- During the spring and summer, we grill A LOT. When my grilled chicken kept coming out too dry, I turned to Bobby Flay’s Grill It!. He also inspired me to grill fruit, for which I am eternally grateful.
- My husband gave me, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, for Christmas last year with a message from him on the inside saying, “I will LOVE everything you make in this book. You enjoy, cuz if I do I’ll be 300 lbs.” Well we are enjoying and he hasn’t gained 300 pounds, but this is an addicting book. The “5 minutes” part comes after a bit of prep work. There is a master recipe that is easy to mix up, but it needs a few hours of rising before it can be baked. What’s nice about the method in this book is that there is no kneading required and after rising, the dough is ready to bake and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 14 days. The main recipe bakes 4 loaves of bread. When you are ready to bake, pull and cut off a piece of dough and shape it into a loaf. Let it rise for 20 minutes and then bake. No more buying specialty loaves of bakery fresh bread, because you can now make it in your kitchen for a fraction of the store-bought cost. I feel like I have mastered the main recipe and I’m ready to elaborate with other variations offered in the book, such as Olive bread, calzones, flat breads, focaccias and pizzas. Okay, so maybe 300 pounds isn’t so far off for us, but it will be worth every baked fresh bite.
- Speaking of 300 pounds, Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook is the most fun baking book to look through and bake through. You’ll have a hard time figuring out what to bake first, second or third. Whether sweet or savory, there is so much to choose from: pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, bars, tarts, tortes, and so much more. Next on my list to bake is the Coconut Cream Pie or wait, maybe the Key Lime Tart. Oh, but the Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake looks amazing too.
- I fell in love with The Pioneer Woman a few years ago. She is a city girl who married a rancher and is now a homeschooling mom and owner of the mega-popular blog, Pioneer Woman. Her book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, will make your mouth water with dishes like BBQ Jalapeno Poppers, Maple Pecan Scones, Perfect Pot Roast, Patsy’s Blackberry Cobbler and Simple, Perfect Enchiladas. She is also a skilled photographer and shot all, but a few of the pictures in the book.
- I did not always love to cook. I loved to eat good food, but only if someone else was preparing it. I started really cooking five years ago when I became a mom. It was then that I discovered Ina Garten, aka, Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. It was Ina who inspired me to roast a chicken and to make my own chicken stock, although I use a different method now. But her simple style gave me the confidence to try it. She is a real food cook who has the most fabulous home and kitchen in the Hamptons. Her dishes are sophisticated, but easy to prepare and made with everyday ingredients. I have two of her books, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients and Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again. The titles of the books pretty much sum up her cooking style. Some of my favorite dishes are the Roasted Butternut Squash soup with Curry Condiments and Spring Green Risotto.
- For my birthday, my husband gave me Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D. After several months, I am still pouring through it. It is so densely packed with information and recipes that my head is spinning, BUT it is also changing how I am looking at food, how I cook and our diet. This is not just a cookbook, but a book that will make you re-think your eating habits. This book kicks the Standard American Diet to the curb and looks back at how our ancestors ate. Real food, real fat, real ingredients.
- My next book was actually one of the first cookbooks my husband ever bought me. We were at a church thrift sale and he found it on the $1 table. It is Moosewood Restaurant New Classics and it is a vegetarian cookbook. At the time we found it, we were dabbling in vegetarianism, but we have since gone back to eating meat. However, I do refer to it when I need inspiration for the produce we receive from our CSA. Aside from a few seafood recipes, the book is primarily vegetarian.
Hopefully you find some gift ideas for the foodie on your list. You also get a glimpse at the cookbooks that inspire me in my kitchen.
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