Cookbook authors work hard to attract a wide audience. They may share shortcuts and substitutions to suit many lifestyles, concoct dozens of variations on culinary trends, adorn recipes with artful images, or keep things simple. You’ll see these and other techniques in all of this month’s titles, which offer something delicious for everyone.
de Montalier, Delphine. Raw Food French Style: 115 Fresh Recipes from the New Generation of French Chefs. Frances Lincoln. May 2014. 260p. photos. index. ISBN 9780711235427. $29.95. COOKING
French author de Montalier coaxes readers toward a more nutritious diet in this English translation of Cru: 115 Recettes Vivants. Acknowledging that costly blenders and uncommon ingredients won’t appeal to all, the author offers a balance of minimally processed recipes for strict, relaxed, and nonraw foodists. Many soups, salads, smoothies, tartares, and desserts are 100 percent raw, but some are “barely cooked” or enriched with nonraw ingredients. The author’s elegant dishes look restaurant worthy, and fittingly, she includes some contributions from Paris chefs. VERDICT Few raw food cookbooks are more coffee-table deserving. This is a great choice for gourmets in search of a less zealous perspective.
Douglas, Ron. America’s Most Wanted Recipes at the Grill: Recreate Your Favorite Restaurant Meals in Your Own Backyard! Atria. May 2014. 368p. index. ISBN 9781476734897. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781476734903. COOKING
Douglas’s copycat recipe website (recipesecrets.net) and best-selling cookbooks enable readers to re-create popular restaurant dishes at home. His fifth “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” cookbook focuses on grilled recipes such as quesadilla burgers from Applebee’s, outlaw rib eye from Longhorn Steakhouse, and Hawaiian skewers from Red Lobster. These straightforward recipes don’t include photographs, but readers who’ve eaten the restaurant versions will know what to expect, and others can easily find photos online. The grilling guide covers the basics of charcoal and gas grilling, how to prepare various meats and seafoods, and USDA-recommended cooking temperatures. VERDICT Use this book to get the feeling of dining out without busting your budget or diet.
Giasullo, Gia & Peter Freeman. The Soda Fountain: Floats, Sundaes, Egg Creams, & More—Flavors and Traditions of an American Original. Ten Speed: Crown. May 2014. 224p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781607744849. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607744856. COOKING
Traditional treats get a 21st-century twist in this debut from Freeman and his sister Giasullo, owners of Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain. After five chapters of substantial beverage and business history, the authors share recipes for soda syrups; floats and egg creams that combine syrup, seltzer, and store-bought ice cream; sundaes that incorporate homemade toppings; and baked goods. Using the very precise tool and resource recommendations, readers can easily re-create Brooklyn Farmacy favorites down to the exact glass, straw, and scoop. VERDICT A perfect summer cookbook filled with classic recipes you’ll want to dig right into.
Hastings, Chester. The Cheesemonger’s Seasons: Recipes for Enjoying Cheeses with Ripe Fruits and Vegetables. Chronicle. 2014. 192p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452112886. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781452135540. COOKING
Hastings, chef and cheesemonger of the popular Los Angeles eatery Joan’s on Third, follows his debut The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen with a fruit and vegetable–centric collection of cheese recipes grouped by season. Some recipes, such as coffee-rubbed leg of lamb stuffed with spinach and aged cheddar, are challenging and substantial. Others, including breakfast radishes with triple-cream cheese, are minimal, requiring few ingredients and little to no cooking. VERDICT This book’s exciting pairings will tempt cheese connoisseurs. For a cheese glossary and more supplementary information, try Max McCalman and David Gibbons’s The Cheese Plate.
Henry, Diana. A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. Jun. 2014. 336p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781845338923. $34.99. COOKING
Influenced by dietary trends popularized by Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, and others, award-winning Sunday Telegraph columnist Henry (Salt Sugar Smoke) decided to change her eating habits. The author’s eighth cookbook summarizes her new approach to healthy eating and includes recipes meant to maximize pleasure while minimizing meats, saturated fats, and refined carbs. Grouped into seasonal menus, these recipes are easy enough for weeknights but will send readers running for small quantities of many ingredients. Don’t skip them, though—the interplay of flavors and textures makes dishes like Persian saffron and mint chicken with spring couscous irresistible. VERDICT Filled with stunning meals that just happen to be healthier, this cookbook will delight epicures and foodies.
