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Get Cooking!

Spring is most definitely in the air! While the trees are blossoming and budding out, we’re prepping our veggie beds, cleaning off our grills and getting our yards ready for the season. I’m constantly looking for fresh ideas for new recipes that use simple, local, fresh ingredients and also taste amazing. Here are some cookbooks to inspire your inner foodie.

Jacques Pepin: Heart and Soul in the Kitchen

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Jacques Pepin is the culinary grandfather you never had (unless, of course he is actually your grandfather, which is highly unlikely).  He is the Yoda of food, his career spans 60 years and this book is a culmination of everything he has contributed to the profession. He gently eases you into his calm and cozy culinary world, as though you had been personally been invited. Pepin’s recipe’s ooze simplicity, yet they are refined and delicious. They stretch from the fine-dining showy food, to home-style fare. The pictures of his food are beautiful and throughout the book it is evident that he certainly lives and breathes food and the scope of his recipes and influences are staggering- spanning both cultures and continents. I have only begun to delve into trying recipes from this book, but I guarantee there is something for everyone. They scream ooh la la!

Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook

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This book is a great resource for those who are into fresh food with a no nonsense approach. Let me just stipulate that the language in this book is extremely explicit but once you get past that, underneath there are some great cooking techniques and recipes for the new cook. As a vegetarian I am always interested in how to make magic with tofu. It is something I eat as a protein supplement but that I rarely truly enjoy. I loved the different marinades presented in the book and use them often. I also really enjoy the Creamy Peanut Slaw- it has a rich flavor and is a sound side for picnics. The best thing about this read is its utter lack of pretentiousness- great food need not be snooty. Though entirely plant –based, it is a fine book for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

 My Pantry, by Alice Waters

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Alice Waters is the Queen of the slow food movement. I was very intrigued to see what she had in her new book, My Pantry. I was not surprised to find some great tips for creating the foundations to fabulous meals that span the whole year in addition to meals. For example, her recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce is remarkably easy, but is often a go-to in our house when it’s pasta night. Her recipes for vinegar are easy to follow and delicious and did you know how good fermented foods are for you? The best part of this book for me is that Waters proves how easy it is to cook, prepare and preserve meals with what’s in season. It’s a great little resource to have on hand.

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