All the Best Cookbooks to Gift in 2018

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November 01, 2018
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Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks, $21

The beloved host of The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, delivers destined-to-be-classics like Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs and Vanilla Brioche Bread Pudding many of which come from favorite chefs and friends she has cooked with over the years. Understanding that a confident host needs more than just recipes, Ina also includes instructions for assembling an inviting bar, plating food to look "totally impressive and professional" and knowing how to tell when your cakes and roasts are perfectly done. For the novice cook there are tips on choosing ingredients, prepping vegetables (don't use a paring knife on cucumbers, she warns) and other smart details that Ina promises will "make flavors sing and presentation pop."

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Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita, $21

Giada De Laurentiis goes back to her roots in this ode to her native Rome. She explores the classic Italian recipes she grew up with and adds her own California and American inflections. Think: Avocado White Bean Dip and smoky Italian Barbecued Shrimp. This is the ultimate no-stress cooking manual for Italian food lovers.

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Michael Symon’s Playing with Fire: BBQ and More from the Grill, Smoker and Fireplace, $20

Barbecue enthusiasts will love the technical illustrations Michael Symon provides in his latest cookbook. He turns restaurant know-how into useful home-cook tips with recipes that don’t overwhelm in number of ingredients or method. Check out the pitmaster profiles of barbecue icons, like Rodney Scott and Pat Bosley, and unexpected recipes, like Michael's Smoked Crown Roast.

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Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, $18

The cool, down-to-earth vibe that makes Joanna Gaines a hero to Fixer Upper fans also defines her relaxed approach to cooking. Yes, there's organic milk and extra-virgin olive oil in her weathered wood and marble kitchen, but you'll also find canned cream of chicken soup and pancake mix among her essentials. From Country Potato Soup with Crumbled Bacon to Almond Chicken Tenderloins, the dishes in the Magnolia Table are chock full of familiar flavors that are easy on the eyes and gentle on the wallet. It's food you could happily live with every day just like Joanna's interiors.

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Martina's Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life, $20

Country singer Martina McBride takes her talents from the stage to the kitchen to deliver more than 150 of her favorite family dishes. For Martina, cooking is all about sharing experiences and celebrating life alongside close friends and family. With her recipes, many of which were passed down from generation to generation, you can cook "outside the lines" and focus on what's really important — creating delicious memories with the ones you love.

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At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking, $24

"Life is complicated; cooking doesn't have to be," declares Nigella Lawson in her eleventh cookbook. Following this dictum, she dispenses with organizing principles like chapters and menus or even a book theme and invites the reader to dive right into more than 100 recipes. Here, Meatballs with Orzo happily cozy up with Mung Bean Dal with Mint; Sweet Potato Tacos follow Couscous with Pine Nuts and Dill. As always, Nigella's desserts are worth the price of admission anyone with a weakness for chocolate and British desserts will be rewarded with recipes like Emergency Brownies and Victorian sponge.

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Pull Up a Chair: Recipes from My Family to Yours, $18

Some may recognize Tiffani Thiessen from her TV roles on Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210, while others may know her as the host of Cooking Channel's Dinner at Tiffani's. With her debut cookbook, Tiffani offers over 100 recipes focused on entertaining friends and family with warmth, passion, and hospitality. From intimate weeknight dinners to menus and decorating tips for a party we're eyeing her Cauliflower "Chorizo" Tacos and Watermelon-Mint Margaritas Tiffani has got you covered!

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Sister Pie: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit, $17

This stunning cookbook showcases the work of Lisa Ludwinski, whose recipes are nothing less than heartfelt. Through the quirky hand-draw illustrations and saturated photos of her staff, customers and beloved city you get a real sense of the women-led, community-focused business Lisa has built in Detroit’s West Village. And then there are the recipes: With surprising flavors like rose, ginger, Concord grape, cardamom and tahini and offerings like Aged Gouda Pie Dough with crystallized bites of salty cheese, these are creations that would intrigue any baker.

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EMILY: The Cookbook, $20

Even if you’ve never eaten at any of Emily and Matthew Hyland’s restaurants, you can appreciate the recipes in this charming book. Any pizza enthusiast will love the detailed list of must-have tools, as well as the Japanese pantry essentials (Kewpie mayonnaise! Bonito flakes!) that have made Emily’s pizzas stand out in a sea of New York slice shops. Bonus: Don’t sleep on the surprisingly thoughtful cocktail section.

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Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook: 200 Deliciously Simple Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker. $21

For the last 2 years, Coco Morante has been fanning the flames of Instant Pot fever as the facilitator of the Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page and author of top-selling The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. In her latest volume, she breaks down the machine's functions and accessories for beginners, and then jumps into 200 recipes even IP pros will find alluring Pumpkin Spice Steel-Cut Oatmeal, Linguine with Clam Sauce and Pork Tinga Tacos to name a few. Charts on grain-to-water ratios and tips on substitutions encourage improvisation once you've mastered the basics. Our favorite part? Coco includes not just prep and cook times for each recipe, but also the time it'll take for the machine to release pressure after cooking. So, you can really sit down to dinner when you planned to.

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How to Feed Yourself: 100 Fast, Cheap, and Reliable Recipes for Cooking When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing, $14

Need a gift for that recent grad in your life who is just doing their best to adult? Look no further. This cookbook from the online food community Spoon University includes recipes using the pantry staples students and young adults are likely to already stock in their fridges we're talking BEC Oatmeal and Empty Peanut Butter Jar Noodles. Filled with guides on stir-frying, making chicken "not bland" and "How to Actually Cook Shrimp," this paperback provides the tips and tools to turn a total novice into a confident cook.

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Healthyish: A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For You) Recipes for Real Life, $20

Recipe developer Lindsay Maitland Hunt set out on a mission to make healthy flexible. The result: a new ethos to live by where diets give way to mostly healthy food sprinkled with a little decadence. Think: Peanut Butter Granola, Bahn Mi Rice Bowls and Single-Serving Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie recipes. Her recipes for breakfast, lunch, snack time and dinner include ingredient and equipment lists that will not daunt.

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Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, $23

Nik Sharma (and his stunning photography) continue the work he started on his blog, A Brown Table, making people reexamine their spice cabinets and assumptions about Indian cooking. His recipes, like Crispy Roasted Cauliflower, Apple Cake and Simple Grilled Pork Chops are sprinkled with cumin, coriander, cardamom and curry leaf in the Sharma way one that pairs familiar preparations with unexpected flavors. Cooks of all levels can benefit from his recipes that teach, inform and explore a world of techniques and flavors without intimidating.

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Let's Eat France! 1,250 Specialty Foods, 375 Iconic Recipes, 350 Topics, and 260 Personalities plus Hundreds of Maps, Charts, Tricks, Tips, and Anecdotes and Everything Else You Want to Know About the Food of France, $31

Francois-Regis Gaudy, French food critic, journalist and radio host surpasses expectations with this monster of a book (it weighs 6 pounds!). Any questions you could possibly have regarding the food of France are answered here. Curious about the types of bread in each region? There's a map for that. What about the traditional candies, cheeses and knives of France's provinces? There are maps for those too. There's even an inventory of all the cows, chickens, pigs and sheep that can be found in the country. Sprinkled with a mix of recipes, fun facts, personality profiles and more, this book is perfect for any Francophile.

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Cravings: Hungry for More, $17

Everyone's favorite supermodel, Instagram personality and hilarious mom, is back with more than 90 new recipes. Whether you're looking for something healthy and light, like the Sesame Salmon Soba Salad, or something comforting and gluttonous, like the King's Hawaiian Pull-Apart Bacon Grilled Cheese, Chrissy Teigen's got you covered. In addition to her genius mash-ups (you're going to see a lot of Pad Thai Carbonara in the future) there's also a section dedicated to Thai recipes inspired by her mom. Loaded with mouth-watering photos and helpful notes, like handy substitutions and how-tos on prepping lemongrass, seeding pomegranates, peeling avocados and toasting seeds, Teigen's book will get you excited to step into the kitchen and get cookin'!

BUY IT: Amazon

Vegan 100: Over 100 Incredible Recipes from Avant-Garde Vegan, $17

Gaz Oakley, also known as the Avant-Garde Vegan, is here to change the minds of all those who think plant-based diets are limiting and boring. With more than 500,000 subscribers, this YouTube sensation has demonstrated to followers all around the world that vegan food can be delicious, vibrant and incredibly adventurous. With colorful and easy-to-prepare dishes like Maple "Pumpkin Pie" Pancakes, Seitan Fillet "Steak" Wellington and New York-Style Baked Coconut & Vanilla "Cheesecake," Gaz's debut cookbook is perfect for new vegans, seasoned vegans and anyone curious about plant-based diets.

