Cookbooks of 2015

Cookbooks of any kind are great gifts around the holiday but they're also fun to gift ourselves as we have some extra time to spend in the kitchen- to experiment and play. My favorite cookbook this year is Hugh Acheson's The Broad Fork, where Hugh delves into the wide world of fruits and vegetables. I personally love all his pickling recipes but I'm excited to try his Roasted Chicken Thighs over Barley and Brussels Sprout Risotto this week. To find a cookbook to inspire you, here are some other standout releases from 2015...  


Nashville Eats. Learn to make their famous hot chicken or buttermilk biscuits- plus 100 more southern recipes. 

Pure Pork Awesomeness. From my neighborhood chef, Kevin Gillespie comes this book dedicated entirely to the pig. It's all so good, particularly the bacon recipes. 

Franklin Barbecue. It's a meat smoking and brisket cooking manifesto from the owner of the wildly popular Austin restaurant. 

Root to Leaf. Atlanta chef, Steven Satterfield is one of my favorites and in this book he teaches us how to use the whole plant, from root to leaf. Delicious vegetables with a southern flair.


The Oxford Companion to Wine. The fourth edition of this popular book lives up to the hype. It covers every wine topic on the list with contributions from more than 180 experts. Great gift for the wine lover. 

The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual. One of the best cocktail bars in America now has a bar book. Lots of inventive recipes inside plus a peek inside the famed locale. 

The Old Fashioned. As a lover of bourbon, I'm a huge fan of The Old Fashioned cocktail. This book shares a history of the iconic drink, plus 50 variations to try. 

The Craft Cocktail Party. If you want to throw a party with a special craft cocktail, this book offers a bevy of tasty options. 

Hartwood. Tulum is one of my favorite spots in Mexico and I love how this book is about a NY based couple who left their restaurant jobs to build the place of their dreams on the edge of a jungle. Rustic, delicious recipes. 

Near & Far. Heidi Swanson shares dishes inspired from her home in Northern California as well as from her travels across the globe- from Tokyo and Paris to New Delhi and New Zealand.  

The Nordic Cookbook. I'm dreaming of visiting the Nordic countries, therefore I dream of this cookbook. Includes 700 authentically Nordic recipes collected by acclaimed chef, Magnus Nilsson. 

Mexico from the Inside Out. I had the pleasure of eating at the author's restaurant, Pujol, last year in Mexico City. It was easily in my top three dining experiences of all time so this book is on my must buy list. 

The Violet Bakery Cookbook. With a book cover this pretty, the recipes have to be delicious. And they are. From the famed London restaurant comes a baking book filled with the tastiest pastries, tarts and sweets. 


Theo Chocolate. This cover has me reaching for my credit card. If you love chocolate, you'll love this book of recipes from the famous Seattle chocolatier. 

Chocolate Chip Sweets. This book is all about chocolate chip recipes shared by world-renowned chefs and Jacques Torres, Daniel Boulud and Lidia Bastianich. 

Guittard Chocolate Cookbook. From the famed San Francisco chocolate company comes a book with 60 recipes you'll drool over, like fudgey Mocha cookies or Dark Chocolate, Caramel Pecan Bundt Cake. 

Scandinavian Baking. Scandinavia, you're on my to-do list. In the meantime, this baking book will quell my cravings as it's filled with delicious Danish recipes for pastries, cakes, cream buns and more. 


Short Stack Cookbooks

I don't bake as much as I'd like but one thing that always inspires me is a great cookbook. These pint size beauties were born last summer as a result of a savvy Kickstarter Project by Nick Fauchald.  

Starting with three titles, Nick was able to secure all the necessary funds, (and thensome) through Kickstarter. His idea for Short Stack is that each book is inspired by a single ingredient and written by a single author. They are, as their name suggests, short. Each edition is about 50 pages long and full of various ways to cook, bake and prepare that featured food item. 

The Short Stack cookbooks have quickly garnered a large fan base and in just over a year, Nick has expanded his line to include a dozen different titles. These three are all written by southern chefs- Angie Mosier writes about Buttermilk, Virginia Willis shares her love of Grits, and for the newest edition, Libbie Summers executes the most scrumptious dishes with Brown Sugar. 

And the best part is Angie, Virginia and Libbie will be on hand to demonstrate recipes from their Short Stack cookbooks this Saturday, November 22 at the Preserving Place in Atlanta. Sadly, I'll be out of town but if I could, I'd be there early, in the front row, eager to meet and mingle and taste and admire... If you're in this part of town, I hope you can make it. (They'd make amazing holiday gifts too) Just click here to learn more. 



The Commons (+ Heirloom Bookshop)

A few months ago, I made a trip to Charleston, South Carolina to spend time with my cousin and visit one of my favorite cities. The one place at the top of my list to check out was The Commons. As co-owner Erin Connelly shared, The Commons "expresses a modern point of view on home goods, grounded in our American roots." 

Erin and her business partner, Kerry Speake, seek out American artists that care deeply about their craft - curating high quality, well designed products that can stay in the family for generations. Erin, "We love the concept of handmade, earthy textures mixed with slick and contemporary design." 

This table lamp is a gem, made by Michael Moran of Moran Woodworked. Erin,"The conical bases are charred using an ancient Japanese technique that was developed to preserve wood against rotting and insects. The Moran's have mastered this technique and integrated it into their pieces, not only as a functional finish but to get a specific richness in color and texture." Erin (a clothing designer by trade) added, "I love how these lamps tie back to what is happening in the fashion world today, mimicking the color blocking and ombre trends." 

Last year, I blogged about The Great American Flask by Jacob Bromwell and I loved discovering his equally cool solid copper shot glasses inside their shop. Plus, the macrame...sigh. These two lovely pieces were made by Janelle Pietrzak of All Roads Design. Erin, "She has crafted these beautiful compositions out of vintage jute, cotton and silk, adding hand painted touches in gold leaf."

Erin is based in Charleston as Kerry helps curate the shop via her home base in Seattle. Erin (above) has done a beautiful job displaying all their found wares as there is so much to look at and appreciate - yet each piece gets its own territory to live and breathe in. And space is at a premium here, as The Commons is acutally situated inside another must-see gem of Charleston, The Heirloom Bookshop.

Carlye Jane Dougherty is the mastermind behind this incredible collection of rare and vintage cookbooks that exude a wealth of food knowledge and history-  and in their own special secondhand way, are fantastic conversation pieces. Erin, "Her clients range from home enthusiasts to world-renowned professional chefs." Which is why The Commons and Heirloom Bookshop complement each other so beautifully. As Erin shared, "Our customers understand the value of a cutting board carved from one piece of wood and the elegance of the most functional salt and pepper grinders. Our product mix is indicative of the lifestyle of our clientele." 

I'm a lover of books of all kinds, particularly vintage ones that speak to another time and place. My favorite of the bunch the day I visited was Corned Beef and Caviar. I was quickly drawn to the added info, "For the Live-Aloner" and "Author of Live Alone and Like It." That's just too good. 

The space for these two shop owners to mingle in is small, but Erin and Carlye utilize every square inch much like a master chef would. It's tidy, fluid, organized, enticing and full of really good surprises...

If you visit Charleston soon, I sure do hope that you make your way to The Commons and The Heirloom Bookshop, located down a sweet little alley way in downtown Charleston. Come curious and carefree for once inside, you'll be staying a while. Trust me...


Photos: Sweet Peach; First pic: Olivia Rae James     Content: Sweet Peach