Whetting the Appetite
So many cookbooks, so little time to cook. But there always seems to be time to read recipes and salivate over photos. In this issue, we review a bunch of cookbooks, and since there are so many good ones, we have a few more to highlight here, starting with Cookies for Grown-ups by Kelley Cooper (Red Rock, $23.99). Both sweet and savory cookies, each paired with an adult beverage (including beer. Beer? Yes, the Mancookie, made with brown sugar, beer, sunflower seeds and--get this--chopped Slim Jims.)
Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzales-Smith and Evangelina Soza (Hippocrene, $22.50 paperback) will indeed have you saying muy bueno with almost 300 pages of scrumptious recipes, like corn in a cup or warm pear cider with tequila. Fast and Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen F. Brown (Fair Winds, $19.99 paperback): The green beans fried in batter with horseradish dipping sauce are delish, and there is a crazy Chocolate-Chunk Skillet Cookie topped with vanilla ice cream that serves 4-6.
There's a very cool Hopper-ish photo on the cover of Come In, We're Closed by Christine Carroll and Jody Eddy (Running Press, $35). The authors have collected staff meals from restaurants in America and Europe, where the communal suppers look really good. Quirk Books has a yummy entry in the comfort food division with Breakfast for Dinner by Lindsey Landis and Taylor Hackbarth ($19.95). Savory Moroccan Chicken Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon-Infused Bourbon, Root Vegetable Latkes... oh, my!
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs Smith, $45) weighs in at 700 pages and 6.2 lbs. It's definitely all there, with clear instructions, more than 750 recipes plus 650 variations. Using a wok for both Asian and non-Asian cooking is the premise of The Everyday Wok Cookbook by Lorna Yee (Sasquatch, $21.95). From omelets to chorizo hash to spaghetti, you'll be inspired to get creative. --Marilyn Dahl, book review editor, Shelf Awareness
Food & Wine
A Month in Marrakesh: Recipes from the Heart of Morocco
by Andy Harris
Andy Harris is the editor of Jamie Oliver's magazine, Jamie; David Loftus, a respected food and lifestyle photographer, is the man responsible for the images in many of Oliver's cookbooks. In 2011, the two collaborated on a collection of Moroccan recipes, A Month in Marrakesh, which has now been published in the United States.
Harris has compiled more than 250 recipes with tips on preparation and personal travel vignettes for this beautifully done collection, and Loftus's photographs generously accompany nearly every recipe while perfectly illustrating the stories in Harris's travelogue. A Month in Marrakesh includes many of the classic recipes found in cookbooks featuring Moroccan food, but readers will be impressed by the breadth of fresh and seasonal salads, the chapter on street foods and snacks and the creative combinations of meats, vegetables and fruits in Harris's tagines. Wrapped alongside a jar of preserved lemons, this cookbook will make the perfect holiday or hostess gift. --Roni K. Devlin, owner, Literary Life Bookstore
Discover: An inspired collection of Moroccan recipes and personal vignettes by a writer and photographer frequently associated with Jaime Oliver.
Hardie Grant Books,
Home Made Winter
by Yvette Van Boven
, Oof Verschuren, photographer
From the quirky, "Hey! There you are" dedication page (complete with a "welcome cocktail!"), Home Made Winter by Yvette van Boven is a celebration of food, community and her beloved Ireland. Even the most challenged cook will appreciate the coffee table value of the gorgeous photography of the moors, streams and gently rolling hills of the Emerald Isle.
The recipes follow a day of eating in Ireland; traditional fare like bannock bread with Devonshire cream is joined by creative originals, including multiple versions of homemade butter (such as anchovy, chocolate, almond lemon, ginger lime and flower).
For more structured cooks, a helpful recipe index is organized by course and by main ingredient. Van Boven believes that "just like a formally decorated table or a beautifully arranged plate, a cookbook should exude a certain spirit, or a mood, that you should be in when you start to get going in the kitchen." Home Made Winter accomplishes this beautifully. --Kristen Galles blogger at Book Club Classics
Discover: Perfect for a more experienced cook with a sense of whimsy or as a coffee table book for those who love Ireland.
