While it’s—for better or worse—known for pumpkin spiced everything, fall is also when some of our favorite ingredients come back in season and the weather cools down enough for us to consider using our ovens again. With that in mind, we have chosen four new cook books that we’re testing out. From health-focused recipes to mostly vegetarian to science-based formulas, the selection is diverse, but each book is entertaining and informative in its own way. And all of them beg to be taken into the kitchen and stained by your cooking experiments.
Cook’s Science: How to Unlock Flavor in 50 of our Favorite Ingredients
For cooks who appreciate a physics equation and the biology of a mushroom (side note: mushrooms aren’t vegetables or fungi, they are “made up of gills, spores, chitin” and more) this new book from America’s Test Kitchen is just the ticket. Cook’s Science ($26) is full of fascinating information and 400+ foolproof recipes made with 50 favorite ingredients—everything from scallops to kale, almonds and honey. Each recipe begins with an explanation about the science behind it—essentially why the formula works. Tacos al pastor, for example, are made without a spit and the process not only makes sense, it’s also not difficult. Forget too many cooks in the kitchen, this book took a bunch of scientists too, and the result is scientifically proven recipes, so you can’t fail.
Everything I Want to Eat: Sqirl and the New California Cooking
Award-winning chef Jessica Koslow’s Everything I Want to Eat ($29) focuses on health and excellent produce. With stark, clean imagery and portraits of customers at Koslow’s LA restaurant Sqirl, it’s a left-of-center approach to cook books that is super-refreshing. The squid toast (on a long baguette) incorporates slow-roasted tomatoes and homemade aioli and is sure to impress dinner party guests.
Dinner at the Long Table
Since launching Williamsburg’s Diner in 1999, Andrew Tarlow has opened six restaurants, a hotel, a bar and a bakery. His book (written with Anna Dunn) Dinner at the Long Table ($40) explores recipes that are made for sharing. There’s a celebratory tone that permeates the book—with cheery cocktails and impressive recipes that all seem crafted for celebration. With each minute part of a meal considered (from salad dressing to an after-meal biscotti) this cook book is incredibly comprehensive.
Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables!: Turbocharged Recipes for Vegetables with Guts
Apart from the playful approach to cooking with veggies (unlike so many cook books for vegetarians and vegans), Luck Peach’s Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables! ($24) is also packed with comical and non-traditional food photography. From a quiche seemingly floating in space to hassleback potatoes napping on a toy bed, the imagery is entertaining, but most importantly shows a few imperfections—so you don’t have unreasonable expectations when tackling a recipe at home. From potato latkes to sarson ka saag, the recipes are diverse, but all are meat-free.
Images by Cool Hunting