The Cookbook Reviewer: A Community Blog

Food writer and recipe tester Linda Avery reviews cookbooks.

Books of Summer, Part II

Written by Linda Avery, Community Blogger | Jul 16, 2014 7:00 AM

BooksofSummerPart2

Here we go – grilling and chilling and staying healthy. These three books will keep you inspired in the kitchen this summer.

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 The Big Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby
10 Speed Press
Hardcover $19.08 Kindle $13.99
240 pages

The second part of this book’s title is “No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes” and they aren't kidding. Most of the recipes fit on one page under the headings Prep, Grill and Top, but that doesn't mean the recipes aren't interesting. Each chapter begins with a “Super-Basic” recipe on which other recipes are built: Super-Basic Pork Chops, Super-Basic Smoke-Roasted Whole Chicken, Super-Basic Grilled Fish Fillets.

Here's a recipe exemplifying how you build on the basic recipe. (If trying new recipes make you nervous, flip to the back of the book and start with a Mojito). The Curry-Coated Grilled Chicken Breasts with Fresh Mango Chutney, for example, begins with rubbing the chicken breasts with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Easy enough and you can stop there or mix up the chutney which will take 5 minutes (maybe 7 if you have trouble dicing a fresh mango). Then, when the chicken is done, slather the chutney over the breasts and sprinkle with dried coconut, chopped macadamia nuts (both toasted) and lime zest.

Fast and easy. Lots of meat, fish and vegetable dishes are included, plus drink recipes categorized by drinks with mint, with ginger, and with pineapple. And it includes a concise section with ingredient definitions.  

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The Soda Fountain: Floats, Sundaes, Egg Creams & More by GiaGiasullo & Peter Freeman
Hardcover $13.40 Kindle 9.99
10 Speed Press
224 pages

If you aren't old enough to remember the old soda fountains (and based on the photos – think WWII -- not many of us will remember), you’re in luck. Evidently those old soda fountains are enjoying a revival. But if you can’t wait for one to open in your town, you can create your own fizzy treats at home.

A relatively long history of soda fountains opens the book, followed by which tools you’ll need, e.g., are the bowls in your cabinet OK, or do you want to step up to a “fountain glass” or an “egg cream glass” or perhaps buy a whipped cream dispenser? The authors even explain why you might want to choose between a half dozen straws.

Then, the recipes – there is a recipe for every syrup you can imagine including boozy ones like Pineapple Pisco Sour. The book includes 23 float recipes, six egg creams, 22 sundaes, eight milkshakes and toppings galore. If you feel like baking, Giasullo and Freeman share the recipes featured at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain such as Chocolate Whoopie Cakes and PB&J Thumbprint Cookies.

This book will keep your sweet tooth nice and chilled all summer long. And after a few old-fashioned sodas, you might want to serve up a few recipes in the next book. You know, balance.

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Go Fresh: A Heart-Healthy Cookbook with Shopping and Storage Tips
American Heart Association
Paperback $15.13 Kindle $9.99
Potter: an Imprint of Crown Publishing
320 pages

Gone are the days when heart-healthy meant bland, no sauce, totally boring. The new publication from the American Heart Association is diverse, informative, and surprisingly appealing. This book covers appetizers to desserts and the appendices include proper handling and storage; should it be in the fridge? should it be in the back or front of the fridge or is it stored on the countertop? how long will it be good in the fridge? how about in the freezer?

That’s followed by an at-a-glance veggie cooking time chart and equivalents. Servings, prep time, cooking time, and standing time (if necessary) are also noted in each recipe. Here are some of those diverse and appealing recipes: Peanutty Choco-Banana Freezer, Indian-Spiced Pumpkin Apple Soup, Balsamic Pork with Pan-Popping Tomatoes, Filets Mignon with Blackberry-Soy Reduction plus lots of side dishes and desserts. Take a look and stay healthy!

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