Stewart, Tabori, & Chang,
Japanese Farm Food
by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Lovers of organic and local food products will rejoice in Japanese Farm Food, a fresh look at Japanese-style cooking from Nancy Singleton Hachisu. Kenji Miura's beautiful color photographs lend a luscious backdrop to Hachisu's personal stories and recipes, which revolve around the food she and her family grow--"bold, clear, and direct... uncomplicated and intuitive." Udon noodles, cauliflower with miso and sesame, ginger-stuffed steamed snapper, white peach ice cream and sesame brittle are just some of the refreshing dishes. Hachisu emphasizes the use of ratios and logical proportions instead of definitive amounts, thus allowing flexibility in using the best and freshest items available on the farm or at the market. "It is this element of serendipity," she writes, "that makes cooking from the farm so creatively stimulating." Cooks will find their creative and digestive juices stirred after making some of Hachisu's dishes. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and reviewer
Discover: Down-to-earth Japanese cooking accessible to all.
Sweet & Easy Vegan: Treats Made with Whole Grains and Natural Sweeteners
by Robin Asbell
In Sweet & Easy Vegan, Robin Asbell presents a cornucopia of healthy, guilt-free vegan treats, taste-tested and approved by omnivores, with nutrient-dense calories sure to please every palate. She includes sweet breakfast treats like coconut-banana granola and blueberry and blue corn cakes, as well as original desserts like lemon and pine nut cookies, chunky pumpkin-pear pie and chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting.
In Asbell's kitchen, eggs are replaced with flax seeds and butter with coconut oil; she spends 40 pages explaining how to replace artificial and refined sweeteners with alternatives rich in anti-oxidants like maple syrup. (Natural sweeteners, when combined with whole grains and healthful fats, nuts, seeds and fruit, help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.) Asbell also explains how to adjust traditional recipes, including resources on where to find common vegan ingredients like flaxseed, palm sugar and egg replacers. Even traditionalists will embrace these healthy alternatives to past favorites. --Kristen Galles blogger at Book Club Classics
Discover: Sweet and Easy Vegan satisfies the sweet tooth in a compassionate, healthy way.
The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook: More Than 100 Retro Recipes for the Modern Cook
by Heather MacLean
, Rick Rodgers
Judging by its aqua-and-harvest-gold cover, The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook looks like a spoof. But Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean present a sincere collection of updated mid-century favorites with snippets of history sure to please those who lived through the 1960s as well as those who've only heard the stories.
Even the onion-ring topping in their green bean casserole is made from scratch (although, for those hungry for nostalgia, the "classic" recipe with canned ingredients is also included). Other updates include not-quite-fish sticks and not-from-a-box mac and cheese.
Readers learn how "Betty Crocker" was born, why Warhol painted soup cans and how "soul food" got its name. For the true '60s buff, Rodgers and Maclean give tips for a party the Mad Men cast would love, including menus, drink recipes, fashion tips (a hostess will accent her dress with pearls) and proper serving pieces (a Lazy Susan and chip-and-dip set are ideal). --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller
Discover: A blast-from-the-past cookbook that improves the recipes while preserving the traditions.
Mac & Cheese: 80 Classic & Creative Versions of the Ultimate Comfort Food
by Ellen Brown
, Steve Legato, photographer
It's no surprise that the ever-popular "macaroni and cheese" has won the Food Network's "Comfort Food of the Year" award twice. In the hands of Ellen Brown, this classic dish is reinvented several times over--and experienced chefs will love this fresh take on the perennial favorite.
Mac & Cheese first addresses the alchemy of why we love mac-and-cheese, how starch and sugar activate serotonin while salt releases oxytocin. Then she provides tips for how to create the perfect roux, easily grate cheese and cook the pasta to perfection, with charts and lush photos of pasta shapes and various cheese. Finally, she presents 80 creative (and classic) versions adapted from restaurants around the country.
