These are a few of my favorite cookbooks from my collection of over 400. I have noted some of my favorite recipes in each book. I will add to this list whenever I am excited about a new cookbook I've found, so please check back!
Click on the categories below.
Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole This book has delightful stories from her blog. She writes about her adventures raising 3 chickens in her suburban back yard in St. Paul, Minnesota. She also writes amazing recipes using- chicken and eggs! I love any recipe that includes and egg on top, so this book is great for me. I hope you like it as much as I do.
good for you by Dana Jacobi (Williams Sonoma 2013) This is a beautiful cookbook filled with photos of interesting and tempting dishes. It even starts with a photo glossary of ingredients. Breakfast is the first chapter with several fresh ideas to start your day, like Maple-Banana Breakfast Polenta. Dinners include Chicken Breasts with Warm Tomato Salad and several creative main dish salads. End your meal with Nectarines with Cinnamon-Almond Streusel. Itís hard to choose what to make first in this book- every dish looks and sounds amazing.
The Oregonian Cookbook edited by Katherine Miller (The Oregonian 2012) I have been using recipes from the Oregonianís Food Day section for years, so I was excited to have so many of their favorites from the last 30 years in one book. Iíve finally had some time to look through the book and try a few recipes. I even found ones that I cut out of the paper and have used many times! There arenít many photos in this book but there are lots of stories and histories about the recipes.
Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts by Rick Rodgers (Weldonowen 2010) I have many cookbooks and love finding new ones, especially ones featuring breakfast and brunch recipes. Morning foods use humble ingredients. Finding new and inventive ways to prepare them really starts the day.
Apples by Sarina Jacobson (Sterling 2010) This little book caught my eye because it takes apples as a basic ingredient and uses them in unconventional ways, like Curried Apple, Lentil, and Sweet Potato Stew or Apple Sage Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions. I have a lot of post-it notes in my copy so I will be experimenting with this book for weeks to come.
The Gardenersí Community Cookbook by Victoria Wise This book is almost 10 years old but itís still a great one, especially this time of year if you have a garden or enjoy finding what is in season at your farmers market. Try:
- Tuscan-style sole with baby potatoes and artichokes on page 191
- Boiled dressing on page 160. It makes an amazing coleslaw that my family loves.
New Classic Family Dinners by Mark Peel (John Wiley and Sons, 2009) With the cold, wet weather Iíve been attracted to comfort food. Really good comfort food. This cookbook is based on recipes from Campanile Restaurant in Los Angeles which has won several prestigious awards. Weíve loved:
- Giant Ravioli with Spinach, Ricotta, and Egg Yolk (pictures on the Class Cooking Facebook page) on page 105
- Flemish Beef and Beer Stew which I served with spatzle on page 122.
Tasty by Roy Finamore (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) I always put post-its in my cookbooks to mark recipes that Iím interested in trying. This book received 27 post-it tabs. I think thatís a record for me. Every recipe Iíve tried has been great, like:
- Fresh Polenta on page 268.
- Chicken and Artichoke Pie on page 182.
- Beer and Molasses Flank Steak on page 140.
Pestos, Tapenades, and Spreads by Stacey Printz (Chronicle Books 2009) This little book is loaded with interesting recipes. If you have a food processor you will be making some really interesting additions to your meals and parties. Every recipe has simple instructions and several serving suggestions. Try:
- Artichoke Lemon Pesto with Fish on page 22.
- Citrus-Olive Tapenade with Lamb Chops on page 45.
- Curried Hummus with Pita Crisps on page 71.
Gail Gand's Brunch (Clarkson Potter, 2009) I love brunch. I just got this book and the recipes look great. I haven't had time to try any of them yet, but Gale Gand has a James Beard award, so I trust her. She offers basic recipes and then gives you several variations on the basic method. Her Chocolate Waffles to Goat Cheese and Chive Hash Browns all sound good.
Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals by Marguerite Marceau Henderson (Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2006) I love appetizers, and this book has many wonderful appetizer recipes, and a lot more. It's full of amazing salads and creative main courses, like:
-Lemon Herb Chicken on page 70
-Fennel, Orange, and Pecan Salad on page 110
Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes (Clarkson Potter, 2009) This is the first time that I have recommended a cookbook that I do not own yet, and have not made anything out of! I really like Bobby Flay and I've looked through this book and the recipes look amazing, like an LA Burger with Avocado Relish, Watercress, Tomato, and Jack Cheese, or a Cheyenne Burger with Bacon, Onion Rings, BBQ Sauce, and Cheddar Cheese on Turkey Burgers, Grilled Sweet Potato Fries with Lime and Cilantro. So I want to get this book, and if you have made anything out of it, please let me know what you think!
