Reader’s Lounge

by Susan Erhardt

Summer in Michigan means picnics, cookouts, barbecues and all kinds of outdoor parties. Here are a few books to help you plan a summer filled with delectable company.


Cocktails for a Crowd

by Kara Newman

When you’re having a party, you often start with cocktails. Cocktails for a Crowd provides a terrific guide to help you plan what and how much to serve at your next gathering. Advice on how to mix a great cocktail, supplies to have on hand and how to make ice for a crowd is in the book. According to the pros, you should have seven pounds of ice for each standard bottle of liquor. Who knew? You should also avoid bags of ice from the store since it may have “off” flavors. After recipes for garnishes and explanations of technique, the drink recipes begin. There are forty in all: Punches like Alchemist Punch or Fish House Punch; pitcher drinks such as Sangria and Bloody Mary; tiki and tropical drinks like the Mondo Mai Tai, Zombie, and daiquiri; and cool and classic drinks like the Vodka Gimlet or cosmopolitan.


Skinnygirl Cocktails

by Bethenny Frankel

Cocktails can be rather calorie-laden, creating a striking contrast when it comes to being fit for the beach and looking your best. Frankel will help you get the best of both worlds. The Skinnygirl Margarita has only 100 calories; compare that to a regular frozen margarita, which usually has beyond 500 calories. This book has 100 recipes for cocktails; for example, make a Frozen Mango Margarita, Sassy Sparkling Sangria, and a Mudslide. The Death By Chocolate Martini and Cotton Candy Cosmo caught my eye! The author includes her secret formula for creating a Skinnygirl cocktail with any liquor, as well as tips and drinks for drinking healthier (or at least lower calorie).


The Summer Table

by Lisa Lemke

This book makes it easy to plan meals for friends and family using the great produce that’s available in the summer. Starting with general planning tips and a grilling guide, she has grouped recipes into eleven menus. You can easily plan feasts such as a Mexican grill party, a weekend barbecue, a block party, or a lazy–day-at-the-beach buffet. She includes a section on flavor boosters such as marinades, rubs, glazes, sauces, salsas, and herb butter. The concluding chapters cover extra side dishes such as roasted barbecue potatoes and desserts like grilled peaches with honey, yogurt, and nuts. Photos of every recipe make
it difficult to choose what to make first!


The Ultimate Book of BBQ

by Ashley Strickland Freeman

I went to college in Texas and developed a love of delicious BBQ. This book, which also features pitmaster Christopher Prieto, is sheer eye candy. The book begins with a thorough explanation of all of the various types and cuts of meat you can barbecue, and continues with descriptions of grills and smokers. After that comes the recipes – 200 of them. With step-by-step color photos and directions, you can’t go wrong with preparation and cooking. You can wow your family or guests with grilled apple-smoked striped bass, slow-cooked barbecue chicken or beef brisket. There is a great section on side dishes like slaw (many different kinds!), bacon potato salad, or tangy baked beans to round out your meal. The book concludes with many recipes for sauces, glazes, rubs, marinades, and even pickles. I’m not sure my kids would enjoy pickled asparagus, but it sounds pretty tasty to me.


Summer Sips to “Chill” Dips

by Marilyn LaPenta

If you’d like to involve your kids in your summer meal preparation, this guidebook is perfect. With only about a dozen recipes, you can have your child choose a recipe to make without feeling overwhelmed. The recipes range from very simple Fourth of July red, white, and blue chips (chips, cheese, and salsa) to the slightly more complicated black bean and corn dip. Every recipe has a drawing of the tools needed, includes prep time and number of servings, and has an appealing photo of the finished dish. Little tidbits of information appear throughout. For example, did you know the strawberry is not classified as a true berry because it does not have seeds on the inside?

As a Youth Services Specialist at the KDL Plainfield Branch, Susan’s favorite time of year is summer when the library is packed with young readers. Away from work, her favorite thing to do is travel with her husband and daughters.




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