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I was so excited to read through this cookbook! It's beautifully written, and the recipes and pictures look amazing! Unfortunately, none of the recipes I've tried so far have turned out that good. (And I'd like to think I'm a decent cook.) The apple cake was too oily. The corn bread was too salty. The buttermilk dressing was shockingly bland, and never came together - it was simultaneously watery and chunky (and looked a lot like baby spit up, no matter how long I had it in the food processor.) The chili bourbon salmon had a good flavor, but broiling it made all the excess paste burn and set off the smoke alarms (when the salmon was only half way done).
I'll keep trying different recipes, and update my review if needed.
This book was so unexpected by having so many 5 star recipes. The waffles are truly amazing. The batter is a good portion and last my household for 2 days or so. I came home earlier from work one day to find my boyfriend having his second waffle for a late afternoon snack. The chicken recipe completes the waffle if you want the classic chick & waff meal. I made a few other things and they are all great. Simple ingredients, clear instructions, and great pictures. I love the inserted articles that adds onto the hominess to the place.
This book is worth buying for the first 2 recipes that I've tried. We don't live far from the Brown Sugar Kitchen here in Oakland, and love their chicken & waffles. This book has made up for the disappointment we experienced one day when we stopped by to do a Saturday morning pick-up for take out (rushing to the City to take care of some family business)... the BSK does not do take out on their wonderful chicken & waffles. Sigh. The craving has been hanging in the background since. So when I saw the book, I had to buy it.
I made the chicken last night. A wonderful recipe, and the first time that I actually got fried chicken right... crispy and flavorful, step #1 calls for coating the chicken with an herb blend before the buttermilk happens... succulent & juicy, fry til golden then finish in the oven until cooked through (to 165 degrees F!) If you like to cook, you'll know how much this makes sense.
And the waffles. Well, let me say first, that one must have faith in the recipe's instructions. The 4-hour to overnight rest period is necessary. This is a yeast-based waffle batter that requires the proliferation of certain chemical processes in order to be right. Furthermore, if you've never made yeast-based waffles, you will think you that you got it all wrong. This batter is thin & runny, and looks nothing like the typical baking powder/baking soda thick waffle batter. If you cook these waffles right away, they'll be dense and flat in flavor. Exercise patience. Let the batter rest and you'll be rewarded with magically light, crunchy, melt in your mouth treats. You'll never go back.
Sometimes a book just calls your name and this one has been calling mine often since it arrived. Not only is it a fun read, it's fun to cook from as well. I have already made sixteen of the recipes and have marked several more to try soon. One of my families favorites was the Burnt Ends Chili. Both my son and husband said I could make this one again any time. There are so many wonderful sounding recipes in this book that really satisfy my southern roots. Some of the other recipes that we loved are BSK Breakfast Potatoes, Creole Meatloaf, Sweet Potato Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze, Apple Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze, Mixed Greens with Roasted Tomato & Thyme Vinaigrette, Spinach Salad with Roasted Apple Dressing, Toasted Pecans & Goat Cheese, Caramelized Banana Pudding, Baked Sweet Potato Wedges, and BBQ Baked Beans. A first for me was the Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup which I served with the Fried Chicken. I've always wanted to try chicken and waffles but for some reason just never got around to it. A very satisfying meal indeed. The batter for the cornmeal waffles was a bit tricky though as it was a bit thinner than any waffle batter I've worked with before, but once I got the hang of how much to add to my waffle maker it was a cinch. The macaroni and cheese and the spicy green slaw were also delicious. I'm always up for trying new mac and cheese recipes. If you decide you too need this amazing book then come join us as we cook our way through the deliciousness in a cook along group on facebook run by Jenny Hartin https://www.facebook.com/groups/609019839210664/
These recipes are very straightforward, uncomplicated and deliver big time on flavor and satisfaction.
This book is so much more than just a collection of recipes. The amazing forward by Michael Chabon, the beautiful photography and a look into the soul of a chef who puts all of herself into each and every dish she cooks results in a great read that will have a permanent place in your kitchen. I also enjoyed reading the slices of West Oakland life that are incorporated throughout the book. You get a true sense of place and time that is woven throughout the food, and Tanya Holland's descriptions, voice, and stories make you feel like you are cooking with and old friend. I've cooked my way through this book and each and every recipe turned out beyond my expectations. She makes me feel like I'm a better cook than I actually am - and my family (including the kids) can't get enough of this food! Thank you Tanya!
I have alot of cookbooks and this one is so far the best. Each recipe comes with a story and that is my favorite part of the book. All the recipes can be done by cook beginners. Nothing is over complicated. Once you have all the ingredients you put the measurements. This book makes a really nice gift for any age group. It looks so fancy. I live in NYC and hope to one day visit West Oakland and visit Brown Sugar Kitchen.
I've long anticipated this book ever since I had the cornmeal waffles. There are a lot of exciting recipes I can't wait to try. My one complaint about the book is that the story telling about the hipster neighbors who frequent the restaurant is overbearing and self-congratulatory. What is largely missing is what I crave in any cookbook: explanations. Why does the chef prepare it this way when another book uses a different method? So it's less instructive than it could be. But I'm giving this 4 stars anyway, because this gourmet soul food restaurant is an amazing accomplishment.
I bought this book precisely for two items: fried chicken and waffles. At the restaurant they were the best I eaten. The chicken is seasoned and crispy and her waffles are so light and fluffy - perfect breakfast or "anytime!"
This book contained every one of the recipes from Brown Sugar Kitchen that I have eaten, and thus longed to translate, to my own table. Tanya hasn't held back any of her treasured gems, trusting us to perform them to snuff in our own kitchens. I've tried many of them already, and because her style of cooking is fairly different from the traditional Italian on which I was raised, I followed them to the letter the first time through. Each one mirrored delightfully the flavors and sensations I've come to love when dining at Brown Sugar Kitchen. I have to say I'm rather surprised and a bit disheartened by the buyer who asserts that Tanya's loving tribute to my hometown of Oakland is somehow misplaced. There is no shortage of recipes, rather she added extra pages and photographs to share the love and inspiration that brought these dishes to life. They are her tribute to the place of my birth and I was more than moved that she chose to reinvigorate my oft-beleagured hometown with her style and presence. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It's got the goods, in more ways than one.