Cookbooks I like for 2010, Part 1

I don’t make New Year resolutions.  Or rather my only resolution is to not make one.  But this year I did make myself a promise to try and post more on my blog.

Being a single mom to a 3  year old, caregiver to an elderly parent and juggler extraordinaire I don’t blog as often as I would like too.  But that is going to change!

I’ve expanded my cookbook collection recently with a few titles that inspire me.  Because I am a recipe developer, I tend to look in the pantry and refrigerator, then make something.  Although I have hundreds of cookbooks, I just like to read them and drool. Why I don’t cook from them…I don’t have an answer.  And it’s time that changed too.

So, in no particular order…a few new cookbooks I like.

Gourmet Today: More Than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

The demise of Gourmet Magazine still make me sad.  Like every other food blogger, food writer and foodie the world around, I gave my 2 cents in this blog post.  I have been a fan of Ruth Reichl since she worked for The Los Angeles Times back in the 1980’s.  As the editor of Gourmet she lead me on culinary adventures to other countries, shared simple but interesting recipes, and made my mouth water with all the beautiful food photography.

The Gourmet Today cookbook is full of those simple but interesting recipes, as well as some complex but not overwhelming ones.  The Joy of Cooking is my go to cookbook, but I will be adding this one to that short list.

Baking Unplugged by Nicole Rees

Nicole Rees is an incredible baker, recipe developer and all around great gal.  In full disclosure, Nicole and I worked together in the test kitchen of Woman’s World Magazine years ago.  I remember a day when she made these incredible pancakes for the staff, and we all begged her for the recipe.  Grudgingly she shared it with us, making us promise not to share it as it was a recipe she was developing for a book.  Well, that book is here.  I trust her recipes implicitly, because I know first hand how meticulously well tested the recipes have to have been before she would ever think of publishing them.

Baking Unplugged is all about simple, back-to-basic recipes just like your grandma used to make.  No electricity needed, no mixers, processors or anything else you have to plug into a socket.  Her chocolate layer cake is exactly what a chocolate cake should be. Period.

And those Uncommanly Good pancakes did make it into the book, and they are still as fabulous as I remember. I recently found her hand written recipe for those pancakes, which I have kept safe all these years.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond

Ree Drummond is a food blogger, photographer, rancher and mom to four children she also homeschools!  Her blog, The Pioneer Woman is full of gorgeous pictures, wonderful recipes and a sense of humor that always has me chuckling.  I attended the BlogHerFood ’09 conference in San Francisco this year, and admired her graciousness.  At the closing keynote I had to ask her how she manages to handle her incredibly full load!  She was so encouraging and honest in her answer, she had a fan for life.

Her cookbook is full of step by step photos of all the recipes, so even the most inexperienced cook can follow along and make these dishes.  And they all sound delicous.

But what I love most are her photos of her farm animals, family pets, and the wild mustangs that live on her ranch. Reading her book almost make this city girl want to live and work on a ranch…almost.  I need a Trader Joe’s within 10 minutes at all times.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner by Jaden Hair

Jaden Hair is another food blogger I admire, and enjoy reading.  Her blog Steamy Kitchen always has inspiring recipes that won’t make you crazy gathering 500 ingredients. Her food photography is also gorgeous.  I went to a cooking class at Sur La Table in Los Angeles that Jaden gave, and she was so much fun!

Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen

Those won tons in the above picture were filled with CHOCOLATE!  Ooey, gooey, and oh so good.  Her book is chock full of incredible recipes and with a lovely picture of the finished dish.  She is a self taught photographer, and inspired me to amp up my food photography a little.  OK, a lot… I’m working on it.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

This last book is all about aspirations.  My father’s mother, Ruby Chambers Lee was an exceptional quilter and gardener.  She would preserve all those fresh vegetables and fruits for the cold Ohio winters. She passed away in the 1970’s, but if I close my eyes and think, I can still taste her currant jelly.

This book, edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine is brought to you by the company that has been making those mason jars we all know for 125 years.  Who better to produce a book on canning them the Ball Company.  Their website has canning products, tips and a preserving guide.

I bought this book with the intention of learning how to preserve the bounty of produce we get here in California.  I don’t know how it will work out but I am going to try!  Stayed tuned for my preserving triumphs and inevitable disasters in the coming year.  I just hope my grandmother will reach down from the heavens and guide me.

One thought on “Cookbooks I like for 2010, Part 1”

  1. You and I have similar tastes! I have Ree and Jaden’s books, and I also have the Ball book of Preserving! What a coincidence, huh? Love these books.

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