Tagged With: grilling

Summer Friendly Cookbooks

grilled vegetables, grilled veggies, slow cooker, the gardener and the grill, kitchen garden

Our selection of cookbooks here at World Spice Merchants is vast, and can possibly be a little daunting. Since summer is in full swing, we’ve thrown together a handy guide to cookbooks you can add to your shelf to use all summer long without breaking a sweat:

The Gardener And The Grill

I don’t know about you, but folks in my family are a little, well, garden crazy.  My brother is one of the few folks I know who will go for a hike in the mountains and come home with a salad. My mother prefers the tame vegetables that she plants every year like clockwork, but her garden still gets a little out of control.  From spring to early fall she commands an abundance of asparagus, tomatoes, onions, several varieties of squash, swiss chard, string beans, and snow peas.  There’s a whole segment of her garden devoted to herbs.

How she is able to coordinate all these delicious plants with the proper time to plant, water, and harvest is beyond me.  However, how she is able to swiftly convert this vegetable matter into a delicious meal is not so hard to understand with the help of  The Gardener And The Grill.  This book will give you plenty of ideas for what to do with this years crop. It may even have you making plans for what to plant next year.

Personally, after checking out the prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears, I’ve got my own plans for the neighborhood p-patch. Make your own plans for your garden, and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labors!


Plenty is a more than just a word that brilliantly describes the produce of the summer season, it’s also an inspired book of vegetable cookery by Yotam Ottolenghi. Perfect for the time of year when all of our figures beg for lighter fare, the recipes are so succulent that even the most devoted carnivore won’t miss the meat at the barbecue.

Ranging from simple techniques like poaching, to more beautiful and complicated frittatas and tartlettes, veggies are taken to new levels with Ottolenghi’s focus on featuring the best ingredients and pairing them with unique spices and flavors. A hands-down favorite of nearly every spice merchant, Plenty is a must-have for spring and summer cuisine.

Campfire Cuisine

This handy book by Robin Donavan offers more than 100 recipes for the earnest camper. Once you get your paws on this book, you may want to plan a camping trip just for the express purpose of trying some of these simple and delicious recipes out.

While I understand that you probably don’t want to go camping 100 times in a year, the good news is the old backyard is a fine place to practice the craft of outdoor cooking as well, so you can keep whipping up your favorites well into fall.

Campfire Cuisine also contains practical guidance on menus, shopping for those fresh ingredients, and the best equipment that won’t break the bank or your back. Chefs of every skill level will enjoy this travel sized camping companion.

Categories: Cookbook Club, Notes from the Field | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grilling Season: Charcoal vs. Gas

steak on the grill

Grilling Season always begins with this heated debate: Is grilling with charcoal better, or grilling with gas?

Frankly, it depends on what you want. There are plenty of grills available, with bell and whistles ranging from none to outrageously extravagant. Because you’re here reading the Silk Road Diary, however, we’d like to believe that what you’re after is flavor and lots of it.


When it comes to flavor, charcoal wins. Fire equals flavor. Just take a look at the photo on the right, from Adam Perry Lang’s awesome grilling-centric book, Charred and Scruffed.

Does that steak look delicious or dirty to you? If you answered delicious, then you’re not alone, and neither is anyone else who grills with charcoal and charcoal only.

If you answered dirty, then you may be the person that prefers lady propane. Your neighborhood propane dealer will surely point out the high level of convenience- no lighter fluid, no matches, no chimney, just clean burning gas. Gas grill lovers also enjoy the ability to adjust grill temps with the twist of a knob. While it is possible to adjust and focus heat where you want it with charcoal, it requires a little more skill than knowing clockwise from counter-clockwise.

The debate rages on. We stand in defense of flavor, but we also realize that not everyone who grills this season is grilling for the first time ever. You may already own a gas grill, charcoal grill, or even an authentic George Foreman electric grill. Regardless of what you’re grilling with, you can always punch up the flavor factor with one of our Dry Rubs for grilling. Believe it!

Categories: Grilling Season, Hot Topics, Notes from the Field, Tools of the Trade | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment