By Joanna Prisco
Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week is Endless Summer Cookbook by author, Food Network star and The Kitchen co-host Katie Lee and, well, it may just be the best collection of post-beach recipes ever.
In Endless Summer, Lee invites readers to pull up a picnic blanket to her lawn in the Hamptons, where the West Virginia native has made her home for the last few years. She is as effusive about the area’s bucolic charms as she is its bounty of locally grown produce, and insists that the warm summer months are the superlative season to be there.
“For me, there is no greater place to be in the summer than the Hamptons,” writes Lee in her introduction. “The area is special all year long, but summer is my ultimate. I count the days from Labor Day to Memorial Day, anxiously awaiting the summer sun.”
Filling her days with surfing, swimming, and sunning, the celebrity chef has also become the de facto party host to nearby friends and, as such, has accrued an arsenal of go-to dishes perfect for sating a crowd.
“While we do have the greatest ingredients available, there is not a particular cuisine or even a dish that is indigenous to the Hamptons,” she says. “It’s not like Texas and barbecue, or New Orleans and po’ boys, or Alabama and biscuits. Maybe this is because of the large WASP population in the early days, people who would rather drink gin and tonics than sit down to a feast. Instead, I think it is those aforementioned parties that are native to this neck of the woods.”
But in contrast to the image of stuffy affairs such a statement might conjure, Lee prefers to keep things “casual, comfortable, and chic.”
“In this book, I share with you my healthy, farm fresh, easy recipes,” she writes. “I want you to know the Hamptons the way I know it, the spirit of this magical place, the beauty of what it truly is.”
To wit, at Lee’s place, the table is spread with everything from West Virginia-style hot dogs topped with chili to grilled pizza hot off the grates to a no-fuss roasted halibut with caper relish that delivers both a wow presentation and punch of flavor. Add to that a slice of great grandmother Pearl’s angel food cake with peaches and cream, and you’ll be primed to watch the sunset while swinging in a hammock.
“Perfection is not the goal,” reminds Lee in her notes. “It is about creating a relaxed environment where everyone feels welcome.”
Visit Yahoo Food throughout the week for recipes from Endless Summer Cookbook.
Check out other cookbooks from Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: