With the end of the year drawing near, it’s time again to review the cookbooks that made their way to store shelves in 2013. This year’s crop includes life-long compilations and memoirs and collections from famed restaurants, as well as recipes from all areas of the U.S. and beyond. So, sit back with a cuppa, and decide which titles deserve a place on your kitchen shelf.
The Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld (Atria Books, $28)
As Maria von Trapp would sing, Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start… In 2013, Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld released her third cookbook, this time focusing on beginners or those ‘can’t cooks,’ with detailed instruction ranging from kitchen gadgets and cookware to how to cut an onion—and even trickier, how to peel and devein shrimp. For those more knowledgeable in the kitchen, this compilation—with its clever formatting and illustrations—also offers plenty of inspiration and intriguing recipes, like Roasted Lemon-Thyme Portobello Mushrooms.
It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow (Grand Central Publishing Life & Style, $32)
Another celebrity cookbook creating a lot of buzz this year was It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow. Motivated to follow a healthier diet after being diagnosed by her doctor as anemic, vitamin-D deficient and highly stressed, Paltrow eliminated many foods from her diet, including dairy, sugar, wheat and processed foods. But to keep meals interesting, Paltrow enlisted the help of her friend, Julia Turshen, and the result is this cookbook. Along with beautiful photography of food, as well as Paltrow and her family, look for delicious entrees like Salmon Burgers with Pickled Ginger and Coriander, and Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Cucumber and Yogurt Sauce.
Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer by Sanford D’Amato (Agate Publishing, $35)
Good Stock is a wonderful reflection of Sanford (Sandy) D’Amato’s career and life in the kitchen, and includes hand-selected recipes by the James Beard-award-winning chef. Some entries to stir the taste buds: Grilled Yucatan Pork Chops with Ancho Potatoes and Orange Chili Emulsion, Home-Style Pork Cabbage Rolls, Black Bean Chili with Cheddar Cheese Toast—and not to be forgotten: Ginger Snap Cannoli with Wisconsin Dried Cherry Mascarpone Cream.
Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook by Ivar Haglund (Sasquatch Books, $30)
When Ivar Haglund opened his small aquarium and fish-and-chips stand on Seattle’s waterfront in 1938, no one could have guessed the long history and popularity that laid ahead for this Pacific Northwest treasure. And to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the restaurant has released its very first cookbook, which shares recipes (along with a side of humor) from its own kitchen, including Ivar’s Crispy Fish Tacos, Ivar’s Famous Puget Sound White Clam Chowder, as well as Ivar’s Original Cocktail Sauce and Famous Tartar Sauce.
The Model Bakery Cookbook by Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen with Rick Rodgers (Chronicle Books, $35)
While on the West Coast, a stop for dessert at Napa Valley’s Model Bakery would be an excellent idea. And now with the release of The Model Bakery Cookbook, its recipes can be accessed anywhere. Opened in 1984, the bakery has a rich history, and within the pages of this title, owner Karen Mitchell shares many of her favorite recipes, along with the story of the bakery and a culinary account of Napa Valley’s past. Among the entries, find celebrated recipes like The Model Bakery’s English Muffins and croissants, as well as Carmelita Bars and Chocolate Rads…enough said.
Hampton Weekends: Easy Menus for Casual Entertaining All Year Round by Ellen Wright (East End Press, $25)
Hopping over to the East Coast, Ellen Wright breaks down entertaining in the home during all four seasons in Hampton Weekends, offering menu ideas from start to finish. Inside, find Sunday Brunch in Bed, Christmas Dinner by the Fire, First Spring Dinner on the Screened in Porch, and Dinner on the Summer Solstice. Throughout the book, Wright offers many useful tips—and don’t forget to learn how to make Chocolate Leaves!
Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen by Edward Lee (Artisan Books, $30)
From down South comes Smoke & Pickles from chef Edward Lee. In this title, Lee combines cooking techniques and recipes based on his Korean roots, classical French training and his personal life in Louisville, Ken. Sitting down with family and friends, these are the drinks and foods that Lee serves. Noteworthy mentionables include Quick-Sautéed Squid and Bacon Salad, Rice Bowl with Spicy Pork, Fried Green Tomato-Cilantro Relish and Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep for sipping, of course!
Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss (Chronicle Books, $35)
On the pages of this title, learn about the art of cooking through braising, roasting, grilling, baking, frying and steaming. A home filled with the scent of flavors lofting through the air is what this collection is all about. Starting with a lesson on meat doneness, the book begins with the usual suspects: duck, turkey, chicken, pork, beef and lamb. But the veggies are not forgotten with Slow-Baked Beets with Orange Gremolata, Molten Cauliflower and Root Vegetable Borscht. And for the finale, how about Sticky Toffee Pudding or Almond-Stuffed Apricots Candied in Amaretto Syrup?
Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan by Hollis Wilder (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $27.50)
As stated in the title, for this cookbook, a muffin pan is needed for every recipe…but from Hollis Wilder, two-time champion of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, expect to find creativity and well-imagined flavor combinations in this collection of recipes. Under the category of not-to-be-missed: Three-Cheese Tarts with Pear and Fig Compote, Cornbread Chili Cheese Bakes, Tuna Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauces and Turkey, Apple & Sweet Potato Pies.
Flavors of My World: A Culinary Tour Through 25 Countries by Maneet Chauhan with Doug Singer (Favorite Recipes Press, $30)
Yes, 25 countries are included in this cookbook, with 50 recipes covering traditional foods and drinks of nations from almost every continent. Maneet Chauhan, a judge on the television show Chopped, is not only passionate about food, but travel, as well. In Flavors of My World, she features recipes with ingredients that are readily available to the American home chef like Paneer Tadka Pad Thai, Moroccan Tagine Chana Masala on Couscous and Coconut Kesari Mexican Churros.
Cicchetti: And Other Small Italian Plates to Share by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Sforza (Race Point Publishing, $28)
Cicchetti in Italian translates to ‘small plates,’ and Venetians begin serving in the traditional style of cicchetti beginning at breakfast and continue throughout the day. Along with the enticing recipes, this book includes glorious images with the authors serving as your culinary guides to different regions. From Lombardy and its cheese to Calabria with its abundance of seafood and fresh vegetables, Cicchetti covers Italian cuisine from top to bottom.
The Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional & Contemporary Holiday Dishes by Paula Shoyer (Sterling, $35)
With both traditional and contemporary Jewish recipes, Paula Shoyer revisits the standards and puts a modern spin on many holiday favorites. Divided into sections that include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot, the book is well thought out and easy to use, even breaking down recipes into chapters based on ease of technique. Look for Whole-Wheat Chocolate Babka, Mocha Macarons and Vanilla Bean Hamantaschen—to end on a very sweet note!