Who's on the nice list this year?
Psst! Guess what? It's time to start your holiday shopping. NO, it's NOT too soon. Start now and


Cookbooks for Giving: Make Your List, Check it Twice

Who's on the nice list this year?
Psst! Guess what? It's time to start your holiday shopping. NO, it's NOT too soon. Start now and you'll be thankful when the next snowpoclypse hits and snows you in. If there's a cook on your shopping list, we have just the thing for them. A cookbook. Or twenty. We'll be featuring a ton of books in the next couple of weeks here at Cooking the Books. Almost all are from local authors, so you can give a great gift while supporting some of our city's outstanding chefs and authors.

On Wednesday, Dec. 1 there's a Cookbook Social at the Palace Ballroom from 4-7 pm. $20 gets you a glass of wine and samples of dishes by 13 cookbook authors. Books (and more booze) will also be on sale. Buy tickets in advance by contacting Jessica Moore at (206)448.2001 or email at

Today, we have four books we think are good for someone on your gift list...

Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen (by Amy Pennington, $19.95)

What this book lacks in size it makes up for in it's ability to inspire. It's down-to-earth enough for frugal cooks, yet includes seemingly indulgent recipes for Pavlova, Onion & Thyme Tart, Preserved Lemons, and Brandied Cherries.

Author Amy Pennington aims to help readers stock their pantries well so they can add more nutritious food to their meals. Her recipes maximize pantry staples, reduce waste in the kitchen and save money and time in the process. As a gardener and owner of GoGo Green Garden, Pennington is also passionate about edible plants and includes chapters on the Pantry Garden and Small-Batch Preserving.

In addition to attending the "Cookbook Social," Amy is also teaming up with Slow Food Seattle for an "Edible Gifts" class on Thursday December 2nd from 6-8pm. $25 includes wine and light snacks, a copy of the book and a take-home gift. Tickets at Brown Paper Tickets.

Give: This would be a great gift for young couples, DIYers, frugal cooks, or as a housewarming gift.

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Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook (by by Becky Selengut, Jen Sayers Bajger, James Darcy, and Jennifer Ogle, $19.95)

This next book is in part a guide to eating locally and seasonally, and part reference book. Many of the recipe headnotes include interesting information about our state's history, and stories about farmers and crops.

The recipes illustrate - in both words and full-page photographs - some of the best of what Washington has to offer. Divided into chapters by season, there are recipes for everything from Panko-Crusted Spot Prawns and Hazelnut Roasted Pork with Pear Cider to Braised Kale Crostini and Plum Clafoutis.

Look for co-author Becky Selengut's next book, Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast in May 2011.

Give: This book is a must-have for recent transplants to Washington, locavores or anyone interested in the history and stories behind our local food.

The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour (by Kim O'Donnel, $18.95)

Kim O'Donnel approaches the recipes in her meatless cookbook in a refreshing way. It's as if she's saying, "Look, I love meat and think most vegetarian recipes suck. So, as a meat lover I am going to make these the meatiest, most flavorful recipes around."

As an insatiable carnivore, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this cookbook. O'Donnel doesn't skimp on texture or spices, and has created recipes that are filling and delicious. Meatless versions of Cassoulet and Shepherd's Pie will satisfy cravings for meaty favorites, but recipes for roasted cauliflower or potatoes mashed with kale will inspire you to add more veggies to your cooking repertoire.

Give: Vegetarians - even die-hards - are likely to learn something from this book; or carnivores - who may be even more die-hard - may find it easier to cut back on their meat consumption.


Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home (by Lara Ferroni, $16.95)

Doughnuts are often thought of as an original American creation. In addition to classic American doughnut recipes however, author and photographer Lara Ferroni introduces us to international versions such as Malasadas, Sopapillas, Loukoumades, and Picarones.

This book includes recipes for baked and fried doughnuts, as well as variations for vegan and gluten-free doughnuts. Ferroni includes interesting flavor combinations such as s'mores, peanut butter & jelly and margarita - complete with a tequila glaze sprinkled with salt. There are also doughnut shop favorites like crullers, bavarian cream, chocolate-glazed and and the latest craze - maple bacon.

Give: Bakers, dougnut lovers and stoners.

Read Part II of this week's Cooking the Books, and five more recommended cookbooks.

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