It’s no secret that I love food… anywhere I can I’ll sing food’s praises. Just recently I cracked open one of my many cookbooks and decided to follow a recipe for a fluffy banana bread in The Bread Bible by Rosy Levy Beranbaum (thank you rotting bananas!) The outcome was amazing and I was reminded that I have so many wonderful cook books with incredible foods just lying on their pages waiting to be made.
So, I’ve made a renewed commitment to try some new recipes that are right in front of me. Because, be honest here, how many times do you cling to 3 or 4 recipes in a book and make the same dishes hundreds of times while unintentionally shunning dozens of others recipes in the book? Me too.
I pulled all my cookbooks off the shelf, surrounded myself in bed and flipped through them all. As a result, I have a long to-cook list and I’ve worked up a hunger that feels like it could last for weeks. I also rounded up a baker’s dozen to share with you. Most I own, but the last four are on my wish list. I would love to take an extended leave from work to just cook through these thirteen cookbooks and have you all over for brunch and lunch and dinner. But alas, I cannot. At the very least I hope you all enjoy something delectable this weekend!
What have you been whipping up lately? What are your favorite cookbooks?
Hungrily yours, Blair
One. Alice Water’s is a heavy hitter in the food world and I admire the educational work she does to bring awareness to the agricultural process that happens before ingredients ever make it to the kitchen. But, I digress…I love this book for when I’ve decided on an entrée and have no idea what to serve with it. Next up for me is the artichoke baked with anchovy stuffing!
Two. This is the latest addition to my shelf. I was drawn in by their realistic food philosophy expressed in the first few pages that aligns with my own. Some of the ingredients are more “special” than what I normally have lying around, but I think most should be readily available at the grocery store. I’m really excited to try out new flavors with this book.
Three. Hayley gifted me a set of Canal House cookbooks. This book, volume 4, is called Farm Markets & Gardens. With the downtown Portland Farmer’s Market just coming to life and an ambitious community garden plan of my own, I’m anxious to try a few of The Big Red dishes once summer really revs up.
Four. Since 1972, Sur La Table has been the kind of store I can’t walk out of without adding to my home culinary arsenal. I don’t hate it. I also don’t hate the way the book is organized alphabetically by main ingredient so it’s easy to look up. At a loss with those [fill in the blank] in your CSA? Look it up in alpha order for some instant inspiration!
Five. River Cottage is a place I would love to visit. England is such a beautiful, romantic setting anyway… then throw in an agricultural/culinary/sustainable gem like River Cottage and my bags are packed. As for the book- it’s a great compilation of home-doable recipes. One of my favorite snacks is the crudité with a quick anchovy dressing. I like anchovies.
Six. Sometimes I feel left out in Maine because our native growing season is a hot second compared to, say, California. It feels like everywhere else has all the produce fun- avocado, papaya, an orange tree in the front yard. This book, though, highlights foods that can grow here- even in our short little season. And of course there’s blueberry buckle, cobbler and pie recipes.
Seven. Moosewood is a cookbook I have memories of as a child and has the best hummus recipe I’ve ever had in my life- and I’ve had a lot of different hummus. It’s everywhere. This cookbook is definitely one with several very worn pages and many left crisp. I’ve got my work cut out for me here.
(Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this post-particularly the next paragraph- are mine alone and don’t reflect SS+C or EG… or Hayley. Hehe)
Eight. Controversial and polarizing though she may be… Gwyneth has got some good taste buds in her head and creates pretty yummy food and I love her. I am also a huge fan of Julia Turshen and together they’ve put together some really scrumptious, healthy food that is for the most part practical… I shouldn’t dig myself in too deep here, but I think it’s more approachable than the Portland Maine Cookbook.
Nine. This was a gift from my mother. Portland, for a very small city, is quite a vibrant food hub. Chef’s here are regularly recognized on a national level and this cookbook is a testament to that. However, this is a book I am inclined to open when I’m up for a project since I don’t have the same tools and refined techniques as the pros.
Ten. Mimi Thorisson is a blogger/home cook turned mini celebrity, not without her own controversy. Regardless, I adore the images taken by her photographer husband and the story telling style of the book. I also don’t know a single soul who doesn’t love rustic French cuisine- it’s pure, decadent and, when done right, always knocks it out of the park. Whatever it is.
Eleven. Without ever having cracked the cover, I imagine this is the kind of book I would curl up with and fall asleep reading. To totally judge this book by its cover- it’s blue (my favorite of all colors), nautical, and about food. I’m sold. The concept, menus from the defining meals of the author’s life, is enticing and takes the guess work out of meal planning.
Twelve. Even though I’m unfamiliar with the original Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, this seems like an ace to hold on to for meatless Monday’s and those trying to eat with a lighter carbon footprint. The sheer quantity of recipes is a little daunting, but with about 1,800 dishes I can say with confidence, I don’t think I’d ever bore of this book!
Thirteen. I have no idea how the children on Master Chef Junior pulled banana macaroons, raspberry trifle, and other mind blowing confections out of thin air. Too much chemistry, I say… though my boyfriend would disagree and then proceed to haphazardly throw together a loaf of delicious and fluffy bread. I wouldn’t get this book for him… I would get it for me. It full of sweet little confections for any time of day and I’m all about that.