Bobby Flay's Bold American Food by Bobby Flay and Joan Schwartz (Time Warner, 1994)
This is Bobby Flay's first cookbook. I love southwest cuisine with these strong flavors. I also have Bobby Flay's autograph from a visit to his restaurant in New York City. Try:
-Grilled Chicken Breasts with Corn and Grilled Pepper Relish on page 132. This is the most flavorful chicken breast you can imagine.
-Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese Croutons and Balsamic Vinaigrette on page 54. This is a summer staple at our house- grilled veggies on the barbeque.
Casual Outdoor Dining (Williams-Sonoma) (Time-Life Books, 1998) With the recent warm weather I found myself pulling this book off the shelf often. It's an older book and it's out of print, but there are many copies for sale on Amazon. Try:
-Mediterranean Salad Platter on page 42
-Nicoise Salad with Grilled Tuna on page 60
Back to the Table by Art Smith (Hyperion, 2001)
This is my favorite comfort food book. It has the best macaroni and cheese you've ever eaten (page 223). Also try:
-Chicken and Dumplings on page 195
-Baked Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade Sauce on page 119
The Tillamook Cheese Cookbook: celebrating 100 years of excellence compiled by Kathy Holstad (Arnica Publishing, 2009)
The Tillamook Cheese Factory is celebrating their 100 year anniversary this year so they put out a cookbook. We drive by the cheese factory every time we go to the beach, and I've been going there since I was little (not quite 100 years). The book has lots of history and great food photos. Try:
- Ham and Pear Macaroni and Cheese on page 107. It's an interesting combination of flavors that makes a macaroni and cheese dish a little bit special.
The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever by Beatrice Ojakangas (Chronicle Books, 2008). This cookbook is a lot more than casseroles. It has recipes from several ethnic regions, covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes and desserts, and meats to vegetarian. This book has only a few photos, but it contains 500 recipes, and I have several post-its in my copy for more recipes that I want to make. Try:
- Chicken, Artichoke, and Mushroom Casserole on Polenta on page 177. The polenta cooks in the same pan as the chicken. It was amazing and very easy.
Potato Salad- Fifty Favorite Recipes by Barbara Louterbach (Chronicle Books 2002) Both this cookbook on Potato Salad and the next cookbook in the list on Pasta Salad have excellent recipes that will add interest to your picnics, barbeques, and summer dining. Try:
-Red Pesto Potato Salad on page 30
-Orange Rosemary Potato Salad on page 29. This is the July 2008 Recipe of the month. You can try the recipe in the book, or try my version that has some changes to the dressing to make the flavor a little more intense.
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers (WW Norton and Co. 2002)
The Zuni Cafe is famous for its Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad for two. We ate at the restaurant while vacationing in San Francisco. There were so many tempting choices on the menu that we did not try their signature dish, although everything that we did order was amazing. Try:
-Ceasar Salad on page 154. This is my favorite recipe for Ceasar salad, and we really like garlic.
-Orange-Current Scones on page 479. These scones appear regularly on weekends at our house. I change the amount of butter by subtracting 1/4 cup so I can eat two instead of just one with homemade strawberry jam.
The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins (Workman Publishing, 1979)
An old tome, but a basic and indispensable reference everyone should have. The 25th anniversary issue was released last year, so it should be fairly easy to find. Try:
Pasta Puttanesca on page 72. I love anchovies and I love puttanesca sauce. For me, this is the best.
Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton (Chronicle Books, 2010) Last month a friend and I went to the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) book fair. Their convention was in Portland this year and the book fair was open to the public. We met several cookbook authors including Deborah Madison, Ruth Reichl, Madhur Jaffrey, and Susie Middleton. This book really attracted me because of the simplicity of the dishes and the interesting combinations of flavors. So if you have a garden or love to see whatís new at the farmerís market, youíll love this book. A recipe to try:
- Quick Roasted Cauliflower with Zesty Orange-Olive Dressing on page 30.
Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press 2011) This cookbook is written by the person who writes the food blog ďMy Natural Foods KitchenĒ. The recipes are vegetarian, using whole grains, legumes, and interesting vegetables. The combinations are unique and tasty.
Toro Bravo by John Gorham and Liz Crain (McSweeneys, 2013) I have purchased several cookbooks lately, but this book stood out for me because it has recipes from cuisines I already love to make, combining Spanish and Middle Eastern favorites. It also has great stories about Gorham starting his Portland restaurants, and beautiful photos of his dishes with approachable, tasty recipes.
The Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast by Brian Yarvin (The Harvard Common Press 2012) We lived in England for a year and became very fond of British Pub Fare. This is a great book containing recipes for all of the classics, plus some vegetarian options like Tofu Tikka Masala which is lovely. It also contains a wealth of information about origins of dishes like Haggis and explanations of some of the strange food names. Interesting read, great recipes, and lots of photos.
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from Londonís Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi (Chronicle Books, 2011) This beautiful cookbook has lots of inspiring photographs. The book is divided into chapters by main ingredient that the chef is especially fond of. The recipes are vegetarian with Moroccan influences. They are also inventive and combine so many amazing flavors you will not need or miss the meat.
Deliaís Vegetarian Kitchen by Delia Smith (BBC Books, 2002) Since living in England I seem to be drawn to British cookbook writers. This book was published in paperback in 2006 and it contains recipes for beautiful and inventive dishes. Some of the recipes are complicated, but theyíre worth the effort. Iíve tried:
- Roasted Red Peppers stuffed with Fennel on page 34
- Caramelized Balsamic Red Onion Tarts with Goat Cheese on page 152.
Falling Cloudberries A World of Family Recipes by Tessa Kiros (Andrews McNeel Publishing) This is a beautifully written and photographed book, encompassing the culinary history of its author. She was born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek father. They all moved to South Africa where she grew up. The recipes reflect the culinary journey of her life. Try:
Finnish Meatballs with Allspice, Sour Cream, and Lingonberries on page 33
Ebelskivers by Kevin Crafts (Weldon Owen 2009, available at William Sonoma). Iíve been making a lot of ebelskivers, trying new recipes in preparation for brunch classes. This book has a lot of interesting ideas, including the recipe for cherry-almond ebelskivers that inspired one of the dishes that we made in class. It also features savory and dessert ebelskivers! Try:
- Cherry-Almond Ebelskivers on page 43.
- Spinach and Feta Ebelskivers on page 82.
- Strawberry Shortcake Ebelskivers on page 55.
Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite (Quadrille Publishing Ltd 2008/Key Porter Books)
Before Gordon Ramsay became famous for his colorful vocabulary, he was known for his innovative food. This book focuses on healthy eating, using ingredients while they are in season and at their best. Some recipes to try:
- Sweet Potato Frittata with Tomato Salsa on page 51. This dish is simple and has amazing flavor combinations.
- Spicy Beef Curry on page 101. This recipe is more complicated, but the directions are straightforward and easy to follow.
Tapas: A Classic Collection of Spanish-style Recipes (no author, Parragon Publishing, 2006)
As you can imagine, after living in Spain I have a lot of Spanish cookbooks. I received this one as a gift and have used it more than I would have imagined because it has great tapas recipes! Try:
-Roasted Asparagus with Country Ham on page 29. The recipe suggests using proscuitto instead of jamon serrano, which is harder to find. The flavor is a little different, but it is delicious. Do not leave out the alioli!
-Stuffed Pimientos on page 44. The version with tuna has been a favorite at several
Balaboosta by Einat Admony (Workman Publishing 2013) I found this cookbook in a little bookstore while we were vacationing in Leavenworth last month. I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. I have enjoyed exploring the diverse recipes in this book. The author has three New York restaurants and still cooks for her family every day. This book is about having great food each day. Some of the recipes are complicated and many are simplified. There is even a chapter on kid-friendly meals.
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolengih and Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press 2012) My favorite cookbook of 2011 was Plenty (see below). Jerusalem is the much anticipated second cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. In this book he collaborates with his business partner Sami Tamimi. Jerusalem contains the comfort foods of their childhoods growing up in Jerusalem, one Jewish and one Palestinian, and looks at how food unites a divided city. Iím excited about the recipes and my copy is already overflowing with post-its. There is also beautiful photography of the food and the city.
Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean by Silvena Rowe (HarperCollins 2011) This book is filled with Turkish-inspired dishes from a London chef. Her recipes are interesting and diverse- like Lamb and Pistachio Kofte with Tahini and Pistachio Sauce, or Crunchy Swiss Chard Falafel. Iíve cooked with Kadaifi (shredded filo) making desserts, but in this book itís used to wrap shrimp in a wonderfully crunchy coating. This book inspires me to try something new with every turn of the page.
Saha: A Chef's Journey through Lebanon and Syria by Greg and Lucy Malouf (Periplus Editions HK 2005) This cookbook (and the following one) are as good to look at and read for the photos and history as they are to cook from. Try:
- Eggplant Salad wtih Soft Goat's Cheese and Walnuts on page 138.
- Grilled Large Shrimp Kebabs with Spicy Cracked Wheat Salad and Tomato Dressing on
The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert (HarperCollins 2011) I received this wonderful cookbook for Christmas. It has many Moroccan recipes that are not in any of my other Moroccan cookbooks. This book has beautiful photos, history, and lots of stores. I'm looking forward to experimenting with these recipes.
The Food of Morocco, a Journey for Food Lovers by Tess Mallos (Murdoch Books, 2008) My Moroccan tagine classes have been popular. If you're looking for more ways to use your tagine or want to try other Moroccan dishes, you will enjoy this book. It has beautiful photos and several dishes that we've made in class. Here are a couple of great recipes:
- If you like fruit in savory dishes, try Chicken Tagine wiht Apricots on page 167.
- If you're in the mood for a challenge, try Bestilla (chicken pie) on page 189.
A Taste of Morocco, Cuisine and Culture by Hervť Amiard, Laurence Mouton, Maria Seguin-Tsoili, and Marie-Pascale Rauzier (Hachete Illustrated, UK, Octopus Publishing Group, 2001). I have several Moroccan cookbooks; this one has wonderful pictures and some excellent recipes. Try:
- Carrot, Orange, and Cinnamon Salad on page 26
- Kefta (meatballs) Tagine on page 61
Pok Pok by Andy Richter This is a beautiful book filled with photos and tempting recipes. Most recipes seem complicated but they really explain the cuisine. I also think this book will help me order something other than wings at the restaurant (see my review of Pok Pok on the restaurant reviews page). This book takes you on Rickerís journey to Pok Pok, travels and restaurant jobs before landing in Portland and opening this iconic establishment.
Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet by Padma Lakshmi (Weinstein Books 2007)
The recipes in Padma's cookbook range from simple to exotic, but the flavors are strong and wonderful. I've made Green Dragon Curry with Shrimp several times and love it. Try:
-Green Dragon Curry with Shrimp on page 104
-Lamb Meatballs Simmered in Creamy Spinach Sauce on page 160
-Pan-Asian Lettuce Cups with Curried Beef on page 166
A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000)
This is a book of excellent pan-Asian recipes. It also has interesting information about the health benefits of the ingredients. Try:
-Pan-Seared Halibut with a Garlicky Black Bean Sauce on page 71. The sauce combination with the halibut is special
-Sweet and Sour Cucumber Slices on page 185. This is a very easy dish that we'll be making in the Asian class in April. Sour and sweet with a great crunch.
Modern Spice by Monica Bhide (Simon and Schuster 2009) I've been following this author on Twitter for a while. When her book came out I was intrigued. The book is about very accessible Indian food. She explains the spices and how you can customize the recipes to your taste. Here are some interesting recipes to try:
- Garam Masala Chicken on page 86.
- Indian Onion Rings with Chaat Masala on page 110.
- Paneer and Fig Pizza on page 202.
5 Spices, 50 Recipes by Ruta Kahate (Chronicle Books 2007)
This book has wonderful but simple Indian recipes, with spices that most people will find in their pantry. Try:
-Shrimp Cakes with Ginger and Cilantro on page 76
-Curried Mushrooms and Peas on page 34
Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala (Douglas & McIntyre Ltd, 2006)
Several years ago we took a trip to Vancouver, BC and had reservations at what we had heard was an excellent Indian restaurant. Vij's was a unique experience for us then- a very upscale restaurant that went way beyond the standard East Indian fare. I've been dreaming about the lamb popsicles ever since. It was a wonderful surprise to find the cookbook recently, and I made this dish shortly after I brought it home. It's just as good as I remember it was.
