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Summer Minestrone Soup and Cook Book Review

Summer garden vegetables are plentiful in this delicious homemade summer minestrone soup. Rich, homemade stock and tender pasta cling to the healthy summer veggies. This recipe proves that soup is good any time of the year, even in the summer. 

Summer garden vegetables are plentiful in this delicious homemade summer minestrone soup. Rich, homemade stock and tender pasta cling to the healthy summer veggies. \\ PassTheSushi.com

You know what we haven’t done in a while?  An in-depth book review!

So when Abrams Publishing asked me if I would like to sample Home Made, by Yvette Van Boven, I hopped all over the chance.

For the sake of my blog’s integrity and my own conscience, I don’t always jump at the freebies. If I don’t think I can use something, I turn it down. Even if that means we don’t get the fancy coffee maker just to make an occasional single cup of hot chocolate with (no matter how much this may have upset Handsome). As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, it seems rather dishonest of me to post a falsified review of a product just so I could later re-gift it to someone. Same with a cookbook all about goats earlier this year. Sure, it looked amazing, the recipes seemed interesting and the whole concept seemed great. But other than cheese, I wasn’t sure I had a real source for goat products. How can I review a cook book all about goat with just cheese? Not fair. So, I passed.

But how could I pass up a book all about the rustic basics of making your own ice cream, canning your own preserves, or creating a smoker in your oven? These are things we can all learn without any fancy supplies or spiffy markets nearby.

When I first get a new cookbook, I flip through the entire thing, scanning for pictures and words that immediately pop out at me. Next, I read the biography about the chef. I want to know who they are, what their spin is, and why this cook book is unique on shelves packed with thousands others. Finally, I do an more thorough read of the book, looking at each and every recipe from the front to the back.

Selected for you :   Slow Cooker Beef and Noodle Soup with Artichoke Cheesy Bread

What I wasn’t expecting when I opened the package, was an encyclopedia sized compilation of do it yourself recipes. For those of you too young to know the joy of an encyclopedia or how big they are, I apologize as my reference goes over your head. Fortunately for me, we were in the middle of a horrid downpour that made it perfect for discovering a new book. So, let me tell you a little more about my discovery in my breakdown of what’s important to me in a cookbook.

Before I do that, take another look at this gorgeous bowl of homemade summer minestrone soup!

Summer garden vegetables are plentiful in this delicious homemade summer minestrone soup. Rich, homemade stock and tender pasta cling to the healthy summer veggies. \\ PassTheSushi.com

Technical Level: This book is designed to appeal to all levels of home cooks, taking every dish back to the basics and working up. At the beginning of each section, there is a page or two on the basics you will need (like creating your own broths), the recipes that follow build outward from the pages before utilizing what you just learned.

If you already know how to create a great fish base broth, you can just skip ahead and make the chowder, or if not, you could start from the ground and work your way up to a beautiful bisque. That being said, I feel that giant books are almost daunting to a new chef. Where does one start with 320 pages in a hard bound book? It can feel a little overwhelming. With patience and a basic understand of ones own skill level in the kitchen, this book features recipes achievable by anyone.

Graphic Design

The words that come to mind when I flip through this book are quaint, rustic and poppy. The author’s quirky personality seems to pop in the font choice for the titles of the recipe and occasional ‘hand-written’ font for some select recipes. The pages are neither packed with too many words or too much empty space. There’s a good flow throughout the pages. The images almost feel faded and worn, giving you the feeling they were taking in your grandmother’s garden long ago.

Selected for you :   Pesto-Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Recipe Quality

The recipes are great. Simple and easy to follow making beautiful dishes seem easy and uncomplicated. Most are broken down into steps. In the beginning of the chapter, the basics are explained with the recipes. Later, using the steps and recipe you have already worked through.

Personality

Although I own cookbooks on regional cuisine from other parts of the world, this is the first book that transported me to another place. Somewhere between tea parties in Ireland and a catering business in Amsterdam. The author seems to genuinely believe in herself, her partners, and her view on cooking. From preparing healthy filling lunches to desserts that will be enjoyed and vanish in moments, her outlook doesn’t seem tainted by commercialism that we often overlook of our own celebrity chefs, and is purely showcasing her desire to cook real food. There is even a section for dog treats! The dog is a character seen multiple times in the photographs throughout the pages.

Why I’d Buy

 This book isn’t one that I would have ran to the book store immediately to flip through or purchase. Without the opportunity to review it, I’m not sure I would have known about it until months after it’s release, however, I am glad I got the chance to flip through. The recipes make me want to roll up my sleeves and get in the kitchen on these dark dreary days.

The recipes are the kind of food that will warm your belly and give you what you need instead of the showstopper that we often come to expect from these thick heavy books. I think it will be one of those quiet books that someday eventually winds up in everyone’s collection, dog-eared and splattered with age and wear.

Selected for you :   Meatballs a la Pizzaiola

I would buy this book, not for the first time cook, but for someone who has expressed an interest or passion for cooking and a desire to learn.

This book also comes with two wonderful ribbon bookmarks that will work as wonderful cat toys when you are clearly neglecting your pets. You were warned.

OK. It’s time to make some summer minestrone soup!

Summer garden vegetables are plentiful in this delicious homemade summer minestrone soup. Rich, homemade stock and tender pasta cling to the healthy summer veggies.

 Summer garden vegetables are plentiful in this delicious homemade summer minestrone soup. Rich, homemade stock and tender pasta cling to the healthy summer veggies. \\ PassTheSushi.com

Barbecue stuffed chicken salad takes the best of barbecued chicken and pairs it with a Southwest style salad. Black beans, corn, and jalapenos, along with creamy goat cheese! // PassTheSushi.com
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Thai Corn Chowder

Tuesday 1st of October 2013

[...] begun to show them on the blog yet. To be far, my soup cravings started back in August with that minestrone and I never looked [...]

Thai Corn Chowder | Pass The Sushi!

Friday 3rd of February 2012

[...] begun to show them on the blog yet. To be far, my soup cravings started back in August with that minestrone and I never looked [...]

Jen at The Three Little Piglets

Friday 9th of September 2011

Thanks for being honest. It's always so frustrating to see a blog that reviews everything and it's all good. Kind of starts feeling phony after awhile. Much better to review products you can be honest and genuine about. The soup sounds delicious!

Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen

Sunday 4th of September 2011

Love your integrity, Kita. I feel the same way about products and reviews. Liking the sound of this book - think I'd browse it before buying it. That's the thing about having about a ton of cookbooks lurking on the shelf. It tends to make me filter my purchases carefully, but sounds like it is definitely worth a visit.

Mi Vida en un Dulce

Friday 2nd of September 2011

Thanks for sharing this Kita, my kids love Minestrone. But you know something, here in Peru it's green...because we add basil...!!

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