One of my favourite food bloggers is Natashya, who seems to put more style and grace into a cookbook review than anyone I know.
What happens in my kitchen is another story altogether. Oh, I may gaze longingly at my cookbook shelf, but with a toddler tugging on my pant leg wanting “Up, up, up!” it's no surprise that my actual cooking time is kept to a bare minimum.
That's why I turn to these three ladies and their cookbooks most frequently. They've gone through motherhood and understand that we can't all prepare full-course gourmet meals every night à la June Cleaver. (Uh, hello? That is SO 1950s.)
So here's my recipe for style in the kitchen, thanks to Martha Stewart, Regan Daley, and Giada De Laurentiis:
Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast from the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living delivers what families need most: recipes that put a premium on time and ease. There are 250 recipes covering breakfast to dessert and everything in between. Plus, there is a great section with tips and techniques: Did you know that you can rub softened butter on the corners of baking sheets to help parchment paper adhere so the paper doesn't curl up during baking?
Try it out! Farfalle with Arugula and White Beans
Dinner at Home by Martha Stewart is my go-to for meal planning. Having family over for Sunday dinner? Hosting an informal party for friends? Martha's got you covered with 52 menus that include simple prep schedules that help you get dinner on the table in an hour. Can you imagine!? Asparagus-Parmesan Tart, Shrimp in Saffron Broth, Couscous with Golden Raisins, Apricot-Almond Ice Cream Sandwiches...okay, stop drooling.
Try it out! Braised Chicken Marsala
In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley is a dessert lover's dream, boasting over 140 work-it-off-at-the-gym-tomorrow recipes, including the World's Sexiest Sundae. Ohhhh, yes – it's in there, my friends. But what I love even more about this baker's companion is that it includes:
An ingredient substitution chart (No buttermilk on hand? Try 1 TBSP vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup & let it stand for 5 minutes)
A flavour pairing chart (dark chocolate goes with just about everything, thank God.)
A thorough tool guide (probably won't need that Kugelhopf pan, but a springform is a must!)
A simple guide to garnishing (when in doubt, drizzle melted chocolate on it.)
Try it out! Pecan-Caramel Sandwich Cookies
Giada at Home by Giada De Laurentiis makes one thing very clear: cooking is all about family. Using her signature fabulous style, she takes generations-old Italian family recipes and mixes them with the bright, clean cuisine of California to create simple and healthy dishes any family will love. I am already planning a mid-summer brunch in my back yard: Citrus Salad, Mozzarella Raspberry and Brown Sugar Panini, Pancetta and Cinnamon Waffles, Limoncello and Blueberry Cooler. So, who's coming to my house?
Try it out! Stuffed Baby Peppers
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