From finger food appetizers (fried mac and cheese bites) to veggie extravaganzas (Mac and Cheese Margherita) and carnivorous delights (Mayan chipotle chicken) to dessert, Ellen Brown embraces the versatility of America's favorite comfort food. --Kristen Galles blogger at Book Club Classics
Discover: A fresh take on a beloved comfort food that is sure to please all!
The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Cook Today's Meat
by Bruce Aidells
When it comes to encyclopedic knowledge of red meat, no better spokesperson exists in the United States than Bruce Aidells. The Great Meat Cookbook disperses 250 new recipes between tips and techniques on the purchase, preparation and preservation of various meats. Aidells provides alternatives that use lesser-known cuts, where beef tongue becomes the ingredient of choice for mouth-watering tacos, and chorizo and pimientos and sherry the palatable brighteners for beef livers (although flank and filet make perfectly acceptable substitutes).
Internationally inspired dishes such as Turkish pomegranate-glazed lamb shoulder and lamb biryani coexist with dressed-up American favorites like bourbon, stout and sweet potato waffles with ham and maple sauce, all of them intermingling with simple 30-minute dinners and the big occasion roasts. Aidells once again demonstrates his expertise to great effect, making The Great Meat Cookbook a necessity for those who would be lost without the ritualistic joy of finding juicy red goodness on the dinner plate. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer
Discover: The King of American Sausage applies his expertise and know-how to advancing the art of red meat cookery.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,
How to Build a Better Pie: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Flaky Crusts, Toppers, and the Things in Between
by Millicent Souris
The pie bird on the cover Millicent Souris's How to Build a Better Pie could be chirping "You, too, can serve a flaky-crusted, perfect slice of pie, savory or sweet!" Souris, who teaches pie-making workshops at the Brooklyn Kitchen, brings her confidence-boosting instructions to this user-friendly cookbook.
How to Build a Better Pie offers recipes for traditional favorite fruit pies and "decadent staple pies" like chocolate, and for lamb, chicken and game pies, too. For the novice pie-maker, several recipes for basic crusts--plus 10 pages of photos and tips on rolling, fitting and edging--offer guidance and encouragement. Experienced pastry chefs will find new challenges, like the recipe for Oyster Pie, complete with photos on selecting and shucking the mollusks. (First step: "Buy an oyster knife.") Souris doesn't mince words, and the Maryland native shares a lifetime of oyster love in detail. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller
Discover: Foolproof recipes and tips for dozens of flaky-crusted sweet and savory pies.
I Love Cinnamon Rolls!
by Judith Fertig
Judith Fertig's I Love Cinnamon Rolls! is full of cinnamon rolls like you've never seen them before. There are bacon-brown sugar cinnamon rolls, tarte tatin cinnamon rolls with crème fraîche, even vegan sweet potato-cinnamon crowns with bourbon icing.
Fertig begins with an explanation of the anatomy of a cinnamon roll and recipes for eight dough options, including a traditional method as well as gluten-free and vegan options. She then offers easy-to-follow recipes for taking the basic dough, adding various sauces and fillings and expanding it into almost limitless varieties.
The pictures are mouthwatering; the descriptions of the rolls, buns, muffins and twists are divine. They may look very different, but they all follow the same basic methods, making the recipes approachable even for novices. The small hardcover size and irresistible pictures also make I Love Cinnamon Rolls! a perfect stocking stuffer for the baker in your life. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm
Discover: A cookbook dedicated to decadent, delicious cinnamon rolls.
