2013 was a banner year for cookbooks -- and for cookbooks by bloggers, in particular. In fact, there were so many excellent choices this year that I had to limit my choices JUST to my favorites by some of the many, many bloggers in the BlogHer Publishing Network, or you'd have been here all day.
And while I'm talking BHPN cookbooks, may I take the time to congratulate the two bloggy cookbooks chosen by Amazon for its Best Cookbooks of the Year collection? They both just happen to be BlogHer bloggers -- congrats to Ree, Todd and Diane!The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond
America's favorite "accidental country girl" has a new holiday cookbook, with down-home recipes and party ideas for everything from New Year's Hoppin' John to Christmas Rum Cake -- along with her always-glorious photos of the family and ranch we've grown to love.
The San Francisco Chef's Table by Carolyn Jung
As a San Franciscan, I'm definitely putting the new cookbook by Carolyn Jung of Food Gal on my own wish list: it contains 70 recipes from some of my favorite restaurants (I'm trying the glazed pork ribs from State Bird Provisions as soon as I possibly can).
Bountiful: Recipes Inspired By Our Garden by Todd Porter and Diane Cu
You eat first with your eyes, as White on Rice Couple knows well -- they've become as known for their gorgeous photography as much as their recipes, and Bountiful is a visual feast. If you're into photography, don't miss their post on how they shot the cover. And for a sneak peek of the deliciousness inside, check out the recipe they shared on BlogHer.com for Roasted Spaghetti Squash With Sausage -- I have tried this, and it's gooooooood.
Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin
I have just one thing to say about this all-avocado, all-the-time cookbook by the blogger behind What's Gaby Cooking: CHORIZO GRAVY GUACAMOLE LOADED NACHOS. (Super Bowl Sunday, happen faster, please.)
Your Cup of Cake by Lizzy Early
Super-smart idea: Though Lizzy's Your Cup of Cake blog abounds with original recipes, her cookbook zeroes in on what so many birthday and party hosts really want to do: Tweak simple cake from a mix and turn it into stunning cupcakes (beautifully photographed, too).
Weelicious Lunches by Catherine McCord
If you have kids and you don't read Weelicious, you're doing it the hard way. So treat yourself or a mom you love to Weelicious Lunches, which hits a lunchbox trifecta: All recipes are kid-friendly, easy, and healthy. (They're also adorable: Apple Ring PB&Js, Matzo Sammies, and Cinnamon Roll "Sushi"? I'm in.)
The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier
Clotile has always loved vegetables -- her blog is Chocolate & Zucchini, after all -- but lately, she's adopted more of a plant-based diet. It's difficult to eat vegetarian in restaurants in Paris, but it's easy to find beautiful produce in season, and her vegetarian cookbook abounds with French treatments for veggies (like Cauliflower Gratin With Turmeric and Hazelnuts) and fruits (Peach, Almond, and Cardamom Clafoutis).
Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank Shaw
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Hank about his beautiful and cookbook for wild and farmed waterfowl. I asked him, "Why duck?" His response: "A perfectly seared duck breast, with crispy skin and just a little fat, is like eating a steak wearing a hat made of bacon." And you know -- he's right.
The Ultimate Panini Press Cookbook by Kathy Strahs
Kathy's been making people happy with her blog, Panini Happy, since 2008 -- I can't believe this is her first cookbook! Buy it for someone who's addicted to her panini press -- or, give it AND a panini press to win Best Present 2013 (and possibly a lifetime of amazing pressed sandwiches, such as Broccoli Raab, White Bean Hummus, and Red Peppers or Chimichurri Skirt Steak).
Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese by Garrett McCord and Stephanie Stiavetti
Normally, mac and cheese is less about flavor than it is about ooey-gooey comfort -- which is great, don't get me wrong, but always pretty much the same. But in this cookbook, Garrett (of Vanilla Garlic) and Stephanie (of The Culinary Life), it's all about the cheese. Their book stretches the definition of what macaroni and cheese can (and should) be -- with =chapters that range from the expected "Hearty and Satisfying" to "Always Refreshing" (!) and "On the Sweet Side" (!!!)
Steamy Kitchen: Healthy Asian Favorites by Jaden Hair
In an interview with BlogHer, Jaden told Food Editor Jane Tunks Demel:
So many Asian-American restaurants feature the same ol' dishes, kung pao this, sweet and sour that...and everything is deep-fried or drowning in goopy sauces. But, in fact, real Asian cooking is light, healthy, and incredibly flavorful without the fat. These are the recipes I wanted to highlight in my book. Also, the recipes are designed to be flexible, whether or not you eat gluten-free, vegetarian, or a meat-eater who needs to cut back a little. Every recipe has options for substitutions.
I was sold on her cookbook from that quote, and now I make variations on her Chinese-Style Parchment Fish often -- such a smart, quick borrow of a French technique to get a traditional steamed-whole flavor out of a filet.
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread by Nicole Hunn
All my GF friends complain about baking: So many products, so much extra sugar, so much dang money, so many fails with the finished products. I've already pointed most of them to Gluten Free on a Shoestring, and might just have to buy this totally gluten-free cookbook with recipes for bread, doughnuts, biscuits, and bagels, too.
The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat by Michael Ruhlman
I always love Michael Ruhlman's focus on technique -- I'm actually sitting here with another Ruhlman book (Charcuterie) open right now, about to start making some bacon (or pancetta; haven't decided yet). His latest, a Schmaltz, walks you through the classic Jewish technique of rendering chicken fat and combining it with onions. The deeply flavored result is the star of some traditional dishes (gribenes, kreplach) and new ideas (schmaltzy pâte à choux, oatmeal cookies, and chicken rillettes).
Do you have a 2013 blogger cookbook to recommend? Let us know in the comments!
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