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what was the best dish you made/ate this summer?

Best recipe? Best new discovery?

Let's hear 'em.

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  1. Great idea - I need to think about it - but great idea.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I'm glad you think so! Despite the hail outside my window right now, I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, heading into spring. I thought it would be nice if I could pick up some good ideas for the coming months from Fall-bound hounds in the north.

      I'm so ready for summer, and summer food, it's ridiculous.

      1. re: Gooseberry

        Have you ever looked into any recipes available on line from Suzanne Goin? I didn't cook that much from her this summer, but did last summer, and loved everything I made.


        A number of links here:


        The pork burger is excellent.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I've actually printed out the pork burger recipe! Just trying to decide what to substitute for the Mexican chorizo, which we don't get here, and seems to be a spicy raw sausage. Thanks for the reminder - must talk to my butcher...

          1. re: Gooseberry

            I've used Spanish (hard/cured) chorizo and minced it up in a food processor. Worked great in the recipe.

            1. re: Rubee

              And I've used just a spicy raw Italian sausage and it's been great as well.

          2. re: MMRuth

            Oh, my vote would have to be for the Goin pork burger. It's super delicious and very easy to make. It just takes a bit of time making the other components -- romesco sauce and aioli.

      2. We practically become vegetarians in the summer. Sliced heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with a bit of great olive oil. Roasted or grilled vegetables - a huge variety. Pasta or grain salads with roasted veggies, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. I rarely spend more than 30 minutes preparing dinner in the summer: The ingredients are so good, they speak for themselves.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          We did much of the same this summer. Lots and lots of great veggies just enhanced with great olive oil and balsamic and also sometimes grilled. We did grill some meats, chicken and fish as well, but the veggies really were the main event. I have gotten into many more salads this summer and the best were some new grains I discovered as well as rice salads. Easy summertime cooking with anything fresh being the star - either from my garden or the local produce stand.

        2. I tried a lot of new dishes this summer. Some new favorites -

          Bruschetta chicken
          Grilled Greek chicken
          Soy and lime skirt steak
          Korean barbecue beef short ribs
          thai chicken satay with spicy peanut dipping sauce
          Hasselback potatoes

          old favorites -

          clams and mussels in white wine and garlic sauce
          tomato, moz and basil with olive oil and balsamic vinegar


          1. I don't know what's the best thing I ate, but the best thing I made was a cold soup - tomato and kimchi, puréed til smooth and chilled. (There was a little more to it than that, but that's the gist of it.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: piccola

              I'm on a kimchee eating frenzy these days, could you tell me how you made that soup?

              One of the best things I made this summer were beets with their greens. I steamed the little beets and marinated them in vinegar and garlic (fresh purple ones) and sauteed the greens with oil and garlic and a little broth. The combo was pretty good.

              The best thing I ate this summer were the asparagus my friend wrapped in proscuitto spread with a little boursin. Then she grilled them til crispy. Oh my....

              1. re: waver

                Yeah, it was super easy (if a little haphazard). I used chopped canned tomatoes, tomato paste, veggie broth, and a couple cups of kimchi. Heated together, then blended. One time, I added a splash of evaporated milk, but I'm not sure it's necessary.

            2. I tried golden beets for the first time this summer. They were a real treat, roasted and drizzled with honey and cinnamon. They were better with honey and orange zest.

              1. I finally perfected my recipe for diabetic baklava. Now my wife and some of our diabetic friends can enjoy this special treat like others often do.

                1 Reply
                1. re: todao

                  Wow, that sounds impressive! Willing to share? My Dad has diabetes and loves dessert.

                2. Great topic.

                  One of the best things I learned to make this year is Ma Po Bean Curd from Fuschia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty" . I make it all the time now, and it has made me a fan of tofu.


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    Fuschia Dunlop's kungpao chicken (gong bao ji ding) was a great success for me last month. It's a little light on the numbing flavor, but it is still delicious and impressive.

                    As far as culinarily discoveries outside my kitchen, banh mi in NYC's chinatown are pretty phenomenal. Roast pork, fish sauce and baguettes are my dream combo.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      I have to amend that statement. I made a dobostorte last Saturday (still technically summer) that combined "Wows" with "Mmms" like nothing I have made in years. I didn't realize a cake that looks so technically challenging would be such a cinch!

                      1. re: JungMann

                        Get outta here! I haven't tasted a great dobo since I was in Hungary. I was never brave enough to attempt one myself. Could you please, PLEASE, share your recipe. Now that I have time, I'd like to give it a try. And please tell me you're not a chef by trade!

                        1. re: P Macias

                          Dobostorte is such a phenomenal cake, it is so disappointing that it's hard to find. I'm not a chef, so I always found a septuple layer cake with caramel topping to be very daunting, but I worked off of the link below to great results. Frosting isn't exactly authentic (and calls for too much sugar), and I did let my caramel cook a little too long, but otherwise the cake was good and not just for a first-timer. These lead to great results even for the aspiring cake baker.


                          1. re: JungMann

                            Thank you so much and I'll let you know the results

                    2. re: Rubee

                      Rubee: I totally agree and also make it all the time. That and the green peppers stir-fried with fermented black beans, chili, garlic and some sesame oil. Mmmmm.

                    3. I think quails, I did tandoori quails, boiled, korean BBQ and my own marinates, or my SO's yummy marinade concoctions

                      1. Great question. I think Peter Berley's lemon and white wine tofu from Flexitarian Table is one of my new favorites. Also, his corn polenta was really lovely.

                        I'm really enjoying Vietnamese month and my husband commented to me that he thought Nyugen's beef stewed with tomatoes and lemongrass might be the best thing I've ever cooked. Now, that might be more of a commentary on my generally weak cooking (and the beautiful CSA tomatoes and local grass fed beef) than the dish itself, but, still...


                        4 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Would you mind paraphrasing this recipe? Sounds delish!

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Here's a link to the fresh corn polenta http://www.nextnc.com/content/view/16...

                              Here's lemon, soy, butter and white wine tofu

                              For the beef stewed with tomato, star anise and lemongrass:

                              Marinate for 30 minutes the following: 2 1/3 lbs boneless beef chuck (cut into chunks) with lemongrass (1 stalk bruised and cut into 3 inch segments), fish sauce (3 TBSP), five spice powder (1 1/2 tsp), minced ginger (2 1/2 TBSP), brown sugar (1 1/2 tsp) and 1 bay leaf.

                              Heat 3 TBSP Canola oil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add beef in batches; sear all sides (about 3 mins). Transfer beef to a bowl. Toss the marinade, except for lemongrass and bay leaf.

                              In the Dutch oven, lower the heat to medium-low, cook 1 chopped yellow onion 4-5 mins. Add 2 cups tomato (peeled, seeded, chopped) and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook 12-14 minutes until a rough paste is achieved. Add beef, lemongrass, bay leaf, 2 star anise. Stir, then cook 5 minutes, uncovered. Add 3 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes.

                              Add 1 lb carrots (peelied and cut into 1 inch segments) and simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

                              Discard lemongrass, bay leaf and star anise and garnish with Vietnamese coriander.


                            2. re: icecreamgal

                              I will adamently second the rave reviews for the tofu recipe TDQ is talking about.

                          1. Braised and roasted pork shanks with prosciutto and porcini mushrooms

                            Makes 4 servings.

                            1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
                            1 cup boiling water

                            4 whole fresh pork shanks with rind (each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
                            4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

                            1 large onion, chopped
                            1 cup chopped carrots
                            1 cup chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
                            1/2 cup chopped celery
                            2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
                            6 garlic cloves, chopped
                            1 cup dry white wine
                            1 cup low-salt chicken broth
                            3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, divided
                            2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided

                            Chopped fresh Italian parsley

                            Place porcini mushrooms in small bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over and let stand until mushrooms soften, at least 30 minutes. Drain and chop mushrooms; reserve soaking liquid.

                            Preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add pork, in batches if necessary, and sauté until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to rimmed baking sheet.

                            Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrots, leek, celery, and prosciutto. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft and beginning to color, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in garlic and chopped porcini. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add broth and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment in bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon sage and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Return pork and any accumulated juices to pot, arranging in single layer.

                            Bring pork mixture to boil, cover pot, and place in oven. Braise pork until very tender, turning over every 30 minutes, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Simmer until just warm before continuing.

                            Preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer pork to rimmed baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and black pepper. Roast pork until browned, about 20 minutes.

