Five Must Read Cookbooks for Fall 2021
Summer is over, time to get cracking on planning your fall reading list.
Fall reads should be a mixture of cookbooks that make you want to put on a cozy sweater and drink tea or a pumpkin latte as you gaze out the window reveling in the autumn sounds of crunching leaves and the distinctive smells of the autumn season. Light a spicy candle and you are good to go.
Cozy fall books to read this year are a mixture of five sensational cookbooks. Forget, thrillers and mysteries and scary tales and instead bone up on improving your repertoire of fall and holiday recipes. If you think about it, fall is when we begin our major hike through holiday cooking. I think the five books (and recipes) I’ve chosen for you have a depth of culinary goodness for you to choose from.
Aquas Frescas & Paletas
I am always on the hunt for novel (but delicious) nonalcoholic drinks. Erika Sanchez shares 40 unique Mexican style recipes in her thoughtful and informative book, Aguas Frescas & Paletas. The word “Frescas” translates to “cool or fresh waters.” The Mexican drinks and popsicles are made fresh and come in a variety of fruity flavors that are as beautiful to look at as to drink. The book is also beautifully designed we have seen.
Made of one or more fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water, the drinks are trendy in Mexico, Central America, and parts of the United States, especially the southwest. Traditional aqua fresca flavors are tamarind, hibiscus and horchata.
Take note that the recipes in Aguas Frescas & Paletas uses less sugar than traditional Mexican treats. They also use simple ingredients that can all be found at your local supermarket. All drinks are alcohol-free. It’s a spectacular looking and tasting win-win for everyone!
Must-Try Recipe: Mango and Chamoy Pops
3 cups Ataulfo mango (about 5 mangoes), divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄2 cup pure cane sugar
1⁄4 cup water
2 tablespoons chamoy sauce 1 teaspoon chili lime salt
Add 2 1⁄2 cups mango, lime juice, sugar, and water
to blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside 2⁄3 cup of mango mixture.
Place the rest of the mango mixture in a small bowl. Stir in chamoy sauce and chili lime salt.
Chop remaining 1⁄2 cup mango into half-inch cubes.
Divide mango cubes into popsicle molds. Layer
plain mango mixture and chamoy mango mixture
in each mold, alternating between mixtures. Push mixtures in the mold with a spoon to make swirls. Cover and insert popsicle sticks. Chill overnight.
Spoon mixture into popsicle molds. Cover and insert popsicle sticks. Freeze at least 4 hours or until firm.
The Happy Sandwich
Fall means football season is here! Sandwiches are a big part of a pleasing meal any time of the day but during football season shake up your normal offerings and dive into the unique and delicious sandwiches offered in this book. They range sweet, savory, cold, hot, vegetarian, and even low-carb. Make filings in a slow cooker, or a sheet pan, or try one of the multiple variations on grilled cheese that are anything but boring.
The book is filled with fun stories about each recipe and quotes from famous chefs extolling the love of food. Perfectly titled, it’s all fun and state-of-the-art. The recipes are straightforward and pretty easy to prepare, with ingredients that can be sourced at any well-stocked supermarket. The author even encourages shortcuts such as frozen vegetables and your favorite pre-made sauces, so you can truly get dinner on in a hurry. Sandwiches are comfort food; these happy sandwiches keep things easy and make your mouth happy as well.
Must- Try Recipe
Grilled Cheese Calzone
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1.In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder,
red pepper flakes, olive oil, and 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
- Divide the mixture evenly across all four slices of bread and top with other bread.
3.Spread lots of mayonnaise on the outside of each bread slice. Cook in a pan for 3 minutes
per side on medium heat.
- While still hot sprinkle with parmesan and dip into marinara to enjoy!
Hatch Pepper Cookbook
A Hatch chile is one of those “gifts” from heaven you should not miss. Devoted exclusively to Hatch chiles, this cookbook is filled with recipes featuring Hatch chiles.
Hatch chilies are harvested along the Rio Grande in Hatch New Mexico producing the prized thick walls and meat flesh peppers.. There you will find rows and rows of mild, medium, hot, and extra hot peppers.
From Appetizers all the way through Desserts, and everything in between, you’re going to find many favorites you’ll want to make time and time again. This cookbook provides a step-by-step guide to learning where, when, and how to use fresh roasted, frozen or powdered peppers to create meals that are delicious every time
You’ll learn how to make innovative dishes like Hatch Pepper Hummus, Hatch Pepper Shrimp & Orzo Salad, Roasted Mexican Sweet Corn and Hatch Enchiladas Suizas. The photography is gorgeous and guides you to what success looks like.
Must Try Recipe: Chiles Tolucos
6 Dried Melissa’s Hatch Pepper Pods
½ cup Cider Vinegar
1 cup Orange Juice
1-pound Piloncillo (Brown Sugar Cones) — chopped
5 (1 ¼ ounces) cloves Organic Garlic
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
¼ pound Melissa’s Soyrizo
1 cup Refried Beans
Salt to taste
¾ pound Manchego Cheese — grated
1 cup Crema or Sour Cream
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Slit each pepper lengthwise to remove seeds and veins, being careful not to cut the sides of the chiles. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil remove from heat, add chiles and soak for 20 minutes or until chiles are soft.
For the sauce:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar and orange juice. Bring to a simmer. Add piloncillo, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cook, stirring until piloncillo has dissolved. Remove from heat, add chiles and soak until they feel fleshy, about 15 – 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté Soyrizo in oil until heated through. Stir in beans and season with salt. Let cool.
