I know, I know…I need another cookbook like I need the proverbial hole in the head. Believe me, there are many cookbooks I “try out” from the library that don’t meet my standards and/or don’t add anything unique to my cookbook library. But there are three books I’ve vetted recently that may actually make the cut.
The simply titled Brassicas by Laura B. Russell carries the deeply appropriate subtitle of “Cooking the world’s healthiest vegetables.” Indeed, brassicas, or cruciferous vegetables, are nutrient powerhouses. The beautifully photographed books showcases kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, as well as the assorted leafy brassicas (collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, arugula and crests), Asian brassicas (bok choy, Chinese broccoli, mizen, napa cabbage and tatsoi) and root brassicas (radishes, turnips, rutabagas, horseradish, wasabi and kohlrabi). Almost all of the recipes have short ingredient lists and simple preparation methods, and the handful I’ve made so far have been delicious. One of my patients noticed the book on my desk, got herself a copy and has been enjoying cooking from it as well.
I saw Cooking Light executive editor Ann Taylor Pittman speak a few months ago at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference in Los Angeles, and someone on her panel mentioned that she had a new book on whole grains out. So of course I requested a copy of Everyday Whole Grains from the library right on the spot (thanks iPhone). I’ll fess up that i renewed it twice without even opening it, but I’ve checked it out from the library again and this time I actually checked out what was inside. Glorious! Beautiful, beautiful recipes for every part of your day: breakfast, snacks, salads, side dishes, main dishes, soups, breads and desserts. The book isn’t quite A-Z, but it is A-W (amaranth to wild rice). Before Pittman gets into the recipes, she offers a brief but detailed overview of the cornucopia of whole grains, why it’s worth it to cook with whole grains, and basic techniques for proper storage and cooking (including water-to-grain ratios and average cooking times). And of course, the photos are beautiful.
It was love at first glance when I brought home Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine from the library. Author Andy Harris and photographer David Loftus have put together a vibrant, colorful book that is as much travel guide as it is cookbook. That’s why (full confession) I’ve already caved into this particular craving and purchased my own copy. We have a trip planed to Istanbul later this year and I’m deeply looking forward to the food (and to shopping for spices and Turkish coffee pots, let’s be honest). The recipes vary in length and complexity, and there are a few ingredients that might be difficult to find depending on where you live (although finding them in Seattle isn’t a problem).
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