Monday, January 4, 2010

Favorite Cookbooks: Winter 2010

If you're reading this blog than I can only assume you might be the type of person who has a shelf overflowing with cookbooks or who reads cookbooks before they go to bed at night. I have my favorites that I return to over and over again but this year I am determined to crack open the books I have never quite gotten to yet, or at the very least, haven't paid enough attention to. This is my list of books I am determined to cook with this winter.
  • The Winter Vegetarian by Darra Goldstein: I am shamed to admit that this is one of the books I bought over a year ago and I haven't made a single thing from. Ms. Goldstein cooks with a bit of a Russian flair and, as the title suggests, the recipes seem hearty and satisfying. Recipes I want to try include Spicy Squash Turnovers, Cornmeal Souffle, White Bean and Potato Pie, Millet Pancakes, and Pulla (Finnish Cardamom Bread).

  • A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds: Now this book I got fairly recently and already love it. Besides some enticing, simple Asian-inspired recipes, it has a great deal of information on Chinese medicine including some mysterious sounding herbal tonics that a well-stocked Asian market could put together for you that apparently cure things like toothaches, hangovers, and high blood pressure. I have already made the Cantonese-Style tofu in Black Bean Sauce and have my eye on the Clams with Basil and Garlic, Curried Coconut Green Beans and Braised Cinnamon Tofu.

  • Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone: Ms Bone makes it sound as if anyone can be a canner. She has an easy-going writing style that instills confidence in tackling her various projects. This book isn't only about canning jams and jellies. She teaches us how to pickle, freeze, pressure can, preserve in oil and even cure and smoke. I've made her Spicy Pickled Cauliflower and Figs in Brandy as gifts for Christmas this past year and am planning on canning her Three-Citrus Marmalade very soon. If I can get my hands on a pressure canner, I'd love to try making my own canned tuna too. The really nice thing about this book is after every canning recipe, she includes recipes for using the canned product.

  • Feast by Nigella Lawson. Offering up recipes for all holidays and celebrations, this is my favorite Nigella book and I'm not sure where I would be if I didn't have her recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake that graces my table a couple times a year around St. Patricks Day. It is a perfect cake. This year though I am going to expand my Nigella horizons and hopefully make her Hot Cross Buns, Ham in Cherry Coke, and tackle her Georgian Feast for Eight since I know virtually nothing about Georgian cuisine.

  • Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless: I love him. I love eating at Frontera Grill in Chicago, I love his salsas available at the grocery store, and I love his cookbooks. This one has easy-sounding weeknight recipes in it that are inventive and oftentimes healthy. I love making his Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos in my slow-cooker. I'd also like to try the Avocado-Mango Salad with Fresh Cheese, Bacon and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds as well as the Crusty Black Bean Chorizo Subs and the Trout with Macadamias, Serrano and Green Beans.

  • The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: I have had this beautiful book for years now and have made absolutely nothing out of it. That is going to change in 2010. This book is all about eating for health but besides that, the photographs are gorgeous and the recipes inventive and not at all "diet" in a gimmicky way. On my list to make are the Sweet Potato Waffles with Blueberry Syrup, Shrimp & Mango Curry, and the Date Walnut Cake with Warm Honey Sauce.

  • King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: If you want to learn about baking with whole grains, this book is a gem. It's quite large with recipes for just about every baked good you can imagine. I have made the Toasted Sesame and Sunflower Loaf which was super tasty. There are really too many recipes to list that I would like to try but some highlights would be the Buttermilk Rye Bread, Cheese Crackers (Cheez-Its!!), Sprouted Wheat Sandwich Bread, Caramel Rum Squares, and Yeast-Raised Beignets.

  • Galatoire's Cookbook by Melvin Rodrigue with Jyl Benson: The times I have spent in New Orleans have been magical and nothing tops when we ate at Galatoire's in the French Quarter. I had Soft-Shell Crab Two Ways, Crepes Suzette and memorably the Creole Fried Eggplant that is dipped in powdered sugar and Tabasco which appears in this book. You must just try it. When Mardi Gras comes around this year I want to try my hand at the Crabmeat Sardou, Crawfish Bisque, Crepes Maison, and the Brandy Milk Punch.

  • Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss: I love my slow cooker in the cooler months. Whatever goes into it comes out as the perfect winter dinner. This book is unique because the recipes revolve around a slow cooker as a method, not as a convenient kitchen appliance. This may turn people off because there are sometimes many steps to do before putting the ingredients in it. I have found that the recipes are better for it and are worth the extra bit of effort. I have made the Beef Stew Provencal and the Marrakech Chicken Stew with Lemon and Olives, both delicious. I'd like to try the Oxtails Braised in Fragrant Coconut Milk, Braised Turkey Thighs with Posole and Lime, and the weird-sounding Candied-Clementine and Kalamata Compote.

If you have any input on these books, or any other winter favorites, please share!

2 comments:

alita said...

I'm pulling lightly used books off my shelf & paying them more attention too! Great picks! Mexican Everyday is one of our faves, as you know! -A

PS. I love the new header graphic!

Jesse Lu said...

Oooh, great suggestions. 'Well-Preserved' and 'Mexican Everyday' sound delicious!

I'm a big Jamie Oliver fan myself...

But then again I don't know all that much about food writers yet. I've just started to embrace my love for cooking.