11 Hot New Cookbooks You Need On Your Shelf

The Bay Area's foodie scene is phenomenal. And, so is spending a nice, quiet night nesting at home. It's cheaper. There's no two-hour wait. You get to pick who's sitting at the table next to you. You never need to make reservation. But, is it really worth missing out on the city's best dishes in order to avoid a few hassles?
Thanks to a recent deluge of to-die-for cookbooks by chefs from your favorite local restaurants — we're talking spots like Brown Sugar Kitchen, Tacolicious, and The Slanted Door — you no longer have make that kind of impossible choice. You really can make restaurant-quality meals at home. We promise.
Worried that your skills in the kitchen won't stack up? Not an issue. These new releases cater to a wide range of abilities, whether you're the kind of person who needs help boiling pasta, or you already own your own pasta-maker. More importantly, they'll inspire you to be bold in the kitchen and create something new — not to mention delicious! Let's get cooking, shall we?
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Photo: Courtesy of Alex Farnum/Ten Speed Press.
Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More
Everyone's favorite S.F. taco spot now has a best-selling cookbook. If you want to throw together a semi-rowdy, semi-classy, long lunch over the weekend, Tacolicious is your jam; the cocktail section alone is worth the price. Author Sara Deseran throws down challenges, like nopal tacos, but also gives you some nice cheats for when you're feeling lazy and/or very, very hungry.

Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More, $22, available at Alexander Book Company.
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Photo: Courtesy of Alex Farnum/Ten Speed Press. Recipe excerpted from Tacolicious by Sara Deseran.
Must-Try Recipe: Guajillo-Braised Beef Short Rib Tacos
Makes 16 tacos; serves 4 to 6

8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 to 4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 (12-ounce) bottle Negro Modelo or other dark
Mexican beer
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup water
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro salsa of choice, and lime wedges, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Working in two batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding, lightly toast all of the chiles in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side, until fragrant but not blackened. Set them aside on a plate.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven (or other heavy pot with a lid), over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meat, and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, until the pieces have formed a uniformly browned crust.

3. Add more oil to the pot as needed to prevent scorching. As the pieces are ready, set them aside on a plate.

4. Add the onion to the same same pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown.

5. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the beer, add the toasted chiles, and turn down the heat to low.

6. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the chiles have softened and are pliable. Remove from the heat and let cool.

7. Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and reserve the pot. Add the cumin, pepper, oregano, salt, and water to the blender and blend the mixture on high speed until smooth and the consistency of cream, adding more water if needed to thin the mixture a bit.

8. Return the seared meat to the pot and pour in the chile mixture. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is fork-tender.

9. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, shred the meat in the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Serve with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, salsa, and lime.
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Photo: Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger/Ten Speed Press.
Flour + Water: Pasta
When Flour + Water started serving some of the best pasta in town, word spread fast. And, we're guessing the Mission restaurant's first book will generate similar buzz. It reads like an Italian grandma on a California vacation: comforting yet elegant. The recipes from head chef Thomas McNaughton revive old standbys with fresh takes that show off everything the West Coast has to offer. You'll need some specialized equipment, but the master chef provides clear how-to photos to help guide even an inexperienced but enthusiastic pasta lover.

Flour + Water: Pasta , $35, available at Book Passage.
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Photo: Courtesy of Eric Wolfinger/Ten Speed Press. Recipe excerpted from Flour + Water: Pasta by Thomas McNaughton.
Must-Try Recipe: Pumpkin Tortelloni With Sage & Pumpkin Seeds
Serves 4

Pasta machine
Rolling pin
Straight wheel cutter (optional)
Baking sheets
Piping bag (optional)
Spray bottle

6 tbsp butter
2 1/4 pounds Cinderella pumpkin, halved, seeded, and stringy fibers removed (seeds reserved)
Pure olive oil
Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tbsp honey (optional)
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp pure olive oil
5 tbsp unsalted butter
6 fresh sage leaves, cut in chiffonade
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for finishing

Note: If you don't have a pasta maker, you can use a store-bought option — any fresh pumpkin, squash, or cheese-stuffed pasta will do!

