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Books That Cook: 'Delish Cooking School: Learning to Cook Step-by-Step,' 'Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals,' and 'At the Farmer's Market With Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands'

,TITLE: Delish Cooking School: Learning to Cook Step-by-Step (Hearst Books, $34.95, 687 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Delish Cooking School is one of the best cookbooks for beginners that I've seen in a long time. It is packed with recipes for everything from easier dishes like roast chicken to international fare like Cantonese lamb. You'll find not only the usual ingredients like beef, chicken and pork but also lamb and duck, plus recipes for sauces, desserts, stir-fries and more.

FOR: Primarily beginners, but any skill level could learn something new. Plus, there are sections that deconstruct ingredients, providing information about herbs, salad green varieties, vegetables and more. For example, the eggs chapter offers tips for separating eggs, buying, storage and more.

RECIPES: Chunky beef and vegetable pie, chicken pot roast with mustard cream sauce, Texas-style spare ribs, lentil and bean burgers, roast loin of pork with apple sauce, roasted vegetable tart, caramelized onion and beet tart, Mississippi mud cake, chocolate caramel slice, tomato tarts and broad beans and thyme.

,TITLE: Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals (Taunton Press, $19.95, 252 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: This collection is suited for any skill level. Some recipes require more prep work than others, but no techniques are too difficult.

FOR: Home cooks who want to prepare kicked-up comfort food from time to time.

RECIPES: Quick skillet mac and cheese, spiced yogurt waffles with toasted pecan maple syrup, cornmeal-cherry muffins, blueberry cheesecake with gingersnap crust, beef stew with root vegetables, Transylvanian goulash and winter vegetable soup with coconut milk and pears.

,TITLE: At the Farmer's Market With Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands by Leslie Jonath and Ethel Brennan (Chronicle Books, $22.95, 168 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: This cookbook includes more than recipes for food. There are "recipes" for tie-dying T-shirts with blackberries and making an organic wreath. The authors hope to encourage parents to take their children to a farmer's market, where they might be able to meet a farmer.

FOR: Families that enjoy cooking together. It's not necessary to shop at outdoor markets to prepare these recipes, but getting the most flavorful produce will enhance the dishes. Each recipe offers tips for what part of the recipe a child can perform.

RECIPES: Summer corn pudding, edible dried-fruit bracelets, frozen nectarine yogurt, old-fashioned grape jelly, gnocchi with Parmesan cheese, buttery citrus curd bars, stir-fried broccoli with chicken, crunchy refrigerator pickles, fava bean puree with crunchy croutons, cinnamon nut swirl monkey bread, and radish tea party sandwiches.

Ellen Folkman, Times correspondent

Books That Cook appears monthly in the Taste section.

>>MODERATE

Chicken Pot Roast

With Mustard Cream Sauce

3-pound whole chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 shallots, halved

20 baby carrots, trimmed

3 small parsnips, chopped coarsely

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock

2 dried bay leaves

7 ounces cremini mushrooms

2 tablespoons light cream

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash chicken under cold water; pat dry inside and out with absorbent paper.

Heat oil in large, flameproof casserole dish; cook chicken until browned all over. Remove chicken. Cook shallots, carrots and parsnips in same dish, stirring about 5 minutes or until vegetables are browned lightly.

Return chicken to pan with wine, stock and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Cook, covered, in oven 30 minutes. Uncover; cook about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add mushrooms; cook, uncovered about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Remove chicken and vegetables from pan; cover to keep warm. Add cream and mustard to dish; bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Serve chicken, cut into pieces, with vegetables and cream sauce.

Serves 4.

Source: Delish Cooking School: Learning to Cook Step-by-Step (Hearst Books, $34.95, 687 pages)

>>EASY

Smoked Turkey Reubens

2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

¼ cup julienned kosher dill pickle

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Kosher salt

½ cup mayonnaise

3 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons ketchup

8 slices whole wheat bread

12 thin slices smoked turkey

8 thin slices Swiss cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage and pickles with the vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt. Transfer to a colander, set it in the sink and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse the mayonnaise, sun-dried tomatoes and ketchup in a food processor until the tomatoes are finely chopped.

Squeeze the cabbage mixture to remove any excess liquid and return to the bowl. Toss the cabbage with 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise mixture.

Spread the remaining mayonnaise on one side of each slice of the bread. Assemble the sandwiches, layering the turkey, cabbage and cheese over 4 slices of bread and topping with the other 4 slices. Spread the outsides of the sandwiches with butter.

Heat a large grill pan, skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Working in batches if necessary, put the sandwiches in the pan, top with a grill press or heavy skillet to weigh them down and cook until browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes more. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Serves 4.

Source: Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals (Taunton Press, $19.95, 252 pages)

>>MODERATE

Summer Corn Pudding

2 large ears of corn, husks and silks removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

2 teaspoons finely chopped chives

3 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup grated white Cheddar cheese

3 cups milk

½ cup yellow cornmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep-dish 8-inch square or round baking dish.

Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the cobs. You should have 1½ to 2 cups.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. As the butter begins to foam, add the shallot, corn and chives and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is soft and has released some of its juices, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the salt. Stir in the cheese and set aside.

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of the milk to a gentle boil. Whisk the cornmeal into the hot milk and reduce the heat to low. Whisk constantly until the mixture resembles a thick porridge, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 cup milk, the corn mixture and the egg mixture. Pour into the baking dish.

Bake the pudding until it is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the pudding rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then scoop into bowls to serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

Source: At the Farmer's Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands by Leslie Jonath and Ethel Brennan (Chronicle Books, $22.95, 168 pages)

Books That Cook: 'Delish Cooking School: Learning to Cook Step-by-Step,' 'Fine Cooking Comfort Food: 200 Delicious Recipes for Soul-Warming Meals,' and 'At the Farmer's Market With Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands' 04/17/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 4:30am]

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