Three of our favourite ladies have brand new cookbooks out this spring. The first, Laura Calder, has published her fourth book and it is packed with incredible recipes from her adopted home in Paris. Paris Express, Simple Food From the City of Style is filled with Laura’s favourite recipes collected from friends and acquaintances during her years of living there. Sprinkled throughout are little essays by Calder on a variety of topics – New Life For White Plates, Ode To Breadcrumbs, Edible Windowsills, The Niceness of Proper Napkins that all showcase her unique writing voice and add so much more to what could just be a simple book of recipes.
Her sophisticated tastes and quirky delivery make for a great read. Laura Calder is a talented cook and wonderful hostess and it shows in the recipes she’s collected here. Lemon Sole Goujons with Asianesque Rouille, Deep Fried Broccoli with Hazelnut Mayonnaise, Egg Noodles with Green Peppercorns – unique and delicious sounding, they make you want to plan a party and start prepping. Same goes for the desserts – Coffee Jelly, Creme Fraiche Ice Cream, Poached Green Figs… Definitely a cookbook that won’t be sitting on the shelf, give it a permanent spot on your counter.
From Paris to the surfing community of Tofino, BC comes longtime restaurateur chef Lisa Ahier of the lauded Sobo Restaurant. Ahier collaborated with Andrew Morrison on The Sobo Cookbook and his writing is a delight. Combined with Ahier’s recipes it is a dynamite book. She has an eclectic yet earthy approach in the kitchen, her childhood in Texas, her experiences cooking in Florida and New York and the deep influence of her beloved adopted hometown of Tofino all combine in myriad ways to make Sobo the completely unique restaurant (and cookbook) that it is. On one page you’ll find a BBQ Brisket Sandwich and on the next there’s The Great Big Vegan Burger. That’s a Texas vs Tofino right there.
Being located in Tofino means that Sobo always has a lot of fish on the menu. Ahier roasts halibut in proscuitto, then in another recipe bakes it under an herb crust. She serves salmon with sorrel sauce or wrapped in sushi rolls spiked with sea lettuce and fried crispy on the outside. Scallops are served with sweet pea risotto cakes, there’s a recipe for Shrimp Cocktail and one for Shrimp Cakes with Dungeness Crab, then turn the page and jump back into Texas mode with some Chicken Enchiladas, BBQ Bison Flank Steak with Chimichurri and West Texas Onion Rings.
From a humble start selling fish tacos out of an old purple van Ahier and her family, along with the Sobo crew, have created a great Canadian restaurant in one of the most far flung spots in our country. Definitely worth the trip, and you can begin the journey between the pages of this book.
For the third and final book we come home to Toronto and Dish Do-Over from the healthy cooking segment by the same name on the Steven and Chris show. Host and chef Jo Lusted has assembled a lean and mean collection of delicious comfort food that uses less fat but still tastes great. Her recipes take family favourites and gives them a healthy makeover. Every recipe gets a caloric breakdown – before and after her do-over to show how many calories she’s cut. Tuna Noodle Casserole goes from 697 calories and 34.2 grams of fat to 396 calories and 5.3 grams of total fat. Beef stew goes from 628 and 24 grams to 289 and 11.3 grams. She even takes a Loaded Deep Dish Pizza down from 770 calories and 55 grams of fat to 219 calories and 10.2 grams of fat. That’s some serious math that will look great on your table and your waistline.
Desserts get the same treatment with Creme Brûlée clocking in at 308 calories and 31.8 grams of fat less than the standard and she works similar magic with Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Cheesecake and more. This book is ideal for anyone who enjoys this kind of food (and you know we all do!) and ensures that now we can enjoy them without the nagging guilt.
There you go, three great new Canadian cookbooks for you to dive into this spring.