A wonderful new slew of cookbooks just in time for the holidays!
The last few years have felt spare to me in regard to cook books. Sure, a few good ones have come out but recently the selection has been vast and wonderful. My shelves in the kitchen will be overflowing with some of the following:
Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller has to be the one that I am the most excited about. While I loved Bouchon (the roast chicken is the best ever!) it truly was a tad over the top for everyday meals. The size alone can be a bit off putting. But his new offering promises to be just the thing for the home chef who likes the comfort classics but with a new spin.
Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends is a lush and visually beautiful book. But more importantly it has accessibility for the home cook. Arranged in my favorite format, that is seasonally, Martha presents a full menu and a time line so that even the most novice cooks among us can make it to the finish line in style. I have only made the duck breast with fig sauce and the potato pancake, but it was such a success I will be cooking something else from this one this weekend.
Gourmet Today edited by Ruth Reichl will totally prove to be an American classic. Reichl took a look at the amazing wealth of ingredients that we now have at our grocer around the corner and realized that we are no longer satisfied with shaking our parm from a little green can and that we care about sustainability in our ingredients. Gourmet Today reflects these trends and honestly the Oatmeal, Coconut, Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Roasted Almonds are worth the price of the book. Trust me on this. I have actually dreamed of them.
But what is a person to do when the traffic was awful and you are walking in the door at 7 and it is cold and wet and all you want is a lovely dinner? My new favorite for such trying times is Diane Henry’s book Pure Simple Cooking. It cuts right to the chase. No appetizers, nothing frou-frou or extraneous. What is going to be the star of your dinner plate? Will it be chicken? Will it be pasta? And the sides are all arranged seasonally as well. Ingredients are those that are easily found and not so vast in number as to appear daunting. The Crispy Cod has saved my life on many a night. While this is a work horse of a cookbook, it is not entirely without fun. The desserts are also arranged seasonally and I look forward to trying some new ones. Though, perhaps not on a weeknight.
Another contender for never ever on a weeknight has to be one of the most beautiful books we have seen all year. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is not only a treat for eyes. It is a must have for the serious baker. Each cake is a masterpiece but with Rose’s step by step instructions they all seem totally do-able for the non professional. Tres Leches will be the birthday cake for a lucky son of one of the RA Staffers.
But one cannot take everything too seriously. Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong by Jen Yates is the perfect ending to any cookbook gorge. Jen Yates has been one of our favorite bloggers for a while now.The premise is an easy one. Ever look in the bakery case and think to yourself "What is that? Is that actually going to grace a table somewhere? Are the cake decorators ingesting illegal substances in the back?" Honestly, you will laugh until you cry.
And in the end you will be thankful that none of those cakes will end up on your table.