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted and the foam has subsided, cook, stirring constantly, until the butter becomes a light tan color. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. To make the filling, cut the pumpkin in half, drizzle olive oil over it, and season liberally with kosher salt. Place the pumpkin, cut-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the pumpkin until fully tender when pierced with a knife, 45 to 60 minutes. The pumpkin should be soft to the touch but not mushy or deflated. Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and discard the rind. Add the warm pumpkin to the jar of a blender along with the brown butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vinegar. Puree until smooth and season with salt. The puree should have a nice balance of sweetness and acidity. If the pumpkin lacks sweetness and depth of flavor, add 1 tablespoon of honey to balance the flavor. Spoon the puree into a bowl and fold in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. You should have about 3 1/2 cups filling. Cool in a refrigerator, covered.

4. Dust 2 baking sheets with semolina flour and set aside.

5. To make the pasta, using a pasta machine, roll out the dough until the sheet is just translucent. Cut a 2-foot section of the dough sheet and cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap. Using a straight wheel cutter or sharp knife and a ruler, cut the dough into 2 3/4-inch squares. Using a piping bag or spoon, place 2 teaspoons of filling into the middle of each square. Fold the pasta in half so the opposite corners meet, forming a triangle. Use a spritz of water from a spray bottle to help seal it if necessary. Gently press out the air around the filling by running your fingers from the tip of the triangle downward. With your thumbs along the base of the triangle and your index fingers halfway down each side of the triangle, gently pinch your index fingers and thumbs together and rotate your left index finger to fit under the base of the triangle. Wrap the corners around your left index and middle fingers and pinch them together to seal. You should have a small gap between the filling and the pinched dough, like a ring.

6. Working quickly, place the tortelloni on the prepared baking sheets, spaced apart, until ready to cook. Don’t let the tortelloni touch each other or they may stick together. Repeat until you run out of dough or filling. You should have 30 to 40 pieces.

7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

8. To finish, bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil.

9. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Evenly distribute the seeds on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 11 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Drop the pasta into the boiling water.

10. Heat a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the seasoned pasta water and the butter and bring to a simmer. Once the pasta is cooked 80% through, until almost al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes, add it to the pan along with the sage and swirl until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Reserve the pasta water. If needed, add a few more tablespoons of pasta water to keep a saucy consistency and continue cooking until the pasta is tender, about 90 seconds. Season with salt.

11. To serve, divide the pasta and sauce between four plates. Finish with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted pumpkin seeds.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ten Speed Press.
The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food
With this peek into The Slanted Door’s kitchen, we learn that it was the mayo that gave Mrs. Phan's spring rolls that extra zing and launched her son's restaurants into the hearts of San Franciscans. Charles Phan leads us from his original location on Valencia all the way down Market Street to the Ferry Building in his newest cookbook, with beautiful photographs that showcase both the food and the city. And, along the way, he reveals the secrets to making his high-end, Californian-style Vietnamese cuisine. The homemade mayo's just the beginning, guys.

The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food, $40, available at IndieBound.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ten Speed Press. Recipe excerpted from The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food by Charles Phan.
Must-Try Recipe: Halibut & Scallop Ceviche
Serves 6

6 ounces halibut, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 ounces scallops, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 spring onion or shallot, julienned
1 1/2 firm ripe mangos, sliced into 1/8 inch half-moons
3 tbsp julienned fresh ginger
3 sprigs cilantro, leaves only, chopped
1/2 habanero
Minced zest of one lime
1/4 cup minced chives
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp canola oil
Sea salt
1 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup coconut water
3 tbsp sugar
2 Thai chiles, minced
Kosher salt

For the cassava chips:
2 cassava roots, peeled
5 cups ice water
5 cups canola oil
Kosher salt to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the halibut, scallops, onion, mango, ginger, cilantro, habanero, lime zest, chives, oils, and sea salt. Set aside.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, coconut water, and sugar, and whisk together until the sugar is dissolved. Add the chile and kosher salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Use a mandoline to slice the cassava roots into 1/8 inch-thick rounds. Immediately place the slices of cassava in ice water for 45 minutes. Remove the cassava slices from the water and drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry completely.

