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Books That Cook: 'The Camping Cookbook,' 'Just Married & Cooking' and 'At My Grandmother's Knee'

, Title: The Camping Cookbook by Annie Bell (Kyle Books, $16.95, 178 pages)

Generally speaking: This is a great cookbook for campers and the like. There are recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweets and more. The downside is that some of the recipes are written in paragraph form rather than the traditional ingredient list and directions. This makes it difficult to make sure you have all your ingredients and that preparation and cooking times are correct. Mistakes are more likely to happen with this format.

For: Campers, boaters, RVers and anyone cooking in a small space, possibly over an open fire. Not to worry if camping isn't your thing, because many of the recipes will work on your backyard grill.

Recipes: Hot smoked salmon rolls, Syrian grain soup, Spanish toast, Andy Warhol chicken stew, cowboy coffee beef, oysters with garlic butter, summer pudding for campers, tumbet, goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto, salted popcorn, crispy duck hash, butterflied leg of lamb, hot dog goulash, French toast, ginger cake, smoky zucchini salad and peach crumble.

Special equipment: Bell, the author, covers the different types of grills or stoves that campers may be using and includes an icon next to the recipes to show what heat source is best for that recipe. She does a great job explaining the necessary camping equipment, which makes this a good choice for novice campers.

, Title: Just Married & Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating and Entertaining Together by Brooke Parkhurst and James Briscione (Scribner, $30, 323 pages)

Generally speaking: With wedding season in full swing, this cookbook would make a nice gift for the happy couple. Pair it with some kitchen utensils or a small appliance like a blender or food processor. Including it in a kitchen themed gift basket is another idea.

For: Couples that enjoy cooking together. You don't need to be newlyweds.

Recipes: Shrimp and pineapple skewers, cucumber and buttermilk soup, Italian sausage pitas with feta and watercress, chicken and mushroom burgers, strawberry layer cake, fried okra, grilled zucchini with mint pesto and pecans, summer peach press, red snapper ceviche, corn salad, crustless quiche Lorraine, blackberry tequila sunrise, lemon icebox pie, butternut squash cake, pork chops with bourbon and prunes, beefy Southwestern chili and chicken simmered with tomatoes, peppers and pancetta.

, Title: At My Grandmother's Knee: Recipes and Memories Handed Down by Women of the South by Faye Porter (Thomas Nelson Publishers, $24.99, 278 pages)

Generally Speaking: You don't have to like Southern food to enjoy this cookbook. The touching memories that accompany each recipe show just how steeped in tradition Southern food can be. Grease-stained cookbooks and cast-iron pans are proudly handed down through the generations. There are many recipes that are truly Southern staples included in this collection.

For: Those not afraid to eat fried food every now and then. Many of the recipes are fried and, as is well known about Southern food, full of ingredients like butter, heavy cream and other not-so-healthy things. But that's what makes Southern food Southern . . . and delicious.

Recipes: Ham a la Mamie, Dixie meat loaf, Miss Clara's shrimp gumbo, busy-day pork casserole, creamed chicken on corn bread, steak and pan gravy, company casserole, garlic cheese grits, oyster loaf, tiny tea cakes, Sarah's chocolate pie, feel better cookies, cowboy cookies, Esther's pumpkin cake, rave-review cake, crab cakes, Southern green beans, spicy sweet potatoes, rhubarb crumb cake, Coca-Cola cake, jam layer cake and squash fritters.

>>easy

Hot Dog Goulash

4 or 5 strips of uncooked bacon, chopped

3 large onions, peeled, halved and sliced

8 medium new potatoes, scrubbed and peeled

12 hot dogs

A couple of bay leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

1 mug of chicken stock

Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium heat, add the chopped bacon and cook in the rendered fat until golden. Add the onions and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until caramelized. Add the potatoes, hot dogs, bay leaves and some seasoning and gently mix. Pour in the chicken stock and gently simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and sitting in a rich gravy, but keep an eye on it toward the end of the cooking to make sure it doesn't get too dry. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serves 4.

Source: The Camping Cookbook by Annie Bell (Kyle Books, $16.95)

>>easy

Summer Peach Press

2 branches fresh mint

2 ripe peaches, pits removed, cut into quarters

3 slices lemon

Ice cubes

2 cups bourbon

1 cup club soda

1 cup ginger ale

Mint leaves for garnish

Peach slices for garnish

Combine the mint, peaches and lemon in the bottom of a glass pitcher. Press with a wooden spoon or long muddling stick until the mint is bruised and the peaches are crushed. Fill the pitcher half way with ice and pour in the bourbon. Stir until thoroughly chilled. Just before serving, add the club soda and ginger ale. Serve in highball glasses, garnished with mint leaves and peach slices.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Just Married & Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating and Entertaining Together by Brooke Parkhurst and James Briscione (Scribner, $30)

>>easy

Squash Fritters

2 cups grated yellow summer squash

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large eggs, beaten

1 medium onion, grated

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix the squash, butter, eggs, onion, flour, sugar, salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a skillet and drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil. Cook in batches, if necessary. Cook until brown, then turn and cook other side until brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serves 4.

Source: At My Grandmother's Knee: Recipes and Memories Handed Down by Women of the South by Faye Porter (Thomas Nelson Publishers, $24.99)

Books That Cook: 'The Camping Cookbook,' 'Just Married & Cooking' and 'At My Grandmother's Knee' 07/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 5:30am]

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