You’ve probably never heard of Julia Turshen, but you’ve mostly likely seen her work. After years of co-authoring and ghost writing cookbooks, she has finally come out with her own collection of recipes. In Small Victories (Chronicle, $35), Turshen shares cooking philosophy and kitchen strategies, doling out tips and techniques that make cooking easier, more successful, and more meaningful—here’s how to finish pasta in the sauce rather than in the water, and how to use herbs that are past their prime. This book lets you sample Turshen’s home repertoire; she gives you her aunt’s peerless chicken soup, her wife’s roasted sweet potatoes, and her own famous Caesar salad dressing. Each recipe also comes with a collection of spin-off ideas, using the ingredients in the dish at hand. This is the kind of cookbook that will be stained and spattered from use in a matter of months, perfect for both a new home cook and an old hand in need of fresh inspiration.
Diana Henry stands in the pantheon of contemporary British food writers, along with the likes of Anna Jones, Nigel Slater, and Jamie Oliver. In her newest book, Simple (Mitchell Beazley, $32.99), Henry offers up a collection of modest and yet flavorful recipes that you can make with what’s already in your kitchen. With sections like eggs, toasts, sausages and chops, the book focuses on getting an inspired and elegant dinner on the table quickly and without fuss. Henry also does that wonderful British thing of pulling flavors from around the world, as in her recipes for Burmese Chicken with Tart Chili Sauce, Turkish Pasta with Feta Yogurt and Dill, and Baked Sweet Potato with Chorizo, Mushrooms and Eggs. Simple is a book for anyone who relishes time in the kitchen and especially for those who have precious little of it to spend there.
When Naomi Duguid (author of Burma) researches her cookbooks, she immerses herself, learning recipes in homes, at village stalls, even by campfires. In Taste of Persia (Artisan, $35), she travels through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. There are chapters on simple salads, dumplings and stuffed vegetables, soups and stews, flatbreads, and perfumed rice dishes (paying special attention to the tasty crust!). Easy to prepare, many of these recipes are based on the staples of the region: saffron, pomegranate molasses, yogurt, mint oil, rose water, and plenty of fresh fruits and herbs. The book features many of Duguid’s photos plus insightful short sidebars on everything from Azeri picnics and Georgian wines to Yazidi and Assyrian culture. Above all, Duguid was met with open-hearted hospitality, and she extends this same generosity to us with this collection.