Cooking: Glorious grilling
To reach nirvana, it’s best to have a guru. To reach grilling nirvana, it’s essential to have Steven Raichlen—the grand guru of grilling, the brilliant Baron of Barbecue—as your dedicated guide. The latest addition to his cooking-with-live-fire canon is Project Fire. Before getting to his succulent, smoke-and-fire-graced recipes, Raichlen makes sure you’re au courant by providing tips for choosing a grill, sourcing your fuel, getting the right tools together and finally firing up. Start your day with the scent of wood smoke and coffee with a recipe for a Bacon and Egg Quesadilla, or kick off your barbecue with Chorizo-Grilled Dates. Move on to grilled salads, breads and pizzas before you hit the big time with a Reverse-Seared Tomahawk Steak, Black Pepper Baby Back Ribs or a Rotisserie Chicken basted with a tarragon-shallot-lemon butter. Top off your meal with Salt Slab Brownie S’Mores, and wash it all down with a glass of sangria featuring grilled citrus. What’s not to love?
LIKE BURGERS FROM HEAVEN
When is an obsession a good thing? Easy: It’s when Chris Kronner decides to perfect the classic American burger by obsessing over each of its elements and then putting them together to achieve burger bliss. Kronner, who admits to cooking close to a billion hamburgers and pondering their particulars for years, is not shy about telling readers his own burger opinions, but he also provides info that’s useful no matter your particular burger preference. First and foremost, his burger mantra is “thoughtful reductive simplicity: A Hamburger is the sum of its parts. Don’t complicate it.” He’s distilled his assiduously accrued know-how into a kind of burger bible: A Burger to Believe In: Recipes and Fundamentals. Kronner offers chapter and verse on meat, buns, select sides and salads, condiments, the basics of a burger pantry and a few divine “other burgers” made with mushrooms, shrimp, crab, pork or fried chicken.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Feast: Food of the Islamic World is a feast in every way—big and beautiful, it features over 300 recipes from countries stretching from the Middle East, North Africa, India and Central Asia to Malaysia and Indonesia. If I listed all the recipes’ sources, I wouldn’t have space to mention the fantastic array of dishes that award-winning cookbook author Anissa Helou has included in this grand culinary tour. The chapters are divided by ingredients and types of food, and each recipe has an in-depth header note and carefully detailed instructions. There are flatbreads and kebabs galore, plus exotic pancakes and meat pies, whole-roasted baby goats, stuffed whole lambs, elegant Meatballs in Sour Cherry Sauce, simple Lamb Shanks in Yogurt, seven kinds of biryani, six recipes for couscous, fish of all sorts, salads, spice mixtures, sweets and much more. Savoring these legendary classics is a great way to travel without leaving home—the perfect, food-filled stay-cation.
This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.