July brings us some healthier and vegetable-oriented cookbooks to keep the bikini look in tact.

THE COMPLETE VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK: A Fresh Guide to Eating Well with 700 Foolproof Recipes by America’s Test Kitchens is a comprehensive volume for vegetarians, vegans, and those who want to embark on a plant-based diet that is not limiting or boring. We are aware that we need to add more vegetables and whole grains to our diet, but the idea is often daunting because of time constraints and complicated techniques. America’s Test Kitchens has created a fantastic volume of user-friendly, impeccably tested, delicious recipes that will be satisfying to every member of the family. The photographs are mouth-watering and the recipes are inviting including almost hands-free risotto with Parmesan; Mediterranean lettuce cups with quinoa, olives and feta; mushroom and leek galette; and Asian braised tofu with winter squash and coconut milk.

A GIRL AND HER GREENS: Hearty Meals from the Garden by April Bloomfield presents 80 seasonal recipes from the chef, restaurant owner, and author of the acclaimed book, A Girl and Her Pig. This full-color cookbook offers enticing seasonal recipes for a wide variety of vegetables. In this interesting book, April Bloomfield demonstrates the basic principle of her method: that unforgettable food comes out of simple, honest ingredients, an attention to detail, and a love for the sensual pleasures of cooking and eating. A few favorites include asparagus quiche with mint; butternut squash polenta; slow roasted leeks with walnut breadcrumbs; and sweet corn ice cream with butterscotch.

 

If you are a salad lover, or just want to eat healthier, SALAD LOVE: 260 Crunchy, Savory and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez is a great resource. Readers will be content with this beautifully photographed quality paperback volume filled with fantastic recipes to please any salad aficionado. Where do I start? Honey-roasted salmon, fennel & spinach; chicken, quinoa, zucchini & cherry tomatoes; speck, scamorza, sun-dried tomatoes & radicchio; broiled squid, avocado, edamame & chile are all wonderful ways to keep healthy and enjoy eating salads.

I always rate a cookbook (that is not vegetarian of course) by its chicken recipes. A BIRD IN THE HAND: Chicken Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood by Diana Henry is an inventive collection of poultry recipes for parties or family. With over 120 dishes starring the bird, Diana Henry has created a useful book that offers so many wonderful ideas. Standouts include cumin and turmeric roast chicken with smashed avocado and corn cakes; tajine of chicken, caramelized onions, and pears; crusted chicken and chorizo paella; and salad of chicken, cherries, and watercress with creamy tarragon dressing.

PICNIC IN PROVENCE: A Memoir with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard, the bestselling author of Lunch in Paris, takes us on another mouth-watering journey to the heart of Provence. On a last romantic jaunt before the baby arrives, the couple take a trip to the tiny Provencal village of Céreste. Filled with delicious recipes for stuffed zucchini flowers; seven hour lamb with North African spices; carrot saffron cupcakes; fig tart and honey & thyme ice cream, Picnic in Provence is the story of a American woman learning the tricks of French motherhood and a cook’s initiation into classic Provençal cuisine.

SEVEN SPOONS: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by noted Canadian food blogger, Tara O’Brady writer of the blog Seven Spoons, opens the reader up to Tara’s Canadian upbringing with foods that are fresh, ingredient-driven, and easy to prepare. The author shares recipes and stories from her Indian heritage with warmth and thoughtfulness. Highlights include a burger treated like a steak; Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters) with fresh green chutney; lemon buccatini with roasted kale; and coconut kheer with bronzed pineapple.

GRILL IT, BRAISE IT, BROIL IT: And 9 Other Easy Techniques for Making Healthy Meals from the American Heart Association was a pleasant surprise. This primer on 12 easy techniques to make heart-healthy recipes was chocked full of very interesting ideas. In addition to the title techniques, the book teaches slow cooking, microwaving, blending, baking, stir-frying, steaming, roasting, poaching, and stewing. Can’t wait to try the meatball soup with spinach and parmesan; grouper and sausage stew; chicken with dried plums and sage; and Swiss chard and Swiss cheese frittata.

THE BROAD FORK: Recipes for the Wide World of Vegetables and Fruits by James Beard Award winner and Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson is a seasonally centered book to help us make the most of our farmers’ market or seasonally fresh produce. Mr. Acheson divides the book seasonally so you can check out what is fresh any time of the year and have some great ideas to prepare the food. The book is a refreshing, healthy, Southern, vegetable-oriented cookbook that is fun to read and helps you create such winners as: turkey, Andouille, shrimp, and collard greens gumbo; spring onion risotto; Vidalia onion marmalade; and raspberry cobbler with drop biscuit topping.

FEEDING THE FIRE: Recipes & Strategies for Better Barbecue & Grilling by Joe Carroll & Nick Fauchald is full of outdoor philosophy and recipes. Mr. Carroll explains, all barbecue is united by a simple template (Meat + Smoke + Patience = Barbecue). He feels that the details of wood, charcoal, cut of meat, and seasoning make all the difference. The philosophy of Feeding the Fire is reflected in such recipes as: lamb spareribs; baked beans with burnt ends; beef brisket pastrami; and grilled monster prawns.

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