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Cookbook Giveaway: The Apple Lover’s Cookbook

Apple-Studded Brown Butter Streusel Coffee Cake is an easy apple dessert, great for using sweet apples.

Apple season is in full swing, and that means apples are crisper, sweeter and riper than ever, with dozens of varieties available at pick-your-own orchards and farmers’ markets. And if you find yourself trying to decide between Mutsu, Empire, Cortland, Pink Lady and other unfamiliar apple varieties, wondering which is good for cooking, baking and eating out-of-hand, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso is the perfect book to have by your side.

Amy includes a reference section that describes 59 great apple varieties in-depth (with pictures!), but for ease of use, she also divides all apples into four general categories: firm-tart, firm-sweet, tender-tart and tender-sweet. There’s even an “apple varieties cheat sheet,” dividing the apples into these categories, that I may Xerox before heading to the farmers’ market.

The recipes, which span from savory meat pies to apple tarts and breakfast through dinner dishes, all include a general apple category suggestion (and occasionally a specific variety suggestion), so you’ll know you’re using the best type of apple for each recipe. It’s amazing and sure to get you out of the familiar Granny-Smith-for-baking rut.

A rustic Free-Form Apple-Pear-Cranberry Tart makes an impressive dessert for any get-together.

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Cookbook Giveaway: The Kimchi Chronicles

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Fiery, fermented kimchi makes an easy weeknight meal when made into Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew), a Korean standby. Photograph by Andre Baranowski.

The Kimchi Chronicles

I had never tasted Korean food until I moved to New York City six years ago. But now, I often crave a good tofu soup or bibimbap, served with spicy banchan, the small bowls of pickled veggies served with every Korean meal. The spices and flavors of Korean food are absolutely addictive, and now, with The Kimchi Chronicles by Marja Vongerichten, completely demystified and attainable at home.

Marja Vongerichten was born in Korea, the daughter of an American serviceman and a Korean woman, and adopted by American parents. At 20 she reconnected with her birth mother who by then lived in New York City, and Marja has been rediscovering and embracing her Korean heritage through food. In The Kimchi Chronicles, her PBS series, she and her husband, none other than chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, travel through Korea for inspiration and then cook up modern takes on Korean foods. This cookbook is a collection of their culinary creations: traditional favorites (like Bulgogi, a Korean barbecue classic) and fascinating fusions (like Korean Baeckeoffe, Jean-Georges’ Korean twist on an Alsatian casserole).

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Cookbook Giveaway: Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume

Color, texture and spice come together beautifully in these Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel.

Purple Citrus and Sweet PerfumeBritish chef, restaurateur, writer and food personality Silvena Rowe brings seductive elegance to Eastern Mediterranean cooking in Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume: Cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean. Silvena grew up in Bulgaria and her father is Turkish; she credits the vast 500-year rule of the Ottomans for creating a “melting pot of cuisines” in the Eastern Mediterranean region, from Athens to Budapest, Cairo to Beirut and beyond. Through her stories, Silvena takes us on a food journey and delivers simple recipes for lush, spiced Mediterranean home cooking.

What about the cookbook’s intriguing title? In an interview on The Splendid Table, Silvena says that “purple citrus” is sumac, a purple spice with a citrusy flavor, while “sweet perfume” is for the flowers commonly used in Eastern Mediterranean cooking.

Start your exploration of Silvena’s Mediterranean cooking with a few recipes for simple mezze. These are foods for socializing, and she describes them as a “glittering array of dishes” of different colors and textures. So round up a friend or two and give these a try: Crunchy Red Swiss Chard Falafel and Baba Ghanoush.

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Cookbook Giveaway — Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

A Supper of Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Basil

Gently simmered zucchini, tomatoes and basil makes the perfect summertime meal. Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin

Tender CookbookWith summer produce at its peak, in all its juicy, flavorful goodness, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch is the perfect cookbook to have on hand to take advantage of all your farmers’ market booty. British food writer, cookbook author and TV personality Nigel Slater obviously has a passion for produce — his cookbook is organized by ingredient, with many recipes informally written in “garden-log” style. Whatever looks most alluring at any given moment, that’s what we should all be buying and eating, and with Nigel’s garden-inspired cookbook you’ll never be at a loss for what to cook, from asparagus to zucchini.

If the carrots look great at your farmers’ market, you can flip to the “Carrots” chapter (right between “Cabbage” and “Cauliflower”) to find a little carrot primer and recipes like A Soup the Color of Marigolds, Carrot and Cilantro Fritters and A Carrot Cake with a Frosting of Mascarpone and Orange. From fun appetizers and easy sides to mains and desserts, Nigel includes them all.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Food From Many Greek Kitchens

Pork Skewers

Skewer up some oregano-spiced pork for a Greek feast courtesy of Tessa Kiros' new cookbook, Food from Many Greek Kitchens.

Food from Many Greek Kitchens CookbookCraving a fantastic summer vacay? Escape to Greece and eat like a native with Food from Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros. Not only does she bring the flavors of the Mediterranean into our kitchens, Tessa is a great cultural tour guide, delving into classic culinary traditions and dishes. And along with the 200+ recipes and engaging writing, snapshots of home kitchens and local markets vividly illustrate the bright, sun-soaked food paradise of Greece.

