Cookbook Reviews | April 15, 2013

Lawson, Nigella. Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes. Clarkson Potter: Crown Pub. Group. 2013. 288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780770437015. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780770437022. COOKING

Internationally best-selling author and television personality Lawson (Nigella Fresh) wants all her readers—from busy noncooks who pour their egg whites from a carton to picky eaters who can’t bear the thought of anchovies—to enjoy carefree, casual cooking. Here she shows how they can use cupboard staples such as canned tuna and jarred peppers to create an “Italian-inspired” feast that will satisfy and impress. Dishes like Meatzza (a tomato- and cheese-topped meatball mixture that resembles pizza) and Chocolate Pasta with Pecans & Caramel are hardly traditional, but they aren’t meant to be. VERDICT With its attractive design, cheerful narrative, straightforward instructions, and helpful notes on preparing food ahead of time and reheating, Lawson’s latest will find a home in many kitchens. Expect demand. [See Q+A with Lawson.—Ed.]

Library Journal Reviews starred review Felder, Christophe. Patisserie: Mastering the Fundamentals of French Pastry. Rizzoli. 2013. 800p. tr. from French by Carmella Abramowitz Moreau. photogs. index. ISBN 9780847839629. $55. COOKING

Pastry master Felder’s impressive manual distills French pastry making into 207 lessons ranging from easy (Old-Fashioned Shortbread Cookies) to advanced (Mango-Caramel Macaron Cake). Tarts, custards, candies, decorations, brioches, and other classics all include step-by-step pictorial instructions, efficient written directions, and dual measurements (metric and U.S.). Felder’s book is more precise than many professional cookbooks, and his recipes are appropriately scaled for home kitchens. VERDICT Practical and thorough, this coffee-table-worthy reference is an excellent choice for readers looking to seriously hone their skills.

Blais, Richard. Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate. Clarkson Potter: Crown. 2013. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9780307985279. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780307985286. COOKING

For Atlanta restaurateur and Top Chef winner Blais, no ingredient is sacred. Blending the refined with the familiar, he serves french fries with a mixture of caviar and store-bought ranch dressing, and reimagines the Spanish tortilla as an omelet stuffed with kettle-cooked potato chips. His cuisine, infused with the whimsy that characterizes Michel Richard’s Happy in the Kitchen , will thrill ambitious home cooks who enjoy bold flavors. Though some recipes require unconventional ingredients (e.g., liquid nitrogen, transglutaminase) and equipment (e.g., smoking gun, immersion circulator), many are suitable for novices. VERDICT Humorous and inspiring, this is the most entertaining title yet from a Top Chef alumnus.

The following titles are reviewed in the April 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.

Castella, Krystina. Crazy About Pies: More than 150 Sweet & Savory Recipes for Every Occasion. Sterling. Apr. 2013. 288p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781402798832. pap. $19.95. COOKING

Clemens, Randy. The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan “Rooster Sauce” Recipes That Pack a Punch. Ten Speed: Crown. Jul. 2013. 140p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781607744603. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781607744610. COOKING

Elia, Maria. Full of Flavor: How To Create like a Chef. Kyle: Kyle Cathie, dist. by National Bk. Network. Apr. 2013. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9781906868581. $27.95. COOKING

Khoo, Rachel. The Little Paris Kitchen: 120 Simple but Classic French Recipes. Chronicle. 2013. 288p. illus. index. ISBN 9781452113432. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781452125633. COOKING

Lee, Edward. Smoke & Pickles: Recipes from a Southern Kitchen. Artisan: Workman. May 2013. 304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781579654924. $29.95. COOKING

Rowe, Silvena. Orient Express: Fast Food from the Eastern Mediterranean. Interlink. 2013. 208p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781566569187. $30. COOKING

Seaver, Barton. Where There’s Smoke: Simple, Sustainable, Delicious. Sterling Epicure. Apr. 2013. 304p. illus. index. ISBN 9781402797057. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781402798474. COOKING