I think it might be safe to say that I am officially a collector of cookbooks. I wouldn't say this is as much by choice as it is the fact that my friends and family all know how much I love cooking and so that seems to be the most frequent gift I receive for holidays, Birthdays, etc. I'm not complaining in the slightest, though, because I do love getting them. Each book has its own flare, its own twist on a recipe, and with each new book I get new ideas and new excitement to try something new.
I don't go to many cooking classes and I never went to culinary school, although I did debate about going to culinary school before completing a dietetic internship. Anyway, with that said, I don't have that official training, but what I do have is a history of experience. I've always taken on new recipes, as easy or as difficult as they may have been, with a curious excitement and a small pinch of determination - almost like I was facing a new challenge or mastering a new skill in a sport. Sometimes a recipe would fail and sometimes it would turn out perfectly. But that's the thing about cooking. Just like trying to master a new skill, technique or element in a sport or trying to find the solution to a problem at work, even when you fail or hit a dead end, you still learn from that. You learn what NOT to do and sometimes that is more memorable than when you do something the right way. So, without culinary school in my foreseeable future, I'll continue to cook from my cookbooks, trying new flavors and techniques and learning as I go.
With that said I have received some great cookbooks lately. When I'm not creating my own recipes, I'm learning and drawing inspiration from some of these other books. Today I'm giving you a list of them so that you have a place to turn to if you ever need new ideas or inspiration. I enjoy them for unique reasons. However, I think the common thread is that they contain some fairly simple recipes that don't take a ton of time to prepare and, at the same time, are full of flavor because they use lots of fresh herbs and spices. So here you go, in no particular order,...
My Favorite Go-To Cookbooks During This Season of Life
Love Real Food, by Kathryne Taylor
This has been my most recent cookbook received. I got it from a friend for my Birthday this year and am loving it. Yes, it's all vegetarian recipes, but you can easily add meat or fish to any of the dishes if you would like. If you've been following me on Instagram, you know I've been making a lot of her dishes lately. So far they are full of flavor and packed with great vegetables. Some nights my husband and I will have it vegetarian as is and then the next night we'll incorporate the leftovers with grilled chicken, beef or fish.
Some of my favorites? Her Burrito Bowls, Roasted Cauliflower, Farro & Arugula Salad w/ Lemony Tahini, Guacamole with Toasted Pepitas & Chipotles Sauce
The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte
Another gift from a friend, this has some yummy and unique recipes. I've still got a ways to go, but this book is always in the mix when planning out or getting inspiration for meals in upcoming weeks.
Some of my favorites? Her Green Herb Shrimp with Summer Squash Couscous, Soba Bowls with Tea-Poached Salmon, and Creamy Millet with Roasted Portobellos
The Yellow Table, by Anna Watson Carl
This book is fairly new, but has already become a go-to for repeated recipes or for new ones. Not only am I loving the food, but I also love her story that goes along with it. Still working through this one as well, but so far I have found a few staples from here that I still put on the menu when I know the week will be crazy.
So Easy, by Ellie Krieger
When I tell people about this cookbook it always starts something like, "This got me through grad school". Often I would get home around 7:00 and be able to throw one of her recipes here together in 30 minutes. And they were always so good and seriously so easy! I tested them on my family all the time and had approval from the men and women alike. I think it looks like my most loved cookbook off the shelf - pages torn, sauce splatters, and, of course, lots of hand-written notes about each of the recipes :)
Some of my favorites? Her Tomatoe Shrimp & Orzo, Roast Tenderloin with Grainy Mustard, Porcini Crusted Filet Mignon (made this filet for Kyle for his birthday and he LOVED it too)
The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger
This was one of the first cookbooks I started using at the beginning of grad school / my dietetic internship. She has some dishes here that I still turn to when entertaining or just cooking for myself and my husband. I've had the book since 2008 and love it even more now that it has all of my notes on pages from meals past - what we loved about a dish and what we would do differently the next time.
Some of my favorites? Her Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce, Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce, Maple Mustard Chicken Thighs.
Cook Like a Pro, by Ina Garten
Ok, so I might be getting ahead of myself here because this cookbook hasn't actually come out yet. However, I LOVE her Cook Like a Pro segment on the Food Network and I'm going to see her on her book tour when she comes to Dallas. I think this is the segment where I found the salmon tacos I make. She keeps things simple and does a lot of explaining in these episodes. I can't wait for this one!
What cookbooks are you currently loving?? I'd love to know! Always looking for new ideas...