Read an Excerpt
How It All Began
It was during one evening last summer, when my friend Alison and I were dining at the Dockside restaurant in Sag Harbor, overlooking the bay with dozens of gleaming boats anchored only a few feet away, that the idea for this book was born. I had been chattering almost nonstop about all the new combinations of tastes and blendings of textures I wanted to try, also about nurturing some newer, fun recipes, about ideas for quick and easy meals, when Alison leaned over and said with a knowing smile, "You're going to write another book, Anna, aren't you?" I couldn't help but smile. Of course! I even had a title ready -- Summer on a Plate. It had been in the back of my mind for quite a while and now, speaking openly about it, a summer cookbook seemed like the most natural and, to me, most obvious way to offer recipes that I had accumulated over the years, the majority of which were designed especially for the summer season when Loaves and Fishes is open full time.
I wanted to create a cookbook that celebrated summer's glorious bounty from the fields, farms, gardens, and seas. I wanted it to be a book for those of us who adore summertime and summer food and would like to pick up some handy shortcuts for preparing quick, tasty meals in an hour or less from start to finish.
Life should become easier during the summer, when afternoons grow longer and we are able to find peaceful times to lunch on a blanket stretched under a tree, or lie in a hammock while nursing a tall drink, or spend an afternoon picnicking at the beach, or relish those lengthy dusk-to-dark evenings when each sunset is more spectacular than the last. Which brings us to the core of this book: designing easy-to-read, no-fuss, delicious, and memorable meals that will still allow the cook time to enjoy all the pleasures that our summer season has to offer.
Trends in food come and go. People want new ideas, and as soon as any appear they seem to be instantly embraced by anyone who owns a pan. That, to me, is the fun part of creating new recipes; the one thing that has always remained constant is my absolute commitment to good food. I shop and strongly recommend shopping for the finest, top-quality ingredients: my conviction is that all of us should be able to enjoy every kind of food in moderation. It is the principle that lies at the heart of Loaves and Fishes.
Each and every spring, I cannot wait to hang the "Welcome" sign out front of the store, fling open the windows, give the picnic table in back a good scrubbing, and arrange the table in my garden at home in such a way as to catch the dappled sunshine that filters down through the leaves during the day and allows us the fullest view of those moonlit, starry skies at dinner time.
In this book I want to share with you the joy, the thrill of summer cooking. I want to encourage every home cook to take risks, adapt, add to, or subtract from these recipes that are, after all, blueprints for meals that can turn the modest cook into an instant star. That, to me, is the hope behind this book: that you enjoy the recipes as much as I have loved creating them in my heartfelt salute to summer. Copyright © 2008 by Anna Pump and Gen LeRoy