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The Oz Family Kitchen: More Than 100 Simple and Delicious Real-Food Recipes from Our Home to Yours

Lisa Oz. Harmony, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-101-90323-0

Readers curious to know what TV star Mehmet Oz and his family eat will appreciate these appealing and wholesome recipes for meals, snacks, desserts, and drinks. The recipes themselves are the work of author Oz, a bestselling writer and television producer who often cohosts The Dr. Oz Show; her husband, the eponymous Dr. Oz, contributes a foreword and nutritional information throughout, explaining the benefits of black pepper and why yogurt is gut friendly. The couple and their children are featured in family photographs and anecdotes about recipes. The author is clear that this is not a diet book but one that “supports a healthy lifestyle,” and there’s no preachy advice, just helpful and inspiring recipes for meals. Her clever menu planning for her family of vegetarians, flexitarians, pescetarians, and gluten avoiders often consists of add-ins for the mainly plant-based recipes, such as the Wagababy Pot with udon and Asian vegetables. Strong flavors replace fat in the grilled summer squash and onion sandwich with green chile mayonnaise, and the poached eggs on garlic toast with truffle oil and jalapeño. Readers probably won’t be surprised to find out the Oz family “never tires of kale,” but they can delight in this guide to eating food that’s both wholesome and delicious. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Olympia Provisions: Cured Meats and Tales from an American Charcuterie

Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson. Ten Speed, $40 (288p) ISBN 978-1-6077-4701-7

This book by Cairo (cofounder of Portland, Ore.’s Olympia Provisions) and food writer Erickson celebrates the art of charcuterie in a way that translates from art to plate. The first section covers charcuterie theory and technique, and a second has specific recipes from the restaurants covered in the book. Chapters on pâté, sausage, smoking, and curing help readers develop their meat preparation skills. The recipes include a bratwurst gravy for brunch, apple and kielbasa strata for lunch, and salty-sweet salami rolled in chocolate, nuts, and spices for dinner. Chorizo, pancetta, käsekrainer, and pork liver mousse are just some of the examples of the global flavors. With all the different styles of charcuterie then applied to different meals of the day, this book serves as a great basis for anyone interested in learning how the sausages are made and how to expand his or her meat palate. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Techniques for Home Cooks from Artichokes to Zucchini

Michael Anthony. Little, Brown, $40 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-37335-7

In this splendid tribute to vegetables, Anthony (The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook) focuses on creating great flavors and healthy meals, a combination he predicts will be the next step in the evolution of American food. He does an admirable job of helping readers make vegetables shine. Listing out the vegetables alphabetically, he includes vibrant full-color photos of each as well as photo guides for any potentially unfamiliar techniques, such as prepping an artichoke or wrapping a dumpling. While veggies are the stars, this collection is by no means vegetarian. Instead, meat takes a back seat and serves as an enhancement. Cranberry beans with smoky bacon and collards, chimichurri on steaks, and Jerusalem artichoke chowder with monkfish are prime examples of Anthony’s astute ability to balance flavors without overpowering. Recipes are, in general, not lengthy or overly complicated, and most ingredients are readily available. Caramelized cauliflower with peppers and onions, celery root and apple puree, and sautéed mushrooms on flatbread with braised greens are just a few of his simple but superb pairings. A few of the veggies may be unfamiliar to some readers, including nettles, tatsoi, salsify, and kohlrabi, but Anthony’s tempting dishes will convince even reluctant cooks to give them a try. Enticing and gorgeous, this collection showcases the best that nature has to offer. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Cooking Like a Master Chef

Graham Elliot. Atria, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-9651-2

Chicagoans know Chef Elliot from his Michelin-starred bistro, while reality show fans recognize him as the judge on Fox’s MasterChef who lost 150 pounds in one year after undergoing bariatric surgery. His debut cookbook, a collection of 100 recipes, is a match for his quirky personality. Just as he often augments his wardrobe with a flashy bowtie and stylish eyewear, he brightens up a dish with a surprise ingredient or two. There is Atlantic flounder with caramelized cauliflower and raisin chutney, for example, and pumpkin ravioli with pears and pomegranate seeds. His musicality and love of rock and roll are apparent when he riffs on short rib stroganoff with spaetzle, wild mushrooms and peppered sour cream, or a pot roast cranked up with red pepper flakes and anchovy. And when he wants to improvise, he turns to savory homemade marshmallows, adding chive-coated ones to bisques and lavender-flavored ones to pea soup. The seven chapters are arranged somewhat haphazardly, sometimes by course (“Sweet Treats”), sometimes by main ingredient (“Grains and Pasta”) and sometimes thematically (“A Walk Through the Garden”), but attention is paid to seasonality throughout, with suggestions such as accompanying tacos with mango salsa instead of guacamole when the weather turns tropical. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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The Laws of Cooking (And How to Break Them)

Justin Warner. Flatiron, $35 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-06513-1

Viewers may remember Warner on The Next Food Network Star as a culinary mad scientist, employing a wide variety of appliances and ingredients to create unusual concoctions, but his approach here is smart and down to earth. He takes a handful of familiar pairings, such as lemonade (sweet and sour), coffee with cream and sugar (bitter meets fat and sweet) and General Tso’s chicken (spicy and sweet) to show readers how to apply those basic concepts to other dishes in order to create something that’s as unique as it is toothsome. Smoked oysters stand in for the standard anchovies in the classic Caesar salad, and Warner piles on accessible and enticing riffs such as Mini Reuben Wellingtons; pepperoni-crusted cod with pineapple; blue cheesecake with Frank’s RedHot sauce; and Howitzer Habanero Chocolate Cake, a dense, rich caked topped with a fiery habanero cream cheese frosting. There are also occasional showy dishes such as Sardines, Their Skeletons, and Sumac; foie gras–filled doughnuts; and lox prepared in a DIY cold smoker that bears the influence of Warner’s mentor, Alton Brown. Warner’s focus is on the food, and encouraging readers to stretch their palates and skills to create something truly unique. This is a refreshingly new take from an author to watch. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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The Authentic Sale: A Goddess’s Guide to Business

