Fall is upon us, and home cooks know what that means: a multitude of new cookbooks to flip through as inspiration for even better cooking. Here are 10 of our favorites—a few written by restaurant chefs, others by accomplished recipe developers, and a handful by beloved TV personalities—that offer something for everyone.
THE SLANTED DOOR: MODERN VIETNAMESE FOOD by Charles Phan
America’s best-known Vietnamese chef, Charles Phan, has finally released a collection of recipes from his modern Vietnamese restaurant, The Slanted Door. Fans of the restaurant (and there are many—it’s one of the highest-grossing in the country) will be able to re-create perennial favorites like papaya salad, Dungeness crab with cellophane noodles, and shaking beef. Most memorable is Phan’s thoughtful account of the restaurant, and its evolution from surprisingly humble beginnings.
HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING FAST: A BETTER WAY TO COOK GREAT FOOD by Mark Bittman
New York Times columnist Mark Bittman reduces complex or layered dishes (wonton soup, banh mi, shrimp gumbo, Reuben sandwiches) to their essential elements, using shortcuts that avoid compromises in flavor or texture. How to Cook Everything fans should expect tips on consolidating, high-flavor ingredients, and shortcuts during prep.
BAR TARTINE: TECHNIQUES & RECIPES by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns
At Bar Tartine in San Francisco, co-chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla created their own version of California cuisine, focusing not just on ingredients but on heirloom techniques and modern plating. Serious hobbyists will devour information about how to maximize the larder, filling it with home-dried bottarga or paprika made from scratch and lots of stuff in between. Half of the book is dedicated to old techniques such as drying (meats, vegetables, spices, and more), sprouting, rendering, and preserving, including fermenting, pickling, and candying. The other half contains contemporary recipes that use those products, such as gai lan with air-dried beef, farmers cheese dumplings, and candied beet and sunflower frangipane tart.
PLENTY MORE: VIBRANT VEGETABLE COOKING FROM LONDON’S OTTOLENGHI by Yotam Ottolenghi
British-Israeli chef and author Yotam Ottolenghi is back. Plenty More, a follow-up to his successful Plenty, offers even more ideas for elevating vegetables to be the star of any dish. This time he organizes recipes by techniques—think “blanched,” “cracked,” or “sweetened”—with lots of inspiration within each category. A few recipes that should entice both herbivores and omnivores: polenta chips with avocado and yogurt, eggplant cheesecake, and grilled banana bread with tahini and honeycomb.
THE VEGETARIAN FLAVOR BIBLE by Karen Page
Avid cooks of all stripes have championed Karen Page’s The Flavor Bible, which isn’t so much a cookbook as it is a reference work based on compatible flavors. In her latest, Page acknowledges the exploding interest in vegetable-centric cuisine, this time with pairing charts dedicated specifically to plant-based ingredients, tips on veganizing vegetarian dishes, and suggestions for pairing wine with meatless dishes.
DOMINIQUE ANSEL: THE SECRET RECIPES by Dominique Ansel
New York pastry chef Ansel invented a little something called the Cronut™ last May, launching multiple baker’s dozens of imitators around the world. Now those who want the real deal (and don’t feel like braving the line at Ansel’s bakery in Manhattan) can finally get their hands on an adaptation of the trademarked recipe to make at home. Also: classic patisserie delights like canneles and madeleines, and a recipe for the chef’s favorite, a flaky pastry known simply as the DKA.
MAKE IT AHEAD: A BAREFOOT CONTESSA COOKBOOK by Ina Garten
Fans of the Barefoot Contessa will get more Ina in her ninth cookbook, which focuses on food you can prep in advance. The recipes (new comfort food classics such as pastitsio, summer paella “salad,” and sour cream cornbread) include notes on what you can pre-make, and how far ahead. She also shares advice on planning parties, safely storing food, and being at the top of your kitchen game for that granddaddy of all dinner parties, Thanksgiving.
SUGAR RUSH: MASTER TIPS, TECHNIQUES, AND RECIPES FOR SWEET BAKING by Johnny Iuzzini
The James Beard Award–winning pastry chef (and Top Chef: Just Desserts head judge) proves it’s possible to cover all the baking bases in an edgy, provocative way. This exhaustive dessert guide includes of-the-moment flavor inspiration (roasted white chocolate or cream cheese–tahini frosting anyone?), illustration-heavy schooling in pastry techniques, and dazzling photographs.
MASTERING MY MISTAKES IN THE KITCHEN by Dana Cowin
Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin has long joked about moments of ineptitude in the kitchen. Her first solo cookbook highlights punchy everyday recipes she’s aced over the years, such as spicy watermelon gazpacho and pork chops with five-minute umami sauce, thanks to cooking tips from chef friends. Tips like what to do with spare ginger peels or how to make ribs that don’t require turning and basting make this book look invaluable. Cowin’s nuggets of wisdom (“Toast offers a life lesson: be hard on the outside, soft on the inside”) are a surprise bonus.
JAMIE OLIVER’S COMFORT FOOD: THE ULTIMATE WEEKEND COOKBOOK by Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver is back with yet another collection of recipes, this time all about food rituals for weekends, holidays, and special occasions. The down-to-earth Oliver puts comfort food front and center in classics like crispy wings and eggs Benedict, and in global favorites like moussaka, katsu curry, gyoza, sticky toffee pudding, and tarte Tatin.
Photo credits: Cookbook shelves / Express-O, Charles Phan / Asian Week, How to Cook Everything Fast cookbook/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing, Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns / Wine-Searcher, Plenty More cookbook / Pirate Books Bay, Vegetarian Flavor Bible cookbook / Food Network, Dominique Ansel cookbook / NYDailyNews.com, Ina Garten cookbook / Eater, Sugar Rush cookbook / Eater, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen/ HarperCollins Publishers,Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food / Cookbooks365