                            Meanwhile, tilt pan and spoon any fat from surface of sauce. Boil until sauce coats spoon lightly, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                            Spoon sauce onto large shallow platter or divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top sauce with pork, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.
                            Place porcini mushrooms in small bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over and let stand until mushrooms soften, at least 30 minutes. Drain and chop mushrooms; reserve soaking liquid.

                            Preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large wide pot over medium-high heat. Add pork, in batches if necessary, and sauté until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to rimmed baking sheet.

                            Spoon off and discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrots, leek, celery, and prosciutto. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft and beginning to color, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in garlic and chopped porcini. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add broth and reserved mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment in bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon sage and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Return pork and any accumulated juices to pot, arranging in single layer.

                            Bring pork mixture to boil, cover pot, and place in oven. Braise pork until very tender, turning over every 30 minutes, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Simmer until just warm before continuing.

                            Preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer pork to rimmed baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sage, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and black pepper. Roast pork until browned, about 20 minutes.

                            Meanwhile, tilt pan and spoon any fat from surface of sauce. Boil until sauce coats spoon lightly, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                            Spoon sauce onto large shallow platter or divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top sauce with pork, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

                            1. Our best dish this summer was freshly baked Lahey bread with home grown tomatoes (from a friend), moz from the farmers mkt. and home grown basil (ours) w/mayo.

                              1. Best food of summer was, and always has been, driving to the vegetable stand right in front of the corn fields and getting fresh picked sweet corn at 9 a.m.... rushing home and grilling it as early as 10 a.m. with butter, salt and pepper.
                                mmmmm that is summer to me.

                                1. at home:

                                  - slow roasted boneless pork roast wrapped in prosciutto.
                                  - grilled sea scallops glazed with honey, and oyster sauce
                                  - of course the pounds & pounds of prime, and dry aged beef cooked on the grill & consumed was always a hit.

                                  1. I grill and BBQ all year round, but it is especially enjoyable in the summer without having to shovel out the smoker...

                                    I had always procrastinated about cooking an entire pig. After seeing Ed Mitchell doing his whole hog, however, I finally decided to do it this past summer.
                                    Built my own pit, cooked a 140 pounder, and had a pig picking with 40 friends. It was great - the pig came out better than expected, juicy, and tender. The skin was Oh My God delicious. The whole experience was an epiphany.

                                    For me, that was the cooking experience of the summer (repeated a few weeks ago, and planning another before it gets too cold - I'll invite moh as well...)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: porker

                                      Well, if the name fits... cook it!

                                      I would love to be invited to a whole pig roast, but definitely won't be doing it myself. Although I suppose I have eaten pork from a whole pig before, since that's what they sell on the streets in Italy, on a bun. Mmm, porchetta.

                                      Roasting whole lambs is popular here, and I an attest (regularly) that it's absolutely delicious. Talk about cooking on the bone...

                                    2. Not quite up there with roasting an entire pig (wow)
                                      I made this for my niece. Just wonderful.


                                      1 cup cubed cooked chicken

                                      2/3 cup shredded carrots

                                      1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

                                      1 clove garlic, finely chopped

                                      2 TB soy sauce

                                      1/4 tsp ground ginger

                                      WONTON DIPPERS

                                      30 wonton skins (about 3 1/4 inch squares)

                                      Cooking spray

                                      2 TBS packed brown sugar

                                      2 tsps cornstarch

                                      1/2 cup water

                                      2 TBS ketchup

                                      1 TB rice wine vinegar

                                      2 TSPS Worchestershire sauce

                                      4 drops red pepper sauce


                                      2 packages (8 oz. each) 1/3-less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

                                      1 TB milk


                                      1/3 cup unsalted cashews, chopped

                                      4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)

                                      1. In small bowl, mix topping ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

                                      2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each wonton skin in half into two triangles. On 2 large ungreased cookie sheets, arrange wonton skins in single layer. Spray wontons with cooking spray. Bake about 6 minutes or until crisp.; cool.

                                      3. In 1-quart saucepan, mix brown sugar and cornstarch. Gradually beat in remaining sace ingredients with wire whisk. Cook over medium heat about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally with wire whisk, until thick. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

                                      4. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and milk with electric mixer on medium speed. Spread on serving platter at least 10 inches in diamter. Just before serving spoon topping over cheese; drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with cashews and green onions. Serve with crisp wontons.

