1. Elegant, casual California cuisine

    The beautifully-illustrated The New Wine Country Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast by Brigit Binns is full of recipes that are perfect for summer entertaining. The book contains recipes from family wineries as well as food artisans. Bins also weaves the area’s history throughout the book, along with personal anecdotes from contributors.
    No one does elegant, casual outdoor entertaining better than California’s chefs and food and wine artisans.
    I can’t wait to make the Grilled Peaches stuffed with Lavender-Absinthe Mascarpone, or the Grilled Lobster with Syrah Butter and Orange Sea Salt. The book is full of recipes like these, just right for a warm summer night with friends.
    The food is simple and mostly easy to prepare (there are a few recipes that call for basic pastry skills). The appeal is in the sophisticated combination of fresh ingredients.