We’re craving comfort foods and stories of travel…and food. It seems like so long ago that we were able to freely travel, right? A few books have come on our radar for this month that had us lusting for those pure comforts. It seems like it’s a “one for me, and save one for a gift” kind of month. Here are a few books have caught our attention this month…and yes, cookbooks are on our minds!

THE PRIMAL GOURMET: By Ronny Joseph Lvovski. More than 120 gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free recipes, with flavorful fan-favorites and all-new dishes, proving that eating healthy really can be delicious from this very popular cooking blogger. Almost every single one of the recipes in THE PRIMAL GOURMET COOKBOOK is Paleo-friendly and Whole30-compliant. While many of the dishes are inspired by Lvovski’s Russian-Jewish roots, his culinary identity is also largely formed by his upbringing in Toronto. With so much diversity and cultural influence in the city’s food scene, he was inspired to create his own recipes. At the same time, he wanted to make the recipes accessible and healthy so that they can be enjoyed by everyone. Recipes are created for all skill levels, and include tips and techniques. At a recent virtual event both Libby and I had a chance to learn more about this self-made chef and gained some insight to such tips like his favourite knives (Victorinox — “a dream come true” he said during the event to work with a highly reputable brand). Tip: A must have is the Victorinox 8″ Fibrox Chef Knife as well as a really good pairing knife. THE BITE ME BALANCE COOKBOOK: Wholesome Daily Eats & Delectable Treats: By Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. These two have been keeping the fun in the kitchen for years. Their fun attitude towards life is one of the biggest draws and yes, their recipes are top of the class. Approachable and yummy is what we’ve experienced each time we’ve pulled out their previous cookbooks. The latest The Bite Me Balance Cookbook includes 138 brand new recipes that are both easy and delicious. They’ve figured out “the secret to waist management” and happy to share the tips in the kitchen.

EAT A PEACH by David Chang and Gabe Ulla: This intimate memoir from the chef behind Momofuku and star of Netflix’s Ugly Delicious – this is the story of the making of the chef and how success can be much harder to understand than failure. In 2004, Momofuku Noodle Bar opened in Manhattan’s East Village. Chef-owner David Chang worked in the kitchen serving ramen and baos. Chang, who had failed at almost everything in life didn’t realize it at the time but he was about to become one of the world’s most influential chefs.

Chang grew up in a religious Korean American family in Virginia. Upon graduation, he headed to Japan to teach English. It was then he began to think about how cooking could give him purpose in his life.

In this memoir, Chang opens up about his luck and mistakes made along the way. He also speaks about his experience with mental illness and how he found hope. We admire his honesty and keeping things real.OTTOLENGHI FLAVOR: A COOKBOOK: By Yottam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage. The London based chef’s latest book focuses on veggies, beautiful veggies, with Belfrage, a recipe developer in the Ottolenghi test kitchen.

  • Process: Key reactions that happen when vegetables or supporting ingredients are cooked.
  • Pairing: What you match a vegetable with to accentuate its defining qualities.
  • Produce: Understanding the sheer depth of flavor that certain vegetables naturally possess.

Expect lots of layers, lots of flavours, and learning the complexities of various vegetables in this richly satisfying book.

KIIN: Recipes and Stories from Northern Thailand by Chef Nuit Regular: More than delicious and inspiring, this cookbook will also  take you on a journey through northern Thailand in this highly anticipated cookbook.  From one of Toronto’s warmest and most gracious chefs, Nuit Regular offers the unique flavours of northern Thai food in a stunning collection of authentic recipes, essays, and location photography. Inspired by the ingredients and aromas of growing up in northern Thailand, Nuit learned to cook in her mother”s kitchen. Cooking food with ingredients from the market or family garden, this cookbook is a reflection of Nuit”s life in Thailand and her passion for cooking and sharing Thai cuisine with others.

Kiin, which means “eat” in Thai, transports readers to northern Thailand on a journey to discover the ingredients, markets, and culture that inform all of the recipes. A Thai meal rarely has just one dish–and you will have plenty of recipes to cook and share in the traditional Thai style–a tableful of brightly coloured dishes that the whole family can pass around and enjoy. The recipes, including Steamed Chicken Dumplings, Vegetarian Golden Bags, Spicy and Sour Soup with Shrimp and Tom Yum Paste, Northern Beef Curry, Young Green Jackfruit Curry, Rice Vermicelli Noodles with Barbecue Pork, Five Spice Chicken with Egg, Papaya Salad, and Mango Sticky Rice, are a glimpse into the wonders of northern Thai food.

SALT FAT ACID HEAT: By Samin Nostrat. If you haven’t checked out the series of the same name on Netflix, do! Libby highly recommends this cookbook to be a staple in any kitchen. In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious approach to cooking. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.

Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs.

photo credit: Libby Roach

MANDY’S GOURMET SALADS: by Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe. Sisters Mandy and Rebecca (behind the well-loved Mandy’s Gourmet Salads in Montreal), talk you through how to create their coveted salads at home, including easy prep steps for essential ingredients, how to mix their famous dressings, and how to combine flavours and textures to create a salad masterpiece. Also inside are recipes for Mandy’s nutritious, filling and fantastic grain bowls as well as chapters dedicated to smoothies and sweets (sharing Mandy’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe for the first time). My good friend Arin brought this amazing book to my attention over the summer raving about how delicious the salads were. As a nutritionist by training, she also noted how the recipes in this cookbook were a hit in her home kitchen!

Photo credit: Sonya Davidson