Holidays and food are so closely connected that it’s hard to even imagine one without the other. And not just any food, but very specific culinary traditions — often ones that have been passed down through generations. But what happens when you remove all animal products from your holiday goodies? Well, at least in the case of the New York’s legendary vegan restaurant, Candle Cafe, you end up with some incredibly tasty dishes. “Our restaurants always have wait lists on all the holidays, and we hate to turn people away,” says Joy Pierson, co-owner of Candle Cafe and coauthor of the new cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking. “So putting our favorite holiday recipes in this book is a way to feed as many people as possible.”
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Writing a New York Times Best Seller is no easy task. Neither is keeping a New York City restaurant packed and popular for a decade and a half. But Gabrielle Hamilton has managed to do both. Her 2011 memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter, proved that she was as good a writer as she is a chef. Now she’s finally giving her fans the cookbook they’ve been clamoring for. And the release just so happens to coincide with Prune’s 15th anniversary as one of New York’s most-beloved restaurants.
When it comes to cooking for your palate, you can count on husband-and-wife duo Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s Flavor Bible. The tome not only received an award from the James Beard Foundation, but was named one of the 10 best cookbooks of the past century by Forbes. Now Page and Dornenburg are back, but this time they’ve gone vegetarian. Their 554-page reference book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, uses the same approach to plant-based cooking as their bestseller. In addition to the history of vegetarianism, you can find an A-Z guide to herbs, spices and other seasonings, learn which techniques work best for which veggies and a stock list of flavor affinities for each ingredient. For instance, soba noodles have 16 suggested combinations like marrying them with greens, lime, sesame oil, soy sauce and tofu. Sound good? We think so. Not so much a cookbook as it is a culinary guide, the Bible is an indispensable manual for anyone looking to eat a varied, vegetable-driven diet.
You don’t have to eat just like a caveman to call yourself Paleo. Or at least that’s the attitude of Paleo blogger and cookbook author Michelle Tam, creator of NomNomPaleo.com and the book, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans. “I’m not a slave to ‘this is exactly Paleo,'” she says. “Cavemen ate bugs and raw meat.” For Tam, the real goal of eating Paleo is to make smart choices and be more conscious of where your food comes from and how eating it makes you feel. Oh, and it’s got to taste good too!
Ever since her childhood in rural Australia, Amy Chaplin’s diet has revolved around whole foods. After 20 years of cooking around the globe, the New York-based private chef, teacher, recipe developer and writer — her work appears on this very blog every week — is sharing this nurturing lifestyle in her first book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well (Roost Books). Through more than 150 recipes — and a slew of striking minimalist photos—for soulful vegetarian and vegan dishes like cherry coconut granola with extra virgin olive oil, millet cauliflower mash and roasted acorn and Delicata squash salad strewn with wheat berries and bitter greens, the former chef of the celebrated East Village vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, illuminates the simplicity and creativity of eating healthy. Read more
If you’ve cooked from Plenty, Israeli chef and London restaurateur Yotam Ottolenghi’s bestselling and award-winning cookbook, it’s probably dog-eared and food-stained from loving overuse. (Baked eggs with yogurt and greens, Brussels sprouts with tofu, and soba noodles with eggplant and mango, are personal faves.)
Now comes the hotly anticipated follow-up, Plenty More, in which Ottolenghi unapologetically celebrates the wonderful world of vegetables one cooking method at a time — braising, steaming, roasting, char-grilling and frying. In keeping with his signature inventive and vibrant style, Ottolenghi’s recipes in Plenty More feature rather exotic pops of flavor — yuzu in a dish of candy beets with lentils, sorrel and mustard in a bowl of fresh sweet peas, sweet labneh on a plate of warm baked rhubarb, and tahini on a sweet mess of honey-roasted carrots, featured below.
George Mendes, the chef of the restaurant Aldea, grew up feasting on his mother’s elaborate Portuguese meals. While he went on to cook for culinary icons such as David Bouley, Roger Verge, Alain Ducasse, and Martin Berasategui, he has always remained true to his culinary roots in Portugal. In 2009, he opened Aldea (the Portuguese word for village), as a culmination of his Iberian experiences and Portuguese heritage. There’s sea urchin toast with cauliflower puree, shiso and lime, a cucumber and wild strawberry salad with smoked sardines, fresh dill, and yogurt, and sea-salted cod with fennel puree and charred corn.
Alaskan Coho salmon burgers and roasted monkfish steaks are mainstays of power lunches at Oceana, the upscale, marble-bedecked New York seafood shrine adjacent to iconic Rockefeller Center. Since 2006, executive chef Ben Pollinger has lured in diners with his refined cooking. He’s held on to a coveted Michelin star, successfully transitioned Oceana into new, mammoth-sized digs, and now the ambitious New Jersey native has just released the informative School of Fish (Gallery Books) with Stephanie Lyness. Through more than 100 recipes, ranging from a baked dorade filet emblazoned with potato scales and paired with Swiss chard, to roasted lobster with basil-garlic butter accompanied by olive oil crushed potatoes, Pollinger squashes the myth for kitchen newbies and skilled home cooks alike that preparing seafood always makes for mystifying, grueling work. Read more
What does skinny taste like? Just ask Gina Homolka. For six years, low-fat foodie Gina Homolka has been satisfying the tastebuds of a loyal following with her Skinnytaste blog. Her recipes reflect her own eating philosophy — delicious, healthy, seasonal dishes that also just so happen to be low in calories and fat. This month she debuts The Skinnytaste Cookbook: Light on Calories, Big on Flavor.
The Fat Radish, which opened in 2010, is one of those perfect New York City restaurants. The uncomplicated, slightly British, vegetable-focused menu traces the seasons with local as its mantra. The design is that effortless combination of reclaimed barnyard and weathered industrial chic. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming. And the folks in the seats all look as though they might have just walked off the set of Girls. All the pieces come together courtesy of owners Ben Towill and Phil Winser, self-taught cooks who are passionate about good ingredients, great design, and feeding guests well.