Tag Archives: summer

Favorite Summer Cookbooks #weekendcooking @BethFishReads

Summer zoomed past with nary a Weekend Cooking post from me, so even though it’s fall now, I wanted to tell you about some of the cookbooks I cooked from (or wanted to cook from) this summer. We’re in the midst of a tropical heat wave as I write this, so it still feels like summer here in New England!

Two of the cookbooks are by mother-daughter team Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw. Linda Greenlaw is famous for being the country’s only female swordfish boat captain (She wrote The Hungry Ocean: A Swordfish Captain’s Journey) and has written several memoirs and started more recently to write mysteries. Martha Greenlaw also sounds like a captain, although she runs a different kind of tight ship – her kitchen.

The Maine Summers Cookbook
by Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw
Avery, 2011

book cover image

Recipes from a Very Small Island
by Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw
Hyperion, 2005

book cover image

These two were our main/Maine cookbook club selections this month, and they were universally liked. The funny and moving stories they contained of life in Maine  – especially on Isle au Haut, tiny island off the coast, where they are now permanent residents – made several cookbook club members go looking for Linda Greenlaw’s memoirs. I borrowed these from the library, but there were a lot of recipes I still want to make, especially after tasting a dozen different recipes at cookbook club.

As an example of Linda Greenlaw’s humorous writing, here’s a brief excerpt from the section on clambakes (she’s not a fan) titled The Beginner’s Guide to Clambakes or How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Lobster:

In preparation for a clambake, the following will be needed: lobsters, clams, corn on the cob, butter, hot dogs, marshmallows, two huge galvanized washtubs – one for the corn and one for the shellfish – firewood, several cases of beer, and as many ill-behaved children as you can find.

The first, and perhaps most critical, step toward a successful clambake is choosing the right location. Theories vary on this, but in my experience it is proper to choose a spot along the beach that is most uncomfortable. Make sure that your selected site meets at least two of the following criteria:

  1. There is absolutely nowhere to sit down.

  2. The beach is comprised of round rocks that shift when stepped on to ensure poor footing.

  3. There are sheer, jagged cliffs in the area for children to play on.

The recipe I made was simple and delicious – Smoked Salmon Spread with (Wasabi) Rice Crackers. It came from The Maine Summers Cookbook: Recipes for Delicious, Sun-Filled Days. It called for smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, minced red onion, and lemon juice. It’s a great gluten-free appetizer – for people who like smoked salmon, anyway – and can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to two weeks, which makes it a good party recipe.

The real hit of the night, though, was the Tomato, Caramelized Onion, and Brie Galette, followed closely by the Wicked Good Lobster and Black Bean Chili (not pictured.) I used a blue plate for my salmon spread and crackers contribution, thinking it looked so Maine, but didn’t notice until dessert that everything had slid to one side! #presentationfail

My personal favorite of the night was the Key Lime Rum Cake. One of the best-tasting cakes I’ve ever had! More lime flavor than rum.

All of the above recipes came from The Maine Summers Cookbook, but the cookbook club prize for most impressive recipe (if we gave out prizes) would have to go to Crab Madeleines with Citrus Tartar Sauce from Recipes from a Very Small Island.

The next one on my list is by Liz Barbour, a New England chef who has done two cooking demos at our library.

cover image

Beautifully Delicious
by Liz Barbour
Photographs and design by Celeste Guidice
Creative Feast, 2017

Beautifully Delicious: Cooking with Herbs and Edible Flowers seems expensive if you look at price vs. number of pages (only 56) but the gorgeous color photography (what you’re paying for) is truly an integral part of the book. There are step-by-step photos of many of the recipes, as well as of the end results. The book is also packed with hints and recipe variations, so even though it seems short, there’s a lot there!

Because of the edible flowers and recipes like Honeydew Cilantro Salad (Liz made this for us at the library – delicious!) and Sparkling Basil Lemonade, I think of Beautifully Delicious as a summer cookbook, but most of the recipes don’t actually require edible flowers and fresh herbs and produce are available year-round. I made the Butternut Squash with Arugula and Sage and could easily see it (or its variation, Butternut Spinach Salad) as a fall recipe. The recipes are simple and don’t require the talents of a chef to prepare.

Beautifully Delicious is formatted as a high-quality ring binder with pages that turn easily and stay open at any point in the book. You can sample Liz’s recipes on her blog, but I believe the recipes in the cookbook aren’t available online – for obvious reasons!

I didn’t get to make many recipes from this last one on my favorite summer cookbooks list, but there’s always next summer!

