I’ve been writing about my favorite cookbooks pretty much since I started this blog, but I started writing cookbook reviews in earnest – reaching out to publishers, keeping track of new releases, etc. – only last fall. Since then, I’ve written about 35 cookbooks, 26 of which were released in 2013. My shelves are getting crowded. Since there are new cookbooks coming out seemingly everyday, I want to take a moment to revisit my five favorite books from this year, so they don’t get lost in the fray and buried under newer books without being properly utilized. And, thanks to the very generous people at Taunton Press, Quirk Books, and Rizzoli, one reader will win a copy of all five books, a little holiday present from us to you. Giveaway details are at the end of this post, but first, the books! (In no particular order, choosing my favorite five was hard enough).
The Chef’s Collaborative – I was so pleasantly surprised by The Chef’s Collaborative, which contains a collection of recipes from over 100 of America’s best restaurant chefs. The recipes are universally creative, and all celebrate truly local, seasonal produce from all over the country – from quinces and fava beans to fiddleheads and wild crab apples. The food in this book is exciting and packed with unique flavors, but the restaurant-quality recipes are brought down to a level that’s accessible for most experienced home cooks.
Recipes to try: Thai Pork Sliders with Pickled Cucumbers and Sriracha Aioli; Broccoli-Cheddar Hush-Puppies; Chestnut Waffles with Roasted Apples and Cream; Wild Ramp and Farmstead Cheese Strata with Roasted Tomato Wine Butter; Smoked Rabbit and Andouille Gumbo
Vegetarian Everyday – This is my new go-to cookbook when I’m craving something simple and light that will still taste good. So far the recipes that David and Luise, the talented couple behind the blog Green Kitchen Stories, have included in this book have not disappointed. A few of the recipes from this book have already become standbys in my kitchen, the truest testament to how good a cookbook is, especially during busy weeks when I need to get healthy eating checked off quickly. Many of the recipes in this book are not only vegetarian, but vegan and gluten-free as well, making it the perfect book for someone transitioning, or considering transitioning, to one of these lifestyles.
Recipes to try: Quinoa, Cauliflower, and Ramp Cakes; Baked Blackberry Oatmeal; Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Soup; Baked Herb and Pistachio Falafels; Orange-Kissed Seed Crackers; Savory Tacos with Corn and Mango Filling
Le Pigeon – This big gorgeous book from Le Pigeon, the restaurant in Portland, is one of many chef/restaurant books that came out this fall. Despite many of the recipes being fabulously complicated, I find myself wanting to step up to the challenge because the flavors are just so intense and good. Be prepared to find a lot of recipes for less popular types (squab, rabbit, pheasant) and cuts (liver, tongue, brains) of meat, and definitely look elsewhere for vegetarian food.
Recipes to try: Fried Lamb with Green Garlic Risotto and Pickled Fennel; Smoked Rabbit Pie with Cheddar and Mustard Ice Cream; Creamed Rabbit with Polenta and Black Truffles; Lamb Shepherd’s Pie with Curry Mash
Jenny McCoy’s Desserts for Every Season – So much of our food-culture centers around using local, seasonal ingredients to maximize flavor, but often we forget to carry this through to dessert. This book counteracts that, providing elegant, modern, and truly seasonal dessert recipes for fall, winter, spring, and summer. It’s a beautiful and subdued book, and it will be the one I turn to for the perfect way to finish off a dinner party in any season.
Recipes to try: Pumpkin Milk Chocolate Pie with a Gingersnap Crust; Pumpkin-Maple Ice Cream; Chestnut-Chocolate Layer Cake; Cocoa-Lavender Cream Puffs; Peach and Sweet Corn Ice Cream Cake; Plum-Poppy Seed Kolache
Winter Cocktails – Although we’ve only had this book for two months, it’s already hard to imagine what we would do without its inspiration on cold winter nights (answer: drink less). There are so many great cocktail recipes in here that some nights it’s hard to decide which one we want to try next, or whether we should just repeat one of our new favorites. Some cocktails are served hot, others are rich and creamy, and still others are served in big, sparkling batches of punch, so no matter your taste, you’re sure to find a few new favorites here.
