A quick look at some of the most interesting cookbooks being released about now.
Phaidon is known for publishing big coffee table books—now comes this 704-page tome by Vefa Alexiadou on Greek food. The variety is huge: bean, spinach, and sausage casserole; braised salt cod with onions; Cretan barley rusks; and glistening syrup-soaked pastries.
A collection of recipes from the Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant mini-empire in Connecticut. While the cocktail recipes are pretty weak (come on guys, sour mix?) the food recipes like crispy fried whitebait, warm octopus salad with fingerling potatoes and smoked paprika, and cauliflower and fennel cazuela look good.
You’ve got to love the story behind this book. Francis Mallmann got sick of “making fancy French food for wealthy customers in Buenos Aires,” so he went back to basics: cooking over open flames. The book would be perfect for anyone wanting some grilling inspiration; beautiful pictures and techniques for whole animal roasts, “burnt” cooked polenta, and crisp sweetbreads are just the beginning.
Subtitled “200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion,” this book isn’t the typical no-duh roundup of quinoa salads and fake cheese pizzas, nor is it stuffed with overly complicated raw food preparations. Instead, it contains sophisticated-yet-simple recipes, like pan-fried asparagus with lime juice, red velvet cake with butter cream frosting, and red lentil, artichoke stew.
This year-in-the-kitchen cookbook offers recipes both sweet and savory from the well-loved restaurant in this northern California paradise. The new American recipes aren’t particularly innovative (yam and sweet potato pie; blue cheese stuffed figs with a balsamic reduction; roasted chicken) but they’re tasty sounding, and the groovy pictures of hippie farmers and jewel-like produce really take you there.
Like an art exhibition about Ferran Adrià of El Bulli in book form, this is a thick, beautifully produced product. It contains pictures of his dishes, along with essays written by fellow chefs and critics, graphs, musings, and other ephemera. It would make a great gift, not just for a chef or aspiring chef, but anybody who cares about culture and art.
Make your own dairy-free vegan ice cream (which relies primarily on soy milk) in interesting flavors like sweet potato basil, dark chocolate acai berry, sweet cucumber, and black sesame. A third of the calories, 100 percent of the fun!