Summer Cooking

2013-07-23T02:30:00Z 2013-07-23T17:37:57Z Summer CookingJane Ammeson
July 23, 2013 2:30 am  • 

Grilled out? No matter how much we love easy to make summertime meals, half way through the season it’s sometimes nice to change gears and cook a meal other than a charred piece of meat slathered with barbecue sauce straight from the grill. That’s why I was so delighted to find these new cookbooks to expand my summertime dining options.

Home Made Summer

Yvette van Boven

Abrams; $35

Even the name of this book evokes thoughts of dining on lazy summer days under shade trees and the 130 recipes dishes of tantalizing edibles such as carrot pie with apple and goat cheese, rolled up feta and garlic bread with radicchio and mint and stuffed, marinated zucchini blossoms with lavender salt provide the resources to create such events.

Mint Lemmo

Bring 1 ¼ cups mint leaves with 1 ¼ cups water, 1 cup sugar and 1 sliced lemon to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for five minutes. Strain and return the syrup to a pan and bring it to a boil again. Let it simmer for five minutes or until thick (when cooled it should be the thickness of maple syrup). Store in a glass jar in refrigerator. Drink with ice cold sparkling water, lemon slices and fresh mint.

Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook

Joe Yonan

Ten Speed Press; $24.99

What better time of the year to listen to Joe Yonan’s admonishment “Eat Your Vegetables.” Yonan, a food and travel editor for the Washington Post, shares 80 intriguing recipes aimed at taking away our focus on the animal kingdom come meal time, making it easy to go meatless even for one.

Ricotta Frittata with Spring Vegetables

8 large eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 stalks green garlic (may substitute 2 large scallions, thinly sliced, or 1 additional garlic clove, thinly sliced)

8 ounces asparagus (woody ends trimmed off), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 ounces baby spinach leaves, chopped

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1 small bunch ramps (may substitute 4 large scallions, thinly sliced)

Lightly beat the eggs with the milk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl.

Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic, green garlic and asparagus; cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until the asparagus is barely tender. Add the spinach and cook, stirring to incorporate, just until it wilts. Season with salt to taste. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.

Position an oven rack several inches from the heating element or flame; preheat the broiler.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Once it shimmers, pour in the egg mixture and cook for a few minutes, until it is set on the bottom. Use a spatula to lift the edges of the eggs on one side and tilt the skillet so any uncooked egg runs underneath. Repeat on several sides until the frittata has mostly set but is still a little runny on the very top.

Spoon the garlic-vegetable mixture evenly onto the frittata. Drop tablespoons of the ricotta on the surface, and scatter the whole ramps on top. Transfer the skillet to the oven; broil until the frittata has puffed, set and browned in spots, about 3 minutes.

Serve the frittata straight from the skillet, if desired, or run a knife around the edges and carefully invert it just long enough to flip it onto a platter so the ramps and ricotta are on top. The frittata may deflate a bit; that is okay.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook: Recipes and Reflections from a Small Vermont Dairy

Diane St. Clair

Andrews McMeel 2013; $27.99

Once a staple, buttermilk, buttermilk, the liquid released by churning butter, is now most frequently an ingredient in salad dressing or, in the south, used for making fried chicken. But Diane St. Clair who sells her butter and buttermilk to such high end restaurants as The French Laundry where a meal can set you back $250 or so dollars, shows how it can also be used in other recipes. And she shows how to make your own though believe me, it’s much easier to buy it.

Raspberry Buttermilk Tart


2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

Tart filling

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

3 egg yolks

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and cut into the flour mixture. Stir in the buttermilk until it forms a rough ball. Flatten it into a disk and wrap it in parchment paper. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Roll out the dough onto the parchment paper so that it forms a circle big enough for a 10-inch tart pan and its fluted sides. Drape it over the pan and press it in. Now gently pull away the parchment paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool. Put the two cups raspberries in the baked crust.

In a bowl mix the sugar, flour, egg yolks, and zest and lemon juice together until smooth. Now add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the baked pie crust, over the raspberries.

Put on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. It will look a little wobbly. Let cool before serving.

Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake, and More No-Bake Desserts

Faith Durand

Stewart, Tabori & Chang 2013; $29.95

Think it’s too hot to turn on the oven but still want something sweet? Faith Durand, executive editor of popular home cooking website The Kitchn, shares 100 recipes for custards, mousses, individual jellies, icebox cakes, whipped-cream desserts and even the delicious sounding Salted Caramel Risotto in. Also included are Durand’s variations of such baked items as brownies, Meyer lemon bars and crème brulèe.

Deepest Chocolate Mousse

Makes six 1/3-cup servings

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup freshly brewed strong coffee

6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Unsweetened whipped cream, to serve

In a small saucepan, warm the milk and coffee over medium heat until the mixture just comes to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a heatproof glass or metal mixing bowl and pour the milk over it. Stir once, then let stand for 5 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into a blender and add the eggs, rum, vanilla, and salt. Blend until well combined. Pour into six small cups or a 1-quart (1-L) dish and chill for 2 hours or until set. Serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

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