by Michael Psilakis
(Little, Brown & Co., $35)
This collection of recipes and loving reminiscences is so much more than its title suggests. The book is compelling enough to be read cover to cover like a memoir (each thematic chapter opens with a personal essay followed by recipes), but don’t stop there. You’ve got to cook from it to fully experience Psilakis’s brilliance and big heart. One of Manhattan’s top young chefs, he draws from his Greek heritage to create contemporary fare that’s entirely his own. In his hands, simple rustic food—a one-pan braise of quails, fennel, and apricots, say, or (yes) roasted leg of lamb—reaches exquisite new heights.