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cookbooks for my mom -- help please!

My mom is an excellent cook who whips up lots of great Italian, uses many family recipes, but also loves to try new dishes, lots of vegetarian but some meat now and then. I would love to get her several new cook books for Christmas with lots of recipes that she'll actually make. Sometimes I get her books that just sit on the shelves. Looking for nothing outrageously complicated - intermediate difficulty but creative. We currently use lots of recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Silver Palatte, Moosewood.

Here are my ideas. Suggestions/recommendations, especially if you have/use these books, would be most welcome.

Top choices:
How to Eat - Nigella Lawson - fun reading and fun dishes, right?

Pasta Verde, Judith Barrett - looks delicious and lots of fresh veggies with pasta, creative too.

and then maybe also-- (feedback on these please)

*Everyday Greens - Annie Somerville

*San Francisco Farmers Market Cookbook - a guide to impeccable produce and seasonal recipes --- fond memories at that market, but is the book any good? I found a couple of good reviews

*one of Barbara Kafka's books - I was thinking Vegetable Love

*Zuni Cafe

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  1. HAve you looked at Pepin's Art of Cooking, Volumes 1 and 2.

    We have made some very complicated dishes. The recipes include step by step photos that bring something that may seem very hard to acomplish to become managable.

    1. Zuni Cafe is excellent, I have it and like using recipes from it or just read it to get inspiration!

      1. I LOVE Go Fish by Laurent Tourondel. The recipes are super creative, super tasty, yet remarkably easy. Best fish book I have seen in a long time.

        1. I've never used Pasta Verde but I do have another of Judith Barrett's cookbooks, Saved by Soup. I like that book a lot. A wide variety of soups, from easy to complex. And, there are also many seasonal soups. I've used it for years.

          EDITED: to make the forgotten point (I got hungry and made myself a snack ;-)), that if her Pasta book is similar to the soup book, it should be a very nice gift indeed.

          If she likes to cook with Bon Appetit or Gourmet, maybe look into the big yellow Gourmet book. I've enjoyed cooking from it this past year. I convinced a friend of mine to also purchase it and neither of us has hit a recipe that hasn't worked. It's become my go-to cookbook for basic dinners.

          I do like the Zuni Cafe cookbook. But, it isn't something that I cook from on a regular basis. Mostly, because most of the recipes requires of lot of forethought as many of the items need to be brined or prepped days in advance. There is no throwing together a dinner from it. I haven't looked at it in a while, but other than the desserts, I've only really looked at their meat recipes. Not sure how much vegetarian recipes are in the book.

          1. Have you tried Ina Garten's books? The recipes are fairly basic, but tasty and reliable. I also love Jaime Oliver's The Naked Chef cookbook. Lots of good Italian.