Summer in Sacramento means a plethora of gorgeous, farm-fresh produce, lots of outdoor grilling and significant amounts of heat. Here are five of my favorite summertime cookbooks.
The Produce Bible
Author: Leanne Kitchen
Wondering what to do with the arugula, walnuts, blackberries and carrots you just purchased at the farmers’ market? This comprehensive book, offering “essential ingredient information…for fruits, vegetables, herbs and nuts” is a fantastic resource.
Must-try recipe: Onion and thyme marmalade (perfect on grilled burgers and chicken breasts)
The Pleasures of Slow Food
Author: Corby Kummer
This beautiful cookbook is as much fun to read as it is to use. Inspired by the Slow Food movement, Kummer’s tome offers lovely and personal stories of celebrated food artisans – from cheesemakers and butchers to fleur de sel harvesters and crafters of Canadian ice wine – with an array of intriguing recipes “celebrating authentic traditions and flavors.”
Must-try recipe: Elizabeth Prueitt’s fruit focaccia (using local summer stone fruit)
Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen
Author: Rick Bayless
This is a great cookbook to use when you’re expecting guests – Bayless’s numerous recipes for homemade salsas, seasoning pastes, (fabulous) guacamole and grilled meat dishes will make your patio party one to remember all summer.
Must-try recipe: Grilled catfish steaks with chipotle-avocado salsa
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Author: Deborah Madison
When it’s sweltering outside, I often want light, uncomplicated (and meatless) fare. Deborah Madison’s enormous, wide-ranging cookbook has a dizzying selection of recipes that are flavorful, interesting and incorporate your favorite summer produce.
Must-try recipe: Watermelon with mint, lime and feta cheese
The Complete Meat Cookbook
Author: Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly
This wonderful, informative book covers everything from how to choose the right meat cut (and how much to buy) to simple seasoning techniques and deciding upon the best cooking method for your meat. The sections on grilling and “slow-roasting” in a covered grill are particularly useful for summer.
Must-try recipe: Grilled Bourbon-Marinated Top Round Steak