The winter months just cry out for soups and stews, which is the theme for my March blog.

Noted cookbook author Michele Scicolone has come up with a book that combines great Italian flavors with the ease of using a slow cooker.  THE MEDITERRANEAN SLOW COOKER screams comfort and cozy and yet has the healthful benefits of eating Mediterranean style.  The recipes are easy to follow with very successful results.  Chorizo and lentil soup; balsamic chicken with capers; porcini braised beef; and lamb and pine nut meatballs; are some of the highlights.

Another wonderful comfort food book is WILLIAMS-SONOMA ONE POT OF THE DAY: 365 Recipes for Every Day of the Year.   This calendar-style cookbook presents 365 simple but inventive recipes for stews, baked dishes, and other easily prepared one-pot supper ideas.  March standouts include Asian- braised short ribs; farro with spring vegetables; baked pasta with sausage & dandelion greens; Italian braised pork loin; and stir-fried asparagus with shiitakes.

I am a huge fan of Sunset Magazine, which always seems to have wonderful cutting-edge recipes.  The new Book THE SUNSET ESSENTIAL WESTERN COOKBOOK: Best-loved Classics and Fresh New Favorites is chock full of fabulous recipes for stews like cioppino from San Francisco and chile verde from the Southwest.  The book is beautifully photographed and has that easy style that has made Sunset so successful.

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