Books for Cooks 2014
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From cooking with flowers to gluten-free baking, we've compiled our favorite books to gift to home cooks.
Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen
Cookbooks never cease to inspire us with their personal narratives, comprehensive instructions, and highly tempting photography. This year, we've composed an impressive assortment of delicious reads. Gift one to help friends and family improve a technique, discover exciting dishes, or master one of their favorite meals.
First up is Mastering my Mistakes in the Kitchen, in which Food & Wine's Dana Cowin learns to cook more than 100 recipes with 65 well-known chefs.
By Dana Cowin, Ecco, 2014, 320 pages, $35, amazon.com
Jewish Soul Food
Gur's beautiful book has the distinct feel of an heirloom, with its carefully curated exploration of roughly 100 traditional recipes representing Jewish communities around the world. Included are tasty recipes for homemade pickled herring and rugelach, as well as less familiar delights such as Meatballs with Sour Cherries.
By Janna Gur, Schocken Books, 2014, 240 pages, $35, amazon.com
The Slanted Door
Those who have dined at the San Francisco restaurant of the same name will recognize the same energy and brilliance within the pages of this book. Some recipes are more complex than the average cook may want to tackle, yet there are plenty of simpler dishes, such as Phan's irresistible Stir-Fried Green Beans or wok-seared Ginger Beef Vermicelli.
By Charles Phan, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 288 pages, $40, amazon.com
Rich in flavor and meaning, French food and expressions for food speak volumes about the importance of meals so synonymous with the culture. Clotilde Dusoulier explores the delightful meanings behind these "edible idioms" in this beautiful new cookbook.
By Clotilde Dusoulier, Perigee Trade, 2014,128 pages, $20, amazon.com
Atlanta chef Keith Schroeder's first Cooking Light cookbook features 126 recipes using Keith's unique teaching format.
By Keith Schroeder, Oxmoor House, 2014, 384 pages, $35, amazon.com
How to Cook Everything Fast
Mark Bittman's recipes neatly break down ingredients, prep and cook steps, variations, shortcuts, and suggested sides. Scrambled Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon, a stunningly good supper for four, can be made with eight other vegetables, and prep can be sped up by chopping the broccoli into extra-small chunks. This book makes a great gift for new cooks and off-to-college kids.
By Mark Bittman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 1,056 pages, $35, amazon.com
London's Yotam Ottolenghi follows his bestselling Plenty with a splendid mix of simple but deeply flavored cross-cultural vegetable dishes. Silky steamed egplant, with almost no fat, is tangy with mirin, sesame, ginger, and maple syrup. Seared fennel is simmered with verjuice, capers, thyme, and black olives.
By Yotam Ottolenghi, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 352 pages, $35, amazon.com
The Pizza Bible
This definitive guide decodes the many terrific regional and global styles of crusts and toppings. The American section contains everything from deep dish to cracker-like thin crust.
By Tony Gemignani, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 320 pages, $30, amazon.com
Celeb chefs donated recipes for this cookbook, which features international dishes coupled with personal photos and anecdotes. The best part? Book sales help raise money for hungry kids around the world.
By Hilary Gumbel, Kate Meyers, and Scott Mowbray, Glitterati Incorporated, 2014, 196 pages, $35, amazon.com
Meat: Everything You Need to Know
NYC's most famous butcher delivers the sort of matter-of-fact but personal guide to meat you'd hope for—recipes, anatomy lessons, cutting instructions, family stories, and a good dollop of sharp opinion (he says grass-fed is overhyped). LaFrieda makes tons of burger patties for Shake Shack, but he writes like the neighborhood butcher you wish you had. A genuinely good read.
By Pat LaFrieda, Atria Books, 2014, 256 pages, $40, amazon.com
We Heart Cooking
Twelve-year-old twins Lilly and Audrey Andrews are real cooks who know the joys of playing around in the kitchen; they've been doing so since they were 3 years old. In their first book, they share more than 80 of their favorite tried-and-true recipes that are guaranteed to please kids and their parents. The book is loaded with tips for making recipes easier for kids to prepare, plus ideas on how to riff on dishes by using different ingredients.
By Lilly and Audrey Andrews, Oxmoor House, 2014, 192 pages, $22, amazon.com
This book sets itself apart in the gluten-free category by providing recipes that don't require specialty flours, gums, or starches. A flawless angel food cake uses cornstarch; intense chocolate cookies rely on egg whites.
By Nicole Spiridakis, Chronicle Books, 2014, 192 pages, $28, amazon.com
Cooking Light 3-Step Express: Comfort Food
Dinner is ready in a dash with our collection of 125 fast, classic comfort foods.
By the editors of Cooking Light magazine, Oxmoor House, 2014, 224 pages, $16, amazon.com
The Joy of Pickling
Shannon Walker, the chief preservationist at Blackberry Farm, recommends an impressive variety of recipes.
