There are cookbooks, the kind of moderately useful publications you refer to every now and again when you need to make a coffee cake for the office party, and maybe also arrange in an artful display on your bookshelves—more style statement than kitchen reference. And then there are Cookbooks, with a capital C. These are books are so packed with information, innovative recipes, and mouthwatering photos, you can’t help but flip through them, dreaming of your next luncheon, and you pull them off the shelf weekly to try something new. Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi is a Cookbook, and we’re sort of obsessed with it right now.
Annie first got turned on to Jerusalem by one of her favorite caterers, Kate Baldwin of Kate Baldwin Food. Kate is just as infatuated as we are. “You just want to dive into it right from the start with the cover, which is padded,” she says. “I mean, who’s ever seen a cushioned cookbook?”
But beyond the cover’s luxe feel and drool-worthy photo lies some pretty amazing stuff. Not only do the authors have a penchant for marrying common ingredients like oranges and parsley with exotic ones like sumac and saffron, but they also put a twist on some classic cooking techniques. Case in point: the Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad, which features an intense, sweet-tart orange sauce, almost a compote, combined with shredded chicken, sliced fennel, and lots of leafy herbs. And we could write poetry about the Coconut-Marmalade Cake, with its burst of orange blossom water, aromatic coconut, and ground almonds. “It’s just so fresh and different,” Kate notes. “It’s not just a glossy picture book. . . . It also gives us a whole new spin on flavors and combinations that just haven’t crossed our palates—ever!”
No wonder Kate loves using Jerusalem-inspired recipes for events, like the dinner party Annie recently hosted at her home for a couple dozen sales reps, who couldn’t stop talking about the amazing meal.
We’re ready for round two. How about you? What’s tops on your favorite-cookbook list?