Cooking for the New Year

The cover photograph shows a turquoise pot with a wooden spoon, filled with pasta, basil, and tomatoes in a creamy sauce. The pot sits on a wooden cutting board next to basil leaves and a white dish of red pepper flakes.

by Sahana C.

Try new recipes, new techniques, and new cookbooks in the New Year! 

The New Year brings new resolutions, fresh starts, and the perfect time to try new things. This year, while you are still getting into a brand new routine, here are a few cookbooks to use as inspiration. 

The book cover is a stylized line drawing of a wok in gold, with five red flames underneath and three white lines representing steam rising above it, all against a black background.

Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals, for example, is great for folks who are trying to keep things simple but aren’t willing to sacrifice on flavor. Melissa Clark makes sure most, if not all, are ready within the hour. For those who are into the chemistry of cooking, J. Kenji López-Alt has come out with one of the most comprehensive texts on using woks in your kitchen. The lessons in The Wok: Recipes and Techniques extend beyond just the wok, with tips and tricks for knife skills and how to brighten up any dinner.  

The cover photograph shows an assortment of fresh brown loaves of baked artisan bread atop a counter.

For those who have decided to take up home-made bread-making and baking as their resolution this year, The Best of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: Favorite Recipes from Bread In 5 keeps things both exciting and reasonable in the midst of everyone’s busy lives. This book has been touted as the “only one a baker needs,” and it’s still the best place to start for novices looking to get their foot in the door.

The book cover is a photograph of a charcuterie board, with assorted vegetables including tomatoes, pepper strips, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, and halved radishes. There are also three small white bowls of assorted dips.

While last year was big for board-style meals and decoration (with charcuterie, butter boards, and hummus boards trending on social media), America’s Test Kitchen provided a perfect introduction and inspiration for making boards at home. Boards: Stylish Spreads for Casual Gatherings is incredible inspiration for grazing tables and an easy way to feed guests when hosting, while keeping the actual work of preparing food to a minimum.  

In the spirit of including new recipes in your repertoire, we invite you to join us on February 22 at the Savage Branch for the first of our Recipe Exchanges! We discuss our favorites, learn and borrow from others in the community, and then look specifically at the evolution of African American cuisine and soul food.  

Cookbook Corner
Wed, Jan 18; 7 – 8 pm
HCLS East Columbia Branch 
For adults. Register here.
Explore various culinary cuisines/chefs of the world. A new cuisine/chef every month.

Recipe Exchange: Black Chefs and African American Cuisine
Wed, Feb 22; 7 – 8 pm
HCLS Savage Branch
For adults.
Do you want to learn more about Black chefs and the history of African American cuisine to find out where your favorite soul food dish originated? Indulge your culinary curiosity at the first of our recipe exchanges. See our events calendar for more information.

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