Ring in 2015 with new additions to your cooking repertoire. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, a new cocktail, or a birthday cake to impress, these chef/authors have just the thing for you!
Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
Who doesn’t love Dorie Greenspan? A petite honorary Parisian, Greenspan offers the inside scoop on baking at home. She’ll be the first to tell you that Parisians don’t bake, they buy, so she had to go to great lengths to obtain and develop recipes. She outlines endless french patisseries from speculoos cookies to trendy crackle-top cream puffs, captured with endearing headnotes like the time she won a recipe by eavesdropping at the hairdresser. If you want excellence, you should heed her advice, as she commands you not to skip sieving and never bake without an oven thermometer. At last there is a definitive home-friendly version of canelés!
Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert
The sheet pan reinvents the one-pot meal, and Molly Gilbert walks you through every conceivable dish you can make on it in this home-cook friendly cookbook that will help you get an easy weeknight meal on the table. The recipes are creative and accessible, much like the author’s quippy voice that leads you through a sheet pan primer and the “Wait, what’s that?” of unfamiliar ingredients. Don’t miss the brunch section! Anyone for a giant Dutch baby with Meyer lemon sugar?
Shroom by Becky Selengut
Beyond buttons and portobellos, chef Becky Selengut offers a primer on the world of mushrooms. In addition to recipes progressing from home-cook friendly to restaurant-ready, Selengut offers a “What ‘shroom are you?” finder to help match your personality to a preferred fungi. This tome walks you through the “nerdy factoids” of 15 varieties of mushroom, from morel to maitake, and offers recipes for those little known ‘shrooms popping up at farmers markets and grocery stores these days. I can’t wait to try her hedgehog mushrooms and cheddar grits with fried eggs and tabasco honey!
How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman managed to find yet another angle for his “How to Cook Everything” series, and, even though I have several of his other titles, I will probably end up purchasing this one too. He’s just that good. This edition focuses on reinventing the recipe for the home cook and, like his others, centers on vegetable-heavy, whole, simple food. Bittman carefully details each step in the order you will actually perform them, recognizing that not all of us have sous-chefs laying out our mis-en-place before we begin cooking. The book offers main courses that eat like meals and helps you cook fast by cooking smarter.
A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus by Renee Erickson
Renee Erickson is the chef/owner behind three of Seattle’s best small eateries: Boat Street Cafe, The Whale Wins, and The Walrus and the Carpenter. So I bet you can guess from where she drew her inspiration for her first cookbook, titled A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus (complete with trendy ampersand) which is best described as part memoir, part how-to for the ambitious home chef. Erickson divides her book into seasons, each filled with memorable meals and the dishes that created them. Her food is “French inflected” and seafood heavy; in fact, she advises in the intro that you “find a boat” in order to have access to the freshest ingredients. If you’re bold enough to make steak tartare at home, hers is the best I’ve ever tasted.
Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton
If you’ve ever read Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir Blood, Bones, & Butter, you know that this girl can write. However, her new cookbook, Prune, sharing the recipes from her NYC restaurant of the same name, is all about the food. She doesn’t bother you with quaint stories or extended headnotes; this cookbook cuts to the chase. And what a chase it is! Volumes of detailed recipes outlining Prune’s most beloved dishes, from deviled eggs to baked mussels with escargot butter, complete with handwritten annotations sharing Hamilton’s personal advice. If you are a fan of straightforward cooking, this is not to be missed!
Death & Co by Kaplan, Fauchald and Day
I told you ampersands were all the rage, and Death & Co is no exception. If you’ve caught on to the craft cocktail trend but want to avoid the high pricetag of drinking out, the founders of New York’s popular bar Death & Co have created a home-mixologists handbook. They cover how to pair flavors, name your concoctions, choose glassware and equipment, and of course include detailed recipes for their most popular and most creative drinks, like Howlin’ at the Moon or Wicked Kiss. With its dark photos and profiles of regular customers, wading though this cookbook feels almost like you’ve made a trip to the NY bar itself.
Do you have any of these cookbooks in your kitchen or on your nightstand? Or are there others that’ve impressed you recently? Let us know!
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