4. In a large, deep-sided pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 375˚F, using a deep-frying thermometer. In small batches, carefully add the cassava to the oil and fry until lightly brown. Remove the chips with a spider and drain on a separate paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

5. To serve, pour the dressing over the halibut mixture, and gently toss to combine. Serve with the cassava chips.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chad Robertson.
Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes
The fourth book from the Mission fiefdom breaks the mold, as does the Hungarian half-sister of the famous bakeshop. Like a meal from a farmhouse kitchen, this food is thrifty and wholesome, but the hearty, earthy, smoky cuisine also has the edge of elegance. Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns show you the work that goes into turning staple ingredients into restaurant-quality meals. If you know an urban homesteader with time and boundless energy, buy them this book and invite yourself over for dinner.

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes, $40, available for pre-order at Chronicle Books.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chad Robertson. Recipe excerpted from Bar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns.
Must-Try Recipe: Fisherman's Stew With Green Chile & Collards
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups packed, fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves
8 cups fish stock
2 tsp filtered sunflower oil
2 small sweet white onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oz hen-of-the-woods or oyster mushrooms, stemmed
1 8-oz fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced 1 tbsp kosher salt
3 tbsp Hatch or other green chile powder
1 lb skinless sturgeon, carp, or catfish fillets, cut into 1/2-in pieces
4 oz young collard greens, stemmed and torn into 1-in pieces
1/4 cup fish sauce
12 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
1 lemon, halved
Green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of the parsley leaves and 2 cups of the stock and puree until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining stock to a simmer. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat until a drop of water flicked on the surface sizzles gently on contact. Add the sunflower oil to the sauté pan and then immediately add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, fennel, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the simmering stock along with the fish pieces, collard greens, fish sauce, anchovies, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer until the fish is cooked and the collards are tender, about 5 minutes. Note that carp and catfish are more delicate than sturgeon. They will fall apart if cooked for more than 5 minutes or stirred too vigorously. Stir in the pureed parsley mixture and remove from the heat.

3. Ladle the stew into individual bowls. Tear the remaining parsley leaves directly into each serving. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl and garnish with green onions, parsley, and pepper. Leftover stew will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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Recipe/Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books/Yigit Pura.
Sweet Alchemy: Dessert Magic
Yigit Pura's fanciful, colorful sweets usually float above the city in Tout Sweet Patisserie's lofty Union Square space. But, the Top Chef: Just Desserts winner's first cookbook brings his irresistible mélanges down to earth and into your kitchen. Sparkling little recipes for inventions like the Negroni Gelee (a.k.a., the fanciest Jell-O shot ever) are supported by basic technique instructions for the beginner. The drama comes at the end, when Pura reveals sophisticated combinations of these fun, simple recipes. These desserts both awe and delight, making this the go-to cookbook for dinner party flourishes.

Sweet Alchemy: Dessert Magic, $35, available at Chronicle Books.
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Recipe/Photo: Courtesy of Chronicle Books/Yigit Pura.
Must-Try Recipe: Baked Berry Meringue Kisses
Makes 200 kisses

2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries or other berry
3 egg whites
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp powdered sugar
3 drops red food coloring
Red sanding sugar for sprinkling

1. Use a food processor to pulverize the freeze-dried raspberries to a sandy texture. Sift the pulverized raspberries through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 150°F.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Wipe out the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer with a clean towel, and then combine the egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl. Turn down the boiling water to a simmer, and place the mixing bowl over the saucepan to create a bain-marie. Use a handheld wire whisk to stir the egg white and sugar mixture over the heat until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites are warm to the touch, approximately 122°F. The mixture will look full and glossy, like a marshmallow sauce. Wipe the outside of the bowl dry and move it to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Continue whisking the egg white mixture at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, cooling it to approximately 77°F. Add the ground and sifted freeze-dried raspberry powder and food coloring and continue to whisk for 1 minute more. It’s important to add the fruit powder at the very end, after the meringue has cooled; otherwise the powder will absorb the moisture in the warm meringue, causing the final product to be soggy and chewy.

