How you enhance the food you make is almost as important as the food itself. Several new books highlight different ways to add zest and flavor to all types of dishes.

Michelle Anna Jordan (a food and wine columnist, author of 16 cookbooks, and radio show host) offers “60 Sensational Recipes to Liven Up Greens, Grains, Slaws and Every Kind of Salad” in her book Vinaigrettes and Other Dressings. Who better to tackle the subject of dressing up greens than Jordan, a lifelong Californian who has been called “the quintessential expert on California cuisine.”

This pleasantly simple book features refreshing and versatile recipes, and Jordan highlights vinaigrettes of all kinds, including blood orange, watermelon, ginger-mustard and molasses and honey vinaigrette. International dressings include thai lime dressing, yogurt-tahini dressing, and spicy Mexican crema. Jordan also suggests salad makings, like basic warm potato salad with variations, and plain and simple faro salad. It's a wonderful kitchen companion.

Looking for something a little richer? There’s Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer, who teaches readers how to add serious flavor to their favorite foods. Vaserfirer highlights one of the most classic ingredients in cooking, stating, “flavored butters are culinary magic.” The author suggests food pairings for each recipe—there's savory butters like Dill, Lemon and Garlic, which is perfect for fish fillets; for steak there’s a caramelized onion butter. For bread, the author suggests radish butter, for steamed vegetables, green tea-sesame butter, and for grilled beef, kimchi butter. For readers with a sweet tooth, rose-berry butter makes breakfast special, as does orange-honey butter.

To turn up the heat, check out The Hot Sauce Cookbook by James Beard award winner Robb Walsh, author of six Texas cookbooks and founder of the annual Austin Hot Sauce Festival. Out in May, the book includes information on the history of hot sauce, tips on how to make your own hot sauce, and over 50 recipes.