Happy October! One of my favorite things about fall is getting into the kitchen and cooking seasonal recipes. Using ingredients such as apples, pears, pumpkin, ginger, molasses, butternut squash and fresh sage is my idea of heaven. There are always fabulous new cookbook releases at this time of the year. Here are the ones I am most excited about.
The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Clare Ptak
I started following Violet Bakery on instagram and was enchanted by its old-fashioned baked goods as well as tantalizing photos. I learned that the founder is Claire Ptak, a California girl who used to work at Chez Panisse. She has also worked as a food stylist for Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and others. That sounded like a guarantee her book would be beautiful! I just bought it and I was right. It is truly a little piece of heaven for those of us who love to bake and view the kitchen as the heart of the home. The recipe I am most excited to try is her ginger molasses cake!
My Kitchen Year, 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl understands the restorative powers of the kitchen. In fact, that is what her new book is about. It also includes a plethora of fabulous recipes. After Conde Nast closed down Gourmet magazine in 2009, its editor in chief Ruth Reichel floundered for a while. She really only began to heal when she started cooking in her Berkshire country kitchen. This book tells the story of that cooking and healing year, season by season. The recipes look wonderful and her story is fascinating. It begins with this: "Mysterious, misty morning. Crows wheeling, cawing. Storm is on the way. Coffee black. Eggs fried. Toast burnt. Gourmet's over. What now?" During that year of cooking she learned that the secret to life is finding joy in ordinary things.
Simply Nigella, Feel Good Food by Nigella Lawson
She writes, "How do you find a way of incorporating all the different demands that are placed on you in life and still interact with food in a way not just to solve a problem but can actually create joy. So it's finding the quickest, easiest route to a fantastic supper at the end of a long working day or making it easy to invite friends over without it becoming a stress-inducing nightmare."
The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme
Another instrgrammer I follow is Adrianna Adarme, author of the blog A Cozy Kitchen. Her photos have me lusting after her cozy version of life. And now she has a book, The Year of Cozy. The holidays always bring out the nesting instinct in me and the idea of a "year of cozy" sounds pretty good right now. I haven't gotten her book yet, but from what I have read it seems to hit all the right notes for domestic bliss. As she writes on her blog, "The book is really about being happy. I cook and create because nothing makes me happier. And I firmly believe that this is the reason you probably do it, too. These recipes are meant to bring sparks of joy in the midst of our mundane and sometimes challenging lives. We can't always control the larger things in life, like our jobs and relationships and family problems, but we can control how we spend our Saturday morning. This book is about living with a bit of intention."
Maple by Katie Webster
And, finally, any cookbook based on maple syrup will win me over since I am a New Englander at heart. This one gives us the history of maple syrup as well as 100 sweet and savory recipes featuring this luscious ingredient. The author Katie Webster is a food stylist from Vermont and knows a thing or two about ways to use maple syrup in the kitchen. I have read that two of the best recipes are the maple and Meyer lemon whiskey sour and a German potato salad made with maple syrup.
I would say that all of these cookbooks are guaranteed to bring "sparks of joy" to the holiday season!