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Best Cookbooks of 2009

Drinks + food—it’s a relationship as intertwined as the gnarly vines of an old-growth Bordeaux vineyard. And as imbibers who love to cook and bake, we’re always looking for delectable recipes that creatively integrate the two worlds. These cookbooks do just that. With drink enthusiasts in mind, they offer up a mix of detailed drink pairings, spirit-infusing instructions and tasty recipes that seamlessly incorporate ingredients like applejack, sherry and coffee.

All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray (Chronicle 2009)
Score bonus points at the office and do like National Public Radio producer Melissa Gray—every Monday she arrives to her All Things Considered office with a different decorated cake, “research” for her delectable book on the freshly baked topic. Our favorite recipes include the ATF Gingerbread (featured in Imbibe’sNovember/December 2009 issue) and the Naughty Senator Cake, which mingles mint and chocolate just a splash of rum.

Pintxos by Gerald Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss (Ten Speed Press 2009)
San Francisco restaurateur and James Beard award winner Gerald Hirigoyen pays homage to his native Spain with this collection of tapas recipes. Dishes like caramelized onions with idiazábal cheese and beef short ribs integrate regional ingredients like moscatel and dry sherry, with Hirigoyen offering detailed wine pairings to accompany each plate.

The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson (Ten Speed Press 2009)
Piper Davis and Imbibe contributor Ellen Jackson know a thing or two about baking—Davis spent her childhood at her mother’s side, learning the recipes behind her family-owned Grand Central Bakery; Jackson is an award-winning food writer and pastry chef who’s had the honor of sitting in as a judge at the James Beard House. Together, they’ve put together this baking tome with recipes ranging from scones to  pot pies. Check out their recipe for an amazing apple brandy mince pie.

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon (Ten Speed Press 2009)
Just as its title promises, this colorful cookbook offers step-by-step instructions for curing your own bacon and gravlax, pickling cocktail garnishes and canning all sorts of garden goodies—and her homemade limoncello is divine. Solomon’s recipe for melt-in-your-mouth watermelon and mango-lime popsicles were featured in Imbibe’s July/August 2009 issue.

The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan (Chronicle 2009)
Released just in time to guarantee delicious holiday feasting for you and your dinner guests, this Turkey Day-dedicated cookbook dishes up more than standard stuffing and sides. Inventive recipes like a whiskey and brown sugar-crusted ham and this applejack-giblet gravy add the perfect splash of spice to holiday dinner table staples.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (William Morrow 2009)
In her first cookbook, award-winning food blogger Ree Drummond serves up down-home dishes with a side of sass. The former Los Angeles resident—who now lives on a cattle ranch in rural Oklahoma with her husband and four kids—mixes classic country flavors with urban flair in dishes like Sherried Tomato Soup and Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce. Click here for her decadently delicious recipe for mocha brownies.

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