Rena Cohen-First. Hay House/Balboa, $28.95 (108p) ISBN 978-1-50433-100-5

Cohen-First, a sales coach, seeks to empower women to pursue successful sales careers in a business guide that emphasizes the importance of one’s own “authentic behavioral style.” Drawing on wisdom culled from professional and educational experiences, the author encourages female readers to go from supporting roles to the front lines, in part by tapping into the power represented by Greek goddesses, such as “Athena the Wise” and “Demeter the Primordial.” In Cohen-First’s opinion, the prevailing wisdom about the field is from and geared toward men, but women also have unique strengths they can bring to sales. Aiming to help readers overcome challenges, she explores how to tap into one’s authentic self and dedicates a chapter to the foundations of solid business practices, namely product knowledge, time management, and preparation. She quickly moves on to harder-to-acquire skills such as taking control, handling objections, dealing with customer expectations, and moving the sale forward. Cohen-First’s writing style is personal, familiar, and colloquial, not the standard authoritative voice that most how-to guides employ, and her book has plenty of astute suggestions to provide. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Points of Inspiration: An Artist’s Journey with Painting and Photography

LeeAnn Brook. Brook Design Group, $39.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-692-25772-2

This magnificent debut from Brook, a photographer, painter, and graphic artist, showcases 150 full-color photographs and paintings by the artist, accompanied by her thoughtful reflections on the inspiration she derives from observing nature. Brook reveals that there is a wonderful serendipity to her work when she happens upon a “rusted boat... a cobblestone street... light on a quaking aspen.” New material frequently builds upon previous work, leading to an intriguing harmony between photographs and paintings: repetitive lines, textures, and colors from a weathered boat captured in a photograph show up years later in a painting of water lilies, and an intricate Victorian gate foretells a future color palette. Lavishly descriptive wording—“primal elements,” “quiet details,” “tapestry,” and “spontaneity”—enriches the narrative as Brooks provides an intimate explanation of her creative process. The paintings are vivid and scenic: a silver-gray reflection of tree lines and curves is reimagined in glorious colors, contours from a tile in Italy’s Sistine Chapel take on movement in a windy garden, and a rock pattern reflection becomes an abstract form. Brook’s artistry inspires throughout. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Works Well with Others: An Outsider’s Guide to Shaking Hands, Shutting Up, Handling Jerks, and Other Crucial Skills in Business That No One Ever Teaches You

Ross McCammon. Dutton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-95502-3

Esquire editor McCammon has written an entertaining but ultimately superficial guidebook to creating and navigating a career. Aimed at people who feel like outsiders in the workplace, the book advises readers on handling workplace anxiety, inexperience, and imposter syndrome with panache. McCammon frames his advice through the narrative of his own career path, from in-flight magazine writer to savvy, polished magazine editor, addressing how to master the small skills—soft and otherwise—that can help launch and nurture a career, such as interviewing, working with recruiters, managing intimidating people, pitching ideas, entering a room, smiling, and making small talk. While the presentation is funny and encouraging, and the suggestions about understanding and working through insecurities (and succeeding in spite of them) are helpful, McCammon’s survey-course approach is too scattershot to allow any real depth and is unlikely to be targeted enough for any individual reader. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Raw Deal: How the “Uber Economy” and Naked Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers

Steven Hill. St. Martin’s, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-07158-3

Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit promote the idea that their employees enjoy a lifestyle of flexible hours and financial freedom. But Hill’s (Europe’s Promise) scathing critique of this vision will give readers pause before checking their smartphones for their next vacation rental or ride to the airport, as he develops the image of a well-educated Uber driver earning less than minimum wage while her bedroom is Airbnb’d to a tourist. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on delivering a solid critique of the labor practices in the sharing, or “share the crumbs,” economy, Hill throws in some extraneous material about robots replacing workers, black markets, and Keynesian economic policy. Sturm und Drang sits in for concise reasoning, as Hill decries “the mortal spiral that America is spinning around, like a marble rolling around a gravity well.” In such moments of lumbering polemic, the book obfuscates its more important thesis: the need for a new kind of labor movement that can meet the innovation of the sharing economy with an equally bold vision for fair, decent, and well-paying work and a portable social safety net that will benefit freelancers, temps, and “solopreneurs” everywhere. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose

Melanne Verveer and Kim K. Azzarelli. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-52719-5

In this empowering work about women’s valuable contributions to the global economy, consulting firm Seneca Point cofounders Verveer (the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues) and Azzarelli (chair of Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice) offer a simple three-step template for continued female success: know your power, find your purpose, and connect with others. To show these principles in action, they incorporate the stories of such inspirational women as fashion designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg; designer Donna Karan; Sunitha Krishnan, who founded the Hyderabad-based organization Prajwala to help survivors of sexual exploitation; and Molly Melching, who seeks to curtail female genital mutilation in Africa. “When women have the support and the opportunity to pursue [entrepreneurship], it’s clear they can put us on track to fast-forward to a world of growth, opportunity, and progress,” they opine. The authors also point out that more women should be encouraged to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. An inspiring foreword by Hillary Clinton bolsters the authors’ message that women, working together, can accomplish anything. 8-page color insert. Agent: Jennifer Joel and Rafe Sagalyn, ICM/Sagalyn. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/31/2015 | Details & Permalink

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