I do most of my summertime cooking on an outdoor grill but occasionally I like to do some light indoor cooking. Here are a few new goodies to keep you cool in the kitchen and a few cookbooks to keep you cool and collected. Products available at www.epicurus.com .
Oster Counterforms 1500-Watt 6-Slice Toaster Oven: ($99.99) A large-capacity well-styled toaster oven that bakes a potato on a hot summer day without giving off excess heat in the kitchen. Simply set the convection bake function, the temperature, the timer, and you have carefree potatoes perfectly baked. Other functions include broil, bake, dehydrate, defrost, bagel, toast, and pizza (yes, itâ€™s spacious enough to accommodate an 11-inch size). A removable crumb tray makes clean-up a snap and the cool outer glass-like finish of the oven is virtually fingerprint-free.
Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker: ($299.99) Margaritas are the perfect summer party drink. Unlike a typical blender, this restaurant-quality machine automatically shaves ice and blends up to three or four drinks at a time (32 ounce capacity) with the touch of a button. I love the simple controls, the stability of the machine, the generous handle and drip-free spout on the glass jar, and the accessories which include a shot glass and salt-rimmer for Margarita or Pina Colada aficionados.
Oxo Good Grips 15 by 21-inches Cutting Board: ($19.99) Prepwork is a breeze with the new cutting boards from Oxo. These odor-resistant reversible chopping boards are fantastic to do salad on one side and then flip over for meat or poultry without cross-contamination. Look for the new folding ones from Oxo in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Grilling: Exciting International Flavors from the Worldâ€™s Premier Culinary College by Culinary Institute of America ($22.05) A great collection of unique grilling recipes from the deans of cooking at the CIA located in Hyde Park, NY. Vivid color photos and useful step-by-step instructions make recipes like pulled pork barbecue sandwich; seafood grill with tamarind glaze; grilled corn velvet soup with lobster; and grilled banana split with homemade ice cream easy to prepare.
The New California Cook by Diane Rossen Worthington. (paperback $14.92) Our very own editor Diane Worthington has updated her classic cookbook and reinvigorated this favorite with the same emphasis on freshness and bold flavors. I have dog-eared the pages with my summer favorites including grilled artichoke halves with red pepper aioli; farmersâ€™ market chopped salad; grilled skirt steak with avocado-tomato salsa; and blueberry lemon tart.