Cookbooks are often misunderstood, in the sense that they are at least as much about ideas, and approaches to cooking, as they are about the actual recipes. It is not necessary to follow every recipe step by step (in some cases, like one recipe from Heston Blumenthal, there are 127 steps). It is necessary to absorb what the cook-chef-author is about, and that will yield a more evolved personal cooking, for you and your guests.
One book we heartily recommend, for this or any other season, is Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, by chef Gabriel Rucker, with Meredith Erickson and Lauren and Andrew Portgang. This book is jammed with innovative, instinctual recipes from a chef who emblemizes the “new” fine dining at his restaurant in Portland, Oregon. It is almost freewheeling in its approach, thought technique and discipline of course have their place. What you can do with lamb’s tongue is perhaps outshone by what you can do with finely shredded kale. Amaze your friends: cook four courses from this book. They will want you to make it a regular event.