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With the holidays at hand, publishers around the country have released a wide range of new cookbooks they hope will make ideal gifts for friends and family members on yuletide shopping lists. Three of the new cookbooks feature Bay Area culinary talent.

Chef and author Aaron French, in “The Bay Area Cookbook” (Voyageur Press, $30), tells the stories of farmers who rise before the roosters to bring fresh produce, meats and cheeses to area farmers markets. He also profiles chefs who kick off the day with an early trip to the market and wrap it up late at night after feeding hundreds of appreciative diners.

The stories of these farmers and chefs are sure to foster an appreciation for the hard work that goes into creating local, seasonal food. This new cookbook from French celebrates some of the best homegrown food in the Bay Area, profiling 26 chefs who work together with local farms to incorporate the freshest sustainably grown ingredients into their menus. Chefs profiled include the Bay Area’s Michael Tusk (Quince), Amaryll Schwertner (Boulette’s Larder), Laurence Jossel (Nopa), Phil West (Range) and Craig Stoll (Delfina).

In “Eat Good Food” (Ten Speed Press, $32.50), Sam Mogannam, owner of San Francisco’s popular Bi-Rite Market, and food columnist Dabney Gough guide the home cook through the grocery store one department at a time, and explain how to identify incredible ingredients, decipher labels and terms, build a great pantry and reconnect with the people and places that feed us.

The Bay Area authors offer new ways to look at food, not only through the ingredients to buy but also how to prepare them. Featuring 90 of Mogannam’s favorite recipes — including many of the dishes that have made Bi-Rite Market’s in-house kitchen a destination for food lovers — you’ll discover exactly how to get the best flavor from each ingredient. Dishes such as Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Butternut Squash, Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers and Chile Flakes, Sumac-Roasted Chicken, Moroccan Lamb Meatloaf and Citrus Olive Oil Cake reflect an honest and uncomplicated cooking style that home cooks of all levels will find accessible.

Napa author Janet Fletcher collaborated with Erik Cosselman to write “Kokkari, Contemporary Greek Flavors” (Chronicle Books, $40). Cosselman, chef/owner of Kokkari restaurant in San Francisco, shares recipes from the restaurant (and from Greece) for home cooks. Beautifully illustrated, it includes entrees like Fish Roasted with Tomato, Potato, Fennel and Olives (Psari Plaki) as well as mezze and sides like Oranges with Rose Water, Cinnamon, Dates and Spiced Walnuts. Check out a recipe from the book: Oranges with Rose Water, Cinnamon, Dates and Spiced Walnuts


The global kitchen

Beata Zatorska learned to make pierogi and other Polish recipes in her grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen, in the remote village in the foothills of Poland’s Karkonosze mountains where she grew up. When she returned years later, her beloved grandmother was gone, but she found her handwritten recipes for preparing traditional Polish dishes, and for preserving the precious fruit and vegetables grown in the family garden.

Those recipes make up a most charming new book, “Rose Petal Jam: Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland” (Tabula Books, $35), together with Zatorska’s memories of her childhood in Poland in the ‘60s and ‘70s, along with the story of her journey with her husband, Simon Target, to discover the Poland of today. The reminiscences, along with accompanying photographs, are reason alone for picking up this new cookbook. The recipes prove to be a bonus. Check out a recipe from the book: Polish Beef Goulash

For her latest public television series, Lidia Matticchio Bastianich takes viewers on a road trip into the heart of Italian-American cooking today, as only she can. Bastianich started with a question: How did Italian immigrants put beloved recipes from their homeland on the table for their families in the New World that was America? This one question began Bastianich’s coast-to-coast journey toward uncovering how and why Italian-American food has become what it is today.

Thousands of miles and many meals later, “Lidia’s Italy in America” (Alfred A. Knopf, $35) showcases industrious Italian-American cooks from all over the country — farmers, housewives, butchers, fishermen and food entrepreneurs — and gives recognition to those who have honored the traditions of their homeland in a delicious new way.

“The Italian way of life — Italian customs, flavors, ingenuity, business savvy and a tenacious will to survive — has left its mark on America,” the popular TV cooking show host maintains. “The Italian way has been weaved into, and is an integral part of, America today. I am one of those weavers, for I was blessed to be born Italian, and then I was blessed again when I was adopted by America. Now, I am connecting and weaving the two cultures together with the food that I cook and share with you.”

