10 hot new cookbooks

Attention foodies! Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? Here’s a look at the season’s hot new cookbooks.

Bored with preparing the same tried-and-true dishes? Looking to shake-up your cooking repertoire? Add some spice to your entertaining? We take a look at some of this season’s hottest new cookbooks.

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading American author Frances Maye’s best-selling memoir about her adventures in Tuscany, you know that food and entertaining play a starring role. Her dishes are simple, robust Tuscan fare where the ingredients themselves are allowed to shine. In this book, Frances and her husband, Ed, have compiled 150 recipes they’ve discovered over their two decades of living in Cortona as ‘honorary Tuscans’. Layed out like a traditional Italian dinner, from antipasti (starters) to dolci (desserts), recipes include Red Peppers Melted with Balsamic Vinegar, Risotto Primavera, Cannellini Bean Soup with Pancetta, Chicken Under a Brick, and Steamed Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Sauce.

The book, however, contains far more than recipes. The colourful anecdotes and stunning photography of the food, the people and the place will transport you from your kitchen to sunny Tuscany. Pour a glass of vino and enjoy!

Interested in sampling a few recipes from the book? Check out:
Chicken Under A Brick
Bruschette and Crostini
Wine Cake

The Muffin Tin Cookbook: 200 Fast, Delicious Mini-Pies, Pasta Cups, Gourmet Pockets, Veggie Cakes, and More! by Brette Sember

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to serve up your next meal, dig out your muffin tin! And no, were not talking about just baking muffins. The idea behind this cookbook is that there’s nothing you can’t make in a muffin tin, from tasty appetizers and gourmet main courses to desserts. A few sample dishes include: Shrimp Cakes with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce, Egg Crescent Pockets, Deep-Dish Pizza Cups, Duchess Potatoes and Mini Ice-Cream Cakes. Cooking the ‘muffin tin way’ is mess-free, kid-friendly — and for the slimmers, provides built-in portion control!

My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home by Jim Lahey and Rick Flaste

Brought to you by the baking genius behind New York’s celebrated Sullivan Street Bakery pizza restaurant, this cookbook features Jim Lahey’s famous no-knead recipe for the perfect pizza crust (no specialty oven required), as well as inventive toppings to create the perfect pie. These whimsical creations include topping pairings such as Corn and Tomato, Coppa and Fennel, and Potato and Leek, as well as a pie with red pepper puree, ground lamb, and pecorino cheese. The book also contains recipes for starters, salads, soups, and desserts to round out your meal.

Get back to pizza basics with this recipe from the book:
The Basics of the Perfect Pizza Pie

The Dukan Diet Cookbook: The Essential Companion to the Dukan Diet by Pierre Dukan

The long-awaited companion cookbook to the bestselling book The Dukan Diet. The 4-stage diet, which restricts carbohydrates in its beginning phases, has been popular in France for years. It recently generated buzz in Europe and North America when celebrities such as Kate Middleton and her mother, and Jennifer Lopez, reportedly followed the diet.

The Dukan Diet Cookbook features 350 simple, easy-to-follow French-inspired recipes for the two most important phases of the diet– Attack and Cruise — as well as 16 pages of beautiful colour photographs. The idea behind the cookbook, and the diet, is that people can achieve their weight loss goals and still enjoy delicious food.

Check out these recipes from The Dukan Diet Cookbook:
Shrimp-stuffed Tomatoes
Chicken and Pepper Kebabs

Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner by Giada De Laurentiis

Brought to you by one of America’s most loved culinary stars, this book focuses on weeknight cooking — or anytime you need to get delicious food on the table in a hurry. Recipes, which are accompanied by beautiful photographs, include Giada’s ‘go-to’ dishes that are simple, yet stylish. From soups, sandwiches, pizzas, and pastas to meat and fish main courses, the book claims that most dishes can come together in half an hour or less. She also shares a few of her own weekly traditions like meatless Monday vegetarian recipes, inventive breakfast-for-dinner dishes and hearty ideas for reinventing leftovers. And should you need to appease your sweet tooth, the book includes dessert recipes that are quick to mix and bake.

Check out these recipes from the book:
Salmon Cakes with Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce
Spicy Linguine with Clams and Mussels
Grilled Sirloin Steaks with Pepper and Caper Salsa

Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill by Jamie Purviance

Just in time for barbecue season, this book by best-selling food writer Jamie Purviance shows you how to add smoke flavour to almost any grilled food (on a standard barbecue) in a matter of minutes. Recipes (85 in total) range from the classic to the more ambitious, including Best on the Block Baby Back ribs, Smoked Duck and Cherry Sausages, and Cedar-Planked Brie with Cherry Chutney and Toasted Almonds.

Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 200 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans…Even Sweet Beans! by Crescent Dragonwagon

Beans: They’re hearty, versatile, healthful — and wallet-friendly. From familiar varieties such as chickpeas, lentils, peas, pintos and green beans to re-discovered heirloom beans like rattlesnake beans and teparies, Bean by Bean is the definitive cookbook on beans.  This collection of 175-plus recipes is loaded with information, kitchen wisdom, lore, and anecdotes.

A few examples (and this is just for lentils): Lentil Tapenade, Sahadis Lebanese Lentil Soup with Spinach, Kerala-Style Dahl, Crescent’s Very, Very Best Lentil, Mushroom Barley Soup, Jamaica Jerk-Style Lentil-Vegetable Patties, Ethiopian Lentil Stew, and Lentil-Celeriac Skillet Sauce.

Eat-Clean Diet Vegetarian Cookbook by Tosca Reno

With this collection of 150 recipes, New York Times best-selling author Tosca Reno’s adds a meatless edition to her hugely successful Eat-Clean Diet® series. The book contains sections for breakfast, snacks, salads, soups, one-pot meals and holiday feasts. (Note: The book also contains a chapter on seafood; despite the book’s title not all recipes are strictly vegetarian, which may put some readers off.)

Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations by Martha Stewart

Enter the elegant world of domestic diva Martha Stewart in this beautifully photographed coffee table tome. Set among her various dining rooms, kitchens, gardens, and patios, the book includes recipes and inspiration for a year’s worth of entertaining, from Christmas and Easter to casual backyard barbecues, sophisticated cocktail parties and Sunday morning breakfast fare.

All of the events feature menus and ideas for entertaining, with recipes such as Tomato and Gruyère Toasts, Mini Crab Cakes with Tarragon Tartar Sauce, Tiny Tuna Burgers, Leek and Porcini Risotto, Wild-Mushroom Lasagna, Braised Short Ribs, Rhubarb Crumbles, Blueberry Jam Tartlets, and Chocolate Honey Ice Cream with Butterscotch Sauce. Wash it all down with some of Martha’s favourite cocktails, including Pomegranate Cosmopolitans and Honeydew Mojitos.

How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food — With 1,000 Photos by Mark Bittman

Owning this book is the next best thing to have TV personality and celebrity home cook Mark Bittman in the kitchen with you! His How to Cook Everything was a highly acclaimed best-seller, and now in The Basics he instructs on fundamental techniques and recipes, from dicing vegetables and roasting meat, to preparing casual, unfussy multi-course meals. (A great gift idea for a new graduate, novice cook, or anyone looking for more confidence in the kitchen!) The book also includes 1,000 instructive photos (by Romulo Yanes) making this the perfect learning cookbook.

Of course, this is just a sampling of books to inspire your cooking and entertaining this season. What’s your favourite foodie book? Let us know in the comments!

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ Kai Chiang

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