summer cooking bucket list
plus: summer ricotta with grilled vegetables
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
A Case for Frozen Mixed Vegetables (NYTimes, an unlocked article)
Congratulations to Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition, which won a James Beard award last week! It was an honor to be part of this season (you can catch my family’s Hanukah traditions in the first episode).
Happy first day of summer! ☀️ For most of my life, I insisted I was not a “summer person.” I only liked the beach, swimming, some gardening, how long the days are, plus fireflies, grilling outside, not having to wear heavy layers to go everywhere… but I hate being hot and sticky, so I concluded that spring and fall were superior. I have since come to my senses, or at least as close as is probably in the cards for me, and realized that long list above does indeed track with being a summer person and I now embrace it. I especially love this season’s cooking, how simple food can be when freshness is everywhere and there’s such a big archive of warm weather favorites on smittenkitchen.com, how can you know where to start? I humbly suggest: here. Below are 10 recipes that I consider core members of my cooking arsenal, and repertoire-worthy too. I hope you try them and agree.
A love letter to homemade ricotta and my favorite way to serve it in the summer, that is with whatever vegetables and bread look good, grilled. It's great for potlucks, host gifts, and it's also the warm-weather light meal of my dreams.
✨ My third cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, will be out a mere five months from tomorrow and I cannot wait to share it with you. I hope you will consider preordering it so it’s deposited at your doorstep the moment it’s out in the world and you can get cooking from it right away. Details here! ✨
A summer cooking bucket list
There is no higher tomato calling than slow-roasting, which basically turns them into tangy tomato candy. They're dreamy with pasta, in omelettes, salads, and on sandwiches, or you can just eat them straight. Because: candy.
This is my platonic ideal of a corn fritter: crunchy, golden brown, and mostly sweet corn kernels with just the tiniest amount of batter to tether them together.
These are our go-to fridge pickles, and they are ludicrously easy. Do you have salt? Do you have vinegar? You’re set. They’re not bad at all an hour later, excellent 6 to 8 hours later, and you can also enjoy them three weeks from now — though by then, we’ll be on our third batch.
A gorgeous peak-summer tomato tart that tastes the way I imagine a vacation in France would feel right now, from the Sanae Lemoine novel, The Margot Affair. It deserves to be eaten outside a big green salad, glass of wine, and the kind of friends who drop everything when they hear you're making dinner.
A newer favorite simple summer pasta, just a heap of zucchini cooked until it has melted into a puddle of butter and garlic, laced with a little heat, then tossed with basil, parmesan, and spaghetti.
A low-effort, high-reward, crispy-edged pulled pork roast that channels the masterful simplicity of David Chang's Bo Ssam but taken in an oven barbecue direction. There are 10 ingredients, including the fixings. This is one of my favorite summer recipes of all time, a total crowd pleaser.
One of our favorite summer cakes, ever -- with sunken berries that melt into jammy puddles and edges that brown and become faintly crisp -- one-bowl-ed and ready to feed the crowd that forms whenever you make it.
I call this The Summer Cake To End All Cakes for a reason: it’s absolutely epic. There are two paths to greatness here, one with homemade everything (including the ice cream) and a parallel recipe with storebought and perhaps sanity-saving swaps. Both end with this cake, so both are winners.
It's the best time of year -- longer days, better produce -- to resist the siren call of pie season and make a galette instead. Galettes are the very best way to bring pie into your everyday life — and yes, I believe your everyday life deserves baked fruit in a buttery, flaky shell — because everything about them is easier. This is my core recipe for any and every kind of fruit galette. You could be eating it in less than two hours.
A very summery muddle of macerated peaches, their syrup, mint, bourbon, and a little splash of ginger beer that is so unforgettably complex and delicious, it deserves to be a rest-of-summer habit.
I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer. Let me know if there’s anything I’ve left off that you need.
See you next week!