Simple Honest Food: The Best of Bill Granger
by Bill Granger
Simple Honest Food is a gorgeously assembled volume of healthy, hearty, globally-inspired recipes that highlight Bill Granger's carefree, family-oriented approach to cooking and entertaining. A self-taught cook, restaurateur and Cooking Channel celebrity, Granger offers an unusual spin on classics with as much appeal to the eye as to the palate. Recipes are organized by meal and progress from the quick and simple to the elegant but manageably complex. Simple buttermilk pancakes with caramelized plums, maple syrup and yogurt can segue into a creamy citrus risotto with garlic chili shrimp or Asian-influenced blackened duck salad before ending with the relaxing comfort of a beef and mushroom pot pie or protein on the grill.
"Sometimes there's barely enough time for a quick trip to the supermarket," Granger writes. "But I never let this become a barrier to cooking, or let the job of preparing dinner every day become tedious." With Simple Honest Food, Granger succeeds beyond reproach. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer
Discover: Eclectic and simple cuisine presented in a breezy, conversational style.
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Quicker Smarter Recipes
by Alice Medrich
"Fewer steps, less equipment, less measuring, less precision, less fuss" is teacher and chef Alice Medrich's approach in Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. She starts by offering advice on the best way to assemble a baker's pantry and "magic" ingredients that have the power to "transform a bowl of oranges into dessert." What follows are more than 100 imaginative yet spur-of-the-moment-type recipes and tutorials on everything from ice cream (no ice cream machine required) to puddings/soufflés, pies, tarts, meringues, cakes and "sweet bites," which elevate simple things like coffee, candy bars, fresh strawberries and even yogurt to delectable levels.
The recipes are concise--some don't even require a rolling pin or an oven--and whether simple or rustic, each sweet indulgence dispels the myth that "desserts need to be complicated or demand skill that most people don't have." Medrich succeeds and inspires by delivering an innovative, elegant collection complete with stunning photographs. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines
Discover: A collection of simple yet imaginative recipes proving that desserts don't need to be complicated to be delicious.
Turkey: More Than 100 Recipes with Tales from the Road
by Leanne Kitchen
In her introduction to the U.S. edition of Turkey, Australian chef Leanne Kitchen notes that she "never set out to write the definitive word on Turkish cuisine, but rather let myself be led by the hospitable people of the nation." It is clearly this sentiment that has resulted in the book's wonderful combination of recipes, travel vignettes with an unwavering focus on regional food experiences and a stunning full-color collection of Kitchen's own on-location photographs.
Turkey is arranged in easy chapters ranging from meze, soups, and breads, through the major food groups (vegetables, grains, seafood and meats) to desserts. The recipes, often accompanied by the impressive food photographs of Amanda McLauchlan, are clearly reflective of Kitchen's travels, and have been chosen with simplicity of preparation and celebration of flavor in mind. For those of us not fortunate enough to travel to the country ourselves, Kitchen offers a very satisfying taste of Turkish cuisine and culture. --Roni K. Devlin, owner, Literary Life Bookstore
Discover: A stunning combination of simple but authentic Turkish recipes, travel vignettes and full-color photographs.
Canal House Cooks Every Day
by Melissa Hamilton
, Christopher Hirsheimer
Since 2007, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton have produced Canal House Cooking, a periodical cookbook published three times a year that they write, photograph and design themselves. They also have a popular blog documenting the daily lunches they make for themselves in the Canal House in Lambertville, N.J. Canal House Cooks Every Day is that blog transformed into a gorgeous, hefty cookbook. Beginning on April 1, it tells the story of a year of seasonal lunches at Canal House, giving the weather and a recipe for each day. April starts with asparagus; they move on to summer strawberries, fall chanterelles and ducks, winter apples and pasta, then back to spring greens.
The stories accompanying each recipe tell of Christopher and Melissa's close relationship with their food and their dedication to fresh, seasonal ingredients. The photos are stunning; the recipes range from simple deviled eggs to a more time-consuming pork stewed in guajillo chile mole, making the book appealing to cooks of all abilities. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm
Discover: A lunch blog forms the foundation for a beautiful cookbook full of seasonal recipes.
