More cookbooks! You need more cookbooks! Said my boyfriend. Never. But that’s OK. Because I DO need more cookbooks. Can you ever have enough? Probably, maybe. Well not me. And 2015 was a great year for cookbooks. Here’s part 2 of my cookbook roundup.
Like Part 1 of my Best Cookbooks of 2015 roundup, I’m giving away a few awesome cookbooks (FOUR this time), so stick around to the end of the post for instructions on how to enter.
[THIS COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED.]
I cannot tell you enough about how much I adore my friend Shauna Sever, the Next Door Baker. I was insanely sad to see her move away from San Francisco (she’s no longer MY next door baker!) but I know that I can pick up here book Real Sweet and read pretty much any page and it’s like she’s here again, dishing with me about all the gossip and dirt on the food blogging world. Her latest book tackles natural unrefined sweeteners like honey, molasses, muscavado, molasses and coconut sugar. Each recipe really amplifies and uses the sweeteners to play up the flavor profile of each different ingredient. It’s pretty brilliant if you ask me, because white refined sugar can be pretty one note sweet while something like honey can push and pull in so many different directions. Her next level chocolate chip cookies look pretty fantastic because she uses Turbinado sugar to give it a bit of crunch and texture and don’t get me started on her Toblerone Tart which has a honey meringue in it. What?!? I’m in love. Damn you Shauna for leaving me in this city all alone. I guess I’m going to have to comfort myself with another serving of your little plum, walnut and maple cake.
I’m a big fan of teaching folks the basics and letting them run with it. Russell Van Kraayenburg of the blog Chasing Delicious feels the same way. His book Making Dough not only explains what the different ratios of butter, flour and eggs that go into basic doughs like puff pastry, pie crust and scones so you can make your own desserts but he includes recipes for Cranberry Pistachio Braided Brioche Loaf or Apple Tart Layer Cake. If you’re a novice in the kitchen or looking to learn a little bit more about how to make your own dough for your own recipes, Russell’s book is the one for you.
Giana Ferguson’s Gubbeen is not just an everyday cookbook. It’s the story of their Gubbeen Farm as well as a collection of recipes based on the products they make at the farm, from their award winning cheese to their cured meats and more. With detailed photos on how to makes things like Chorizo to how to test for coagulation in homemade farm cheese, this is the book every DIY homesteader needs. But even if the idea of making cheese or sausage isn’t your thing, recipes like Pulled Pork with Celery Root Remoulade Sandwich or Mattie’s Cauliflower Gubbeen Ravioli are enticing all on their own.
I not only live on the west coast but I also love to road trip so Sunset magazine’s Eating Up the West Coast is basically tailored made for me. But even if you don’t live in California, Oregon or Washington, the cookbook is super fun. With various road trip itineraries (with an obvious focus on places to eat), this book is packed with information on not only awesome places to visit, but recipes from each stop. New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro in Talent Oregon provided Truffled Cheese Tortellin, while Bell Street Farm in Los Alamos California has a great recipe for Roast Pork Sandwiches with Apple-Jicama Slaw and Pickled Onions. With stories from each stop as well as solid and easy-to-make recipes, this cookbook is a winner for all of us who love a good roadtrip or love west coast food.
Flavorful is a solid baking cookbook. Tish Boyle takes staple baking ingredients like vanilla, chocolate, caramel and fruit and organizes her recipes in terms of these flavors. Classic recipes like raspberry swirled cheesecake and orange scented madeleines as well as fun flavor combinations like Double Espresso Panna Cotta with Sambuca Cream make for solid approachable recipes. Her twenty-layer vanilla cream crepe cake sounds pretty heavenly and her Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Mousse Cake looks pretty decadent. Don’t expect super innovative “out there” recipes but expect all-star favorites that stand the test of time.
I go up to Portland, Oregon every year to cover the Feast Portland event and I’m always thrilled to see Olympia Provisions there. One of my favorite supplies and makers of American Charcuterie, their cookbook, Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson doesn’t disappoint. Though you certainly need to be an enthusiastic meat cure lover to create most of the recipes in the book (most folks don’t have space or equipment like a fermentation chamber or hanging rack) it’s still one of those books that make you realize the labor of love behind each sausage and salumi. The back of the book is filled with recipes like bratwurst gravy, pork pistachio pate sandwich and braised beef shortribs, some approachable and some a little more advanced. For the hardcore enthusiast, this book is a definite must have.
Right now my pal Jocelyn Delk Adams is killing it with her first cookbook Grandbaby Cakes based on her blog Grandbaby Cakes. She is EVERYWHERE. And it’s no wonder as her cookbook is a killer one. With stories about her family and loved ones interspersed with classic and modern recipes inspired by family recipes, this cookbook is the classic example of what I love about a great cookbook. These recipes aren’t just about making a great dish or dessert (though that has a lot to do with it too). It’s about making food that you love with the people you love. Whether it’s a Mississippi Mudslide cake or a Red Velvet S’mores Cake these recipes are there for you just like they were there for Jocelyn and her family.
Magpie by Holly Cicciardi with Miriam Harris is the sort of dedicated pie cookbook that I love. With the first 40 pages dedicated to just making pie crust and what you should do to make the perfect pie crust, I knew I would love it. As I delved deeper into the book, I loved the recipe ideas like Breakfast Oatmeal Pie and Cookies and Cream Pie. There’s even a chapter on savory pies in the back, which featured recipes like summer squash pie and cheeseburger pie. If pies are your thing, this solid fun cookbook is the one for you.
