A Cornucopia of Cookbooks for the Holidays

Reilly O’Neal, CUESA Volunteer
November 28, 2014

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market visitors have another reason to celebrate this holiday season: a cornucopia of cookbooks from some of our favorite market vendors! Between the new books hitting the shelves this fall and the well-loved classics, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for every food lover in your life.

From coffee to confit and macarons to mac and cheese, each cookbook features the chef or artisan’s unique vision and philosophy of food craft. All showcase our region’s bounty of sustainably produced foods with delicious recipes and gorgeous photos, as well as indispensable tips and resources for new cooks and seasoned chefs alike.

Breads, Jams, and Beyond

Develop your own “baker’s instincts” with Della Fattoria Bread from longtime market vendor Kathleen Weber. Master yeasted sandwich loaves and rolls, buttery enriched doughs, pre-fermented Italian-style breads, and naturally leavened Della Fattoria favorites such as Meyer Lemon–Rosemary Campagne Boule and Walnut Levain Bâtard. “Instant gratification” recipes for breadsticks, crackers, pizza doughs, and flatbreads round out the collection. (Learn more about Della Fattoria’s approach to bread in this CUESA interview.)

Nothing pairs better with freshly baked bread than homemade jam, but there are so many other ways to enjoy your preserves. Take it to the next level with Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade. In her follow-up to Blue Chair Fruit: Jam, Jelly & Marmalade, Rachel Saunders of Blue Chair Fruit (a guest vendor at the Ferry Plaza this fall) offers novel ideas for incorporating preserves into your cooking repertoire through recipes such as jam-laced Strawberry Sangria and a BLT that marries tomato jam and bacon. She also recommends stocking your “jam and marmalade pantry” with versatile preserves like as apricot jam and apple butter to use in a variety of preparations and improvised dishes.

Festive Foods

“Start making an invite list now, because after mastering a few recipes, I promise that you’re going to want to host a party,” writes Sara Deseran in Tacolicious: Festive Recipes for Tacos, Snacks, Cocktails, and More, which hit the shelves this September.Bring home Tacolicious’s Californian take on Mexican food with recipes for salsas, sides, and signature tacos like Shot-and-a-Beer Braised Chicken and Butternut Squash, Kale, and Crunchy Pepitas. Sources for hard-to-find ingredients and tips for toasting and grinding spices and chiles make for a user-friendly cookbook. (Get a signed copy of the book at CUESA’s cooking demo with Tacolicious chef Antelmo Faria on December 5.)

In Cowgirl Creamery Cooks, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith offer guidance on creating the perfect cheese course for any special occasion. Decadent dishes like Red Hawk Potato Gratin incorporate Cowgirl Creamery’s signature cheeses, which can be found at the Saturday market or at their shop inside the Ferry Building. Make your own fromage blanc, get tips for storing cheese and using up the “ends and bits” (think Classic Mac and Cheese or Rustic Cheese and Onion Galettes), and read vignettes about the creamery’s seasonal cheeses and their role in the sustainable dairy movement. (Read CUESA’s interview with Sue Conley to learn more.)

Sustainable mariculture practices—and deliciously fresh bivalves—make Hog Island Oyster Company a favorite at the Saturday market. The Hog Island Oyster Lover’s Cookbook provides a guide to choosing, preparing, and enjoying oysters, with 40 party-worthy recipes, including toppings for raw oysters and elegant cooked dishes from chefs such as Alice Waters and Hiro Sone. You’ll also learn how to shuck like a pro and order at an oyster bar.

DIY Meats

For mindful meat lovers, books from Ferry Plaza meat purveyors provide a complete education in the lost arts of butchery and utilizing the whole animal. 4505 Meats founder Ryan Farr’s first book, Whole Beast Butchery, is now considered an essential reference on the subject, while his most recent, Sausage Making: The Definitive Guide, covers a range of sausages (beef, pork, rabbit, poultry, and seafood), tools of the trade, and proper techniques for grinding, mixing, stuffing, and forming links. Recipes range from All-Beef Hot Dogs and Maple-Bacon Breakfast Sausage to Guinea Hen and Kimchee Links, and master ratios of meat, fat, liquid, and salt encourage home sausage makers to experiment with different meats and new flavor combinations.

Charcuterie “transforms the bounty of the farm and forest,” simultaneously preserving meats and maintaining food cultures and traditions, note Fatted Calf co-owners Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller in their first cookbook, In the Charcuterie. With step-by-step instructions for brining, smoking, curing, braising, and stuffing, and recipes like Harissa-Marinated Lamb Kebabs and Brown-Sugar Cured Bacon, In the Charcutierie will turn home cooks into confident charcutiers.

Sweet Treats and Coffee

Fans of the colorful macarons and gorgeous cakes and tarts at Tout Sweet Pâtisserie’s market stall are in for a treat with founder Yigit Pura’s new book, Sweet Alchemy: Dessert Magic. Innovative recipes like Port and Peppercorn Glazed Mission Figs, Lavender Pavlovas, and Cheeky Raspberry Tart reflect the “Top Chef” winner’s passion for local ingredients, and notes on choosing and using essentials like fruits, chocolate, and dairy put “sweet alchemy” within reach of budding pastry chefs.

What better accompaniment for dessert than an exceptional cup of coffee? Devotees of the market’s Blue Bottle Coffee Co. cart will enjoy The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee by James and Caitlin Freeman. Get to know Blue Bottle’s favorite coffee-growing regions and farmers, learn to roast beans at home, and master techniques like French press, siphon, and nel drip. Recipes for Saffron Vanilla Snickerdoodles, Affogato with Smoky Almond Ice Cream, and other sweets incorporate coffee or pair beautifully with a fresh cup.

Some of these books can be purchased at the vendors’ stands or at Book Passage inside the Ferry Building.

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