"Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration," by Susanna Foo (Houghton Mifflin, $35): You don't have to want to cook Chinese food to enjoy this book from the much-acclaimed chef with popular restaurants in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. But you do have to share Foo's enthusiasm for the top-quality fresh produce she's found since moving to America from Taiwan more than 30 years ago. Her recipes in this appealing book contrast those seasonal fruits and vegetables with ethnic spices and sauces; widely available fish, poultry and meats; and her own natural bent toward Asian cuisines and techniques. Dishes such as Panko-Crusted Goat Cheese with Tomato and Asparagus Salad or Korean-Style Grilled Sirloin in Pear Jalapeo Marinade highlight the natural flavor of the ingredients, and, like most of the recipes, are relatively easy to make. They'd also be right at home on high-end restaurant menus.
Don't miss: Foo's stir-frying principles and her recommendations for three basic (and versatile) pieces of equipment .
"Nobu Now," by Nobu Matsuhisa (Clarkson Potter, $45): Every year, there's one impressive cookbook that's more likely to be at home on the coffee table than in the kitchen. This holiday season, it's probably this second book from the celebrity chef with 13 fashionable and widely praised restaurants in the United States, London and Asia. Nobu's exquisitely assembled seafood is the underlying focus here, and the palate is primarily Japanese. Only for the brave, though admittedly the beautiful photographs are instructive.
"Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America," by Jose Andres (Clarkson Potter, $35): Some of the more traditional dishes in this first book by the local celebrity chef are familiar to area diners from the menus at his three Jaleo restaurants. Others have been inspired either by the pleasure Andres takes in American ingredients or his continued contact with forward-thinking chefs in Spain. Or both. And yes, with these mostly user-friendly recipes, now you can make them, too.
"Sunday Suppers at Luques," by Suzanne Goin with Teri Gelber (Knopf, $35): This lovely book was inspired by the fixed-price, relaxed menus served on Sundays at one of the two restaurants the author co-owns in Los Angeles (the other is A.O.C.). Goin is a repeat-James Beard-nominated chef who came up cooking through the kitchens including those of L.A.'s Ma Maison, Alice Waters's Chez Panisse and Al Forno in Providence, R.I. Between the beckoning recipes grouped by season and their accompanying photographs by Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, you'll want to just cook your way through this one.