By Jill Lightner
Great barbecue doesn’t just happen. Time and temperature, cut of meat, rubs and sauces—there are a lot of variables to sort through on your way to greatness. There are also a lot more people who claim barbecue bragging rights than people who deserve them. Julie Reinhardt is a woman who understands all of this. She Smoke ostensibly aims at encouraging women to make friends with their grills—but it’s actually a fantastic tutorial for anyone, of any gender, whose dream in life is to cook perfect ribs.
She also manages to get away from the regional wars about which sauce is the best or which meat is the one worth grilling. From simple North Carolina vinegar sauce to complexly layered rub-n-sauce combos straight from Kansas City, all styles are welcome.
Seal Press, $19.95, www.shesmoke.com
But summer’s about more than just meat. And even if you feel confident in wisely choosing the basics, what about broccoli romanesco, purslane or pluots? The Bellevue Farmers Market Cookbook kicks off with the start of market season in late spring, and carries through to the end of the year. Each section includes a succinct, practical “Pick, Pack, Prep” list for a variety of fruits and vegetables, so you’ll learn how to choose and what to do once you’ve brought it home. Recipes come from favorite eastside chefs, like John Howie, Holly Smith and Brian Scheehser, and author Cindy Pigott’s straightforward advice and gorgeous photos pull everything together into one colorful package. Proceeds from the book go into the market’s nonprofit organization, which (among other things) partners with Hopelink to get fresh produce to needy local families.