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15 insanely useful cookbooks to buy in 2013

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There’s something about the tattered pages and glossy photos of a much loved cookbook that sets it apart from the myriad food blogs and recipes that populate the Web. Recipe blogs may have taken over our browsers’ bookmarks, but print publishing is still alive and well in our kitchen.

While only four months into the year, 2013 has already seen a fair share of unique, incredibly helpful and all-around awesome cookbooks — and there’s more to look forward to this spring and summer. Check out our top picks for 2013 (so far) below.

 

What’s for dinner? Delicious recipes for a busy life

Eats_CurtisStoneWhatsForDinnerBy Curtis Stone

Release date: April 9

Description (via Amazon): Celebrity chef Curtis Stone, host of Bravo’s hugely popular series “Top Chef Masters,” knows life can get a little crazy. But as a new dad, he also believes that sitting down to a home-cooked meal with family and friends is one of life’s greatest gifts. In his fifth cookbook, Curtis offers both novice cooks and seasoned chefs mouthwatering recipes and easy-to-make meals for every night of the week.

Why we love it: So convenient! Mondays are “Motivating Mondays,” with healthy meals that start the week off right. “Time-saving Tuesday” recipes take only 15 to 40 minutes to make. Then there’s “One-pot Wednesdays,” “Thrifty Thursdays” and “Five-Ingredient Fridays.” And by the look of these beautiful meals, you would have never guessed they were so easy.

Recipes that make us drool: Grilled pork satay and peaches with carrot-cilantro salad; kimchi fried rice; and steak and mushroom cobbler with gruyere biscuit topping. Oh, and he didn’t forget dessert: Pear and dried cherry strudel with amaretto custard sauce? Yes, please.

 

The Drunken Botanist: The plants that create the world’s greatest drinks

Eats_TheDrunkenBotanistBy Amy Stewart

Release date: March 19

Description (via Amazon): Of all the extraordinary and obscure plants that have been fermented and distilled, a few are dangerous, some are downright bizarre, and one is as ancient as dinosaurs — but each represents a unique cultural contribution to our global drinking traditions and our history. This fascinating concoction of biology, chemistry, history, etymology and mixology — with more than 50 drink recipes and growing tips for gardeners — will make you the most popular guest at any cocktail party.

Why we love it: If you don’t care about where your food and drink comes from, this book might not be for you. For everyone else: This is like the coolest trivia book about booze you’ve ever seen — and it also has recipes! Learn about the sex life of corn, worms used in the distilling process and drunken parrots.

Recipes that make us drool: Valencia, a drink made of apricot liqueur, freshly squeezed orange juice, orange bitters and orange peel; and the classic margarita

 

Eat Vegan Before 6:00

Eats_EatVeganBefore6PMBy Mark Bittman

Release date: April 30

Description (via Amazon): Six years ago, an overweight, prediabetic Mark Bittman faced a medical directive: adopt a vegan diet or go on medication. He was no fan of a lifelong regimen of pills, but as a food writer he lived — and worked — to eat. So neither choice was appealing. He adopted a diet heavy in vegetables, fruits and grains by following a healthy vegan diet (no meat, dairy or processed foods) all day. After 6:00 p.m. he’d eat however he wanted, though mostly in moderation. He lost 35 pounds and saw all of his blood numbers move in the right direction.

Why we love it: This isn’t like a fad diet — there’s no calorie counting or point systems, no starving yourself or cutting out major food groups. It’s about making a lifelong change in the way you eat to better your health (and the environment). The information is coming from a guy who made a career out of being a foodie, so it’s relatable since most people don’t choose to adopt a vegan diet because “it just tastes better.” At the same time, the delicious recipes are encouraging proof that vegan doesn’t mean bland.

Recipes that make us drool: Baked ziti with leftover vegetables, smashed and loaded sweet potatoes, and shrimp tabbouleh

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