                                      30 servings (2 TB dip and 2 wontons each)

                                      80 calories

                                      4.5 g fat

                                      160 mg sodium

                                      fiber 0
                                      1/2 starch; 1 fat

                                      1/2 carb choice

                                      Cooks' notes: I used frozen thighs and cooked them in the microwave; I used julienned carrots and chopped them into shorter pieces; I used parsley herb blend in the tube, it's more expensive but it lasts longer; I always use fresh garlic, for me there is no equal substitute ever; I could only find round wontons so we had half moons instead of triangles which was just fine. For curved wontons (which looke nicer) slightly crumple a piece of foil and place on cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray and arrange wonton skins in single layer. Spray wontons with cooking spray and bake as directed. Be very careful on timing, I burned an entire tray and had to throw them out. We didn't keep the leftover wontons ~~ I don't think they keep. The next day we had leftover dip with cucumber rounds. I did not beat cream cheese and milk with mixer, just used a fork on room temp cream cheese, worked fine.

                                      1. Sooo many to choose from. I'll post links to either my pictures, recipes and process where I can.

                                        best Meal I've "cooked" - this is a tough one....either a simple filet , dining al fresco in the beginning of summer,

                                        or a more recent seared duck. pics and recipe/process--

                                        contenders for best meal i've cooked go to a Duck Ragu with fresh pasta

                                        and a Caldo de Pollo we made one weekend.

                                        but...fall is upon us...which to me...means Soup season. and we spent last weekend making loads of beef and chicken stock to freeze to be ready for it!

                                        Best Meal I've "ate" has been a Chef's table tasting menu at a local great restaurant (Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown, NJ),for pics..

                                        for lunch, I had an amazing lunch at Gramercy Tavern in NYC. And a great tasting menu at "Fifteen" jamie olivers place in London....oh and a great lunch at Le Coup Chou in Paris.

                                        1. My favorite recipe this summer has been the Yotam Ottolenghi Quinoa and Red Rice Salad (the recipe's on line along with a bunch of others). Ottolenghi is a Lebanese Palestinian who has take away places in London. All vegetarian.

                                          This salad is easy and spectacular, and includes a base of red rice (He calls from Camargue but all I had was Bhutanese which worked fine) and quinoa cooked and cooled and mixed with green onions, white onions, arugula, dried apricots, pistachios and dressed with a citrus dressing. It's fabulous and refreshing.

                                          One of the best things I ate this summer in a restaurant was at Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon. It was a sweetbread salad and I'd never had the nerve to eat sweetbreads before. My husband said "Let's get it! I've never had them either." So we did and they were crispy-fried in a light batter and served with some lettuces and a tangy dressing. Amazing.

                                          The simplest fave this summer has been a mix of non-fat and low-fat yoghurt mixed with sugar and vanilla and some lemon zest and then churned in my Donvier non-electric ice cream maker. Served with a topping of either Trader Joe's frozen berry medley or, earlier, peaches and nectarines and blueberries or stewed plums. Very simple but delicious.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            Hi Oakjoan. I actually ate at Ottolenghi for the first time in March this year! Met a friend for breakfast, though, so only saw the salads, never ate them. Someone told me they have brought out their own cookbook though, which might be worth checking out. I will look up the recipe you praised.

                                            How much sugar do you add to your frozen yoghurt?

                                            1. re: Gooseberry

                                              Gooseberry: I'm jealous about your breakfast at Ottolenghi, but I guess being able to go to Chez Panisse Cafe whenever I want makes up for a bit.

                                              I add very little sugar to the frozen yoghurt because my husband is diabetic. I sprinkle fake sugar over his portion. I'd say a quarter cup of sugar (or agave syrup) for 3 cups of yoghurt. I usually add sugar a little at a time (when not making it for husband) and taste.

                                              Lots of Ottolenghi recipes are online at the guardian u.k. website. There must be 25 recipes or more. I'm going to get the cookbook when Amazon over here has it in stock.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                I would swap Ottolenghi for Chez P in a heartbeat. Go have the chicken al mattone just for me, please. And maybe the pizza with nettles on top. Oh, and anything with marjoram pesto. And all the ice creams. Damn... eat everything for me, please!