Transfer peppers to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess liquid. Strain the sauce and set aside. Using only ½ pound of the cheese, carefully stuff chiles with the Soyrizo bean mixture and cheese. Arrange stuffed chiles seam side down, in a baking dish and spoon crema (or sour cream) over the top, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with warm sauce.
Makes 6 servings.
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The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook
Spirit and spice, that’s what you get in this glorious collection of 50 traditional recipes. Classic favorites are carefully adapted with methods and ingredients to fit a modern lifestyle. You don’t have to identify as Jewish to love these recipes.
The reason for Beth A. Lee’s new cookbook, The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook, was her wish to help people recapture the joyful memories of times when their homes were filled with the aromas of authentic Jewish baked goods produced by their mother and Bubbe (see pg. 26 for Sweet Challah Rolls) .In essence, she has handed us the perfect RECIPE Box (a term used in the Jewish Community for cookbook).
Beth gives complete directions on how to make wonderful foods that are a part of so many family memories, without the hassle of trying to find the measurement equivalent of some ingredients we often find when reading our grandmothers’ hand written recipe. Her book is written to make it easy to find the help you need, whether it is needing a substitute for an ingredient, how to bake Kosher, or a specific bakery item for a special event or holiday.
Author Beth A. Lee was born on the East coast where she was raised on the traditional Jewish food she is now writing and blogging about in such publications as the New York Times, San Jose Mercury News and Edible Silicon Valley. After moving to Northern California, she attended the University of California Berkeley and received a degree in business.
The author loves blogging. Check out her website. It’s filled with stories about her family’s many cultural foods. She also co-leads a virtual cooking group, Tasting Jerusalem, which explores Middle Eastern recipes.
Must Try Recipe: New York-Style Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes / Inactive Time: 6 hours to overnight / Cook Time: 55 minutes
New York-Style cheesecake is known for its high volume of cream cheese and just a hint of lemon. It’s not a light bite, but it has a rich and pleasing mouthfeel. This simple-to-make cheesecake dessert is perfect for Shavuot, when eating dairy products is traditional. My bars are far easier to make than a round cheesecake in a springform pan, which requires a water bath. Enjoy this luscious treat anytime you need an easy, make-ahead dessert option. Makes 16 bars
For the crust
Nonstick cooking spray
10 graham crackers (yield about 1 3/4 cups of crumbs)
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling
16 ounces (464 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (94 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (123 grams) Greek yogurt or sour cream (115 grams), room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon flour
- Prep/Preheat: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Spray the foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the crust: Use a food processor or a rolling pin and a plastic bag to crush the graham crackers to a fine crumb. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl and stir in the melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well so the crumbs are coated with butter. Transfer the graham cracker crust to the foil-lined pan and press down firmly with your fingers or the bottom of a glass. The crust should cover the bottom of the pan and extend up the sides of the pan by about 1 inch. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool slightly before adding the filling.
- Make the filling: Lower the oven temperature to 325°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and granulated sugar on medium speed for about 1 minute, until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and flour. Mix well on medium speed for another 1 minute. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
- Bake: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, checking at 40 minutes. The cheesecake should be mostly set, with the middle still a bit jiggly. Let cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. To serve, use the foil overhang to lift it out of pan onto a cutting board. Slice into squares, wiping the knife clean in between each cut. Enjoy as is, or top with fruit, jam, or whipped cream.
Variation Tip: Use a mini muffin pan and mini muffin liners. Place about 1 tablespoon of crust in each liner, pressing down with the bottom of a shot glass. Bake crusts for 5 minutes at 350°F. Remove and cool. Add a heaping tablespoon of filling and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
The One-Pan College Cookbook
I am very excited to share this unique cookbook with you. Although its title would lead you believe it would be just for college students, it could just have been easily titled One-Pan Cookbook for Singles or One-Pan Easy Recipes for Quick Good Food. So… do NOT let the title fool you. These are 80 foolproof – actually memorable- recipes that will be a go- to- book for you.
Author MJ Hong helps us get t a delicious grip on quick one pan meals cooking. From making speedy, affordable suppers to whipping up group meals for new friends, these are full of nutritious, imaginative and achievable recipes, and are as good for young foodies as they are for the most inexperienced of beginners.
Roasting in a pan means less hassle and minimal washing-up – perfect for everyone I know. The book contains one-pan meat, fish and veg-based dishes, as well as sides and desserts, helpfully categorized into eight chapters. All of the recipes have five of fewer ingredients and are ready in 20 minutes. Each recipe also includes tips with things like smart shopping, how to adjust ingredient to taste and ways to change recipes up for variety.
Must-try recipe: Thai Lettuce Wraps
Thai-Inspired Lettuce Wraps
Fresh and tangy flavors paired with crunchy vegetables make for a satisfying bite in these refreshing lettuce wraps. Use your favorite ground meat or omit it altogether and double up on the vegetables. You can also make this into a bowl and serve it over chopped fresh lettuce or cooked rice.
PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 10 minutes TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound ground chicken, turkey, pork, or beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 carrot, diced or grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter or any nut butter
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves
- In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meat and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up, for about 3 minutes, or until no longer pink.
- Add the garlic, ginger, carrot, bell pepper, hoisin sauce, and peanut butter and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the scallion, cilantro, and lime juice.
- To serve, separate the lettuce leaves and place on a plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the filling into the center of each leaf and eat taco-style.
REMIX TIP: For a Korean-inspired flavor, omit the hoisin sauce and peanut butter and instead add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. For spice, add 1 tablespoon of gochujang (Korean red chili paste).
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To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly suggest products from Melissa’s Produce, available at most markets. Look for this logo;
Authors Note: Disclosure: I received a copy of each of the cookbooks above for review purposes from the publisher. I am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own.