Koch, Marlene. Eat What You Love Everyday: 200 All-New, Great-Tasting Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories. Running Pr. 2014. 352p. photos. index. ISBN 9780762451630. $26.50; ebk. ISBN 9780762451906. COOKING
In her third “Eat What You Love” cookbook, author and registered dietician Koch shares more reduced-guilt recipes that mimic indulgent favorites (e.g., coconut layer cake with creamy coconut cream cheese frosting, bodacious “50-50” bacon ’n’ beef burgers). These recipes call for mostly wholesome, conventional ingredients (excepting some sugar, fat, and calorie-free items), and many can be made in either a slow cooker or pressure cooker. In addition to healthy-eating advice and recipe-nutrition analysis, this cookbook includes diabetic-friendly values for food exchanges and carb choices, gluten-free substitutions, and menus. VERDICT An attractive diet book suitable for everyday use and a wide range of dietary needs.
Nguyen, Andrea. The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches. Ten Speed: Crown. Jul. 2014. 132p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607745334. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607745341. COOKING
Nguyen’s previous cookbooks—Asian Tofu; Asian Dumplings; Into the Vietnamese Kitchen—won accolades from the James Beard Foundation, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and notable cooking publications. Here, she demonstrates an infectious passion for the banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with mid-century origins that’s become a mainstay of trendy food trucks and Asian sub shops. Her treatment of its principal components—bread, sauces, pickles, cold cuts, pâtés—is detailed and varied, and she’s careful to explain the purpose of ingredients and techniques (like the crushed vitamin C tablet in her homemade rolls). VERDICT Best for meat eaters, this book empowers readers to make hundreds of standout sandwich combinations.
Peterson, James. Done: A Cook’s Guide to Knowing When Food Is Perfectly Cooked. Chronicle. 2014. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452119632. $27.50; ebk. ISBN 9781452132280. COOKING
In this handbook, award-winning author Peterson (Vegetables, Revised) uses step-by-step photographs to show what omelets, pot roast, and other foods look like when perfectly cooked. He shares multiple techniques for determining doneness, but many can’t be put into practice without a separate cookbook. For instance, his guides to shrimp tempura and hollandaise sauce can be used as recipes, but those for blinis and pastry cream, which contain no ingredient quantities or ratios, cannot. VERDICT A helpful visual reference for beginners. Similar titles with recipes, such as Clara Paul and Eric Treuille’s 200 Skills Every Cook Must Have, may be more versatile.
Steen, Celine & Tamasin Noyes. Vegan Finger Foods: More Than 100 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for Bite-Size Eats Everyone Will Love. Fair Winds: Quarto. May 2014. 176p. photos. index. ISBN 9781592335947. pap. $22.99. COOKING
Recipe developers Steen (500 Vegan Recipes) and Noyes (Grills Gone Vegan) present a new collection of vegan and often gluten-free recipes that can be served as snacks or small plates. Like Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park’s Tiny Food Party!, this cookbook is visually appealing and filled with clever presentation and menu ideas. Baked jalapeños and buffalo tofu bites are so indulgent it’s easy to forget they contain ingredients like arrowroot powder and nutritional yeast. VERDICT Vegans and vegetarians will embrace these party-friendly recipes. Meat eaters will, too, but they may need convincing to accept baked marinated mushroom slices as “bacon.”
van Kraayenburg, Russell. Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns, and Condiments. Quirk. 2014. 168p. photos. index. ISBN 9781594746758. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781594746802. COOKING
Hot dog–obsessed blogger van Kraayenburg (chasingdelicious.com) uses unique toppings, quality ingredients, and carefully chosen cooking methods to elevate hot dogs into “haute dogs.” Like Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn’s Wieners Gone Wild, this cookbook includes history, cooking basics, and recipes for buns and condiments. Unlike many similar titles, it also includes recipes for a dozen types of homemade hot dogs and sausages. Regional variations like the spicy South African sausage roll and the New York system wiener can be assembled from store-bought or homemade components, and they’re only challenging when made entirely from scratch. VERDICT A contemporary guide to gourmet hot dogs. Highly recommended.