Katy Sparks is one of those wonderfully imaginative cookbook authors whose enthusiasm virtually vibrates from the page. Katy has cooked for spectacular restaurants and truly knows how to dazzle dazzle-seeking customers. But in her first cookbook, Sparks in the Kitchen, Katy's goal is to share the immense pleasure she takes in cooking at home. She knows that many cookbooks made up of restaurant recipes can be daunting and difficult and very expensive without a legion of line cooks and sous chefs. So, these recipes, though inspired by her professional pyrotechnics, are geared for home cooks who want to sprinkle their repertoire with some of Sparks' sparkle. You can start with one of Katy's small dishes: Homemade Gravlax is a sure winner, flavored with hot pepper, orange zest and juniper, with lots of options for the leftovers, if there are any. Soups, like Creamy Fennel with Mussels, Salmon and Shrimp, and sprightly salads continue to whet the appetite, while main dishes are truly main events, from Pancetta-Wrapped Duck Breast, Brined Pork Roast Wild Boar Style and Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Eggplant Leaves to monkfish with sausage-spiked cassoulet beans. Save room for the innovative veggies and savory condiments that can turn ordinary meals into special occasions and desserts that provide maximum impact with minimal prep.

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