"V is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes &Techniques for Home Cooks," ($40, Little, Brown) by Michael Anthony of Grammercy Tavern fame is an updated version of the classic alphabetical vegetable roll-call style book that tells all about each veggie, and includes a few recipes. The recipes in this tome are incredibly imaginative: Carrot Juice Olive Oil Braised Veggies, Cocktail, Daikon Kinpira, Kohlrabi and Walnut Salad, Nettle Custard. The book is packed with gorgeous photography that makes you want to shop and cook fresh. Anthony earned a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in the U.S. this year.
"At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen" ($40.00, Roost Books) by Amy Chaplin is a great work-horse for those who want to eat healthy and enjoy bold flavors. Note that although the title offers no hint, the recipes in this book are decidely Asian, specifically Korean and Japanese. Recipes range from simple directions on how to make basic elements of a specific cuisine to quite involved instructions that might discourage beginning cooks. Kitchen talents aside, this is an impressive collection of reliable recipes.
"The Complete Guide to Sushi &Sashaimi," ($29.95, Robert Rose) is essentially a how-to manual for those who don't know how to make sushi but want to learn. The book includes details on what to buy, how to lay out a work station, and how to make tight rolls of sushi, no matter what the ingredients might be. The how-to pictures in this book are exhaustive -- and so helpful for beginners who have no clue what the pitfalls of sush-making might be.
"Oyster: A Gastronomic History," ($30, Abrams) is much less of a cookbook than it is an essay about the history of oysters themselves. It's a little studious and technical, but fun for the history buff who loves oysters.
"Dinner Pies: From Shepherd's Pies and Pot Pies to Turnovers, Quiches, Hand Pies and More," ($24.95, Harvard Common Press) by Ken Haedrich is a delicious little volume that unpacks the art of turning just about any food into a pie of some sort. The recipes are simple, yet inspired. Think salmon and spinach pies, kale spanikopita, Italian sausage and spinach polenta pie.