‘Salumi: Savory Recipes and Serving Ideas for Salame, Proscuitto, and More’
By John Piccetti and Francois Vecchio with Joyce Goldstein (Chronicle Books, $24.95)
This collection is a basic primer packed with everything you need to know about artisan cured meat with a special emphasis on Italian selections such as salame, prosciutto and coppa. These meats reflect generations of Italian craftsmanship and are perfect for both the family table and classic party tray.
The 50 recipes are supplemented with descriptions of the various salumi, a guide for selecting, slicing, and storing salumi, and the ingredients to look for on the packaging label to make certain you are purchasing the most delicious product possible. There is even a backgrounder that takes much of the mystery out of the curing process and shows how master salumieri perform their magic.
Written by salumi experts, this collection is illustrated in full color and will both inform and inspire.
‘Betty Crocker Baking Basics’
By the editors of Betty Crocker (Wiley, $25.95)
“Betty Crocker Baking Basics” is more than just a collection of recipes. It is a one-stop guide that makes preparing a party-ready layer cake, a holiday pie, or a plate of chocolate chip cookies almost fail-proof.
The spiral-bound book is especially designed for today’s bakers and features up-to-date information and colorful illustrations that take readers step-by-step through each and every recipe. The recipes, more than 360 in all, are supplemented with information about understanding ingredients, how to best read instructions and the baking equipment and gadgets needed for a working kitchen. “What Went Wrong” charts provide solutions to less-than-successful attempts such as a cake that won’t rise or a soggy pie crust.
Much like its companion volume, “Betty Crocker Cooking Basics,” this collection offers a warm, reassuring, conversational tone that emphasizes the fun aspects of baking and is more like a chat with a friend than a lecture from an expert.
“Betty Crocker Baking Basics” is divided into six main chapters: Cookies and Bars; Cakes; Pies and Tarts; Quick Breads; Yeast Breads; and Desserts.
‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fast & Fresh Meals’
By Ellen Brown (Alpha Books, $16.95)
One of the latest “Idiot” titles features recipes that might sound complicated but are oh-so-easy and tasty. As the author suggests: Forget Frankenfoods – you can eat healthier meals with even less effort than you might realize.
In addition to several “how to” chapters that include kitchen efficiency tips and building basic food prep skills, there are several main chapters featuring dips, soups, appetizers, sandwiches, quiches, pasta, salads and entrees. Some of the standouts are a surprisingly good Coconut Rice and Vegetable Salad, a zesty Gazpacho Chicken Salad, a stick-to-your-ribs grilled Steak with Southwest Corn Sauce and a down-home Sweet Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing.
Brown is the author of several previous “Idiot” cookbooks, including “Cooking for Two,” “Slow Cooker Cooking” and “Juicing.”
‘Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian’
By Toni Fiore (Da Capo, $27.50)
Toni Fiore, the host of public television’s “Delicious TV: Totally Vegetarian,” is one of America’s most-trusted guides to fast, flavorful, vegetarian cooking. Her new collection features almost 200 easy-to-prepare recipes that call for familiar and readily available ingredients. Chapters include Appetizers, Salads & Dressings, Soups & Stews, Breads & Pizza, Tofu, Tempeh & Seitan, Potatoes, Grains & Beans and Desserts.
A Maine Berry Muffin recipe is so good it alone is almost worth the price of the book.
One of the main attractions of “Totally Vegetarian” is that it provides helpful information on stocking the freezer, kitchen and pantry – from knives and small appliances to food staples such as beans, spices and oils. Even though the recipes are vegan, they are also flexible for the meat-eater in the house.