7 New Cali Cookbooks That Will Inspire You, Enlighten You and Make You Hungry
The writer Mark Harris said, “Every recipe is a story with a happy ending,” and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we love these cookbooks: They make the most of California’s fresh and local obsession and skew toward the healthful and handsome. Check out the latest page-turners that’ll inspire you to skip the takeout and get cooking, stat.
The L.A. Cookbook by Alison Clare Steingold
Subtitled “Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bakeries and Bars in Los Angeles,” this book contains 100 recipes that are all over the map (in both geography and taste). From Boyle Heights to Malibu, the author got the town’s most lauded chefs to share recipes for drinks, appetizers, mains and desserts. Don’t miss Gracias Madre’s Mezcal Mule (with tequila instead of vodka) and chef José Andrés’s guacamole.
Nathan Turner?s I Love California
Fourth-generation Californian and esteemed decorator Nathan Turner has turned out a book that’s as much eye candy as it is cooking manual. He shares family recipes and gorgeous photos of dishes like cioppino and offers tips on how to create perfect alfresco luncheons and casual dinners. (Although you’ll likely be tempted to create a plate of his delish cheesy sourdough bread just for yourself.)
BÄco: Vivid Recipes from the Heart of Los Angeles BY JOSEF CENTENO AND BETTY HALLOCK
James Beard–nominated chef Josef Centeno owns five restaurants in downtown Los Angeles, including the prestigious reservation joint Bäco Mercat and scene-y Bar Amá. While most cookbooks organize recipes by course, here Centeno and coauthor Betty Hallock use flavor themes, like “spicy, salty, pickled, preserved”; “buttery, crisp, tangy, herbal” and “flaky, fruity, caramel, tart.” Our advice: Be sure to double the recipe for Centeno’s signature Bäco Flatbread, a “gyro-taco-pizza hybrid,” because it’s that good.
Guerrilla Tacos: Recipes from the Streets of L.A. by Wesley Avila and Richard Parks III
Even though we’ve been keeping up with all the creative new taco trucks in town, chef Wesley Avila’s is definitely worth pulling a U-turn in traffic when you spot it. (Late esteemed food critic Jonathan Gold called its food one of the best things to eat in L.A.) And this book lets you re-create Avila’s food, inspired by his Mexican-American family cooking, in your own kitchen. Start with the Fried Baja Taco: Make the briny cabbage slaw, pico de gallo salsa and Dijon crema for the fish tacos the day before, then just fry up some cod for perfect fish tacos.
Bowls of Plenty: Recipes for Healthy and Delicious Whole-Grain Meals by Carolynn Carreño
Are you tired of the sad sandwich lunch (plus all that gluten)? Learn how to layer quinoa, farro, millet or spelt with proteins and greens to create a grain bowl, 2018’s answer to the smoothie. Best of all, the easy-to-follow recipes demystify Thai peanut sauce, Chinese chicken salad and lesser-known Italian dishes (you’re going to love the big wheat flavor of slow-cooked farrotto).
Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole Food, Grain-Free Desserts by LAUREL GALLUCCI AND CLAIRE THOMAS
The most gorgeous cookbook of the year might also be the healthiest, despite the fact that it’s all about dessert. That’s because the recipes (all paleo and many vegan, raw or nut-free) are from the popular bakery Sweet Laurel, whose co-owner learned she had an autoimmune disease and basically taught herself to make lush desserts she could enjoy, without the ingredients that would trigger her illness. Most recipes involve only five ingredients, so they’re easy, and most cakes are naked, so they’re Insta-ready (and there’s a special chapter about how to perfectly stack those gems).
The Plant Paradox Cookbook by Steven R. GUNDRY, M.D.
They’re hot, they’re controversial and now you can learn how to eliminate them. We’re talking lectins, the plant-based proteins that Palm Springs–based cardiac surgeon Steven Gundry has deemed toxic, purportedly attacking the lining of the gut. And since they’re in grains, legumes and conventional dairy, avoiding them can be nearly impossible, so Dr. Gundry came up with more than 100 recipes that sub in ingredients like coconut flour (yummy in waffles) and thinly sliced sweet potatoes (as a replacement for the noodles in lasagna).