Something Smells Good: 8 Cook Books for any Chef

Bianco, Chris. Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2017. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9780062224378. $34.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062224385. COOKING
Bianco is the James Beard Award–winning chef and owner of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. Emphasizing that exceptional ingredients require little adornment, he shares simple preparations for a range of Italian dishes (e.g., pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, small plates, desserts). There are a scant six pizza recipes; nine if you count three focaccia variations. Consequently, serious pizza makers will want to add supplementary titles such as Jim Lahey’s My Pizza and Ken Forkish’s The Elements of Pizza. Readers who value variety, however, will appreciate the sizeable selection of other recipes, including warm cabbage salad with apples and blue cheese, tagliatelle with lemon, roasted figs with fontina and prosciutto, and rhubarb ricotta pudding. VERDICT Featuring a solid introduction to pizza-making fundamentals and a tempting assortment of complementary foods, Bianco’s debut cookbook will enhance Italian cooking collections.

Campbell, James. Japanese Patisserie: Exploring the Beautiful and Delicious Fusion of East Meets West. Ryland Peters & Small. Apr. 2017. 176p. photos. index. ISBN 9781849758109. $24.95. COOKING
Pastry lovers and professionals will swoon over lauded chef Campbell’s new collection of upscale desserts. Marrying Japanese flavors with classic French techniques, this book features such aspirational recipes as yuzu meringue pies with sesame tuiles, matcha and pistachio opera, sparkling sake apple crumble, and caramelized sweet miso truffles. There are a handful of savory recipes, including yakitori chicken and panko doughnuts stuffed with pork katsu. Measurements are given both by weight and by volume, and step-by-step photographs illustrate important techniques and also serve as visual inspiration for novices. VERDICT Recommended for advanced bakers who have attempted complex recipes found in titles like William and Suzue Curley’s Patisserie and Bo Frieberg’s The Professional Pastry Chef.

Chang, Joanne & Karen Akunowicz. Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery. Houghton Harcourt. Sept. 2017. 320p. photos. index. ISBN 9780544836471. $32. COOKING
Married business partners Christopher Myers and Chang (Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe) are co-owners of Myers+Chang, an eclectic Asian diner in Boston’s South End. After a preface from Myers that recaps the restaurant’s beginnings, Chang and executive chef Akunowicz share inspired interpretations of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, Indonesian, Korean, and Vietnamese dishes, including soy sauce deviled eggs with five-spice, juicy duck and ginger dumplings, surf and turf black pepper Shanghai noodles, and homemade fortune cookies. With home cooks in mind, they clearly state how vegetables should be cut, offer substitutions for potentially hard-to-find items, and specify preferred brands of key ingredients. Readers will feel confident re-creating these flavorful foods, even the ones that aren’t ultrasimple. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone who wants to sample an array of Asian flavors and serve up enticing, restaurant-quality food.

redstarDiGregorio, Sarah. Adventures in Slow Cooking: 120 Slow-Cooker Recipes for People Who Love Food. Morrow. Oct. 2017. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9780062661371. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062661388. COOKING
James Beard Award–nominated food writer DiGregorio’s first cookbook sets out to annihilate slow cooker snobbery, and it unquestionably succeeds. Here, even die-hard fans of these appliances will learn something new, whether it’s how to use a probe thermometer to troubleshoot temperature issues, or how to line the insert to eliminate common problems (e.g., hot spots, difficult cleanup or unmolding, excessive moisture). Innovative recipes such as bittersweet grapefruit-ginger marmalade, Mumbai chaat Chex mix, pumpkin challah french toast bake, and garlic and rosemary oil-poached shrimp will stretch one’s thinking in terms of what’s possible. More conventional dishes (e.g., cheese dips, warm beverages, pantry staples, slow-cooked meats) will fulfill most everyday and entertaining needs. Instructions are precise and no more laborious than those in similar titles. VERDICT Essential for most collections, this is an exciting and refreshingly unbiased guide to slow cooking.

