All Purpose Essentials | My Favorite Cookbooks
I don't have a huge cookbook collection. I have a tiny kitchen so I have to really commit myself to a cookbook purchase to make sure I'm actually going to love it and use it for me to deem it worthy of taking up valuable real estate in my space. And it's really hard to make that call sometimes, too. We are living in a golden age of cookbooks. Everyone has a food blog (*slowly raises hand sheepishly), and it seems like a cookbook deal just comes with the territory if your blog becomes popular enough. I, myself, would love to write a cookbook someday if I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to. So when every one of my favorite food bloggers and chefs is writing a cookbook, it's tough to choose! But I carefully selected the cookbooks in my collection that inspire me the most, I refer to the most, and cook from the most! I'd love to know what some of your favorite cookbooks are! Let me know in the comments!
I can't quite articulate how much I love this cookbook. If you love baking and creating desserts with in-season fruit, it's a must-have. Yossy Arefi is a baking queen and her recipes are flawless. Each is highly seasonal, which I love, and while the recipes are elevated and beautiful, they're also incredibly approachable and un-fussy. The book is arranged by season and ingredient, which makes cooking from it really easy. I often flip through it and refer to the current season for ideas of what's in season, using it as an almanac of sorts. Her all-butter pie crust recipe is the only one I ever use (it yields impossibly flaky and crisp layers EVERY TIME). Her rhubarb and rosewater tarts are the dessert that made me a rosewater convert. I adore using botanicals in my cooking now. I honestly could go on and on about this book but I'll stop before it gets out of hand.
Adrianna's blog: A Cozy Kitchen is without a doubt my favorite food blog, like ever. Hers is the only blog I read every word of each post and enjoy, thoroughly. She has an infectious combination of down-to-earth vibes, hilarious sense of humor, on-point taste in food and style (her new kitchen is gorgeous!), and she's real, which makes her extra relatable. She does a wonderful job of balancing her recipes between the most decadent and fun baking projects with healthy, simple and delicious weeknight dinners. She was actually one of the finalists for the Inspired Weeknight Dinners category for the Saveur Blog Awards last year! The recipes in her book are very much an extension of the same food she shares on her blog, along with some really fun, beautiful and practical DIYs. I made the DIY candles for Christmas a few years ago and they were so pretty! The Chewy Chai Snickerdoodles are absolutely addicting and the Seedy Banana Bread is one of my go-tos. If you love A Cozy Kitchen as much as I do, you probably already have this book. And if not, get on it.
Molly may have one of the most unique points of view when it comes to food blogs. Her food is a true reflection of her heritage, culture, and surroundings. She draws inspiration from her Jewish and Asian roots, her upbringing in Chicago, and her life now on a beet farm in remote Midwest farmland. She somehow seemlessly weaves together Chinese dumplings, Middle-Eastern flavors, and Midwest dishes like hotdish casseroles into incredible and unique dishes. She's also a 90's kid and has an affinity for recreating the foods of her youth such as homemade Lunchables and poptarts. She went to school at Juliard studying percussion, too. She's fascinating and fun and unapologetically herself. This cookbook reads like a biography of her fascinating life and I read it cover-to-cover the day after Christmas when I received it as a gift. She also just announced she's about to have her own cooking show on the Food Network called Girl Meets Farm (adorable)! I can't wait to watch it.
You won't find any photos in this cookbook, save for the occasional black and white illustration demonstrating a certain skill or technique. But this is probably the one cookbook I'd make an exception for with regard to my "no photos, no thank you" policy. This cookbook is kind of the O.G. cooking bible of modern (post 20th century) America. It's the first cookbook I can remember pulling off of my mom's cookbook shelf and reading on my own. I remember pouring over the pages at the kitchen counter while my mom would make dinner. When I moved out and purchased my own copy, it made me feel like a real adult. Sounds a little silly, I know. But it felt like a rite of passage to have the same cookbook my great grandma, grandma, and mom all cooked out of and referred to. And now I had my very own copy! It's often my jumping off point for recipes as just about every recipe you can think of is in here. It's been updated several times over the years since it's original printing in 1931 and is seriously one of the best resources for anything you may find yourself needing guidance on in the kitchen. This is a classic and essential in my book.
I've only had this cookbook a month or so and it's already one of my favorites. It's packed with beautiful and seasonal recipes all devoted to celebrating vegetables. I think Eliot Coleman who wrote the forward said it perfectly: "Lots of cookbooks these days celebrate vegetables, but Joshua has an extraordinary gift for preparing them, and for making it easy for any cook to do the same." Each recipe will have you craving vegetables in a new and exciting way. I've already made the Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Chiles (soo freaking delicious), the Caper Raisin Vinaigrette which was delicious drizzled over roasted cauliflower, and the Agrodolce Ramps on Grilled Bread. The book is broken down into 6 seasons, to include early, mid and late summer and really encourages you to make the most of the best vegetables in season. I can't wait for Summer tomatoes and even for Fall to get here just so I can make more of the recipes. Also a little sidenote about Joshua: he is the owner of two amazing restaurants in Portland, OR: Ava Gene's and Tusk. My sister and I just ate at Tusk last weekend when we were down there to see Bon Iver, and it was absolutely delicious!
This may seem like an odd choice, given it's essentially an entire cocktail book dedicated to one cocktail but hang on a sec. Yes, it's technically dedicated to the spritz, but as explained in the book: a spritz can take many forms, as long as it follows the basic formula of wine, bitters, and something sparkling. This leaves room for infinite variations. The book is broken down into sections dedicated to classic spritzes which is filled with all sorts of regional variations, another section all about modern spritzes with all kinds of fun and modern additions like using homemade shrubs, and even a section on aperitivo nibbles: little snacks to be had during aperitivo hour. I may be a little biased since I love a spritz, but this is such a fun book to whip out when you're feeling like a fun cocktail. This book has inspired two of my very own spritz creations: the Kombucha Aperol Spritz and the Rhubarb Aperol Spritz!
This cookbook is so beautiful and original. Lily Diamond's approach to food, and living for that matter, are unique. She's very much in tune with nature and plant alchemy. Each chapter is dedicated to a different botanical and not only are there delicious, craveable recipes for each one, but also natural DIYs to incorporate into your life. The White Bean Yogurt Dip with Warm Citrus Olives and Herby Flatbread is SO, SO good and one of my favorites from the book, the Orange Blossom Pistachio Milk is one of the most exotic and comforting things I've ever tasted, and the Coconut Rosemary Scalp Rub is heavenly. If you're looking to get more into botanicals and plants, this book is a beautiful place to start.