National Bread Machine Baking Month

January is almost over, but it's not to celebrate National Bread Baking Month.

Whether you're the owner of a new bread machine, or whether you have one that you might want to dust off, Bread Machine Magic can get you started. That book isn't your only choice, you might find something you like in The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking, The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book, or The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.

You don't have to have a bread machine, though, to get into the spirit of bread making.

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day is a great book for those who are interested in making bread at home, but are less interested in developing a mastery of broad bread-making techniques. Jim Lahey's, My Bread is another good book for those who want the bread, but not the kneading.

Vegans and people who can't eat gluten don't need to be left out either! Gluten Free & Vegan Bread is the right book for people with those particular dietary restrictions.

Maybe you're intrigued by the idea of spending some time with grains in the kitchen, but not quite sure that you're ready to take the next step. In that case, you might check out Video Bread Basics. Sometimes a DVD can deliver a blast of information in a short amount of time.

Maybe your bread making adventures will inspire you to embark on a journey to make the perfect loaf. William Alexander did just that, and you can read about it in 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning and a Perfect Crust.

Go! Ice Cream Presents the Story of Delicious Ingredients!

Thursday February 27, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).
This event will be recorded

Rob Hess of Ypsilanti’s Go! Ice Cream will share the story of the ingredients behind your favorite ice cream flavors.

From the story of vanilla and its variations around the world to the science of brown butter, learn about delicious flavors and then taste some of Go! Ice Cream’s delectable flavors!

Go! Ice Cream is a small company that crafts artisanal ice creams in small batches using local ingredients, and delivers them right to your door.
Whether it gets to you from the back of their bike or you find it in your favorite grocer’s freezer section, you can be sure you’re eating all-natural products without preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, or other multi-syllabic chemicals.

Go! Ice Cream was founded by Rob Hess on the belief that dessert is a good thing, a sweet enhancement to a life well-lived. His goal is to bring more flavor to life through bold versions of classic ice creams and adventurous new flavor combinations.

Smell and Tell: Baking with Flavor

Wednesday February 19, 2014: 6:30 pm to 8:45 pm -- Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Food grade essential oils are a great way to add flavor to pastry and chocolate creations. A few drops are all you need to make memorable desserts.

Flavor and fragrance expert Michelle Krell Kydd will teach you how to use food grade essential oils to make exquisite tea cakes and cookies without a mixer. You’ll learn how to work with a “master dough” and use your sense of smell and taste to create unique and interesting flavor combinations.

Michelle blogs at Glass Petal Smoke, an award-winning blog that explores the connections between scent, food and science.

National Vinegar Day

If I had to guess what day National Vinegar Day fell on, I never would have guessed a cooler month.

You learn something new every day.

If you're inclined to celebrate National Vinegar Day, our cookbooks can help you do that.

To learn more about vinegar, you might try The Good Cook's Book of Oil and Vinegar or Zingerman's Guide to Good Vinegar.

Maybe you've been meaning to try your hand at making adobo, a preparation involving meat, seafood, or vegetables prepared in a sauce of vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. In that case, The Adobo Road Cookbook is a good place to start. But you'll also find a recipe for Pollo Adobo (Chicken in the Adobo Style) in Asia: The Beautiful Cookbook. If you're more of a pork fan, you'll find Puerco en Adobo (Pork in Adobo) in Diana Kennedy's Cuisines of Mexico.

Scraping frost form your window in the mornings doesn't mean that you have to say goodbye to salad season. Why am I talking about salads to celebrate National Vinegar Day? The vinaigrettes! Fresh Ways with Salads, Cooking Light Big Book of Salads, and Italian Salads for All Seasons are good places to start.

Finally, I can't talk about celebrating vinegar without talking about pickles. The Complete Book of Pickling, and the Pickled Pantry will have you puckering in no time. If you're in for a smaller time investment Quick Pickles might be the choice for you.

How did you celebrate National Vinegar Day?

