to customers. They have a dedication to educating the public about high-quality olive oil and fair representation for women of color in the olive oil industry. Skylar has been included in Forbes's "30 Under 30," and EXAU has been featured on Oprah's Favorite Things, Food52, and Food & Wine.

Their new cookbook, perfect for any kitchen, The Olive Oil Enthusiast, is a comprehensive introduction to the often misunderstood world of olive oil, and it will serve as a guide from the growing season and harvesting to the milling and production processes. Even though it has been produced and enjoyed for thousands of years, education on olive oil is woefully lacking.

Morisani was raised among his family's seaside olive groves in Calabria, and he moved to the United States after he fell in love with America. Once here, he was shocked to discover that quality olive oil was not appreciated or even available in many parts of the U.S. He and Mapes, who is his wife, decided to demystify the industry and moved to Calabria to begin harvesting, producing, and exporting high-quality Italian olive oil.

The information you will get to expand your appreciation of olive oil include tips for shopping for, tasting, using, and storing olive oil and twenty recipes for dishes that showcase the ingredient. Some of the recipes include Crocchette di Patate, Pasta Aglio e Olio e Peperoncino, Olive Oil Brownies, and tasty Bruschetta. There are charming illustrations to go along with the passionate expertise of the authors.

Scandinavian from Scratch: A Love Letter To The Baking Of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden

By Nichole Accettola

Ten Speed Press; hardcover, 256 pages; $29.99

Nichole Accettola is a chef who was trained a the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and is the owner of Kantine, a Scandinavia-inspired restaurant located in San Francisco that serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch with a menu full of pastries, porridge, and jewel-like smorrebrod sandwiches. 

In the beautiful new cookbook, Scandinavian from Scratch, which is an indispensable guide to its baking and culture, there are 75 recipes for luscious cookies, cakes, tarts, pastries, and breads. These are at the heart of Scandinavian baking traditions, and some of the delicious delicacies you will learn how to make include Swedish almond-and-cream-filled buns called Semlor; Blackberry Tosca Cake; Apple and Dumplings with Buttermilk and Lemon Zest; and Sprouted Rye Bread.

These come from the cozy ritual that baking at home provides during the long, dark winters, and during warmer months, it is a way to celebrate the bounty of the season. 

Accettola traveled to Denmark before she attended the Culinary Institute of America, and she instantly fell in love with the people, the culture, and without a doubt, the baking. Years later, she married a Dane and lived in Copenhagen for more than fifteen years, while she learned how to make these Scandinavian treats. 

When she returned to the United States, she opened Kantine, which specializes in her most beloved baked goods. This cookbook is an evolution of that, and in this cookbook, she has adapted these recipes for the home baker who wants to bake Scandinavian in their home kitchen.

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