What Smells So Good?: 10 New and Tasty Cookbooks

Hundreds of versatile dishes and indispensable tips, a wide range of globally influenced pasta and grain bowls, and classic desserts transformed with modern updates; no matter your taste, we have the cookbook for you

Beskow, Katy. 15 Minute Vegan: Fast, Modern Vegan Cooking. Quadrille. Jul. 2017. 159p. photos. index. ISBN 9781849499637. $22.99. COOKING London-based food writer Beskow (littlemissmeatfree.com) sets out to prove that vegan cooking can be quick, inexpensive, and delicious. Her first cookbook features a clean, minimal aesthetic and ultrasimple recipes (e.g., cinnamon toast, butternut squash and sage macaroni, sweetcorn chowder, two-minute chocolate chip and pecan cookie) geared toward those who have little time for cooking. British terms are explained in parentheses, and measurements are given by weight and volume. The book assumes availability of a few potential hard-to-find ingredients, such as premade vegan shortcrust pastry, caster sugar, self-rising flour, and jarred sweet mincemeat. VERDICT Beskow’s debut blends the convenience of speedy titles by Nava Atlas and Robin Robertson with the stylishness of works from Sophie Dahl and Izy Hossack.

redstarBittman, Mark. How To Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2017. 832p. photos. index. ISBN 9781118455647. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780544186941. COOKING

If your copy of Bittman’s acclaimed vegetarian classic How To Cook Everything Vegetarian is starting to look dog-eared or worn, it may be time to replace it with this revised tenth anniversary edition. Dated recipes and chapters have been overhauled or swapped for new ones, with full-color photographs appearing throughout. There are hundreds of versatile dishes (e.g., dumplings, everyday buttermilk waffles, curried stir-fried potatoes, BBQ jackfruit sandwiches) and indispensable tips—enough to keep readers engrossed for years. VERDICT Essential for meat-free cooking collections.  

Centeno, Josef & Betty Hallock. Bäco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles. Chronicle. Sept. 2017. 320p. photos. index. ISBN 9781452154688. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781452155784. COOKING Chef Centeno and food writer Hallock present 130 recipes inspired by Centeno’s five restaurants in downtown Los Angeles. The book begins with homemade pickles, sauces, cheeses, and other staples, followed by larger dishes, beverages, and desserts. Richly spiced recipes include such choices as crudites with walnut-miso bagna cauda, chicken escabeche with mint, eggplant puree with sumac and garlic, and strawberry-elderflower fool. They’re grouped by flavor and texture (e.g., creamy, nutty, crunchy, floral; tender, juicy, peppery, rich), but it’s not difficult to locate specific courses or categories. VERDICT Asian, ­Middle-Eastern, and Latin American influences meld harmoniously in this polished chef cookbook, which invites home cooks to dig deep into the global pantry.

Contaldo, Genarro. Passione: Simple, Seductive Recipes for Lovers of Italian Food. Interlink. Jul. 2017. 224p. photos. index. ISBN 9781566560276. $30. COOKING Chef and TV presenter Contaldo (Gennaro’s Italian Bakery), a mentor to Jamie Oliver, shares childhood memories and favorite Italian recipes in this U.S. edition of Gennaro’s Passione. Chapters on soups, pastas, meat, fish, vegetables, and more are filled with pleasing food and travel photography and a wide range of rustic dishes (e.g., grilled lamb chops filled with prosciutto and herbs, hake salad with green beans and salsa verde, carpaccio of smoked mozzarella, Amalfi lemon tart). Most recipes are approachable, though a few require time and elbow grease; get ready to stir polenta for 30–40 minutes. ­VERDICT This appetizing Italian cookbook will appeal to readers who enjoy leisurely, from-scratch cooking and fresh seasonal ingredients.

Der Nederlanden, Elisabet. Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes To Sweeten the Season. Ten Speed: Crown. Sept. 2017. 168p. photos. index. ISBN 9780399580253. $20. COOKING Growing up in Sweden, recipe developer and food stylist der Nederlanden established a lifelong passion for baking. Here, she shares 50 of her most-loved holiday cookies and confections, including red velvet crackle cookies, glazed eggnog madeleines, apple cider caramels, and smoked almond and cacao nib brittle. They’re attractive and sophisticated, often with a touch of European flair. Home cooks determined to step up their cookie-making this holiday season will find many satisfying choices, along with useful decorating and packaging tips, and a few decorative projects (e.g., gingerbread house, cookie ornaments and place cards, 3-D Christmas trees). VERDICT Concise and balanced, this is an inviting collection with no throwaway recipes. Highly recommended.

