Neela Paniz, Mumbai native, successful California restaurateur and cookbook author, had a few reservations about using a slow cooker for traditional Indian cooking, but she discovered that, given the right prep (browning onions, quickly sizzling spices), a slow cooker is an excellent way to put the splendor of traditional Indian food on American dinner tables. And, as with all dishes left to do their thing in an untended slow cooker, this method allows you to do your thing while super suppers and delicious dinners simmer to perfection. In The New Indian Slow Cooker, Paniz concentrates on regional curries, creamy dals topped with vibrant chutneys, vegetable sides and fragrant rice pulaos, biryanis and khichdi (rice and lentils). There’s a quick review of essential Indian spices, and then you’re off to create Mulligatawny Soup, Kerala Fish Curry, Pork Vindaloo, Kashmiri Potato Curry and sweet-sour Date and Tamarind Chutney.

GET SERIOUS
September is always back to reality—a time to be a bit more serious about life and, maybe, about food. So, it might be the right time to take a serious look at Seriously Delish, popular blogger Jessica Merchant’s unabashedly enthusiastic, cheerfully chatty, charmingly confessional ode to her love of food and to her mantra—“absolutely everything in moderation.” Merchant, who loves to eat and cook more than most, shares her “must-haves” and “quick & dirty tips” for her faves like brown butter, bacon grease and coconut oil, then gets to the serious business of making her delish dishes. Merchant’s devotion to flavor has propelled her to concoct some razzle-dazzle combos. Consider Baked Breakfast Risotto; Smoked Salmon BLTs with Herbed Mayo; Amaretto-Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Toast Croutons; glowingly healthy Double-Herb Kale Pesto; Caramelized Peach, Dark Chocolate & Mascarpone Grilled Cheese; Mushroom, Leek & Brussels Pizza with Fried Eggs—and that’s just for starters.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Laden with the symbolism of home and hearth, of basic and essential sustenance, bread is far more than the sum of its parts and, fresh from the oven, it’s as divine as any food can be. Kathleen Weber started making bread because she loved it, and it became her livelihood and her passion. She and her husband opened the acclaimed Della Fattoria almost 20 years ago, with Thomas Keller as one of their first clients. Now, in Della Fattoria Bread, Weber shares her unique knowledge of artisanal bread-baking by taking you on her journey from home baker to celebrated pro, from making simple breads to more complicated ones, from straightforward yeasted breads to enriched doughs, pre--fermented and naturally leavened breads, plus crackers, breadsticks, pizza doughs and flatbreads. Weber teaches you to think like a baker about the whole process—including ingredients, equipment and techniques. Once you get started, she cheers you on with time-tested baking tips, detailed, step-by-step instructions, 63 superb, inspiring recipes and photos fabulous enough to spread with butter and eat.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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