Books That Cook: holiday cocktails, waffles, soups

Published October 20 2014

.TITLE: Cocktails for the Holidays — Festive Drinks to Celebrate the Season by the editors of Imbibe magazine (Chronicle Books, $19.95, 120 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Many a seasoned hostess will tell you one key to a great party is a signature drink. Not only does it reduce the cost because you don't have to buy a variety of liquors and mixers, it also reduces your work, allowing you to spend more time with your guests. There are recipes for punches as well as cocktails, which make entertaining easy for larger groups.

FOR: This book is for anyone who entertains, not just during the holidays but all winter long. There are recipes for warm and iced libations, perfect for any climate.

RECIPES: Spiced Pear Daiquiri, Santa's Little Helper, Cinnamon-Campari Sidecar, Pearl Street Warmer, Whitecap, Hot Buttered Cider, Honey Milk Punch, Brandied Apple, Winter's Waltz Sang Royal and Falling Leaves.

. TITLE: Soup for Two — Small Batch Recipes for One, Two or a Few by Joanna Pruess (Countryman Press, $24.95, 128 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Cooler weather will be here soon and, with it, a taste for soup. Many of the recipes are easily doubled but it's tough to tell what you're doubling because, unfortunately, many of the recipes do not mention the number of servings they make. There is a wide variety of recipes, some with ingredients that are staples in your pantry.

FOR: Empty nesters, bachelors and bachelorettes, even families if you're okay with doubling recipes.

RECIPES: Provencal Mussel Soup, Chinese Noodle Soup with Shrimp, Scallop and Kale Soup, Greek Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup, Leftover Turkey and Tomatillo Soup, Miso Soup with Tofu, Shitakes, Bok Choy, and Soba Noodles, Minted Spiced Green Pea Soup with Chunky Chickpeas, Thai Carrot-ginger Soup and Turkey Barley and Spinach Soup.

. TITLE: Will It Waffle? Yes, It Will! 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron (Workman Publishing, $14.95, 210 pages)

GENERALLY SPEAKING: First of all, you do need a waffle iron to use this cookbook. This cookbook offers lots of fun and interesting recipes to share with your family. Kids will love the novelty. None of the recipes are difficult. You'll find recipes for snacks, breakfast, main courses, desserts and, yes, waffles. It's a really interesting concept and I'm sure some recipes work better than others.

FOR: Those looking for variety and a fun aspect to meals.

RECIPES: Waffled Calamari Salad With Thai Dressing, Crisscrossed Crab Cakes With Sriracha Mayonnaise, Waffled Tamale Pie, Waffled Ham and Cheese Melt With Maple Butter, Waffled Croque Madame, Waffled Macaroni and Cheese, Waffled Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Waffled Chicken Breast Stuffed With Spinach, Pine Nuts and Feta, Zucchini Parmesan Flattened Fritters, Waffled Fries, Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles and Red Velvet Waffled Ice Cream Sandwiches.