It doesn’t really matter that we have reams of cookbooks at home. We want more. That is only natural when you consider that eating, like everything else, follows trends. There was a day (not that long ago) when the height of elegance could be found in dishes like shrimp Newburg, boeuf Bourguignon and crème brûlée. No self-respecting hostess today would serve her guests that much cream (or that many calories). So if you’re interested in new recipes for, say, Taleggio and Pear Panini or Turkey Osso Bucco, you need to refresh your cookbook library—no further justification needed!
Giada’s Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis (Clarkson Potter, $32.50)
The Food Network personality offers updated versions of classic trattoria food. Her lighter and healthier versions are clearly influenced by her California home. Recipes include light pastas, like linguine with shrimp and lemon oil, and lighter versions of old favorites, like her turkey osso bucco. The photos are beautiful, and there is a section of surefire winners for children called ‘Not Just for Kids.’
Golden Door Cooks at Home by Dean Rucker with Marah Stets (Clarkson Potter, $40)
After 50 years of success, the renowned Golden Door Spa has come out with a beautiful cookbook of recipes that show food can be beautiful, delicious and healthy, all at the same time. The recipes focus on lean meats, whole grains and fresh produce, while other pages inform about ‘superfoods’ and ‘mindful eating.’ Pages in back give complete nutritional information for every recipe—a great book for those who want to give up calories, not flavor.
Herbal Cookery From the Kitchens and Gardens of the St. Louis Herb Society
(Favorite Recipes Press, $30)
From our very own Herb Society, this beautiful coffee table book offers exciting ways to use fresh herbs in your kitchen. It includes recipes from the ‘ordinary’ (Trout with Herbed Crust and Dill Sauce, Herb-Braised Lamb Shanks) to the extraordinary (Lavender Dates, Chocolate Chipotle Brownies, Pasta with Purple Sage and Browned Butter, Roast Chicken with Figs and Apricots). In addition, every page or two includes tips on herb growing, storing, drying and more. The St. Louis Herb Society has been devoted to sharing its enthusiasm about herbs for more than 65 years, and its members maintain the public herb garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The Craft of Baking
by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox (Clarkson Potter, $35)
Longtime pastry chef for Tom Colicchio, Karen DeMasco creates imaginative desserts based on fresh combinations. She advocates seasonal desserts—think apple fritters with caramel sauce in fall and mixed berry cobbler in summer—and shows how to tweak recipes to suit the seasons. In addition to baked goods, the book includes recipes like Grandma Rankin’s Cashew Brittle, Blackberry Jellies, and Nut & Cherry Nougat. This little dessert book will delight the baker in your life with its originality.
The Blackberry Farm Cookbook
by Sam Beall (Clarkson Potter, $60)
This book is as much about refined living in Appalachia as it is about foothills cuisine. The elegant lodge is known for its amazing food, things like wine-roasted duck and bourbon apple fried pies. The photos of both food and landscape are gorgeous, and it’s a must-have for anyone who has stayed here.
The Bryant Family Vineyard Cookbook
by Barbara Bryant (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $50)
Native St. Louisan Barbara Bryant has produced a beautiful cookbook highlighted with earthy photos from the family’s Napa Valley vineyard. Bryant gathered recipes from celebrity chefs across the country who admire the vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Each was asked to contribute his or her signature dish, resulting in recipes like Cote de Chevreuil from Thomas Keller, Braised Cardamom Beef Stew from Charlie Trotter and Mediterranean Tomato-Lemon Tart from Daniel Boulud. Many St. Louis chefs are represented, including Josh Galliano, Jim Fiala, Kevin Nashan, Vince Bommarito, Bryan Carr and Lou Rook.
by Julia Usher (Gibbs Smith, $20)
Anyone who remembers St. Louisan Julia Usher’s Azucarte baking company knows that her creations are as pretty as they are delicious. The emphasis here is on gorgeous goodies like Tiers of Joy, diminutive wedding cakes of shortbread with ‘royal icing’ and beaded borders. But Usher gives us plenty of homespun recipes, too, like S’Mores Bars, Raspberry Truffle Brownie Bars and Chocolate-Fig Oatmeal Bars.
Truffles by Dede Wilson (The Harvard Common Press, $13)
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at truffles, this is the book for you. Wilson discusses the basics: chocolate options, tempering, storage, etc. Then she offers 50 recipes, from simple (Easy Dipped Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles) to unexpected (Curried Milk Chocolate Truffles).
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)
In her latest book, Ina Garten emphasizes fresh-from-the-garden flavors, offering delicious recipes that don’t require too much fuss. As an appetizer for a crowd, her gravlax with mustard sauce can be made completely in advance. The same goes for Roasted Turkey Roulade, a breast wrapped around dried fruit stuffing. The book also offers tips pages like Setting the Table Like a Pro and 10 Things Not to Serve at a Dinner Party.
Gourmet Today (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40)
The updated tome promises more than 1,000 all-new recipes. The modern slant here is toward healthier, simpler dishes like Quick and Easy Cioppino. You’ll also find many more ethnic offerings, like Indonesian Fried Noodles, Pierogi and Foolproof Thai Sticky Rice. There are also sizable sections on Vegetarian Main Courses and Grilled Dishes, and a fuller Fish and Shellfish chapter. The book doesn’t have pictures, but it is no doubt a great general book for the contemporary cook.
Appetizers by Dierberg’s School of Cooking ($17)
The latest Dierberg’s cookbook focuses on nibbles and is divided into convenient sections like Cheese, Seafood & Meat, Veggies & Fruit, etc. The Dierberg’s recipes are highly doable: The ingredients are easy to find, and the execution is usually not too time-consuming.
Authentic Volpi by Sarah Kellogg and Chef Michael Laukert with Lorenza Pasetti (Reedy Press, $12)
A recipe book from our very own salumi maker, Volpi on the Hill, this small paperback offers family recipes for using prosciutto, pancetta, Calabrese salami, rotola, bresaola and other Italian cured meats. Recipes are sectioned by season and include things like Pork Loin Saltimbocca with Pancetta and Sweet Potato Mashers and Bracciole with Creamy Polenta.