                                                And when you're done, pop across the road and get some burrata from the Cheeseboard.

                                          2. I have two:

                                            Phyllo-Wrapped Salmon with Leeks and Red Bell Pepper - this takes some prep, but it is wonderful and looks like it takes more work than it really does. Great company food. I have served it with wild rice or smashed potatoes.

                                            Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - I have made this several times this summer. I have tried to make homemade bread so many times but was never satisfied with the results. This recipe makes it so easy, and it's great bread!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: seconds

                                              Phyllo-wrapped Salmon: interesting. lose the peppers, add some julienned carrot, zucchini, &c, swap tarragon for the basil, increase the amount of butter (!!!) and imagine that you're in Tours...

                                            2. Fig pizza. Using ready-made whole wheat pizza dough, sliced Brown Turkey figs. The figs ooze a bit of liquid that gels in the baking. Top with a little white cheese of your choice, before or after baking. Maybe a few basil leaves.

                                              I also started making quinoa this year. A few kaffir lime leaves added while cooking gives a nice lime flavor, along with some garlic, green onion, and salt/pepper. Especially good with fish dishes.

                                              1. My favorite thing that I made might have been a very simple dessert from "Dolce Italiano," the book that came out last winter. It was strawberries macerated in chianti and served with ricotta and coarse black pepper.

                                                1. I skimmed but did not follow the Eggplant-Pepper Tomato Sauce recipe that's frequently been pictured on the right of the screen. For what ended up being nearly 3 quarts of sauce, I first browned 4 oz. of quarter-inch dice pancetta. I thin-sliced onions with a mandoline, then julienned peppers, carrots, summer squash, and a BIG eggplant. Most of the julienne was 3" long. Once I added slices of scallion, another time of garlic greens. Also some unsoaked dried mushrooms, a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes and a 6oz can of tomato paste, crushed garlic, basil, Old Bay, and grated parmesan. Between the long strips, the texture of the eggplant and mushrooms (plus the umami of the latter) and the small amount of pancetta, this sauce is satisfyingly hearty. I like it better than my typical ground-beef tomato sauce.

                                                  1. The favorite dish this summer(cooked and eaten by me) was slow roasted pork shoulder(rubbed with adobo and injected w/garlic), black beans and yellow rice. Mmmmm, yummy

                                                    1. I think the best dish I made this summer was fresh, bbq roasted corn on the cob. I had the opportunity to live close to some delicious grown corn and it quickly became a side of choice for our house. A close second would be an eggplant, tomato, zucchini, and dal dish I've uncovered during my search for Indian recipes. Best new discovery = blue cheese on homemade pizza! Delicious.

                                                      1. My beautiful, kind neighbor gave me a big honkin' hunk of fresh caught bluefin tuna this summer. I grilled it up rare with nary a seasoning and just a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of salt and pepper at the table. Melt in your mouth, I tell ya.

                                                        Also, the steak I made last week with the help of my fellow Chowhounders on side dish ideas was an outta the park grand slam home run.

                                                        And every year fresh Jersey tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, balsamic and EVOO is just a big bite of summertime for me.

                                                        1. Mrs. O has been doing an evening Boot Camp fitness thing off and on this year, so we've wound up making most of our evening meals fish + a salad, with forays into such alternatives as asparagus and grilled tomatoes. One challenge has been coming up with quick and tasty ways to prepare fish, other than grilling or pan-roasting. Here's one I invented one night (of COURSE when we had company! But I dodged the jinx yet again). It's adjusted for two hungry people, in this version I cooked night before last:

                                                          1 lb. mahi-mahi fillets
                                                          salt, pepper
                                                          1/3 cup good oil
                                                          1 cup pico de gallo, or other good fresh salsa

                                                          Pat excess moisture from fish. Season with salt & pepper. Pour oil into a baking dish, ideally one just large enough to hold the fish in a layer as deep as the thickest piece. Lay fish into dish. Hold for an hour at room temperature, turning over occasionally.

                                                          Preheat oven to 350º. Spread pico de gallo more or less evenly over the fish. Place in center of oven; bake for 20-25 minutes, until fish is just done. Let sit for ten minutes, and then serve. We had this just with a green salad, though a nice Parisian-style potato salad would be very good, and some itty bitty little haricots verts as well.