Gerard, Tieghan. Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes from My Barn in the Mountains. Clarkson Potter: Crown. Sept. 2017. 304p. photos. index. ISBN 9780553496390. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9780553496406. COOKING
Gerard’s blog-turned-book (HalfBakedHarvest.com) features all-new recipes for such homey comfort foods as grilled corn and basil salads, Moroccan lemon chicken kebabs with couscous pilaf, rainbow veggie pad thai, and mint chocolate chip ice cream cake. Cooks who love blogs such as Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen and Sara Forte’s Sprouted Kitchen will devour the book’s wide selection of weeknight-friendly meals, each of which features a lavish full-page color photograph. This title will draw comparisons to others, but it has unique traits, namely an inclination toward healthful and international ingredients (e.g., coconut oil, quinoa, Korean chili paste) and some unusual-yet-delicious flavor combinations. VERDICT Gerard’s capable debut offers familiar recipes with a twist and stunning images to whet visual appetites. Highly recommended.

Giller, Megan. Bean-To-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution: The Origins, the Makers, and the Mind-Blowing Flavors. Storey. Sept. 2017. 240p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612128214. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781612128221. COOKING
Chocoholics who have consulted Sophie and Michael Coe’s The True History of Chocolate and Chloé Doutre-Roussel’s The Chocolate Conoisseur will savor this updated guide to American craft chocolates. Food writer Giller, founder of the website Chocolate Noise (chocolatenoise.com), profiles many of today’s most exciting bean-to-bar chocolate makers and pulls together useful information on chocolate history, production, etymology, and more. She includes guides to tempering and tasting cocoa, as well as 22 recipes (e.g., Ceylon tea fudge sauce, balsamic strawberries in mini chocolate cups, cocoa nib ice cream, single-origin brownie flight) from well-known chefs and chocolatiers. VERDICT A timely snapshot of trends in American artisanal chocolate, this title will strengthen dessert collections.

redstarOttolenghi, Yotam & Helen Goh. Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi. Ten Speed: Crown. Oct. 2017. 368p. photos. index. ISBN 9781607749141. $35. COOKING
Nearly ten years since the UK release of Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, readers may be wondering whether Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are still worth the hype. In the case of this elegantly understated baking guide, the answer is yes. Written with pastry chef and product developer Goh, the book brings together signature cookies, cakes, confections, tarts, and other desserts from Ottolenghi’s eponymous restaurants. Recipes such as chocolate and peanut butter s’mores, apricot and amaretto cheesecake, chai brulee tarts, and yogurt panna cotta with basil and crushed strawberries look terrific on the page and produce consistently exquisite results. Some readers may balk at sourcing hard-to-find items such as passionfruit pulp, prickly pears, and speciality cake rings, but adventurous bakers will embrace the challenge. Plan to review the “baker’s tips and notes” section, which contains important information about ingredients and techniques. VERDICT Expect demand for this much-anticipated title.

Pelzel, Raquel. Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven. Workman. (Sheet Pan Suppers). Oct. 2017. 264p. photos. index. ISBN 9780761189930. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781523501885. COOKING
Veteran food writer Pelzel (Toast: The Cookbook) takes the reins from Molly Gilbert (One Pan & Done) for this second, meat-free installment of Workman’s best-selling “Sheet Pan Suppers” series. Featuring more than 100 new recipes (e.g., chili nachos, summer tomato slab pie with flaky sage crust, dulce de leche pumpkin pie squares), this book offers exciting choices for vegetarian, flexitarian, vegan, and gluten-free eaters. Most cooking happens in the oven, but some recipes require a turn on the stove or in a food processor. Helpful sidebars present tips such as how to pick the perfect cheese, keep grains from sticking, and prepare fruit for freezing. VERDICT Pelzel’s take on sheet pan suppers will appeal to fans of this efficient approach. Be advised, however, that it involves slightly more active cooking and cleanup than similar titles.

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