A love song to the coconut. Meredith Baird is a creative, informed, inspiring chef and her range with one ingredient, the coconut, is profound. She covers sweets and savory and presents healthy and beautiful meals to satisfy any craving. I happily keep a bowl of her Ceviche in the fridge all summer long.
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen I love everything that Amy Chaplin does. From her days at Angelika Kitchen to her plant-based blog, Coconuts and Quinoa, I’m constantly drawn to her palate and recipes. Particularly her desserts. This is a great book for when you want a showstopper to end your dinner party with. Your guests will thank you.
I Am Grateful Since I can’t get to Gratitude as often as I’d like, this is the next best thing. Cindy and I love (and live) on the I Am Whole Bowl when we’re on the West Coast and are thrilled we can recreate our favorite dish when we’re back home.
The Zuni Café Cookbook I learned how to cook from reading this book. Judy (RIP) taught me that food is art and is meant to be shared with others. And yourself. I can’t count the number of times I’ve happily made her signature Roast Chicken and Bread Salad (it was our Sunday night dinner for years). And with the recipe logging in at over three pages, it’s truly a labor of love and time. One that I always enjoyed and was always worth it. Her approach to food was passionate, contagious and intelligent and I always come back to her. A masterpiece in food literature.
Living and Eating The minimalist architect, John Pawson, is THE master of a pared down environment. And although I’m a maximalist at heart, his approach is one that I find myself referring back to constantly. Especially in the kitchen. Some touchstones from Living and Eating. Buy the best ingredients you can. Don’t overseason. Ask if it’s a benefit to the dish or a distraction. Surround yourself with objects, decorative and utilitarian, that make the work of preparing and eating as joyful as possible. Consider this your playbook to an elegant, considered and delicious life. Minimalism at its best.
PS. Make the Wild Mushroom Torte, it’s the perfect dish to bring to a friend with a newborn. Or anyone who’s in need of some love and care.
A Modern Way to Cook A newer addition to my shelf, I’ve recently fallen for the writing and palate of Anna Jones. Having studied under Jamie Oliver (it seems that I LOVE British food writers!), her books are accessible, beautiful and make me want to get in the kitchen. She marries health with flavor and creates meals that are memorable and delicious.
Italian Country Cookbook One of my first cookbooks that revealed the transcendent quality of simple ingredients, prepared with love and care. Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (RIP) paved the way for how so many of us eat today by encouraging us to choose the best and let the ingredients speak for themselves. I still haven’t been to their iconic restaurant, The River Café, in London but it’s on the list. Until then, I’ll keep cooking their classic dishes at home.
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone Deborah Madison is the high priestess of vegetarian cooking and this is her masterpiece. Her palate is broad and diverse and her sensibility is refined yet familiar, making for a classic cookbook that will always have a sweet spot on my shelf.