Review: David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

This is not the first book on making ice cream and other frozen treats that I’ve had in my library. But oh is David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop ever the best and by far full of the easiest recipes. I found the recipes to not only be fantastic tasting, but all can made with pretty minimal effort and ingredients. That’s a big win in my book.

The Perfect Scoop starts out with the basics of making ice cream. You might be tempted to skip this section and skip to getting to making the good stuff, but you should read it at least once. It’s full of tips and techniques and information about ingredients that will help you make the absolutely best treats.

Next, we’re on to my favorite section, ice creams, frozen yogurts and gelatos. There’s an absolute ton of recipes in this section. Everything from ‘normal’ vanilla ice cream to basil ice cream. All well-written and none are scary enough to make the novice ice cream maker nervous. Not even 30 minutes after I got The Perfect Scoop I was making the chocolate-peanut butter ice cream. With only 5 ingredients it has quickly become a staple in our freezer.

Sorbets and sherbets are next. And there’s tons of recipes in this section, too. Really easy to make, and packed with fresh fruits. Proof you don’t have to use heavy cream to make a delicious frozen treat.

Granitas are in the next section of The Perfect Scoop. Making granitas is something very new to me, though I’ve seen it done on TV before. Darn near every recipe in this part of the book is on my to-do list. Again, all great stuff.

The last two chapters of the book are just fun. Sauces and Toppings contains everything you could ever need to turn your yummy ice cream from the second chapter of the book into something unbelievably good. Make your own marshmallow sauce. Or raspberry sauce. Or hot fudge. It’s all in there. And the Mix-Ins section? Even more great ways to customize your ice cream creations. Things like peanut brittle , fudge ripple, and truffles. Your friends and family will be amazed by the fact that everything in their bowl was made by you.


David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop is a great book for anyone interested in making their own fabulous desserts. It rates very high on my ‘Mater Rater scale.

'Mater Rater
For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Review: Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes

Wow. Much more than a collection of recipes, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes for Pork, Beef, Chicken & the Essential Southern Sides is an absolute delight. I picked up an eBook version of the book from our library and within minutes I had already bookmarked 10s of recipes that I had to make. Not wanted to make, HAD to make. Everything sounded (and looked so good) that I was already adding ingredients to my grocery list before I made it to the end of the first chapter.

If you have a grill or smoker, you need this book. Many of the recipes are simple, but delicious. Some are classics, but with slight twists that make you go ‘wow, what a great idea!’. Many are inspired by items on the menu of the incredibly popular Brother Jimmy’s restaurant in New York (and a few other places). The book is written by Josh Lebowitz, now the owner of Brother Jimmy’s. Like his letter at the beginning states, this book is meant to “bring a little Brother Jimmy’s” to backyard party or wherever you are cooking.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is divided into 11 chapters, plus an introduction for those just getting started. The chapters are: Rubs, Spices and Sauces, Condiments, Pickles and Slaws, Drinks, Starters, Soups, Stews and Sturdy Salads, Pork, Beef, Poultry, Seafood, and last, Dessert. Each section is packed with delicious recipes and notes, stories and tidbits by the author. Don’t just jump to the recipes, read it like a book. You’ll be glad you did.

I would normally tell you about some of the recipes but honestly, there are so many great ones I can’t even pick. I liked everything so much that the day after I got the book I made Brother Jimmy’s BBQ sauce, BBQ baked beans, blue cheese dressing (for dipping wings and mushrooms), marinated and grilled mushrooms (so good in the blue cheese dressing!) and Cajun-fried chicken. Every single dish was fantastic. I can’t wait to make more!

To be fair (and consistent) I do wish that Brother Jimmy’s BBQ had more pictures, but since I so loved the end results of what I made, I didn’t really need more pictures. I am going to take a little off my final score using the ‘Mater Rater but I very highly recommend this book. Go get it!

'Mater Rater

For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Review: Michael Symon’s Playing With Fire

Review: Michael Symon's Playing With FireThe other day I sat down with legendary Chef Michael Symon and talked about my favorite subject: barbecue. Ok, not really, but it felt like I did after I read thru the Chef’s new cook, Playing with Fire. Full of techniques, recipes, pictures, and written very well, it got me jonesin’ to fire up my smoker and get to cookin’!

Many of the recipes in the book come from Mabel’s BBQ, Chef Symon’s BBQ restaurant outside of Cleveland, which is definitely on my bucket list. There’s a lot in here about techniques and mastering them. The recipes are all pretty straight-forward. Sprinkled throughout the book are ‘pitmaster profiles’, little sidebars highlighting BBQ pits around the US and their specialties. Good stuff, and you can sure bet there’s one near you that you need to visit (I’m a huge fan of supporting my local BBQ joints. Nothing wrong with chains, but make sure your neighborhood pitmasters get your business). Back to the book..

Introduction: I was going to skip this section. It talks about the different kinds of smokers and grills and such. I have over 20 grills and smokers, so I’m pretty up on that stuff, though there’s always something to learn no matter how long you’ve been at it. The section on fireplace cooking made me stop and pay attention. If you live in a cold place like Chef Symon (and I) do, being able to cook inside over a big open fire is a plus. If you’re new to the world of smoking and grilling, this section is a fantastic read.

The rest of the book is about recipes, and there’s a good amount of them, with great pictures and details. You’re sure to amaze your guests with everything from Playing with Fire. There’s a section on pork (hard-core great recipes, from my favorite, pork belly, to pigs ears, to cracklings to homemade bacon), beef (only seven recipes, but don’t let that bum you out. They’re all amazing, from pastrami (something I make often) to prime rib and rib eye), chicken (I cook a lot of chicken outdoors. This section of the book does not disappoint. It’s old-school favorites done right and done well), seafood (fish, shrimp and clams), lamb (not something I cook regularly, but this section will inspire me to do just that!), vegetables and sides (oddly my favorite section of the entire book. Not a lot of recipes, but those that are there are really great. Quality, tasteful dishes. Quality over quantity.), and last, sauces, relishes and rubs (darned near my favorite section too!).

I found that Playing with Fire really focuses on the important things in barbecue: technique, quality and flavor. Every dish in it is something special. At first I thought that it’s more for the hard-core barbecuer, but a novice can make anything in it too. Not many cookbooks can accomplish that.

Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire is a great book for anyone serious about barbecue. It rates very high on my ‘Mater Rater scale.

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For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.