An active player in the farm-to-­table renaissance who spent 13 years at Chez Panisse, professional cook and baker David Lebovitz packed up a few treasured items and moved to Paris, where he’s lived for the past decade. A wonderful storyteller and master recipe writer, Lebovitz captures the essence of his Parisian years in his scrumptiously illustrated My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories. These 10 years have seen big changes in the Paris food scene, where a talented band of younger chefs are recasting French cuisine, looking to its humbler roots while embracing food from around the world. Always influenced by where he lives, the 100 recipes Lebovitz gives us here celebrate the exciting food scene in today’s Paris: Green Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade; a no-muss-no-fuss Counterfeit Duck Confit; Baked Eggs with Kale and Smoked Salmon; a savory Butternut Squash Crumble; and a Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse that will leave you speechless with delight.

DEEP IN THE HEART
Texas cookbooks are proliferating like zucchini in August. I’m not sure why, but I am sure that Dean Fearing’s The Texas Food Bible is among the most elegantly illustrated and accomplished. Fearing—the award-winning, CIA-recognized “Pioneer of American Cuisine,” who was chef at the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek for 20 years before opening Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas—knows his way around fine cooking and Texas culinary tradition. So, you get just the right amount of both here. He starts out with a tour of the Texas Pantry, with recipes for the sauces, salsas and gravies, dressings (oh, that Smoked Chile Aioli), vinaigrettes, spice mixes, pickles and chutneys. Then come his personal favorites, from Texas Caviar on Navajo Fry Bread, Cowboy Shrimp on Jalapeño Grits, Panhandle Vegetable Stew and Fearing’s own take on dishes from Texas-Style Chili to Banana Pudding with Caramelized Apple Fritters. And with Fearing’s tips on cooking with smoke and grilling, your Smoked Brisket and Deep-in-the-Heart-of-Texas Barbecue Chicken will win you custom-made boots and a Stetson of your own.

TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Steven Raichlen, America’s grilling guru, is also a man for all culinary seasons. And he wants his male buddies out there to follow his lead. Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys is his MANual and MANifesto, the one cookbook that the male of the species needs to achieve cooking literacy and the requisite practical savvy. With step-by-step instructions and photos, Raichlen teaches guys (OK, gals can sneak a peek) to prepare great-­tasting food for themselves, their partners, their family and friends, and how to choreograph memorable meals from shopping to cleanup.

The more than 300 fabulous recipes range from a golden Mile-High Pancake to Peruvian Ceviche, a classic Carbonnade de Boeuf, Soba with Spicy Peanut Sauce and a super-sophisticated Dark and Stormy Float. Raichlen’s students will learn to shuck oysters, use a blowtorch on oatmeal or salmon, garnish caviar, make Crispy Kale, truss a chicken, roast a leg of lamb, carve a turkey and shake a martini. A perfect Father’s Day, graduation or birthday gift, and a great way to make any guy man enough to forget takeout and take on the kitchen.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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