Cook the Book: 'Summer on a Plate'

Book CoverWords by Lucy Baker | I am an unabashed lover of all things Ina—her cookbooks, her brownie mix, and most of all, her television show, The Barefoot Contessa, which I TiVo daily. What I like best about her recipes is that they emphasize two things: easy methods and quality ingredients. I'm willing to dump half a bottle of pricey Burgundy into her coq au vin because I'm confident that, even though I'm an untrained home cook, the final dish will turn out delicious.

Like me, Ina never attended professional culinary school. She became an accomplished cook simply through practice, and by absorbing the knowledge of those she admired—perhaps no one more so than Anna Pump, owner of the famed gourmet take-out shop in Bridgehampton, New York, Loaves & Fishes.

Paging through Anna's new cookbook, Summer on a Plate, it is easy to see how and why she was Ina's mentor. Her elegant, no-fuss dishes emphasize fresh vegetables, simply grilled meats and fish, and rich indulgences, such as Asparagus Salad with Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese, Chicken in Basil Cream, and Coconut-Lemon Layer Cake.

For more than 25 years, Anna has been catering to the tastes of summer vacationers—people who want to savor a hillside picnic or a rustic porch dinner, but don't want to spend all day slaving in a hot kitchen. Summer on a Plate is a collection of over 120 of her best and most memorable recipes, perfect for the warmer months or whenever you need an extra burst of culinary sunshine.

Win 'Summer on a Plate'

In addition to excerpting a recipe from Summer on a Plate each day this week, we're also giving away five copies of the book. To enter for a chance to win, just tell us in the comments section below: who is your culinary mentor?

Five (5) people will be chosen at random from eligible comments below. Comments will close Monday, July 28 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

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