We don't normally take what arrives in the mail as a sign to buy Dodgers tickets. But a beer, snack and great sandwich book from different publishers, all on the same day? Two are cookbooks, Salty Snacks and Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches, the third is The World Atlas of Beer, a coffee table-sized beer primer for pre-game entertainment. Yeah, the Giants are back in town.
All the more reason to make some duck fat-fried potato chips, pile the fried oysters on that po'boy and pop open a beer. Get more after the jump.
Salty Snacks by food writer Cynthia Nims is filled with recipes for outside-the-box snacks like cumin-lentil crackers, popcorn with chili-lime butter and cotija cheese, five-spice crispy duck skin (!), cornbread-chile biscotti and parmesan thumbprint cookies with tomato-cherry jam. She scatters dips and spreads throughout, with a few lightly sweetened bites in between like cocoa-oat cookies with cocoa nibs.
Among the most tailgate-impressive recipes: the chapter on chips and crisps, with its handy general vegetable chip-making advice. Baked versions include Kabocha squash chips, kale chips with lemon and ginger, and portabella mushroom chips; fried varieties like parsnip and carrot chips with fresh thyme sound even better.
BAM! fan or not, Emeril Lagasse is one food celebrity who can cook up a mean po'boy — and there are a half dozen variations in this recipe-packed book. Cookbook number sixteen for Lagasse is divided by sandwich type: subs, hoagies, wraps, breakfast sandwiches, picnic-friendly bites and dessert sandwiches (café au lait macarons with white chocolate ganache, red velvet whoopie pies, peanut butter fudge sandwiched between chocolate wafer cookies). And yes, as Lagasse has to get his favorite phrase in somewhere, a chapter on “kicked-up classics” is here, with combos like fried soft shell crab sandwiches with lemon-caper mayo.
Hearty sandwiches preside, like English muffins topped with poached eggs, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus and Bearnaise sauce for those 5 a.m. soccer games, and samosas filled with curried potatoes and homemade split pea dal, sopressata and Genoa salami calzones, and a “poor man's” po'boy with homemade French fries and roast beef for prime time football. The unexpected bonus: A bread chapter with recipes for homemade English muffins, semolina pizza dough, pumpernickel and white sandwich bread, and great condiment recipes like one for pickled deli vegetables. In other words, plenty of Columbia Street grinder (photo above) halftime fodder.
Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont's new beer overview is a global history told in quick read paragraph and photo form. The coffee table-size makes it easy to flip to sections like one on Bière de Garde, a French farmhouse ale that we're pretty sure New Orleans-based Lagasse would be happy to see alongside his po-boys. But unlike many “coffee-table” beer guides, this one is packed with solid information for the novice with enough fun sidebars for the more advanced hops enthusiast.
The book begins with the basics — how beer is made, styles, storage and tasting guidelines. But we keep flipping to the chapters that follow, where beers are divided by origin, from European designates to stateside brews. An entertaining section on “Extreme Beers” includes brews from Brew Dog, as to be expected, but also Russian River Brewing for the hops meter on their Pliny the Elder (Oh, those crazy California IPAs!). All the more seventh inning fun.
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