When the temperature plummets, Tammy Donroe Inman takes shelter in her toasty kitchen and cooks up a winter storm of desserts. For her, the shorter, darker days mean it’s time to warm up house and hearth with comforting sweets made with Mother Nature’s cold weather bounty. Not into fussy holiday baking and elaborate concoctions, Inman has put together a satisfying collection of cakes, cookies, crisps, curds and compotes, pies and puddings, frostings and fondues, syrups, shortbreads and more in Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home, her debut cookbook. I really like cookbooks that are arranged by ingredients, as this one is. If you come home with a large bag of crispy apples, pretty pears or seasonal citrus like grapefruits, Meyer lemons or kumquats, you can flip to the appropriate chapter and choose from a tempting array of easy-to-follow recipes. Just try a simple, custardy Pear Cranberry Clafouti or an elegant Chocolate Pomegranate Pavlova. We all know about carrot cakes, but Inman introduces us to tempting tubers and roots like Parsnip Spice Cupcakes, Norwegian Potato Crêpes and moist Butternut Squash Cake. It’s a perfect time to sweeten winter with Wintersweet.
In this “New Year, New You” season, many of us think about taking up a meatless diet, or a more meatless diet. If that’s on your resolution list, be sure to take a look at Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite. Author Sarah Copeland says that “this book is here to exalt vegetarianism in pursuit of the delicious, not the dogmatic.” And exalt she does, organizing more than 140 recipes and 60 eat-off-the-page photos into practical categories, from Breakfast & Brunch though Little Meals, Salads and Sides, Platefuls, Meals to Share and more, all with excellent, detailed directions. The dishes Copeland sends our way are vibrant and inviting, with layers of texture and flavor—worth staying home for, whatever kind of ’vore you are. I couldn’t resist the Glazed Winter Vegetable Medley with Chestnuts and Caper Berries, the Roasted Broccoli, Kale, and Chickpeas with Ricotta or the Kimchi Pancakes with Soy Dipping Sauce. Go for it, experiment and feel good about your own health and the health of the planet.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise, two veteran chefs, trendsetters and cookbook authors, boldly call their latest Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors. And it is, but it’s also a joyous celebration of American fusion, that marvelous, melting-pot mélange of all the disparate ingredients, flavors and dishes that successive waves of immigrants have brought to this new culinary world. Start your foray with Avocado, Radish, and Sunflower Seed Dip, with a touch of thyme. Before you serve the Flank Steak Roll-Ups in Pomegranate Marinade with a side of Sweet and Sour Leeks, bring out a bowl of Cuban Whitefish Chowder with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes, and for a finish with a flourish, there’s American Cookie and Berry Trifle with Muscat Sabayon. It’s a new year. Be bold—cook your way through this friendly, chatty book, chock-a-block with fascinating sidebars on ingredients and food history. How fortunate we are to live, cook and eat in this multiethnic country and to have Hoffman and Wise to take us into its exuberant heart.