Get your culinary get-away started with a mixture of menzedes, or shared appetizers – flavorful bites like Tomato Fritters, Peppers Stuffed with Feta and Fried Calamari.

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Cookbook Giveaway: Southern Biscuits

Flaky Appetizer Cream Cheese Biscuits are made with three ingredients, cream cheese, butter and flour, and come together easily in the food processor. Photograph by Rick McKee

Light and flaky, rich and moist, crumbly, silky, buttery, savory: Yes, there are a lot of biscuits out there, and I can’t think of a more fun summer project than exploring them all, baking up batch after batch for picnics, potlucks, grill-outs and backyard barbecues. With Southern Biscuits, by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, perfect recipes and techniques for a whole slew of biscuits are delivered in one beautiful cookbook.

They begin with an invaluable “Biscuit Basics” chapter – my biscuits will never be the same now that I know the importance of low-gluten flour, the difference between fats, eight different methods for shaping biscuit dough and more. The recipes start with easy biscuits, requiring only a few ingredients and simple steps, and then dive into traditional biscuits, requiring more ingredients (butter, lard, oh my!) and a little more love. But the truth is, even though baking biscuits is an old-time tradition, they’re surprisingly quick and easy to make and deserve a place in everyone’s modern, busy lifestyle.

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By the Book: The Food of Spain

Bell Peppers Stuffed with Rice in Tomato Sauce

From Valencia: Bell peppers stuffed with saffron-flavored rice are baked in homemade tomato sauce.

The Food of Spain

Years ago, I spent a few months in Madrid working as a culinary intern in an upscale restaurant. I intended to learn as much as I could about Spanish food and cooking, but of course spent most of my time chopping and peeling, observing and eating. I didn’t end up coming home with a single recorded recipe.

Flipping through The Food of Spain, I was transported back to that hectic Madrid kitchen — chopping garlic, roasting and peeling peppers, blanching and peeling tomatoes, cleaning shrimp. And now, finally, in this cookbook I found the key to re-creating all the familiar dishes I encountered there, from potato omelets and paella to more obscure finds I can’t wait to try, all delivered with invaluable context.

The Food of Spain is for food lovers who appreciate a cookbook that’s equally as valuable on the nightstand for curling up with a good read, as it is in the kitchen when you’re ready to get cooking. James Beard Award-winning author Claudia Roden, best known for the classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food, is a master at putting food into cultural and historical context. The first 121 pages of The Food of Spain delve into the country’s food history, focusing on ingredients, dishes and regions. Recipe subheads and headnotes contribute a wealth of information about the region of Spain the dishes are from as well as Claudia’s personal experiences discovering and cooking them.

Start cooking from with these favorites from the book:

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By the Book: Grandma’s Cookies, Updated by Milk & Cookies

Milk & Cookies Bakery Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nostalgic and comforting, bake a batch of Milk & Cookies Bakery Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies today. Photo by Antonis Achilleos

Milk & Cookies
About a month ago, a ho-hum company meeting took a riveting turn when I bit into a cookie from a large tray making its way around the conference room. It tasted of pure comfort and nostalgia. . . I tried another, and another, sampling each kind, breaking off pieces here and there – they were all really, unbelievably irresistible.

Like that Progresso soup commercial (where the customer calls the company looking for her grandma), it felt like my Grandma Hazel was hanging out in a New York City bakery, surprising me with amazing cookies even (dare I say?) better than I remembered. The source of these comforting cookies was Milk & Cookies, a bakery not far from our office, tucked into a tiny storefront on a narrow Greenwich Village street. It seemed like fate when I realized the new cookbook I was eyeing on, Milk & Cookies, was from the same bakery where my grandma just might be baking me cookies.

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By the Book: The Japanese Grill

Pork Chops with Yuzu-Miso Marinade

Pork Chops with Yuzu-Miso Marinade are tangy, spicy, tender and amazingly flavorful. (Photo: Todd Coleman)

Growing up in the Midwest, my first exposure to Japanese food was a local teppanyaki restaurant, where knives would click, flames would fly and I would anticipate the first whiff of seductive, sizzling sauce hitting the flat-top grill, the aroma permeating my senses, getting tangled in my hair. 

Brushing a beef marinade from the new The Japanese Grill cookbook this week, the same alluring aroma came sizzling off my grill pan, and I was instantly hooked. The authors — Japanese-born Tadashi Ono (chef at Matsuri in NYC) and food writer Harris Salat — came up with a simple yet brilliant concept: combine American-style grilling (steaks, chops and chicken over a backyard grill) with basic Japanese flavors.

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By the Book: Cooking With Gwyneth and Loving It

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow cooks fresh and fast food in her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter. (Photo: Ellen Silverman)

My Father's DaughterWhen one of my favorite actresses started to chum around on TV with my favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel chef, Mario Batali, the world seemed to tilt uncomfortably on its axis, and I wasn’t sure how I liked it. But this didn’t stop me from signing up for the newsletters from Gwyneth’s lifestyle web site, GOOP. And it certainly hasn’t stopped me from pouncing on her new cookbook, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness

Gwyneth begins the introduction to her book “Okay, I wrote a cookbook.” — then goes on to explain the title as a chronicle of her personal food journey: She learned to love food from her father who passed away in 2002, she spent some time as a vegan and vegetarian, and has, as a mother, dedicated her efforts to feeding her own family responsibly

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