September is the first month in the grand recipe rodeo we call cookbook season. 2017 is coming on strong right out of the gate, with big names (Paul Kahan, Moosewood), big ideas (3-ingredient cocktails, modern slow cooker recipes), and big flavors (QUESO!).
Below are a few of my favorites, and there's a lot more where they came from.
Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock
Based on Centeno’s popular Los Angeles restaurant Bäco Mercat, Bäco focuses on bright flavors and vegetables. Lots of vegetables. The chapters are split into flavor profiles, so Chapter 1 is “Spicy/Salt/Pickled/Preserved” while Chapter 2 is “Fresh/Green/Snappy/Light.” And unlike many overwrought chef cookbooks, there’s plenty here that’s more than manageable for home cooks.
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Slow Cook Modern by Liana Krissoff
Dust off ye olde slow cooker: this season sees several new slow cook-focused titles, including this lively number from cookbook author Liana Krissoff. Here, Krissoff focuses on what she calls “true 8-hour recipes”—as in, you can start it, leave for work, and come home to dinner. And with recipes like Eggplant Tian, Chicken with Sour Cherries, and Lamb with Turnips and Yogurt, this is definitely not your mom’s slow cooker cookbook.
The Moosewood Restaurant Table by the Moosewood Collective
If you don’t eat meat—or even if you do—chances are you’ve crossed paths with a Moosewood cookbook or two. This latest title offers a whopping 250 brand new recipes that promise a more modern approach to their signature vegetarian dishes.
3-Ingredient Cocktails by Robert Simonson
The first thing I felt seeing this title? Relief. So many cocktail books out there end up serving as very pretty bricks, because there’s no way I’m going to collect 7 bottles and make a tincture from scratch on a Friday after work. But three? Three is manageable. Here, cocktail writer Robert Simonson takes you through your options, with some history to back it up.
My Rice Bowl by Rachel Yang
If you don’t live in Seattle, you might not be familiar with Rachel Yang—but don’t let that stop you from checking out her new book. The subtitle is “Korean Cooking Outside the Lines,” and here Yang incorporates Korean flavors and techniques in unexpected (and delicious) dishes like a butternut squash gratin remixed to serve as banchan, shrimp and bacon dumplings, and plenty of rice bowls.
QUESO! by Lisa Fain
If you’re not sold by the title alone, I’m not sure I can help you. Here, Homesick Texan blogger and cookbook author Lisa Fain explores the wide, wide world of melty cheese, from its roots to its modern-day restaurant interpretations. And if you’re sitting there wondering how many recipes for queso there can possibly be, let me assure you: the answer is more than 50, and Fain nails them all.
Cheers to the Publican by Paul Kahan and Cosmo Goss
Chicago restaurant The Publican is one of those places that’s hard to explain, but makes perfect sense when you’re there. Chef Paul Kahan describes it as “oyster, pork, and beer” in his new cookbook, Cheers to the Publican, but over the years it has evolved beyond that to include a dedication to seasonal vegetables, serious charcuterie, and much more.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner...Life by Missy Robbins
New York City chef Missy Robbins took a year off from the restaurant game, and the result is this cookbook, an ode to cooking for the joy of it. There are, of course, the Italian dishes Robbins is famous for, but she also includes healthy fare and some Thai and Vietnamese-inspired recipes after taking a trip to those countries.
Paula Forbes has reviewed cookbooks for nearly a decade for sites like Epicurious, Eater, Eat Me Daily, and now Food52. She's currently working on a cookbook about the foods and restaurants of Austin, Texas.