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Not Your Mother's
Microwave Cookbook
Americans are at last embracing the appliance that has been sitting in the kitchen for decades, the one everybody loved to ignore: the microwave oven.” This statement recently ran in the Wall Street Journal, to my delight. And of course, Not Your Mother’s is right there on time to fill the need of cooks, and noncooks, who want to know what to do beyond reheating in a microwave.

The microwave, while so familiar, has a checkered reputation. Cooks love it (great cooking tool) or hate it (would never use it), but most American kitchens and work places all now have microwaves for the incredible convenience for reheating. I had mixed feelings at best: had gotten dependent on mine, but used it superficially. So how to write a microwave book with a fresh approach was the challenge.

The microwave is famous for a few elementary kitchen cooking tasks, such as heating up leftovers and cold coffee, heating water for tea, reheating take out food and canned soup, making instant oatmeal, popcorn, and cooking frozen dinners (there are still an amazing array of ready to cook foods for the bare pantry cook, such as frozen brown rice and even steelcut oatmeal). But the microwave, for how effortless and undemanding a tool for mundane tasks, at the same time, I found turn out some very tasty and even stylish dishes. So whatever level you play, I found this appliance can do the job.

So how would I tackle the microwave’s capability so it would serve me best. First I looked at what was in print, as microwave cookbooks abound. Most of the books in print were written in the 1980s and early 1990s, the base rock research from the revered food pros. Then there was a lull and in that space, ovens themselves made a big jump in wattage, translating to faster, more efficient cook times, even a bit larger oven space. And of course the tempered glass turntable, which I couldn’t do without, and the sensitive digital commands. The last decade had only a handful, which went unnoticed, but with the new top of the line ovens, I predict the microwave and recipes for it will experience an unsurpassed renaissance as the premier countertop kitchen appliance.

So since the microwave is about fast, that is where I focused, but not on ready-made convenience foods, but simple homemade dishes that ended up being just as fast as their frozen entree counterparts. I wanted to utilize the microwave for this fabulous convenience, encouraging people who rarely cook for the lack of time or experience. So the recipes are simple and centered around one or two fresh good tasting items as well as everyday tasks. The microwave can simmer, steam, boil, reheat, reduce, poach, and braise with the best of ‘um. I collected recipes that do what the microwave does best, from vegetables, potatoes, and hot breakfast cereals to sauces, custards, jams. Never made candy? Now you can and get it right first try. How about a tomato sauce for pasta in under 10 minutes? Fish cooks better and with the least fuss in the microwave than any other method. Please don’t miss a yummy hot chocolate for a pick-me-up, and range of hot teas.

Microwave ovens are so revolutionary in how they cook food that they have been dubbed “the greatest discovery since fire.” I get a big kick out of that allegory. Once you learn the basics and understand the limitations and benefits of this method of cooking, you'll find that microwaves are incredibly versatile and that you will not ever want to be without one.

I love the pastel cover of the salmon in parchment. The photography is by Joyce Oudkerk Pool, who was one of my first photographers for the bread books 20 years ago. She had one hellava eye then and she has only gotten better -- the book shines with her mouthwatering vision.
My Mom's Halibut with Garden Herbs
Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Cookbook
Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook was the catchy title for this 500 page tome devoted to the slow cooker medium of cooking. This is the book that started the Not Your Mother’s series for me and put me in the world of serious crockpotting. There are so many good recipes in NYMSC that it is hard to say what are my favorites. And this sentiment has been translated effectively to the reader who cooks to my delight and satisfaction. I love the soup chapter. The stocks can literally change your culinary life they are so easy and so delicious. With my co author, Julie Kaufmann, we went deep into well-loved casseroles, ethnic flavors, whole grains, breakfast porridge (yes overnight oatmeal), polenta (one of the most amazing recipes and now you can make polenta for a crowd no sweat), then meat, poultry, fish, sides, stews galore, a definitive guide to cooking beans and lentils, and even the best slow cooker specific desserts. We dug deep into traditional cooking methods to find the best braised dishes and stews.

The first 20 pages offer a solid body of information about all things pertaining to slow cooking, which is lacking in most books: What is true slow cooking? All about the lovely stoneware insert, shapes, and sizes. How to use the new "smart pots" with their digital temperature settings. How to handle your first crockpot and what to expect while it is cooking. High altitude slow cooking guide. Recipes categorized by size of the cooker—small, medium, or large. The ever important perennial basic "rules" of slow cooking, that even I still refer to. A chart for figuring out different cooking times and adapting conventional recipes. Each section of recipes includes a introductory section with pertinent information and a list of the best cuts of meats to use in the slow cooker.

