my favourite go-to cookbooks
I get a lot of questions about where I get my inspiration when I cook. In fact, I've had people say "hey, why don't you do a YouTube channel where you cook and share?" Hmmm....something to think about. As outgoing as I am, the introvert/shy side of me is scared and well, I just don't think its for me (and with the constant interruptions of baby getting into things he shouldn't that would be near impossible!)
It's no secret that I LOVE to cook. I sometimes will go on cooking binges (like the one this past Thanksgiving!) where I am making at least 2-3 homemade things a day....slightly obsessed but I'm not working now, so I have a bit of free time on my hands! I love the experimentation of cooking, the look on people's faces when they try one of my meals and the fact that I can test out recipes on people makes it that much more enjoyable. I remember cooking when I was single and living on my own, I was still testing out recipes, but then I would have leftovers for DAYS! Plus, sitting at the table with just my own self enjoying this meal was, well....lacklustre and sad.
But those days are over and ever since I moved in with Nate almost 2 years ago, I have a READY and WILLING audience who will gladly eat my food. And consume all the leftovers in sight (thank god because I hate to waste and the OCD in me like a clean, tidy fridge).
So, I wanted to share with you all the cookbooks I use or have found inspiration from. It's important to also note that I have A LOT of go to blogs as well. You can find the link to them all here. And keep in mind, these are just some of my faves which I cook out of often. There are SO many more books that I have and love, but have narrowed it down for you.
I hope you can find some inspiration in them as well.
MY TOP 10 FAVES
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman - By far, one of my faves in addition to one of my favourite blogs as well. I've probably cooked at least a dozen or so items from this book, not to mention additional ones from the blog. These recipes are honest, simple and oh so good. Especially if you're looking for some simple, tasty weeknight meals.
Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten (ANY of her books!) - I love Ina Garten and her recipes are absolutely delicious. I have yet to cook anything that wasn't tasty. My latest cookbook purchase last year was Cooking for Jeffrey and I'm already obsessed with her Maple Roasted Carrot Salad, and her Filet Mignon with Mustard and Mushrooms. Another great meal from her Foolproof book is the Foolproof BBQ Ribs with BBQ Sauce. There are no words to describe how I feel about that homemade BBQ sauce (and it makes A LOT so you can dump the rest in a jar and have for other meals). She's a classic and so are her recipes.
Cook by Jamie Oliver - I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver because he's a typical Brit and he often shows you the basics in the kitchen, but he's fun. Cook does just that. It's a guide to make you a better cook so for anyone who is a relative amateur in the kitchen, this is a great book to start with (do NOT start with Julia Child's The Art of French Cooking....trust me on this one!). Some of his recipes like Rib Roast of Beef with Beetroot and Horseradish, Mushroom Risotto, Homemade Potato Gnocchi and Steamed Mussels with Fennel and Creme Fraiche are my fave. I've tried and tested them.
The Bon Appetit Cookbook by Barbara Fairchild - Bon Appetit is a classic magazine with classic recipes. Surprisingly, this is a go-to book and website I refer to often. It's filled with some simple, classic but unique recipes that are aways useful, no matter what you're cooking and who you're cooking for. It's broad list of recipes is guaranteed to give you some great suggestions when you don't know what to cook for dinner.
Love & Lemons by Jeanine Donofrio - Forget the fact that this cookbook and blog have a very similar name to mine, but this is one of my fave vegetarian cookbooks (and I'm not a vegetarian). I love how the chapters are actually divided up by vegetable and fruit, offering a nice wide range of delicious food items. I've cooked about 6 items from this book, with the Roasted Cauliflower Tacos being one of my fave (I've made this 5 times!)
The New Easy by Donna Hay - If you've never peeked inside a Donna Hay cookbook or magazine, you're missing out. The beautiful photos alone will make you drool. Donna is known for her classic, white, beautiful photography and food styling, but the actual food she cooks is equally tremendous. I have a few of her books (including the massive "The New Classics" which is a compilation of recipes from her magazine) but have enjoyed a lot of her recipes including her Tarragon & Lemons Roasted Chicken, Baked Lemon Parmesan & Basil Risotto, Roasted Cauliflower & Chick Pea Soup, and Chicken Bolognese with Crispy Oregano.
Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon - This cookbook certainly has a good reputation and is widely known. Its a vegan cookbook but I absolutely LOVE some of the simple, healthy recipes in here. I've used a lot of her recipes for salad dressings and healthy breakfasts. But some of my fave are the Effortless Vegan Overnight Oats (I HIGHLY recommend this!) and the Lemon Tahini Dressing (this is a multi-purpose dressing for any salad but best to use on kale), Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites (I devoured these when pregnant since it was less sweet but healthy than most store bought and I had GDM), and Delicata Squash, Millet & Kale Salad (with Lemon Tahini Dressing). This cookbook is chalk-full of great, healthy recipes that are really for anyone, not just vegans.
The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt - This book is an absolute genius when it comes to food and science. It's mission is better home cooking through science and if you're a real foodie like me, this book is super informative. It goes through a lot of favourite American dishes delving into the interactions between heat, energy and molecules that create great food and how you can achieve better results using simple techniques in the kitchen. Topics like learning how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that's perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it or making a mac and cheese that is equally gooey and velvety as it is satisfying. Or simple stuff like how to cook a perfectly runny but firm poached egg. If you're not much of a home cook, I wouldn't recommend this but if you are and you have a curious mind as to how things work, I would buy this. It's an investment ($65CDN) so make sure you read it!
Jerusalem, Plenty and Plenty More by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi - All three of these books are amazing and well worth the buy. They are exotic (and so are the ingredients) because Yotam was born and raised in Jerusalem, but they follow diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. Plenty and Plenty More delve into vegetarian foods and boy are they delicious. To date, I've made (and loved) the Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin (I actually turned these into meatballs), Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice, Roasted Chicken with Clementines & Arak, and Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad.
The Best of Best of Bridge and More by Best of Bridge - And last but certainly not least, this one is a classic. It's not hip, trendy or the latest cookbook to hit the NY Times Bestseller list, but this is a classic Canadian cookbook that was formed by a group of woman (and bridge players) back in the 1970's. They decided to compile a bunch of their favourite recipes they cooked for their bridge games and voila, the rest is history. I can't even begin to tell you how many recipes I've made from this book over the years, but it's a lot! Comfort, classic, delicious (not necesarily healthy) recipes that EVERY home should try.