All posts tagged “Summer recipes

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Picnic-Perfect Roasted Chicken

With just-as-crispy skin, swap this simple roasted recipe for your go-to fried favorite.


We all get it: It’s summertime and it’s hot and no one, anywhere, wants to go near the stove. Recipes for chilled salads, packed with crisp lettuce, bright fresh fruits and lightly dressed tomatoes, are popping up everywhere with tag lines screaming, “Stay out of the kitchen!” As much as you might dread turning the burners on when temperatures hit their August highs, nothing says summer like a piece of fried chicken. This roasted recipe is so simple, and crispy, you’ll barely notice you’ve turned the oven on at all, and you needn’t worry about standing over a pot of bubbling oil. Perfect for a weekend picnic or a Sunday supper, it makes wonderful leftover chicken salad or a great rustic club sandwich. My favorite part: The simple addition of cumin to the seasoning — a trick an old cooking buddy used when making our restaurant’s staff meals — adds just a hint of exotic flavor to the mix.


Picnic-Perfect Roast Chicken Thighs, Adapted from Bon Appetit, June 11’
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy duty, non-stick skillet over high heat, and cook until the oil is hot but not smoking. Season both sides of the chicken generously with salt, pepper and cumin and place, skin-side down, in the skillet. Cook for two minutes, then reduce heat to medium-high. Continue cooking, rotating pan and rearranging chicken (leaving skin-side down) to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes longer.

2. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook an additional 13 minutes. Flip the chicken, and continue cooking until the skin is crispy and meat is cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate or cooling rack and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

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Horchata Cooler

This silky rum cooler is the surest way to beat the summer’s heat.

With the creamy sweetness of dessert, a hint of cinnamon and a good kick of rum, this Mexican-style drink is just the thing to drink alongside grilled sausages or at a summer picnic. It’s fairly low maintenance — just steep the almonds, rice, cinnamon and water overnight, then combine with the milk, cream, sugar and rum. The drink is best made with Mexican cinnamon, a slightly sweeter and more aromatic version. For a sweeter drink, substitute the cream and 1 cup sugar for a can of condensed milk; for a nutty twist, use part coconut milk.

Horchata cooler, serves four
2/3 cup medium- or long-grain rice
1/3 cup toasted, blanched almonds
1 cinnamon stick, toasted, plus extra for garnish
3 cups water
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark rum

1. Put the rice, almonds and cinnamon in a bowl. Simmer the water, pour over the ingredients and cool. Cover and let sit for at least five hours, or overnight.

2. Place mixture in a blender and buzz until as smooth as possible. Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer, pressing the solids with the back of a spoon.

3. Bring a small portion of milk to a simmer and add the sugar. Simmer for several minutes until sugar is melted. Combine the strained liquid, sugar milk, and the rest of milk and cream. Mix well and chill. Add rum to taste and pour into a pitcher or individual glasses. Top glasses with shaved cinnamon.

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Strawberry-Custard Pie

The last of this season’s strawberries bake into a silky, rich custard-filled pie.

If you’ve read my ramblings for any period of time, you know I like pie. I love the way a simple combination of flour and butter turns into the flakiest crust, enrobing everything from berries to stone fruit to savory delicacies. In fact, I’ve made pie more than any other recipe on my site — Persimmon Pie, Orange Meringue Pie and Mushroom and Speck Tart, just to name a few — and I still pause a moment at the site of a perfectly golden browned crust.

While in Michigan a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but buy the last giant pail of strawberries from a local farm stand. That meant not just one, but two of these delicious treats. My newest favorite, I have a feeling this pie will be around for quite some time: it’s just so easy and so good. A quick custard base is poured on top of the berries, baking into the most beautiful and deliciously creamy pie. I can’t wait to make the recipe with the cherries from last week’s market, or the stone fruit I’m still wishing for. It’s such a simple recipe, try playing around: Swap brown sugar for a caramely undertone with peaches or whisk in a few teaspoons of your favorite liquor for a boozy kick. Even if you don’t make pie as much as I do, you’re sure to love this one!

Strawberry-Custard Pie, makes one 9-inch pie, adapted from Martha Stewart
For the pastry dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups small strawberries, trimmed and cleaned, halved if large
2 large eggs
3/4 cups sugar
2 ounces butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

1.  Pastry dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until walnut size chunks appear. Make a well in the center and pour in half the water. Mix together and add more water until the dough just holds together. Form a ball with the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

2. On a lightly floured work space, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit the dough into a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan and trim, leaving a 1-inch over hang. Fold the trim over and underneath itself. For a fluted edge, pinch the outside of the crust with the thumb and index finger of one hand while pushing in with the index finger of the other hand. Repeat at 1/2 intervals around the entire edge. For another edge, press to seal with tines of a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes while oven is preheating at 375 degrees.

3. Line crust with parchment and fill with baking beans or dried rice. Bake for 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool.

4. For filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, melted butter, flour, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Place the strawberries in the pie shell, completely covering the bottom, then pour the filling on top, using a spatula to smooth evenly. Cut a piece of foil twice the size of the pie, fold in half and cut out a circle large enough to expose the center but cover the edges. Wrap edges to protect from burning.

5. Bake the pie for an additional 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for one hour. Refrigerate, covered, for up to four days.