Arokiasamy, Christina. The Malaysian Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Simple Home Cooking. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2017. 352p. photos. index. ISBN 9780544809994. $35. COOKING
Arokiasamy, a former chef at Four Seasons resorts in Thailand and Bali, teaches Southeast Asian cooking classes throughout the Pacific Northwest and has served as the official Malaysian food ambassador to the United States. Drawing on her extensive experience as an educator and advocate, she delivers an exciting debut that invites cooks to discover aromatic dishes such as rice noodle salad with shrimp and coconut, salmon in creamy tikka masala, pork spareribs in cinnamon nutmeg sauce, and lychee strawberry sorbet. Approachable but not oversimplified, these recipes will expose home cooks to an impressive range of spices and Asian ingredients as well as multiple techniques for making spice pastes and condiments. VERDICT This standout introduction to Malaysian cooking will call to adventurous eaters and armchair travelers.
Austin, Maggie. Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2017. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9780544765351. $35. COOKING
With one look at this lavish debut, readers will understand why former ballerina Austin’s museum-worthy cakes are so hotly in demand. More than 30 exquisite cake and cookie designs unfold, each a triumph of flowers, ruffles, pearls, lace, and painted fondant. There are a few recipes for creations such as homemade gum paste, chocolate cake, and swiss meringue buttercream, but the book is principally a decorating guide meant to inspire serious enthusiasts and professionals. VERDICT Filled with technical know-how and sumptuous photographs, this book will tempt all cake lovers. Don’t expect to be able to replicate these cakes without many hours (if not years) of practice.
Batali, Mario & Jim Webster. Mario Batali—Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA. Grand Central. Oct. 2016. 512p. photos. index. ISBN 9781455584710. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781455584703. COOKING
Celebrity chef Batali (America—Farm to Table) takes on regional American cooking in this weighty new cookbook, which collects the iconic dishes you’d expect to find in a roadside diner or treasured heirloom recipe box. Cowritten with Washington Post copy editor Webster, the book groups more than 250 classics (e.g., New England boiled dinner, Chicago deep-dish pizza, fried dill pickles, gooey butter cake) into eight regional chapters, each of which includes a bonus pickle, preserve, and cocktail recipe. There are plenty of full-page color photographs to entice home cooks, who will find these recipes straightforward, flexible, and easy to reproduce. VERDICT More comprehensive than Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Cook’s Country Eats Local, Batali’s heartfelt latest is sure to be popular.
Britton, Sarah. Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients. Clarkson Potter: Crown. Feb. 2017. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9780804185400. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780804185417. COOKING
Britton is the creator of My New Roots (mynewroots.org), an award-winning food blog focused on holistic nutrition. Her new collection of soups, salads, mains, small plates, and desserts aims to make healthy eating both easy and economical for all home cooks. After introducing an approach to cooking that’s based on practical, replicable “building blocks,” she shares dishes such as ginger-pickled carrot lentil salad with spiced prunes and dukkah, grilled spring onions with lemon-marinated chickpeas, rye toasts with sunbutter and salted maple strawberries, and spicy watermelon mojito ice pops. Britton’s recipes rely mostly on conventional ingredients—tahini and coconut oil are among the more exotic—and many are gluten-free or vegan. VERDICT Britton’s approachable guide to healthy eating will appeal to many readers. Recommend this to fans of titles such as Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook.
Clark, Melissa. Dinner: Changing the Game. Clarkson Potter: Crown. Mar. 2017. 400p. photos. index. ISBN 9780553448238. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780553448245. COOKING
You’ll happily ditch complicated menus and meal plans for these more than 200 stand-alone dinners from author and longtime New York Times food columnist Clark (Cook This Now). Fantastic dishes such as garlic-chile chicken breasts with cucumbers and green ginger sauce, seitan enchiladas with cheese and pickled jalapenos, and roasted hake with crispy mushrooms are doable even on the busiest of weeknights and require little in the way of accompaniment—a simple salad or some bread will do. Clark balances meaty and meatless recipes and brings unexpected sophistication to popular forms of convenience cooking, including sheet pan suppers, grain bowls, and one-pot dishes. VERDICT A stellar collection of low-effort, high-impact meals.
