Cooking: Salad days are here
Food52’s latest contribution to making our cooking lives more joyful is perfect for this time of year, when farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh, locally grown produce. Food 52 Mighty Salads sounds like it might be intended for this summer’s slew of avenging superheroes, but these 60 recipes are here to offer us mere mortals ideas for hefty salads that are great for dinners, lunches and even a few brunches (take a look at the Farro & Golden Beet Salad, topped with Spice-Fried Eggs). Leafy salads, like a Caesar-Style Kale Salad, mix with more hearty ones, like a Grilled Mushroom & Fig Salad; a fall-friendly Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Endive & Apple Salad; an any-season Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za’atar and sensational, hearty seafood and meat combos. Invaluable tips, like a method for long-lasting lettuce storage, shore up your cooking acuity, and each recipe allows for foolproof improvisation with ingredients of your choosing.
Is the idea of cooking from scratch intimidating? Is your kitchen confidence subpar? Then I have the book for you. Alison Cayne founded Haven’s Kitchen, a cooking school on a leafy street in New York, five years ago. Realizing that many of us grew up disconnected from the kitchen, Cayne decided to rectify that sad state and reconnect her students to the “pride and pleasure of making a meal.” In The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School, a beautifully designed book with elegant, eloquent photos, Cayne does just that, capturing the essence of what her students experience and learn in class. Each of the nine chapters is centered on a dish or an ingredient (e.g. fritters, eggs, soups) and teaches one or more of the key tenets of cooking. And each of the more than 100 recipes is as delicious as it is educational. From a savory Pork Salsa Verde to the classic French dessert Clafoutis, Cayne is your savvy, super-supportive kitchen companion.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Stella Parks’ debut cookbook, BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts, is a total wow. And the same goes for Parks herself—a brilliant pastry chef who understands why certain desserts are so distinctly desirable and can translate that understanding into recipes that are thoroughly detailed, yet alluringly doable. Her book includes more than 100 recipes, plus “mix it up” tips for an added 200 variations and gluten-free options, all divine whether you choose simple, salty-sweet Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies; a velvety, game-changing White Mountain Layer Cake with Parks’ signature silky Marshmallow Buttercream; or her truly magical Magic Key Lime Pie made with DIY condensed milk and graham crackers for the crust. Luscious, almost-edible photographs make Parks’ sweets even more irresistible. An entertaining writer and diligent researcher, she’s replaced ordinary header notes with charming, informative mini-essays with vintage illustrations that explore how many of our traditional American treats—like Oreos, banana pudding, fudge and sprinkles—came to be.
This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.