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June 1&15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Wildly popular food blogger and self-proclaimed “obsessive” self-taught cook and photographer Perelman’s exhaustive research in her tiny NYC kitchen yields some—lucky for us!—spectacular results in beautiful full color. The chatty warmth of her voice in the friendly, blog-like entry that accompanies each recipe is matched only by her warming food: hearty veggie main dishes relying on seasonal ingredients (e.g., spaghetti-squash and black-bean tacos), carnivorous delights belying her former vegetarianism (e.g., pistachio masala lamb chops), and, testing one’s ability to sit through even the most delicious meals, some impressive desserts (e.g., peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce). Perelman does her part to keep readers from ever resorting to—that dirty word—a mix and even includes an exceedingly approachable brioche in the form of a chocolate-chip pretzel. With an efficient approach to gourmandise and a giddily iconoclastic take on traditional recipes, such as replacing beef with mushrooms in a facile bourguignon and making a classic lemon cake with grapefruit instead, Perelman only includes the fussier versions of ingredients or techniques when she’s proven that they will make the end results that much better.