                                                          1. HONESTLY? this is gonna sound disgusting, but... Wagyu NY Strip Steaks on the grill. with top-notch sweet corn on the cob on the side.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: kjmerz

                                                              Not sure what part of that would be / sound disgusting...?

                                                            2. My favorite dish from this summer encapsulated the season itself. It was Heirloom Tomato, Fried Goat Chevre, Caramelized Corn And Basil Chiffonade. Ooooooohhhhh so good!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                ahhhhh, ramona! that looks so amazingly good!
                                                                your chow profile is showing your old blog address, so you might want to change it. it is a beau-ti-ful blog, and your photos are so well-made. everyone should check it out!

                                                                ps i hate you for getting to go and get fresh lima beans!! waaaaaa-aaaaaa! how do you find out these neat road trips? do you have any good nova cider places?

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  Thanks alkapal!! Fresh lima beans were a real treat, as I have never seen them at any of the NoVa/DC markets. they were really creamy and good.
                                                                  Fall is apple and cider dseason. I know we will be seeing lots of cider at the farmers markets soon. I'll keep my eyes open this weekend at the markets and let you know who's carrying it.

                                                                2. re: monavano

                                                                  Wow, that looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

                                                                3. All dishes I made this summer & particularly enjoyed were pasta dishes.

                                                                  Not sure when *your* season for chanterelles starts, but I made wonderful cavatappi with bacon, chanterelles, and fresh parsley.

                                                                  My go-to summer pasta (any long shape will do) with fresh, slightly caramelized cherry tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil. Easy, fast, delicious.

                                                                  And last, but not least, bucatini with just a little butter, fresh grated parm, and freshly ground pepper -- that makes it al Alfredo, no? This was just a side dish to accompany salmon filet, but it's so damn easy I will make it again and again. Also delish.

                                                                  Restaurants haven't much impressed me this summer ---

                                                                  1. I have three, and I owe a big THANK YOU to chow Cookbook of the Month for all of these, as I found them while paging through the July and August books.

                                                                    This one is quickly becoming a cooler weather staple --

                                                                    from August COTM, The Glorious Food of Greece -- (page 33)
                                                                    Chicken Smothered with Onions and Feta. YUM. Bunches and bunches of onions are softened in olive oil. Then chicken (a whole chicken cut in 8 serving pieces) is slow cooked until falling off the bone, with the bunches and bunches of slow cooked onions, salt, and pepper. At the end, swirl in 8 oz of feta for a luscious tangy sauce. Sop up with crusty bread and prepare to swoon. I serve this with buttery Israeli couscous. You can cook the chicken in advance and hold off adding the feta until you are ready to serve. I do this, beautifully, in my Le Creuset.

                                                                    I also tried two new simple and tasty veggie dishes for July COTM (Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone).

                                                                    Stir Fried Roasted Eggplant -- Roast the eggplant at 400 degrees. Cook until very soft, between 35 mins and an hour. Then make a quick Asian sauce with some stock, sherry, soy sauce, tomato paste, rice vinegar, and sugar. Sautee a bunch of scallions and ginger, with garlic, then add eggplant and two chopped tomatoes and the sauce, and cook until eggplant is very hot. YUM. This is restaurant-delicious.

                                                                    Also easy and delicious -- I made cauliflower gratin with tomatoes and feta. Steam up some cauliflower (a big head, in florets) for five minutes. Meanwhile, Sautee some onion, garlic, oregano, cinnamon for a few minutes. Add five fresh tomatoes, chopped, cook for seven minutes, add a teaspoon honey and a tablespoon capers.
                                                                    Scoop the sauteed onion etc in a baking dish, and top with the steamed cauliflower. Squeeze half a lemon over, and toss on about 4 ounces (or MORE) crumbled feta. Pop it under the broiler for ten minutes. (Or, if you do the prep ahead of time, reheat at 400 for 20 minutes). Everyone laps this up. Great tang from the feta and lemon.

                                                                    All three of these are easy enough for weeknight meals, yet also bold with flavors, and impressive enough to serve to guests on the weekend. :0 I'm so glad that I participate in COTM as it is always introducing me to new ideas and new preparations of my favorite foods!

