Food & Drink

Around the Kitchen

Let's get the party going this weekend

Outdoor entertaining calls for a juicy burger and a pitcher of something cold.

"Recipe of the Week: Burgers" (Wiley, $16.95) takes the American classic to a whole new level.

Sally Sampson, author of the James Beard award- nominated "Fifty Dollar Dinner Party," serves up 52 variations to satisfy any craving.

Recipes include lamb burgers with herbs, Cuban-style pork burger, salmon burgers, crab cake burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers and more. Lots of Full-color photographs make this a mouth-watering read.

While the burgers are grilling, "101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks" (Wiley, $16.95) will get the gathering going.

Fruity sangrias and punches can be made in large batches, so you can mix a party's worth in a pitcher. As Kim Haasarud explains, a sangria mixes wine, fresh fruit and a spirit.

"Red wine is the standard," she writes, "but white wine and champagne can mix up a mean sangria."

She's included recipes for classics such as Spanish sangria and Singapore sangria and contemporary libations such as watermelon yuzu punch and white peach sangria. There are non-alcoholic drinks for the kiddies and lots of photographs to give you an idea of how beautiful these communal drinks can be once poured into a glass.

Another option is "Slurp: Drink and Light Fare, All Day, All Night" (Andrews McMeel, $16.99). Authors Nina Dreyer Hensley, Jim Hensley and Paula Lowe offer both drink and party ideas. There are recipes for juices, smoothies and plenty of coffee drinks for breakfast; coolers, shakes and iced teas for lunch; and classic drinks and nightcaps for evening.

Finish off the evening with all-time best cookies and bars from a half-century of Pillsbury Bake-Off Contests.

In "Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookies and Bars," the Pillsbury editors take you back to the '50s for starlight mint surprise cookies; the '60s for candy bar cookies; the '70s for bars -- pecan pie surprise bars, chocolate-cherry bars and crispy date bars; the '80s for a dose of decadence, including white chocolate chunk cookies and peanut butter 'n fudge brownies; the '90s for fudgy bonbons and caramel-pecan sticky bun cookies; and the 2000s for chewy chocolate- peanut butter bars and almond-toffee-mocha squares. The trip down memory lane is $17.95 from Wiley.

Cooking chicken every which way

Whether it's sautéed, roasted, broiled or baked, stewed, grilled, fried or braised, chicken is what's for dinner.

It's inexpensive, low in fat and versatile.

"The Best Chicken Recipes," from the editors of Cook's Illustrated, shows how to make chicken every way possible and covers the basics. The book, $35 from America's Test Kitchen, features 300 recipes from America's most trusted test kitchen.

Detailed illustrations show how to butcher or carve a chicken and highlight techniques. Also discussed are the benefits of brining, knowing when chicken is done, safety and handling and the basics of buying chicken.

This one is hot off the panini press

Making the most of your panini press, including cooking pizza dough or vegetables, is among the virtues of "Panini Express: 70 Delicious Recipes, Hot off the Press" (The Taunton Press, $18.95). Master baker Daniel Leader and Lauren Chattman show how to select the best breads for a press, choose seasonal ingredients and make the most of spreads. The book also includes from-scratch bread and roll recipes.