Thursday, November 13, 2008

Something's Cooking

No, not at our house sadly. We actually had beef and potato stroganoff out of a box the other night. Sad. But Top Chef Is Back!!!! Woo! I am so excited. And it inspired me not only to cook something decent tonight but to post about some of my favorite cookbooks, plus one that I want. They're all available at Amazon. And I'm not sure about the Top Chef book. I just assume it will be good because the world's best chefs appear on the show. Let's start with the delicious Bouchon cookbook by Thomas Keller. I know I'm supposed to want to go to his world-famous restaurant, The French Laundry, but I would pick his fancy Yountville, California, bistro, Bouchon, any day of the week. Yummy.

Oh how I love Ina Garten. And not just because she's best buddies with Martha and has a fabulous house in the Hamptons. Like Martha, she really knows how to elevate the quotidian to make it divine. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is one of her older ones, and still one of the best.

Let's pause for a shameless plug for the official cookbook of the Junior League of Austin -- Necessities and Temptations. Really, it's got some good stuff and lots of Texas favorites.

Say what you will about Martha, but she has some solid recipes in her collection. My two favorites are her Simple Shortbread and her Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Some of the recipes are misses (Thyme Thumbprint Cookies anyone? ew) but most work quite well and aren't overly complicated.

Another place I've had the pleasure of dining and then enjoying the cookbook -- Greens Restaurant overlooking the water in historic Fort Mason in San Francisco. Chef Anne Somerville collects her flavorful vegetarian favorites in this cookbook.
Cooking Light is my go-to cookbook. I've found most of our favorite, everyday recipes in either the magazine, on the website or in the earlier version of this cookbook. I will admit that I do substitute quite a bit, e.g., dried herbs for fresh, but you can't beat the creativity of these recipes. Plus there are tons of them, so you're sure to find some that everyone will like.
Another Napa favorite, Mustards Grill, can be yours everyday with this fab cookbook. Chef Cindy Pawlcyn's recipes are surprisingly easy to make, and the flavors are great.

Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food is my husband's favorite cookbook. Needless to say, he enjoys learning about the chemical processes behind making the perfect omelette, etc.

Now here's the one on my wishlist, Savannah Seasons, which features the recipes of Elizabeth Terry, the founder of Elizabeth on 37th in Savannah, where I have had some of the best food in my entire life. I wonder if the cookbook can deliver those same flavors to my house. I have hope!

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