I hope everyone had an amazing weekend!
I’ve been excited to write this post for a while. If you know me, you know that I absolutely, 100%, have a severe addiction to cookbooks. I absolutely love them. I’m not much of a reader in general, but I will read cookbooks cover to cover and flip through them aimlessly all the time. With everything being so digital these days, I feel like people forget about the joy of cookbooks. I get it, they take up space, they cost money, and a lot of similar recipes can be found online. However, I personally find so much more joy and inspiration from cookbooks than I do from recipes online. (Says the girl that writes a food blog..just being honest here!) I get so excited when I see some of my favorite chef’s release a new cookbook. Some I actually cook out of more than others, and some I use more as “coffee book” book where I gain inspiration from but don’t cook out of all that often.
So without further ado, here are some of my all time favorite cookbooks, broken up into various categories..
Cookbooks for the Entertainer
Six Seasons is a beautiful cookbook written by chef Joshua Mcfadden. This cookbook is broken up by season (duh) but more specifically categorized by vegetables. This book is great for simple yet unique recipes overall. It’s the perfect cookbook to gain inspiration and recipes from any farmers market trip you may make! One of my favorite sections of the book is their dressings section. I’ve made the caper raisin vinaigrette a few times now, which is such a unique combination of flavors. This is a great book to make you look like an impressive chef even if you don’t believe in yourself that much quite yet 😉
Recipes I’ve made: winter squash and leek risotto (there’s also a recipe for squash arancini using the leftover risotto…), Caper Raisin Vinaigrette.
Recipes I have bookmarked: Grilled artichokes with artichoke parmigiano dip, kale mushroom lasagna, onion and pancetta tart, spring pea carbonara pasta, cauliflower with spicy fish sauce.
Nothing Fancy/Dining In
Nothing Fancy written by NY times columnist Alison Roman is the second cookbook of two. Dining In was her first. I put them both in the same category because they are both pretty similar in terms of layout, recipe style, and overall feel. I’ve made more recipes out of Dining in than Nothing Fancy but they both have recipes that have short ingredient lists, are relatively easy to execute, but are definitely more targeted towards entertaining vs something you would make yourself on a weeknight. Alison Roman has a pretty strong pastry background, so the dessert section of both books I think are some of her best recipes.
Recipes I’ve made: One pot chicken with lemon and dates (from nothing fancy), Chicken with anchovy and breadcrumbs (dining in), celebration cake (seriously, the best cake ever) (dining in), key lime pie (dining in) Cauliflower with tahini and dates (dining in)
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: Frizzeled leeks (nothing fancy), cornmeal blackberry cake (nothing fancy), ricotta stuffed shells with burrata, mushrooms, and herbs (nothing fancy), crispy vinegared potatoes with dried chile (nothing fancy)
This book you guys.. is BEAUTIFUL. Written by chef and owner of Gjelina restaurant, Travis Lett. This book has incredibly photography and even more delicious recipes. Focused on California, fresh, vegetable forward cuisine. The vegetable recipes in this book are creative and drool worthy. There are also recipes for from scratch pasta, pizzas, meat and fish categories, and desserts. Any recipes in this book will surely wow guests but the book is written in a way that feels doable.
Recipes I’ve made: Mushroom toasts, sweet potato hash, roasted cauliflower with parsley and vinegar, and warm date cake with ginger gelato.
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: (literally so many hah but here’s a few!) roasted artichokes with calabrian chile anchovy and shallots, potato leek and chard gratin with tallegio, strawberry rhubarb crisp with cornmeal crust, slow cooked lamb shoulder with orange yogurt and herbs.
Eating Out Loud
Eating Out Loud is a new cookbook by chef and TV host Eden Grishpan. I have a major girl crush on Eden. I follow her on instagram and have been so incredibly excited for this book to come out. This book is filled with recipes derived from Eden’s middle eastern heritage. She teaches you about various middle eastern pantry items to have on hand in order to execute the recipes in the book with more simplicity. She teaches you how to make homemade pita, flatbreads, monkey bread, as well as more simple recipes like fresh salads, grain recipes, fish and meat recipes, and fun unique middle eastern desserts. I absolutely adore this cookbook and the women that wrote it. It’s a must have in my opinion! I did a cookbook club night with my friends the other night using this book. It’s a fun thing to do with friends. Even if they don’t own the book, you can just send them a picture of a recipe to make. Cookbook clubs>>>regular book clubs IMO 🙂
Recipes I’ve made: garlicky tahini, red zhoug, scallops with basil tumeric butter, lemony mejadra with extra,extra fried shallots, baked lamb kebabas with roasted vegetables and tahini, slow roasted and fresh cherry tomato salad with feta basil and honey
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: lamb flatbread with pomegranate and mint, braised halibut with roasted cherry tomatoes and tahini, semolina olive oil cake and honey cake with cherries
Soul is a cookbook written by chef Todd Richards. This book is as the title says, all about the food of the south, otherwise known as Soul food. While there are recipes for items you may expect like braised collard greens and cornbread, the recipes overall are much more complex and elevated in style. I love that this book as well is broken up into categories of vegetables and proteins. Collard greens, corn, tomatoes, onions, seafood and meat are all categories in the book. There are also sections of the book that give sample menu ideas for entertaining (if you’re feeling up to the challenge!). These recipes overall are definitely more complex and require planning ahead to execute, but are so insanely mouthwatering and delicious. My friend recommended this cookbook to me and I’m so glad she did. I’ve only gotten around to making a couple recipes so far but I cant wait to make more!
