I have received the occasional review copy of a book from time to time, and one of the more diverse, eclectic catalogs comes from Schiffer Publishing. They're very strong in history, military history in particular, which I love. But Schiffer offers books on an array of subjects, from animals to woodworking.
That includes books on food and cooking. A recent new issue, Refreshed: Lighter Simpler Comfort Food, caught my eye, and I accepted a review copy.
The book's author is Jim Bailey, who goes by the moniker "the Yankee Chef." This is his second cookbook, following up on The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen.
Bailey comes from a family with deep roots both in cooking and in New England. Some of those regional influences come through in dishes like New England style lobster fried rice, hot cross buns with cranberries, and traditional corn pudding.
That said, this is not a New England cookbook as such. The focus here is on comfort food, with a particular emphasis on lightening up the ingredients a bit.
If you recoil at the idea of "lite" cooking, fear not. Bailey's recipes don't suck the life out of these dishes; they simply avoid heavy, fat-laden cooking. No "weird" ingredients, no lack of seasoning, and no lack of flavor. Maybe the occasional egg whites instead of whole eggs, a light touch with cooking oil, and the use of skim rather than whole milk. But there's butter, there's meat, and you could easily substitute the full-fat ingredients, if you're so inclined.
The book is well illustrated, with full color photographs throughout, and each recipe begins with a brief introduction by Chef Bailey. The recipes are logically and clearly laid out, and are simple yet informative. Occasional sidebars offer tips on ingredients and techniques. The chapters cover breads, soups, vegetables, grains, fish, meat, poultry and desserts.
There's a lot of good stuff packed into these 272 pages, and something here to please just about any palate. This volume would make a welcome gift for any home cook, or a good addition to a home kitchen bookshelf.
Refreshed: Lighter, Simpler Comfort Food, by Jim Bailey
Schiffer Publishing 2016