Before grills and barbeques were banned on this property, I used to a lot of grilling. Unlike many of my neighbors who would light their grill and drift back inside while a fire volcano raged outside, I stayed outside when I did things to make sure things safe. Thanks to the stupidity of a resident on another property, the grilling days are over according to our management company.
When I was grilling I never did try to do anything produce wise besides cooking potatoes or ears of corn wrapped in foil. I knew there were plenty of other things to try, but didn’t have the knowledge base to give them a shot. That is the point of this book with the subtitle, The Bounty Of The Garden Meets The Sizzle Of The Grill.
This is a book designed to help the novice or experienced cook. After an acknowledgement page and a brief introduction it is on the some basic knowledge sections. From “Speciality Grilling Techniques” (pages 8-9) to the first chapter on what you should have in your pantry, the information is basic and helpful. The first chapter covers various seasonings, rubs, vinaigrettes and other things designed to get the more out of the produce on the grill. There is a lot of cover here and serves as a foundation for the rest of the book. Even experienced cooks can pick up some tips in this section.
It is on to the actual recipes with “Chapter 2: Appetizers.” Beginning on page 46 the chapter takes you through things such as “Charred Eggplant and Tarragon Spread” (page 54), “Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears” (page 62) and “Grilled Polenta with Stir-Grilled Garlic Greens” (page 77) among others. While numbers of servings on each dish are noted, there is not any other nutritional information with these recipes. Pictures are scattered throughout the book, and color is used as background on many pages making the small text occasionally hard to read.
“Chapter 3: Sandwiches, Flatbreads, & Pizzas” begins on 78. “Grilled Garden Loaf” (page 81) using Italian bread, “Grilled Chicken Ciabatta with Romesco and Baby Greens” (page 86) and “Pizza Primavera” (page 99) are just a few of the delectable choices here.
Maybe you are more interested in a soup or salad? They are covered next in “Chapter 4: Soup & Salad.” The chapter begins on page 106 with salads such as “Plank-Roasted Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnuts” (age 113) and others before hitting the soups. Many soups to choose from such as “Grilled Gazpacho” (page 126), “Smoked and Smashed Sweet Potato Soup” (pages 132-133) among others.
“Chapter Five: Meat, Poultry, & Fish” comes next and isn’t just about cooking a hamburger or steak along with a tomato or two. Recipes for “Skewed Chicken Saltimbocca” (page 137), “Baja Fish Tacos” (page 148) and “Blackened Beef with Thai Chile Noodles and Baby Bok Choy” (page 154) among others are here.
That leads one to “Chapter 6: Vegetable Sides” which starts on page 158. “Charred Green Beans with Lemon Verbena Pesto” (page 164), “Grilled Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic Anchovy Dipping Sauce” (page 169) and “Grilled Roasted Stuffed Peppers” (page 178) among others are here.
The sweet tooth gets indulged in a chapter devoted to it. “Chapter 7: Fruits and Desserts” begins on page 186 and takes one thorough a flavorful ride. Among numerous choices are “Grilled Grapefruit with Brown Sugar Rum Butter“(pages 190-191) and “Skewered Strawberry & Marshmallow S’mores” (pages 196-197). The chapter serves as a fitting close to the book.
A ten page index rings the 224 page book to a close.
While the lack of nutritional information is a definite negative to the book, overall, the book is well done. It showcases flavor variety in each chapter while also using recipes at various skill levels. The result is a cookbook that is not only a good resource for those using their grill, but a source of something good for every meal.
The Gardener & The Grill: The Bounty Of The Garden Meets The Sizzle Of the Grill
Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
Running Press (Perseus Books Group)
Paperback (also available in e-book form)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012