BUY IT: Amazon

Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day, $22

Alexander Smalls and JJ Johnson with Veronica Chambers bring the rich flavors and history of the African diaspora to home cooks. Redefining soul food with recipes like Bebop Chicken Chili, Afro-Asian- American Gumbo and Collard Green Salad with Coconut Dressing, these two culinarians mark a culinary path that crisscrosses borders and tells the story of a boundless cuisine.

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Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers, $22

Sometimes the planning of a meal can feel more overwhelming than the actual cooking. To the rescue comes Julia Turshen's beautiful book of 21 menus that cover almost any conceivable occasion from a Red-Checkered Tablecloth Late Saturday Lunch to a Steak House Dinner for Vegetarians. Not only does Turshen provide doable, appealing recipes like Garlicky Shrimp with Tequila + Lime and Whole Wheat Berry Shortcakes, she also includes timelines with make-ahead instructions and (hooray!) clever ideas for transforming the leftovers into dishes that are craveable in their own right. Behind it all is Turshen's inspiring belief in food's ability to connect us to each other and our memories, or, as she so neatly puts it, food "is an effective way of chronicling life."

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Korean Home Cooking: Classic and Modern Recipes, $22

Calling all kimchi and kalbi addicts! Every dish you love from your favorite Korean restaurant is here in this beautiful new book all broken down into accessible recipes with mouth-watering step-by-step photos. Sohui Kim, chef of the popular Brooklyn restaurant Insa, has a can-do approach that puts Haemul Pajeon (seafood pancakes with scallions and chiles) and Dweji Bulgogi (spicy marinated pork butt) within easy reach of the home cook. Helpful primers like how to cut scallions into strips and make egg ribbons plus a pantry that relies heavily on ingredients available at a well-stocked supermarket take the intimidation factor down to zero.

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Israeli Soul: Easy, Essential, Delicious, $23

"This is food that is meant to be cooked and meant to be shared," declare Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook in their big-hearted travel album-cum-cookbook. You’d be a fool to disagree. Dedicated to the country of Solomonov's birth, the book overflows with stories, portraits and bright unstudied photographs of the people, land, and food that inspire the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of Philadelphia's Zahav. And then there are the recipes crispy Chicken Schnitzel, snappy Radish and Zucchini Salad with Mint and Nigella Seeds and a shortcut version of the flaky filled pastry called Borekas. We dare you to resist!

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Coco Cake Land: Cute and Pretty Party Cakes to Bake and Decorate, $16

After successfully battling breast cancer, baking cakes became not only a fun hobby, but a celebration of life for Lyndsay Sung. The self-taught blogger behind the dreamy, wonder-filled blog Coco Cake Land presents the epitome of kawaii in her new cookbook, featuring thirty cakes that fall in the super cute and pretty categories. Lyndsay shows how a simple buttercream frosting can transform a plain cake into an adorable animal, cute cactus, funky pineapple or even a burger. With this book, creating stunning piped flowers, pom-poms and typography from molded white chocolate is within reach no matter your skill level.

BUY IT: Amazon

The New Rules of Coffee: A Modern Guide for Everyone, $11

From the creators of Sprudge.com, the popular online coffee-obsessive site, comes a colorful new guide to all things coffee in the modern world. What it's not: A cookbook full of fun coffee recipes to make at home. What it is: An introduction to everything coffee, from coffee myths, history and tips on how to store, serve, roast and brew a cup of joe, to coffee culture today. There's even an uplifting look into coffee's future. Whether you're a coffee novice still trying to figure out what to order at your local cafe, or a connoisseur aiming to broaden your knowledge, there really is something in this small book for everyone.

BUY IT: Amazon

Bottom of the Pot, $24

In Persian cooking, the crispy rice or tahdig at the bottom of the pot is the prize everyone at the table longs for and gets a piece of. Blogger and author Naz Deravian is just as generous, sharing an abundance of recipes from the green bean and rice dish Loobia Polo ("our equivalent to mac and cheese") to a dinner party-worthy Mahi Shekampor (stuffed branzino), all chock-a-block with make-ahead tips and helpful notes on prep and reheating. Engagingly written and filled with tales of food and family in Rome, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Iran (which Naz left in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution), this is the rare cookbook that is as delightful to read as it is to cook from.