3. Use a rubber spatula to load the raspberry meringue into a piping bag fitted with a No. 3 round piping tip. Before starting, remove the parchment paper from the baking sheet and pipe a small dollop of meringue directly onto each corner of the baking sheet; place the parchment paper back onto the baking sheet and press down on the corners. This will hold the paper down during baking. To create the kisses, use an upward motion to pipe the meringue in 1/4 inch diameter rounds onto the baking sheet. They will be shiny and light red. Pipe them in lines down the baking sheet, with just enough space between them to allow air circulation, about 1/4 inch. Sprinkle the kisses immediately with sanding sugar and shake the pan lightly in your hand, ensuring that all the sugar sticks to the kisses.

4. Bake for 1 hour, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees, and bake for another hour. To check doneness, pull one meringue kiss off the baking sheet. It should pull off easily and cleanly and once cooled to room temperature should be crisp and melt on your tongue. If the kiss sticks to the paper or is still soft to the bite, return the baking sheet to the oven and keep checking at 15-minute intervals until done.
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of Brown Sugar Kitchen/Chronicle Books.
Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland
Finally, the East Bay! West Oakland's neighborhood joint is captured lovingly in Tanya Holland's first cookbook. Michael Chabon's foreword (he held his latest novel's launch party at Brown Sugar Kitchen) celebrates the chef's embrace of her community and heritage. Holland makes it easy for the home cook to try out her version of soul food, filtered though precise techniques and the California palate. Black-eyed peas make a refreshing salad, but the fried chicken and waffles that folks line up for get attention, too.

Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland, $29.95, available at Chronicle Books.
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of Brown Sugar Kitchen/Chronicle Books.
Must-Try Recipe: Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Serves 4 to 6

2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp kosher salt, plus 1 tbsp
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tbsp
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
3 1/2 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup buttermilk
Canola or rice bran oil for deep-frying
1 1/2cups all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl, combine the parsley, tarragon, onion powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, garlic powder, cayenne, 1 teaspoon black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Pour in the buttermilk, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large cast-iron frying pan, add oil to a depth of 3/4 inch and heat the oil to 350°F over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set a wire rack on top.

3. In a large wide bowl, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of black pepper. One piece at a time, and letting any excess buttermilk drip back into the bowl, transfer the chicken to the flour mixture. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.

4. Fry the chicken, a few pieces at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan and turning occasionally, until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the rack over the baking sheet to continue cooking in the oven until the internal temperature registers 165°F, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Serve immediately.
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Photo/Recipe: William Morrow Cookbooks/Ed Anderson.
Twelve Recipes
This is the book you buy when you've just moved into your own apartment (or, you know, converted living room), and you need to eat something besides microwave popcorn. Cal Peternell wants you to know that it's okay that you don't know the rules for boiling eggs. He'll teach you. His cookbook is warm, funny, and full of cool recipes. His decades of working at Chez Panisse are molded into solid, grounded advice for cooks who are just starting out.

Twelve Recipes, $26.99, available at Book Passage.
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Photo/Recipe: William Morrow Cookbooks/Ed Anderson.
Must-Try Recipe: Thick Soft Toast

Fresh bread
Drizzle of oil
Raw garlic glove

1. Set oven for 450°F degrees. Cut the bread 3/4-inch thick.

2. Place bread on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven for 5 minutes. Or, if the rack in your oven seems clean, skip the baking sheet and put the slices right on the rack.

3. Once ready, rub the top with a raw garlic clove (the rough surface of the toast will grate the garlic in), be generous with your best olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
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Photo/Recipe: Leigh Beisch/Alice Medrich.
Flavor Flours
One of the best in the business, Alice Medrich is the Gourmet Ghetto's grand dame of pastry. Her spin on gluten-free baking actually improves cakes, scones, and cookies. And, Medrich is now primarily a teacher and mentor, so she doesn’t expect you to be a baker already (though she does expect you to buy a kitchen scale). Most importantly, you get to have pancakes again, and they’re awesome.

