Cooking the Books: Books to Give

cookbooks

 

When the malls are getting you down, and you’ve still got a few hard-to-shop-for folks on your list, take our advice and turn to cookbooks. Who doesn’t love a cookbook?

Here are three of our favorites, from influencers who hold a special place in our hearts— and kitchens!

smitten kitchen everyday cookbook

Smitten Kitchen

We are die-hard fans of Deb Perelman and have enjoyed her blog for years, so when she came out with a new cookbook called Smitten Kitchen Every Day, we were first in line. It’s filled with delicious and easy recipes for a date night in, a Sunday supper with friends, or a busy weeknight meal.

not without salt

Not without Salt

When Ashley Rodriguez turned her weekly dinner date with her husband into a cookbook titled “Date Night In,” we couldn’t get enough of the fun ideas. And now, her  latest cookbook, Let’s Stay In, expands on the concept with recipes to cook for the family. We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy.

kale and caramel cookbook

Kale and Caramel

Lily Diamond from Kale & Caramel has turned her blog in to a beautiful cookbook filled with wonderful recipes and do-it-yourself beauty products. Her book isn’t just recipes, though, it’s a kind of guide to all the ways we can connect to nature through food.

What’s your favorite cookbook to give away during the Holidays?

Cooking the Books: Thanksgiving Classics

You know it’s November when you start digging out those tried and true Thanksgiving recipes passed down to you from your mother and your grandmother. There’s always the classic pumpkin pie or the sweet potato casserole with fluffy marshmallows that you can’t help but make each year because come on, it’s tradition!

There’s no way to get around the classics, so we’ve rounded up our favorite classic recipes (with a twist!) from our favorite cookbooks!

The Prize-Winning Turkey

Unfortunately more often than not, too many Thanksgiving turkeys suffer from dried turkey syndrome. Enter Samin Nosrat’s spatchcocked turkey recipe from her cookbook, “Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat.” The secret is seasoning it two days before and using lots of herbs and butter.

The Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

We would trust Julia Child with our lives so of course we had to include her famous garlic mashed potato recipe from her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1. It includes a rich béchamel sauce and lots and lots of garlic.

Not Your Traditional Pumpkin Pie

You’ve heard of pumpkin pie, but why not try something different this year like carrot pie from Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons cookbook? Topped with candied ginger and toasted pecans, it’s sure to be a hit.

Cranberry Sauce That’s Here to Stay

Most of our childhood memories involve cranberry sauce from a can, but when made from scratch it’s so delicious! It also makes for great leftover turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving. One of our favorite cranberry recipes comes from Nigel Slater who references Glynn Christian’s “Real Flavours” version that’s served warm with additions of roasted black peppercorns, mace and lemon, grated orange or cardamom.

What are your favorite cookbook recipes this Thanksgiving?

Cooking the Books: Eating Local by Sur La Table

Cooking the Books

There’s something quite magical about a cookbook that speaks right to your soul, particularly when it’s gifted.

Enter: Sur La Table’s Eating Local. I love this cookbook for many reasons, but mainly because my mom gave it to me when I needed it most in college. I was (very) new to the kitchen, surviving off of eggs, sandwiches, cookies, and coffee. Convenience tipped the scale since time was short. As it happened, I discovered the farmer’s market shortly after the book arrived, and the rest is history.

While I’ve made a handful of delicious recipes from Eating Local, I mostly pull it out for inspiration. If you’re like me, and you’re big on sustainability, supporting your local farmers, and eating seasonally, then this cookbook is for you. I shop at the farmer’s market during the summer months, and subscribe to our local CSA in the winter. Sometimes, though, I draw a blank when our box arrives. Soup? Chili? Gratin? Thankfully, this cookbook never disappoints.

Eating Local also provides year-round tips for storing, preparing, and preserving the best of each season, motivating me to waste as little food as possible. I’m focused on the book’s root veggie dishes right now. Bring it on, fall.

Cooking the Books: Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

salt, fat, acid, heat bookbook

I’m sure you’d think I was kidding if I told you that I found the best cookbook of all time, but it’s true! I just purchased Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat and it’s by far the best and most comprehensive cookbook out there. I can’t put it down.

It’s more like a textbook really, because it goes deep into the science behind cooking. Want to know the importance of salting your meat before you cook it? Or how to make the perfect scrambled eggs? (The secret is a little lemon juice by the way.) Or how to not break a mayonnaise? This book tells you how while showcasing the four main pillars of cooking every good cook should know. The fun and amusing illustrations and charts, don’t hurt either. There’s als a glossary of delicious recipes you’ll want to try time and time again.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat cookbook

I’m taking my time getting through it because I really want to soak it all in, but I highly recommend it for everyone, amateur or advanced cook alike.

Oh, and even better, the book is becoming a Netflix original series, so all the more reason to get in on the action!

Cooking the Books: Alison Roman’s Dining In

chocolate chip cookies

Confession: We’ve got some cookbook hoarders over here on #teamcookit. We love to curl up with our cookbooks on the weekends and cook from them during the week. We have a Slack channel devoted to them, and we’re always talking about the latest cookbook we can’t wait to get our hands on.

Over the past couple weeks, Alison Roman’s Dining In has been the topic of choice. Laurie, our CEO & Founder was the first to cook from it, making-roasted pork shoulder with garlic, oranges, chilies and cilantro. Then Netanya, our Social Media Manager, got her hands on it, making everything from crunchy chili oil to cumin-roasted cauliflower with dates and tahini.

At that point, I knew I had to buy myself a copy. Although I’m not one to call myself a baker, the folks at my boyfriend’s office had no complaints about the Instagram-famous Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies along with the Buttered Raspberry Hand Pies I made (even though I used blackberries instead of raspberries, since they were a better buy and I like them better!).

And just to test out whether this cookbook was really a winner, I made Alison’s Sour Cream Flatbread with Oil-Roasted Mushrooms for dinner one night.

One bite and the verdict was clear. Dining In is truly an incredible cookbook, with easy, delicious and approachable recipes you’ll keep coming back to time and again. So we hope you grab a copy for yourself and “Dine in.”

Cooking the Books: Summer’s 3 Best Cookbooks

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Summertime cooking is special. It’s less about cooking and more about assembling, using that good farmer’s market produce while the season lasts. The phrase, “thrown together,” comes to mind. For a few blissful weeks, I organize all cooking and eating around stone fruit, basil, sweet white corn, heirloom tomatoes, and all my other favorites.

An ideal summertime cookbook lets you do this. Its recipes are both produce-heavy and flexible enough to accommodate whatever whims you’ve had at the market that day. Here are the three I’ll be using (and probably staining with tomato juice) all season long.

What's Gaby Cooking
Photo: A Cozy Kitchen

What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food

Gaby writes the type of recipes that inspire al fresco dinner parties with friends and Margaritas on random weeknights (which is basically the point of summer). They’re cravable, colorful, and all about using as much fresh produce as you can get your hands on.

Salad for President
Photo: A Cookie Named Desire

Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists

I love jumping into Julia Sherman’s colorful, artistic world where food becomes art and salads receive main-dish status. I’ll make her Heirloom Tomatoes with Crunchy Polenta Croutons until the tomatoes disappear for the season.

river cafe london
Photo: Blackbook

River Cafe London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant

The River Cafe’s simple recipes and focus on good ingredients make this book especially good for summertime, though I’ll use it year-round. I’m also excited to dig into Ruth Rogers’ inspiring words on 30 years running a landmark restaurant, breaking ground for women in food along the way.