Good, Phyllis. Stock the Crock: 100 Must-Have Slow-Cooker Recipes, 200 Variations for Every Appetite. Oxmoor House. Sept. 2017. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9780848753146. $21.99; ebk. ISBN 9780848755478. COOKING Acknowledging that the bar is set considerably higher than when she published her first cookbooks, slow-cooker maven Good (Fix-It and Forget-It New Cookbook) aligns her latest collection with current food trends. The more than 100 convenient recipes (e.g., tomato barley sausage soup, screamin’ good carnitas, butternut squash and kale gratin, raspberry chocolate cake) have been crowd-sourced from a community of home cooks and include variations to suit gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and Paleo diets. Good revisits her most useful slow-cooker fundamentals and throws in a few surprising hacks, such as how to keep a slow-cooker powered while driving and how to use the appliance to warm towels. Browning food is always optional here, making this a good choice for cooks who want to expend minimal effort. VERDICT Featuring an updated design and glossy photography, this title will satisfy Good’s many fans and attract new ones.

Hay, Donna. Basics to Brilliance. HarperCollins. Sept. 2017. 400p. photos. index. ISBN 9781460751428. $40. COOKING More indulgent than her recent Life in Balance, Hay’s latest, which boasts more than 200 recipes, all of them suitable for novices, brims with spectacular food photography and clever building-block recipes. Intended to help home cooks gain confidence, it illustrates how the basics such as buttermilk fried chicken, cheesy souffle mixture, and caramelized summer fruit can serve as jumping-off points for endless variations. The latter, for example, is used in three decadent desserts, including a no-churn frozen yogurt. Likewise, smoky pulled pork gets reused in recipes for tacos, empanadas, and Southern-style sliders. A kitchen scale is helpful to have on hand, as is a food processor. VERDICT Equally at home in the kitchen or on a coffee table, this gorgeous book will draw in an eager audience. Consider pairing it with Alison Cayne’s The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School, another confidence builder with an emphasis on mastering the basics.

redstarKahan, Paul & others. Cheers to the Publican, Repast and Present: Recipes and Ramblings from an American Beer Hall. Lorena Jones. Sept. 2017. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9780399578564. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780399578571. COOKING Kahan, the James Beard Award–winning chef behind acclaimed Chicago restaurants Blackbird and the Publican, debuts an elegant cookbook celebrating flavorful, beer-friendly foods. Collaborating with Cosmo Goss, the Publican’s current executive chef, and freelance writer Rachel Holtzman, Kahan shares 150 recipes for vegetables, meat and seafood dishes, charcuterie, breads, and more, ranging from thoughtful salads (honeycrisp apple and kohlrabi salad with burnt chili chimichurri) to primal pastas (blood pasta with sea beans, fava beans, and mussels) to rustic peasant fare (ham chop in hay). Some recipes are best left to intermediate and advanced cooks, but there are plenty of tempting beginner choices. Chapter titles that read like love letters to the restaurant’s favorite ingredients (e.g., “To the Mighty Vegetable,” “To Noble Creatures of the Sea”) are nicely paired with poems by Jason Pickleman. VERDICT A handsome restaurant title filled with exciting cuisine.

Olsson, Nina. Bowls of Goodness: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes Full of Nourishment. Kyle Cathie. Sept. 2017. 192p. notes. index. ISBN 9781909487697. $27.95. COOKING First published in the UK, this medley of vegetarian bowl recipes from popular blogger Olsson (nourishatelier.com) will interest clean eating enthusiasts who enjoy titles such as Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon, Allison Day’s Whole Bowls, and Carolynn Carreno’s Bowls of Plenty. A wide range of globally influenced pasta and grain bowls, along with soups, salads, snacks, and reduced-guilt sweets feature many fashionable ingredients, including coconut oil, agave, quinoa, kale, and avocados. Vibrant dishes such as Moroccan harissa salad, watermelon poke bowl, tempura with wasabi mayo dip, and chai vanilla pears are grounded in Olsson’s “kitchen sink philosophy,” an introductory section offering general health advice (“eat with variety and in moderation—it’s the best health insurance you can invest in”). VERDICT Recommended for readers looking to diversify the basics of vegetarian cooking.

Robinson, Naomi. Baker’s Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets. Running Pr. Sept. 2017. 264p. photos. index. ISBN 9780762459285. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780762461141. COOKING In this baking blog–turned–cookbook, Robinson (bakersroyale.com) gives classic desserts a modern update, altering the form and flavor of treats such as spumoni, reimagined as ice cream cake, and bananas foster presented as a pudding parfait topped with caramel popcorn. The 75 appealingly photographed recipes for cookies, pies, cakes, confections, and more include stunners such as apple pie marshmallows, funnel cake cupcakes, burnt caramel custard pie, and chocolate mousse fudge brownies. These accessible, self-contained recipes are peppered with practical shortcuts, perfect for time-strapped and spur-of-the-moment cooks. VERDICT Similar in spirit to Irvin Lin’s Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, this cookbook will persuade readers of all skill levels to start baking straightaway.

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