>What’s your favorite cookbook? I bet you’ve got an interesting collection.
Oh, so hard to narrow it down—and to not even take into account my massive three-ring binder of magazine recipes and printouts from the interwebs!
Again and again, I turn to Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley and Joanne McAllister Smart as an all-around workhorse cookbook for elegantly basic, satisfying dinners. Dan and I love to eat the grilled flank steak and butterflied leg of lamb when the weather is good enough to fire up the grill, the Autumn Vegetable Stew with Cheddar-Garlic Crumble Crust is a great main dish when vegetarians are coming for dinner, and there are so many varieties of galettes, gratins, and tarts that are perfect to make on a Sunday night and eat throughout the week. This is a cookbook I can read front-to-back and get inspiration from every time—I’m flipping through it again right now and drooling over the Duck Rillettes and the Cod with Spicy Tomatoes, Garlic, and Onions.
As I mentioned earlier in this column, I adore Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, when I’m looking for a good dessert recipe. They cover everything from super-decadent three-layer cakes like their signature Sweet and Salty Cake (can you say whipped caramel ganache?) to fun ideas like mini Butterscotch Pudding Tarts to quite possibly the greatest sweet recipe ever created, I mean like ever, the Peanut Butter Crispy Bars. I used to make batches of Rice Krispies Treats after school and eat the whole pan before my mom came home, and think I might be able to do the same with these.
Another topic-specific cookbook I love is Brunch, by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan. Because brunch at Meyer’s restaurants Five Points and Cookshop can get insanely crowded, something I can’t abide, I sidestep all of that and make my favorites in the comfort and solitude of my New Joisey kitchen. The Bourbon Vanilla French Toast gives many repeat performances in this household and oh so good when you have Balthazar Bakery brioche at your disposal, and I’ll whip up a batch of Lemon Ricotta Pancakes just for myself on a Sunday morning.
And because I love brinner (breakfast for dinner), I’ll do a one-person serving of Baked Eggs Rancheros or with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes in my All-Clad oval bakers in the toaster oven for a good solo meal.
Finally, I have a feeling Alton Brown’s Good Eats: The Early Years is going to be another heavy-rotation book—it always annoyed me that I’d either have to buy a Good Eats DVD and re-watch an episode or depend on the incomplete Food Network database to get to one of his dependable, well-researched recipe—but this has a good chunk of them along with all the fun facts and asides that make the show such a pleasure to watch in the first place.
Please, don’t be shy—Ask Casey anything about food that confuses you at caseyATgoodfoodstoriesDOTcom. The doctor is in and she wants to help!