By Linda Ziedrich, Harvard Common Press, 2009, 432 pages, $19, amazon.com
The 12 Bottle Bar
Here's to smart barkeeping: Make hundreds of cocktails from a mere dozen bottles.
By David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, Workman Publishing, 2014, 416 pages, $15, amazon.com
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts
Sundaes, cakes, 30 brand new flavors, and more from the innovative ice cream queen.
By Jeni Britton Bauer, Artisan, 2014, 224 pages, $24, amazon.com
How to be Vegan
This nifty handbook navigates nutrition, eating, and etiquette for those who want to live animal-product-free.
By Elizabeth Castoria, Artisan, 2014, 224 pages, $15, amazon.com
The Banh Mi Handbook
Enjoy lots of tasty riffs on the meaty, pickly, crunchy, saucy, spicy Vietnamese sandwich.
By Andrea Nguyen, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 132 pages, $17, amazon.com
Pick a Pickle
Find 50 recipes for pickles, relishes, and fermented snacks from Hugh Acheson, our favorite Georgia chef.
By Hugh Acheson, Potter Style, 2014, 104 pages, $15, amazon.com
The Big-Flavor Grill
It's never too early to get stoked for griling season. This grilling guide is filled with tips for maximizing flavor.
By Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 240 pages, $25, amazon.com
The cuisine of Peru is hot, and Martin Morales' book (named for his London restaurant) shows why; his food is both satisfying and inventive. A homey chicken-spaghetti dish gets rich and creamy via mashed avocado. Quinoa cooked risotto-style was delicious, as was a potato cake topped with beet and avocado. Recipes can be a bit cheffy and lacking in clarity, but a confident cook will love the ride.
By: Martin Morales, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 256 pages, $30, amazon.com
Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide
This cookbook is for everyday use, offering tips, tricks, menus, and sanity solutions.
By Sally Kuzemchak, Oxmoor House, 2014, 256 pages, $25, amazon.com
Your morning meal is an opportunity to load in most of your whole-grain needs for the day. We tasted several recipes and were blown away by Gordon's inventiveness. Cherry Hazelnut Quinoa Bars and Zucchini Farro Cakes were real standouts; our folks made copies of the recipes on the spot.
By Megan Gordon, Ten Speed Press, 2013, 184 pages, $22, wholegrainmornings.com
The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting
This informative read will help any garden live in harmony.
By Josie Jeffery, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 104 pages, $18, amazon.com
Cooking with Flowers
This gorgeous book is written by Miche Bacher of Mali B Sweets, whose pansy pops are one of our favorite features.
By Miche Bacher, Quirk Books, 2013, 192 pages, $25, amazon.com
Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Vegan chefs Moskowitz and Romery deliver a robust collection of recipes using and admirable array of fruits and vegetables. Kate Jacoby, co-owner and pastry chef of the Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, says this book reached "biblical status" as a reference book.
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2007, 336 pages, $30, amazon.com
Seattle's extremely popular Plum Bistro offers some of their tastiest vegan recipes for cooks of all skill levels.
By Makini Howell, Sasquatch Books, 2013, 160 pages, $30, amazon.com
Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook
You need not be single to appreciate these excellent veggie-celebrating recipes.
By Joe Yonan, Ten Speed Press, 2013, 204 pages, $25, amazon.com
Cooking Light Global Kitchen
In Global Kitchen, New York Times best-selling author and longtime Cooking Light contributor David Joachim shows you how to make the world's most delicious dishes using everyday ingredients.
By David Joachim, Oxmoor House, 2014, 320 pages, $30, amazon.com
The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
In this new edition of Deborah Madison's beloved 1997 classic, you'll find dozens of new recipes reflecting today's expanded vegetarian pantry—with ingredients such as coconut oil, quinoa, and fermented soy. Of the dishes we tried, we loved the sweet Quinoa Muffins and Tempeh on Rye, her delicious new take on a Reuben. It contains an incredible variety throughout, with 1,600 recipes!
By Deborah Madison, Ten Speed Press, 2014, 672 pages, $40, amazon.com
Egg and Frenchie
Michael Ruhlman's Egg is a must-have. Ingeniously organized, the book maps out egg-centric dishes, plus those in which eggs play a critical supporting role. Poaching and omelet instructions yielded perfection.
We also love Greg Marchand's Frenchie for inventive bistro treats: Mussels with Jerusalem Artichokes and Chorizo; Roasted Carrot, Orange, and Avocado Salad.
Egg: By Michael Ruhlman, Little, Brown and Co., 2014, 256 pages, $40, amazon.com
Frenchie: By Greg Marchand, Artisan, 2014, 144 pages, $23, amazon.com
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Kate Jacoby, co-owner and pastry chef at The Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, recommends this book. And when a baker of Jacoby's caliber recommends a baking book, you really should listen.
By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Da Capo Press, 2006, 176 pages, $16, amazon.com