If desserts are what you're sweet on--and you aren't concerned about excess fat--pick up a copy of Rosie's Bakery All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book ($13.95). Author Judy Rosenberg runs the popular Rosie's on Chestnut Hill in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and her brownies are famous all over the country. This book includes her fudgy but not-too-rich version, along with hundreds of other sinful finales.
Along healthier lines and in plenty of time for this fall's overabundance of vegetables is The Vegetarian Hearth ($26), which is now on the favorites shelf of my cookbook bookcase. Author Darra Goldstein, a professor who's known for her Russian cookbooks, has assembled divergent vegetable recipes from around the globe, with an emphasis on comfort foods such as curried potato casserole and stewed mushrooms (the recipe for which, incidentally, came from Leo Tolstoy). Another recent release that's reeled me in is the Pike Place Public Market Seafood Cookbook ($19.95), by Braiden Rex-Johnson, who's compiled not only recipes for just about every available fish and shellfish, but also fish facts, tips and anecdotes from the people who make Seattle's infamous fish market happen. It's a good read, too.
For a survey of foods closer to home--focusing on ingredients easier to procure around these parts--pick up a copy of the beautiful Spirit of the West: Cooking From Ranch House and Range ($35). At first I thought that authors Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs had trespassed on the territory of Sam Arnold, owner of The Fort restaurant in Morrison and an illustrious gatherer of information about the West, especially its food. But I should have known better: A quick glance at the opening found that Sam'l wrote the introduction to this treasure. His tale is of a buffalo drive, and by the time I got to the end, I couldn't wait to put a kettle on the fire and follow the real-life cowpokes and ranchers who offer their family foods and stories. And the recipe for capirotada, a bread pudding with the flavors of caramelized onions, cheddar, pinon nuts and raisins, would blow away a Bloomin' Onion anyday.