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New cookbooks

By Ann | January 10, 2012

Lucky girl that I am, I received quite a haul of new cookbooks for Christmas. Here’s what I’m cooking from these days:

Since I live in a cave (apparently) I’d never even heard of Nancy Silverton’s chic pizzeria, Mozza, until I was in Southern California last month and read this Los Angeles Times review of the new Orange Country branch. I immediately tried to book a table but rave LA Times review + holiday season + short notice = no luck. Happily, my dad employed the age-old philosophy — “Give your daughter a pizza and you feed her for a day, give her the Mozza cookbook and you feed her for a lifetime” — and I found a copy under the tree. The book’s pizza dough recipe is tailored to the home cook, including two pages of step-by-step tutelage that I hope to try one day (after gathering the required patience and equipment). For now, I’m sticking with the pastas. I’ve already made the cacio e pepe — linguine with Pecorino cheese and black pepper — which was satisfying but a little too oily (this recipe seems more promising). Next up: short pasta with guanciale, tomato and spicy pickled peppers. I also have my eye on the braised short ribs with horseradish gremolata and polenta — perfect winter comfort food.

Because I’m a hypochondriac, I tend to eat several vegetarian or vegan meals a week. A girl can only eat so much tofu stir-fry, however, so when I read about this natural  foods cookbook here, I immediately started dropping Christmas hints (thanks to my husband, for listening to me!). Super Natural Every Day is full of unfussy, fast, wholesome and satisfying recipes that seem perfect for weeknight cooking. Though my first foray was a little disappointing — I made the black pepper tempeh with cauliflower, garlic, ginger, and cane sugar (turns out I don’t like tempeh — too pasty) — I’m excited to experiment with the lunch and snack recipes. Things I want to try: Spinach chop (with hard-boiled eggs, garlic, almonds, and harissa), little quinoa cakes, chickpea wraps (whole wheat lavash, celery, dill, mustard), white beans and cabbage, potatoes and parmesan.

On the other end of the healthiness spectrum is this collection of recipes from Martin Ginsburg, the late husband of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was produced as a tribute to him by the other spouses of the Supreme Court. The recipes are mostly French (or Frenchified), made luscious with heaps of butter and cream. I hope to try the potato gratin and dark chocolate mousse — but not in the same meal. My favorite part of the book, however, are the remembrances about the cook himself, who seemed like an open-hearted, warm, intelligent and generous person. For example, here’s a quote from his son: “My father loved to repeat my sister’s line about the division of labor in our family: ‘Mommy does the thinking and Daddy does the cooking.'” The book is available at the Supreme Court Historical Society website; you can also read an article about it here.

Did you receive any cookbooks for the holidays? I’d love to hear!


Topics: Cooking the Books, Livres | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “New cookbooks”

  1. Katia Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Oh oh OH that Mozza Cookbook looks MARVELLOUS! Thankyou for the suggestions!
    I did not get any cookbooks for Christmas… but considering I’d bought myself several food-related books in December I don’t feel like I missed out ;)

  2. Lindsey Says:
    January 10th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I didn’t get any of the cookbooks I hoped for this year :( But you did just pique my interest with these 3, especially since I badly need to revamp our savory dishes during the week! Cookies only go so far in terms of nourishment (surprisingly) :) You were a lucky girl this season, Ann! Great list.

  3. CK Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 7:23 am

    That Ginsburg cookbook sounds fascinating. The family is from New York, correct?

  4. Lindy Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Perfect! Here I am, another freelancer just poised to start my first research project of the year, and I have happily avoided all my work to read yours. Thank you Ann!

    I’m a bit behind; did you renovate your kitchen? I’m sitting and trying to work in mine right now. And here’s the tricky bit. It has to be perfectly clean and orderly before I start. so it’s the dilemma – to make marmalalade or to get down and work. Or just read a few more of your wonderful blogs. And all with top notes of Australian jet lag to tempt me back to bed. Love Lindy

  5. Brassfrog Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 12:52 pm


    Great suggestions for my sagging cookbook bookshelf. I saw a TV review of Chef Supreme and it sounded good then. Thanks for the reviews.

    BTW, did you steam the tempeh first? My daughter taught me to do that and it greatly improves the flavor and texture.

    Best regards,


  6. Michel Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I have had the good fortune to eat at both Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza. I clearly preferred the former and think it is definitely worth making an effort to dine there. Pizzeria Mozza not so much. I actually had the Mozza cookbook on my wish list for Christmas but didn’t get it although I did get 5 other books including new books by Lidia Bastianich, Jacques Pepin, Michael Chiarello, Mario Batali, and Stephane Reynaud.

  7. Ann Says:
    January 12th, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Katia — I’d be happy to lend you the Mozza book and/or — better yet — cook some pizzas together!

    Lindsey — What do you mean? Cookies have all four food groups: butter, sugar, chocolate and nuts. Yum!

    Lindy — I see that you employ many of my own “working” techniques. We are in the process of renovating our teensy kitchen. It will be small, like a ship’s galley!

    Brassfrog — Thanks for the tip on steaming the tempeh — you’re inspiring me to try the stuff again!

    Michel — Which Lidia cookbook? I just checked out Lidia’s Italy from the library — gorgeous photography, appealing recipes!

  8. Bob Says:
    January 13th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I’m glad you liked your cookbooks for Christmas! Did you notice the detailed recipe for making a French baguette in Chef Supreme? After perfecting it, Martin Ginsburg wanted to make sure you could repeat his recipe down to the final smallest step. It covers four pages and took him over a year to develop it!

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