Red, White, and ’Que
Farm-Fresh Foods for the American Grill
By Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
(Running Press; $25)
This book, though not strictly vegetarian, focuses more on grilling goodies from the garden. The authors, friends and self-proclaimed BBQ queens, know their stuff , having written many books together on the subject. (This new one can be viewed as a follow-up to their The Gardener and The Grill insofar as you’ll find some growing information in here, too.)
Though it’s not the fanciest reference out there, it’s the kind of book you’ll turn to when you’re in the mood to eat something you just know is going to be good. Their salad chapter alone is worth the price of admission, with 17 different craveable entries, including Grilled Peaches, Country Ham, and Frisée with Sorghum Drizzle and Blistered Green Beans with Buttermilk Dressing. As with these examples, many of the recipes take something familiar and give it a neat update or twist. They also spotlight grilled bread, something so simple and good but so often overlooked. Here, it gets the attention it deserves with tips on how to make it great, plus toppings to make it better still.
Though vegetables get the most attention, fish and meat get plenty of play, too, with recipes like Root Beer Ribs and Texas-Style Brisket. As the book’s title and its color scheme suggest, the bulk of the recipes and ingredients stem from the good old U.S. of A. (Happily, bourbon is well represented.) There’s even a dessert called Stars and Stripes Grilled Banana Split, an homage to a purely American creation. Pushing it? Maybe. But it’s likely quite tasty, just the same.