By Lucy Vaserfirer
Harvard Common Press; $17.95
When I say that I can make most of Lucy Vaserfirer's 200 marinades with ingredients I always have on hand at home, I mean it as a high compliment. This is the kind of utilitarian cookbook I will turn to again and again on a busy weeknight when I want to switch up the flavor of my usual grilled chicken (or pork, or steak, or fish). And that's exactly what Vaserfirer, a Cordon Bleu graduate, recipe developer, and blogger, hopes you'll do. Each marinade comes with suggested uses, as well as a more specific single recipe (hence the 400 touted on the cover). Two indexes, one for the ingredients used in the marinades and one for the suggested uses, make it easy to find what you're after. Just pay attention to how many servings are listed because you may want to cut the marinade amount in half if cooking for fewer. Though the book seems most handy during grill season, recipes for roasting and braising mean you can use it year-round.
IPA-Jalapeño Marinade, p. 135 The hoppy, floral notes of an IPA-style beer come through loud and clear and complement the spice of the chile. I like it for chicken.
Feta-Herb Marinade, p. 126 Rosemary, oregano, mint, and feta make an aromatic and tangy marinade particularly well suited to lamb.
Photos by Lucy Vaserfirer