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Try something new in these cookbooks

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I’m so lucky to get so many cookbooks in my job. In recent months, I’ve received quite a few, including these three. If you enjoy reading cookbooks like I do, maybe you will see something here that interests you.

‘Tasty Desserts’

If you enjoy making desserts and like to be a little “extra,” you’ll enjoy this book, packed with 75 special desserts and ideas for personalizing your recipes.

For instance, the one brownie 100 ways recipe includes the option of mixing in so many different ingredients from chopped vanilla wafers or candy corn to gummy bears or crushed potato chips.

The gorgeous photographs make your mouth water and leave you wanting to make chocolate peanut butter lava cakes, rocky road ice cream cake, striped cookies and cream cake or tart summer blueberry pie. Speaking of pie, a four-page spread shows options for decorative pie crusts cut in the shape of leaves and vines, stars, braids and even puzzle pieces.

One of my favorite features is a recipe for basic birthday cake frosting. Included are some frosting flavors to customize the recipe, such as caramel swirl or citrus, using the zest and juice of a lemon, lime and orange.

You’ve seen the many “Tasty” recipe videos online; now’s your chance to experiment with some of the recipes.

“Tasty Desserts,” by Clarkson Potter, has a list price of $19.99.

‘Cook to Thrive’

Natalie Coughlin, 12-time Olympic medalist and world champion swimmer, shares her passion for food and her philosophy that food is fuel, and “to perform at the highest level of your sport, you need to consume the best-quality fuel.”

Coughlin’s book starts with breakfast and goes through the day with salads, soups, meats, juices and smoothies.

The beautiful photographs show a rich and colorful variety of fresh produce used in such recipes as hummus-avocado collard green wraps, miso-roasted sweet potatoes and zucchini Calabrian chile and mint salad.

She also includes recipes for several salad dressings, noting she never buys prepared salad dressings. I’d love to try her creamy avocado dressing.

Also on my list of favorites in the book are recipes for wild mushroom farrotto, roasted chicken legs and cherry-almond recovery smoothie. Coughlin said the smoothie is a favorite post-workout drink packed with benefits.

“Cook to Thrive” is by Clarkson Potter and has a list price of $25.

‘Martha Stewart’s Grilling’

I know Labor Day has passed, but there are still many more grilling days left this season. This collection of more than 125 recipes can help you add some variety to your grilling menu.

The book offers any number of recipes from grilled appetizers to grilled desserts and much more in between.

If you enjoy wings, try the honey-brined chicken wing recipe as an appetizer. Check out the craft cocktails and fruited ice teas to go along with your meal.

You will find recipes for steaks, burgers and kabobs, as well as salmon and shrimp.

The photo of the steakhouse burger makes my mouth water.

One of my favorite parts of the book is a listing of lots of sauces and marinades: chimichurri, yogurt-cucumber sauce, chopped-chile relish, salsa verde, tangy barbecue sauce and all-purpose rubs.

“Martha Stewart’s Grilling” from Clarkson Potter has a $26 retail price.

Lisa Boykin Batts has been writing a weekly food column since 2001. She writes a weekly food column including recipes she and her family enjoy.

Lemon Yogurt Dressing

1 cup full-fat yogurt (not Greek)

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth. Whisk in the olive oil, honey, chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until blended. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired. The dressing will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1week.

“Cook to Thrive” by Natalie Coughlin

*Note: The author says her favorite salad for this dressing is mixed greens with shaved fennel, orange supremes and chopped Castelvetrano olives.

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