-You can find the recipe for "Marinated Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry" on page 83.
Turkey by Leanne Kitchen (Chronicle Books 2011) I have several books on Turkish cuisine and I still always look for new ones. This book I found very interesting. Most of the recipes are new to me and not included in my other volumes. The recipes are ambitious but well worth the time spent, like:
- Spicy Lentils Baked with Eggs and Sausage on page 33
- Lahmacun, which is Turkish lamb pizza on page 58
- Pasta with Arugula, Feta, Walnuts and Herbs on page 81 was especially wonderful with the freshly-made pasta.
Turquoise: AChef's Travels in Turkey by Greg and Lucy Malouf (Chronicle Books 2008) Recipes to try are:
- Crunchy Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Haloumi, Mint, and Ginger on page 76.
- Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Mountain Herbs on page 172.
The Sultan's Kitchen- A Turkish Cookbook by Ozcan Ozan (Periplus Editions, 1998)
Our family was introduced to Turkish food by an exchange student, Burcu, who we hosted about 7 years ago. We had no idea that Turkish food was this wonderful, but it is. This book is a very good overall reference, so if you need one Turkish cookbook, this is a great choice. Try:
-Yogurtlu Kebap on page 78. Ground lamb koftas with tomato sauce and garlicky yogurt. This is a fabulous dish. Try it and you'll be hooked on Turkish food
-Sultan's Delight on page 87. Spiced lamb with smoky, creamy eggplant. If you know someone who thinks they don't like eggplant and they don't like lamb, this dish will change their world view. It's an exceptional recipe that I've featured in several cooking classes.
Mexican- healthy ways with a favorite cuisine by Jane Milton (Hermes House, 2001) There are many wonderful authentic recipes in this cookbook. Try:
-Eggs Rancheros on page 116. This is a really good variation of "huevos rancheros" using cream with the eggs
-Carnitas on page 138. These are "succulent little pieces of meat" - usually pork- that I like to cook slowly in a crock pot
Saveur: The new Comfort Food- Home Cooking from Around the World Edited by James Oseland (Chronicle Books / Weldon Owen 2011) With our days getting shorter and our evenings getting cooler there is nothing better than tucking into some warming comfort food. This book looks at comfort foods from several cultures, not just mac and cheese and green bean casserole (although those dishes are there). You will be inspired to try dal makhani (lentils) and Thai style Green Beans. There are lots of beautiful photographs, too.
What to Cook and How to Cook It by Jane Hornby (Phaidon Press, 2010) This is a beautiful book for beginners or experienced cooks. Itís filled with a diverse selection of recipes, each with a photo for every step. I've tried:
- Shrimp Pad Thai and Chicken on page 164
- Bacon and Vegetable Pot Pies on page 284.
Savory Sweet Life by Alice Currah (Harper Collins 2012) This cookbook is written by the popular food blogger of savorysweetlife.com Itís filled with simple, fast to make, creative kid-friendly recipes. The recipes use common pantry staples and easily found ingredients. The Breakfast Pizza starts with a whole wheat pita as the crust and is topped with eggs and bacon. The Fiesta Corn Salad is very flavorful and paired well with my grilled chicken breasts. The author says her family likes Thai Peanut Sauce more than ketchup. Sheís my kind of cook.
The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Simple and Sophisticated Meals from Around the World by Lynn Alley (10 Speed Press, 2003)
This cookbook inspired me to buy a crock pot! If you don't have one already, you too will want one to make some of these great recipes. Try:
-Pork Stew in Tomatillo Sauce on page 27
-Tarragon Chicken on page 56
-Italian Pot Roast on page 64 (my favorite!)
Kabobs by Sally Sampson (John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2007) This cookbook has simple marinade recipes that can be made into kebabs, or not! The marinades are wonderful. Try:
- Beef with Orange, Honey, and Rosemary on page 87
- Orange Soy Chicken on page 58
- Greek Shrimp with Lemon and Feta" on page 56
Home Made by Tana Ramsay (Harper Collins Publishers, 2008) This book, by the wife of Gordon Ramsay, is beautifully written and is full of inspired comfort food. We loved:
- Bacon Rosti Cakes with Poached Eggs on page 187
- Bobote Casserole on page 107.