F&W Recommends: 6 Great Holiday Cookbooks

The Shun Lee Cookbook
by Michael Tong

We love it when a restaurant successfully translates its recipes for home cooks, and these traditional recipes, like kung pao shrimp and sweet-and-sour pork, taste just like you’re at the restaurant. Plus, they are incredibly doable. There’s also a really useful section on the Chinese pantry, with information on unusual produce, preserved and dried ingredients, condiments and spices.
Perfect gift for: the Asian-food lover who wants to make their favorite take-out dishes at home.

Isabel’s Cantina
by Isabel Cruz

Isabel Cruz owns five Latin restaurants on the West Coast. In this cookbook, her first, she shares recipes for some of the most popular menu items, plus some of her personal favorites from home. We loved the simplicity of these vibrant recipes, many of which include a little bit of Thai or Japanese inspiration. Our favorites: ceviche made with tuna, serrano chiles and wasabi powder; and turkey albóndigas (meatballs) in a Latin-flavored soup.
Perfect gift for: the adventurous cook who appreciates simple cooking.

Cooking with Shelburne Farms
by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli

This book is a celebration of Shelburne Farms, a large farm and inn in Vermont. The recipes—from Rick Gencarelli, the chef at the inn—are all inspired by ingredients that represent Vermont’s food heritage. We loved the rustic, everyday feel of dishes like maple-glazed ribs and ale-braised kielbasa with sauerkraut. Plus, the book includes inspiring profiles of local farmers.
Perfect gift for: the weekend cook who loves all-American food.

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
by Jill O’Connor

The recipes in this small, cute book are exactly what the title promises—and therefore everything a dessert should be! The photographs are appealing and the recipes fun and simple. We absolutely adored the “All-Grown-Up S’mores” and the “Not-So-Angelic Angel Pie.”
Perfect gift for: a playful baker who likes whimsical desserts.

Great Bar Food at Home
by Kate Heyhoe

Inspired by the bar-food trend in restaurants, people are now interested in making the same kind of dishes at home. We are really keen on this cookbook. The recipes are spot-on and easy to make, like little corn-bread kisses (mini corn-bread muffins filled with goat cheese).
Perfect gift for: people who like to entertain during the holiday season.

Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More
by Carole Walter

Instead of doing a traditional dessert-baking book, Carole Walter’s latest covers all kinds of breakfast treats. Most are equally delicious for any time of day, like strudels, scones, coffee cakes and sticky buns (of course). She includes some fun, updated twists on classics, like rhubarb upside-down muffins.
Perfect gift for: a baker with a library full of dessert books who might like something a little different.

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