How does the old Oregon adage go? “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Give him a cookbook, and he’ll make you dinner. Or amazing Thai food, a gluten-free cupcake or a homemade artisan cracker.” Something like that. Anyhow, if you have a budding chef in your life (or if you are one yourself), do yourself a favor and pick up a new cookbook from one of Oregon’s culinary personalities.
From Gabriel Rucker comes “Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird” (Ten Speed Press). The two-time James Beard Award winner, who owns Portland’s Le Pigeon as well as Little Bird, offers more than 125 unique recipes, including elk tongue stroganoff, rabbit and eel terrine, beef cheeks bourguignon and lamb belly BLT.
The man who brought Thai street food to Portland (and won his own James Beard award), Andy Ricker offers “Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand” (Ten Speed Press). An introduction to Thai cooking, the book has 70 recipes, including Pok Pok’s classic fish sauce wings.
Portland food writer Ivy Manning concerns herself with the appetizer course in her book “Crackers & Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks” (Chronicle Books). The DIY snack book includes vegan, gluten-free and whole-grain cracker recipes as well as savory and sweet dips and spreads to accompany them.
The Meadow owner and salt aficionado Mark Bitterman highlights a cooking niche with “Salt Block Cooking: 70 Recipes for Grilling, Chilling, Searing, and Serving on Himalayan Salt Blocks.”(Andrews McMeel Publishing). The book includes 70 recipes and an introduction to the growing trend of cooking on salt blocks.
Kyra Bussanich takes up the cause for gluten-free desserts with “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle” (Ten Speed Press). Bussanich owns Kyra’s Bake Shop, a gluten-free paradise, and has recipes for cakes, cookies, brownies, scones and more. Yes, please. Thank you!
The talent behind Kenny and Zuke’s Delicatessen — Michael Zusman and Nick Zukin — have written “The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home” (Andrews McMeel Publishing), more than 100 classic deli dishes and modern twists on the old. Bagels, bialys and breads are just one chapter. Keep on reading.