Summer Cocktails
by María Del Mar Sacasa
Quirk Books, 2015

cover image

I have other cocktail books which I also don’t get to use often enough, but being someone who likes to know the proper season for things, I liked having so many light, summertime drinks collected for me in one place.

I borrowed Summer Cocktails from the library, also, but it’s going on my birthday/Christmas present wish list. The pictures are pretty; the text is entertaining; and the book opens up and lies flat. If I owned this book, it would be a keeper!

P.S. My birthday’s coming up next month and I just found out that there’s a Winter Cocktails book, too!

cover image

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking badgeLinked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click/tap image for Weekend Cooking posts from other bloggers.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Aaack! Where Did Summer GO? #IMWAYR

Meme badge
Are Labor Day resolutions a thing? They should be. I had to look up my blog password again, because it’s been that long since I posted.

Here’s the pile of books I have from the library, at least some of which I’m hoping to get to this week.

books in a stack
This isn’t counting three other library books I have out – City of Friends by Joanna Trollope, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan, and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – all of which I’m at least halfway through on, or my work break-time book, The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers.

For book club next week, I need to read Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon… Any recommendations on other ones from the pile I should try to read first?

I just finished listening to Gabrielle Zevin’s Young Jane Young on audio today. I recommend it! It’s seriously light or lightly serious. Thoughtfully funny, maybe? The main character is a young female intern who gets romantically involved with the married congressman she’s working for. I sometimes enjoy hearing about a juicy scandal in the news or a bit of celebrity gossip, but I always feel a little bad about it, too. It’s so much harder to live things down with the Internet, now, and public scrutiny can be so harsh.

This week I’m going to be listening to two of my favorite crime fiction authors on audio. I just started Glass Houses by Louise Penny (still missing Ralph Cosham, but the new narrator, Robert Bathurst, is very good) and I hope to finish the new Michael Connelly book (with a female lead), The Late Show, narrated by Katherine Moennig, soon, because it’s overdue.

I can’t believe that we’re at the unofficial end of summer already, but I like to keep summer going until the official end on Sept. 21st, so we had frozen strawberry-pineapple-coconut rum drinks from the blender tonight.


Fall weather is good for reading, but I didn’t get enough backyard reading time in this summer, so I hope to fit some more in before it gets too cool.

I should join the Stop Premature Pumpkin Spice movement.

Happy Labor Day Monday!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR) is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It’s a place to meet up and share what you have been, are, and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at Book Date.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

It’s Still Summer: Pay No Attention to that CrockPot in the Corner #weekendcooking

At the library, I put out a display of summertime cookbooks over a week ago and have only had to replace a few titles since. The rest are still sitting there, as pretty and appealing as can be, but no takers.

Come on, people! There are still farmers’ markets and farm stands overflowing with all sorts of produce! Let’s keep cooking with the fresh corn, tomatoes, melons, peaches, greens, peppers, and berries. There’s time enough to move on to apples and pumpkins later.  Yes, I saw the Halloween displays in the stores on August 1st, but I’m treating them like ads on the Internet and pretending they’re not there.

That said, I did use the slow cooker a couple of times recently and made these Slow Cooker Enchiladas. I made them first for a potluck with corn tortillas, following the recipe pretty closely using chicken, corn, and black beans in the filling, and they came out great, although slightly burned on the bottom. The next time I made them, I planned on the shorter end of the suggested cooking time range, but was in a big hurry and skipped the chicken and black beans and forgot the corn and decided to use the gluten-free teff tortillas instead of corn ones, and they came out a gloppy mess. (Lesson learned: Teff tortillas dissolve if you cook them for extended periods covered in salsa.)

I have no photos from the successful or unsuccessful versions of the recipe, so you’ll have to look here for the recipe and the photos.

In celebration of its still being summer here in New England, I did make these drinks last night from an improvised recipe of my own devising. We have been eating peaches from the tree in our yard and even though we didn’t get many this year, I squandered a few small ones in this blender drink, including one that I had frozen whole as an experiment and chopped up to put in the blender frozen.

two drinks with bookcase in background
Peach-Watermelon Limoncello Coolers: Put chunks of fresh watermelon and fresh or frozen peaches in the blender to about two-thirds full. Add limoncello and a few ice cubes. Blend. Pour into glasses and garnish with fresh mint.

For other gluten-free CrockPot recipes for late summer and early fall, check out my Pinterest board: So Fast in the Slow Cooker.

Happy Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking buttonThis post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature on Beth Fish Reads. Click for more Weekend Cooking posts.