Of course, if you love savory pies, check out Ken Haedrich’s Dinner Pies cookbook. Filled with recipes like Salmon, Smoked Cheddar, and Dill to Shrimp Pot Pies to Tuscan-Style Pork Turnovers, there’s 100 savory pies perfect for dinner. I have both of Ken’s other pie books and this one is as great as his previous efforts. Being a huge fan of savory pies (Chicken pot pie is one of my go-to comfort foods), I’m excited to explore this book and all it has to offer.
There is something quite stunning about The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. The photos are gorgeous in that austere and precious way, with it’s matte finish paper. But once you dive deep into the book, you realize it’s not just surface beauty and distant preciousness in the book but something more. With a focus on beautiful simple ingredients, recipes like loganberry-vanilla birthday cake turns something basic into something extraordinary. Quince ice cream seems like a revelation to me (why haven’t I thought of making quince, the ancient cousin to apples and pears into an ice cream before?) and her Apricot kernel upside-down cake just looks beautiful. Claire started at Alice Water’s Chez Panisse before moving to London and then opening up her own bake shop and the ingredients driven recipes makes this cookbook one I’ll turn to again and again.
The oversized Hartwood cookbook by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (with Christine Muhlke and Oliver Strand) is the sort book comfortable on both the coffee table and in the kitchen. With gorgeous photography of dishes from the Yucatan as well as recipes from that area of Mexico, this book explore a rich culture and life that I’ve always been fascinated with. More than just a collection of recipes, this book is like a visit to the Yukatan, a part of Mexico in the southeast corner, near Guatamala and Belize. Luscious recipes like Blistered Plátanos with Honey and Slow-Grilled Pork Belly with Cacao Beans and Melon de Milpa beckon with each page turn. Contemporary updates to classic recipes like Chamomile Flan with Candied Peanuts or Maya Prawns with Chipotle Mezcal Sauce make me want to immediately head to the kitchen and start cooking. But the beautiful photos and stories about the rich culture and life make me want to curl up in bed and continue reading.
Sweet Middle East by Anissa Helou explores a different part of the world, one that I personally hadn’t thought too much about in terms of desserts. Sure I’ve had the occasional baklava but there is so much more to that region of the world and the sweets you can find there. From rose water and mastic ice cream to Syrian semolina and nut cake to braided sesame pastries to Arabian sponge cake, this little cookbook has it all. I’m looking forward to exploring the earth and sweet and spicy desserts that I wasn’t familiar with, as well as learning more about these desserts.
If armchair culinary travel is what you are looking for, Near & Far by Heidi Swanson, the fabulous woman behind the lifestyle blog 101 Cookbooks is what you need for your next read. With her signature evocative photography and beautiful recipes, Near & Far focuses on living here in Northern California and San Francisco, Heidi’s hometown as well as her travels to Morocco, France, India, Italy and Japan. Her vegetarian recipe are simple to execute but never basic. Dishes like Grilled Porcini has her making a simple salsa verde to cover the sauté mushrooms while her Nori Granola is a unique Japanese influenced take on the standard granola. Entering Heidi’s world is like wrapping a warm cashmere scarf around your cold shoulders. Comfortable, slightly luxurious and yet so soft and relaxing. No need to get your passport renewed or deal with TSA, just pick up Near & Far and travel along with her.
[THIS COOKBOOKS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO ENTERED!]
That’s it for today’s cookbook roundup. Check out yesterday’s cookbook roundup and giveaway (if you haven’t already) and check back tomorrow for another round of awesome cookbooks as well as another giveaway for cookbooks. And now for details on how to win a few of these books! COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!
I’m giving away a copy of Dinner Pies, Making Dough, Near & Far and Sweet Middle East to one lucky reader of Eat the Love! It’s easy to enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me the favorite cookbook and why! I love learning about new cookbooks and maybe you guys have a favorite that I missed? Tell me what it is (and maybe why you like it) and you could win those four cookbooks! You have until Wednesday, December 23nd, 2015 9am PST to enter! (Only one entry per person please.) The Fine Print
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
▪ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
▪ VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
▪ You must be over the age of 18.
▪ This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
▪ The contest starts as of today, and will run until Wednesday, December 23nd, 2015, 9am PST.
▪ The combined retail value of everything is about $104.84.
▪ Only one entry per person please. Any additional comments by the same person will be discarded in the final selection process.
▪ The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
▪ The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
▪ If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award everything to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the books and respond within 72 hours to me when I contact you or I’ll give everything to someone else.
▪ The prize is being delivered directly from the publishers. If they have not delivered the prize to you within three weeks of me notifying you of winning, please reach out to me again and I will do follow up to make sure everything is OK. Please keep in mind we are all human and things happen. I will do everything within my power to make sure the prize is delivered in a timely manner.
Thank you to Artisan, Chronicle Books, Harvard Common Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Kyle Books, Oxmoor House/Time Inc, Running Press, Ten Speed Press, Surrey Books/Agate Publishing, Quirk Books and William Morrow for providing review copies of the cookbooks above. All books were sent to me free of charge for review but there was no obligation to feature them and I was not monetarily compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and not endorsed by the publishers.
An extra special thank you to Chronicle Books, Harvard Common Press, Quirk Books, Ten Speed Press for providing copies of Dinner Pies, Making Dough, Near & Far and Sweet Middle East as a giveaway to one lucky reader! You guys totally rock!