Books Worth Buying: August’s Best Food and Drink Releases
The monthly guide to our favorite new cookbook releases
We get dozens of cookbooks each week at SAVEUR, and every month we share our favorite new releases—books that, through one avenue of greatness or another, have earned a place on our over-stuffed shelves. The best August releases inspired us to make the most of the last days of summer, from root-to-stalk cooking techniques for end of season farmers’ market finds to a collection of recipes to accompany American craft beers—perfect for a Labor Day bash.
by Tara Duggan
It’s not very often a cookbook fundamentally changes the way I approach food, but Tara Duggan’s Root-to-Stalk Cooking did just that. “Forty percent of all food produced worldwide is wasted,” writes Duggan, a San Francisco Chronicle staffer, and in teaching readers how to cook with stems, fronds and leaves—all the parts of the vegetable that usually go right into the trash—she aims to be part of the food-waste solution. Carrot tops become the base of an Italian-style salsa verde, and apple peels are used to infuse bourbon. My favorite recipe was for Swiss chard stalk hummus: the stalks are chopped and boiled until tender, then puréed with garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon and salt. I was skeptical. Hummus sans chickpeas? Then I tasted the smooth, luxurious spread—and found myself eating the earthy, tangy, garlicky, nutty stuff with a spoon, straight from the food processor. —Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
Available August 13 from Ten Speed Press; $22.
Buy_Root-to-Stalk Cooking on Amazon.com_
by Mary Karlin
Fermentation, that delicate and mysterious space between fresh and rotten, is like magic. With a little time and patience, the most inconspicuous ingredients—cabbage, apples, milk, grains—turn into wonderful pickles, cheeses, sprouts, vinegars and chutneys. Food comes to life, bursting with flavor, and as you follow the foolproof recipes in Mary Karlin’s most recent book, you’ll see the transformation happen in your own kitchen. Mastering Fermentation is a beautiful, straightforward guide to the secrets behind fermented foods, with clear, step-by-step recipes to make everything from plum vinegar to duck prosciutto. In the span of a week, I witnessed napa cabbage become tender, fragrant Kimchi; asparagus transform into salty, earthy pickles after burying it in a mix of wheat bran, water, miso and beer; and chickpeas slowly sprout in the bottom of a mason jar. Like the food that springs from its pages, Mastering Fermentation feels vibrantly alive. —Dominique Lemoine
Available August 27 from Ten Speed; $29.99.
Buy_Mastering Fermentation on Amazon.com_
by Richard Bertinet
Richard Bertinet, who runs the acclaimed cooking school, Bertinet Kitchen, in Bath, England, offers an essential primer to pastry-making with his latest book, Pastry: A Master Class For Everyone. It’s the kind of introduction to pastry that I wish someone had given me long ago, so I might have avoided all the tart- and pie-crust disasters that have plagued my kitchen over the years. The book opens with lessons on how to make four basic types of pastry—salted, sweet, puff pastry, and choux—followed by chapters with recipes that build on these basic techniques. He avoids the usual baking-recipe hazards by providing measurements in weight, not volume, and illustrates each step of the pastry-making process with photographs to keep the novice pastry-maker on track. The recipes, ranging from savories like chicken and tarragon tarts and pork pies to beautiful fruit tarts of peaches poached in rosemary syrup with almond cream and fresh apricots atop puff pastry—were well worth the effort, and left me daydreaming about which pastry I’ll conquer next. —Karen Shimizu
Available August 20 from Chronicle Books; $30.
Buy_Pastry: A Master Class for Everyone on Amazon.com_
by John Holl
With craft breweries popping up all over the United States, it seems only appropriate that there be a cookbook of complementary foods to enjoy with these nuanced, flavorful beers—after visiting over 900 breweries around the world and gathering recipes along the way, John Holl has given beer drinkers just that. Organized by course and type of fare, the recipes range from simple sandwiches and burgers to loftier dishes such as saison and clementine cornish game hens with roasted vegetables. I love that many incorporate craft brews into their ingredients, but even better are Holl’s thoughtful and specific pairing suggestions for every dish, such as Rhode Island clam chowder with an ale brewed with honey, like Rapscallion Honey or Big Sky Summer Honey Ale, or scotch eggs with a dry Irish stout. His suggestions are so enticing that you might find yourself inspired to host a dinner party with elevated beer pairings to match every course. Each recipe also offers something to talk about over dinner, with stories and historic tidbits about the breweries where each was developed. Finally, a cookbook made for beer geeks! —Helen Yin
Available August 27 from Storey Publishing; $19.95.
Buy_The American Craft Beer Cookbook on Amazon.com_
by Joe Yonan
As a single girl, when I’m not cooking for a group, which, in reality, is most days, I find myself struggling to scale down recipes to yield one serving. I awkwardly attempt to measure out ⅝ of an egg, end up eating the same casserole for five-days straight, or, worst of all, find my fridge full of wilted vegetables. Joe Yonan’s latest cookbook manages to tackle all these problems with appealing vegetarian recipes designed for one, such as Fusilli with Corn Sauce, a filling, flavorful weeknight dinner with a portion size so generous that with the addition of a green salad it easily could serve two. Yonan, the food editor of the Washington Post and practicing vegetarian, offers readers simple, unexpected flavor combinations that pack a memorable punch, with dishes that range from an elegant sweet potato galette layered with tender mushrooms, nutty Gruyère, and hearty kale, to a rustic bean soup with poblano peppers and earthy cinnamon-dusted croutons. This book has seriously upgraded my weeknight meals. —Khushbu Shah
Available August 6 from Ten Speed Press; $24.99.
Buy_Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook on Amazon.com_