BUY IT: Amazon

Air Fry Every Day: 75 Recipes to Fry, Roast, and Bake Using Your Air Fryer, $14

Golden French fries are just the beginning of what this countertop wonder can turn out, says recipe developer Ben Mims (a frequent FoodNetwork.com contributor). Essentially "a mini convection oven," an air fryer, says Ben, is just as adept at producing tender, yeasty rolls as crackly-skinned chicken wings. And all can be whipped up in less time and with better results than you'd get from a conventional oven, which explains the machine's popularity in dorms, hotels and RVs. Mims' tantalizing recipes for dishes like Chile-Rubbed Rib Eye, Sweet-and-Sour Brussels Sprouts and Gooey "Spoon" Brownies are proof that the rest of us would do well to invest in the gadget too.

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Everyday Dorie, $22

Dorie Greenspan's voice is so intimate and encouraging, it's easy to feel as though the award-winning cook was standing at your elbow cheering you on in the kitchen. ("This is not the time to buy the most expensive smoked salmon you can find; this is the time for scraps and ends," she exhorts in a Salmon Brandade recipe.) Dorie made her name with desserts and knows that clear, detailed prose counts. And though she has a chapter devoted to sweets think Tangerine-Topped Cheesecake, Dark Chocolate Pudding it's the weeknight fare like Oven-Charred Tomato-Stuffed Peppers and Pasta with Cabbage, Winter Squash and Walnuts that make this book the perfect gift for the home cook who is ready to reach beyond simple roast chicken.

BUY IT: Amazon

Ottolenghi Simple, $21

Dinner parties have never been the same since Yotam Ottolenghi burst onto the American scene with his flavor-packed, vegetable-forward recipes in Plenty. Now the lauded London-based chef has set his sights on our weeknight tables with a volume devoted to meals that don't require hours of prep or a passport to gather hard-to-find ingredients. Each of the 140 recipes in this book bears a stamp signifying its simplifying attributes S (short on time), I (ingredients: 10 or fewer), M (make-ahead), and so on. (Yes, the letters add up to SIMPLE.) The result is a mouth-watering mix Zucchini and Ciabatta Frittata, Harissa Beef Sirloin with Pepper and Lemon Sauce, Nutella, Sesame and Hazelnut rolls you will be happy to add to your regular mealtime rotation.

BUY IT: Amazon

Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way, $13

Even before she moved to France, Rebekah Peppler fell in love with the French cocktail ritual a "witching hour between day and night" marked with drinks and nibbles meant to revive the spirit and stimulate the appetite before dinner. These aren't the booze-filled bombs of the American bar, but rather unexpected and delightful combinations of lower-alcohol drinks like the Juillet (St-Germain, dry and sweet vermouth and sparkling wine) and Le Sexe et La Ville (Lillet Rose, lemon, grenadine and Peychaud's bitters) designed to be sipped and savored. Feeling peckish? Let Rebekah's recipes for Sesame Cashews or Mushroom Pate tide you over. For armchair travelers who dream of a trip to Paris, this charming volume of drinks and snacks is the next best thing.

BUY IT: Amazon

A Baker's Year: Twelve Months of Baking and Living the Simple Life at the Smoke Signals Bakery, $14

Deep in the mountains of North Carolina, baker and artist Tara Jensen brings beautiful bread alive. Part cookbook and part memoir, A Baker's Year shares 12 months of personal stories, drawings, photographs and recipes. Her golden, blistered pies, like the squash, coconut cream and sorghum syrup Ghost Pie (generously covered in whipped cream) and fuchsia-tinged beet paint used to stencil double-crust pies (brilliant!) will inspire and make you hungry. And, of course there's bread: with step-by-step how-tos for shaping ploughman loaves and a wonderful grain tutorial, Tara encourages readers to think about bread baking as a practice and allows us to embrace imperfect loaves.

BUY IT: Amazon

SOUL: A Chef's Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes, $24

In his debut cookbook, James Beard nominee and Iron Chef competitor Todd Richards opens our eyes to everything soul food is, was and can be. His recipes are inspired by his family roots, and while there are plenty of classic dishes--Collard Greens with Smoked Ham Hocks is one--we're especially excited by hisvision of the cuisine for the next generation. Sea Urchin with Smoked Tomato Broth and West African Spices, and Popcorn-Crusted Scallops on Corn Porridge with Pickled Baby Corn and Beet Salad are just a few of his mouth-watering reinterpretations that breathe new life into the definition of "soul food."

BUY IT: Amazon

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