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  1. Cooking

Cookbook reviews: Asian specialties and food truck favorites

Published Feb. 18, 2013

.TITLE: Simply Ming In Your Kitchen: 80 Recipes to Watch, Learn, Cook & Enjoy by Ming Tsai with Arthur Boehm (Kyle Books, 2013, $35)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: This cookbook may be the beginning of the future of cookbooks. Every recipe includes a QR code that when used with your smartphone, links to a video and a free interactive shopping list. There are 16 free videos, two from each of eight chapters. Others can be purchased from the chef's website. The videos are 10 minutes long. Many of the recipes are Thai- or Asian-inspired and involve seafood or chicken. There are only a handful that use beef, lamb or pork.

FOR: Adventurous cooks, especially cooks who aren't afraid of using new, unusual or hard-to-find ingredients and those who love technology. This cookbook is for someone comfortable working with uncommon ingredients and a variety of techniques.

RECIPES: Red curry braised pork on rice, turkey scaloppini with black bean onion sauce and spinach, pan-roasted duck breast with mushroom fricassee, sambal shrimp gumbo, teriyaki hanger steak with garlic Yukon mashers and apricot lamb lettuce cups with sambal yogurt.

KNOW THIS: If you don't cook many ethnic foods, other than say Italian or French, some of the ingredients, such as rice sticks, may be new to you. Many ingredients will require a trip to a specialty or ethnic grocery. On the plus side, Tsai offers tips for each recipe.

.TITLE: The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home by Diana Kuan (Ballantine Books, 2013, $30)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Many of us turn to Chinese takeout as a dinner solution for busy nights. But for those who want to master some of their favorite to-go recipes at home, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook offers recipes for favorite dishes. And some that might not be so familiar.

FOR: Those who love Chinese food and takeout and want to make it at home.

RECIPES: Chop suey, garlic shrimp with broccoli, Singapore noodles, spicy garlic eggplant, Mongolian beef, orange chicken, egg drop soup, crab Rangoon, pork and shrimp egg rolls, scallion pancakes, hoisin chicken wings, and mango pudding.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: A wok is helpful in making these recipes but you'll also need a blender, food processor and instant-read oil thermometer to name some other equipment. Don't be intimidated, though, there is an entire section of the book devoted to ingredient and equipment definitions as well as other basics of Chinese cooking.

.TITLE: Ride or Fry: The Dante Fried Chicken Experience by Dante Gonzales and the DFC Crew (Sterling Epicure, 2013, $19.95)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Perhaps it was just a matter of time before we starting seeing food tuck celebrities capitalizing on their fame and writing cookbooks. Gonzales has fed lots of A-listers at underground parties and red-carpet events. If this cookbook is any indication, the famous must be more than willing to wreck their diets for some of his food. Ride or Fry has a fun, whimsical, almost-cartoon look too it. It is not a traditional look in any sense. Scattered among the recipes are author memories and photos through the years. There are also many color photos of the dishes.

FOR: This cookbook will appeal to a wide variety of people. There are recipes for vegan, vegetarian, meat dishes and more.

RECIPES: Drunk Spanish rice, collard green roll upz, cranberry almond slaw, vegan black sesame tacos, DFC steak pie, Cajun smoked tea duck, spicy strawberry baby backs, pumpkin patch fish-n-chips, Guinness BBQ brisket, tofu chitterlings, ginger spice cornbread, orange coconilla pie and fresh corn-n-cucumber salad.

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