Cookbooks have helped home chefs wow their families and friends with delightful meals for generations. The rise of the Internet may have been accompanied by a decline in cookbook sales for a while, but they have definitely made a comeback.
In the past few years, a cookbook trend has been making gourmet food prep easy. If serving epicurean dishes is your goal, but you don’t have a lot of time or culinary prowess, here are six cookbooks to consider.
Two themes tie together every recipe in the latest Lukas Volger cookbook. Every dish featured in the book is vegetarian and can be served in a bowl. Featuring easy-to-follow recipes for bibimbap, dumpling soup, pho, and ramen, “Bowl” holds great appeal to vegetarians who love Asian cuisine.
The California Diet may be one of the youngest on earth, but it was inspired by tried-and-true cooking cultures and is extremely popular across the country. Prepared by the chef of popular Venice, Calif. restaurant Gjelina, the eponymous named cookbook is loaded with vegetable and pasta dishes. Twenty percent of the dishes featured are described by chef Travis Lett as “super simple” to prepare. These dishes require few ingredients, little culinary knowledge, and almost no time.
Written by renowned Midwestern chef Lenny Russo, “Heartland” instructs home chefs on how to prepare dishes from America’s heartland in “farm-forward” fashion. Farm-forward essentially means locally produced, and “Heartland” features profiles on several Midwestern producers who stock Lenny Russo’s kitchens. Midwestern cassoulet, smoked cheese and eggplant polpette, and blueberry-tarragon cornmeal cakes are a few of the 120 recipes you’ll find in this brand-new, trailblazing cookbook.
“The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket”
In “The Picnic,” Marnie Hanel, Andrea Slonecker, and Jen Stevenson present several dozen ways to make a picnic gourmet. Recipes include smoked salmon tartare, kale panzanella, and blueberry cardamom crisps. They take a bit more work than the classic cold-cut sandwich, but they blow traditional picnic food away.
Culinary sensation Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty More” has been out for a while, but it’s still selling like hotcakes. For being gourmet and generally healthy, the recipes are famously uncomplicated. If you want to use chickpeas, all varieties of squash, and a host of other vegetables, check out this cookbook. It’s also great for home chefs who like to mix up the salads they serve and prepare their own dressings.
“Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City”
Many Italian restaurants serve dishes with origins throughout the Mediterranean country. But Italian cuisine is anything but consistent from the north of Italy to the south. If you like red sauce more than white sauce and a mild kick to your Italian food, then “Tasting Rome” might make a great addition to your kitchen library. Compiled by journalist Katie Parla and photographer Kristina Gill, the recipes in this new cookbook take the reader on a tour of Rome’s vast and flavorful culinary history. Many of the recipes in this beautiful cookbook take less than an hour to prepare.
Carefully crafted cookbooks make preparing meals that impress your guests and leave you feeling satisfied simple and sometimes fun. Pick up a few that interest you, and the summer dinner parties you throw in your apartment will be memorable for all. Enjoy cooking rather than succumbing to the potential stresses the process can bring with it.
Do you have a favorite cookbook that makes gourmet food prep simple? Write about it in the comments.
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