Cook­books savour all the flavours of au­tumn

The Georgia Straight - - Fall Books - Gail John­son

After sum­mer’s beach­side pic­nics, road-trip pit stops, and camp­fire cook­outs, fall’s crisp days and cool tem­per­a­tures bring home chefs back to the kitchen. The cur­rent batch of new cook­books runs the gamut from heal­ing foods and fam­ily din­ners to cit­rusy fish and pa­tri­otic sweets.

SE­DUC­TIVE SUS­TE­NANCE Gourmet Ware­house founder Caren Mcsherry’s sev­enth cook­book, Starters, Sal­ads, and Sexy Sides: In­spir­ing Recipes to Make Ev­ery Meal an Oc­ca­sion, puts the spot­light not on a meal’s main event but what to serve with it. Warm olives with grilled lemons, wild and for­bid­den rice salad, eg­g­plant rolls with roasted gar­lic and bal­samic glaze, and roasted but­ter­nut squash with fried hal­loumi are among the dishes that will have peo­ple swoon­ing. None of Mcsherry’s dishes are overly com­pli­cated, and the lo­cal culi­nary maven (who is as bub­bly as a bot­tle of Cham­pagne) also shares recipes for su­pe­rior sta­ples such as Parme­san tu­iles and fig, gar­lic, and onion jam.

FIN-TO-TAIL FLAVOURS Long be­fore he joined the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium as ex­ec­u­tive chef of Ocean Wise, Ned Bell was pas­sion­ate about sus­tain­able fish and seafood. As the founder of Chefs for Oceans, he’s done much to raise aware­ness of healthy seas and re­spon­si­ble seafood choices, even rid­ing his bike across the coun­try for the cause. He shares his depth of knowl­edge in Lure: Sus­tain­able Seafood Recipes From the West Coast. If cook­ing with items such as sable­fish, geo­duck, mus­sels, scal­lops, sar­dines, crab, or sea greens seems in­tim­i­dat­ing, Bell breaks things down to a man­age­able level, with ed­u­ca­tional species pro­files and dishes that are as ap­proach­able as they are de­li­cious. The col­lec­tion ranges from hal­ibut burg­ers with blue­berry rel­ish and salmon with beets three ways to stur­geon with savoury kelp cream and mus­sel-and-maple chow­der with caramelized fen­nel and pollen. There are ocean­in­fused baked goods, too: try the (sea)weed brown­ies and kelp-and-smoked-sea-salt scones. SESQUICENTENNIAL SWEETS The Red­path Cana­dian Bake Book: Over 200 De­lec­ta­ble Recipes for Cakes, Breads. Desserts and More comes from this coun­try’s first sugar com­pany. You’ll find in­struc­tions on how to make clas­si­cally Canuck treats such as poud­ing chômeur (“poor man’s pud­ding”), but­ter tarts, and cap­puc­ci­nospiked Nanaimo bars as well as del­i­ca­cies that speak to global in­flu­ences on our national cui­sine: Linzer torte, baklava, mac­arons, paska (an east­ern Euro­pean bread), tiramisu, brownie Bel­gian waf­fles, chur­ros with choco­late sauce and ca­jeta (caramel), and more.

GAR­DEN-VA­RI­ETY BAK­ING You can go old school with batches of sand­wich cook­ies and but­ter­milk bis­cuits, or you can turn to fresh pro­duce for a new take on baked goods. Ken Haedrich shows how in The Harvest Baker: 150 Sweet & Sa­vory Recipes Cel­e­brat­ing the Fresh-picked Fla­vors of Fruits, Herbs & Veg­eta­bles. You’ll find recipes for all sorts of morn­ing breads (but­ter­nut­squash crumb muffins and stuffed spinach-and­feta-cheese scones, for in­stance), quick breads (like hon­eyed-parsnip tea bread and sun-dried­tomato-and-tar­ragon soda bread), and “crusty en­trées” (such as roasted-beet, spinach, and fe­tacheese flat­bread and col­lard-greens cal­zone).

There’s stuff for the sweet tooth in the fam­ily here, too; we like the sound of rose­mary-lemon short­bread and fresh-mint Oreo cheese­cake.

SU­PER SEA­SONAL VEG­GIES Never mind the four sea­sons. Port­land chef Joshua Mc­fad­den has been called a “veg­etable whis­perer”, and he shows why in Six Sea­sons: A New Way With Veg­eta­bles. He cooks with ev­ery part of the plant, from root to leaf, and he presents all types of pro­duce at their peak in these 225 colour­ful, cre­ative recipes. Among the many high­lights are rawas­para­gus salad with bread crumbs, wal­nuts, and mint; roasted radishes with brown but­ter, chili, and honey; roasted fen­nel with ap­ples, Ta­leg­gio cheese, and al­monds; and pre­served eg­g­plant, an un­con­ven­tional pickle that adds an in­trigu­ing flavour to meat­balls or pasta.

BRIDGE CLUB Re­mem­ber the Best of Bridge cook­books? They’re still some of the best, the original ladies hav­ing launched their suc­cess­ful se­ries in 1975. The tra­di­tion con­tin­ues with a new

trio at the kitchen counter: El­iz­a­beth Chor­ney­booth, Sue Duncan, and Julie Van Rosendaal re­cently re­leased Best of Bridge Sun­day Sup­pers: All-new Recipes for Fam­ily & Friends. You may miss the hand­writ­ten recipes, but the cutesy say­ings are still there, and so are dishes that are whole­some, flavour­ful, easy, and fun. Among them: grilled-steak bibim­bap, “stream­lined” beef bour­guignon, cheesy seafood lasagna, spring­greens risotto, and Saska­toon pie.

SE­RI­OUSLY SILLY CRE­ATIONS It’s hard to find a kid who doesn’t like Rice Krispies squares, and Jes­sica Siskin takes things to a whole new crazy­cool level with Treat Your­self! How to Make 93 Ridicu­lously Fun No-bake Crispy Rice Treats. Us­ing food colour­ing, ic­ing, sparkle gel, and other bak­ing in­gre­di­ents, she walks you through ev­ery­thing from “cheese­burg­ers” to “sushi” made out of the break­fast ce­real. Then there are desserts in the shape of a gum­ball ma­chine, a meno­rah, the Eif­fel Tower… You’ll be the hit of the PAC bake sale with these sweet snacks.

The sev­enth cook­book by Gourmet Ware­house founder Caren Mcsherry puts the spot­light not on the main event of a meal, but on sim­ple dishes to serve with it. Ja­nis Ni­co­lay photo.

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