Chicago Chef Charlie Trotter has died

Charlie Trotter, well-known chef and author who put Chicago cuisine on the map, died yesterday at his home in Lincoln Park, IL.

Trotter, born and raised in the Chicago area, never strayed far from his roots. As a student at the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a roommate's challenge to prepare a multi-course meal, and was soon hooked on tossing the cookbooks and boldly experimenting.

At age 29, with the help of his wealthy father, Trottter opened his revolutionary restaurant, Charlie Trotter's. It was an instant success. Trotter was committed to the idea of buying local and in season, long before locavore was A Thing. All of a sudden, Chicago's ho-hum reputation with foodies was shot with the adrenaline of new possibilities. Many of the area's finest chefs trained under Trotter, not an easy task, as he was known not only for his food creativity, but for his outsized temper. (Look for Trotter in the kitchen scene in My Best Friend's Wedding (2001), starring Julia Roberts, in which he delivers the memorable line, "I will kill your whole family if you don't get this right.")

Author of several cookbooks, Charlie was also a presence on PBS with his show, The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter, based on a book (1999) by the same name.

Last year, on its 25th anniversary, Trotter closed his most famous restaurant, announcing he wanted to travel with his beloved second wife, Rochelle. He had a history of strokes and lived with a brain aneurysm and felt he was on borrowed time.

In fact, Trotter had just returned from the very first Jackson Hole Culinary Conference in Wyoming where he was the keynote speaker, despite his doctor's warning not to fly with the time bomb in his head.

Trotter was just 54 years old.

National Homemade Bread Day is November 17th!

I was surprised to learn that on November 17th, in two weeks, we get to celebrate National Homemade Bread Day! This special day is a great excuse to learn about baking bread, discover information about its history, and experience the many delicious breads that the local bakeries in Ann Arbor have to offer.

The AADL has tons of great books to help you create delicious homebaked breads in your own kitchen. Check out The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking and Flour Water Salt Yeast: the Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza for tips on how to get started. We also have Gluten-free and Vegan Bread: Artisanal Recipes to Make at Home and many other vegan and gluten-free oriented bread and baking books for those who have dietary restrictions. Beard on Bread has been a favorite of bread bakers since the 1970s and has more than 100 recipes in it, along with illustrations that kids (and adults!) may enjoy.

Of course, “homemade” doesn’t have to mean made in your own home. National Homemade Bread Day can be celebrated with other people’s homemade bread too! Try out Jefferson Market and Cakery for some delectable baked goods and swing by Angelo’s for a slice of their thick homemade raisin bread along with your brunch.

Enjoy your homemade feasting!

November is World Vegan Month

It's no secret that veganism - a lifestyle eschewing animal products - is on the rise. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman introduced to the world his popular "eat vegan before 6 p.m." diet this year with the release of his book VB6. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, John Salley, Emily Deschanel, Russell Simmons, and even former president Bill Clinton have been vocal about the benefits of their plant-based diets. Articles about the rise of veganism have appeared in New York Times, Huffington Post, Business Week, and Psychology Today. Vegan athletes are popping up in all kinds of disciplines - running, cycling, mixed martial arts, even football!

Whether you're a longtime vegan, a vegetarian thinking about making the switch, or an omnivore curious about plant-based diets, AADL has lots of great cookbooks to help you celebrate World Vegan Month!

For delicious meal ideas, check out the classic Veganomicon, the phenomenal Vegan Soul Kitchen, or the recent homage to Betty Crocker, Betty Goes Vegan. Got a sweet tooth? Don't miss Chloe's Vegan Desserts (the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies are to die for!), The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (vegan and gluten-free diets can go hand in hand), or Easy as Vegan Pie (which also has savory pies - just in time for the holidays!). Just want to know more about plant-based living and its myriad benefits? We've got lots of books and DVDs on that.

Soup's On

We are in Michigan after all, and it's time to face the fact of cooling temperatures.

One of the best ways to do that is with a simmering pot of soup! We have plenty of books to help inspire your next simmering sensations.

