The Internet is handy for locating a specific recipe but there’s nothing quite as satisfying on a winter day as browsing through a stack of cookbooks. Flipping through the pages, you discover new things to try and inspiration.
One of my favorite cookbooks for browsing this year is The Pure Joy of Monastery Cooking: Essential Meatless Recipes for the Home Cook by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avoila-Latourrette. This book is full of surprises. The good monk uses lots of butter and cheese and more than a splash of wine in his imaginative dishes. I loved the Belgian Endives in Béchamel Sauce and the Deviled Egg Casserole. Yum. The book is illustrated with pretty photos of the monastery farm which helps with the dreaming while browsing part.
The India Cookbook by Pushpesh Pant comes in a cotton rice bag. This is seriously irresistible packaging. “The only book on Indian Food You’ll Ever Need,” the bag proclaims. We had one customer who bought the book for his daughter for Christmas and kept the bag for himself. Scandalous.
Bag aside, the book has 1000 authentic recipes from all over India. I confirmed the authenticity with three students from India. They pointed out various things their moms make. Pant gives the name of each dish in Indian and English and tells where each recipe originated, how long it takes to prepare and how many it serves. The section on potato recipes is worth the price of the book. Try Aloo Vadiyan (Spicy Lentil Dumplings with Potatoes) or AlooTamatar ka Chokha (Mashed Potato and Tomato). Mmmm.
For local food fun, there’s the New Haven Chef’s Table by Linda Giuca and Nancy Freeborn. The book takes you on a tour of New Haven eateries (New Haven is the epicenter of Connecticut cuisine) including markets and restaurants. There are lots of photos and profiles and a recipe or two for each. I was particularly taken with Pappardelle d”Estate, a recipe for corn, asparagus, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes with pasta from Scoozzi on Chapel Street.
Both Linda Giuca and Nancy Freeborn will be with us at UConn’s very popular Culinary Olympics this year, January 13 at 12:30. This is a wonderful event for cooks and dreamers. Posted by Suzy.