I have friends who don’t even like to cook, but they love cookbooks. The experience can be inspiring and satisfying, similar to savoring a beautiful book about art. And if you do enjoy cooking, here are some of the year’s best, so treat yourself—or treat a friend!
A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones (Ten Speed Press)
Mario Batali says these recipes are “easy enough to make on a Monday, but flavorful enough to impress on a Friday.” That about sums it up. Jones’ amazing vegetarian recipes range from a supremely elegant Double Chocolate Cloud Cake to Pan Dressed Noodles with Crunchy Cabbage and Crispy Tofu. Lovely to look at and enjoy!
Near & Far Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press)
Heidi Swanson is a photographer, James Beard Award winner and world traveler, and this just may be my favorite of her books. Part cookbook, part travelogue, it is a collection of 120 mouthwatering vegetarian recipes—Saffron Tagine, Brown Butter Tortelli, Carrot & Sake Salad—from Morocco, Italy, France, India and Japan.
Kyotofu by Nicole Bermensolo (Running Press)
Kyotofu Bakery, in NYC, was a place to find unusual—and delectable—Japanese-inspired desserts. The Bakery closed so that owner Nicole Bermensolo could focus on expanding her wholesale operation, but the good news is that we have this beautiful cookbook that features a twist on recipes for 75 American desserts—ie, cheesecake, cupcakes and brownies—with delicious Japanese ingredients.
Eat. Nourish. Glow. by Amelia Freer (Harper Wave)
Based in London, UK-born Amelia Freer is a nutritional therapist known for changing people’s lives by changing their relationship to food. Not really a cookbook, exactly, this book is packed with pretty pictures, a few recipes and nuggets of food wisdom—“Make fat your friend and sugar your enemy”—that will alter unhealthy habits and jumpstart you back to health.
Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook by Dana Velden (Rodale)
Written by a Zen priest who lived and studied at the San Francisco Zen Center for 15 years, this unique and beautiful book teaches us not only how to cook simple and flavorful dishes like Sauteed Tiny Turnips and Their Greens and a wicked good Bolognese Sauce, but it shares wisdom on how to be fully present while preparing and enjoying food.
Clean Green Eats by Candice Kumai (Harper Wave)
This chef and healthy-living expert grew up on fresh California produce and learned how to cook from her Japanese mother. Her recipes are wholesome, delicious, interesting and irresistible. Try the Roasted Kabocha Squash and Quinoa Soup, Pumpkin Mochi Tea Cake, Pork Ramen and Wasabi-Spiced Cashews, to name just a few!
Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore (Ten Speed Press)
For those who prefer to detox with real food, nutritionist Megan Gilmore offers up a range of satisfying recipes designed to be easy on the gut and beat bloating. She also tells you how to stock your detox pantry, along with a healthy food-combining cheat sheet.
The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples by Miyoko Schinner
(Ten Speed Press)
For anyone who wants to learn how to get down to basics and create your own vegan yogurt, butter, cheese, condiments (mustard, mayo, dressing), veggie burgers, soup stocks and more, renowned vegan chef Miyoko Schinner’s recipes are friendly and easy to follow, but most of all, they are delicious!
Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest by Blaine Wetzel and Joe Ray (Running Press)
Chef Blaine Wetzel, winner of the James Beard Rising Star Award in 2014, went from cooking at Noma, in Copenhagen, considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world, to owning and operating The Willows Inn, on a tiny island off the coast of Washington state, where he is inspired by wild ingredients from the Pacific Northwest: mushrooms, juniper berries, tiny squid. This book offers insight into a celebration of food inspired by local landscape.
Nom Yourself by Mary Mattern (Avery Books)
A young chef based in NYC, Mary Mattern dishes up easy and delicious recipes for vegan comfort foods, and you will want to try them all. With a foreword by Chef Chad Sarno, coauthor of Crazy Sexy Kitchen.
Calling All Chocoholics
If chocolate is one of your favorite food groups, as it is mine, you will want to know about Chococurb, an impeccably curated monthly subscription box created to help you discover—and enjoy!—some of the world’s best chocolate.
Created by Seattle-based chocolate-lovers Roger Ling and Kamran Amir Ali, many of the selections (Marou Dark Chocolate from Saigon; Pacari Andean Blueberry from Ecuador; and U.S. favorites Taza Coconut Crunch and Theo Ginger Dark Chocolate, to name a few) are Fair Trade and Non-GMO Project Verified, and everything we’ve tried is absolutely delicious! chococurb.com
I don’t know if Tio Gazpacho Founder Austin Allen will achieve his goal of world domination for gazpacho—he wants to make it “the new hummus”—but I will say it is pretty darn convenient to reach into the fridge and pull out a bottle, for a quick lunch or snack. Even in cold weather, gazpacho is quite refreshing, and healthy, of course.
Tio comes in three flavors—Gazpacho Clásico (vine-ripened tomato, green pepper and cucumber), Gazpacho Verde (kale, spinach, avocado and mint) and Gazpacho de Sol (yellow tomato, yellow pepper and carrot). It’s USDA-certified organic, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-, dairy-, soy- and preservative-free. tiogazpacho.com