Summertime Freshness: 10 Outstanding Cookbooks

English, Ashley. A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors. Roost. Apr. 2017. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781611802153. $24.95. COOKING
English (A Year of Pies) offers menus for 20 seasonal picnics, including a bird-watching picnic, a movie night picnic, and an afternoon tea picnic. For each, she suggests a small assortment (three–four dishes) of portable snacks, appetizers, beverages, sweets, and more substantial savories. Recipes (e.g., chimichurri chicken, carrot and fennel quick pickle, grape juice spritz, pumpkin whoopie pies) range from traditional picnic and potluck favorites to intriguing international foods, and many can be prepared in advance. English also shares DIY instructions for picnic-practical crafts, such as a portable outdoor table made from a wooden crate. VERDICT With plentiful advice on picnicking equipment, site selection, and activities, this title functions as a combination cookbook and outdoor event planning guide. Interested cooks should also check out Andrea Slonecker and Jen Stevenson’s The Picnic.

redstarFrazier, Matt & Stepfanie Romine. The No Meat Athlete Cookbook: Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes To Fuel Your Workouts—And the Rest of Your Life. Experiment. May 2017. 288p. photos. index. ISBN 9781615192663. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781615192670. COOKING
Seeking to prove that competitive athletes can thrive on a plant-based diet, ultramarathoner Frazier shares 150 whole-food, vegan recipes aligned to the principles of his popular website NoMeat­Athlete.com. Cowritten with yoga and health coach Romine (The SparkPeople Cookbook), this book brings together nutritional guidance and success stories from numerous sources, as well as tasty, often oil-free dishes such as slow-cooker brown rice porridge, spicy black bean & beet burgers, potato-stuffed portobello mushrooms, and no-bake mocha cheesecake. Other features include meal-planning guides, recipe lists (e.g., race-day breakfasts, loaded lunches & dinners), and a sizeable selection of smoothies and sports drinks. VERDICT Expect demand from vegan and vegetarian athletes.

McNamara, Eddie. Toss Your Own Salad: The Meatless Cookbook with Burgers, Bolognese, and Balls. St. Martin’s. Jun. 2017. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781250099204. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250099211. COOKING
Former police officer McNamara presents easy vegetarian and vegan dishes that are hearty enough for meat lovers. Wry humor permeates every inch of this cookbook, from irreverent chapter titles (e.g., “Vegetables Your Mom Ruined,” “I Ain’t Afraid of No Carbs”) to occasionally profanity-laced headnotes. Healthy(ish) and boldly spiced comfort foods abound, including rockin’ Moroccan carrot salad, curried seitan and okra stew, and Grady’s cold brew chocolate and pecan bread pudding. Some recipes previously appeared on McNamara’s popular Tumblr, Toss­YourOwnSalad.tumblr.com. VERDICT Hilarious and heartwarming, this straight-talking, contemporary vegetarian cookbook is the polar opposite of lifestyle guides that rhapsodize about superfoods and microgreens.

Middleton, Susie. Simple Green Suppers: A Fresh Strategy for One-Dish Vegetarian Meals. Roost. Apr. 2017. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9781611803365. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780834840768. COOKING
In this quick-and-easy vegetarian ­cookbook, Middleton (Fast, Fresh & Green) shares a “veggie supper strategy” that readers can use to create flavorful meals every night of the week. His framework relies on pantry staples, convenient make-aheads, and a “veggies + 1” formula that pairs beautiful vegetables with “supporting actors” such as eggs, toast, broth, and noodles. To inspire readers to try her method, Middleton provides 125 recipes (e.g., quinoa and melted leek-stuffed roasted portobello mushrooms, chopped winter salad, spicy white bean burritos, soothing wheat berry broth), most of which can be prepared in 30–45 minutes. VERDICT If you like your meals fresh and frugal, try this practical guide to vegetarian convenience cooking. Readers who enjoy improvising in the kitchen may also appreciate Heather Crosby’s YumUniverse Pantry to Plate and Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Matrix.

Parker, Hayley. Two in One Desserts: Cookie Pies, Cupcake Shakes, and More Clever Concoctions. Countryman. Jun. 2017. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781682680520. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781682680537. COOKING
Self-taught cook Parker (Out of the Box Desserts) gleefully disregards traditional dessert categories in this inventive collection of sweet mash-ups. Included are 100 recipes such as fruity cereal no-bake cheesecake, French silk pie brownies, cannoli cupcakes, and peanut butter and jelly tiramisu that rely heavily on boxed baking mixes, breakfast cereals, and other packaged foods. Like Jackie Alpers’s Sprinkles! and Jessie Oleson’s CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, this title can seem a little silly, but it’s a lot of fun. VERDICT Parker’s second baking book will interest many readers, especially those with children. From-scratch formalists may prefer Irvin Lin’s Marbled, Swirled, and Layered, which has similarly creative recipes and more polished photography.

