Food is often a highlight of any great vacation, so on the days you’re not traveling this summer, why not get a taste of exotic locations with an itinerary of new destination cookbooks? With vivid photography and elaborate narratives, the attractive tomes we toured provide multisensory escapes to foreign soil, including Thailand, Italy, the Caribbean, Paris and Peru. We selected our favorite recipes from each for you to try at home, too. Bon voyage and bon appetit! Luggage and passport not required.
Thailand: The Cookbook
By Jean-Pierre Gabriel, Phaidon Press, $49.95
Encyclopedic in size and in its information, which covers culinary history, guidance on ingredients and cooking technique instruction, Thailand: The Cookbook features a whopping 500 recipes from various regions of the exotic Southeast Asian country. Three years in the making, the hardback is just as much a photo tour as it is a cookbook, as it was written by Brussels-based photographer and food writer Jean-Pierre Gabriel. Find all ingredients needed at local Asian markets, such as Nguyen Loi Oriental Supermarket (5302 E. Belknap St., Haltom City, 817-831-4778, www.tnlsuperfood.com).
Caribbean Potluck: Modern Recipes From Our Family Kitchen
By Suzanne & Michelle Rousseau, Kyle Books, $24.95
Jamaican sisters Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau, official culinary hostesses for the Jamaica Tourist Board and creators of the popular blog and TV show Two Sisters and a Meal ( www.2sistersandameal.com), share more than 100 colorful recipes in their first cookbook, Caribbean Potluck: Modern Recipes From Our Family Kitchen. The sisters island-hopped the Caribbean to incorporate flavors from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago, giving readers traditional one-pot meals like Jamaican oxtail and beans, as well as modern twists on classics like jerked chicken and cashew spring rolls. Learn the ingredients that make up a Caribbean cupboard (lots of coconut milk and rice), tips for crafting Caribbean cocktails and even how to entertain, island-style. For the two recipes shown here, note that the spicy Scotch bonnet chile pepper is closely related to the equally hot habanero, and the latter provides for a suitable substitute.
Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen
By Martin Morales, Ten Speed Press, $30
In the first major Peruvian cookbook published for a U.S. audience, author Martin Morales delivers more than 100 recipes in Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen. They include dishes he grew up with, historic Peruvian meals, and fusion dishes created with Spanish, Italian, African, Chinese and Japanese influences. As expected from the book’s title, fresh and healthy seafood is the star in this jewel-tone photograph-filled production, which features show-stopping plates like drunken scallops, salmon tiradito and the sea bass ceviche (recipe shown here), the most popular dish at Morales’ much-acclaimed London restaurant that shares the book’s name. We also love Morales’ homemade helados, ice creams that come with options for flavor variations, like avocado or the Peruvian lucuma fruit. (Note: limo chiles can be ordered from Central Market stores by calling the produce manager, but a substitute is the red jalapeño.)
Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love From Our Tuscan Kitchen
By Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar,
Clarkson Potter, $32.50
Like oil and vinegar, husband and wife co-authors Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos are shining opposites — she’s a sassy New York City actress; he’s a big-hearted Italian raised in Tuscany. Yet readers will be inspired by the couple’s delicious chemistry in Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love From Our Tuscan Kitchen, the first cookbook for the Cooking Channel celeb chefs and ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. Expect rustic Italian cuisine — not over-sauced, over-cheesed or overdone, but simple, fresh and accessible. Standout recipes from the list of 120 include grilled apricots with goat cheese ricotta, white bean and pancetta bruschetta, and skillet eggplant Parmesan, shown here. We also love that entire chapters are dedicated to risotto, vegetables and drinks, the last of which includes an invigorating limoncello spritzer.
My Paris Kitchen
By David Lebovitz, Ten Speed Press, $35
Author and food blogger David Lebovitz spent nearly 13 years at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., before leaving to pursue a career in cookbook writing. His move to Paris a decade ago, for which he packed not much more than his laptop and a skillet, has resulted in his latest cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, his documentation of the culinary cultural shift happening in France that comes with equal parts personal stories of entertaining in his tiny apartment and French-inspired recipes that reflect how Parisians eat today. Readers will find instruction for timeless French fare like coq au vin and croque-monsieur, but also smoky barbecue-style pork, wheat berry salad with root vegetables and duck fat cookies. Serve the onion tart, shown here, with rosé over ice, per Lebovitz’s recommendation.