And Cook!

I read cookbooks like most people read novels. I cook from inspiration, using local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible, and I don’t always follow recipes to the letter. Still, there are some cookbooks that are always on my kitchen counter, splattered with oil stains and flour and goodness know what else, and looking very well-loved. Most of the books mentioned here travel with us, on family vacations, when we we stay in places where I know I will have a kitchen. I cannot live without them.

Okay, okay…I know…It’s a bit of a joke, and can be a little (or very) pricey, but I have to say that my new favourite cookbook for heathy eating, especially for gluten-free/dairy-free recipes that taste good, is It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. And while I am bucking the “Let’s Trash Gwyneth” trend, I also love My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth’s first cook book. I use it often when I’m entertaining, and people LOVE the food. You can’t beat that.

For non-Gwyneth options, my all-time favourites are:

Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and also her TV show, when  it was on, had fantastic recipes. Chicken and Forty Cloves of Garlic, for example, has become a mainstay…trust me, it’s not as deadly as it sounds!

Whitewater Cooks at Home, from the well-known ski hill in Nelson, BC. Try the prawns wrapped in basil and proscuitto, covered in Panko, chilled overnight, and then seared, or Marni’s Roasted Corn. You can thank me later.

Jamie Oliver, almost anything, but Jamie’s Italy is my favourite. Hunter’s Chicken Stew…yum! And there is a Tuna dish I will post soon. I can’t remember the name right now, but it is fantastic.

I also OFTEN refer to Martha Stewart Online for the basics, or for simplified versions of the classics. Her Caesar Salad 101, for example, is fail-proof. I always taste before dressing the greens just to ensure balance, but it is a great place to start. Also, her Bouef Bourgiunon with Roasted Mushrooms and Pearl Onions is almost as good as Julia Child’s (so close!) and takes about 1/8 of the time. Believe me, Martha is famous for a reason.

For baking, I love:

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The Lavender Cupcakes are outstanding; the Pecan Pie and Mud Pie are dead simple are delicious!

Hello, Cupcake!, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Try the Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes for starters (but don’t overcook them or they get dry!). You’re welcome. :)

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