Just as the arrival of warmer months heralds shifts in our wardrobes, so too does it affect what’s on our plates. When the temperature rises I certainly tend to cook less, and differently—that usually means absolutely no recipes that require excessive laboring over a hot stove, or, for that matter, much effort at all. And there is much that fits that low-fi warm weather culinary approach in Modern Mediterranean (Abrams), the excellent new cookbook by Melia Marden, chef at New York’s The Smile. Marden’s formula has always been simple and stellar: the freshest ingredients available thrown together in an easy-breezy fashion with Mediterranean influences a plenty. In the book that translates to recipes like a tomato water and caper berry martini, seared fennel wedges that get a touch of sweet brightness from fresh squeezed orange juice and zest, penne with sugar snap peas and ricotta, a pounded chicken paillard with Kalamata olives, capers and lemon, a cleverly concevived-of pomegranate, thyme and goat cheese pizza and an intensely flavorful beet and watermelon radish salad with creamy mozzarella that I fell in love with upon tasting at last weekend’s Food Book Fair party. With instructions straightforward enough for even the most novice kitchen dwellers to heed, and a slew of inventive recipe ideas (Never thought grapes would work in roasted potatoes? Think again.), Modern Mediterranean has as much easy, offbeat grace as Marden herself. FIORELLA V.