Being a design and food loving girl, a good-looking cookbook makes me feel all warm inside. I may not ever get to making the recipes, (I’ll leave that to The Tall Guy), but drooling over beautifully shot images of everything from the step-by-step to the final product is a hobby of mine. Below are some of mine and The Tall Guy’s favorites. You will definitely want to put them on your Christmas list:)
The Meatball Shop Cookbook
by Dave Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Guys) with Lauren Deen
This is a staple in our kitchen, and was especially inspiring during our meatball competition preparation last year. Not only does it have about 30 different meatball recipes that utilize every meat you can imagine (beef, pork, venison, lamb, rabbit, goat, veal to name a few) as well as non-meats (lentil/veggie mixture, crab, salmon, whitefish), it gives you recipes and ideas for a complete meal. The book includes chapters on sauces and their recommended meatball pairings, sides like seasonal risottos and creamy polenta, and creative takes on ‘veg’ and salad options. Lastly is the Sweets section, where they tell you straight out “We offer only one dessert, because c’mon, is there really anything better than an ice-cream sandwich?” Uh, agreed. Therefore, the Sweet section is full of cookie and ice-cream recipes. OK with me:)
A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen
By Hugh Acheson
This one is on mine and The Tall Guy’s Christmas list. With our love for all things Southern AND chef Hugh Acheson (2002 Food & Wine Best New Chef, Top Chef Masters contestant and Top Chef judge), it has to be good. I love the addition of Hugh’s handwritten notes and sketches on the recipe pages. Makes it feel like he wrote in your very own cookbook! The book has lots of Southern favorites like Boiled Peanuts and Pimento Cheese, along with some more adventurous dishes (i.e. I’m sure they’re delicious but will not be testing out) like Crisp Veal Sweetbreads.
The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up: Grilling, Tailgating, Picnicking, and More
by Jamie Deen, Bobby Deen, and Melissa Clark
People can say what they want about Butter Queen Paula Deen, but I just adore her and her family. They make delicious, down-home comfort food and have fun doing it, especially her sons. The thing we love about this book is that the recipes are simple. There aren’t any ingredients you’ll have to go to a specialty store for, or spend hours searching for because even people working at the store don’t know what they are. The boys split the book up into four sections, themed by where you’ll be cooking: On the Grill (your backyard/kitchen), On the Field (tailgating), On the Blanket (picnic-friendly), On the Beach (seafood and “Seaside Sippers”). Our favorite is in the On the Blanket section, the Ham and Chutney Hungry Brothers Biscuits. We made them for our housewarming party and someone commented how complicated they sounded to make. But I put them at ease when I told them the lovely Deen Brothers have you buy refrigerated buttermilk biscuits AND the chutney. My kind of boys.
Time for us to start prepping for the upcoming holiday. There are lasagnas to be made and cupcakes to frost. What are you cooking for Christmas?