Happy Sunday, friends!
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite cookbooks with you today. Even though I find and keep so many of my recipes on Pinterest now, cookbooks are still one of my favorite things.
When I went through my cabinet to pull out my favorites, it became obvious where my loyalties are—with Queen Ina!
Her recipes are awesome—so simple but so full of flavor—and I just feel like you can’t go wrong with her. When I’m not with Ina, I also love apps and party food, as well as healthy cooking with lots of vegetables. (I also love Postmates and pizza delivery, which is not so healthy, but it sounded better to just say “healthy cooking with lots of vegetables”)
Here we go:
Ina at her best, helping us with mistake-proof entertaining. These recipes use easy-to-find ingredients and steps that take you through it without questions from start to finish. She includes tips for cooking as well as chapters for cocktails, starters, lunch, dinner, vegetables/sides, and desserts.
I love this book for exactly what the title says. I love to entertain but it’s a lot to try and cook everything the day of, while you’re trying to also do all other party prep. As Ina points out, “there is ahead of time and there is WAY ahead of time.” Some of these recipes, especially some of her soups, can be completely cooked and frozen for months. Others can only be made a few hours ahead, and there is everything in between. For all you planners, this one is for you!
The ultimate cocktail party prep book. This book is tops for pages and pages of gloriously elegant and beautiful apps. I absolutely love cooking like this, and while I’ve only had this since Christmas, I’ve already made several things from it.
This is a stunning cookbook. It’s vegetarian recipes by a non-vegetarian chef, so I’d just think of it as really next-level “sides”. Any of these would be a welcome dish alone or as an excellent pairing with meats. There are lots of wonderful flavors and fresh combinations for a new take on cooking with veggies!
So, admittedly I got this because I thought I’d “cook for Mike” like Ina “cooks for Jeffrey” but who has time for this kind of cooking during the work week…?! Regardless, when you do have time, this is full of Ina’s greatest hits and also some new, fresh salad recipes that I keep going back to.
The title sold me generally, but this book really focuses on the concept of food and wine pairings from from across the Mediterranean. Each chapter focuses on a specific city (Rome, Seville, Nice, Lisbon, etc) and includes fresh fun cocktails, simple and delicious small plates, and locally paired wine suggestions. You can mix and match locations and recipes for a great global experience!
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
This is one of my absolute favorite Ina cookbooks. It’s a mix of cooking tips (i.e. how to boost the flavors of your ingredients), well as entertaining tips and advice on technique. The recipes are crowd-pleasers, using basic but fresh ingredients, and not super-hard to make.
This book is by Kathryne Taylor of the vegetarian food blog, Cookie and Kate. There are over 100 feel-good, delicious and approachable recipes in here. And if you are cooking for anyone with eating restrictions this is the cookbook for you – it addresses variations for vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free on top of vegetarian, whenever possible.
I know this cookbook is kind of ancient (I mean, just look at Ina…) but you know what doesn’t go out of style? Party food! This is still a really good one, and offers so many good tips on how to throw a party and not be stuck in the kitchen the whole night. The recipes are grouped into party menus, too, if you want to just make it easy and copy her selection of courses for the whole night!
xx — BB
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