Martha Stewart and her extraordinary lifestyle conglomerate continue to influence the way we cook, entertain, garden, decorate and get married. In Martha’s American Food, the indomitable Ms. Stewart offers her classic take, tweaked in Martha-esque style, on the American classics that define our cuisine as a whole and that celebrate our regional diversity. She’s selected 190 recipes for satisfying All-American stalwarts and local favorites from five distinct parts of the country. Almost every dish, from Philadelphia Cheesesteak to Louisiana Bread Pudding, has its own fascinating foodie backstory. It’s a treat to have all these American pleasures in one colorful, carefully crafted collection.

DIVINE DESSERTS
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
, the title of Alice Medrich’s latest serenade to sweets, is definitely not an oxymoron. To prove that desserts can be delicious, sophisticated, luxurious, even decadent, without being complicated, she offers an array of forgiving, flexible, fabulously flavorful recipes, doable when time is short and skills are not professionally honed. With her unique blend of thoroughness, know-how and charm, Alice shows you how to dress up purchased ice cream, turn all manner of fruits into beguiling sweet endings and make creamy-dreamy puddings. Using her crumb crusts and melted butter press-in dough will avoid “pastry panic,” and her one-bowl and food processor approach to cakes will make you a better, stress-free baker.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Ree Drummond, the “accidental country girl” who traded her black heels for tractor wheels and found love, family and fame as a blogger, Food Network star and best-selling author, is back in the saddle again with The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier. This fabulous follow-up to her first cookbook is brimming with gorgeous, super-supportive step-by-step photographs and more than 100 recipes for soups, starters, sides and sweets, plus great ideas for breakfast, lunch and supper. Ree’s breezy, easy style informs these simple-but-scrumptious dishes, like her tried-and-true Cowboy Quiche (yes, real men DO eat quiche), light, lively Gazpacho topped with grilled shrimp, Spicy Dr Pepper Pulled Pork, Whiskey-Glazed Carrots and an outstanding Tres Leches Cake. Most of us can’t move to a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and marry the “Marlboro Man,” but at least we can cook his favorites for our own favorite partners and reap the frontier benefits.

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