Friday, August 29, 2014

The Bahn Mi Handbook - Andrea Ngyuen


The Bahn Mi Handbook by Andrea Nyguen is an absolutely stunning cookbook.  Who knew sandwiches could be so captivating!  But it turns out, Nyguen isn't just writing any old sandwhich cookbook, she is paying homage to the bahn mi, a delightful mix of French and Vietnemese influences.

If you've never had a bahn mi before, I suggest you remedy that immediately.  The juxtaposition of crunchy French bread with five spice roasted pork and pickled vegetables is a taste sensation you'll never forget.  The Vietnamese have perfected the sour/sweet/salty combination that makes this sandwhich really pop.  In my humble opinion, the bahn mi is pretty much perfection.

Andrea Ngyuen, who runs a fantastic food blog called Viet World Kitchen, really hits it out of the park with this cookbook. There are so many variations to try, from the traditional spiced pork, to chicken and salmon patties, to vegetarian options.  Every sauce, spice, and pickled condiment has a recipe included.  Also, she breaks down in simple language and pictures how to construct the sandwich, which is an art form all it's own.

You can try a recipe for Caramel Shrimp, Thai Omelets, or Lemon Grass Sloppy Joes.  Eat it alone or stuff into a crusty sandwich roll with all the perfect toppings.  Bahn mi bliss!  Seriously, every single recipe is mouth watering.

If you're into adventerous cooking, or have wanted to learn how to step into cooking Asian cuisine with little to no fuss, I highly recommend trying these recipes.  Nyguen succeeds at demystifying Asain cuisine with this lovely handbook.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy from Random House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Kitchen Confidence - Kelsey Nixion


I fell in love with Kelsey Nixon while watching her cook her way to winning Next Foodnetwork Star a few years ago. Now her first cookbook, Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything, has hit the shelves!  Her delicious, healthy, and easy recipes are ones I can recreate in the kitchen and feed my family.  Honestly, this cook book is fantastic!

The book begins with all of Kelsey's essential kitchen items- tools, pantry ingredients, and a simple how to guide.  It is a wonderful overview for beginner cooks and even introduces a few useful techniques for the more seasoned chef.

The recipes are varied, easy to follow, and delicious.  All courses are covered, from breakfast to appetizers to desserts, as well as party planning menus.  They are simple but interesting recipes, each one with an interesting ingredient or twist that causes the dish to rise above its average counterpart.

Our family favorites were:
- Skillet Sausage Hash with Eggs
-Tarragon Chicken Salad
- Creamed Corn
- Essential Stove-top Mac n Cheese (to die for!)
- Summer Bean Pea Salad
- Skillet Blueberry Peach Cobbler

This cookbook is beautifully laid out with colorful pictures on most pages, fun fonts and tidbits about the recipes.  If you like cooking, or need more confidence in the kitchen, I highly recommend Kelsey Nixon's cookbook!

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy from Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Family Project - Glenn Stanton & Leon Wirth


Well.  I had high hopes for this book because I feel passionately that the value and purpose of the "family" is something that has been lost to our culture in recent years.  Family has become such a watered down version of what the Bible laid it out to be.  It does not hold to the vision God created it for.  Instead of using our families as vehicles to reach the lost, serve our neighbors, and grow and tell the stories of our faith, family has become a way to satisfy our cultural desires for health, weath, and prosperity.

I had hoped that The Family Project by Focus on the Family would have concrete ideas about how to steer our current Christian culture's identity of family back to a Godly foundation.  Instead, the book is mostly a historical exposition on what family has meant throughout the generations- from Genesis to the the 21st century.  And while it is at times interesting, and most certainly very well researched and thought out, the overall message promised ("what to do about the reality that the idea of family is dying") is never delivered.  We get a lovely history and biblical worldview of what family is and was designed to be, but no real plan as to how to get there.

This book was a little too scientific and historical for me.  If that is what you're looking for then it will be right up your alley!  I was hoping for a clarion call to the culture- a biblical mandate to revisit the truths of the Bible, to build our families around a faith in God that dramatically changes the desires and purposes of our lives here on Earth.  That did not happen.

All in all, The Family Project fell a little flat.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.