Capital Region

The best in Capital Region cookbooks

There's plenty of local flavor in the pages of these cookbooks

When the temperature goes down, stoves get cranked up.

We dream about the belly-warming dishes that we will prepare for our families and friends. We curl up inside our homes with cookbooks in our laps.

Curious cooks love to read about food and discover new recipes. With that in mind, The Daily Gazette asked bookstores (and a museum gift shop) for some book ideas.

But we weren’t looking for Ina Garten or Giada De Laurentiis. We wanted books about regional cuisine or written by authors who live in the Capital Region, Berkshires, Adirondacks or Hudson Valley.

Here are 23 titles and the bookstores that provided them:

The Open Door in Schenectady

  • “A Taste of Upstate New York: The People and the Stories Behind 40 Food Favorites,” Chuck D’Imperio (2015). No recipes here, just the real scoop on Buffalo’s beef on weck, Rochester’s garbage plate and other regional dishes.
  • “Learning to Cook Adirondack” (2011) and “Learning to Cook Adirondack Over an Open Fire,” (2014) Nancy Pulling Best. Historic photos, stories and recipes from a fourth-generation Adirondack native whose great grandfather was one of the first settlers of Old Forge.

The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany

  • “The Hattie’s Restaurant Cookbook: Classic Southern and Louisiana Recipes,” Jasper Alexander (2016). Chef Alexander’s homage to Hattie Moseley Austin, who started the famous Saratoga Springs restaurant in 1938. With 89 recipes, from fried chicken to frog legs.
  • Café Capriccio Photo Book: Fantastic Food from the Chef’s Table” by Jim Rua (2014). Chef Rua’s fourth and latest book, with recipes and luscious photos to inspire the home cook.
  • “Bread Toast Crumbs: Recipes for No-Knead Loaves and Meals to Savor Every Slice,” Alexandra Stafford (2017). Niskayuna blogger and food writer demystifies bread making, with a master recipe for peasant bread and what-to-do-with-bread recipes like meatballs, bread bowls, sandwiches and eggplant parm.
  • “Native Harvest,” Damon Baehrel (2016). Chef Baehrel grows and forages the food for his unique and very personalized Greene County restaurant. Memoir, recipes, philosophy and gardening tips.

The Bookstore in Lenox, Massachusetts

  • “The Kripalu Cookbook: Gourmet Vegetarian Recipes,” Atma Jo Levitt (2005). A yoga retreat in Lenox, Massachusetts, Kripalu has been known for its vegetarian cuisine since the 1970s. This book pulls together more than 300 health-conscious recipes.
  • “A Chef’s Life: Farm to Table Cooking in the Berkshires,” Michael Ballon and Ogden Gigli (2014) and “Castle Street Café” by Michael Ballon (2008). The older book features recipes, most with 10 ingredients or less, from Chef Ballon’s restaurant in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The newer one has a few recipes but is mostly a memoir about how chefs and farmers can work together.
  • “The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Using Eggs from Farmers’ Markets, Local Farms and Your Own Backyard,” Jennifer Trainer Thompson (2012). Thompson is a Williamstown, Massachusetts resident and the author of six other cookbooks.

Market Block Books in Troy

  • “The New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Malsters, Bakers, Brewers and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf,” Amy Halloran (2015). Halloran is a baker and blogger from Troy.
  • “The Chic Chef Cookbook” by Alixandra Rutnik (2015) Healthy and classy recipes from a teen food blogger and her Dad. She’s a 2015 graduate of the Albany Academy for Girls and now attends Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania.
  • “The Pickled Pantry: From Apples to Zucchini, 150 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, Chutneys and More,” Andrea Chessman (2012). An award-winning author of many cookbooks, Chessman is also a gardener. She lives in a historic house in Ripton, Vermont.

Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs

  • “Saratoga Grazing,” Tricia O’ Hara (2010) Collection of recipes from Saratoga Springs chefs and B&Bs, along with a history of the area. O’Hara is a free-lance writer based in Virginia.
  • “The Chaotic Kitchen: Quick Fix Recipes for Families on the Run,” Jodie Fitz (2017). The creator of Price Chopper’s Kids Cooking Club, this mother of three travels to local schools and gives cooking lessons to kids.
  • “Vermont Country Store Cookbook: Recipes, History, and Lore from the Classic American General Store” by Andrea Diehl & Ellen Ecker Ogden (2015). This is “slow food,” with 120 recipes from five generations of Vermont storekeepers plus 200 photos.

Battenkill Books in Cambridge, Washington County

  • “Beekman 1802: A Seat at the Table: Recipes to Nourish Your Family, Friends and Community,” Brent Ridge, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Rose Marie Trapani” (2017) Released on Sept. 5, this is the most personal cookbook yet from the stars of the 2010-2011 TV reality show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” with 115 recipes from Brent, Josh and their Sharon Springs neighbors.
  • “Masala Farm: Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country,” Suvir Saran and Raquel Pelzel (2011) Saran, a chef from India who ran an award-winning restaurant in New York City, shares tales from his 67-acre farm in Washington County.
  • “The Cabot Creamery Cookbook: Simple, Wholesome Dishes from America’s Best Dairy Farms,” Cabot Creamery Cooperative (2015) Owned by 1,100 farms with plants in Vermont and Chateaugay, New York, the cooperative gathered 150 recipes from its dairies, including Tiashoke Farm and Kenyon Hill Farm in Washington County.

Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake

  • “Adirondack Cookbook” by Hallie Bond and Stephen Topper (2014) Everything you wanted to know about wild and farm foods of the North Country, with recipes like “Dandelion Salad” and “Pan-Fried Trout.” Bond is former educator and curator at the Adirondack Museum (now called Adirondack Experience) and Chef Topper is from Glens Falls.

Barnes & Noble in Albany

  • “Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse,” John Stage and Nancy Radke (2001). Stage, founder of the popular restaurant that started in Syracuse and expanded to eight other locations, including Troy, shares 100 recipes for the best barbecue and food on the grill.
  • “Everyone is Italian on Sunday,” Rachael Ray (2015). Born in Glens Falls and raised in Lake George, Ray is one of America’s best-known home cooks, with a daily TV show, magazine and three Food Network series. This is her latest cookbook in a string of more than 25 that date back to 1999.

The Golden Notebook in Woodstock, Ulster County

  • “Project 258: Making Dinner at Fish & Game,” Zak Pelaccio and Peter Barrett (2017). Chef/owner of the award-winning restaurant in Hudson, Pelaccio offers seasonal recipes adapted for the home cook.
  • “Organic: Farmers and Chefs of the Hudson Valley,” Franceso Mastalia and Joan Dye Gussow (2014). The Hudson Valley has become an epicenter for local, sustainable agriculture. Interviews with 100 organic farmers and chefs.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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