I love cookbooks, and I’m of the opinion that you can never have too many.

I’ve got quite a few (here are some that currently reside in my kitchen)…

mycookbooks1

…but when Kalyn posted this list, I realized that I only had one or two books written by food bloggers. Since I’m a food blogger (obviously) and a “wannabe” cookbook author (hey, I can dream, can’t I?), I wanted to show some love to those who’ve made the jump from blog to book as well as to some of the cookbook authors who didn’t necessarily start out as bloggers, but who also happen to have great blogs.

I wanted to buy every food blogger cookbook (believe me people, I really wanted to), but I figured it was much more reasonable to whittle my list down to 10. I wanted the selection to be pretty diverse, and here’s what I came up with:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg.

The Breakaway Cook: Recipes That Break Away from the Ordinary by Eric Gower.

Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too by Shauna Ahern.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois.

Vegan Yum Yum: Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining and Everyday by Lauren Ulm.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner by Jaden Hair.

Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen by Monica Bhide.

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Lebovitz.

Please know that if you are a blogger and I didn’t get your book this time around, it’s not because I didn’t want to! I would be thrilled to own every food blogger cookbook in existence. Please also note that I have previously featured two healthy cookbooks by bloggers on Healthy Green Kitchen: Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar by Ricki Heller of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam of Elana’s Pantry. I love both these books and cooked from and blogged about them extensively during past healthy cookbook giveaways.

So off I went on a virtual shopping spree at Amazon.com (I love my local independent bookstore, but sometimes you just can’t beat Amazon):

bloggerbooks

And I had my new books less than 48 hours later…aren’t they pretty?

I didn’t buy them just for looks, though. I wanted to cook from them, each and every one.

So over the course of a day when I had a couple of family gatherings going on (the last day of Hannukah and my dad’s birthday being the main celebratory occasions), I worked a recipe from each book into the festivities.

Wondering what I made and what I thought of each recipe/book? Well, here’s the round-up!

Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

Like the rest of the blogging world, I heart Ree Drummond. If you don’t who Ree is, allow me enlighten you. Ree is the force behind the incredibly popular blog, The Pioneer Woman; she is also the homeschooling mom to 4 adorable kids. I’ve no idea how she does it all. I guess I had my head under a rock or something these last few years because I am relatively new to her site. Ree’s cooking style is very different from mine, but I was still just as charmed by the book as I am by her blog. Like her blog, the book is not just about cooking; it’s full of gorgeous photos of her surroundings and the people and animals in her life, too. Because they are sort of legendary, I made her cinnamon rolls.

cinnamonrolls1

The were wonderfully sweet and decadent, and my kids loved them. In fact, I think my kids would love most of the recipes in this book. But because most of the recipes fall into the category that I call “decadent”, I’m not planning to cook from this book every day. Still, I’m extremely happy to have it for when I want to make simple tasty hearty fare, and for when I need to see a picture of a cowboy’s behind in chaps :)

Recipe: Fluffy Herby Eggs from The Breakaway Cook by Eric Gower

I have never used a recipe to make scrambled eggs before, but this egg dish from Eric Gower’s book really called to me. They feature Greek yogurt, a generous amount of herbs (I used basil), and one of his signature flavored finishing salts (this one was lavender). The result was superb.

breakawayeggs

If you don’t know about Eric, you should—he blogs at Breakaway Cook and his philosophy is to combine everyday staples like chicken, eggs, vegetables and pasta with ingredients from the world’s great culinary traditions. I guess I’m a breakaway cook of sorts, and that’s why I like this book so much. I cannot wait to try more of Eric’s recipes…

Recipe: Arugula Salad with Pistachios and Chocolate from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

I love chocolate as much as the next person (ok, maybe a little more than the next person), but I have never been so bold as to put chocolate in a salad. After tasting this though, I will definitely be doing it again. I had no pistachios, so used toasted almonds instead. I thought this salad was truly fantastic.

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I also think that the book on the whole is fantastic. I love Molly’s writing and the way she intertwines the recipes with stories from her life. Just like her blog Orangette, this is a memoir that is incredibly charming. I enjoyed every page.

Recipe: Artisan Free Form Loaf/Pizza Dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Francois

As someone who’s made yeast bread every now and then for over 20 years, I was really interested in this book because the “5 minutes a day” promise just seemed so far-fetched. The authors blog at Artisan Bread in Five and once I sat down with the book and understood the premise of the master recipe, I was really eager to try it out.

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The master recipe was just as simple as the authors’ said it would be, and it really truly doesn’t require any kneading! Pretty amazing. I used the dough to make a fabulous pizza that pleased the whole family. I’ll surely be making bread a lot more from now on.

Recipe: Crispy Sesame Kale from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm

Lauren blogs at Vegan Yum Yum. Though I am not vegan, I appreciate her beautiful photography and her recipes always look scrumptious. Plus, she’s just adorable. As far as this recipe goes, Lauren states in the book that this is a “wonderfully fun, crispy side dish”. She is absolutely right. This is so quick to make and it is truly addictive to eat.

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Lauren took all the photos in the book. They are really really lovely and I am really really impressed. I think Lauren’s got some truy unique recipes in here, and I’m so happy to have added this one to my collection.

Recipe: Cauliflower with Smoked Paprika and Cocoa Powder from Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern

Like A Homemade Life, Gluten-Free Girl is only part cookbook. It’s a memoir, too, and I enjoyed it immensely. I love Shauna’s passion for food, and this passion is evident in every one of her blog posts (located at Gluten Free Girl and the Chef) as well as in this book. I decided on this recipe because Shauna says it’s the recipe that changed her mind about cauliflower.

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I like cauliflower ok, but I’ve never before considered it delicious. This recipe, though, really is delicious. Really.

Recipe: Monica’s Tomato and Coconut Fish Curry from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide

I am a relative newcomer to Monica and her blog A Life of Spice, but it doesn’t feel that way. I took a writing tele-class with Monica a month or so ago and have since corresponded with her by email/facebook/twitter a bunch of times. She is such a sweetheart and such a wonderful food writer, too.

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I made what she calls her signature dish and just adored it. I didn’t have catfish so I used wild mahi mahi instead- I’m a total sucker for anything with coconut milk and this really was fabulous. I can’t wait to delve further into this book.


Recipe: Salt and Pepper Squid from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair

Jaden from Steamy Kitchen, is a sweetheart of a person who I also know through email/facebook/twitter. I have a special place in my heart for Asian food (I lived in Japan for a short time when I was younger), and I just love her “modern Asian” approach.

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Jaden did all the food photography in her book which just simply amazes me. There are so many drool-worthy pictures in here, which made it all the more difficult to decide what to make. Since I was able to find fresh wild squid at my local fish market (and they even cut it into those neat little rings for me!) and since I’ve never made fried squid at home, I gave this recipe a try. It was quite easy to do and the results were delicious!

Recipe: Coconut Custard Tart from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

I’ve seen Dorie Greenspan’s delectable-looking recipes in magazines and all over the blogosphere, so when I decided I needed a baking book, I did not hesitate in choosing this one. It is a large and beautiful book that I’m so pleased to now own. We were celebrating my dad’s birthday and I wanted something rather “show-stopping”, so I went with Dorie’s coconut custard tart.

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It was every bit as yummy as it looks!

Recipe: Coffee Frozen Yogurt from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

This book was already in my collection, but I adore it so much that I wanted to cook from/feature it again. I love David’s writing and his recipes; I’ve previously made his vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and salted caramel (the last from his website, not the book), and they have each been spectacular.

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Because Dorie Greenspan suggests serving the coconut custard tart with espresso, I made David’s coffee frozen yogurt (not that there was too much point in lightening things up, giving how much food had already been consumed to write this post!). It was a wonderful choice with the tart, and the perfect end to a perfect day of food!

Many thanks to Foodbuzz for accepting my proposal and allowing me to be part of the December Foodbuzz 24,24,24 event. I had lots of fun putting this post together, and I just love my new cookbooks!

A frigid New York morning hardly seems like the perfect time to make a smoothie, right? This one, however, which features gorgeous ripe persimmons, rich coconut milk and a touch of warming spices, absolutely hit the spot.

persimmon smoothie

Persimmons are native to Asia and there are many different varieties that grow there. They also grown in South America and other parts of the world; in the United States, they are mainly found in California.