At the age of 17, without knowing a word of English, Mourad Lahlou left his family in Marrakesh and moved to Northern California to study economics. Although he excelled in his studies, he yearned for the comforting flavors of home. While he had never cooked, Lahlou had grown up with a grandfather, mother and aunts who devoted everyday conversation to food, debating how to select the freshest ingredients and achieve the best flavors for sumptuous family meals.

Soon Lahlou began to experiment in his San Francisco kitchen, remembering and reinventing as he went along. What began as a need to feed himself turned into a passion to feed others and share with them the tastes and traditions of Morocco. Lahlou learned to cook from memory and eventually went on to open Aziza, the acclaimed Michelin-starred San Francisco restaurant named after his mother.

A memory can be the catalyst for the greatest works of art, music and literature. And it was the key that unlocked and defined Lahlou’s inspired cuisine. “Mourad: New Moroccan” (Artisan Books, $40) is more than just a cookbook. It is a narrative-driven exploration of Lahlou’s cerebral and sensual cooking style — a nuanced balance of flavors and techniques from Morocco combined with the ingredient-focused cooking of Northern California.

Silvena Rowe was born and raised in the ancient city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, just 300 miles from Istanbul. Her Turkish father instilled in her a love of cooking, and he passed down, as generations had before him, the traditions of the Ottoman cuisine. Rowe is executive chef at Quince at the renowned May Fair Hotel in London. A popular British television personality, she is a regular guest on the BBC’s “Saturday Kitchen” and is working on a new show of her own. She recently took part in the Worlds of Flavor conference at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.

With “Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume” (Ecco Books, $34.99), Rowe invites home cooks on a journey through Eastern Mediterranean history and its culinary secrets. Here, the olive oil, rosemary and basil of the West meet the exotic spices of the East for a contemporary cuisine of surprising lightness and variety. From tempting starters such as Creamy Feta and Caramelized Leek Filo Pastries to sumptuous entrées such as Spiced Pilaf with Duck Confit, Raisins and Pine Nuts to heavenly desserts like Maple-Glazed Roasted Figs with Pistachio Praline, this is food for celebrating, for healthy living and, above all, for sharing. Check out a recipe from the book: Chicken Liver, Potato and Aleppo Pepper Salad


I'll have what they're having

This past year, Marissa Guggiana spent months on the road, interviewing, photographing and sharing staff meals at more than 50 of America’s top sustainable restaurants from coast to coast. For every lunch or dinner service, there is a staff meal. The best chefs in the best restaurants take their limitations — affordability, ingredients and time — and create meals worthy of their compatriots. Ranging from small plates to multi-course extravaganzas, the concept is simple: A well-fed staff is a happy one.

Guggiana looked for chefs who sourced locally and thoughtfully, with a big eco-picture in mind and a well-fed staff at their heart. The result is simply unprecedented — “Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants” (Welcome Books, $40) — a no-holds-barred trip behind the kitchen door, introducing the reader to every chef, sous chef, line cook, server, hostess, sommelier and so on. Her newest book is an homage to cooking with love and leftovers. It is packed with lessons, tips, substitutes and anecdotes as well as American wine and beer suggestions. Bay Area restaurants included are San Francisco’s Delfina, Flour & Water and Frances, plus Camino (Oakland) and Osteria Stellina (Point Reyes Station).

Inspired by turn-of-the-20th-century regional American cookbooks, Lucy Lean, former editor of “edible LA,” scoured through thousands of traditional recipes to come up with the 100 that best represent America’s culinary legacy and then challenged today’s leading chefs to deconstruct and rebuild them in entirely original ways. The result, “Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food” (Welcome Books, $45), is the ultimate contemporary comfort food bible for the home cook and armchair food lover.

Each recipe is enhanced with an introduction that includes the background and origin of the dish and a telling profile of the chef who has undertaken it, as well as photographs of the dish, chef and restaurant. Chefs from all over the country have been selected for their accomplishments and talent, including CIA Greystone’s Stephen Durfee, Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters, Manresa’s David Kinch, Spago’s Wolfgang Puck, The Slanted Door’s Charles Phan, San Francisco’s Michael Mina and Napa Valley native Gabriel Rucker, chef/owner of Portland’s Le Pigeon.

After Nate Tate studied abroad at Tsinghua University in Beijing and his sister, Mary Kate, visited him there, the two developed a joint fascination with all things China, particularly Chinese food. With little more than two backpacks, a camera and a tarp, the Mandarin-speaking brother and sister team traveled more than 9,700 miles throughout China to share the country’s inspiring culture and cuisine with kitchens in the West. All in the name of discovering Chinese culture and finding the country’s best recipes, Nate and Mary Kate mountain-biked down China’s east coast, toured an organic soy sauce factory in Hong Kong, visited a giant panda breeding center and learned to make tsampa from monks on the Tibetan plateau. 

