Simple Summer Cookbook

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Simple Summer
A recipe for joy and connection year round

By: Bobbie Kitto

A few days ago I had the pleasure of viewing a YouTube event put on by Melissa’s Produce promoting Jonathan Bardzik’s new book Simple Summer. This was one of the best YouTube events I have attended. (You can view it here)

Jonathan Bardzik is an entertaining speaker.  His talent also flows over into his writing. Simple Summer is an updated version of his first book by the same name.  Jonathan’s main theme is that life should be lived with joy and connection. Connection to the food he is preparing and to the people he is feeding.

Chef Bardzik has been enjoying his love of cooking and story telling for the past ten years after he left his corporate job. He was given a piece of advice before his first live demonstration. The advice was, “… keep talking even if things aren’t going well and your audience will stay with you”  He took it to heart and became a very good story teller. He can be seen often on ABC, CBS, and FOX morning news shows.  He has been seen by more than 900 live audiences. Jonathan’s Kitchen: Seasons to Taste is available on Revry.

This book has five chapters: Discover, Party, Great the Day (Breakfast), Kick Back, and Share.  Each one is written in such a way as to lead into the spirit of the chapter and gives not only mouthwatering recipes that are simple to prepare, but also adventurous, and how to set the mood for the get together.  Not only does he give you the recipes, he shares tips on how to prepare or substitute missing ingredients.  Now I ask you what else do you need to throw a party that even the host can relax and enjoy.

The two recipes Jonathan shares in the video are Zucchini and Corn Pancakes (imagine Latkes) with Cilantro & Crema (Pages137-138). The picture for this recipe is one of the best example of a simple dish becoming a show stopper.  The next recipe Jonathan presented was French Potato & Tomato Salad (pages 106-107) that would be a sure winner when the heat of summer has you wanting something that does not have a fatty mayo base.  This salad will be light and bright on your tongue due to the use of a Champagne vinegar dressing.  Just the thing to balance rich grilled meats.

French Potato & Tomato Salad


I gave this book a solid 5 stars for several reasons. The book was full of interesting recipes with tips to help make the preparations easier. The helpful suggestions for how to set the mood and suggestions for drink pairings, even for nondrinkers added to the star rating. Jonathan even went one step farther and gave suggestions for music that would cover several different tastes.  The pictures were very inspiring, but best of all after reading this book from cover to cover you will come away a feeling you can make anyone welcome in your home.

Take this book for a taste spin.

 Zucchini And Corn Pancakes  with Cilantro Crema

From Jonathan Bardzik’s Simple Summer: a recipe for joy and connection Second Edition Serves 6

Zucchini and corn pancakes – think latkes – are sweet and savory, crisp on the outside and creamy inside with the corn kernels popping as you bite into them. The refreshing cilantro crema perfectly balances the warm,summery flavors of the pancakes.


4 cups grated zucchini,about 2 medium

2 ears corn,kernels removed

1egg, lightly whisked

2 tbs fresh basil,finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1cup Parmesan cheese,freshly grated

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika*

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 cup corn starch 3-4 tbs olive oil Cream

*Spanish paprika has a wonderfu l smoky flavor. You can substitute Hungarian paprika.

Cilantro Crema :

1cup creme fraiche

2 tbs cream or buttermilk

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Prepare zucchini: Place grated zucchini in colander,sprinkle with 1tsp salt and leave for15-20 minutes to drain. Wrap zucchini in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Make pancake batter:Place zucchini in large bowlwith corn, egg, basil,garlic,parmesan, paprika, pepper and potato starch. Mix. Ifthe batter istoo dry, add a tablespoon or two of cream.

Make crema : place creme fraiche, cream,garlic and cilantro in a food processor. Process untilsmooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pancakes: Cook over medium-low heat in 1/4 cup pancakes,turning once. The low heat allows the outsides to get crispy and brown, while the centers remain creamy.

Serve pancakes with cilantro crema and,if desired, a drizzle of honey over the top.

To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly suggest products from Melissa’s Produce, available at most markets. Look for this logo;

Author’s note:


Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own.


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