What a year for cookbooks! Seems like I feel that way most every year about cookbooks. Not so for fashion, or even food trends (cronut?), but the array of cookbook offerings just never disappoint.
In the world of publishing, there are two seasons: spring and fall. Rose Water & Orange Blossoms was a spring release along with so many other great books. The fall releases have been hugely exciting too, a year of beautiful books perfect for gift giving and growing your own shelf and table.
Here are some of my 2015 favorites, all with their own Middle Eastern spin and flair:
Near and Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, by Heidi Swanson. Everything Heidi touches is gold. Her blog, her shop, her books all carry her calming, beautiful style. This new book was much anticipated and describes her travels, in recipes and photos and words, to Morocco, Japan, Italy, France, and India. Heidi also includes her recipes from home (San Francisco!) and what she eats en route. The Moroccan chapter has our favorite flavors and ingredients, from flower waters to sesame to labneh, all artfully expressed.
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, by Michael Solomonov. When I ate at Chef Michael’s restaurant Zahav in Philly during the photo shoot for my book, I was captivated. His food is so incredibly good. His hummus is of the highest order (we talked about it for this), and the book dedicates pages to it. Recipes here will excite anyone who loves to cook our Middle Eastern way.
Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grains for Living Well, by Maria Speck. Such a special book that teaches us the pleasures of cooking (and baking!) with the vast array of whole grains available to us—as Lebanese lovers of bulgur and rice, we’re right at home here. Maria, whose background is Greek, weaves wonderful Mediterranean cooking throughout the book. Such a thoughtful array of recipes for busy days, and others for when we have more time and for holidays.
Yogurt Culture: A Global Look at How to Make, Bake, Sip and Chill the World’s Creamiest, Healthiest Food, by Cheryl Sternman Rule. I love this book! So many fascinating ways to cook with the yogurts of the world, including our laban and labneh. Cheryl went after her subject with incredible breadth and depth, and gives us the riches from her exploration. She loves yogurt as much as we do, and it led her to bring us all together over at her Team Yogurt. Make yogurt, not war.
Nopi, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully. The creators of Jerusalem, Plenty, and Plenty More deliver another delight of Middle Eastern flavors from Ottolenghi’s London restaurant. The recipes are always unique, using ingredients like sumac and anise and pomegranate. Glorious, mouthwatering photography with pages gilded, and rightly so, with gold.
Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day, by Tara O’Brady. Based on her superb blog Seven Spoons, Tara’s book evolves from her delicious home kitchen with recipe after compelling recipe. I enjoyed being in same company with Tara in a couple of book reviews this year—we have similar approaches, and while her background is English and Indian, her creativity serve us labneh and rose water and za’atar in special ways, as well as curry and chutney and naan. Splendid.
Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh and Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen, by me. How can it not be one of my favorite cookbooks of 2015?! What a treasure to place my own book on the shelf this year (where it doesn’t stay long…I do cook from my own book often!). Please know that I am happy to send you a signed bookplate for your copy of the book, for yourself or for gift giving. Just message me your name and address. Thank you a million thanks for sharing in the Rose Water book joy!
Stay tuned over the next two weeks for special recipes for the holidays!