In this series, food writer, wine lover and cookbook obsessive Kristin Donnelly test drives the most fun and inspiring new books that come across her desk.
Target Audience: Fans of the White on Rice Couple blog. Gardeners. Anyone with a CSA or who shops at farmers’ markets. Flexitarians. People who love personality-driven cookbooks.
Recipe Highlights: Roasted asparagus spring rolls with bacon; habanero chicken tacos with spicy radish salsa; roasted pumpkin ice cream
F&W Digital Food Award Winners Diane Cu and Todd Porter’s first book, Bountiful, is as charming as their blog, the White on Rice Couple. While there have been dozens of fruit-and-vegetable-focused books this year, this one is deeply personal. Cu, a photographer, tells her story about growing up as a Vietnamese immigrant kid and loving cheese-laden American food, explaining why there are recipes for both spring rolls and “sweet onion crack dip” made with loads of cream cheese. Porter, a chef, writes about his upbringing on an Oregon cattle ranch and how he wooed Cu with his food, like corn fritters with aioli.
The recipes in Bountiful are inspired by couple’s lush Southern California garden. Most of them are dead simple—I could make the miso vinaigrette for their cool and savory cucumber–red onion salad with ingredients from my pantry. There are a few fun-sounding projects—I flagged the mixed berry chocolate slab pie, a double-crusted pie made in a half sheet pan, to make next summer. Instead of having a hardcore section on how to garden each type of vegetable, the couple sprinkles tips and stories throughout. One favorite: If you leave beets in the ground too long, they can grow to be huge. They once pulled up a 10-pounder they named Henry.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and co-founder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.