We balanced the book with the working mom type recipes that take all day or so, but also recipes, like for chicken, that can be made when you get home and be ready for dinner in a few hours. There is an emphasis on whole foods and seasonal foods, which is all the rage now in foodie land. There is something for every style and manner of cook here, so you will find out why this book is one of the benchmarks of the genre and very popular. If you are traveling, you don’t need to leave NYMSC at home, you can have it in digital format! Slow cooking moves into the future, with ideas and inspiration to cooks.

To you all, from Julie and I, happy slow cooking!
Corned Beef and Cabbage
M's Turkey Taco Salad

 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Cookbook
(French version)
Du nouveau dans la mijoteuse, the French version of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook, translates to New in the Slow Cooker or Crock Pot. We couldnt be more pleased. Considering the ceramic crock is designed after classic French casserole dishes, its a natural. Available in Canada and France, the slow cooker is certainly going global and NYM's first volume looks splendid in French. While there is a bit of difference in French and US ingredients, the standard measurement we wrote it in converted into metric, and the way the French categorize their meat cuts, there are never enough inspiring recipes for the slow cooker utilizing fresh ingredients and culinary global flavors. Published by Ada Publishing, Inc. of Quebec, Canada.

 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Cookbook
Deluxe Edition
In 2007, Rodale, publishers of Prevention Magazine and the South Beach Diet, produced a deluxe edition of their own of Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook instead of commissioning a new book. They added a color photo insert, which the original did not have. Readers describe the book as the Joy of Cooking for Slow Cookers it is so comphrensive. It sold like hotcakes and there are some copies still available.
 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Recipes For Two
This was one of the slow cooker projects that was just plain fun and allowed for my creativity to flow unchecked throughout the whole year I worked on it. The first NYMSC was geared toward larger quantity cooking in the 5 to 7 quart cookers. I got a 1 ½ quart oval and a 3 quart oval (so that turkey breasts and a nice meatloaf fit nicely) from Proctor Silex and I was off and running. I was in love. This size was perfect for cooking for one or two. I used my equation for fresh whole foods with good seasoning and I got some real winners. I bought specials at the supermarket, I used fresh cut stew meats, and some gourmet items to vary flavor. I included a solid front section with lots of how-tos and a review of small slow cookers. There are LOTS of special tips scattered throughout the book (Slow Cooker Tip: If you are leaving the slow cooker unattended all day or night, it is best to cook on the LOW setting. That way there is no chance your food will overcook. Most pot roasts, stews, soups, and chili all cook best on LOW.).

A few friends contributed recipes, like the Chicken Bouillabaisse and Greek Chicken with Feta. This cookbook was favorably reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, which is always a perk.
Baby Beef Stew Classico
Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Plum Glaze
 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining
Entertaining was a delicious afterthought project that ended up Part 2 of the first Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker book. While making the first NYMSC, Julie got together with her friend Batia Rabec and had slow cooker dinner parties. They would line up 10 slow cookers and make different dishes that the guests would comment on during dinner. It was a wildly successful way to make lots of unbelievable tasting recipes in a short period of time, bring in other people’s style of slow cooker (Batia is a slow cooker wiz) and have a great time too. The recipes fit into Entertaining along with pulled pork, new fashioned pot roast and beef burgundy, hot dips, nuts (Buttery Rosemary Pecan Halves—ayeeeee), all manner of punch bowl style hot punches and TEAS making your slow cooker an electric punch bowl (a killer chapter), suitable-for-sit-down-dinner-party chilis and picnic baked beans, and meats that are for special occasions like rabbit, duck breast, venison, pheasant, and game hens. Fondues are substantially represented in both sweet (chocolate) and savory (cheese) versions. This is the book that will give you an entire repertoire of savory holiday stuffings and great vegetable side dishes. Our favorite dessert ended up being poached fresh fruits, such as Slow Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce. Just to round it all out, we included a chapter on steamed breads and cake-like puddings, which are fantastic.

NYMSC Recipes for Entertaining spent dozens of days at #1 of all books, and pretty much the only cookbook which was a delight and surprise, on Amazon.com Kindle Best Sellers List for the Christmas Season 2009.
Chicken with Mango and Coconut
Family-Style Winter Tomato Sauce
 
Not Your Mother's
Weeknight Cooking
This was the first real regular food cookbook I have written and it was a joy from start to finish. My mother is an enviable cook-- myself and my two sisters all take after her as good cooks who enjoy time in the kitchen. I grew up eating well prepared home cooked food, with restaurant food only for celebrating a special occasion. So with decades of cooking behind me, I did not have to make up new recipes, I simply went into my files for my all time favorites. For my family, we now have all our tried and true recipes in one place now! NYM Weeknight Cooking utilizes regular stovetop, oven, and microwave appliances. There was a time limit of 30 to 60 minutes tops total prep and cook time combined, designing the book to be a handbook of ideas for making a meal with fresh, easily available ingredients without a long time spent in the kitchen. The book is not too large, so it is easy to quickly access a recipe. You can get lost in big books, but not in Weeknight Cooking. There are many recipes that can be made from pantry staples in case you don't have time to go to the supermarket. The recipes are often familiar with a twist, so you can experience some new flavors. The recipes are ones I really make, and ones my family have made, for years, even decades. Many cookbooks promise "quick, healthy, and delicious" recipes, but few deliver as good as these recipes do.
Chicken with Beer Glaze and Mexican Spices
Chinese Spaghetti with Pork Sauce
 
Not Your Mother's
Slow Cooker Family Favorites
Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be good. It doesn’t need to impress when you are talking about home cooking, but to be just tasty and nourish the body and soul with warm, inviting, informal flavor. Every family has their weekly dinner standards: spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf, chicken, beef stew. While the NYMSC books have been called new recipes designed for the more sophisticated cook, this volume of family favorites heads back to our American cooking roots with homey soups and one pot meals, with a few imaginative twists on familiar recipes I cant resist including. In collaboration with my sister, Meg, I was able to pull together a collection of recipes that are simple to prepare, focusing on sensible flavor combinations and the freshest ingredients you can find.

In a nutshell, traditional American home cooking. Wholesome food that is modern but not fussy, fitting in with a family-friendly healthy food lifestyle.
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The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook
The bread machine book changed my culinary life. It was a publishing contract that was a turning point for me. Up to the bread machine, I was a strictly make bread by hand or stand mixer lady. Even using the food processor was a special occasion. It was important to me that the soul of baking was preserved and that meant it had to be touched by human hands.

It is hard to believe but at one time the professional food community not only dished the bread machine as a passing trend, but was incredibly vocal about it in the media. It was a unique culinary chapter. The machine was for people who were not serious about good food, certainly not wholesome, from the earth ingredients put together with heart and soul. So as a teacher of baking, I just ignored the trend. I turned down the offer to write a book on bread machine baking multiple times. But for some reason, my publisher wanted me specifically to write it. I have to thank him for that...
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The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook
When Julie, my coauthor, got a Sanyo rice cooker as a gift from her husband as he passed through the Tokyo airport, she couldn’t find recipes to make in it. The accompanying booklet was for Japanese ingredients, not American cooks. We realized a good rice cooker handbook was needed. If you eat rice more than a couple of times a week, a rice cooker is a solid investment. But where to start? The challenge was that there were different types of machines and how to write recipes to bridge the gaps? So we wrote the book including not only the how-tos but about all the available rices on the market. We are working on a revision with an expanded section on delicious whole grains out in 2012. We are very proud to be endorsed by the Rice Federation of America, who consider our rice cooker book one of the best books in print on rice. Wow, what an honor...
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The Best Quick Breads
Every so often there is a book I write that utilizes my old cooking notebooks that are the reference I have used since I started baking. It's a muslin bound 3-ring binder that I bought in the early 1970s to put my recipes in. Well, its still around and bulging now with my favorite recipes. The quick bread recipes came out of this binder instead of being created just for the book. The Art of Quick Breads appeared in the early 1990s published by Chronicle Books. It was one of my first books to go out of print and I was pretty sad since it was by far one of my favorite and beautiful books. Lo and behold fast forward 10 years later and my editor at Harvard Common Press loved the book as much as I did. And with some revision and more recipes, without the lush photos, The Best Quick Breads retained every bit of the magic of the original volume and is a great resource for the most popular genre of baking.

The term "quick bread" refers to any bread that uses chemical leaveners (baking powder and/or baking soda) as opposed to yeast, which needs time to rise. This includes from scratch pancakes, waffles, scones, biscuits, popovers, crepes, coffeecakes, cornbreads, soda bread, muffins, and fruit and nut loaves like banana bread. Almost all quick breads have the same ingredients: flour, baking powder and/or baking soda, eggs, fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil), and a liquid (milk, buttermilk, yogurt, fruit juice). With differing proportions and the method of mixing (the quick-bread method (mixing dry and wet separately, then mixing together), the creaming method (creaming butter and sugar like for a cake), and the biscuit method (cutting in fat for flakiness), there is created the variety.

Aside from mixing methods, quick breads also vary widely in the consistency of their dough or batter. There are three main types of batters: a pourable batter, a drop batter, and stiff dough. Pour batters have a dry:liquid ratio of 1:1 and is the most moist type of quick loaf or popover batter, needing a pan to give it its shape. Drop batters have a dry:liquid ratio of 3:1 and can be freeform or in a form like a muffin tin. Stiff dough, has a ratio of about 7:1, like biscuits and scones, and do not need a mold, just a flat pan. Let the baking begin. You wont regret your time spent in the kitchen, as the rewards speak for themselves.
Baked Pancake with Cucumber Salsa
Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread
 
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