The Taste of Summer

Summer cooking at its best should be an effortless and uncomplicated affair. A fresh, colorful salad, gazpacho soup, grilled kabobs, with some sliced mangoes and melons for dessert. Yum! Celebrate summer during the month of August by preparing meals that are light, tasty, and refreshing. Our batch of cookbooks are full of inspired recipes. So make the most of the glorious sunlight and the warm weather and entertain your family and friends with some of the easy-to-prepare treats from the cookbooks below.

The Summer Table: Recipes and Menus for Casual Outdoor Entertaining by Lisa Lemke
The Summer Table: Recipes and Menus for Casual Outdoor Entertaining by Lisa Lemke comes replete with beautiful, mouthwatering color photographs that will definitely whet your appetite. The author provides plenty of creative marinades and sauces to make the dullest grilled fare taste deliciously exotic. For example, the Sticky BBQ Marinade containing garlic, cherry marmalade, Hoisin sauce and Fresno red chili peppers can certainly liven up an ordinary chicken breast. Or try the Hot Honey and Apple Marinade consisting of apple juice, apple sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger and ancho chili peppers. Though some of the recipes may seem a little complicated, the author includes plenty of simple recipes that are easy to make. What I found helpful were the well-designed menus provided for summer brunches, picnics, beach buffets and block parties. And, of course, no meal would be complete without dessert! Since August is National Peach Month, I am definitely going to try the grilled peaches with honey yogurt and nuts.

Summer Food: New Summer Classics by Paul Lowe
Summer Food: New Summer Classics by Paul Lowe features simple, and flavorful summer fare from brunch favorites and cocktails to light suppers and fruity desserts. Beautiful photographs of the finished dishes are provided alongside the recipes. The chapters are divided into Breakfast, Lunch, Appetizers, Drinks, Main Dishes and Desserts. Lowe showcases simple variations of Eggs Benedict ‛a la Norway, and a Frittata ("a cross between an omelet and a pie") as well as Pork Chops with Balsamic Figs, Grilled Greek Kebabs, and Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart with Chocolate.
Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More by the Chicago Tribune Staff
Summer Cooking: Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Picnics, Patios, Grilling and More by the Chicago Tribune Staff contains a host of helpful recipes for the summer time. The book contains hundreds of easy-to-follow recipes for drinks, (nonalcoholic thirst quenchers as well as more grown-up drinks) quick salads, appetizers and grilled entrees, using fresh seasonal ingredients. The recipes are kitchen-tested by the Chicago Tribune's own test kitchen and are perfect for indoor or outdoor cooking. Whether you are preparing a meal for two in your backyard or a cookout for your friends and family, these tried and true recipes are sure to please and impress. Just reading about the Chilled White Gazpacho, Prosciutto Wrapped Figs, Caribbean-Style Garlic-Soaked Shrimp and the Mango Plum and Peach Sangria, got me excited enough to plan my next get-together.

The Big Summer Cookbook: 300 Fresh, Flavorful Recipes for Those Lazy, Hazy Days by Jeff Cox is a "...guide to getting the most out of wonderful foods of summer." The author provides hearty
The Big Summer Cookbook: 300 Fresh, Flavorful Recipes for Those Lazy, Hazy Days by Jeff Cox
recipes that emphasize the summer bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. From nutritious salads and light lunches to tasty party recipes, the book offers plenty of recipes that meet the culinary ideal of summer cooking. Throughout the book, the author uses icons to identify quick-cooking recipes, recipes that can be prepared ahead of time and recipes that require no cooking time at all. Helpful hints, and informative sidebars were useful and I found the Menus section very handy. An easy way to create a customized menu for summer get-togethers is by consulting the Weekend Brunch, or the Lunch Buffet menu. My favorite was the Mediterranean Dinner menu with Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, North African-Style Carrots, Corn Risotto with Lime, Caprese Salad and Melon with Sorbet. Mmm, delicious! The menus also include a wine that is compatible with the listed foods. A minor quibble - I missed the photographs of the finished dishes since this is one of the few cookbooks without a single picture.

Bon App├ętit!

-Rina B.

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