Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Favorite Cookbooks

People have started to ask me what my favorite cookbooks are. Well, I have 62 and counting (adding one this week - more on that later). Also, my mom has tons at home - maybe double what I have - so I have a lot to choose from.
These are it right now - and have been for a while. Their menus are fresh, simple ingredients (not cheap and boring however), simple dishes, favorite flavors, seasonal ingredients, and from the beginning of the meal to the end of it.
Favorite cookbook hands down:
Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day. This cookbook has great pictures, simple recipes, seasonal ingredients (and ways to mix up same recipes with seasonal ingredients. I have definitely cooked many things out of there. Some of my fave would be: chicken cacciatore (saw Sara herself demonstrate this at the W-S store I worked at in Durham where her cafes are), Foster's homemade granola, pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies. Some recipes that I have yet to try but need a reason to (any takers?): roasted mushrooms, green peas, and tomatoes (since I've started roasting everything else), roasted corn salsa (will wait for summer when I get corn at Hubers), roasted red bell pepper salsa, black-eyed pea salad with roasted b-nut squash and goat cheese. How yummy do all those things sound - and healthy!
New addition mentioned earlier: I just ordered The Foster's Market Cookbook which came out in 2002 with over 200 recipes they use at the market in Durham/Chapel Hill. I am anticipating great things from it. I also am anticipating going there in May when I am in the area. I loved going there when I lived there - it was just down the street. And, I liked the one in Durham better than the one in Chapel Hill.
Second favorite cookbook: Tyler's Ultimate (Tyler Florence from Food Network). I started watching Tyler back in the day he was doing Food911 and How to Boil Water. I love watching his Ultimate show. He has so much fun and also takes everything up a notch - and makes a whole meal.
Today was a snow day so I took some time to look through this one again. Here is what I have made: Hunter's Minestrone (the only one I've made so far, but that doesn't stop it from being in the top two). I also judge a cookbook on how many dog-ears one has when I have first looked through it. This one has TONS - definitely 2/3 of the book has been marked - to cook. So, again - do I have any takers for a dinner sometime? Here are some on the immediate cook time frame: roasted cauliflower soup, white bean and roasted shrimp salad with cherry tomato vinaigrette, baked rigatoni with eggplant and pork sausage (and I'm not a huge eggplant fan), tagliatelle with mushrooms, cipolline onions and bacon. Those all sound amazing and "comfort food".
So - what are your favorite cookbooks? I'm always looking for new ones. Any suggestions - and why?

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