Combine the ongoing popularity of TV food shows with the ever-popular cookbook, and the result is a boatload of new books by TV chefs. While fans of the shows are bound to love the books, how do you choose which ones you want to purchase for your home library? And what about those who don't watch the shows--are these books still of interest? To shed some light, here's Team Project Foodie's take on some recent publications.
Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne LanzerBeneath the bigger-than-life personality, the boundless energy, and The Hair breathes a genuine rock star chef. Anne Burrell has left me mesmerized on many a Saturday morning, watching her chat nonstop—providing invaluable information all the while—as she turns out her signature rustic-yet-refined specialties, one after another. This book contains 125 of her restaurant-quality recipes geared specifically for home cooks, with Burrell—the consummate cool teacher—guiding the reader through each and every step. I look forward to cooking (and eating) my way through dishes like Grilled Corn, Bacon & Chili Crostini; Whole Wheat Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Broccoli Rabe & Pumpkin Seeds; Rockin' Porchetta with Fall Veggies; Frizzled Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Walnuts; and Maple-Pumpkin Bread Pudding. — Peggy Fallon
Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Cook Like a Rock Star".
Seoultown Kitchen by Debbie LeeRegardless of whether chef Debbie Lee garnered your support as a finalist on the Next Food Network Star, her Korean pub food is sure to get your attention. So much so that almost single-handedly, Lee has poised her Korean pub food as the favored trend of 2012. She's packed the cookbook not only with her easily approachable recipes, but also with luscious full color photos, descriptive stories, and other food-related tidbits. Selected for 2011's 'notable cookbooks' list for the New York Times, Seoultown Kitchen is one to check out if you're looking for some exciting new flavors in the coming year. — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Seoultown Kitchen".
Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie IzardStephanie Izard became a household name when she won the 4th season of Top Chef. There's a lot more to Stephanie than just Top Chef though, including both the restaurants that came before Top Chef and those that came after. And now to bring her cooking into everyone's kitchen is her first cookbook "Girl in the Kitchen". At first glance the cookbook looks like a traditional cookbook; the chapters begin with starters and run through soups, salads, mains, sides, etc. But upon second glance it is clear the cookbook is filled with personality, unique flavor combinations, and some great little tips that really help the home cook become a better chef. Each recipe starts with an interesting headnote about the recipe, the ingredients, or just a story. Don't skip these, they make a great read. The best parts, however, are the flavor combinations and unexpected ingredients such as blueberries with tuna, peanut-pork ragu with halibut or a grape gremolata with braised lamb. — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Girl in the Kitchen".
Lidia's Italy in America by Lidia M.Bastianich and Tanya B. Manuali In her most recent book, Public Television's favorite Italian cooking maven travels the U.S. in search of Italian-American specialties and the stories behind each of them. Part travel guide, part cookbook—with a whole lot of delectable discoveries along the way. The author puts her delicious spin on more than 175 recipes including the Muffaletta Sandwich from New Orleans; Chicago's Deep-Dish Pizza; Crab Cakes from Baltimore; New York's Lobster Fra Diavolo; crab cioppino from San Francisco; and a killer Butter Rum Cake from Providence, Rhode Island. — Peggy Fallon
Recipes to try: 5 viewable recipes from "Lidia’s Italy in America".
Essential Pepin by Jacques PepinJacques Pepin is the king of French cooking. In this latest book, which has a 26-episode companion series on PBS, Jacques shares over 700 of his 'all-time favorite' recipes. Ever the chef/instructor, Jacques includes a searchable DVD that presents all the techniques needed to master those recipes. All combined, Essential Pepin lives up to its name as a complete collection of essentials for anyone who aspires to cook like this legend. — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 5 viewable recipes from "Essential Pépin".
Mexican Made Easy: Everyday Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavor by Marcela Valladolid Valladolid is here to tell you Mexican food doesn't mean greasy tacos and leaden refried beans. Raised in Tijuana, she attended the Los Angeles Culinary Institute and the Ritz Escoffier School in Paris before landing a job at Bon Appetit magazine and eventually a Food Network show. As a single mom, Villadolid understands the importance of practical meals that are fresh, fast, and fun; and made with ingredients that can be found at most well-stocked supermarkets. There's nothing intimidating about this collection of 100 recipes; in fact, most of them are downright doable for weeknight dinners or casual entertaining. Dishes like Skirt Steak Quesadillas; Chicken and Tomatillo Enchilada Gratin; creamy Corn and Poblano Lasagne (made with no-boil noodles); and Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie will tempt you to head south. — Peggy Fallon
Recipes to try: 4 viewable recipes from "Mexican Made Easy Cookbook".
Robin Takes 5 by Robin MillerFans of Quick Fix Meals on the Food Network will find everything they love about the show wrapped into Robin's ninth cookbook, Robin Takes 5. Each of the 500 recipes uses 5 ingredients or less, is 500 calories or less per serving and is aimed at helping you survive the 5pm rush for dinner. Robin's passion for nutrition is apparent in the nutritional summaries that follow each recipe; as is her creativity in using only 5 ingredients for complete dishes. — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Robin Takes 5".
The Neelys' Celebration Cookbook by Pat and Gina NeelyThe Neelys are a Food Network staple known for their unintimidating approach to family-style cooking. In the Neelys' Celebration Cookbook, they apply their down-home flair to various occasions throughout the year. With one chapter for each month, the Neelys' walk you through a year of cooking and eating their way through the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Easter, birthdays and many more celebrations. — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 6 viewable recipes from "The Neelys’ Celebration Cookbook".
Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes by Jamie OliverLast, but certainly not least, is Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes which happens to be my favorite book of the bunch. Jamie takes aim not only at the challenge of getting a quick meal on the table, but also at making this a viable option for all. Oliver claims each of the multi-dish meals in the book can be made in 30 minutes or less. Don't believe it? I certainly had my doubts, but we tested it out and now I"m a believer... — Foodie Pam
Recipes to try: 2 viewable recipes from "Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes".
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.