I love soup, lunch or dinner, and SOUP NIGHTS: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year by Betty Rosbottom is a wonderful resource for some beautifully photographed and innovative recipes.  The book from noted cooking teacher and cookbook author Rosbottom, is chock full of versatile recipes with variations. All recipes have been developed to provide aspects that home cooks love (ease of preparation, accessibility of ingredients, and the ability to double recipes). Also included are recipes for sandwiches, salads, and desserts, as well as sample menus that show readers how to make soup the start of endless memorable meals.  I can’t wait to make the New Orleans red beans and rice soup with scallion bacon garnish; chicken noodle soup with sautéed mushrooms & Parmigiano; extra smooth avocado soup with corn relish; and mussels in saffron tomato crème with garlic toasts.

With the New Year, it is time to get back into healthful eating and this new series of books which includes:  THE GOODNESS OF GREENS: 40 Incredible Nutrient-Packed Recipes Edited by Claire Rogers; THE GOODNESS OF AVOCADO: 40 Delicious Health-Boosting Recipes Edited by Lucy Jessop; THE GOODNESS OF GARLIC: 40 Amazing Immune-Boosting Recipes Edited by Natasha Edwards; and THE GOODNESS OF COCONUT: 40 Irresistible Energy-Packed Recipes Edited by Emily Jonzen are a good way to start on a healthful regimen.  The books are very clearly presented and the recipes are quite innovative elevating the ingredients to new heights.  Standout recipes include: From GREENS: leek, watercress, & cheese vichyssoise; green pea ravioli; and quinoa cabbage rolls; From AVOCADO: green gazpacho shots; shrimp & avocado spring rolls; and pan-fried mackerel, avocado & grapefruit; From GARLIC: garlic, onion, & thyme frittata; roasted garlic potatoes; and slow lamb with yogurt mint sauce; From COCONUT: chicken soup with baby corn & lime; shrimp tacos with coconut & lime; and date & cocoa energy balls.

L.A.’s LEGENDARY RESTAURANTS: Celebrating the Famous Places Where Hollywood Ate, Drank, and Played by George Geary is a treasure trove of recipes and stories which for devotees of Hollywood dining.  Did you know that the original cobb salad was created at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant on Vine Street and arrived at your table on a platter with the ingredients arranged in separate rows?  I also started salivating at Leonard Schwartz’ meat loaf recipe from 72 Market Street.  I learned that when people came into C.C. Brown’s and ordered the brownie sundae, the waitstaff had to make sure you knew it didn’t actually contain brownies but was named after the owner C. C. Brown!  The book is chock full of Hollywood tales and gorgeous photos and would make a wonderful Valentine’s gift!

THE INDIAN COOKING COURSE: Techniques, Masterclasses, Ingredients, and Traditional Recipes by Monisha Bharadwaj is a wonderful comprehensive look at Indian cuisine.  This weighty volume explores the regional varieties of Indian food with clear techniques and step-by-step masterclasses which guide you along to delicious recipes.  The book is a total course in Indian home cooking which is based on good health as well.  It is the ultimate guide to everything you always wanted to know about Indian cuisine including curries, biryanis, and Indian street food.

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