There are definitely times when friends and neighbors need a little comfort food. It might be a joyful event--new baby, new house--or it might be in sorrowful times such as a long illness, death, or divorce. Chef Sara Quessenberry and writer Suzanne Schlosberg’s The Good Neighbor Cookbook is an excellent source for the family cook who needs some fresh ideas for food to share.
I’m a fan of the Moosewood Collective and own a lot of their cookbooks. Last year, I was given another entry to their line, Cooking for Health. I was pleased to see their fresh and easy philosophy of the 1970s had been updated for modern tastes. Never heard of Moosewood? Not everyone has, yet they were named one of 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appétit magazine, and our own Sammy T’s seems to have drawn on them for vegetarian inspiration.
When “Baltimore boy” and chef John Shields brought his Chesapeake Bay-style cooking to California years ago, he was urged to write a cookbook about the regional cuisine. Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields is in its 25th anniversary edition now, but its recipes and reminiscences are as fresh as they are delicious.
Inexpensive, protein-rich, and easily cooked: the egg. The egg has been one of the most valuable foodstuffs since the Prehistoric Age. Bird eggs have been used and consumed wherever birds (mostly chickens) are domesticated. “Scrambled eggs” originated in 17th-century France. They pair well with acidic fruit juices, and “dried eggs” first developed during the 19th century and were used predominantly for soldiers in World War II. Why are they so popular? Eggs work in both sweet and savory meals, including many baked goods such as cakes and pies.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it seems like a good time to revisit the dessert possibilities. Of course, there would be mutiny if pumpkin pie weren’t involved, but have you considered the addition of Butter Rum Cream Pie or Bourbon Pear Crumble Pie? Or, how about taking traditions to the next level with Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie?
Two sisters from the Midwest gathered in Brooklyn and opened a first-rate pie shop. It seemed like the logical thing to do. Although they all had degrees in finance and the arts, a bust economy had them marshalling their resources as they found that sticking to a family tradition—they were at least the third generation to make a living from the kitchen—reaped delicious and tangible rewards.
“Healthy Recipes & Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen”
There is no reason older kids can’t cook many dishes on the same level as most adults. If you can handle cooking without supervision, you can really develop your palate and your skills to create dishes you and grown-ups will truly enjoy. There are no cute presentations in Melina Hammer’s Kid Chef. This is a book about taste and freshness. Of course, there are kid favorites, such as Crispy Fish Sticks, but these are from scratch, with panko, lemon zest, freshly ground pepper and other delightful flavors.
The farmer's market beckons us with spring's arugula, peas, and asparagus and continues its siren call until the fall's first frost. We return with bags overflowing with berries, new potatoes, sugar snap peas, and herbs to plant in the garden. Of course there are tried-and-true recipes that we fall back on each year to use up the produce, but new inspiration is always welcome. Southern Living's Farmer's Market Cookbook is a great resource for "celebrat[ing] the seasons with fresh-from-the-farm recipes."
When author Ashley Rodriguez and her husband realized that most of their evenings at home were spent either staring at the computer or TV screens, eating different versions of takeout, and nonstop child-rearing, they decided to mix up the normal routine with a once-a-week date night for themselves. Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Renew Your Relationship contains delightful and romantic recipes that you and your significant other can create together, carving out that alone time to cook, talk, and rekindle an intimate relationship.
Want to make a lovely hostess gift or start a delightful family tradition? Gorgeously photographed and utterly useful, Alison Walker’s Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen has recipes that are both elegant and inspired. You can make your own Candy Canes, Marzipan, Baklava, and Cherry & Almond Biscotti. Or, go British with Turkish Delight (shades of C.S. Lewis), Rose Creams, Vanilla Caramels, and Tiffin.