Cooking in the Summertime

When it comes to cooking in the summertime, my mantra is the easier the better. I prefer to use my grill when it is so hot outside but sometimes a new cookbook makes me want to turn on my stove. And that is what happened this last weekend. I saw a recipe for a beef and bean burrito burger from the new Rachael Ray cookbook, The Book of Burger,  that sounded really good. But you have to use a frying pan to do it. These burgers are made from brown rice, black beans, and ground chuck. This is then seasoned with ancho chili powder, cumin and ground coriander. There is also a guacamole sauce that goes on top of the burger. It is made with avocado, sour cream, red onion and limes. You top the burger with tomato and lettuce. Really simple and the flavor is so good. These burgers couldn’t be put on the grill because they would just fall apart. But what I did is put my frying pan on the grill and cooked them that way. It was really easy and I didn’t have to heat up my kitchen. If you want to try a new burger recipe, give this one a try or look through the whole book. There are so many burger recipes in it, I am sure you will find one that you like.

Another cookbook that has been out for a while but is just now being recognized is called The Gardener & the Grill: The Bounty of the garden meets the sizzle of the grill by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. If these names sound familiar to you, they should. They are also known as the Barbeque Queens. And Judith Fertig was here at the library talking about how to write your own cookbook a few months ago. This cookbook looks like it is full of some really great recipes. The one that I tried was the Grilled Gazpacho. Here is the recipe:

4 large beefsteak tomoes, sliced
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut in half lengthwise
1 large red onion sliced
2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

Prepare a hot fire in your grill. Brush beefsteak tomatoes, red peppers, and red onion with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning once, until the tomatoes have some char but are still firm and the peppers and onions are nicely charred on all sides. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, and hot pepper sauce; puree until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until chilled.

For the garnish, heat the butter in a large skillet until foamy. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring often, until nicely browned. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls, then top with the bread crumbs.
Serves 8 Source The Gardener & the Grill by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig

The only thing I did differently with this recipe is that I left my soup fairly chunky. But you can puree it to any consistency that you like. I think the grilling of the vegetables gives it a sweet and smoky flavor. I had a green salad with this soup and it made for a great lunch.

If you are looking for some new cookbooks that make for easy summer cooking, try these two new ones. Look for other cookbooks in the Cooking Neighborhood and think about coming to our newest book club, Cooking by the Book. If you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact me here at the library. Stay cool and happy cooking!!