For the last few installments of Cooking the Books , we've focus on local authors' cookbooks. Why? Because there are so darn many good ones,


Local Authors Serve Up a Feast of Cookbooks

For the last few installments of Cooking the Books, we've focus on local authors' cookbooks. Why? Because there are so darn many good ones, that's why. Plus, what with the whole gift-buying frenzy that usually occurs this time of year - there are a whole lot of events happening this month to promote these books.

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Sips & Apps: Classic and Contemporary Recipes for Cocktails and Appetizers (by Kathy Casey, $19.95)

Kathy Casey has taken her years of experience as a chef and applied them to mixology. Her approach combines fresh, seasonal flavors, to create inventive cocktails like the Grapefruit Negroni, Rosemary Lemon Drop, and Pumpkin Spice Hot Toddy. In Sips & Apps, recipes for these cocktails and tips for setting up your home bar, ideas for garnishes and advice for hosting a cocktail party are perfect for the holiday season. In addition to cocktails there are nearly 40 recipes for cocktail-party fare. These "apps" include spiced-up standards such as Chipotle Deviled Eggs and Sicilian Mini Meatballs, as well as other party-friendly finger food like Seared Thai Beef Lettuce Cups and Lamb Sliders.

Give: Cocktail enthusiasts and anyone who likes to entertain and appreciates fresh ideas.

Saturday December 11th from 11am to 7pm, visit Kathy Casey Food Studios in Ballard for the Holiday Extravaganza open house. There will be specialty food products for sale, food samples and book sales and signings by Kathy Casey, Cynthia Nims (Gourmet Game Night) and Lisa Dupar (Fried Chicken & Champagne).

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Northwest Essentials: Cooking with Ingredients That Define a Region's Cuisine (by Greg Atkinson, $24.95)

Atkinson begins this book with the simplest of statements: "Start with the best ingredients and you can't go wrong." Originally published ten years ago, this classic Northwest cookbook has been recently updated and remains a must-have. It focuses on our abundance of local ingredients, with entire chapters dedicated to Mussels & Clams, Hazelnuts, Stone Fruits and classics like Salmon, Apples & Pears and Oysters. Recipes include information, history and advice about using these ingredients, as well as Atkinson's own introduction and subsequent love affair with them. There are recipes for quintessential dishes like Grilled Salmon and Clam Chowder, but also new classics like Hazelnut-Goat Cheese Fritters and Sorrel Soup.

Meet Greg Atkinson for a book signing at Elliott Bay Books on December 14th at 6pm.

Give: Locavores, foragers, new Seattle residents.

The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor (by Jerry Traunfeld, $34.95)

Traunfeld's approach to heightening flavor through the use of herbs, has contributed to his success as a chef - both at The Herbfarm for over 17 years and now at his own restaurant, Poppy. In this cookbook, he guides readers on cultivating their own herb gardens and then how to use those herbs in the kitchen. Some recipes are more elaborate while others, like Herbed Bow-Ties and Tuna, are weeknight-simple. Many recipes, Rhubarb Mint Cobbler among them, have a seasonal focus that will take advantage of what's in your garden or fresh at the farmers market. Others like Black Olive Roast Chicken and Rye-Thyme Cheese Straws can be made and enjoyed all year.

Give: Gardeners with a passion for cooking. Cooks wanting to spice up their kitchen standards.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (by Molly Wizenberg, $25)

Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette, continues to be one of the most popular food blogs. Her book is much like the blog: Part childhood memoir and part reflections on food and cooking. It is also a heartfelt tribute to her late father Burg, a larger-than-life figure that clearly had an impact on her passion for eating. Recipes include family classics like Burg's French Toast, fried in a massive amount of oil that makes it absolutely delicious. There are recipes inspired from Molly's time studying in France like Bouchon au Thon, custardy "corks" baked with tuna and cheese. A Homemade Life also chronicles her romance with now husband (and chef/owner of Delancey), as it blossoms and he finally moves to Seattle.

Give: Young couples, cooks that enjoy comfort food and fans of Orangette.

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