Summer means HOT. I really don’t like heat. I’m more of a fall or spring girl. If I had to choose, definitely fall. The one silver lining on that hot, humid cloud is the bounty of fruits and vegetables available to us during this time of year. It’s simply breathtaking how all the colors of the rainbow can so easily land on a dinner plate. But if you’re like me, you’re busy. Day in, day out, there is always something hijacking my time.
If you know your way around the cookbook section of your local bookstore, your life can become infinitely easier, handing you inspiration on a platter. But there are a ton of books out there vying for your attention. How on earth do you choose? Well that’s where I come in.
First, I work in publishing so it’s my job to know what books are worth their salt. Second, I’m married to a chef so I’ve learned a thing or two around my kitchen. What I’ve amassed for you here is essentially a menu of cookbooks to help you through that weekly box from that lovely farm we all get our fruits and veggies from.
Drinks – To Imbibe or not to imbibe?
Two books have caught my attention on drinks this summer. The first is Caesar’s.
Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite Cocktail
This is Canada’s version of a Bloody Mary. It’s made with Clamato Juice and there is salt & pepper on the rim. Simply put, this is summer in a glass. There are many variations and a few incorporate food recipes as well. If you are looking for something new and unique to do with your tomato share later this summer, here is a start!
The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks–100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes!
TR: $19.99 US
The Blender Girl is on the opposite side of the spectrum with a healthy dose of a health kick. With all that lettuce we’ve been getting, you need to hop over to your local Williams Sonoma and get that exclusive Vitamix everyone is talking about. This book features 100 gluten-free, vegan, and raw recipes made quickly and easily in a blender from the blogger extraordinaire behind healthyblenderrecipes.com.
Appetizers – The Place to Begin
BBQ, Slow Cooking and Kids Cooking from a culinary master (Unique Summer Cooking Ideas)
Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Food with Flavor Using Wood Planks
Give your grill a facelift with the easiest upgrade ever. Grilling with cedar and other flavorful wood planks imparts a wonderful smoky infusion to all kinds of dishes–from salmon to pizza to vegetables.
They sell them at Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma and your local hardware store. The book provides tons of interesting recipes to experiment with. Have fun with your grill!
The Great American Slow Cooker Book: 500 Easy Recipes for Every Day and Every Size Machine
Slow Cooking? In the summer? Did you know that sales of slow cookers skyrocket in the south as soon as the temperatures start to rise? Slow cooking is the easiest way to make dinner without heating up your kitchen with your oven. It simplifies your life with one pot, allows you to make your meal ahead and cools down the house! If you’ve ever wanted to know the best book to buy on the subject, look no further. This book provides recipes for all sizes of slow cookers, rates difficulty, and provides the most variety of recipes to appeal to any palate.
Alain Ducasse Cooking for Kids: From Babies to Toddlers: Simple, Healthy, and Natural Food
A Michelin star rated chef provides inspiration using seasonal ingredients to incorporate into your baby and toddler’s diet. Perfect for new parents – especially if you are foodies – the recipes are aimed for ages 2 months to 3 years, with special tables indicating what foods should be introduced monthly. I’ve read this book and it is inspirational and approachable. I’m often left with a few stray veggies at the end of the week before I get my next share. I have a small child so often I make baby food with it. This book has given me some great ideas for that.
OK. Break. Consider this a palate cleanser. . .
Sooooo . . . not a cookbook but this is too cute not to include here.
Read this –
- If you have a family
- If you are curious about composting
- If you are interested in being the change you want to see in the world
Compost: A Family Guide to Making Soil from Scraps
Set your family on the path to a planet-friendly lifestyle with this fun guide to compost–what it is, how to make it, how to maintain it. Includes games, stickers, and more!
Main course – The meat of it
These are the cookbook guides to get you through the seasons week to week, helping you identify and incorporate new ingredients and providing inspiration for what to do with them. All of these books are top notch in every way. Browse them completely. I did and love each one. If I had to pick one, I’d say In Season was a life saver the first year I joined the CSA.
Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes
In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits
Sarah Raven; Foreword by Dan Barber
Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, Including 50 Recipes, Plus Harvesting and Storage Tips
Life just isn’t complete without dessert – just my humble opinion.
Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More
If you own one book on desserts incorporating fruit, this is it. It is your bible. If you buy one book on this whole list, make it this one. Trust me, once you’ve used it, you’ll understand.
Ruby Violet’s Ice Cream Dreams: Ice Cream, Sorbets, Bombes, and More
OK, I wasn’t completely honest at the beginning of this post. There are two silver linings to summer, not one. The other is ice cream. It’s why cows exist. It’s delectable. Here is a new ice cream book that has lots of beautiful vintage recipes and unique ingredients for ice cream to inspire you whether you have never touched an ice cream maker in your life or if you liken yourself to a seasoned creamery.
Enjoy and Bon Appétit!