It’s August, y’all. It’s blisteringly and oppressively hot out there. Sure, after many years in other parts of the country where the winters are harsh and unyielding, I can say with some confidence that the summers here in my beloved Texas bother me very little nowadays, because I know the winters will be sublime.
But still, it’s August. It’s blisteringly and oppressively hot, and not even I can summon the desire to stand in front of a hot oven or labor over a hot stove unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s cold soup season, really. And slow cooker season, where the cook can throw a few things into a pot, flip a switch, and then scamper merrily away to swim in the icy waters of natural springs in the hill country…or at least, to nap in more air-conditioned areas of the house.
But the weather will break, friends, I promise. And the fall will drape its honey-colored light over everything, the second growing season will offer us a fresh new array of produce and herbs, and we will all suddenly sigh happily and remember why we live here. The kitchen will beckon to us once again, and we will turn our thoughts to the wonder of new cookbooks.
And lo, so many new cookbooks there will be! This upcoming September is full to bursting with exciting new cookbook titles, and in lieu of a more in depth (and hot-oven-using) post, I am pleased to highlight a mere handful of the wonderful titles ready to hit shelves next month.
Not just for escaping a hot kitchen of course, the slow cooker is a busy cook’s best friend. And what could be better than adding a delightful array of Indian dishes to one’s slow cooker repertoire? My favorite recipe so far is the Whole Black Lentils / Makhni Dal (page 106), which are earthy and spicy, and completely easy to prepare, especially for days where I’ll be coming home late from the bookstore and need to have something delicious and easy already bubbling.
Some people consider cooking to be a laborious affair, which a cornucopia of ingredients and an army’s worth of pots, pans, spoons, and gadgets. And it can be that. But of course, cooking doesn’t have to be this way all the time, and much of the time what we need is an interesting and tasty recipe that can be made quickly, with a limited number of ingredients utilized to maximum effect. Eat is a perfect resource for just this kind of recipe, such as the Roasted Beets and Tomato Spelt, or the Cauliflower-Cheese Baked Potato. It’s the perfect guide for creating simple and easy, yet lively and interesting, meals.
One of the more unusual cookbooks coming our way this fall is Bitter, which not only offers an inquiry into this most challenging of tastes, but also presents an array of equally curious, if not sometimes downright bizarre, recipes. Beer Jello, y’all? How about Pork Chops in Coffee Blackcurrant Sauce with some Tobacco Panna Cotta for dessert? It’s a cookbook full of intriguing “I dare yous” that is bound to ignite the imagination and make for some fascinating dinner parties.
We are Austinites. We know tacos. We love tacos. We breathe tacos. We are tacos. A cookbook full of fresh, delicious, exciting taco recipes? Yes, please. With a worthy tip of the hat to the Austin Breakfast Taco, even, and a bevy of cocktail recipes to boot. I personally can’t wait to try the Lamb Adobotaco with Spice and Orange one of these days.
For those who appreciate fresh, beautifully made pasta, you will not want to miss this beautiful book. From the Flour + Water restaurant in San Francisco, Executive Chef Thomas McNaughton offers detailed instructions for the preparation of handmade pasta in accordance with traditional methods from Italy. Not only full of mouthwatering recipes like Rutabaga Mezzalune with Almond and Caper Brown Butter, Flour + Water also offers an array of stories, history, and stunning photography to accompany the cook ready to tackle fresh pasta made by hand at home.
And there they are – five incredible cookbooks to watch for in September, and that doesn’t even include the two cookbooks I plan to highlight in September itself! But for now, grab a very big glass of your favorite frosty beverage and a bowl of gazpacho, and know that fall is just around the corner.