cover image The Summer House Cookbook: Easy Recipes for When You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time

The Summer House Cookbook: Easy Recipes for When You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time

Debra Ponzek, Geralyn Delaney Graham. Clarkson N Potter Publishers, $30 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-609-60822-7

When the temperature and humidity rise, slaving over a hot stove starts to sound a lot less appealing, and home cooks might find themselves in the""summer house state of mind."" Friends and former colleagues Ponzek and Graham (the former was the executive chef of Montrachet in New York City, the latter, Montrachet's day manager) have devised a spirited cookbook based on family summer recipes. When cooks use the freshest meats, fish and farmers' market produce, the authors say, they'll insure their dishes pack a flavor wallop without all kinds of preparatory fuss. Their useful kitchen tips about planning ahead, cooking double batches and transforming leftovers--""multitasking for summer minimalism,"" they call it--leave more time for lounging around in the yard or on the beach. For those with an actual summer retreat, the culinary duo provides pantry lists, equipment suggestions (don't forget the blender), and pointers on foodstuffs to bring from home (e.g., infused oils, for which they provide several recipes, add depth of flavor to quickly grilled vegetables and fillets). Though many of the recipes are speedy and delicious--such as Sea Bright Striped Bass, Cod with Oven-Roasted-Tomato Vinaigrette, Fresh Country Potato Salad, and Alsatian Frittata--not all of the recipes can be thrown together at a moment's notice. The Fiesta Flank Steak and the Very Special French Toast both require extra effort and preparation in advance. But they're almost uniformly pleasing, and simple recipes for tangy marinades, tasty sandwiches, refreshing beverages and seasonal salads give the home chef ways keep palates pleased during the dog days of summer.