These cookbooks are the ones I wish I’d written but am so glad that somebody better than me did. That way I get to discover great, tested recipes, get out of my comfort zone and put an amazing meal on the table.
Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi
These recipes are visually stunning and easy to make. Almost everything calls for at least a cup of fresh herbs, probably some tahini and olive oil and a seasonal bounty. It leans to the Middle East and Asia but with ingredients you can find in North America and Europe. My favourite aspect of this cookbook is that it’s divided by vegetable. Don’t know what to do with those root vegetables? Problem solved. My favourite recipes are the roasted sweet potato and roasted eggplant recipes. This man is an eggplant king. Who is he? He’s the chef of Ottolenghi restaurant in London. Now he has a couple outposts and a few other cookbooks (Jerusalem, Plenty More and Ottolenghi). It’s all vegetarian (he’s not), but it’s vegetarian with gourmet flare and actually has something for everyone—not just marinated tempeh. Try the gado-gado salad and some of the sticky soba stir-fries and rice noodle options.
Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast by Becky Selengut
The Essential New York Times Cookbook edited by Amanda Hesser
HeartSmart: The Best of HeartSmart Cooking by Bonnie Stern
Delicious and Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson
Chocolate And The Art Of Low Fat Desserts [Hardcover] by Alice Medrich
This one is out of print, I’m sorry to say. But if you find a second-hand copy in a used bookstore, snap it up. This is not your typical ’90s low-fat cookbook. It’s a meticulously tested book of recipes that squeezes as much flavour into each bite as possible. If a recipe is better with a half cup of cocoa powder than with a third of a cup, Medrich knows. Never stray from her measurements. And never ignore her instructions. You, too, can make a mousse. If I can do it, any idiot can.