A great party for us breaks down into three components:
We spend a lot of time curating fun concepts for parties borrowing what from “do’s” we’ve thrown or inspiration from what’s trending right now.
Spring for us is all about renewal and trying things for the first time as we emerge from the emphasis on comfort and warmth that winter brings. By the time Spring rolls around we’re chomping at the bit so to speak to get to the farmers market and work Thai Basil into something.
Here are 5 cookbooks we love right now for a myriad of reasons but chiefly among them is they are full of fun recipes to try on friends and family when it’s still cool enough to turn the oven on during the day but warm enough to eat outside.
Battersby is a tiny TINY restaurant in Brooklyn, New York with an even tinier kitchen, only 4x6!, that churns out truly innovative dishes. The food draws mainly from the traditions of French cuisine but leans into mediterranean and Asian influences.
Some of our favorite dishes are the Crispy Kale salad with Brussel Sprouts, Kohlrabi and Thai dressing. Thai coconut broth with mussels and Bok Choy. Grilled lamb ribs with Japanese eggplant, Pork Tortellini with Dandelion Pesto, and Chocolate Bread Pudding. (Their basic pasta dough recipe is the best we've tried to date).
Apart from the food what we truly love about the cookbook is the way each recipe is broken up into segments, "To Prep" and "To Serve". Since the kitchen is so small every dish needs to be prepared to the point where all you need to do is "finish it". This means that a lot of the work necessary for making the dish can be done in advance.
Naturally this presents a lot of benefits such as being able to make many components hours or days in advance but the most important thing for us is that we get to spend more time chatting with guests and less time in the kitchen sweating over the stove.
We think Mexico is having its long overdue moment in the sun as not only a food destination but a collection of deeply complex and important culinary traditions. From Oaxaca to Sonora to Baja each region’s unique food traditions come alive in Veracruz-born Gonzalo Guzmán’s cookbook named after his successful San Francisco based restaurant, Nopalito.
Some of our favorite dishes are the Cochinita Pibil, Enchiladas de Mole Poblano, Gorditas with Potato and Chorizo, and his corn tortilla recipe is fantastic. But it’s his salsas that really shine. From the Fresh and vibrant Salsa Cruda, the citrusy, sweet and scorching hot Habanero Salsa, to the blistered, smoky and racy Salsa Chiltomate.
Much like Battersby it is the assembly and preparation of dishes which is emphasized leaving you time to make it look like it was all effortless as you simply drop a bowl of carnitas, fresh tortillas and tomatillo salsa on the table. The cocktails recipes are killer too!
Forkish’s book is often overshadowed by the success of Tartine Bakery’s but we find that its approaches to bread making are much more conducive to a busy schedule.
The recipes themselves are even individually designed for a busy week or a luxurious Saturday and the results are consistently flawless. More so than any other book on baking we find ourselves turning to this one for insight or inspiration. We've also found that it’s hard (nay, impossible) for us to purchase store-bought bread anymore.
Call us snobs but when you bite into the thin, crackle of the crust and the moist, springy crumb of your very own (“Wait, I made this?!”) sourdough bread you’ll be completely hooked. The only problem is that if you start making this for parties you’ll find your bread being requested every time.
Many cookbooks curated by "Editors" have left us wanting in the past but this curated cookbook of "Master" recipes by the Editors of Food & Wine delivers.
Broken up into 4 Levels of complexity this collection of recipes is a good gateway drug for beginners to more complex technique driven dishes AND provides interesting approaches to familiar recipes for seasoned home cooks.
From making a truly moist turkey, turning milk into Ricotta cheese to spread on toast, to frying soft shell crabs, making your own sausage, yeast-raising doughnuts, and ultimately to making soup dumplings from scratch, culturing butter and making your own vermouth.
This cookbook covers the whole gamut. The Ice Cream recipe is absolutely flawless churning out fantastic results every time.
Part cookbook, part lifestyle manifesto; Joe Beef manages to do both very well and includes some of the absolute greatest recipes we’ve ever made or eaten.
Joe Beef rose to fame by basically making a joke of the KFC double-down, the infamous sandwich of two fried-chicken breasts used as buns to sandwich bacon and cheese, only the Joe Beef version took it one step further and replaced the fried-chicken with two fried lobes of foie gras. Depending on who you are that may sound disgusting or delicious (maybe it's both?).
Regardless, the recipes included in the book are legit. Sometimes insane, sometimes over the top but always delicious. Some of our favorites are the Lamb Shoulder with Condimint, Porchetta alla Joe Beef with Potato Dinner Rolls and Plum Jam, Lobster Spaghetti, and Scallops with Pulled Pork and Hollandaise.
Tucked into its pages are discourses on Train travel, How to build your own Smoker, the art of wine paring and an undying love of all things Canadian. And yes, the Foie Gras double down recipe is included.