This quarantine has brought out the Julia Child in all of us. From peanut butter cookies to sourdough bread, from soup to caramelized shallot pasta, everyone seems to be cooking and baking all day. For many in New York City, this means cleaning out kitchen storage spaces (aka the oven) to make way for the newest breakfast casserole or that banana bread that seems to be on everybody's Instagram story.
This week in the kitchen we are sharing our favorite cookbooks of the moment. Whether you need inspiration for a summer BBQ, a girls’ night in, a cocktail party or just a weeknight dinner, we have got you covered.
Cravings by Chrissy Teigen: I have both of Chrissy Teigen’s cookbooks and I love them equally, but her first book has some of my favorite recipes to make on a regular basis. For Sunday brunch there is her Dutch Baby Pancake or Crispy Bacon Hash Browns. If you’re hosting a party, there is my all-time favorite, the Stretchy Artichoke, Spinach and Buffalo Chicken Dip. And if you like toast, I refer you to the section titled “Sh*t on Toast” -- you won’t be disappointed. Also although not a cookbook, walk, don't run to her website and try the Miso Pasta. It was so unbelievably good, I think I shed a tear.
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The New Way to Bake Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi: If, like me, you’ve binged all 5,000 seasons of “The Great British Bake Off” while in quarantine, this cookbook is for you. Benjamina’s cakes were always show-stoppers and this cookbook is full of cakes that will wow your friends or satisfy that late-night sweets craving. My favorite: Caramelized Plantain Upside-Down Cake. My mother is Cuban and we grew up eating plantains, but I never thought to make a cake out of them until I ordered this cookbook. Next up would be the Almond Brittle Cake, a spongy cake topped with an almond, caramel brittle that will have you eating that second (or third, or fourth) slice.
Jack's Wife Freda by Maya and Jean Jankelowitz: Back when I lived in the West Village (sigh), I would frequent Jack’s Wife Freda almost every weekend. Their Green Shakshuka, fries with spicy sauce and Bloody Mary were my go-to’s. Now, being in quarantine and moving to a neighborhood far, far away from that outpost of the restaurant, I have learned to make these things on my own and you can, too. Make the spicy sauce: it goes on EVERYTHING and will become a staple in your household.
Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat by Samin Nosrat: I’ve never met a Cacio Pepe I didn’t like and this version by Samin Nosrat is no exception. It’s divine and simple. This cookbook made me fall back in love with cooking (moving to an apartment with a bigger kitchen also helped). What other must-try recipes are there, you ask? The Apple Tart will be the hit of every BBQ and it’s never too late to jump on the bread bandwagon with her out-of-this-world Ligurian Focaccia. She made this focaccia in the “Fat” episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix and you could basically smell it through the TV.
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten: Garten is no newcomer to the food scene. She is the queen of chambray shirts, martinis and amazing cookbooks with recipes you will pass down to your kids. The Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons is perfect for a cold night, the Salted Caramel Brownies will be the talk of any party and the Lobster and Potato salad is the perfect side dish to bring to any picnic. Mix up one of Ina’s signature cocktails (she’s famous for her cosmos) to go with any of the recipes from the cookbooks on this list and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer evening.