TITLE: Lobster: 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating by Brooke Dojny (Storey Publishing, $14.95, 144 pages)
GENERALLY SPEAKING: If you have ever been intimidated by the thought of cooking lobster, this new cookbook might just ease your fears. Author Brooke Dojny does an excellent job of explaining all things lobster, including the lingo, how to buy, cook and store lobster, hard shell versus soft shell and various cooking methods. You'll also find many notes helping you convert how many cups of lobster are needed versus how much whole lobster you should cook. Plus, let's just get this out of the way now: Dojny states that lobsters do not scream when you cook them. The high-pitched sound you may hear when the lobsters hit the water is steam escaping from their shell. If you are still uneasy about this, all the recipes can be made with purchased, cooked lobster meat. Just expect to pay more.
FOR: Those who love lobster, especially those afraid to cook them at home. There are also recipes for desserts that don't include lobster.
RECIPES: Tangy tarragon lobster salad in its shell, gratin of lobster and spinach with black pepper toasts, Rhode Island red lobster stew, lobster quesadillas with chunky guacamole, lobster mac and cheese, classic lobster stew, lobster gazpacho, baked stuffed spectacular, softly scrambled eggs with lobster, lobster pasta with tomato-caper cream sauce, lobster and corn risotto with roasted tomatoes, lobster and arugula pizza and lobster fra diavolo.
TITLE: The Crockin' Girls Slow Cookin' Companion by Nicole Sparks and Jenna Marwitz (the Five Star Institute, $32.95, 376 pages)
GENERALLY SPEAKING: Either you love your slow cooker and use it frequently or it's just another appliance taking up space in your kitchen. If you are part of the latter, glancing through this cookbook may change your mind. These recipes look delicious and, best of all, easy. There are recipes you never thought you could make in your slow cooker, everything from dips to desserts. It's important to mention there are two oversights with regard to this cookbook. The first is really a pet peeve of mine in that none of the recipes give the number of servings. The second oversight is not one mention is made to what size of slow cooker is needed for the recipes. In some of the photos, one with an oval shape is depicted, but some of the recipes look like they could use a smaller 4-quart type. If you use a slow cooker often, this may not be a big deal to you, but for someone just starting out it could mean disaster.
FOR: Busy families and anyone who wants a good meal on the table with minimal effort.
RECIPES: All-day mac and cheese, hickory smoked brisket, crockin' enchilada casserole, Swiss steak, sweet and sour ribs, zesty shredded chicken barbecue, ranch potatoes, cowboy beans, frito pie, groundhog cheese dip, Nicole's corn chowder, Idaho dip, apple cinnamon steel-cut oatmeal, apple butter, creamy apricot chicken, most amazing pork chops, pork chop and rice casserole, peanut clusters, tapioca pudding, triple chocolate mess, apple crisp and homemade applesauce.
TITLE: I Love Corn by Lisa Skye (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.99, 142 pages)
GENERALLY SPEAKING: Who knew you could use corn in so many recipes? From appetizers to main dish accompaniments to sides to desserts. Yes, desserts. There are some very creative recipes in I Love Corn that are sure to please a wide range of palates. All recipes use fresh corn, mostly off the cob. While there are kitchen gadgets to strip the kernels off the cob, a sharp knife will do just fine. There is great information on how to buy, store and cook — and de-kernel — fresh corn.
FOR: You really need to love corn for this cookbook to appeal to you.
RECIPES: Corn-poached halibut with tomato and charred jalapeno chutney, corn pudding with bacon and leeks, grilled New Zealand venison with corn, cocoa and chipotle relish, corn "ceviche" in corn water, roasted salmon with corn salad and salsa verde, poached peaches and rhubarb with warm corn shortcakes, popcorn pudding with salted caramel corn and butterscotch sauce, Yankee corn bread, cornmeal cake with honey and bananas, warm Jersey corn salad, lobster and corn bruschetta and sweet corn soup.