Dorie Greenspan is a baking legend; she’s won multiple James Beard awards and collaborated with Julia Child, but what makes her cookbooks truly worth owning is that she writes recipes you can trust to produce consistently delicious treats. In Baking Chez Moi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40) Greenspan draws on her years of living in France to gain access to the elusive and often overlooked world of French home baking. These are not recipes for the famed macarons or croissants of Parisian boulangeries, but the lesser-known, everyday treats such as the French version of chocolate chip cookies and rustic seasonal galettes. The dishes are sumptuously photographed and the recipes thoughtfully written, with notes about difficult or time-intensive steps and plenty of “Bon Ideas” on how to vary the recipes and make them your own. This is a wonderful cookbook, equally perfect for new bakers looking for an entré to French pastry and seasoned foodies ready to discover a whole new side of the French kitchen.
Crafted with passion and skill, beautiful to look at, pleasing to hold, imbuing class and poise, and quite functional, Death & Co (Ten Speed, $40) is the cocktail-book version of a perfect cocktail. Death & Co is a small cocktail bar in New York’s East Village. It’s also a giant of the classic cocktail revival and home to some of the best bartenders in the world. Owner David Kaplan and his staff have produced this book with the same rigor and attention to detail with which they make drinks. Not surprisingly, Death & Co’s ingredients—clean design and expert knowledge—are of the highest quality, but the structure of the book is also logical and useful. In a genre where books are usually either pretty and inaccessible or drab and functional, Death & Co finds a perfect balance.
As its title makes clear, Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi (Ten Speed, $35) continues the imaginative vegetable cookery Yotam Ottolenghi began with Plenty. Where the earlier book focused on introducing home cooks to unique and satisfying ingredients, Plenty More puts the emphasis on technique, with chapters devoted to a full range of cooking methods: tossed, steamed, blanched, simmered, braised, grilled, roasted, fried, mashed, cracked, baked, and sweetened. As we’ve come to expect from Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, the artwork here is first-rate, the recipes clearly explained, and each turn of the page offers a delicious, creative, and surprising opportunity. The scope of Ottolenghi’s research and imagination will make any cook reassess the limitations of a meatless menu.
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Published: Ten Speed Press - October 14th, 2014