Summer Reading: Books to judge by their flavor not their cover

Published on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:56 - Written by Christine Gardner, food@tylerpaper.com

Packing for a summer vacation usually includes grabbing a few books for relaxing at your destination or passing the time while traveling. Novels, nonfiction and biographies are a popular choice, but many enjoy reading cookbooks just as much as any other book.

Some people will admit they may not cook many recipes from the book, but they offer an array of recipes, pictures and stories that inspire meal-planning, entertaining and new foods ideas.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the popularity of the printed cookbook is still high even in an age where you can find any recipe with a Google search or download the books onto electronic tablets or readers.

Cookbook authors have also changed the style of their writing to fit demand. Some of the most popular cookbooks are written by food bloggers who include plenty of stories, photos and personal flair.

Here are ten new or recently release cookbooks that offer plenty of entertainment and flavor, and would be a great addition to your summer reading list.

“Favorite Flavor”, Christine Gardner, T.B.B. Printing, $29.99: With over 125 recipes and 100 color photos, Favorite Flavor compiles the best and most-talked about recipes created by Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor, Christine Gardner.

As editor, chef, television host and flavor enthusiast, Christine’s goal is to inspire and share amazing flavor. Using basic ingredients and techniques, she demonstrates how to elevate the flavor of a dish and make each ingredient shine.

Filled with tips, advice and easy to follow instructions, Favorite Flavor makes cooking and entertaining with ease an attainable goal for any cook. Recipes include, Creamy Salsa Verde, Maple-Glazed Pork Chops, Seared Scallops with Lemon Pesto, Orange-Glazed Green Beans and Chocolate-Stuffed French Toast; these are the kind of dishes that become family tradition and shape a lifetime of great flavor.

“The Homesick Texan’s Family Table,” Lisa Fain, Ten Speed Press, $29.99: From beloved food blogger Lisa Fain, aka the Homesick Texan, comes this follow-up to her popular debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 recipes for wonderfully comforting, ingredient-driven Lone Star classics that the whole family will love.

There are few things finer than a delicious, homemade meal shared with family and friends. Take it from Lisa Fain, a seventh-generation Texan who loves to cook and serve up the best dishes her home state has to offer — even though she now lives half a country away.

All of Lisa’s recipes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, yet still packed with real Texas flavor. Whether you’re looking for a party-friendly snack such as Pigs in Jalapeño Blankets, a Mustard Coleslaw to bring as a side to your next potluck, a weeknight and family-friendly meal like Steak Fingers with Cream Gravy or a mouthwatering dessert such as Ruby Red Grapefruit and Pecan Sheet Cake, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table has you covered. After all, with some mighty fine food and mighty fine people to enjoy it, any meal can be a cause for celebration.

“Pastry Queen Parties,” Rebecca Rather, Ten Speed Press, $32.50: No one captures big-hearted, big-hatted Texas hospitality like Rebecca Rather. In Pastry Queen Parties, her eagerly awaited third book, Rebecca celebrates her home state’s love of good company and great food. Traversing the Lone Star state’s rich culinary landscape, Rebecca offers up a bevy of revel-ready menus for: A West Texas ranch-style supper, Tex-Mex hacienda dining in San Antonio, a Gulf Coast summer beach bonanza, a small town homecoming picnic, a big city cocktail party and a sweet and sunny Hill Country garden party.

More than 100 recipes for starters, sides, main dishes, desserts, and drinks showcase Rebecca’s bold and bounteous style of cooking. There’s mouth-watering inspiration on every page: Dig into a West Texas-sized plate of Beer-Braised Short Ribs, Green Tomato Macaroni and Cheese, and Butter Beans and Mixed Greens, or savor soul food San Antonio-style, with heaping helpings of Rosa’ s Red Posole and Fiesta Chiles Rellenos. But save room for one of Rebecca’s justly famous desserts -- maybe a piece of that sky-high Giant Chocolate Cake with Cowboy Coffee Frostin, or a couple of Chubby’s White Pralines or S’mores Cupcakes.

“The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” Deb Perelman, Knopf, $32.50: National Bestseller and Winner of the IACP Julia Child First Book Award. The long-awaited cookbook by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen — home cook, photographer and celebrated food blogger.



Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner — she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions — and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?

So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can — and should — be delicious every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook. And now, with the same warmth, candor and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook: more than 100 recipes — almost entirely new, plus a few favorites from the site

“Bouchon Bakery”, Thomas Keller, Artisan Press, $50.00: Winner, 2013 IACP Cookbook Award for Food Photography and Styling. Baked goods that are marvels of ingenuity and simplicity from the famed Bouchon Bakery. The tastes of childhood have always been a touchstone for Thomas Keller, and in this dazzling amalgam of American and French baked goods, you’ll find recipes for the beloved TKOs and Oh Ohs (Keller’s takes on Oreos and Hostess’s Ho Hos) and all the French classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris: The baguettes, the macarons, the mille-feuilles, the tartes aux fruits.



