As an avid cookbook collector with stacks of them all over my apartment, fall is an exciting time because so many amazing cookbooks get released. Even if you aren’t the best cook or baker, trying some recipes from a cookbook can help you improve and maybe even fall in love with cooking and end up like me — addicted to all things food.
To help you sort through the upcoming frenzy, here is a list of the most noteworthy ones that will improve your recipe repertoire.
1. The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
Serious Eats is a go-to website for food lovers and the Managing Culinary Director, J. Kenji López-Alt, never fails to deliver satisfying recipes. I personally love his recipe for a 5-Ingredient Fried Chicken Sandwich and it is available now in this book.
As a science major, it is so interesting to see how he uses experimentation to perfect American classics. He turns conventional cooking methods on their head to garner beautifully charred steaks for a weekend grill-out, to Hollandaise sauce for the ultimate brunch. For a new spin on common dishes, pre-order your copy here and begin to imagine all the scrumptious smells that will soon be filling your kitchen.
2. Food52 Baking
Baking should be a joy, not a burden. I enjoy coming home after a busy day in the lab and making a quick batch of cookies (or two) for dessert. Food52 follows up the Genius Recipes cookbook, one of my personal favorites, with a book focused solely on sugar. Could anything be better than sugar-filled treats?
The editors at Food52 have compiled 60 recipes from their favourite contributors that you will want to make over and over again. Is it even possible to resist blueberry cobbler, brown butter cupcake brownies, and challah bread pudding “soufflé”? If you say yes, you are lying. Pick up this sweet book here.
3. Montreal Cooks: A Tasting Menu from the City’s Leading Chefs
Jonathan Cheung and his wife Tays Spencer own Appetite for Books, the best cookbook store in Montreal. I have been taking cooking classes with Jonathan for many years. He designs his classes to walk you through recipes in the cookbook he sells. Many years of reading and cooking from these books have taught him how to write superior recipes. Being friends with some of the most respected chefs in the city helps a little as well.
Jonathan was able to use all his connections in the local food scene to compile a book that celebrates the real culture of Montreal. This cookbook offers home cooks achievable recipes from 40 talented Montreal chefs. It gives you the opportunity to recreate restaurant favorites in your home kitchens. Montreal Cooks will be available October 6th and can be pre-ordered here. I can’t wait to get my hands on that Crab Tart Recipe.
4. Lucky Peach: 101 Easy Asian Recipes
The reason Asian food is always a fan-favorite for takeout is because it is incredibly difficult to successfully make at home. Lucky Peach is my favorite food magazine, run by the legend David Chang. If I could meet anyone, I would choose David Chang, after all he is the mastermind behind the world-renowned Momofuku. Him and the editors of Lucky Peach crafted recipes that are simple and crave-worthy.
Recipes like Mall Chicken bring back memories of childhood, and other more authentic recipes such as Beef Noodle Soup and Soy Sauce Kimchi fill all hankerings for takeout. 101 Easy Asian Recipes embraces the blending of American flavors and Asian traditions, otherwise known as the food of North American Chinese restaurants, and will be available here on October 27th. For a sneak peak, check out this preview.
5. Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking
Madhur Jaffrey is one of the most celebrated Indian cookbook authors in the world. I find her recipes incredibly easy-to-follow and they never disappoint on flavor. She has truly mastered the ability to translate complex dishes into steps that any home cook can replicate. In her latest cookbook, Jaffrey shares vegetable-focused dishes that will turn the biggest carnivores into vegetarians.
There is something to delight everyone with recipes such as Stir-Fried Spinach and Mushroom-Coconut Curry. Don’t wait to pick up your copy here on October 27th, but in the mean time why not make these Red Lentils with Cumin and Shallots to see the genius behind Jaffrey’s cooking.
6. NOPI: The Cookbook
I keep a bucket list of all the restaurants I want to visit in the world and all of Yotam Ottolenghi’s critically-acclaimed restaurants are on my list. This London-based chef has many best-selling cookbooks including Plenty, Jerusalem, and Ottolenghi. I have made many of his dishes and so far, I have been pleased with all of his recipes. There is a reason his cookbooks are loved by chefs and grandmothers alike.
The NOPI cookbook still has Middle Eastern influences, but focuses on giving you the tricks to make recipes from his praised restaurant. In an interview with The Salt, Ottolenghi says he tirelessly tests his recipes and tries to imitate how cooks will follow at home. His end goal is for you to impress at your next dinner party. Some notable recipes include paprika chips and barley risotto.
7. True North
Derek Dammann is the owner of Maison Publique. In my opinion, Dammann is one of the top 3 chefs in Montreal. The food he serves at Maison Publique is inspired. My favourite dish is called Vitello Tonnato, or thinly sliced cured pork topped with a tuna-based sauce and fresh greens.
True North wants to tell his story through recipes. It is impossible to miss his passion for local cuisine at his restaurant and this book further highlights his philosophy of celebrating local fare and purveyors. Recipes are arranged by region, rather than by season or ingredient, and feature charming dishes such as IPA Braised Short Ribs, Crab Mousse, and Porchetta. This inspired cookbook is not available until November 3rd, but can be pre-ordered here.