The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle
by Tom Douglas
, Shelley Lance
Seattle residents have long been familiar with the Dahlia Bakery. Thanks to Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance's Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, the sweet and savory treats offered up at the bakery are now available for those who live far from its environs. English muffin sandwiches, monkey bread and cakes leap off the page in beautiful close-up photos. Recipes are laid out in great detail, offering tips on how things are done at Dahlia as well a snippet explaining how or when the item came to be served at the bakery--such as the chocolate caramel pecan tart, which has been on the menu for more than 20 years, or the cornbread bacon muffins, which were developed for Dahlia's annual "Baconopolis" event.
The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook offers an array of irresistible items to make at home--but even more temptingly, it might just cause you to head to Seattle to try the Dahlia Bakery for yourself. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm
Discover: A lovely cookbook from Seattle's Dahlia Bakery, with many pictures demonstrating technique for the more difficult recipes.
The Country Cooking of Greece
by Diane Kochilas
"Good food begins in the field." So begins Diane Kochilas's The Country Cooking of Greece, a collection of recipes and anecdotes that explores the dishes of the Greek countryside by both dish and ingredient. Starting with salads and meze (the Greek equivalent of tapas, small plates shared among a table), Kochilas moves on to country soups, artichokes, pastas and rice--even country preparations for chicken and game birds. The recipes vary from classics such as pastitsio and saganaki to lesser-known plates such as bougatsa (phyllo pastry with cream) and mantza (summer stew with fried cheese).
With photographs from Vassilis Stenos, The Country Cooking of Greece is a celebration of the local, farm-based culinary history of Greek country food, a collection of regional, traditional--yet flexible--recipes that invites readers to travel to the simple, rich world of the country. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm
Discover: A collection of undiscovered treasures of Greek country cooking from one of the world's premiere Greek cookbook authors.
Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes
by David Lebovitz
Chef David Lebovitz believes "it's easier to make something tasty if you start with good ingredients and do as little to them as possible." In Ready for Dessert, Lebovitz has made his all-time favorites "even better" by updating and revising ingredients and techniques.
Beautiful photographs accompany more than 150 recipes (some new) introduced with expert advice and background about Lebovitz's personal affinity for each dessert. The recipes aren't complicated: his chocolate chip cookies, sesame-orange almond tuiles, fresh ginger cake and the complex frozen sabayon with blood orange soup impress with their pure flavor profiles. Lebovitz caps the collection with sections on basics, sauces and preserves plus great tips on caramelization.
Ready for Dessert is testament to this chef's belief that the true art of baking is all about sharing. Pastry chefs have Lebovitz to thank for generously contributing to the sweetness of their lives--and palates. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines
Discover: A compilation of updated recipes--and some new ones--from the baking arsenal of professional cook, chef and blogger David Lebovitz.
Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family's Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking
by Aran Goyoaga
When professional cook Aran Goyoaga learned that both she and her son were gluten intolerant, she made the switch to gluten-free cooking and baking easily--the Basque cooking of her childhood relies on fresh ingredients cooked simply. Small Plates & Sweet Treats is a record of her family's journey to gluten-free eating, with small plate and dessert recipes organized seasonally, each one accompanied by full-colored photos and the author's remembrances.
Her recipes are more than just gluten-free conversions of old favorites--they are delicious in their own right. Whether it is a savory breakfast of Baked Eggs with Olive Oil-Poached Tomatoes, Coppa and Brie meant for foggy autumn mornings or an adaption of a macaron recipe, this cookbook is sure to inspire with it's attractive styling and tasty, often Spanish-inspired ingredients. It's a cookbook for everyone who loves vibrant and hardy food that just happens to be gluten-free. --Kristin McConnell, publishing assistant, Shelf Awareness
Discover: A gluten-free cookbook of seasonal recipes interspersed with the author's beautiful food styling and photography.
