By Deborah Hartz-Seeley, Special Contributor
Hot Pot (Shabu Shabu)
This Japanese comfort food is vegetables, fish or meat and noodles gently simmered in broth to soul-satisfying goodness. Tadashi Ono, chef-owner of New York’s Matsuri restaurant, celebrates his roots. With food writer Harris Salat, he offers 50 recipes for preparing nabe or hot pot. The book also offers a cultural history of this staple. Read more: Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat
These modern variations are made with fresh flavors, vibrant colors and lovely layers. Some even taste like cocktails. A Pina Colada Pop, anyone? Be a kid again with this book that offers over 40 recipes for frozen treats. Author Krystina Castella has been intrigued by these icy confections since her mother brought home pop molds from a Tupperware party.
Read More: Pops! Icy Treats For Everyone by Krystina Castella
The fondue pot was a favorite wedding and shower gift during the 1970s. It went the garage sale circuit in the 1980s. But with the publication of this small book, the fondue pot is back and filled with flavor. Of course, the book includes a number of cheese and chocolate fondues, but the 50 recipes are flavored with a modern palate. That’s because the book is written by Lenny Rice, head cheesemonger at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, Calif., and Brigid Callinan, a culinary instructor and cookbook author. The traditional cheese fondue would hardly recognize their Goat of the Greek Islands made with Comte and fontina or goat Gouda flavored with trebbiano, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and oregano.
Read More: Fondue by Lenny Rice and Brigid Callinan
Pickling is one of the oldest ways of preserving foods, and chances are that you remember your grandmother pickling tomatoes and cucumbers from her garden. But then came commercially-made jarred pickles and all those skills and wonderful pickled items were lost -- until now. In her book, Linda Ziedrich offers the simple chemistry of pickling, and then goes for flavor. Like the Apple and Onion Pickle that’s seasoned with ginger root, cinnamon, allspice berries, mace and hot red pepper flakes.
Read More: The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich
Film critic Roger Ebert, a self-proclaimed foodie who had to give up eating in 2007 following a fight with cancer, continues to cook. He discovered the joys of the rice cooker since receiving one as a shower present in 1992 and began sharing his esteem for the pot with his followers on his blog where he got comments and recipes from readers and friends in return. Many of these, along with his insights into how and why we cook, are included in this book. As delicious to read as it is to cook from, this book is filled with recipes such as Garlic Chicken on Fragrant Rice, Ya Ya Jambalaya, Chipotle Corn Chowder, Chicken Andouille and Duck Soup as well as Ebert’s favorite, oatmeal.
Read More: The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker by Roger Ebert
A favorite with fans of tuna melts and college kids cooking in their dorm rooms, the toaster oven now has a prestigious chef singing its praises: Eric Ripert of the legendary Le Bernardin in New York, a judge on the reality cooking program Top Chef and a television personality on PBS. In 15 entries/videos on his blog (sponsored in part by Cuisinart who makes toaster ovens), he shares how to get the most from this small electric appliance. According to him, there’s no need to heat up the large oven when the smaller appliance can bake and broil dishes such as Goat Cheese Truffles; Butterflied Garlic Shrimp; Quail Eggs and Smoked Salmon Toasts; and Caramelized Mango with Rum.
The Slow Cooker
Slow cookers, popularized by the brand name Crock-Pot, were big in the 1960s. But when cooks became disenchanted with the results, the pots got tucked away in the garage or basement. But now, Michele Scicolone, author of 14 Italian cookbooks, takes another look at this forgotten appliance. Working with it, she came to realize that the slow cooker is perfect for simmering pasta sauces, soups, stews, risottos and polenta. As if that’s not enough, she discovered she also can prepare seafood and frittatas as well as flourless cakes, puddings and poached fruits in it.
Read More: The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone
Indirect Grilling and Hot Smoking Techniques on the BBQ
Home to hot dogs and hamburgers, the present-day backyard gas grill is as anesthetic as you can get when what you are really doing is cooking over fire. But cook with Adam Perry Lang, and you’ll discover how to add even more flavor to foods cooked over the indirect heat with a drip pan using fruitwood chips. A classically French-trained chef and founder of Daisy May’s BBQ USA in Midtown Manhattan and the new Barbecoa in London, Perry has found his inner cowboy. But you won’t find anything pedestrian from him. In his book, there are recipes for crusty golden Crown Roast of Pork, Butter-Bombed Porterhouse, Flatiron Steaks Marinated in Red Wine, and Short Ribs With Fleur de Sel and Paella replete with shrimp, chorizo and Littleneck clams.
Read More: Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang
When pressure cookers were popularized back in the mid-20th century, gray meat and mushy veggies were common along with explosions that would put the tomato sauce on the ceiling. Perhaps that’s why by the late 1950s, there were 45 million pressure cookers “stowed away in attics and forgotten,” according to Lorna Sass, a culinary historian and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author. Of course, today’s pressure cookers are safer and easier to us, and Sass offers a pressure-cooker primer along with recipes for dishes such as Boeuf en Daube Provencal, Cauliflower with Hot dill Vinaigrette and a host of risottos. She even uses the pressure cooker to make desserts such as Ricotta Cheesecake and Chocolate Kahlua Bread Pudding.
Read More: Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass