Every year hundreds of cookbooks are published that are focused on a variety of regional and ethnic cuisines, healthy recipes, and baking.  As a cookbook collector I find it difficult at times to choose which cookbooks I will add to my jam-packed bookshelves.

When I first began my cookbook collection many years ago, my criteria for purchasing a cookbook was based only on my culinary preferences and cooking experience.  Throughout the years, it has expanded to include well written recipes, color photography, food anecdotes, how-to-chapters, and an eye-catching book cover.

I have compiled a list of eight of my favorite cookbooks that have been published this year so far.  Some cookbooks I have purchased and others have been sent to me by the publishers for review.

Jeffrey Saad’s Global Kitchen by Jeffrey Saad
Publisher:  Ballantine Books

Jeffrey Saad takes us on a global culinary adventure to Mexico, India, the Middle East, Asia, Italy,  France  and Spain that include recipes such as  Grilled  Corn with Cilantro Pesto and Cotija Cheese, Garam Masala Chicken Pot Pie, Crispy Persian Rice, Spicy Beef Rice, Osso Bucco, Ten-Minute Pan Quiche, and Crustless Sweet Onion and Potato Spanish Tart.

The World Pantry Primer chapter lists ingredients for the global pantry and chapters dedicated to egg recipes and desserts.

Sicilian Seafood Cookbook by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins
Publisher:  New Holland Australia

This book begins with a brief history of Sicily which has a unique cuisine of its own; a cuisine that has been inspired by many cultures.

The Sicilian Seafood Cookbook is a collection of seafood recipes that reflect the island`s cuisine.   Some of the regional sea food recipes listed are: Pasta with Braised Red Mullet, Pasta with Cauliflower, Sultanas, Pine Nuts and Anchovies, Swordfishes with Citrus and Pistachios, Octopus Salad and Grilled Tuna.   There is also a chapter on making different shapes of fresh pasta.

Throughout the book, a Sicilian saying will be listed in Sicilian, Italian and English.  The colorful photos capture the food and life in the island of Sicily.

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes
Publisher:  Clarkson Potter

Frances and Edward Mayes share over 150 recipes from their Italian kitchen at their home, Bramasole in Cortona, Tuscany.  The `Keys to the Pantry` chapter lists key ingredients to have in your kitchen for Tuscan cooking as well as `Essential of the Tuscan Kitchen`  basic recipes.

A sample of the samples include Fried Artichokes (Antipasti), Pici with Fresh Fava Beans (Primi), Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes (Secondi), Eggplant Involtini (Contorni), and Folded Fruit Tart with Mascarpone (Dolci).  The book also contains beautiful and colorful photographs of food and landscapes of Tuscany.

The Book of Burger by Rachel Ray
Publisher:  Atria

This is truly a book for burger lovers.   It includes over 200 recipes for Beef and Veal, Pork, Chicken and Turkey, Lamb, Veggie, and Seafood Burgers as well as slides, sandwiches, sloppies, sandwiches and dogs, sauces and toppings.  Rachel Ray also shares her custom blend of meat she uses to make the burgers.

Apart from the recipes, this book contains tags that can be scanned with a smart phone or tablets to view videos that demonstrate techniques and tips on making burgers, grinding meat, and hosting a burger bash.

Grace’s Sweet Life by Grace Massa Langlois
Publisher:  Ulysses Press

This book is a treasure of Italian homemade Italian desserts for both the experienced and novice baker.  The `Basics` chapter lists basic recipes used in making Italian desserts as such as  pastry cream,  Italian Meringue,  and Pasta Frolla.

Some sample recipes listed are Torta all`Arancia, Abruzzo Sweet Cheesecake, Pear and Chocolate Cake, Sweet Pastry Tarlette, Italian Peach Cookies, Chocolate Salami, Soft Amaretti Cookies, and Lemon Merinque Tartlets.   Wonderful color photos accompany the recipes.

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Garde Manger by Chuck Hughes
Publisher:   Harper Collins

Chuck Hughes is not only known as the owner and chef of his popular Montreal restaurant, Garde Manger, the star of `Chuck`s Day Off, he has also become known as one of the two Canadian chefs to have won an Iron Chef challenge.
Calamari with Puttanesca Sauce, General Tao Lobster, Pan Roasted Halibut, Fried Hot Chicken Waffles, Lobster Roll, Lobster Poutine, Salt Cod Fritters, Pecan Pie and Maple Pecan Biscotti are some of the recipes listed in the book and also served at his restaurant. Chuck Hughes also includes recipes to make veal, chicken, and lobster stock.

Garde Manger is also published in French.

Leslie Beck’s Healthy Kitchen by Leslie Beck RD
Publisher:  Penguin Books

Leslie Beck`s Healthy Kitchen contains 250 healthy and nutritious recipes that are delicious and easy to make.  It also contains tips on to prepare you kitchen for healthy eating such as adding power foods to your diet, menu planning tips and portion control.

Fresh Tomato Soup with Garlic and Basil, Pomegranate Power Shake, Seared Tofu Salad, Sesame Ginger Salmon, Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Balsamic Swiss Chard, Oven Roasted Root Vegetables, Apple Blueberry Bran Muffins and Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting are just some the delicious recipes included in the book.

This book does not contain any photos; nevertheless the content alone makes it a good buy.

Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack by Martin Picard
Publisher:   Self-Published

Martin Picard, the chef and owner of the notorious restaurant Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, has also added a Sugar Shack bearing the same name to his list of accomplishments.  Reservations for the Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack are booked months in advance.

Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack is an amazing cookbook for maple syrup lovers.  It has a comprehensive chapter on the step-by-step production (with diagrams) of maple syrup.

Sweet recipes include Maple Caramel Spread, Eggs in Syrup, Maple and Almond Nougat, Tarte Tatin, Maple Macarons, Marshmallow Cookies, Maple Fudge, and Maple Leaf Cookies while the savory recipes include Foie Gras Tatin, Sugar Shack Maki, Stuffed Cabbage, and Grilled Cheese Truffle Sandwich.

The `Hunt` chapter lists recipes such as Squirrel Sushi, and Leg of Venison en Croûte.  Some photos of the `hunted` are quite graphic and not for the faint of heart.

Most recipes are accompanied by step-by-step color photos and whimsical graphic art appear throughout the book.

`Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack` is also published in French as `Cabane à Sucre au Pied de Cochon`.

Blogging 101: How To Write a Cookbook Review was written and photographed by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction.  Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was considered a celebration. She also writes as the Feature Seasonal Writer on Suite101.com and as the Montreal Food Examiner on Examiner.com. You can follow her on Twitter: @cbookaddiction

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