If you don't know the Blue Strawberycq restaurant in Portsmouth, N.H., you haven't been in New England very long. If you do know it, you know the kind of cookbook Chef James Haller is apt to come out with.
Here in Another Blue Strawbery, More Brilliant Cooking Without Recipes (Harvard Common Press, hardback $14.95, paperback $8.95) are recipes one expects from such a warm, imaginative chef - from the exotic boned quail in a crown of lobster pate to a simple but equally interesting beef tenderloin in peanut butter sauce.
It's a great book for fearless cooks who understand that cooking has no limitations, and is indeed great fun.
''You can't judge a book by its cover.''
If you need added proof of this axiom, there's Carol Cutler's latest book, The New Main Course for the '80s - Pate (Rawson Associates, $14.95).
As a friend of mine remarked as she picked up the book, ''What's that on the cover, cat food?''
Don't let it fool you. Inside, the mystery is cleared away, revealing how to make many an elegant pate. As Carol Cutler writes, ''Pates are foolproof . . . as simple as putting together a meatloaf.''
I suggest you buy the book and toss the dust jacket.
Nobody just gives out recipes these days, it seems; they ''share their secrets.''
Now, as announced on the cover of Nela's Cookbook (Knopf, $18.95), Nela Rubinstein shares hers. Nela who? you ask.
Well, while husband Arthur was pounding out Chopin scherzos in the parlor, wife Nela was pounding out chicken cutlets in the kitchen. That's who.
The maestro, she tells us, was a famous ''gourmet'' and knew the best restaurants all over the world. Nela admits with some immodesty to ''being able to decipher and identify ingredients in even fairly elaborate dishes.'' This ''gift'' allowed her to produce wonderful meals at home for fabulous parties, or when on tour with Arthur.
Along with the rather pedestrian recipes for scrambled eggs and pot roast is a selection of more interesting dishes, many of Polish and Slavic origin.