I've reviewed so many terrific books this year, it's hard to choose just a few for my gift guide. There are plenty of books out there that fall into the "gift" category, they are big, bulky, written by important authors, but I'm only recommending the ones I have used again and again and really love. It's up to you to decide if they are gift-worthy.
Personally I don't need any more coffee table books, no matter how excellent they are. I also don't necessarily need any "how to cook" books, I have plenty already. But if you want recommendations for those, both Cooking by James Peterson and Jamie Oliver's latest book, Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook are excellent for the novice or the expert. Here are my favorite books of the year, and why I chose them:
5 Spices 50 Dishes: Simple Indian Recipes using Five Common Spices
For reminding me that Indian food can be made quickly and without a ton of ingredients I'm not likely to have on hand.
The Breakaway Cook
For introducing me to new techniques, like cooking eggs with yogurt, and ingredients I hadn't used before, such as matcha.
Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts
For reminding me that pastry is truly an art form and not just a craft. Unlike the other books, I am more likely to attempt just one element like a cookie or a sauce or a cake, but regardless of how I end up using it, I am tremendously inspired by it.
Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood
For being my bible for sustainable seafood, I learn and I cook from this book.
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
For being the one-stop vegetarian and vegetable bible. I can't tell you how many times I have already used this book.
Let's Cook Japanese Food!:Everyday Recipes for Home Cooking
For allowing me to recreate some of the delicious food I had in Japan especially a rice filled omelet.
For reintroducing me to great ingredients and how to highlight them in Alice Medrich recipes that always turn out wonderfully.
Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes and Stories from the Market and Farm
For new and cool combinations for using fresh produce such as Chanterelle and Camembert Sandwiches or Pummelo, Fennel and Radish Salad.
Yummy Potatoes: 65 Downright Delicious Recipes
For the love of potatoes. Lots of good ideas here you haven't thought of, really. Gingered Tomato-Curry Potatoes, Greek Lemon Garlic Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes Whipped into a Garlic Frenzy with lots of Melty Cheese. See what I mean? It's like a book of potato porn.
Which were your favorite cookbooks and which ones do you plan on giving this year?