Saturday, May 25, 2013

COOKBOOK REVIEW: The Gardener & The Grill by Karen Adler & Judith Fertig

This coming Monday is Memorial Day in the US--a National holiday of remembrance and respect for the men and women who died while in service to our nation [traditionally May 30 but observed on the last Monday in May since 1971]. Many towns will hold parades on Monday in honor of these men and women and adorn their graves with American flags and flowers, traditionally red poppies. Memorial Day weekend has also come to be the unofficial start of the summer season, bringing family and friends together for the first backyard barbecues of the season. If you're getting your grill fired up for the season and looking for some inspiration, I have a cookbook recommendation for you: The Gardener & The Grill by Karen Adler & Judith Fertig.

The full title of this cookbook is The Gardener & The Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill, which pretty much describes exactly what this cookbook is all about. Whether you have your own backyard vegetable garden or you harvest your seasonal produce at your local farmer's market, you will find an abundance of recipes in this cookbook that you're going to just have to make this summer. Recipes will appeal to vegetarians and flexitarians alike.

(A "flexitarian" = an individual who is not vegetarian, but traditionally eats less meat than typical omnivores. A bit of trivia: "flexitarian" was first introduced to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate dictionary in 2012. [])

The Gardener & The Grill is loaded with great tips, recipes and ideas for grilling with chapters for the following:

Flatbreads and Pizzas
Soup & Salad
Meat, Poultry & Fish
Vegetable Sides
Fruits & Desserts

The book opens with a short primer on grilling techniques. Not a very elaborate primer, but techniques such as grill roasting, indirect grilling ,planking, plant-roasting, smoking and stir-grilling (using a metal wok on the grill grates) are discussed. Then the fun starts with the Pantry chapter. This chapter is brimming with inspiration. So much so that I think your grilling style will be transformed from ordinary to EXTRAordinary by the recipes in this chapter alone. There are recipes, ideas and tips for making your own seasonings, salts, marinades, dressings, dipping sauces, bastes and flavored butters. I want to try all of them!

After the pantry chapter come the grilling recipes that focus on fresh, seasonal (mostly summer) vegetables, herbs and even fruit that many of us grow right in our own backyards or buy at our local farmer's market. If you love vegetables or simply want to make them more enticing for you and your loved ones, this cookbook is just what you need to spice up your summer menus. Here's a list of things I love most about this cookbook:

  • Recipes or instructions for making just about everything in this cookbook from scratch, even down to the homemade corn tortillas, flatbreads, naan and pizza dough. 
  • Tips for container gardening, raised bed gardening, companion planting, how to prep produce for grilling and even using edible flowers in recipes. 
  • Recipes are simple with only a few ingredients, yet have gourmet flare. 
  • Recipes are healthfully plant-based and promote sustainability.

Each and every recipe in The Gardener & The Grill appeals to me, but if I had to design a menu using one recipe from each chapter, I'd go with the following:

Chard-Wrapped Goat Cheese on the Grill 
Herb-Stuffed Afghan Flatbread 
Smoked Tomato Bisque 
Tandoori Turkey Burgers with Grilled Red Onions and Tomatoes
     OR Peppered Tuna with Grilled Peach, Red Bell Pepper and Onion Relish 
Charred Green Beans with Lemon Verbena Pesto 
Grilled Cantaloupe Rings with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
     OR Skewered Strawberry & Marshmallow S'mores 

Sounds delicious, right? I can't wait to try these recipes! I think I might just make the strawberry s'mores this weekend if it stops raining and I can actually get a fire going to grill the berries and marshmallows!

I borrowed The Gardener & The Grill from the library, but I'll be adding this one to my kitchen bookshelf for sure!
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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. Ooooooh. This sounds like the *perfect* cookbook for us!

  2. It's winter here so no grilling - but summer will come again.... Cheers

  3. 6 kinds of grilling are elaborate enough for me! sounds like a great book.

  4. This sounds like such a winner. Now that we live in NYC, I do miss grilling outside.

  5. This cookbook sounds great! I don't eat as much meat as the hubs or even Daughter. I'll have to check this out, thanks!

  6. I may have to check this one out! I love when my husband grills most of our dinner, I think everything tastes better grilled :)

  7. One of these days we will get a grill. Love grilling.

    Here's my Weekend Cooking post.

  8. Found this cookbook at my library and checked it out. Some very yummy recipes! Thank you for the heads up!

  9. Thank you all for checking out my review of The Gardener & The Grill. I've sadly returned the book to the library, but did copy down a few recipes. I can't wait to try them.

    Beth F: I think you and Mr. Beth F. would love this cookbook!

    Carole: Well something to consider for next summer for you, then! :)

    Caite: I'm a basic grill girl myself.. hot or off. ;)

    Diane: Grilling is one of those methods that requires space, so yeah.. not so great a cookbook for city folk. Sorry.

    Brandy: So glad you found the cookbook at your library. Please let me know what you guys try.

    Chloe: I LOVE the flavor of grilled food, too!

    Deb Nance: Yes! You need a grill! They're are some very inexpensive models out there. A basic charcoal one is only $100 or so and minimal assembly. I like simple.

  10. I think I will try to get one this summer then. Nice to know they are only a hundred dollars.

  11. Oh yes, I would like to try some of these recipes too. Living in Florida we are able to stretch the grilling season a bit. That goat cheese is calling my name.


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