The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves and Aigre-doux
by Paul Virant
, Kate Leahy
Paul Virant moves far beyond the ordinary pickle or relish in The Preservation Kitchen, providing exotic recipes such as pickled celery root, beer jam, pumpkin butter and Brussels sprout sauerkraut. Included in each recipe are measurements based on volume, ounces, grams and percentage in easy-to-follow charts. The accompanying photographs highlight meals prepared with these preserves and condiments such as roasted lamb meatballs with tomato-bean ragout and green garlic or pork Milanese with yellow plum and Riesling jam and arugula. Although some recipes might be beyond the normal cook's expertise--like making bacon from beef belly--Virant provides full directions and makes it seem like a simple procedure. Virant's storeroom is "packed with jars of pickles, jams, sauerkrauts," he writes. "These shelves radiate with possibility." After trying these recipes and canning and preserving on their own, readers will be glad to have the same range of possibilities on their kitchen shelves. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer
Discover: A Michelin-starred chef offers exciting new possibilities in the canning department.
Ten Speed Press,
Jerusalem: A Cookbook
by Sami Tamimi
, Yotam Ottolenghi
Though the combinations of cultures and cuisines in Jerusalem can be confusing to those unfamiliar with the area's rich history, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi posit that this confusion is "Jerusalem in a nutshell: very personal, private stories immersed in great culinary traditions that often overlap and interact in unpredictable ways." In Jerusalem: A Cookbook, the duo set out to discover their unique but shared food histories (Ottolenghi is Jewish; Tamimi is Palestinian), exploring both traditional recipes and modern takes on classic dishes. Recipes for standbys such as falafel and maqluba (an oversized savory cake) stand comfortably next to updated versions of old dishes like cardamom rice pudding with pistachios and rose water. With a luxurious cover and decadent photography throughout, Jerusalem: A Cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes: it is an invitation to explore the area through its delicacies, encountering the tastes and flavors of a place often overlooked in the culinary world. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm
Discover: A rich account of the multicultural culinary history of Jerusalem, including traditional recipes and modern takes on classic dishes.
Ten Speed Press,
The Tucci Cookbook
by Stanley Tucci
Actor and director Stanley Tucci, creator of the acclaimed foodie film Big Night, teams up with his parents and chef Gianni Scappin in The Tucci Cookbook. Like many of the best cookbooks, this is more than just recipes, as Tucci gives the reader a glimpse of the Italian-American experience seen through the filter of food traditions. The family anecdotes are engaging; the photographs are beautiful. The recipes, drawn from three families and two regional culinary traditions, are clearly written, enticing and diverse--including three recipes for basic tomato sauce, each using different techniques to obtain different results! The best adjective for The Tucci Cookbook is generous: from portion sizes to the constant theme of hospitality to Tucci's decision to donate a portion of the profits to the Food Bank of New York City. The Tucci Cookbook will appeal both to serious home cooks and to film buffs. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins
Discover: A generous serving of the culinary roots of Stanley Tucci's Big Night.
Open Range: Steaks, Chops & More from Big Sky Country
by Patrick Dillon
, Jay Bentley
Restaurateur Jay Bentley loves meat. At the Mint, his bar and grill in Bozeman, Mont., customers can order beef steaks and burgers, but they'll also find bison stew, trout and salmon sizzling in inventive sauces and a wide selection of wild game from duck to venison. Open Range offers a host of savory, hearty recipes paired with vintage photographs and anecdotes from Montana's history.
While Bentley confesses he's a "seat-of-the-pants" cook, he includes helpful lists of equipment, herbs and spices (complemented nicely by a chapter on rubs and sauces). His recipes mix classic techniques with fresh influences, producing such inventions as bison peanut saté and honey-chipotle pork chops. Between recipes, readers can feast their eyes on panoramic photos of Montana's buttes and plains interspersed with mouthwatering close-ups of Bentley's handiwork.
Flavorful and nourishing, Open Range evokes the big sky of Montana while serving up comfort food to satisfy the hungriest cowhands. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
Discover: A mouthwatering array of hearty, savory recipes paired with photos and anecdotes from the Big Sky Country of Montana.