New titles worth giving
THINKING ABOUT GIVING cookbooks this year -- or asking for them? On the bookstore shelves, you'll find a "bible" of Spanish recipes, a glossy volume devoted to bacon, a crop of vegetable books and a double dose of Martha.
Here's a glance at some of the noteworthy new titles for the foodies on your list:
Martha Stewart has released not one but two collections -- one in a tasteful salmon, the other in baby blue -- with more than 1,000 recipes each from her Martha Stewart Living magazine.
The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics (Clarkson Potter, $35) is a revised collection of the best recipes of the magazine's first decade. The basics -- including a series of "101s" on dishes such as roast turkey, meatloaf, fried chicken and omelets -- are here. The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics (Clarkson Potter, $35) has recipes from 2001 to 2006, along with an index that covers both books.
In The Bacon Cookbook (John Wiley & Sons Inc., $35), James Villas covers everything about this trendy ingredient, including international styles of bacon (Chinese lop yuk is air-cured with soy sauce). Sweet, salty apple-and-bacon griddlecakes, smoky pumpkin soup and Maytag beef-and-bacon stew should please all. Bacon cookies and truffles may be for true believers only.
Lovers of rustic Spanish cuisine will appreciate the English edition of 1080 Recipes by Simone and Ines Ortega (Phaidon, $39.95). Despite the preface from molecular gastronomist Ferran Adria, this is largely a book of simple, traditional recipes in the style of Italy's The Silver Spoon. (Some of Spain's cutting-edge chefs do offer menus and recipes at the back of the volume.)
Breathy Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi gets a chance to show off her cooking chops in Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet (Weinstein Books, $34.95). This book is for the reality-show fan who will appreciate the eclectic collection of global recipes without minding the overly chatty asides.
For fans of Southern cooking, Jean Anderson offers a comprehensive overview in A Love Affair With Southern Cooking (HarperCollins, $32.50). The veteran author offers more than 200 recipes, thumbnail biographies and dishy back stories about Southern icons such as MoonPies and Pepsi. Paula Deen takes a more personal approach in her stocking-stuffer-sized book, Christmas With Paula Deen (Simon and Schuster, $23). Fans of Deen's down-home Southern fare likely will enjoy these recipes culled from her previous books, along with chatty reminiscences and family photos.
For the adventurous home cook, Jean-Georges Vongerichten offers Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges (Broadway Books, $40), with bold flavor combinations such as Salmon Glazed With Lime Leaf, Bok Choy and Cinnamon or Asparagus Salad With Chinese Mustard. Just make sure your recipient is up to the challenge -- Vongerichten's version of usually simple Cold Sesame Noodles requires 28 ingredients.
There are two new cabbage-green books for the veggie lover. Mark Bittman has produced How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (Wiley, $35) in his customarily encyclopedic style. On a smaller scale, Mollie Katzen of Moosewood Cookbook fame goes the warm, fuzzy route with whimsical drawings and her personal selection of favorite recipes in The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without (Hyperion, $22.95).
Cooking students, actual or wannabe, will appreciate the step-by-step photographs and instructions in Cooking (Ten Speed Press, $40) from longtime culinary teacher James Peterson. Among the 600 recipes, the primers on how to make and work with fresh bread and pasta are particularly useful.
For the Neiman Marcus lover, Neiman Marcus Taste by Kevin Garvin (Clarkson Potter, $45) celebrates dishes from the famous department store's restaurant, including Cinnamon Rolls, Chicken Velvet Soup, Chopped Salad With Green Goddess Dressing and Seafood Crepes.
Dolce Italiano (W.W. Norton & Co., $35) is for the dessert fanatic. Gina DePalma, pastry chef at Babbo restaurant in New York, introduces readers to the 10 Italian ingredients every cook should have and showcases them in recipes such as Zucchini-Olive Oil Cake, Honey and Pine Nut Tart and Chocolate and Tangerine Semifreddo. A discussion of Italian dessert wines and cheeses rounds out this useful book.
If you like to give locally, Yum! Tasty Recipes From Culinary Greats (Cumberland House, $28.95), compiled by Baltimoreans Dara Bunjon and Jeffrey Spear, has recipes from chefs around the country, including local restaurateurs John Shields of Gertrude's and Riccardo Bosio of Sotto Sopra. Proceeds go to the National Kidney Foundation.
FROM THE COOKBOOKS
MACARONI WITH CHORIZO AND TOMATO
12 ounces macaroni (about 3 / 4 box)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
21 / 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
scant 1 cup grated Gruyere or parmesan cheese (divided use)
31 / 2 ounces chorizo sausage, skinned and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add macaroni and cook uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes, lowering heat slightly once water comes to a boil. Drain in a large colander and refresh under cold running water.
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the tomato and cook over low heat, breaking up the flesh with the edge of a slotted spoon, for about 15 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor or blender and process. Add the sugar, season to taste with salt and process briefly again.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce and mix the remainder with the macaroni. Stir in half the cheese and pour the mixture into a deep ovenproof baking dish.
Sprinkle the chorizo over the pasta and push the pieces down into the dish to prevent them from drying out during cooking.
Pour the reserved tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Dot the top with the butter and bake for 15 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.
From "1080 Recipes"
Per serving: 480 calories, 18 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 44 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium
NEW ENGLAND APPLE-AND-BACON GRIDDLECAKES
1 / 2 pound applewood-smoked bacon
11 / 2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 / 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 / 2 cup whole milk
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
4 tablespoons (1 / 2 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for serving
In a large skillet, fry the bacon till crisp, drain on paper towels and crumble.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir till well blended. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, add to the flour mixture, and stir till the batter is just blended. Stir in the apples and bacon.
Heat a griddle or large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot and brush it with butter. Drop the batter by 1 / 4 -cup measures onto the griddle and cook till bubbles appear on the surface and the edges begin to brown, about 2 minutes.
Turn with a spatula and cook until golden, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the griddlecakes to a platter, keep warm in a low oven and continue to make more griddlecakes in the same manner. Serve hot with butter and pure maple syrup.
From "The Bacon Cookbook"
Per serving: 483 calories, 16 grams protein, 23 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 159 milligrams cholesterol, 1,559 milligrams sodium