Purchese, Darren. Lamingtons & Lemon Tart: Best-Ever Cakes, Desserts and Treats from a Modern Sweets Maestro. Hardie Grant. May 2017. 264p. photos. index. ISBN 9781743791868. $40. COOKING
Acclaimed pastry chef Purchese (Sweet Studio) is better known in the UK and Australia than in the States, but many bakers will be tempted by his new collection of impressive yet accessible sweets. Striking desserts such as Jamaican ginger cake with caramelized white chocolate ice cream, lemon meringue pie eclairs, and ultimate chocolate and hazelnut birthday cake will challenge novices, but they’re less technically demanding than those in professional titles. Fans of PBS’s The Great British Baking Show will be pleased to see classics such as Victoria sponge and Swiss roll, as well as a take on baked Alaska. Be ready to use weight-based measurements and a few unconventional ingredients and tools (e.g., glucose syrup, freeze-dried passionfruit powder, pastry rings, siphon). VERDICT A treat for intermediate-level bakers and aspiring pastry chefs. Advanced cooks who like Purchese’s flavor combinations should check out Christine Mansfield’s Christine Manfield Desserts.

redstarTaylor, Kathryne. Love Real Food: More Than 100 Feel-Good Vegetarian Favorites To Delight the Senses and Nourish the Body. Rodale. May 2017. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9781623367411. $27.50; ebk. ISBN 9781623367428. COOKING
Taylor, creator of the vegetarian food blog Cookie and Kate (cookieandkate.com), debuts an approachable collection that will coax even reluctant cooks toward healthy eating. Drawing on the writings of Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle, she has crafted 100-plus recipes around fresh produce, whole grains, natural sweeteners, and other minimally processed ingredients. Everyday dishes such as apple crisp breakfast parfaits, outrageous herbaceous chickpea salad, colorful weeknight burrito bowls, and strawberry balsamic ice cream sundaes will accommodate many food allergies and sensitivities and entice eaters looking for satisfying reduced-guilt fare. VERDICT A standout set of healthful vegetarian foods. Punchy writing and vibrant photographs (including some featuring an adorable dog) heighten the book’s appeal.

Whaite, John. Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients. Kyle. Apr. 2017. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781909487598. $29.95. COOKING
While fans of PBS’s The Great ­British Baking Show await the U.S. edition of Nadiya Hussain’s much-anticipated Nadiya’s Kitchen, steer them toward this capable third cookbook from Whaite (John Whaite Bakes at Home), another past winner of the show. Filled with five-ingredient recipes for rustic, nonfussy foods (e.g., lime and thyme carrots with salmon fillets, braised fennel with halloumi and grapefruit, brown sugar meringues with hazelnut-butterscotch sauce), this book champions a pared-down approach that will speak to harried home cooks. Sumptuously photographed comfort foods and stick-to-your-ribs dishes, from meaty pastas to rich chocolate cakes, are well represented. VERDICT Recommended for lovers of minimalist titles from authors such as Bill Granger, Donna Hay, Mark Bittman, and Real Simple editors.

Wiedemann, Elettra & Claudia Ficca. Impatient Foodie: 100 Delicious Recipes for a Hectic, Time-Starved World. Scribner. Jun. 2017. 256p. photos. index. ISBN 9781501128912. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501128936. COOKING
Fashion model Wiedemann is the founder of the blog ImpatientFoodie.com, which aims to marry ideals of the Slow Food movement with the realities of urban life. Her debut cookbook, written with New York food stylist Ficca, builds on this concept, offering simple preparations for a bounty of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. Recipes (e.g., vegan one-pot linguine with asparagus and lemon-oregano oil, impatient mussels in mushroom broth, apple brie bacon grilled cheese) are organized alphabetically by featured ingredient and tend to be light on prep time and cleanup. Some are also light on cooking; brownie ice cream cake, for example, is assembled from boxed brownie mix, Cool Whip, and other packaged foods. ­VERDICT Recommended for anyone exasperated by cooking. There’s a lot of humor in Wiedemann’s impatience, and many readers will be entertained by her acerbic comments on crowded farmer’s markets, confusing food labels, laborious recipes, and useless spices.

Winslow, Kate & Guy Ambrosino. Onions Etcetera: The Essential Allium Cookbook. Burgess Lea. Feb. 2017. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9780997211313. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780760357712. COOKING
Recipe developer Winslow (coauthor, Coming Home to Sicily) and photographer Ambrosino team up for this lush single-subject cookbook featuring 17 species of alliums (e.g., yellow onion, chives, leeks, ramps, garlic). Since most home cooks will have some form of onion or garlic on hand, they can dive right into appetizing recipes such as Grace’s onion stromboli, braised lamb shanks with chermoula, grits with scallions and bacon, and grilled fish with charred garlic scape relish. Like Women for Women International’s Share: The Cookbook That Celebrates Our Common Humanity, this book aims to have a positive impact; after-tax profits will be donated to food-related causes. VERDICT A visually stunning book that will send readers straight to the kitchen. If you have onions or garlic languishing in a kitchen cabinet or on top of the refrigerator, this is a must.

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