Summer is an easy time to entertain. Food is fresh, nights are sultry and most people aren’t craving the heavy rich meals of the colder months. Summer also means more casual and outdoor dining. It couldn’t be simpler than to light up the barbeque, make some salads and serve fruit for dessert. Perfect.
If you’re looking to celebrate this August long weekend here is my cook(those)books roundup of a few of my recent favourite finds from cookbooks and magazines. Packed in a picnic basket, spread on the picnic table or schlepped to the cottage, these three recipes are absolutely easy and delectable.
First a zucchini salad from the always stunning cookbook La Tartine Gourmande. This subtle and refreshing dish has already become a standby in my repertoire. I’ve actually lost track how many times I’ve made it to date. Try the recipe as written first, then spread your wings. The recipe doesn’t specify a color of zucchini, and I’ve tried it with green, yellow and a mixture of both. I’ve also now been playing with different vinaigrettes. You will discover endless ways to use it. So far my favourite meal was the day I had a bit leftover, I added some chickpeas and I took it and a book to the beach for lunch. Summer eating at its best.
While the garden may be overflowing with produce, the barbeque does beckon. Sometimes you want something just a tiny bit more substantial to go with that salad. For that I found the Food 52 Seriously Delicious Ribs. For the recipe, click here. While not written as a barbeque recipe it worked well. The best part was I made extra of the spice rub and have been using it on chicken and steak ever since. Seriously delicious.
Finally, my most recent winner – Beefsteak and Eggs from Cooking Light August 2012 edition. I was a bit brave and decided to try this and serve it at a potluck without having tested the recipe first. After all, with ingredients like gruyere, fresh tomato and zucchini how bad could it be? Not a bit bad it turns out. I made the recipe almost exactly as written (odd for me) with the exception that I used several types of zucchini and peppers, one percent (1%) milk and rather than bread crumbs I used panko (totally due to bad planning on my part). Made the morning of the party, it would have been just fine to serve cold, but because I could, we threw it in the oven for a quick warmup prior to serving. All I can say is I was glad I had done a quick taste test earlier in the day because by the time I got to the picnic table the dish was scraped clean.