This month, I’m bringing you four great books I’m confident will make your summertime reading a joy and your cooking a pleasure.
ART SMITH’S HEALTHY COMFORT: How America’s Favorite Celebrity Chef Got it Together, Lost Weight, and Reclaimed His Health! by Art Smith, is a great way to start off the summer months on your way to healthful eating. The Southern-born Smith, famous as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, lost 120 pounds, changed his body with exercise, and reinvented dishes that still satisfied him but helped him to lose weight gradually and keep it off. You certainly can enjoy yourself and still stay healthy with dishes like baked polenta with tomato sauce and ricotta; unfried chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts; watermelon and feta with lime and Serrano chili peppers; and lemon-yogurt panna cotta with blueberries. And if you are in Los Angeles or Palo Alto California, don’t miss his wonderful LYFE Kitchen restaurants. I got to taste the famous unfried chicken firsthand and finished every bite on my plate!
MICHAEL CHIARELLO’S LIVE FIRE: 125 Recipes for Cooking Outdoors by Michael Chiarello is full of ingenious ideas for those who love to cook outside at this time of year. My mouth was watering just hearing the delicious recipes like lemon leaf-wrapped goat cheese with balsamic reduction and grilled olive bread; lemon-garlic chicken with tapenade cooked under a brick; tuna loin tied prime rib-style with salsa verde; corn on the cob roasted in the husk with red pepper butter; and s’mores with espresso marshmallows
THE FRESH 20: 20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a Week is the concept of founder Melissa Lanz who wanted to provide her family with more non-processed and less take-out meals. Her new book THE FRESH 20: 20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a Week follows her mission with some lovely ideas and quite delicious and easy-to prepare recipes. In the introduction she explains her philosophy, gives you a pantry essentials and kitchen tool list, presents shopping lists for each season, and gives you weekly prep guides and recipes to help keep you on the organized track.
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS FRESH: Recipes for Enjoying Ingredients at Their Peak (Better Homes & Gardens) by the Editors of Better Homes and Gardens surprised me totally. I hadn’t associated this magazine with the farm-t0-table movement but the recipes are quite wonderful and the emphasis on healthier and fresher meals is laudable. Quinoa-nectarine gazpacho with crispy-spice tortilla chips; caramelized pork with melon; strawberry and arugula salad with Manchego fricos; and stirred custard with fresh figs and sherry caramel sauce are a few outstanding recipes.