If you live in the U.S. and you don’t happen to have a persimmon tree, you’ll want to start looking for persimmons in the market in the Fall. You may have trouble finding persimmons; they aren’t widely available where I live and I had to look in a bunch of different stores before I found them.

If and when you do find them, you’re likely to have two types of persimmons to choose from: the Fuyu and the Hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are perhaps the more common (yet I haven’t been able to find any!). They look a bit like tomatoes and are considered “non astringent”, meaning they can be enjoyed while still firm. You can eat them out of hand as you would an apple, and they work well in salads and anywhere else you’d use firm fruit.

Hachiya persimmons, on the other hand, are considered quite astringent. They are very high in tannins that will cause your mouth to pucker and your taste buds to be quite unhappy if you eat one of these babies before they are ripe. Hachiya persimmons should, therefore, only be eaten when they are quite soft. Their pulp is, therefore, quite suitable for baking, as well as for throwing into smoothies.

Persimmons are quite nutritious. They’ve got everything you’d expect from a fruit of such deep orange color: lots of antioxidants, in particular. Make sure to use very ripe hachiya persimmons for this smoothie so you don’t get that unpleasant “tannic blast”. Remember that coconut qualifies as a healthy fat, and smoothies are a simple and delicious way to incorporate coconut into your diet.

For this coconut persimmon smoothie, I simply threw two very soft persimmons into my blender, added the coconut milk and spices, blended for a bit and voilà. Breakfast doesn’t get much simpler.

Persimmon Smoothie Recipe

Serves 1

Ingredients:

*2 very ripe Hachiya persimmons
*1 cup organic coconut milk
*pinch of ground ginger
*pinch of ground cardamom-optional

Directions:

Blend all ingredients, preferably in a highspeed blender (like a Blendtec), adding ice or additional water to produce desired consistency.

persimmon coconut smoothie | www.healthygreenkitchen.com

More on Persimmons:
Persimmon Pleasures by Tea and Cookies
Black Bean Salad with Fuyu Persimmons from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Dandelion, Persimmon, and Medjool Date Salad from Food Blogga
Persimmon Cookies from Pinch My Salt
Persimmon Chiffon Pie from Merrill of Food52

imarenegade_150I just found out about Fight Back Friday over at Food Renegade…this persimmon smoothie is my contribution to what looks like a great collection of real food posts!

skirtsteak

I recently purchased 40 pounds (!) of grass-fed beef as part of a cow share. The meat came in many different cuts, one of which was skirt steak.

Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of the cow and is long and flat. It cooks very quickly, and is delicious when grilled or broiled. it does not have to be marinated but I prefer the extra flavor that results when you do so, and I love this Asian-style marinade.

To keep with the Asian theme, I made a cilantro gremolata (gremolata is usually made with parsley) to spoon on top. Gremolata is not generally made with preserved lemon, but I made a large batch this summer and like to use it in recipes instead of lemon zest; feel free to substitute regular lemon zest, though.

Broiled Grass Fed Skirt Steak with Cilantro and Preserved Lemon Gremolata
Serves 2-4

First, Marinate and Broil the Steak:

1/2 Tb. olive oil
dash toasted sesame oil
1 Tb. rice vinegar or lime juice
1/2 Tb. soy sauce or tamari
1/2 Tb. honey
1/2 Tb. peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound skirt steak, grass-fed if possible
course salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix olive oil through red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Place the skirt steak in the bowl with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to a day), turning the steak in the marinade one or more times, if possible (to make sure it is all covered at some point).

Preheat your broiler to high. Place a piece of foil over a large baking sheet and lay the skirt steak on top. Pour the remaining marinade on top of the steak. Broil for 4 minutes on each side (for rare); broil a bit longer on each side if you prefer it a bit more well done.

Make the Gremolata and Serve:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 tsp. preserved lemon rind, minced (or use freshly grated lemon zest)
1 pinch black lava sea salt (or “regular” course salt)

Directions:

While the steak is cooking, mix the gremolata ingredients together.

Remove the steak from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

“Tent” the steak with another piece of foil for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve sliced across the grain, with the gremolata spooned over.

Before you go, make sure to check out my bid item for Menu for Hope!

And lastly, this healthy meat recipe is my contribution to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays as well as Real Food Wednesdays!