I definitely have a problem. I'm addicted to food, recipes, cookbooks, watching food shows, talking about food, menu planning, oh... and eating. There are a few cookbooks (okay, more than a few) that I've sat down and literally read cover-to-cover. I love reading how people describe the techniques they use, the stories behind the recipes, and also the pictures. Ohhhhh the pictures. Although somehow I feel like I still gain weight just looking at them.
I thought I'd go ahead and share a "few" of my absolutely favorite cookbooks. They all have their merits - freezer food, quick meals, somewhat healthy meals, and other more "fancy" types, too. You'll notice that my main man, Mario Batali, is listed twice. Both of his cookbooks are fantastic, but completely opposites. One is very "fancy" [really it's just got fancy ingredients, but the techniques are extremely well-written] and the other is down-home. That's why I love you, Mario. You cover both sides of the food coin in a deliciously tempting way.
Mario Batali's Big American Cookbook
Fantastic for its honest, no-fuss recipes from around our great country. I love the stories he adds as well as the little tips he gives if he were to cook them at home. The perfect thing about this book is the simplicity given to the recipes. You'll get exactly the recipe from the region of the country it's from whether it's the Deep South or New England.
My favorites: Memphis Dry-Rub Pork Ribs, Sazerac, Broiled Rock Shrimp Cocktail, Creole Stuffed Bell Peppers, Swedish Meatballs, Corn Fritters, Tortilla Soup, Prickly-Pear Margarita, and Chiles Rellenos Pie
Mario Batali's Molto Italiano
In my opinion, Mario's quintessential cookbook. It's a James Beard award winning publication, and just a few pages in, you understand why. Each recipe is a complete bit of culinary perfection. From the simple vegetables to the most intricate pastas, Mario offers you a beautiful window into authentic Italian cooking. Don't be intimidated by the ingredients or techniques; my man breaks them down for you so you can understand step-by-step exactly what the tricks are to achieve a delicious meal.
My favorites: Broccoli Sautéed in Wine and Garlic, Fettuccine with Lemon, Hot Peppers, and Pecorino Romano, Saffron Risotto, The Devil's Chicken, and Pork Chops with Peppers and Capers
Pioneer Woman's Dinnertime
My girl - P-Dub. Her blog is probably some of the best reading I've ever done. Her pictures, stories, recipes, and humor can have me lost for hours. She feels like my best friend and we haven't even met (yet... I'm still holding out hope). Her recipes are perfect for the cook who's skeptical of the kitchen and also for the most seasoned home chef. She provides you (just like in her blog) step-by-step pictures and instructions to ensure your culinary success.
My favorites: Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce, Buttered Parsley Noodles, Freezer Meatballs, Green and Red Stuffed Shells, and Mexican Tortilla Casserole
Chrissy Teigen's Cravings
I know you may be thinking, "Okay... a cookbook written by a supermodel." And yes... I felt the same way at first. I love me some Chrissy, and her cookbook only made me love her more. I've cooked almost half the cookbook already, and I can't wait to cook the rest! She is hilarious in the little anecdotes and ways she describes her recipes. You'll be cooking and laughing at the same time, plus the pictures are unbelievably tempting!
My favorites: Chrissy's Cheesy Cheeseless Eggs, Roasted Bacon, Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic and Ricotta, Mexican Street Corn, Chrissy's Mac and Cheese, and Chinese Chicken Salad with Crispy Wontons
Jeanine Donofrio's Love & Lemons Cookbook
This cookbook is pure genius - cook based on the ingredients you have on hand. Donofrio has a beautiful blog where she beautifully captures recipes that are based on produce that's in season. Her recipes are healthy and full of flavor. It's the perfect cookbook for the home chef hoping to find ways to get some healthy, easy, delicious recipes on the table on a weeknight.
Favorites: Poblano Quesadillas, Corn and Tomato Salad, Carrot and Tomato Tagliatelle, Brussels Sprout Breakfast Tostadas, Avocado Breakfast Tacos, Shiitake and Spinach Miso Soup, and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella with Fresh Oregano
Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics
An oldie but a goodie. I have to be honest that Barefoot Contessa's show isn't always my favorite [I like noise and laughing and crazy things going on - I wasn't built for the Hamptons]. But... I do love her recipes and this cookbook is stuffed with fantastic, simple dishes that aim to please. They're perfect for entertaining and are fail-proof. Her description of the techniques in the recipes are perfect for a seasoned chef or the beginning home cook.
Favorites: Roasted Potato Leek Soup, Coq au Vin, Tuscan Lemon Chicken, Mustard-Roasted Fish, Creamy Cheddar Grits, and Oven-Roasted Vegetables
The Blue Bloods Cookbook
I loooooove the show Blue Bloods for so many reasons, but I have to admit my favorite part of every show is when they sit down for Sunday dinner with the whole family. It's something I crave and really hope to start within our family. It's a fantastic way to end your Sunday and begin your week: with loved ones around a delicious meal. This cookbook has those perfect, simple family meals that you can use to impress your family without stressing and sweating it out. They even dole out some ideas for meal plans based on holidays.
My favorites: Simple Three-Lettuce Dinner Salad, Standing Rib Roast with Cipollini Onion Sauce, Irish Stew, Minty Peas, and Stuffed Tomatoes
Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Easy
I gotta admit -- I haven't been able to read this little puppy yet. BUT I've seen a few recipes from it, and I just cannot WAIT to get into it. As you can see from the cover, it's all about easy, weeknight recipes for the home chef. I'm pumped to jump on it.
Happy cooking, my friends!