Recipes to try: Burnt Sugar Hot Buttered Rum; Nutella Melt with Frangelico; Applejack Hot Toddy; Pumpkin-Bourbon Eggnog; Chocolate Stout Affagato
Congrats to Trish of JellyBones on winning these books! And thank you everyone for entering… I loved reading your Christmas wishlists, and I hope everyone has a peaceful and joyful Christmas! xo, Katie
I’ve teamed up with Quirk Books, Taunton Press, and Rizzoli to send a copy of each of my 5 favorite cookbooks from this year to one reader. To enter, leave a comment below letting me know what you most want for Christmas/the holidays this year. By entering, you are agreeing to the official rules as listed here: No purchase necessary Void where prohibited One entry per household, and only entries answering the question above will be considered! The sponsors of this giveaway are Katie at the Kitchen Door, Quirk Books, Taunton Press, and Rizzoli
The estimated retail value of this giveaway is $178 USD The odds of winning will depend on the number of entries received This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens over the age of 18 The contest will open today, December 11th at posting time, and will close at 11PM EST on Friday, December 20th, 2013 One winner will be selected randomly and contacted via email (so please leave an accurate email address!). If I do not hear from the winner within 48 hours, the winner forfeits their prize and an alternate winner will be chosen. I will post the winner here by Friday, January 3rd. Please spread the word on twitter and facebook, too!
All 2013 Reviews:
Every Grain of Rice – authentic Chinese home-cooking
Breakfast for Dinner – sweet and savory breakfast combinations re-purposed for dinnertime
The Little Paris Kitchen – classic French cooking made simple enough for every day by TV star Rachel Khoo
Sicilia in Cucina – gorgeous, dual-language cookbook focused on the regional flavors of Sicily
Venezia in Cucina – sister book to Sicilia in Cucina, but focused on Venice
Vegetable Literacy – highly informative vegetable cookbook/encyclopedia, a great resource for enthusiastic kitchen gardeners
The Chef’s Collaborative – creative recipes from a number of chefs celebrating local, seasonal produce
Home Made Summer – a sequel to Home Made and Home Made Winter, packed with simple, summery recipes that make the most of the season’s bounty
Try This At Home – a fun introduction to molecular gastronomy techniques through the ever creative eyes of Top-Chef Winner Richard Blais
Cooking with Flowers – full of sweet recipes that can be made from the flowers in your neighborhood, like lilacs, marigolds, and daylilies
Vegetarian Everyday – healthy, creative recipes from the couple behind Green Kitchen Stories
The Southern Vegetarian – favorite Southern comfort food classics turned vegetarian by the folks at The Chubby Vegetarian
Le Pain Quotidien – simple soups, salads, breads, and desserts from the well-loved Belgian chain
Live Fire – ambitious live-fire cooking projects that range from roasting an entire lamb on an iron cross to stuffing burgers with blue cheese to throw on your grill
True Brews – a great, accessible introduction to brewing your own soda, kombucha, kefir, cider, beer, mead, sake, and fruit wine
Le Petit Paris – a cute little book of classic sweet and savory French dishes, miniaturized for your next cocktail party
Wild Rosemary & Lemon Cake – regional Italian cookbook focused on the flavors of the Amalfi coast
Vedge – creative, playful vegan recipes from Philadelphia’s popular restaurant of the same
Full of Flavor – a whimsical cookbook that builds intense flavor around 18 key ingredients
Le Pigeon – ambitious but amazing recipes for cooking meat of all sorts, from lamb tongue to eel to bison
Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey – a journey through Southern food in many forms, from home pickling and meat curing to making a perfect gumbo
Jenny McCoy’s Desserts for Every Season – gorgeous, unique desserts that make the most of each season’s best fruits, nuts, and vegetables
Winter Cocktails – warm toddies, creamy eggnogs, festive punches, and everything else you need to get you through the colder months
Bountiful – produce-heavy, garden-inspired recipe from Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple
Melt – macaroni and cheese taken to extremes you would never have thought of, in the best way possible
The Craft Beer Cookbook – all your favorite comfort food recipes infused with the flavors of craft beers, from beer expert Jackie of The Beeroness
Kate Findlay-Shirras says
For Christmas this year, I would most like a place by the fire, a toasty mug of hot toddy, and the space to breathe. Bring on the holidays! :)
Samantha G says
I want a white Christmas with all of my family around. Being over 1,000 miles away from my family and meeting together for the holidays is present enough!