Recipes I’ve Made: grilled peach toast with pimiento cheese, ginger and collard green fried rice
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: salmon croquettes with grit croutons and chive aioli, hoecakes, tomato jam, fish market scallops with lemon aioli, peach salad, shrimp hot chicken style, lamb meatball skewers with fig yogurt sauce.
The Ottolenghi books are the ultimate look into middle eastern cuisine, specifically cuisine from Isreal. Written by chef Yotam Ottolenghi. The ones I own are Jerusalem, Ottolenghi Simple, Plenty, and Ottolenghi. Ottolenghi is a chain of cafe’s in London that are incredible. So many amazing pastries and vegetables dishes. These books are all beautiful and filled with mouth watering recipes. Jerusalem was the book that convinced me to make hummus from dried chickpeas and I’ll never go back to canned. For the home cook I would recommend Ottolenghi Simple, because as the title eludes, this is by far the most simple of all his books. Plenty is 100% vegetarian and is the book I’ve cooked the most out of. With these books and the one prior, it definitely makes you take a look at your pantry and makes you want to add some middle eastern ingredients such as sumac, pomegranate molasses, tahini, and preserved lemons to your pantry to make executing the recipes in the book a bit easier. I order a lot of these ingredients on amazon, just an FYI 🙂
Recipes I’ve made: Basic hummus (Jerusalem), Leek Fritters (Plenty), Vegetable Paella (Plenty), Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Ragout (Plenty)
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: Eggplant croquettes (Plenty), caramelized garlic tart (Jerusalem), Prawns with scallops clams tomatoes and feta (Jerusalem), stuffed eggplant with lamb and pine nuts (Jerusalem)
Books for Everyday/The Home Cook
Chrissy Teigin, Hungry For More
Ok, ok, hear me out. I was a skeptic at first too because it bugs me that models, actors, etc think they can come out with a cookbook just because of their name. However, I’ve always been a fan of Chrissy Teigen. She wrote a food blog for a few years before everyone was asking her to write a cookbook. Her first cookbook, Cravings, is filled with recipes you may crave such as mac and cheese, chicken pot pie soup, nachos, etc. I personally think her second cookbook, Hungry for More, is better and every recipe I’ve made I’ve been very impressed by. Her mom is thai, so both books have a section dedicated to her mother’s thai recipes which I love. Both of her books are fun, approachable, and filled with delicious recipes that I think any home cook would feel they can make no problem.
Recipes I’ve Made: Crispy coconut tenders with pineapple chili sauce, cheesy spiced breakfast hash, roasted butternut squash pomegranate salad with honey dijon dressing, chicken and dumplings, and banana bread.
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: Tom yum noodles, pepper’s spring rolls, pepper’s grilled eggplant with crispy shallots, everything bagel casserole.
The Cook Something Cookbook is written by chef’s and owners of Canal House restaurant which is an institution located in New Jersey. While i’ve never been to the restaurant, my mom gifted me their cookbook. Cook Something teaches you the basics on most methods of cooking. Whether its braising, poaching, roasting, etc, they have several recipes and explanations on how it’s done. Theres a whole chapter dedicated to eggs, all the different ways to cook an egg, and about 10 variations on deviled eggs. There’s also an extensive salad section, Italian section including homemade pizza dough and pastas to classic bolognese sauce, a poultry, and a fish chapter. This book really is an all inclusive guide that has everything from dishes for weeknight meals to cooking a thanksgiving dinner. I highly recommend this book as being a multi faceted, multi purpose cookbook for your kitchen.
Recipes I’ve made: lemon curd with whipped cream, pizza dough, bolognese sauce. (My mom has also made their meatloaf and claims it to be the best meatloaf of all time if meatloaf is your thing!)
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: little meatballs in broth, crab cakes, poached salmon with lemon butter sauce, mussel scallion soup, cheese souffle.
Barefoot Contessa Cookbooks
Last, but certainly not least, the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. At this point I believe the queen, aka Ina Garten (link to her instagram, I highly recommend following her!) , has written about 12 cookbooks. My favorite editions are probably the original barefoot contessa cookbook, cooking for Jeffrey, and her most recent, modern comfort food. If you’re unfamiliar with who Ina Garten is, we can’t be friends. Just kidding. She use to own and operate a speciality food store in the Hamptons called Barefoot Contessa. When she sold the store, she started writing cookbooks which eventually led to her own food network show. She is elegance, grace, and isn’t afraid to add the appropriate amount of butter to a recipe. She has about 500 different roast chicken recipes, her signature. Her recipes are targeted towards easy entertaining. All of them are easy to follow and will make any beginner look like a pro.
Recipes I’ve made: SO MANY. But here are a few. Skillet lemon chicken, chicken with forty cloves of garlic, cheese puffs, pimento cheese, pan fried onion dip, peach raspberry crisp, and many more. (note, most of her recipes are online so any of these would just require a quick google search)
Recipes I’ve bookmarked: In her most recent cookbook, modern comfort, on my list: truffle mac and cheese, shellfish stew, chicken enchiladas, chicken pot pie soup, and spinach artichoke dip.
I hope you enjoyed this very long post about my love of cookbooks. I hope they inspire you in the kitchen like they inspire me!