I would like to launch this blog with a few wonderful books that have just been released.

The first is THE COOK’S ILLUSTRATED COOKBOOK: 2,000 recipes from 20 years of American’s Most Trusted Food Magazine by The Editors at Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (www.amazon.com).  The title says it all.  There are many cooking magazines on the market but only one that I trust implicitly and that is Cook’s Illustrated.  Every recipe has been tested inside out and sideways until guaranteed success has been achieved.  If you are looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, just open the book to brining, carving, herbing, and rubbing techniques plus a wonderful classic old-fashioned stuffing recipe.  You can look at the endless other ways to cook your Thanksgiving bird including butterflied turkey with cranberry-molasses glaze; spice-rubbed roast turkey; slow-roasted turkey with gravy; or simply roast turkey breast.  This comprehensive cooking bible lives up to the quote in its table of contents: “twenty years of recipes that work.”

Another interesting choice for November is HOME MADE by Yvette Van Boven (www.amazon.com).  My foodie friends and I are trying our best to be more ecologically conscious and this book capitalizes on that trend, inspiring one to DIY in the kitchen the easy way.  With step-by-step photos and thoughtful instructions, you can give yourself a big pat on the back after you make your own cheese, ice cream, or mayonnaise.  The tone of the book is not intimidating at all.  In addition to making your own mustards, I love the innovative recipes like hot cucumber soup with deep-fried parsley;  lamb chops in a crust of lemon, mint, and pistachio nuts; and chocolate-ginger fudge cake with pecans and cinnamon cream.

A great choice for a gift for your favorite foodie this year is COOKIES FOR KIDS CANCER: Best Bake Sale Cookbook by Gretchen Holt-Witt, recipes by Sally Sampson. (I am not putting a discounted price on this book since the sales go to curing children’s cancer)  Gretchen Holt-Witt lost her son Liam to cancer when he was 2 ½ years old.  She made it her mission to help other parents and kids battling cancer.  She launched Cookies for Kids’ Cancer in 2008 which helps people organize bake sales to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.  Every little bit or crumb counts since through her work, the organization has raised over $4 million.  This year, Gretchen published COOKIES FOR KIDS CANCER, a wonderful book with tons of great recipes to make successful bake sales.  100% of the author’s proceeds go to the charity.  This is a perfect holiday gift to give back at this time of year.

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