SIX SEASONS: A New Way with Vegetables by Portland Oregon’s “vegetable whisperer,” Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg highlights farm to table with a seasonal arc. Each chapter starts with recipes featuring just-picked raw veggies, at the start of their seasons. As the week’s progress, McFadden grills, steams, sautés, pan roasts, and stews showing his innovation in utilizing fresh vegetables to their full potential. Standouts include: grilled radishes with dates, apples, and radish tops; onion bread soup with sausage; baked cauliflower with salt cod, currants, and pine nuts; cucumbers, celery, apricots, and pistachios; tomato, melon , and hot chile salad with burrata; fried celery root steaks with citrus and horseradish; and carrot pie in a pecan crust.
Graze: Inspiration for Small Plates and Meandering Meals by Suzanne Lenzer is a wonderful compendium of delicious small plate recipes in a beautifully photographed volume. The author was inspired by Spanish tapas and explores the rules of grazing in this charming book. Favorites include: scallop an plum ceviche with tarragon; prosciutto-wrapped grilled peaches with mint; spiced tomato bisque with goat cheese crumbles; roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta and maple pecans; and Armenian-spiced baby lamb chops with yogurt and mint.
SO GOOD: 100 Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours by Top Chef winning chef Richard Blais has translated chef style into home-style recipes with added flavor enhancers and innovative techniques. I love his take on jerked spatchcock chicken and plantains. Other inventive takes on recipes include; pork tenderloin with cabbage and passion fruit mustard; carne aside steak tartare and eggs; spaghetti and bone marrownara meatballs; vegetarian beet loaf; and marshmallow ice cream.
BASICS TO BRILLIANCE by Australia’s bestselling cookbook author Donna Hay is a fantastic compendium of Donna Hay’s no-fail tried and true recipes. Each basic recipe is followed by clever variations and flavor change-ups so that you have more variety in your cooking. Standouts include: slow-cooked beef brisket; sticky maple and bourbon pork ribs; Chinese barbecued duck with variations including barbecued duck pancakes and Asian noodles with barbecued duck and greens; crispy-skinned salmon with a variation salmon Niçoise with green olive dressing; and one-bowl vanilla cake.
THE MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT TABLE: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant That Revolutionized Eating in America by the Moosewood Collective is a welcome holiday book for those who love farm-to-table fare. The creators of America’s beloved natural foods restaurant, Moosewood, are back and better than ever with 250 brand new, never-before-published recipes. Fans of this wonderful cooking will find the following recipes right up their alley: gingerbread pancakes with lemon syrup; roasted fennel and leek tomato soup; mango spinach salad with spicy dressing; squash polenta with mushroom and kale stew; spice-crusted roasted carrots with harissa-yogurt sauce; and lemon-zucchini cake with thyme.