Flavor Flours, $35, available at The Booksmith.
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Photo/Recipe: Leigh Beisch/Alice Medrich.
Must-Try Recipe: Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6 to 8

For the topping:
4 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large apple
Grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon

For the cake:
1 1/4 cup white rice flour or 1 2/3 cups regular Asian white rice flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 cup minus 2 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
Scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup plain yogurt (any percent fat) or slightly watered-down Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pint vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

1. Position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Use the back of a spoon to smear the 4 tablespoons topping butter all over the bottom of the pan. With the same spoon, spread the brown sugar over the butter (the brown sugar should be in an even layer but does not need to be incorporated into the butter). Sprinkle with the cinnamon. Peel, quarter, and core the apple and cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a bowl and toss gently with the lemon zest and juice. Place the apple slices flat in the pan, covering most of the brown sugar layer, and pour the lemon juice from the bowl on top; set aside.

2. For the cake, combine the rice and oat flours, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is the texture of brown sugar, about a minute. Add the baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes; the batter should be very smooth and fluffy. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

3. Let the cake sit for 5 minutes on a rack, then slide a slim knife or small metal spatula around the edge to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate to cool. If some of the apples stick to the pan, use a spatula to transfer them back into place — the gooey topping will hide all sins here. Serve wedges with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing/Sara Remington.
Blue Chair Cooks With Jam & Marmalade
After a summer of weddings, your cupboards are probably crammed with homemade jam favors. Rachel Saunders is here to rescue you. Her inventive weaving of tomato jam, kumquat marmalade, or plain old apple butter into dishes just astonishes. She puts it in sausages, guys, and in pasta. And, it all works, really well. Saunders also includes the dessert she made for her own wedding, and the favors: cherries in anise syrup. Pinned!

Blue Chair Cooks With Jam & Marmalade, $45, available at Books Inc.
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing/Sara Remington.
Must-Try Recipe: Brussels With Kumquats & Smoked Salt

1/4 cup bacon fat
1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced lengthwise into thirds
5 tbsp kumquat marmalade
2 large pinches of smoked sea salt

1. Melt the bacon fat in a shallow 12-inch enameled cast-iron pan over low heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, toss well, and cover. Allow the sprouts to cook without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes, and then toss well.

2. Re-cover and continue cooking the sprouts, tossing every few minutes, until the sprouts are tender and browned, another 8 to 9 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and add the marmalade and salt. Toss well, taste for seasoning, and serve at once.
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Photo/Recipe: Kathleen Weber/Artisan Books/Ed Anderson.
Della Fattoria Bread
Kathleen Weber's cookbook tells such a Bay Area story. Petaluma ranch wife starts baking using a hand-built, wood-fired stove and wild yeast. Thomas Keller starts serving her bread at French Laundry. She sells out at the Ferry Building farmers' market. And, now, her one-time hobby is the family business. Weber maps a course from easy breads to really hard ones here, but her sage advice takes the fear out of baking.

Della Fattoria Bread, $29.95, available at Green Apple Books.
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Photo/Recipe: Kathleen Weber/Artisan Books/Ed Anderson.
Must-Try Recipe: Spicy Cheddar Crackers
Makes 384 small crackers

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp fine gray salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, cold
16 oz cheddar cheese (preferably half white and half yellow), grated
2 tbsp cold water

1. Put the flour, salt, and red pepper flakes into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and mix until you have a crumbly mixture. Add the cheese and mix until the cheese is broken down and completely incorporated. With the processor running, stream in the water, processing until the dough comes together.

2. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

3. Divide the dough in half. (The dough can be worked with right away or wrapped individually in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month; if frozen, defrost completely in the refrigerator before using.)

