For many of our kids and for some adults as well, it’s the back-to-school season. And for those of us who enjoy cooking and learning new skills and recipes, fall is a good time to get back behind the stove after a summer of grilling and barbecues. Here are five terrific new cookbooks for the home cook, including one for teens.
Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World
Just published last week, one of the more fascinating cookbooks to land in my kitchen this fall is Chris Shepherd’s Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World. Shepherd is a James Beard Best Chef award winner and chef-owner of Houston’s Underbelly Hospitality. While he trained in fine-dining restaurants, Cook Like a Local is all about street food, home cooking, and ethnically diverse dishes. This isn’t white-tablecloth cuisine, but rather the types of food you want to make and eat every night. This isn’t white-tablecloth cuisine, but rather the types of food you want to make and eat every night. There’s a mountain of useful information about choosing and buying ingredients – everything from chili pastes, powders, sauces and fresh chilies, to staples of the Asian pantry, and a master class on knowing and storing spices. Tempting recipes run the gamut from Ssamjang-Braised Short Ribs and Corn Dosas to Salt and Pepper Fried Blue Crabs and Oxtail Bo Kho. These are recipes you certainly haven’t seen before.
La Grotta: Ice Creams & Sorbets
In La Grotta: Ice Creams & Sorbets, author Kitty Travers spills the beans about ice creams, custards, sherbets, sorbets, granitas, candied fruits, and other sweet things. Travers is the owner of an unassuming ice cream “shed” in London called La Grotta Ices and teaches ice cream making at England’s School of Artisan Food. Therefore, she’s the perfect person to take the home cook through the processes and techniques of making ice creams such as Banana, Brown Sugar & Rum; Green Walnut; Vanilla Plum; and Rhubarb & Raspberry Ripple; as well as sweet temptations like Quince Custard; Blood Orange & Bergamot Sherbet; Espresso Granita, and much more.
American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta
This next cookbook won’t be available until September 24, but I predict that it’s going to be a huge success. It’s American Sfoglino: A Master Class in Handmade Pasta by Evan Funke and Katie Parla. A sfoglia is a sheet of pasta that is made and rolled out by hand. That’s what this book is all about. Funke is the much-lauded chef of L.A.’s Feliz Trattoria. In American Sfoglino he shares classic techniques and recipes he learned while training in Emilia-Romagna in Italy. The authors show how to create 15 traditional pasta shapes, including pappardelle, tortellini, tagliatelle, lasagna and others, with recipes for dishes like Green Bolognese Lasagna and Tagliatelle with Bacon and Butter. The photography by James Beard-winning food photographer Eric Wolfinger is exceptional, as well.
Teen Chef Cooks
Getting kids into the kitchen (and off of social media for a while) is always a good idea. Teen Chef Cooks helps do that. This cookbook features 80 family-friendly recipes from Food Network’s Chopped Teen Grand Champion Eliana de Las Casas. Eliana started her cooking journey when she was four, helping her mom in the kitchen. She is passionate about using local, in-season foods and ingredients. And so, Teen Chef Cooks is organized by season: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer, with recipes for dishes like Warm Peach & Tomato Bruschetta; Miso-Coconut Beef Lettuce Wraps; Skillet Lasagna with Arugula; Kumquat Muffins, and more. Not dumbed down, this is a cookbook for kids that gives them the respect they deserve.
The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider
A follow-up to his book Ivan Ramen, Ivan Orkin with Chris Ying publishes a great new cookbook on September 24. The title is a mouthful: The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider. In Japan, gaijin means “outsider”. Orkin, who grew up a Jew in New York City, is certainly that. But his and Ying’s love of Japanese cuisine is the backbone of this fine book. It includes recipes for traditional Japanese dishes like fried pork cutlets with curry and handmade gyoza. But also more complex fare such as chicken stuffed with burdock root & carrots, and America-meets-Japan melting pot recipes like Shiso Gravlax and Tofu Coney Island – fried tofu with mushroom chili.
So grab yourself one or all of these excellent new books and get cooking!
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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