Overflowing with sumptuous but easily prepared authentic dishes, “Feeding the Dragon” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99), is part cookbook and part cultural travelogue. Arranged by the authors’ travel itinerary to highlight the uniqueness of nine specific regions in China, 100 recipes are presented alongside first-person narratives and travel photographs. From Buddhist vegetarian dishes enjoyed on the snowcapped mountains of Tibet to lamb kebabs served on the scorching desert of Xinjiang Province, Western cooks will find healthy recipes brimming with authentic ingredients and flavors. Recipes range from Lychee Martinis to Shanghai Soup Dumplings, Pineapple Rice to Green Tea Shortbread Cookies. Check out a recipe from the book: Macanese Fried Rice

The Moors represent a people of Arab and Berber heritage who settled in northern Africa, mainly Morocco. The rich Moorish cuisine has inspired the world through the innovative use of spices and ingredients indigenous to North Africa, including olives, almonds, saffron, grapes, pomegranates and artichokes. Their cuisine incorporated cinnamon, chiles and other spices traded from as far as China and other areas visited or conquered by Arabian forces. Their diet could be described as Mediterranean, containing an abundance of ingredients from their region — fish, shellfish, citrus, flowers and aromatic essences.

Relying heavily upon memories of his mother’s and grandmother’s fare in his youth, chef Zouhair Zaire’s groundbreaking cookbook, “Moorish Fusion Cuisine: Conquering the New World” (Emerald Book Company, $38), introduces Americans to a mouthwatering ancient gastronomy and also represents a personal homage to the Moorish cuisine of his homeland. Check out a recipe from the book: Braised Oxtail with Pomegranate Molasses, Golden Raisins and Toasted Sesame Seeds

“My approach is to showcase the ingredients and keep it simple,” notes the chef. “I have a knack of combining herbs and spices and transforming them into complex, aromatic blends that I sprinkle onto meat, poultry and fish. I enjoy using traditional ingredients — like rose petals, orange blossom water and precious argan oil — in new ways. I add rose water to my vinaigrettes, which adds a beautiful fragrance and is soothing to the palate.”

A traditional Italian meal is one of the most comforting and delicious prospects one can imagine. Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton has elevated that experience to a whole new level at her Los Angeles restaurants Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, co-owned with restaurateurs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. A reservation at Mozza has been one of the hottest tickets in town since the restaurants opened and diners have been lining up for their wildly popular dishes. 

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Now, in “The Mozza Cookbook” (Alfred A. Knopf, $35), Silverton is sharing her recipes with the rest of the world. The original idea for Mozza came to Nancy at her summer home in Panicale, Italy. And that authentic Italian feel is carried throughout the book as one explores recipes from aperitivo to dolci that she serves at her tavola at home. Recipes include such treats as Fried Squash Blossoms with Ricotta; Mussels al Forno with Salsa Calabrese; Fresh Ricotta and Egg Ravioli with Brown Butter; and Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Olives and Sambuca-Braised Fennel, plus Olive Oil Gelato.

Many people know Debbie Lee from her stint on “The Next Food Network Star” as the queen of Seoul 2 Soul. She wowed judges and fans alike with culinary concoctions that reflected her cross-cultural life growing up as a Korean-American girl. Now everyone will have an opportunity to experience her culinary wonders in the comforts of their own homes as she shares her recipes and cooking secrets in her new book, “Seoultown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub to Share with Family and Friends” (Kyle Books, $24.95).

Lee’s style of cooking is distinct. Building upon the foundation of Korean home cooking learned from her grandmother, Lee blends in a bit of Southern cooking — inspired by the collard greens and cornbread her mom used to make — into many of her dishes, like The Other Southern Catfish, Seoul Style. Lee serves up a lot of familiar favorites like meatballs, skewers, noodles and fried chicken with a bold Korean twist. She also suggests Korean cocktails to pair with her tasty recipes.


From scratch — and gluten-free

How do you make cheese from pantry staples? Or create an oven smoker from scratch in just two minutes? Or make ice cream without a machine? In “Home Made” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $40), Yvette van Boven shows you how, complete with an irreverent voice, step-by-step photos and illustrations, and a gorgeous photo alongside every recipe.

