7 Cookbooks - and 1 Recipe Organizer - to Savour This Fall (it's a long one!)

11:09 am

When I'm not eating out for a living or at home writing to deadline, you can usually find me either:

- reading a book or cookbook or magazine
- cooking
- out looking for intriguing ingredients

And now that I've received some really exciting cookbooks out this Fall, you'd better believe that there's a lot of pot banging, slicing and dicing and simmering and sauteing going on!

Come and see all the amazing books I've found - there's something for everyone here!

Quick & Easy Korean Cooking: More Than 70 Everyday Recipes by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee

Korean food is one of the few that I rarely make, only because it's almost never made it into any international cookbooks I've read or own.

But I love the cuisine and thought, wouldn't it be great if I could just make it at home?

And now, thanks to Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, I can.

I love that this book breaks down all the ingredients you'll need in your pantry as well as what some of them are (Korean leeks, malt syrup and soju are new additions to my kitchen cupboard). Cecilia has also thoughtfully included pre-set menus for you to follow, mail-order sources for Korean ingredients and a list of books and resources on food, cooking and culture of Korea.

Compact and filled with luscious photographs of both the food and Korean sites, you'll soon be swooning over Kimchi Pancakes, Seasoned Mung Bean Sprouts, Soy Stewed Beef, Feast Noodles.

And finally you can enjoy Korean Hot Pot at home.

Woo woo!

L.A.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook: Meet Me at 3rd and Fairfax by JoAnn Cianciulli

Normally, I don't find farmers market cookbooks all that useful, because they are often very basic, and you want the fresh and local produce to stand out, not what you put on it.

But author JoAnn Cianciulli has created profiles of the vendors, their stories and then their products, so you get a feel for the people behind the food. And of course, the plethora of photos just brings it right home.

It really is like being at the market, which my fella Scott says is extraordinary, and he doesn't get anywhere as excited about farmer's markets as I do, so you can just imagine.

The book is filled with multi-generational characters and international foods and flavours that are really invigorating.

With recipes like Caramel-and-Chocolate-Glazed Cake Doughnuts from Bob's Coffee and Doughnuts to China Depot's Grilled Vegtable Egg Foo Young and Papa's Grill Bachalhau (Portuguese Cod Fish), you will soon be using your own local and seasonal ingredients in a way that carries on the traditions of family's of farmers and local producers.

I can't think of anything better.

Rice Pasta Couscous: The Heart of the Mediterranean Kitchen by Jeff Koehler

Having co-hosted a food book club that takes place around the Mediterranean, I have really enjoying speaking about the cuisines of different cultures and am fascinated by how many of the same ingredients are used in each country.

Jeff Koehler is astoundingly knowledgeable in the different countries, regions and delicacies and gives thorough recipes for really interesting dishes that probably won't show up in too many of the cookbooks on your shelf.

Having read hundreds and hundreds of cookbooks, I can honestly say I've never come across one such as this - heartfelt, rich with history and authentic dishes that you will honestly be able to prepare on your own with ingredients that are probably already in your pantry.

I can't wait to make the Rice with Monkfish and Artichokes (Ebro Delta, Spain), The Countess's Whiskey Risotto with Rosemary (Vercelli, Italy), Lentil Chorba (Algers, Algeria), Fresh Nettle Pasta (Malta), Kushary (Egypt), Lamb Couscous with Meatballs (Tunisia) and Braised Chicken Buried in Sweet Couscous (Tangier, Morocco).

Oh my. Just wait until I tell the bookclub about this one!

Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs by Jessica Strand

Cooking for two is often easier cooking than cooking for one, and harder than cooking for 6.

It is a delicate balance that changes throughout your relationship and continues to change based on your eating and grocery shopping habits as well as how much you are willing to spend on ingredients and how much you've been influenced by watching The Food Network (or in my case, reviewing restaurants for a living).

The biggest problem I have is that we eat dinner together almost every night and after 7+ years together, I often feels like I've already made everything before. So I am going to make everything in this cookbook, following the recipes exactly, because that way I can be sure we will have never had it - at least not like this - before.

And really, the choices are simply delectable - Sake- and Ginger-Poached Black Bass on a Bed of Garlicky Baby Bok Choy, Pan-Seared Herb-Rubbed Pork Chops with Port-Glazed Apples, Black Bean Turkey Chili with Corn Muffins and Whipped Honey and Chicken Tangine for Two, just for example.

And I like the Romantic Meal suggestions of Cornish Game Hens Stuffed with Sweet Italian Sausage, Prunes, and Savory with Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Mini Rack of Lamb with Nutty Beluga Lentils and Sauteed Garlic Spinach, and Desserts that will knock my baby's socks off such as Meyer Lemon Pot-Au-Creme and Phyllo Nests Filled with Raspberries and Drizzled with Orange Syrup and Bittersweet Chocolate.

Honey, dinner's ready!

Culinary Vietnam by Daniel Hoyer

I looove Vietnamese food and am lucky enough to live near a restaurant that serves cuisine from North Vietnam (most places here in the city focus on the South).

So I am excited by a book that offers a look at the culture and cuisine so that I can make Vietnamese when I have the hankering for it, without having to leave the house.

And what a book - rich photos of the people and their land, extensive explanations of ingredients and lists of where to get them, along with fabulous recipes that are neither too complicated nor too time intensive. Which, let's face it, in today's world is a huge bonus.

Tonight I'm going to make Pomelo and Char-Grilled Shrimp Salad, Sour Soup with Fish, Grilled Beef with Okra, Tomatoes and Pineapple and Pumpkin in Coconut Milk.

Wanna come over?

Southern Living Comfort Food: A Delicious Trip Down Memory Lane

Good Lord, this is an amazing book.

And now that it's cooled down and our appetites are swelling in the evening, this is the perfect selection for fall fare!

I am jumping up and down over creating Cola Pot Roast, Country Ham with Redeye Gravy, Margaret's Creamy Grits, Pecan Steusel Coffee Cake and Quick Hoppin' John.

And in case that's not exciting enough for you (come on!), the book is about 1/3 decadent and calorie-laden desserts.

This oughtta get you through the cold winter months!

Lobel's Meat Bible: All You Need to Know About Meat and Poultry from America's Master Butchers by Stanley, Evan, Mark and David Lobel

I recommended the Meat Bible a couple of months back because it really is just about the best book on meat. It goes through the different cuts, what they are best used for and recipes that are easy to follow with incredibly successful results.

We had a party about a month ago, with my recent cookbooks in a jagged pile beneath our long bench (there never enough seating at our place, it seems). A friend's new boyfriend saw them with the large-fonted "MEAT BIBLE" catching his eye. Never having met me before, he shook my hand and said, "Anyone who has a bible on meat is okay in my books."

'Nuff said.

Bon Appetit Recipe Binder

I don't anyone who writes out recipes on index cards anymore. Like most people, I rip 'em out of magazines and photocopy them from library books to add to my collection.

Also like most people, I have a huge pile of recipes that I don't know what to do with and thus, they are piled upon piled in a somewhat tidy stack in the living room, dying to be organized.

So when I came across the beautiful Bon Appetit Recipe Binder with 3 rings, shopping list, study tabbed indexes - complete with luscious photo and matching recipe as well as pockets to stuff with notes and scraps (!!!), I just about lost my mind.

It's p-e-r-f-e-c-t. It has everything you could even want and/or need including measurements, cooking tips and items to stock your pantry with.

It's the Brad Pitt of recipe organizers - good looking, smart and should be handled each and every day.

I don't know why you'd want anything else.

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