PRUNE by chef Gabrielle Hamilton, of landmark NYC brunch spot Prune, is a most inviting restaurant cookbook. It is charmingly illustrated, the techniques and ingredients are easily accessible, and the recipes are easy to follow. In Prune, Gabrielle speaks to the reader as if you are one of her sous chefs. The basic instructions also include notations in the margin, made in Sharpie marker. Note that the recipe yields are restaurant size, so you must adjust them if you want feed less people. Also, the book assumes that you know your way around the kitchen.
JAMIE OLIVER’S COMFORT FOOD: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook by über-chef Jamie Oliver, is a book inspired by childhood memories of comforting dishes. The book is written in Jamie Oliver’s down-to-earth style with precise directions and a few very helpful hints. This book is perfect for winter nights when beef Wellington; Bolognese ravioli; overnight roasted pork shoulder; lobster mac ’n’ cheese; and scrumptious sticky toffee pudding help to keep you warm and comforted on cold nights. This is soul satisfying at its best.
ADVENTURES IN COMFORT FOOD: Delicious and New Recipes from A Unique, Small-Town Restaurant by Kerry Alteiro, with Katherine Gaudet is a book full of good ideas for cold winter night dinners. The chef/owner of Café Mirana in Rockland, Maine is known for wildly satisfying dishes. The author pushes the boundaries of comfort food by adding unique twists like Reuben’s long lost cousin (hot pastrami with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, red onion, ranch dressing and hot mustard on Focaccia); pot roast bleu; and deconstructed nachos.
HERITAGE by award-winning chef, Sean Brock (executive chef and partner of three restaurants: McCrady’s and Husk in Charleston, South Carolina, and Husk in Nashville, Tennessee), is an inspired look at Southern Recipes. Brock cooks dishes that are ingredient-driven and reinterpret the flavors of his youth in Appalachia and his adopted hometown of Charleston. The recipes include all the comfort food (think food to eat at home) and high-end restaurant food (fancier dishes when there’s more time to cook) for which he has become so well known. Crispy poke cornmeal fritters; herb-marinated hanger steak with Vidalia onion gratin and steak sauce; dilled green tomatoes; pickled okra; and rhubarb buckle with poppy seed-buttermilk ice cream are a few standouts.