Summer

Radishes with Blue Cheese and Butter Spread

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by Joseph Erdos

radishesbluecheeseI love the crunch of radishes. It's a sound that resonates with all the radish-lovers in my family especially my mother, the biggest lover of the crunchy root vegetable. I learned to love radishes form her. At first I didn't appreciate their mild, earthy flavor, but then I came to love them more for their watery crunch. Then I discovered they could also be spicy and peppery. I have been an aficionado for many years now. Every spring I look for the best and brightest ones.

Radishes are best enjoyed raw, sliced thinly, and served alongside cold meats and charcuterie. From my mom I learned to eat my radishes on a bed of blue cheese and butter spread on crusty bread. With her in mind, I created this spread/dip that includes chopped chives for a bit of onion flavor. The dip works great with crudités as well. Here I serve the dip with a selection of crackers and of course the radishes.

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb

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by Cathy Pollak

Grilled-ButterfliedLambWe have a whole lamb in our freezer. My husband couldn't be happier. He is the resident lamb fanatic in our household and it turns out so are my boys. I didn't grow up with lamb as part of my regular diet, so it has taken longer for me to get used to the taste. As many of you know, it's very different than beef.

So many recipes try to cover up or cut through the taste of the lamb with various sauces or sides, the most popular being mint jelly. My husband prefers to taste the flavor of the meat so we rarely serve it. It would work well with this dish if you would like to include it. 

This recipe does a great job tenderizing the meat, while providing lots of flavor. Honestly, it was delicious, BUT I would personally not attempt it without a wireless meat thermometer. You need one in order to not overcook a cut of meat like this. Plus you will use it constantly. It's a wonderful kitchen tool and cheap investment!

Strawberry Poke Cake

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by James Moore

pokecakePoke Cake was created by Jell-O in 1969 to help increase sales of their product. I saw this recipe on a cooking show a couple of months ago, and they had updated the method to include real strawberries (and less Jell-O) which made the dessert more appealing to me.

Although it’s great summer dessert, you can make all year round because it uses frozen strawberries. Note: The top of the cake will look slightly overbaked—this keeps the crumb from becoming too soggy after the gelatin is poured on top.

Oven Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad

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by Lisa McRee

potatogreenbeansThis is a dish that is perfect for all of the endless “end-of-school-year” pot luck dinners or for BBQs all summer long: Oven Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad with Skinny Basil “Pesto.”

Real pesto–which is made with basil and garlic but also loads of oil, nuts and cheese–is delicious…but also very calorie dense. (The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe costs you 430 calories for a 1/2 cup serving.)

But by using more herbs, calorie free lemon juice and Dijon mustard, less cheese and oil and skipping the nuts altogether…this skinny “pesto-ish” dressing has just 120 calories but still packs a flavorful punch and a toothsome texture. And by using an equal amount of green beans (40 calories a cup) as potatoes (140 calories a cup), you can have the sensation of a pesto potato salad with less than half of the calories!

Eton Mess

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by Joseph Erdos

etonmessIf you've ever had a meringue, then you know how ethereal it can be. But combine it with cream and ripe strawberries and you have an exquisite dessert. Eton Mess takes these ingredients and jumbles them together in a mess, hence the name. The dessert hails from England's famous Eton College. As the story goes, it was either created by cheeky boys who mixed all their desserts together—and one day it happened to be strawberries, cream, and meringue—or it was invented by a crafty shopkeeper at the local food shop. However the dessert was founded, I'm glad it was invented in the first place.

I'm a big sucker for desserts with whipped cream and I'm a big fan of British desserts like trifle, so Eton Mess is easy for me to adore. The traditional way of making this "mess" is to mix all the ingredients together, but I like to layer the dessert so you can see the berries through the glass. I also tend to use more cream than other recipes specify, making this a very plush dessert. There's nothing like billowy clouds of cream enveloping crunchy cookie bits and sweet, mushy berries in this easiest and most pleasing of desserts.

Olive Oil Citrus Cake

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by Susan Salzman

citrus-oliveoil-sliceIn my house, olive oil, zest and the juice from citrus, generally means – marinate the chicken breasts and light the BBQ. However, today, I used these few ingredients in a whole new way. In a cake!

The fusion of the citrus zest and the olive oil, mixing around in my kitchen aid, permeated my kitchen with the most wonderful scent. I could not wait for this cake to emerge from the oven. I am going to make this cake over and over again.

Next time, mini olive oil citrus cakes, anyone?

Strawberry-Banana Crumble

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by Cathy Pollak

Strawberry-Banana-Crumble-from-Noble-Pig-the-perfect-dessert-with-ice-creamIt's strawberry season and the markets are filled with this seasonal gorgeous red fruit. Just a great reminder that it's spring and summer is right around the corner.

One of my favorite fruit combinations is strawberry-banana. It's perfect for smoothies, yogurt and even ice cream. I figured why not put these two together and make it into an irresistible crumble. What a good idea that was. It is delicious. And the topping...I could eat it by the bowlful.

I washed my strawberries, hulled them and cut in to quarters lengthwise. This keeps them mostly intact as they bubble away in the oven. I decided to use my smallest cast iron skillet for this rustic dessert. I love the way it heats up and keeps things warm once removed from the oven. My whole family loved this dessert. I think it's the perfect ending to a summery meal. Next time I'm going to serve it with this fried chicken.

Make the Most out of Your Farmers' Market Trips

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by Susan Russo

market1When people ask why my husband and I live in San Diego instead of moving back to Rhode Island, I usually say, “the farmers’ markets.” I’m joking. Sort of. Really, how many other places have over 40 farmers’ markets that are open year-round? We’re lucky, and we know it.

Fortunately, farmers’ markets are located across the country. So no matter where you live, here are nine ways to make the most out of your trips to the farmers’ market.

1. Be prepared. Before you leave the house, make sure you have some sturdy, eco-friendly reusable bags and plenty of small bills (ones and fives) and quarters. Consider bringing an insulated bag for items such as farm fresh eggs or cheese.

2. Be patient. Resist the urge to purchase the first plump tomato or crisp red bell pepper you see. Always stroll through the entire market once to assess the produce and prices.

Buttermilk Chipotle Grilled Chicken

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by Lisa McRee

chipotlechickenCanned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are simply very ripe jalapeno peppers that have been dried, smoked and packed in a sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion. If you’ve never cooked with them before, you’ll be shocked at what a shortcut they can be when wanting to add flavor to loads of recipes.

And, to make sure those flavors, and a couple of other ones in this marinade, really travel to the deepest parts of the chicken, buttermilk is a miracle...

Cooks in the south, like the ones I grew up with, always used buttermilk to tenderize and moisturize fried chicken...The acid in buttermilk helps break down the protein strings, which makes the bird more tender and succulent, while carrying those flavorful spices and herbs into the deepest part of the meat.

And this spicy version of the marinade those smart cooks have used for generations makes this chicken just as delicious and juicy…even though it’s grilled and not fried!

World's Best Creamy Coleslaw

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by James Moore

creamycoleslawIt’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching Memorial Day weekend. So most likely, if you’re not hosting a gathering, you’ve been invited to one.

No other side dish embodies a cookout quite the same as coleslaw. When made correctly, it’s the perfect accompaniment to savory barbecued meats and vegetables.

The trick is to create a crisp salad with fresh vibrant flavors that isn’t too sweet or too soupy. This is one of my favorite “dressings” for coleslaw. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to toss with the cabbage and veggies.

 

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