Even as nose-to-tail eating continues to reign supreme, vegetables have found their way into the hearts of America’s best chefs—and not just as a garnish for the main event. The latest cookbook from the Fabulous Beekman Boys—as Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge of the farm-inspired Beekman 1802 brand are affectionately known—stays true to the trend, introducing recipes that focus on veggies without ostracizing the omnivore (ingredients like eggs, prosciutto, shrimp, salmon and chicken are used). Vintage and folksy by design, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook is organized by season, so you know exactly what to cook and when: pea soup in the spring, golden gazpacho with minted cream in the summer, roasted carrot-and-cauliflower salad for fall, winter squash stuffed with red quinoa at the end of the year. Simple, straightforward and engineered for everyday use, the recipes will become staples. rodalestore.com.
Enough cocktail books have come out these days to keep any dilettante busy, but The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique, by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, adds something different to the mix. Bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, and keeper of a widely consulted blog (jeffreymorgenthaler.com), Morgenthaler is considered one of the industry’s most trusted resources. Rather than share a list of classic recipes you’ve already memorized—or worse, instruct on fancy showmanship—he offers straightforward, technique-driven advice on the essential components of a cocktail, dispensing wisdom that even the seasoned home bartender might not know (smooth-skinned citrus heavy for their size are good for juice; pebbled, brightly colored ones are better for garnish). He offers patient explanations in a serious tone as to why the basics matter and also dispels precious bartender BS. The book wasn’t created to make you a better sounding bartender—it was made to make you a savvier one. Available in June; chroniclebooks.com.
Culled from more than a century’s worth of published recipes and musings on cookout dining, the 400 pages’ worth of content in The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook will keep you sated all season and then some. Edited by author and former Times journalist Peter Kaminsky—with contributions from star chefs like Jacques Pépin, Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill, New York) and Susan Spicer (Bayona, New Orleans), as well Grey Lady food writers like Mark Bittman, Florence Fabricant, Craig Claiborne and Melissa Clark—it is a collection of the very best on the subject. Less of a glossy display book (there are a few black-and-white photos) and more of a resource, the book and its nearly 200 recipes is sure to be an essential tool. While the classics are all there, dishes like corn fritters, shu mai–style burgers and grilled clams with fried garlic provide inspiring respite from the usual. sterlingpublishing.com.
Though artisanal cooking and DIY have defined the zeitgeist for the past few years (rooftop beehives, backyard chicken coops), there is room for one more book on butchering. It helps, of course, thatThe Meat Hook Meat Book—written by Tom Mylan, executive chef at and co-owner of The Meat Hook in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—isn’t just for hip homesteaders. It’s a useful tool for anyone interested in knowing exactly where last night’s rib-eye came from. A former vegetarian, Mylan went back to meat when he discovered sustainable, holistic approaches to farming, slaughtering and butchering—all of which are touched on in detail here. Making his way through beef, pork, lamb, sausage, chicken, turkey, duck and rabbit, he instructs how to break down and cook animals from nose to tail. The lurid, full-bleed images of labeled cuts and intense close-ups of cooked dishes aren’t always enticing, but the instruction and tips certainly are (served with a sense of humor to boot). Even for those who don’t plan to get their hands dirty, the book remains a helpful guide. workman.com.
Thailand: The Cookbook, a 528-page oeuvre on Thai cuisine, is a transportive tool packed with 500 recipes and myriad images of Thailand’s food, vistas and people. Photographer and food writer Jean-Pierre Gabriel spent more than three years traveling throughout the country culling recipes from home cooks, restaurants and marketplaces in search of authentic dishes and cooking techniques. He has compiled the essentials in a thorough investigation of the flavors that define the nation’s diverse cuisine. The story begins with a few short essays on each region, illustrating how geography affects the culinary traditions therein. Organized by genre (Pastes & Sauces, Snacks & Drinks, Rice & Noodles, etc.), the book highlights international favorites like crab fried rice and Massaman curry alongside regional delicacies like fried crickets with herbs and spicy dried-buffalo-skin salad. Recipes have been carefully adapted for the home cook, with suggested ingredient alternatives when possible, a glossary of terms and advice on cooking equipment. There’s also an entire chapter dedicated to guest chefs, featuring names like Saiphin Moore (Rosa’s Thai Café, London) and Ann Redding and Matt Danzer (Uncle Boons, New York). phaidon.com.
More from Departures: