Textbook Cooking

A look at six new cookbooks by Valley chefs/authors



Hudson Valley Mediterranean by Laura Pensiero

Born and raised in the Valley, author Pensiero — she owns Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and Gigi Market & Catering in Red Hook — has whipped up a tasty selection of more than 100 recipes, ranging from butternut-and-pear soup to biscuit-topped chicken and root vegetable stew. Pensiero emphasizes seasonal, locally grown ingredients, done up Mediterranean style with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil, whole grains, and “restrained amounts” of meat. An added plus — profiles of local farms and orchards are sprinkled throughout the book. (William Morrow, $30.00)

The New York Times Country Weekend Cookbook edited by Linda Amster

Whether hosting friends or taking some alone time at home, you’re sure to find creative cookery ideas with these 200-plus recipes. Based on a laid-back, weekend approach to simple, gourmet dining, choices include everything from Friday-night hors d’ oeurves and cocktails to lazy-Sunday breakfasts and brunches. There’s also a nice assortment of dishes based on farm stand ingredients, as well as gourmet goodies perfect for picnics, to take to the lake or to enjoy on a shady back porch. Mexican crab and green-bean salad, anyone? (St. Martin’s Press, $32.00)

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas

Vegan cooking — steering clear of all meat and dairy products — is healthy, environmentally sustainable, and, as Hudson Valley resident Atlas proves with her newest cookbook, delicious, too. Now that there’s a hint of fall in the air, her autumny offerings of dishes such as kale, yellow squash, and sweet potato stew seem especially appealing, whether you’re vegetarian or not. The book, which also includes goodies such as muffins and scones, is arranged by season for delicious year-round dining. (Broadway Books, $17.95)

Orange County Bounty Cookbook compiled by artists from the Wallkill River School

How many cookbooks include original artwork on virtually every page? This one is a labor of love and community, compiled by a group of Valley artists who live and work in Orange County. They visited local farms and restaurants, painted on location, and collected original recipes for meat, fish, vegetable, and fruit dishes, as well as yummy desserts. Among the samplings in the 176-page cookbook are spicy sausage-stuffed zucchini shells; farm market-style eggplant; and fresh fruit pie. The book also includes tips for “greener” kitchens and advice for canning and other food-preservation methods. (Royal Fireworks Publishing Co., Inc., $24.99)

Landscaping With Fruit by Lee Reich

You might think of this as a “pre-cooking” book. New Paltz author Reich explains in detail, from design to drainage, how to create landscaped areas in backyards that incorporate beautiful fruit bushes and trees. The result is a win-win situation: Not only do you get to enjoy a gorgeous outdoor area, but you can then whip up nature’s bounty into delicious recipes. There’s also a section on creating a kids’ garden brimming with peaches, plums, and blackberries, plus detailed growing tips and information on nearly 40 kinds of fruit and edibles, from apples to wintergreen. (Storey Publishing, $19.95)

Healthy Highways by Nikki & David Goldbeck

There’s no need to limit on-the-road meal stops to fast food chains just because you don’t know what else is nearby. This second edition of the popular, state-by-state guide — written by a husband-and-wife team based in Woodstock — makes it easy to find health-conscious eateries, ethnic cafes, and natural-food stores, no matter where you roam. The Hudson Valley is well-represented — entries include restaurants and stores from Albany down to White Plains. (Ceres Press, $18.95)

 

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