You know the big releases for 2011 — they’re beautiful, they’re written by famous people and they’ve been promoted like crazy. But back in the kitchen where the spatula meets the pan, and the cook already owns a jillion cookbooks, only a few are tempting…
Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese – Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011)
Goat? Really? Yes. It’s really good (think lamb, only milder, or turkey dark meat), and so’s this book. The recipes are not just-the-usual-thing translated into goat meat. Look for intriguing flavor combinations as well as classic flavors that will send you straight to your butcher. And just as the tartness of lemon tunes up the flavors of food, cooking with tangy goat cheese or milk brightens the flavors of the foods they’re paired with. Truly different, wonderful food; fun to read. Avaiable online and at the Weinstein/Scarbrogh blog, Real Food Has Curves.
down home : downtown – Jeff Mall and Josh Silvers
(Rodney Strong Vineyards, 2011)
If you love the California wine country, or want a souvenir gift for someone else who does, start here. The photography perfectly evokes a sense of place throughout the seasons, showcasing seasonal produce, locally raised meats, and artisan foods from America’s most elegant larder. The recipes follow the wine country’s bounty through the year with a “down home” (from Jeff Mall’s Zin restaurant in Healdsburg), and a “downtown” (from Josh Silvers’ Petite Syrah in Santa Rosa) take on the same seasonal ingredients. Recipes are accessible, and manageable in a home kitchen — and they’ll emerge from your oven exactly as they appeared at your table in the restaurant. Available online and from the Rodney Strong Vineyards website.
The Rancho Gordo Heirloom Bean Grower’s Guide – Steve Sando
(Timber Press, 2011)
Meant to be a grower’s guide, the huge benefit of this book is that describes the unique flavors and character of non-hybridized heirloom beans – which makes it the best bean eater’sguide you’ll ever find. Written with a kind heart and a grower’s eye to the particulars of each variety, you’ll be able to make minute distinctions based on flavor, texture, and cooking characteristics to create bean soups, casseroles, salads, and side dishes that are orders of magnitude better than supermarket beans. Recipes in the back of the book. Available from Books Inc. on Fourth Street, The Pasta Shop on Fourth Street and at Market Hall, the Rancho Gordo website, and online.
Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food – Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough
(Ten Speed Press, 2011)
“…a grocer’s guide to shopping, cooking and creating community through food.” Mogannam explains what makes San Francisco’s legendary Bi-Rite Market a unique and superior food experience so that you can create it on your own. If you’re starting out as a cook, this will show you how to make choices at the market, how to store what you buy, and how to cook it. Even for an experienced cook who’s sniffed a thousand peaches, there’s plenty of new information. Cooking basics are solid; even cooks with thousands of recipes will find something they must have. Available from The Pasta Shop on Fourth Street and at Market Hall, Books Inc. on Fourth Street, and online.
The Food Substitutions Bible – David Joachim
(Robert Rose, 2005)
Fresh out of cowberries? Groats? Not a clue about sumac? Not a problem. This book lists more than 5,000 substitutions for, and descriptions of, ingredients, equipment and techniques – more than enough to get you out of a tight corner the next you’re partway through a recipe and don’t have what you need for the next step. Also great to verify weights and measures. Indispensable for the questing home cook. Available online.