Unlike the many cooks whose love affair with food was sparked by assisting their grandmother in the kitchen, Molly Watson’s culinary passion grew beside her grandmother at the table. Watson, a Minneapolis native, remembers meals at French restaurants and observing her grandmother effortlessly host dinner parties in their Northern Minnesota cabin. Her affinity for food was bolstered by a childhood spent foraging for mushrooms and blueberries. Though at first she pursued academia, earning a Ph.D. in Modern European History at Stanford University, eventually her passion won out and she embarked on a food writing career. Now a San Franciscan, Watson has become an expert in locally sourced food and recently penned her first cookbook, Greens + Grains: Recipes for Deliciously Healthful Meals.
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Celebrity chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson always has a way of getting our attention. At 23, an executive chef at Aquavit, he received a three-star review from The New York Times. At the time, he was the youngest to earn that accolade. But it’s not just that he was a culinary prodigy or an expert at Scandinavian cookery long before we’d ever heard of “new Nordic” cuisine. It’s that he provides us with a new way to look at food, interpreting it through a lens influenced by his being born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden and trained in the kitchens of Europe. When he’s not introducing us to less familiar cuisines, he’s taking the more familiar ones and feeding them to us better than those before him, just as he does at his restaurant Red Rooster.
In his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, Samuelsson steps out of his restaurant and invites us into his Harlem brownstone. It is there in his home kitchen where he blends near and dear cultures and cuisines with the multiethnic neighborhood in which he now lives and works. The 150 colorful and feel-good recipes are ones he hopes create lasting memories for those he shares them with.
“The question isn’t whether or not you need to eat fat; it’s ‘What kind of fat are you eating?’” says chef Franklin Becker, owner of The Little Beet and The Little Beet Table in New York City. Becker got a wake-up call in 1993 when, at age 27, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It forced him to change both how he ate and how he cooked. Now, he’s set out to change everyone else’s habits too. He started by revolutionizing the way New Yorkers eat on the run. His quick-service spot, The Little Beet, opened in midtown Manhattan in January 2014. With lines out the door at lunchtime, it’s not surprising that another New York location is set to open soon and more units are being planned. He also just opened a full-service fine dining version, called The Little Beet Table. And now he’s out with a new cookbook that captures his eating philosophy. Good Fat Cooking (Rodale, 2014) is filled with recipes that utilize healthy unsaturated fats to produce incredibly flavorful dishes.
In his recently published cookbook — Alain Ducasse Cooking for Kids: From Babies to Toddlers: Simple, Healthy, and Natural Food (Rizzoli; $25) — the multi-Michelin-starred French chef and father of three shares his vegetable-heavy recipes along with his persuasive food philosophy on why our kids should be eating healthier.
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.”
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.