Curl, Jami. Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes. Ten Speed: Crown. Apr. 2017. 312p. illus. index. ISBN 9780399578397. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780399578403. COOKING
Curl is the owner of Portland-based candy company Quin (quincandy.com), which she opened after successful stints as a marketer and bakery owner. Writing in refreshingly plain language, she deftly instructs readers in the fickle yet rewarding art of small batch candy making. Her recipes (e.g., cherry honey vanilla lollipops, popcorn caramels) are simple and well executed, and most get an extra boost of flavor from roasted fruit purees, infused syrups, and other homemade components. Crafty confectioners will love Curl’s presentation suggestions, which cover how to make tiny piñatas and “candy pow wows” (gift-wrapped paper tubes stuffed with candy and confetti). VERDICT A treasury of uncommonly creative candies and striking sweets.
Madison, Deborah. In My Kitchen: A Collection of New and Favorite Vegetarian Recipes. Ten Speed: Crown. Mar. 2017. 296p. photos. index. ISBN 9780399578885. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9780399578892. COOKING
Vegetarian cooking expert Madison (Vegetable Literacy) pairs updated classics from her decadeslong career with new favorites from her home kitchen. Simple recipes, many of them vegan or gluten-free, are ordered alphabetically by ingredient or dish (e.g., beans, broccoli, cheese souffle, pasta) and include such delights as a roasted Jerusalem artichoke soup with sunflower sprouts and seeds, potato and green chile stew, and sweet potato (or pumpkin) pudding with silky persimmon puree. There are wonderful sauces, spreads, and compound butters to spice up crudités and starters, and elegant fruit desserts that won’t leave diners feeling overfull. Madison’s clear instructions almost always include presentation tips—home cooks will be able to produce dishes that look as stunning on the table as they do on the page. VERDICT This highly recommended, beautifully understated cookbook makes it easy to show off the bounty of a garden or farmers market.
Mowry, Tia. Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You. Ballantine. Mar. 2017. 320p. photos. index. ISBN 9781101967355. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781101967379. COOKING
Mowry is known for her work on the sitcom Sister Sister. More recently, she has appeared on Cooking Channel’s Tia Mowry at Home and Food Network’s Food Network Star Kids. Her first cookbook, written in collaboration with hypnotherapist Jessica Porter (The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics), outlines an antiinflammatory diet that helped Mowry recover from medical conditions such as eczema, migraines, and endometriosis. Aligned to Donna Gates’s The Body Ecology Diet, the book recommends giving up dairy, white sugar, and processed foods. It includes a self-assessment tool, a ten-day menu plan to help readers kick-start healthier habits, and recipes for most courses, including drinks, desserts, and fermented foods. Mowry notes her advice should not replace the expertise of a qualified physician. VERDICT For readers interested in clean eating and antiinflammatory foods, this cooking and self-help title offers a selection of easy and satisfying recipes.
Psilakis, Michael. Live To Eat: Cooking the Mediterranean Way. Little, Brown. Jan. 2017. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9780316380133. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316308205. COOKING
It’s easier to cook a healthy meal when you have good ingredients on hand. Here, chef Psilakis (How To Roast a Lamb) reveals seven key pantry items that simplify the Mediterranean diet. These fundamentals—Greek yogurt, garlic confit, tomato sauce, and more—are the building blocks for dozens of fresh recipes, including yogurt parfaits with stewed strawberries and pistachio butter, garlicky cauliflower with English peas and mint, whole-wheat spaghetti with roasted tomato sauce, and modern Greek salad with grilled hanger steak. With an eye toward efficiency, Psilakis always notes when recipe components can be prepared in advance, frozen, or substituted for store bought shortcuts. VERDICT With Psilakis’s convenient staples at the ready, readers can comfortably whip up gratifying, feel-good meals.