With temperatures inching toward 90 degrees in the Old Pueblo, these five cookbooks, all available at online dealers, will make the warm weather more tolerable.
By W. Park Kerr with the photography of Leigh Beisch (Chronicle Books, $15.95)
As someone once said, margaritas are nothing short of fiestas in a glass. W. Park Kerr presents 60 tequila-kissed recipes that celebrate everyone’s favorite cocktail. In addition to seven South-of-the-Border classics, there are dozens of innovative new twists such as the Pear o’ Snake Eyes made with pear brandy, the Blue Agave, a salute to the tropics and the urban East by Southwest featuring a pea-sized dab of hot green Japanese horseradish paste. Kerr, a ninth-generation Texan, is the founder of the El Paso Chile Company.
By Diane Morgan with the photography of Joyce Oudkerk Pool (Chronicle Books, $16.95)
Hot summer nights with friends become even more fun when dips and chips are added to the mix. Diane Morgan, the diva of dips and champion of chips, created more than 50 recipes for her collection. In addition to an ingredient glossary, dip tips, and deep-frying techniques for chips, the recipes are divided into five categories: Vegetable and Herb Dips; Salsas and Guacamoles; Cheese, Bean, Legume and Tofu Dips; Meat and Seafood Dips, and Dessert Dips. The Double-Chocolate Chunk Brownie Chips recipe is decadent and tasty.
By Susan Curtis and Kathi Long with the photography of Lois Ellen Frank (Gibbs-Smith, $12.95)
This title in the Santa Fe School of Cooking Series features salsa recipes that stretch the culinary possibilities of an almost perfect food. Since salsa is the Spanish word for sauce, it can also refer to a variety of items. For example, salsas can be fresh (raw) or cooked, thick of thin, chunky or smooth, hot or mild, or sweet or tart. Most of the salsas in this collection have chiles in them and all of the recipes are rated according to the heat. Some of the standouts are the Grilled Nopal and Poblano Chile Salsa, a smoky-tasting New Mexico Red Chile Salsa made with chipotles, and a zesty Grapefruit-Orange Salsa.
By Barbara Lauterbach with the photography of Sheri Giblin (Chronicle Books, $18.95)
The 50 recipes in this book underscore that chicken salad isn’t necessarily just chicken salad. With a little imagination the basic recipe can be combined with everything from pasta to potatoes, pineapples to papaya. Regardless of how it is prepared, chicken salad is the perfect choice for warm-weather cooking. The 50 featured recipes are easy to prepare and a fun, new take on an old favorite. Two personal favorites are the Avocado Chicken Salad that used the shells as small serving cups, and the Camelback Pulled Chicken Salad, a Scottsdale favorite.
‘Dressed to Grill: Savvy Recipes for Girls Who Play with Fire’
By Karen Brooks, Diane Morgan, and Reed Darmon with illustrations by Beth Adams (Chronicle Books, $16.95)
This sizzling book proves that the grill game isn’t just the domain of guys. With such recipes as Waistland Salad, Chauvinist Pig, Grilled Corn with Hot Lips Chili Butter and How Can I be Sarong, this collection serves up a whole new take on patio food fun.