When enthusiastic home cook, Jennifer Reese lost her job she wondered if making homemade staples would be more cost effective. Is homemade mayonnaise cheaper than the tub you buy in the store? And just as important, does it taste better? Her book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter has over 120 recipes for the from-scratch cook - looking for both cost savings and taste improvements.
Reese's journey to make and taste homemade versions of cupboard regulars like peanut butter and bread and the more exotic like camembert and prosciutto includes helpful input from her family. She makes it sound like making your own ginger ale isn't crazy -- but actually fairly easy, cheaper than store bought, and delicious. Her voice throughout the book is casual and often really funny. The best part of the book is her interest in the highly practical and includes a 'hassle factor' for each item. Every recipe has a realistic cost comparison with store bought and an indication of how difficult each item is to make. Right there is bold print is a verdict on each item: Make it or Buy it. A few items get a warning. Make or buy cream cheese? Reese says to make it once and then decide. Make or buy English muffins? Depends on whether you are eating them plain or as a base for eggs benedict.
Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner and hot days are near. For many people this means firing up the grill. Interested in shaking up your grill routine? The library has loads of cookbooks with many new ideas -- for both meat eaters and vegetarians.
Maybe grilling isn't your thing. Once the weather turns hot, and the fresh fruits start arriving at the Market and the grocery stores all I want to do is make ice cream. I recently checked out the excellent Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts by Peggy Fallon and marked about 20 pages of interesting and often easy recipes to try including Chocolate Chipotle Ice Cream, Black Forest Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate and Cherries, and Quick Caramel-Pecan Light Ice Cream. There are also chapters on sorbets and non-dairy frozen desserts.
The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein delivers over 500 recipes covering many different types of ice creams, sorbets and granitas. He also gives ideas for recipe variations and toppings. Pictures aren't included, but this serves as a fairly straight forward reference and would be great for beginners. Read more about We All Scream for Ice Cream!