Co-author Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has spent years refining techniques through trial and error, and every page offers a new lesson: A trick that assures uniformity, a subtlety that makes for a professional finish, a flash of brilliance that heightens flavor and enhances texture. The deft twists, perfectly written recipes and dazzling photographs make perfection inevitable

“The Yummy Mummy Kitchen,” Marina Delio, Harper Collins, $27.99: 100 Effortless and Irresistible Recipes to Nourish Your Family with Style and Grace.

Inspired by her British grandma (“the original Yummy Mummy”), Marina Delio has found her groove as a modern Yummy Mummy: A loving and devoted mom who values fitness and health and maintains style and grace, even with small children at home.

Offering busy moms easy, irresistible recipes for every meal of the day and every season of the year, The Yummy Mummy Kitchen shows how healthy meals with small touches, such as sparkling cranberries and flower garnishes, can make us all feel a little more glamorous amid the chaos of raising a family.

Focusing on quality, seasonal and local ingredients, Marina shares mostly meatless, produce-rich recipes that are sophisticated without being complicated. They’re accompanied by life tips and timeless wisdom about the importance of establishing regular family dinners and traditions, teaching kids to respect and appreciate real food and engaging your children in the cooking process.

“The Little Paris Kitchen,” Rachel Khoo, Chronicle Books, $35.00: Rachel Khoo was determined to get to grips with French cooking, so to learn more she moved to Paris, not speaking a word of French, and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu, the world-famous cookery school. Six years later, she still lives and works in Paris, cooking up a selection of classic French dishes from all over the country and giving them a fresh makeover with her own modern twists.

From a Croque Madame muffin and the classic Boeuf bourguignon, to a deliciously fragrant Provencal lavender and lemon roast chicken, Rachel celebrates the culinary landscape of France as it is today and shows how simple these dishes are.

The 120 recipes in the book range from easy, everyday dishes, such as Omelette Pipérade, to summer picnics by the Seine and afternoon ‘goûter’ (snacks), to meals with friends and delicious desserts including, classics such as Crème brulee and Tarte tatin. It’s a book that celebrates the very best of French home-cooking in a modern and accessible way.

Real French food is no longer something only served in fancy restaurants; Rachel will show how you can add a little French culinary touch to your everyday life at home, no matter where you are in the world or how big your kitchen is.

“Southern My Way: Food & Family,” Gena Knox, Gena Knox Media, $34.95: In Gena Knox’s third cookbook, Southern My Way: Food & Family, Gena puts a fresh spin on three generations of family recipes and adds a few new favorites to the mix.

Food & Family is nearly 250 pages of family-friendly recipes primarily organized by mealtime (breakfast, lunch, and supper) as well as everyone’s favorite food categories (starters, soups, salads, sides, and, of course, desserts). Throughout this visually striking cookbook, Knox offers easy-to-follow instructions, her favorite kitchen tricks and time-saving cooking tips. Whatever the season, readers will savor Knox’s take on classics, such as Cane Syrup Glazed Carrots, Grilled Ribeyes with Rosemary Mayonnaise and Homemade Hot Chocolate, while also discovering new favorites.

Accompanied with beautiful, full-color photographs by Brian Woodcock, the recipes in Food & Family will inspire quality family time around the dinner table year round.

“Cowgirl Chef,” Ellise Pierce, Running Press, $25.00: Moving to Paris was the best bad decision that Texan Ellise Pierce ever made. Wooed to the city by a Frenchman, she soon found herself with just 100 euros in her bank account. So she launched a last-ditch effort to stay in the City of Light: She started her own catering business and began teaching other American expats how to re-create flavors from home.

Using French ingredients and techniques from both sides of the Atlantic, she did more than found a culinary company — she created a unique style of cooking that’s part Texas, part French and all Cowgirl. Recipes include: Cornbread Madeleines, Jalapeño Pimento Cheese Tartines, Cauliflower Galettes with Chipotle Créme Fraîche, Green Chile-Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Soufflées

“Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from our Tuscan Kitchen,” Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Clarkson Potter, $32.50: Mazar and Corcos are ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. In “Extra Virgin,” food, family, and style come together in a celebration of the pleasures of the rustic Italian table with 120 recipes for simple yet exquisite meals that are accessible, full of fresh flavor and easy to prepare. Gabriele is a traditional Italian with a big heart, and Debi is an outgoing, brash New York City girl. Their sassy and playful exchanges illuminate what’s important in everyday life: Good food and a lot of love.

Ranging from traditional antipasti and soups to their spin on entrees, pizzas and desserts, recipes include, Pecorino and Honey Dip, a sweet and salty way to start a meal; tangy, luscious Grilled Apricots with Goat Cheese Ricotta, inspired by wild Tuscan apricot trees; and Sausage and Beans, which offers hints of fennel in a Tuscan red sauce. Here, too, are Braised Artichokes softened in guanciale-infused oil, Breakfast Pizza, and Coffee Granita just as Italians make it.

Many of these titles are available at Sweet Gourmet, 4554 S Broadway Tyler, 903-534-0840 or O’Sweet Pea Kitchen Boutique, 105 W Oak St, Palestine, 903-723-7321.

“Favorite Flavor” is available at both locations or by calling 903-597-1121 or emailing food@tylerpaper.com.