cover image The Big Book of Backyard Cooking: 250 Favorite Recipes for Enjoying the Great Outdoors

The Big Book of Backyard Cooking: 250 Favorite Recipes for Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Chronicle Books, Betty Rosbottom. Chronicle Books, $19.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3604-3

When the temperature climbs and it's time to fire up the backyard grill again, culinary author Rosbottom's hefty cookbook will give grillers a treasure-trove of recipes, combining old favorites with delectable twists. Not limiting herself to the barbecue grill, Rosbottom (food columnist for the LA Times and contributor to Bon Appetit magazine) generously offers recipes for summer vegetables, salads, desserts and cool drinks, as well as the usual meats, fish and poultry over an open fire. Cooks can sample traditional fare like Southern Style Ribs washed down with Old-fashioned Lemonade and Peanut Butter Cookies, or explore updated creations like Chili-Rubbed Sirloins with Guacamole Salsa, Mojitos and Upside-Down Lemon Meringue Pie with Raspberries. An exotic flare enhances many recipes that were either influenced by or taken directly from other cuisines, like the Salmon Burgers with Cucumbers and Sesame Mayo and the Chicken Satay, or the parsley Chimichurri sauce and Sangria. Rosbottom usefully pads each recipe with a note on its origin, special cooking instructions and notice on advanced preparation. Some recipes call for ingredients difficult to find at a regular grocery store; to help cooks overcome supermarket limitations, the author includes how to whip a substitute creme fraiche or mix an original medley of herbes de Provence. Overall, these recipes--over 250 of them--stimulate both the imagination and the palate for outdoor celebrations without adding undue preparation and worry.