We look forward to early November all year long, when we have our Holiday Potluck! There is such a wealth of cookbooks that come out in the fall, and we run rampant through the pages looking for the best recipes to share at work.
  1. Nopi by Yotam Ottolenghi http://powells.us/1S4zxdZ (Mark made: Mixed Cauliflower with Golden Raisins, Ricotta, and Capers)
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    First off, what a classy-looking book. The recipes are from Ottolenghi's restaurant Nopi. They are simplified for the home kitchen — simplified but not simple. Ottolenghi even refers to the recipes as "epic." Okay, now that you've been warned about the challenging recipes, I have to say this is another awesome cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi! I'm always impressed by his masterful recipe development, mixing flavors together in ways I would never have thought, creating sublime food experiences.
  2. Heartlandia by Adam and Jackie Sappington http://powells.us/1S4Afbm (Mary Jo made: Melon Salad)
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    Heartlandia is the much-awaited cookbook from The Country Cat, a beloved Portland restaurant. Self-described as "glorified gramma cuisine," Heartlandia is comfort food on steroids. The advice that the Sappingtons give their cooks is "to think of the potatoes as the binder for all the sour cream and butter we whip into them." How can that not be fantastic?
  3. The Chef Next Door by Amanda Freitag http://powells.us/1S4AoeO (Tom and Dev made: Butternut Squash Soup)
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    When we got a copy of The Chef Next Door a few months ago, it kind of knocked our socks off. Sure, we anticipated that TV personality/Chef Freitag would give us a good cookbook — and it is — but it is also a wonderful collection of well-curated and presented recipes. It's a little bit like being in her home kitchen while she makes up a meal and tosses out bits of chef knowledge. Recipes run the gamut from easy to "the scary stuff," and she holds your hand the whole way.
  4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime by Ree Drummond http://powells.us/1S4AItY (Gigi made: Spinach Soup)
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    I'm pretty certain the entire world universe has heard of Internet and cookbook phenom Ree Drummond. The recipes are designed to be quick, comforting, and easy, even for a beginner. The entire cookbook is filled with a huge amount of step-by-step photos, so there is no need for the beginner cook to feel intimidated by a new recipe.
  5. Beer Bites by Andrea Slonecker and Christian DeBenedetti http://powells.us/1S4BhE0 (Tracey made: Chimay à la Bière Fondue)
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    We might be a bit predisposed to like this cookbook because it's by local authors, but that is okay because Beer Bites turns out to be a delight. The recipes either have beer in them or are good accompaniments. This is a great cookbook for host/hostess food — a bit fancier than your usual appetizer grub yet in a beery, hearty way.
  6. The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila http://powells.us/1HXBZ5C (Tracey made Popovers)
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    Such a pretty cookbook. Author Chernila wants us to enjoy our time in the kitchen, making wholesome savories and sweets. Her writing comes across as if she is the most grounded friend you have, the person who can always help guide you in the kitchen. Packed in with the pleasantly comforting recipes are homilies from Chernila's kitchen, including this most profound cooking advice: "Do your best, then let go." How many of us haven't had some sort of freak-out in the kitchen due to cooking failure?
  7. Pimp My Rice by Nisha Katona http://powells.us/1HXCf4I (Shawn made: Black and Red Rice Boudoir Salad)
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    Rice: an easy dish to make, and easy-peasy to dress up fancy. Author Katona, rice evangelist and British barrister, was in her mid-30s when she discovered her love of rice. Not until she had a family to take care of did she embrace the simple grains. Lucky for us that she did; her recipes are joyful celebrations of all types of rice.
  8. The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt http://powells.us/1S4Dlfv (Renee made: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese)
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    Yowza! I have so much love for this cookbook. Author López-Alt of SeriousEats.com explains the science behind how our recipes work, and he does so with a sense of humor. He is a proud nerd, has a degree from MIT and over a decade of experience in restaurant kitchens, and he brings all of this together to give us great recipes that teach us science 'n' stuff. Bottom line: these are good recipes and they will make you smarter, plus his sly surprise humor will bring out a snort or two.
  9. Food52 Vegan by Gena Hamshaw http://powells.us/1HXD39K (Jeremy made: Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili)
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    If you are a foodie, you probably already know about Food52.com, an Internet food community with almost 37,000 (and counting) recipes. This fall, they've given us two new cookbooks: Food52 Vegan and Food52 Baking. The Food52 people take a very thoughtful approach to their recipes, and this results in completely reliable and delicious food. The photography is beautiful and rustic. They plan their cover shots with care, making sure they are truly reflective of the recipes inside.
  10. 5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Cookbook by Stephanie O'Dea http://powells.us/1S4El35 (Doug made: Savory Sweet Potato Bake)
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    When I pull out my slow cooker, it's because I want to spend zero time fussing about in the kitchen. I don't want to braise any meat ahead of time, and I don't want to mix various potions in extra bowls to add into the slow cooker. I just want to dump it all in and walk away. So thank you, Stephanie O'Dea, for making the perfect slow cooker cookbook for me. These easy recipes are wonderful for the beginner cook.
  11. Magpie by Holly Riccardi http://powells.us/1HXDL70 (Ashleigh made: Smoked Gouda Butternut Squash Pie)
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    Magpie Artisan Pie Boutique in Philadelphia gives a great selection of sweet and savory pie recipes. In a genius move, Riccardi suggests forming the apple pie filling level, not mounded. This eliminates that peaked bubble that raises the top crust above the fruit. Genius! Next up: hummingbird pie, a pie version of the Southern classic hummingbird cake — more genius! The sweet recipes in Magpie are rounded out with quiches, pot pies, and other hearty non-desserts.
  12. Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson http://powells.us/1HXEk0G (Kathi made: Pork Pistachio Pâté)
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    Olympia Provisions is Portland's go-to house of charcuterie. Their amazing sausages can be found at most farmers markets, upscale grocers, and most important: at their local restaurants where you can not only enjoy their seasoned meats but also their substantially flavorful other dishes. Veggies, soups, salads, and flapjacks. Olympia Provisions is a beautiful book, fully reflective of salumist Cairo's personality and love for heart-warming food.
  13. Made in India by Meera Sodha http://powells.us/1S4HzDJ (Tracey made: Perfect Masala Chai)
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    Nigella Lawson's blurb on the back cover of Made in India says it best: "I want to cook everything in the book." Many of these are family recipes, which is a tried-and-true cooking art that I appreciate. Made in India is a worthwhile addition to your cookbook library, even if you already have a half dozen Indian cookbooks.