Cookbook Picks: Winter 2016
We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl—except when it comes to cookbooks. I'm a cookbook collector (and possibly a burgeoning hoarder). Last winter, I put up a list of 5 cookbooks I'd used the most in 2015, but seeing as my collection is growing at a rapid pace, I'm going to start posting quarterly recommendations. Unless I get bored and decide not to. No promises. I present to you: the Winter 2016 collection.
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes
About 5 years ago, I went on a trip with my college friends to New Orleans. When I got home and they started posting pictures from the trip, I came to the realization that I was not the svelte panther I thought I was. I looked more like late 1970s Elvis Presley than 1950's Elvis. I went to a dietician who, in short, told me to stop eating garbage and start eating more vegetables.
But vegetables suck, I thought to myself. Ottolenghi's Plenty (and its follow up, Plenty More) changed the vegetable game for me. With these two books, I've become the vegetable master. I am the inspiration behind L' Arpége and Blue Hill.
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking
Michael Solomonovand Steven Cook
I'm Jewish, but I'm not a cool Israeli Jew. I'm not even a tan Sephardic Jew. I'm just a boring ol' Ashkenazi Jew. My Russian family recipes all involve beets, potatoes, and cabbage.
I bought the Zahav cookbook partially because it won a James Beard award for Best Cookbook, but mostly so I could cook Israeli food and pretend I was the Zohan. It worked. I blew everyone away at our Thanksgiving dinner with Solomonov's braised lamb shoulder with pomegranate molasses and chickpeas. Every single dish I've made so far has been a winner. I give this book 5/5 yarmulkes.
Most Americans won't know who George Calombaris is, which is a shame. He's a good natured, extremely talented Greek-Australian chef from Down Under, and also the co-host of Masterchef Australia. Unlike its American and Canadian relatives, MC: 'stralia is not a giant stinking heap of bullshit drama. It's a great show.
Calombaris' new cookbook, Greek, isn't even being sold in the US. I don't know why. It's an incredible book full of modern—yet home cook friendly—Greek recipes. The photos are stunning, the writing is great, and the recipes work. It's a lot like this blog.
It keeps popping up at the Amazon link below for a variety of prices. I got it for $28, but now it's at $81. Keep your eyes peeled. If I find it somewhere cheaper, I'll let you know.
The best Singaporean cookbook I've found. Originally published in the 1989, this cookbook has been my link back to the food I love so much. For many of the recipes, Hutton went to the hawker stalls or restaurants and straight up asked how they made their signature dishes. If you're at all interested in the real flavors of Singapore, get this. Alternatively, you can get The Little Singapore Cookbook, which is kind of like a "best of" from the larger book.
Chili crab will change your life.
Amazon link: Singapore Food or The Little Singapore Cookbook
Thai Street Food
This book is huge, just like your mom. If you're into coffee table books, this might as well be one with its enormous, bright street photography from all around Thailand. The shots of the food are equally beautiful. Thompson doesn't dumb down or simplify the recipes either: if you want to make authentic Thai food, you're going to need to buy a lot of ingredients. Make it a team effort. Get the kids chopping lemongrass.
The results are worth the effort.