4. Dust the work surface with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll one piece of dough into a rectangle, slightly larger than 12 by 16 inches, adding flour as needed to the work surface and rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. Turn the dough as you roll to keep it at an even thickness. Dock the dough with a fork. Using a pizza cutter, or a sharp knife, trim the edges to form a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 1-inch-wide squares. Using a spatula or a palette knife, transfer the squares to one of the lined sheet pans. Repeat with the second piece of dough and the second pan. (The pieces will all fit on the sheet pans, but they will be close together. You can also spread them farther apart on the pans, and bake in batches as needed.)

5. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pans once from top to bottom and front to back midway through baking. The crackers will puff up as they bake, but you will know they’re done when you smell the cheese. The crackers will look more golden brown, but they will not be firm at this point. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet pans. If the crackers are not completely crisp once cool, they can be popped back in the oven for a few minutes.

6. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. (If the crackers soften, they can be popped back into the oven to crisp them up.)
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of The Pizza Bible/Ten Speed Press.
The Pizza Bible
San Francisco is the home of DiMaggio and Ghirardelli, so it's no wonder The Pizza Bible comes to us from North Beach-based Tony Gemignani. The world pizza-tossing champion shares his techniques for making every pizza there is, from New York slices to deep dish to mellow, California-style pies. We're suckers for a great cover, and Gemignani's dedication to the craft means the cookbook itself looks and feels like a pizza box! Underneath the showmanship, though, there's a book with serious chops in the dough department.

The Pizza Bible, $29.99, available at Books Inc.
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Photo/Recipe: Courtesy of The Pizza Bible/Ten Speed Press.
Must-Try Recipe: Master Dough
Makes about 29 ounces (820 grams) dough, enough for 2 pizzas

3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp warm water, 80 to 85 degrees
3 1/2 cups flour with 13 to 14% protein (preferably All Trumps, Pendleton Flour Mills Power, Giusto's High Performer, King Arthur Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten, or Tony's California Artisan Flour)
1 tbsp plus 1/4 tsp diastatic malt
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp ice water, plus more as needed
3/4 cup Poolish or Tiga
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the yeast in a small bowl, add the warm water, and whisk vigorously for 30 seconds. The yeast should dissolve in the water and the mixture should foam. If it doesn’t and the yeast granules float, the yeast is 'dead' and should be discarded. Begin again with a fresh amount of yeast and water.

2. Combine the flour and malt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

3. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, pour in most of the ice water, reserving about 2 tablespoons, followed by the yeast-water mixture. Pour the reserved water into the yeast bowl, swirl it around to dislodge any bits of yeast stuck to the bowl, and add to the mixer. Mix for about 15 seconds, stop the mixer, and add the Poolish or Biga.

4. Continue to mix the dough at the lowest speed for about 1 minute, until most of the dough comes together around the hook. Stop the mixer. Use your fingers to pull away any dough clinging to the hook, and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula. Check the bottom of the bowl for any unincorporated flour. Turn the dough over and press it into the bottom of the bowl to pick up any stray pieces. If the dough isn’t holding together, add small amounts of water (about 1/2 teaspoon to start) and mix until the dough is no longer dry and holds together.

5. Add the salt and mix on the lowest speed for 1 minute to combine.

6. Stop the mixer, pull the dough off the hook, and add the oil. Mix the dough for 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer from time to time to pull the dough off the hook and scrape down the sides of the bowl, until all of the oil is absorbed. The dough won’t look completely smooth.

7. Use a bowl scraper to transfer the dough to an unfloured work surface, then knead it for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth.

8. Cover the dough with a damp dish towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

9. Use the dough cutter to loosen the dough and to cut it into halves. Weigh each piece, adjusting the quantity of dough as necessary. Form the dough into two 13-ounce balls. Extra dough can be discarded.

10. Set the balls on a half sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Or, if you will be baking the balls on different days, place each ball on a quarter sheet pan. Wrap the pan(s) airtight with a double layer of plastic wrap, sealing the wrap well under the pan(s). Put the pan(s) in a level spot in the refrigerator and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.