COMMENT TO WIN! Great Books to Give: For the Home CookBy:
All week long we’re highlighting some of our favorite gift-worthy books from 2011. In the spirit of the season, we’re also hosting giveaways of these books every day! Scroll to the bottom of this post for details on how to enter (and click here to see our other daily giveaways!).—The S&H Editors
Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes
By Mark Bitterman, Ten Speed Press, $35.00
In this well-researched, entertaining, and coffee-table-worthy tome, salt expert (or, selmelier) Mark Bitterman exalts this seemingly humble seasoning to new heights. Everything from the history of the salt trade to the physiology of salt in the human body is included here, as well as a reference guide to 157 different types of salt, profiles of artisan salts, a guide to salting common dishes, and beautifully photographed recipes ranging from fairly simple (Mango Salsa with Hawaiian Black Lava Salt) to highly sophisticated (Roasted Marrowbones with Sel Gris). While the recipes are a bit heavy for kitchen novices, this would make a lovely addition to the collection of savvy home cooks and anyone interested in the science and history behind the everyday foods we eat.—E.B.
Mighty Spice Cookbook: Fast, Fresh and Vibrant Dishes Using No More Than 5 Spices for Each Recipe
By John Gregory-Smith, Duncan Baird, $24.95
Spice master John Gregory-Smith takes readers on a culinary adventure around the world with 100 recipes inspired by the flavors of South America, Asia, and North Africa. While the flavors may be exotic, the preparations are kept simple, making this an easy and accessible gateway into the world of spice—even for novice cooks. Recipes are divided into traditional cookbook chapters—Soups and Salads, Poultry, Vegetarian, Desserts, etc.—with profiles of 25 key spices and a spice directory in the back. Photos of each and every recipe make this a delightful read—and will likely inspire you to expand your cooking repertoire (if not your kitchen’s spice collection).—E.B.
Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant
By Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda, Ten Speed Press, $30.00
A stunning cookbook authored by the chef and owners of New York City’s highly lauded destination restaurant, Candle 79, which helped elevate vegan cooking from the ranks of rabbit food to modern, sophisticated cuisine. The focus here is on flavor, using spices, herbs, and fresh produce to create elegant and eco-friendly meals ranging from gorgeous salads to creative entreés to decadent desserts. If you’ve ever been stumped about how to successfully cook with meat substitutes like tempeh, tofu, and seitan, you’ll no doubt be inspired by their uses here in fantastic dishes like Seitan Piccata and Pan-Seared Pine Nut Pesto Tofu. Even those new to animal-free dining will likely never miss the meat.—E.B.
Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods
By Julie Morris, Navitas Naturals, $29.99
In this, Julie Morris’ first cookbook, the L.A.-based nutrition writer and chef offers insights and recipes for a new food philosophy, where “superfoods”—nutrient-rich foods ranging from everyday (blueberries, kale) to exotic (goji berries, yacon powder)—make cooking and eating not only a pleasurable experience but also an avenue to more energy, less cravings, and better health. Easy recipes, gorgeously photographed, offer ideas for cooking with these beneficial foods, without any tsk-tsking about our refined-flour, white-sugar loving ways (the author admits she still has bouts of “brownienthusiasm”). Included is a handy resource guide, for those of us without easy access to the more far-out ingredients such as chia seeds, algaes, maca, etc. Overall, a laid-back and fun guide for foodies and anyone who has “get healthy” on their list of New Year’s resolutions.—E.B.
By John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, New Society Publishers, $19.95
Heralding the rise of homesteading and backyard dining, Farmstead Chef celebrates the triumph of local cuisine. Imbued with the advice of been-there-made-that-mistake authors who shrugged off corporate life in their 30’s to open a bed and breakfast farm, the recipes encourage chefs to expand their repertoire to include vegan and gluten-friendly classics. (Don’t miss the “miracle” no-knead Dutch Oven Artisan Bread.) Though this is a cookbook, the authors go beyond recipes to share a message of community involvement and mindful eating. Tips on lasagna gardening, solar ovens, canning, and chicken-keeping are entertaining and welcome additions. Even if all you can grow is a row of beets, this Mother Earth News recommended book has a recipe for them to become a vehicle of change.—C.S.
Super Natural, Every Day: Well Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
By Heidi Swanson, Ten Speed Press, $23.00
Heidi Swanson, the writer/photographer behind the popular blog 101 Cookbooks, gives readers a glimpse into her favorite techniques, recipes, and sensibilities for everyday cooking. Swanson is a vegetarian who champions seasonal, local, organic ingredients, using legumes, natural sweeteners, fresh produce, whole grains, and whole grain flours as her building blocks—but always with an eye on flavor and beautiful presentation. Swanson’s bewitching food photography is the perfect accompaniment to her all-natural recipes—from rye-flour crepes to chanterelle tacos to honey and rosewater tapioca—plus, for those new to this style of cooking, she includes a helpful guide on what to keep stocked in your pantry. Soulful, simple, and honest, there is much inspiration to be found here for anyone embracing a whole foods diet.—E.B.
Giveaway! Win a copy of Salted, Mighty Spice, or Candle 79! To enter, leave a comment below telling us about your favorite comforting food (or drink) this time of year. Three winners will be selected at random to receive one of these books at the end of our week-long Great Reads holiday gift guide. 1/1/12 UPDATE: Commenting for entry is now closed.