Spring in to Good Cooking

March 10, 2016
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They don’t call us the Ocean State for just any old reason. Rhode Island’s bounty of seafood has contributed to scores of exciting culinary endeavors, and oysters, one of our favorite mollusks, truly “bring home a taste of the sea.” Cynthia Nims’ recipe collection Oysters (Sasquatch Books, 2016) covers all you need to know about these briny delicacies.

From insider tips on how to buy and store oysters, to pro shucking techniques, to suggestions on what drinks are best for pairing, Nims’ expert information will demystify the process even for first-time cooks. Nims is clearly biased toward Pacific Coast oysters but her book includes an exciting range of cooking techniques applicable to our Crassostrea virginica East Coast oysters raised in Rhode Island. Be sure to comb the 30+ recipes, organized by preparation method. They include tasty Oyster and Kale Gratin (with brown-butter crumbs), Oyster and Celery Root Bisque and so much more.

—Emma Murray

As a lifetime New England resident, Stacy Cogswell infuses her local culinary expertise within the pages of The New New England Cookbook (Page Street Publishing, 2015). Throughout the book she celebrates the rich, historic flavors of the region, craftily adapting them for the modern home and embracing our gastronomic diversity.

She organizes the book based on seasons—offering two full menus of savory bliss for each time of year so that you and your kitchen can stay in tune with the rhythm of nature. Six courses are offered for each menu, covering starters like Red Leaf Lettuce with Asparagus, Rhubarb and Lemon Poppy Vinaigrette or main courses like Scallops with Orange Braised Carrots and Sweet Pea Purée. You won’t want to miss the Vanilla Custard with Poached Rhubarb and Fresh Strawberries, a perfect way to honor spring’s arrival. Paired with mouthwatering photos and easy-to-follow instructions, recipes are adaptable for simpler meals too.

—Emma Murray

“This is a cookbook, yes, but it’s also a barefoot ode to the soul of the coast.” No phrase could better describe the adventurous, delicious and reminiscent Fresh Fish by Jennifer Trainer Thompson (Storey, 2016). Listen to Jennifer’s stories about sailing down the coast (through Narragansett Bay!), cooking pots of chowder and feeling the sand between her toes. Sift through the different sections, starting with “soups and chowders,” then “things that swim,” next “things with shells,” followed by “on the beach.” Finish with “on the side, cocktails and sweet endings.”

Thompson offers more than clam chowder; there are recipes like Wood-Roasted Native Striped Bass and Calamari Salad with Lemon and Basil. She gives a full rundown of simple, fish-loving and wholesome recipes, pushing cooks and readers alike to embrace the food that only the East Coast can deliver. You will recognize delicious recipes and fun facts from Li’l Rhody throughout the book.

—Phoebe Gallo

Article from Edible Rhody at http://ediblerhody.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/spring-good-cooking
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