Susan Morgan says
I want world peace ( and a rockin’ pair of boots) !!
Caitlin Joy says
Hi Katie, :) Been following your blog for a while, and I always enjoy your cookbook reviews…three of these are on my Amazon wishlist already so it would be phenomenal to win the giveaway! What I most want for Christmas this year is honestly a sweet holiday with my family full of thankfulness for each other and free of the frequent accompanying drama. I would also like to go sledding in the woods while I’m up north. :)
I would seriously love this bunch of books for Christmas! Such a pity I’m not a US citizen (or resident!) and therefore can’t enter. If you’re prepared to post to Europe please do put me in the draw! Thanks for a great year of reviews, June.
I am hoping for a new ceramic peeler because I dropped mine and it broke in two!
Oh my goodness those all look amazing! And would be a nice gift from Santa ;) haha I really want a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4 for Christmas – mine are just so worn!
I would love to get a Kindle or A Nook so I could download endless cookbooks! I love to find new recipes and love seeing all the pictures in the cookbooks, really gives me inspiration in the kitchen!
I want peace of mind. But, some new cookbooks would be great, too!
Andrea D. says
I want covered 9 x 13 inch pans. Thanks for the chance to enter.
Simone Brett says
I want a nice set of wooden circular knitting needles… and these cookbooks, what a nice selection!
Elise Shubert says
My wish list is boring, it is just to replace some of my kitchen gadgets that have broken! I’ve had my eye on that cocktail book for awhile… It’d be nice to win it!
I’m crossing my fingers Santa brings a high-quality sauce pan and a handy slow cooker to get me through the winter in Colorado. Some new cookbooks, especially owning a copy of Ms. McCoy’s wonderful Desserts for Every Season, would be lovely, too!
Would love to have a nice meal with my family this Christmas. Working in retail I don’t get much quiet time with the people I love during the Holiday season. These books would be a wonderful addition to my ever growing collection.
I would love a magnetic knife holder!
Cyndy (@rusticpatriot) says
An embroidery sewing machine is on my list…but it’s a long shot:) Thank you for the opportunity!
Stefanie T. says
I would love to go snowshoeing, then warm up with a hot toddy (or two)…
I would like a new clay cooking dishes.
I want a bigger yard for a real garden (I just have a patio with containers as it is)!
I found out I’m going to have a niece! Best Christmas present ever!
sarah c! says
i want a dehydrator for xmas!
Heidi Hess says
I want to spend a quiet day with our son. A whole day.
Anya B says
I already celebrated the holidays and got some great stuff but could definitely use some better kitchen knives!
Mary mckenzie says
I’d really like a horse
I don’t want anything. My family long ago dispensed with the Christmas gift-giving and it makes the season much less stressful. But, truthfully, if somebody gave me any of those cookbooks, I wouldn’t complain. :) Merry Christmas, Katie!
The Novice Gardener says
Wow, that is some serious giveaway, all 5 books? How generous! I want time, extra time, so I can do everything I need and want to do in a day. Can never find enough time to do everything! :-) Angie.
this year for christmas… all i really want to do is walk without a limp! i broke my hip in august (and i’m 20!), and while i’m so thankful i am able to walk, period, i would love to be able to work out this whole limping thing. :) merry christmas!
These books look amazing!! I’m hoping for some time to relax and inner serenity. But also, new cookbooks would be welcomed :)
This would be such an awesome gift! I’d really love a paid for getaway weekend in the mountains too. With snow….. ah sigh……
I would love some new reading material. Great giveaway!
