A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cookbooks as gifts

Thanksgiving is now over, and it is time to start thinking of Christmas gifts. I though it might be fun to give you a few suggestions.

Back to Basics - by Ina Garten
Ina always provides recipes for great home-style meals that are simple to make. There looks to be about 80 recipes in total, which is fairly common in her books. A beautiful photograph accompanies almost all of the recipes. The photos are quite helpful for those who don’t cook often. Honestly, I just love looking through her books because they make you feel as if you are at a party with her in the Hamptons. For those who have her cookbooks already, many of the recipes may seem “familiar”. For those who cook often and want to be challenged by new ingredients you might want to try my next recommendation instead. All in all, I think out of 80 recipes there are about 30 which looked appealing enough to try and don’t seem like repeats from prior books. The cookbook is on sale on line for about $18-21 and for that price I would say it is worth a try.

Chanterelle- by David Waltuck
This is a great book for the more experienced cook on your Christmas list. This is for the “I like to make my own duck stock” crowd. It is a beautiful cookbook, reminiscent of French Laundry in style. I would love to try every one of the recipes (there are about 130or so) if only I had a staff of chefs working for me and an unlimited budget. There are some recipes that I can afford to make, like lentil soup, which was one of the best versions of lentil soup that I have ever had (though beware I think it was actually lentil soup with truffles!) Anyway, you get the point, If you have a wealthy friend, who like to cook, and doesn’t mind hunting around for ingredients, this is really a very lovely cookbook- its about $50 in bookstores.

Urban Italian- Andrew Carmellini
Recommended by the gourmet book club, this is a fun book. It is somewhere in between Back to Basics and Chanterelle in terms of the skill level required of the cook. I love the Chanterelle book, but cannot cook from it everyday. I like Ina Garten if I am in a hurry or just want a recipe to work even if it’s not “flashy”. This is a cookbook by a great chef who is cooking Italian food at home. He takes food like meatballs and turns them into “shrimp Meatballs” Or “Lamb Meat balls Stuffed with Goats cheese” Best of all, I loved all of the stories. It was very enjoyable to read the introduction, how he became a chef, and many of the blurbs above the recipes. If you are into Italian cooking with a fun urban twist this may be the book for you.

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