If you're the type to aim high, you might take a look at Best Soups in the World. Here you'll find recipes for "Cambodian Stuffed Cabbage Roll Soup," "Blackfoot Bison and Blackberry Soup," and "Georgian Beef and Apricot Soup." The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups will challenge you to make "Amish-Style Chicken and Corn Soup," and "Indonesian Chicken, Noodle and Potato Soup."

If you like your soup with a story, The Soup Peddler's Slow and Difficult Soups might be the soup cookbook for you. Contrary to what the book's title suggests, the soups themselves aren't slow and difficult. It's David Ansel's path as a soup peddler that proved to be a bumpy one.

Maybe you like to take the chill off without the help of animal-based broths. If that's the case Love Soup is an excellent choice. This book features 160 vegetarian recipes. Your mouth may begin watering as soon as you take in the table of contents where you'll find recipe titles like "Arugula and Apple Soup With Toasted Almonds," and "Roasted Poblano Chile Soup." If these sound good to you, you might also enjoy 365 Vegetarian Soups by Gregg Gillespie.

The cooler seasons last a while around here; maybe you'll find some new soup favorites to help you keep warm!

Happy Polish American Heritage Month!

Cześć!

Celebrate Polish American Heritage Month (ongoing throughout October) at the AADL! This annual event was first started in 1981 and celebrates Polish history, culture and pride, as well as the many achievements of Polish Americans. Whether or not you have Polish heritage, participating in Polish American Heritage Month is fun and easy. Listen to traditional Polish fiddle music by the Karol Stoch Band and try your hand at some Polish recipes. Kids may enjoy hearing ancient Polish fables and folktales read aloud to them, too.

The library also has many books written in Polish in our World section, as well as books and CDs to help you learn and master the Polish language, whether you are an interested beginner or an out-of-practice native speaker. Try Colloquial Polish: the complete course for beginners, or Mastering Polish with 2 audio CDs, which also comes with a Polish-English dictionary.

For information about Polish history in Michigan, read about the first Polish people to settle in Detroit in Detroit’s Polenia, by Cecile Wendt Jensen. You can also learn about the contributions Polish people have made to Michigan culture and about the attraction that many Polish people feel to our state in Poles in Michigan, by Dennis Badaczewski.

Happy Polish American Heritage Month, and Miłego dnia!

Gumbo time

National Gumbo Day is coming up! If you're looking for an excuse to celebrate gumbo, October 12 is your day.

There seem to be as many possible explanations of where the word gumbo originates as types of gumbo. However, most sources will tell you that the word likely originated from one of its two main ingredients, okra or filé. The Bantu word for okra, which itself comes from Africa, is ki ngombo or quingombo. In the language of the native Choctaw, filé was known as kombo. We know that Louisiana, gumbo's home, was influenced by the French, the Spanish, those of African ancestry and those of Native American ancestry. With gumbo, we can see and taste Louisiana's melting pot.

With this in mind, it's no surprise that gumbo is different things to different people. Some people thicken it with okra; others wouldn't think of putting a slice or pod of okra in the dish. Some gumbos include filé powder, others don't. Some people depend on a roux to thicken the dish. The AADL cookbook collection can get you started on an exploration of this delicacy.

Chef, author, and restaurateur Josh Besh gives you a variety of gumbo recipes in his book My New Orleans. There are "Drew's Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo," "Blake's Duck, Green Onion, and Chicken Sausage Gumbo," and "Seafood Gumbo" among others. That's not all; you'll find over 200 recipes in this book.

Beyond Gumbo, by Jessica Harris, is a cookbook that focuses on the "Atlantic rim." The recipes in this book venture beyond Louisiana, but focus on creole food from a variety of cultures surrounding the Atlantic. Here you'll find a recipe for "Aunt Sweet's Seafood Gumbo."

If you like your recipes presented in a down to earth fashion, Down Home with the Neelys might be your perfect gateway to gumbo cookery. Here you'll find a recipe for "Nana's Southern Gumbo," delivered in their signature casual style.

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