While her recipes are rooted in a natural, from-scratch cooking philosophy, van Boven is not preachy (she never uses the term “organic”). She believes that her methods and way of cooking are fun and that the dishes simply taste better. Chapters include Preserving Fruit and Vegetables, Cocktails and Liqueurs, Tea Anyone?, Time for Lunch, Pre-Dinner Drinks, Chocolate and Cookies, After a Night on the Town, We All Scream for Ice Cream, Do Not Forget the Dog!, and more. Each chapter starts with a basic dish that you can make yourself, but usually don’t because you think it’s too complicated, and includes variations — basic bread becomes focaccia with olives and rosemary, or even red cherry and thyme bread. This book will inspire you to make every dish at home.

Few have done more to define how Americans cook than James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Barbara Kafka. When her childhood gluten and lactose intolerances resurfaced after she’d been in the food industry for several decades, the New York Times bestselling cookbook author resolved to create recipes for real food that wouldn’t leave her feeling deprived. The result is her latest, “The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten and Lactose” (Artisan Books, $29.95).

Most gluten-free cookbooks focus on baking. In contrast, Kafka’s effort is an all-purpose cookbook written by a culinary expert, a guide for anyone who is unwilling to let his or her intolerances get in the way of enjoying good food. Rather than relying on substitutes, Kafka suggests new ingredients and preparations that enhance flavor and texture. She reveals how to achieve crispness without breading, creaminess without dairy and silkiness without flour or butter. The book features more than 250 original recipes for every meal and every occasion. Recipes range from soul-satisfying staples like Garlic Mashed Potatoes to grand showpieces like Gala Crown Roast of Pork.

Following the success of the hit television series, “Everyday Exotic,” chef Roger Mooking and his producer Allan Magee have put together the most delicious recipes from the program’s 52 inspiring episodes. Using the concept of one main exotic ingredient, Roger demystifies the ingredients through flavor and aroma, empowering the reader to embrace them in cooking. With “Everyday Exotic — The Cookbook” (Whitecap Books, $29.95), you’ll be able to turn standard midweek recipes into new classics that your entire family will love.

From Monday’s standard meatloaf to Sunday’s traditional roast chicken, it’s easy to learn how to embrace new taste sensations that turn those tired midweek recipes into fresh and exciting new meals. Home cooks can explore dishes like Lime Leaf Chicken with Lime Mayo, Coriander Meatloaf with Cilantro Pesto and Tomato Chutney, Curried Macaroni and Cheese Pie, Five Spice Lamb Burgers and Saffron Halibut Packets.

With nearly half a million copies of their cookbooks in print, and having garnered acclaim far and wide from the New York Times to the Travel Channel, Dr. Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois have proven that people want to bake their own bread — as long as they can do so quickly and easily.

After receiving positive response to the sample of pizzas and flatbreads in their earlier books, the authors were inspired to create 100 new recipes, presented in “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day” (Thomas Dunne Books, $27.99), complete with color photographs. The result is a cookbook that is perfect for any busy, time-pressed professional, multi-tasking parents looking to bring families together for dinner, or anyone interested in acquiring new kitchen skills and adding gourmet touches to meals at home. In this easy-to-follow cookbook, the authors instruct readers on how to use their game-changing technique of stored, no-knead dough to make one of America’s favorite dishes. Recipes range from Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza to a Gorgonzola and Fresh Fig Tart, as well as a variety of savory doughs.

Gooseberry Patch was founded in 1984 by Vickie Hutchins and Jo Ann Martin, two moms looking for a way to do what they loved and stay home with kids too. Now, 25 years later, they’re best known for their collection of family-friendly, community-style cookbooks. Each book is created with today’s time-strapped, budget-conscious families in mind and filled with recipes shared by cooks all across the country. Along with treasured family recipes, each book includes the stories that go along with these tried-and-true dishes.

With more than 200 titles and nearly 9 million copies in print, plus an ever-growing collection of e-books, Gooseberry Patch has grown from a kitchen-table operation to a nationally recognized bestselling publisher. “Big Book of Home Cooking” (Oxmoor House, $29.95) is Gooseberry Patch’s biggest-ever recipe collection, with 450 delicious recipes and over 200 photos that will take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen. This hefty cookbook encompasses every recipe a home cook could ever need, including simple weeknight meals, special-occasion menus, everyday soups and salads, comforting casseroles, homemade gifts from the kitchen, slow-cooker favorites, best-loved dessert recipes and a lot more.

Loyal Gooseberry Patch brand followers and new readers alike will delight in inspirational entertaining ideas, helpful tips and shortcuts, a menu planner for pulling delicious meals together in a snap, and shared memories from recipe contributors.

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