Fresh & Easy

Refreshing summer grubbin' for any skill level

Fresh & Easy

What to Cook & How to Cook it: Fresh & Easy by Jane Hornby (Phaidon, $45, ppg. 351)

Home cooked meals are always in season but there is something special about creating a meal using vibrant farmer’s market produce available in late spring and summer here in Austin.

Living and playing on the face of the sun can occasionally inspire more lethargy than fresh mealtime concoctions, but this beautiful new Phaidon cookbook is a fantastic source of tasty creativity. The stunning food photography enhances Jane Hornby’s delicious recipes and the simple ingredient lists and unique preparation instructions make What to Cook & How to Cook it: Fresh & Easy a winner.

A mix of several Eastern flavor combos, picnic recipes, and twists on old favorites, the table of contents has hints of fine dining and friendly backyard entertaining. Hornby divides the book by the type of meal (brunch, food for friends, sides and salads, etc.) and takes space to explain methodically- and pleasantly- the cooking process. She champions the use of seasonal items but also includes options for off-season replacements, and works in minimalistic quick fixes and serving tips. The entire book is clean, colorful, and down-to-earth.

Although the book is geared toward weeknight possibilities for a home cook, Fresh & Easy’s gorgeous pages and nicely explained dishes would be welcome in the heat of professional kitchens as inspiration for refreshing specials. A few recipes we’ll be serving soon in our home: Asparagus & Poached Egg with Balsamic Butter, Lemon & Basil Gnudi, Lamb Kofte with Tzatziki, Lime & Blackberry Polenta Cake, and Muscat & Honey Poached Peaches (with mascarpone of course). Perfectly titled, Fresh & Easy is my choice for creating bright summer eats sure to impress.

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