CHARCOAL: New Ways to Cook with Fire by renowned Los Angeles chef Josiah Citrin, is a wonderful exploration of the dishes Chef Citrin serves at his popular Venice restaurant, appropriately titled Charcoal.  Chef Josiah gives a thorough treatment of fresh ways to cook with fire and charcoal, not only grilling over hot coals, but also cooking inside the coals to achieve bold flavors.  Highlights include cabbage baked in embers with yogurt, sumac, and lemon zest (an extraordinary dish I have sampled and loved); little gems with flavors of Caesar; porcini-dusted New York strip; and grilled duck with honey, coriander, and mint sauce.

SPICED: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking by the expert chefs at America’s Test Kitchen, teaches cooks some easy techniques to become seasoned pros!  The experts teach you that there is a world of possibility in the spices in your cabinet.  They begin with how to get more out of your salt and pepper.  Other chapters include robust coating for meat and more; maximizing flavor in braises, curries, chilis, and more; make food livelier with just a sprinkle or a drizzle to finish your dish; steeping with spice-infused oils, pickles, and preserves; and going beyond vanilla, adding sophisticated flavor to baked goods and desserts. Standout recipes include: spiced roasted chickpeas; pan-roasted pork tenderloin with cider-caraway vinaigrette; anise-rubbed rack of lamb with sweet mint-almond relish; Spanish shellfish stew; Sichuan braised tofu with beef; and lavender tea cakes.

SOUP: The Ultimate Book of Soups and Stews by the former Executive Chef at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, Maine is a wonderful treatise on satisfying soups and stews.  The book is visually astounding with beautiful color photographs that make your mouth literally water!  The over 300 recipes included are easy-to-follow and innovative no matter the season.  The author brings soup to an exalted place covering hot soups, stews, and even cold soups and desserts.  There are even chapters on soups for kids and soups to prepare in 30 minutes or less.  Since it is the summertime now, I will recommend trying the chilled saffron and almond soup; curried yogurt soup; chilled garlic and pine nut soup with balsamic roasted grapes; and the golden gazpacho with grilled cheese.

SAVOR: Entertaining with Charcuterie, Cheese, Spreads & More by food writer and journalist Kimberly Stevens is the perfect book for summertime entertaining.  The book is a guide to creating extraordinary serving boards, no matter what the season.  The chapters include expert advice and insights on what selections to make for your board; crackers and breads; cheese; boards for all seasons; preserves and other condiments; nuts, olives, and pickles; dips and spreads, bigger bites; and, of course, desserts.  The over 100 recipes included in this attractively photographed book include retro bread and butter pickles; herb-roasted almonds; Rustic Bakery feta and herb quick bread; Simon’s Market Southern deviled eggs; and citrus-rosemary shortbread.

BISH BASH BOSH! YOUR FAVORITES ALL PLANTS from British home cooks and bestselling authors, Henry First and Ian Theasby, is a collection of over 140 tasty vegan plant-based recipes following up on the success of their first cookbook Bosh! We know it is important to eat our veggies, and this book offers some creative ways to eat healthfully.  Favorites include Singapore fried vermicelli; speedy hoisin mushrooms; sweet potato tikka masala; cilantro chutney; bang bang noodle salad; and banana bread blondies.

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