Best Local Cookbooks

Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill by Pino Posteraro (Douglas & McIntyre, 2007) exudes the understated elegance of its namesake restaurant. Posteraro shares favourite recipes from his award-winning restaurant, such as Roasted Lobster Salad, Garganelli alla Norcina, and Biscotti with Anise and Pernod. Recipes combine fresh ingredients with simple preparation methods that let the flavours shine through. Clear instructions give home chefs the confidence to produce elegant Mediterranean fare.

Victoria-based author Eric Akis adds another book to his popular Everyone Can Cook series with Everyone can cook: midweek meals (Whitecap, 2008). In his latest installment, Akis masters the art of cooking flavourful meals in limited time. A handy list of common pantry items arms cooks in a hurry with the basics for quick meals. The recipes certainly do not sacrifice flavour for time—recipes like Roasted Turkey Breast with Sage and Pan Gravy and Chicken Coconut Curry taste like you spent the day in the kitchen.

The Memphis Blues boys, George Siu and Park Heffelfinger, share their secrets to real Southern barbecue in their Memphis Blues Barbeque House: Bringin’ Southern BBQ Home (Whitecap, 2008). Siu and Heffelfinger take slavering readers on their journey through the Southern U.S. in search of authentic slow barbecue. They give an overview of what makes it special: equipment, theory, pantry staples, and meat cuts. They also share some of their recipes for rubs, mops, and sauces that make their mouth-watering grill fare legendary.

Special Cookbook by Mary Patterson and illustrated by Shawn Shepherd (self-published under Polychrome Fine Arts & Publishing, 2007) is a real gem. Victoria-based Patterson, who has previously worked at Bishop’s and Rebar Modern Foods, shares a delightful collection of seasonal recipes. The book is sprinkled with prose and is lushly illustrated with vivid reproductions of Shepherd’s still-life paintings. Recipes transform often overlooked ingredients such as carrots and leeks into special dishes to celebrate.

Start Fresh! Your Complete Guide to Midlifestyle Food and Fitness by Diane and Dr. Doug Clement (Whitecap, 2008) proves that eating and living healthy doesn’t have to be tedious and boring. Their step-by-step guidelines and timelines are practical and realistic. They also give a thorough overview of sound nutrition plus healthy eating tips. As usual, Diane’s recipes are flavourful and interesting. Who thought that decadent dishes such as Kasbar Duck Confit and Potatoes Gratin could be so good for you?