Oh how I wish I could qualify to win these books. I’ve loved your reviews (and your styling in your photos) this year. Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings :-)
Nicole Louise says
For Christmas, I want a lot of snow and some good recipes to make!
What I need the most this year is a new phone, my current one is acting all sorts of messed up lately.
I want to go home for Christmas ! And a new lens for my camera.
I actually got my Christmas wish early this year since my birthday falls in December. I wanted a year pass to the zoo so that I could go walk and take pictures.
I really want a tablet. I wish I had one now for my open book exam that’s happening on Monday.
Breakfast in bed!
In addition to the Coach purse I have my eye on, after reading your post, I have to have “Desserts for Every Season” under my tree!
I want some restaurant gift cards so I can justify going out to eat!!
Alexis K. says
I’m asking santa for a new digital camera
awesome books. love the recipes
Suzann Ellis says
Christmas came early for us. Just before Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law, whose been fighting cancer for a year, was told he is in remission. Wow! Words can’t express! I don’t need another thing!
Marsha A. says
I want quality time with my family.
I would like Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir.
What I want for Christmas is to make a phenomenal meal for my family. I want us to have a delicious meal and appreciate all of the things that we already have. I want to have that loving, thankful feeling followed by peace and serenity that is often not felt or lost in the hustle and bustle during this time of year.
I would love more running clothes, housewares for my bedroom, and cook books!
For the new year I want more than anything for the owner of my restaurant to open a new place and give me the kitchen……. and a third dog.
Betsy Ballance says
I want lots of free time to read all my new cookbooks!
This year I want a new pair of nice boots. And to cook my wife dinner out of these cookbooks.
Sarah B. says
What I want this year for Christmas is really nice bookshelves. I just moved into a new place and all my books are sitting on the floor :(
Minerva Thai (@MuchAdoBlog) says
I would LOVE sleep on Christmas tbh. A Vitamix would be nice too ;)
Rory G. says
I’d really like to get concert tickets for Christmas.
For Christmas, I really want to have my whole family home for the holidays. Which is going to happen this year for the first time in years :D
Joan O. says
For Christmas this year I want my family to be healthy and be able to get together for a good meal and some fun reminising about other family times together. This will be the first Christmas since my Mom passed away so it’ll be a little bitter sweet since we’ll be missing her but know she’ll still be there with is in our hearts and memories.
el chino latino cocina says
I want to see my niece and nephews for Christmas.
What a great giveaway! I’m not really asking for anything particular this year. I hinted at a big food processor, but we’ll see.
I want a Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron 9 Qt. Round French Oven in Cherry Red; I’m not getting it, but if I stubbornly ask every year I might get it eventually.
margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com
I have been eyeing the Gramercy Tavern cook book, but i would definately love these as well!
For Christmas this year, I most want a quiet & happy holiday with my family and fiance…and an awesome job offer would be great as well :)
I just want a relaxed Christmas, admittedly a tall order!
Clear weather on the roads so we can drive to visit family without being threatened by scary road conditions!
Michelle S. says
I want a new nonstick fry pan
So thrilled to have my girls back home safe and sound…that’s the best C’mas wish. But, hey, should a rotund little man in a red coat want to give me a cookbook, well I’d be giddy.
For Christmas, Santa, just gimme a break.
Jeri Martin says
Oddly, I’m looking for a new set of tires. :P
Hmm, for Christmas, I wish I could fly back home to visit family… but Skype will have to do!
I’ve been wanting warm socks, a new chef’s knife, and spending lots of quality time with my family and friends! =]
I want ski socks and a kitchen aid!!
My far away children home to visit….
stephanie k says
I want to learn how to be motivated and focused for 12+ hours a day for the next 5 months as I study for the Step 1 USMLE exam!
Neal Bryant says
I should like a beard comb for Christmas, as I am growing mine out.
Ashley Outland says
I want a Kitchenaid stand mixer the most!
Malerie C. says
I want a new car…but that is wishful thinking…these cookbooks would be a nice gift too
Christine @Buckling Bookshelves says
Some free time to curl up with a good book would be nice :)