Monday, December 7, 2009

Cookbooks to crush on this holiday season

I tend to lust over cookbooks (both new and old) all year long, but get particularly engrossed around the holiday season and find myself pouring through recipes and gorgeously rich photos for a little cold-weather inspiration and holiday warmth. Here are a few cookbooks on my list this year, and maybe on yours as well.

COCO (Oct. 2009)- Chic design and colorful cover aside, Coco (published by design-heavy Phaidon) is a compilation of recipes from 100 up and coming contemporary chefs -- all of whom were nominated by 10 culinary masters including Mario Batali and Alice Waters. I've only yet flipped through Coco's pages (it's still on my wish list this holiday season), but from what I've seen, it's quite an impressive publication with interesting recipes galore.

Salt to Taste (Oct. 2009) - Marco Canora, owner of Hearth and Terroir restaurants and wine bar in Manhattan, brings rustic, flavorful and market-driven Italian dishes to this book. Recipes are approachable and'll want to head directly into the kitchen and cook up fresh fare like Roasted Salmon with Red Peppers, Veal and Ricotta Meatballs, Pasta e Fagioli, Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad, and Braised Duck with Olives and Rosemary. I love Canora's personal headnotes citing family traditions and cooking tips. One of my favorite parts of the book however, is the quote on the back: "Food -- buy it with thought; cook it with care; serve just enough; save what will keep; eat what would spoil; home-grown is best."

Jamie at Home (Oct. 2008) -- It might be among last year's hottest cookbooks, but this is still one of my favorites from acclaimed celebrity chef and Food Network star, Jamie Oliver and is definitely worth a good mention. Recipes are seasonally-inspired and are organized by spring/summer/fall/winter sections. Ridiculously gorgeous, mouth-watering photos and equally tasty recipes, Jamie's continued focus is on balance, fresh produce, making the most of the season and filling dishes with tons of flavor. You'll find recipes like Grilled lamb kofta kebabs with pistachios and spicy salad wrap, Warm strawberries with Pimm's and vanilla ice cream, and Superb squash soup with Parmesan croutons. And if you weren't already aware, Jamie is taking his fight on obesity and healthier eating habits from across the Atlantic, putting America's "diet" on a diet. Check out a 6-part video series and recipes from his American travels here. Jamie's newest book, Jamie's America (Sept. 2009) is currently out on shelves.

And a few other newbie cookbooks to note:
ref=sr_1_1.jpgDavid Chang's expressive (read: expletives everywhere) and intricate Momofuku (Chang now owns 4 restaurants in NYC -- who doesn't love Ssam Bar's pork buns and Noodle Bar's classic ramen)?
ref=sr_1_1.jpgFood Network nutritionist (and one of my friends and colleagues) Ellie Krieger's new So Easy, full of healthy, super flavorful recipes and nutrition info.

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