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                      Foxy, I am so glad I read your post! I happen to own the cookbook, so I looked at the stir-fried eggplant recipe and loosely followed it. I was doing something else that needed uniform rounds of eggplant, so the end thirds of a large purple one were left. I roasted these; they amounted to no more than 2 cups cooked, if that. So without measuring, and with what was on hand, I sauteed shallots, garlic, and ginger, adding balsamic, Mr. Yoshida's Sauce (thickish teriyaki-type marinade from Costco), tomato paste, and chopped tomato. So quick, and such bold flavor! I made a bastardized bruschetta by spreading it on multigrain rustic loaf toast, then topped with shredded parmesan and broiled. I'll be making the eggplant again and again. It should also be wonderful with the inclusion of bite-sized pieces of lamb, chicken, or shrimp, served over rice. I think that using okra in place of all or part of the eggplant would also be excellent.

                                                                    2. Fresh from the Farmer's Market fingerling potatos, yellow and green string beans, shallots with a vinagrette served room temp. Addictive.
                                                                      Also fresh from the farmer's market, yellow tomato soup (served cold or hot) with shallots, garlic, cayenne and fresh basil. Summer in bowl.

                                                                      1. I made a BBQ fresh pineapple..cored, sliced, stacked and layered in a trifle dish with French Vanilla Pudding, pound cake, fresh Tahitian bean and fresh whipped cream..OMG..it was such a HUGE hit at the pool party and these are people who know food and I was so happy that my pain in the ass friends loved it!

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                          That sounds good! I'll have to try it.

                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                            It was sublime..
                                                                            I forgot to mention that I marinated the fresh sliced Pineapple in a Crème de Cassis so when it went to the grill it carmelized.

                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                              Okay, that's it - details of the full recipe please!

                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                Hi Rubee..
                                                                                basically its layers of pound cake/french vanilla pudding/grilled pineapple/fresh whipped cream in a trifle dish..
                                                                                I drizzled a little bit of Tahitian vanilla that I got on a recent trip to Tahiti.
                                                                                I let it stand in the fridge for several hours..add the whip cream when ready to serve..only use heavy cream/whip cream.
                                                                                I really get the pineapple carmelized on the grill.
                                                                                I'm usually not a dessert person and like I stated in a previous post that most of my friends are HUGE pains in the ass..they know their food and wine and this was a home run out of the park..
                                                                                Good luck to you..its basically a made up dish of what I had in my pantry.

                                                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                  Excellent! Thanks so much. I'll be sure to report back when I make it; probably within the next couple of weeks.

                                                                        2. For some reason I had never used yellow summer squash very much so tried it instead of the usual zucchini and found it was very good this way: slice, layer in baking dish with onions, mix in a lot of grated cheddar cheese, bake. Demonstrates nonsummativity---the total is more than the sum of its parts. Zucchini I do differently---saute in a little olive oil and serve with lime wedges and grated Parmesan cheese. This is also good at room temperature, the Italian way. Squash from the Farmers' Market is one of summer's pleasures. Ah, but what am I saying, now that it's fall the acorn squash is here and that's maybe the best of all, baked on the half-shell in a very hot oven, with butter/salt/pepper for some and butter/brown sugar/nutmeg for others.

                                                                          1. I've been having fun with roasted beets in salads of all sorts.

                                                                            Also, burgers with porcini dust. Just burgers coated with pulverized dried porcinis and then grilled. Top with sour cream for sort of a stroganoff flavor.

                                                                            1. braised pork belly and watermelon salad

                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                              1. re: budlit

                                                                                two of my favourite things. Care to share a recipe or some guidelines?

                                                                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                  Have you tried Nigella's watermelon salad with red onion, feta, and olives in Forever Summer? It's exceptional, and it looks gorgeous too.

                                                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                    I know so many people that rave about this, I've been tempted to try. However, a particularly traumatic watermelon, olive and feta gazpacho, consumed at an overly avant garde restaurant several years ago, makes me hesitate. It was _that_ bad, and as someone else's guest, I had to eat a goodly amount of it. I don't consider myself squeamish, but just the thought of it makes me shudder.

                                                                                    But as long as the feta and olives aren't there, I'll eat anything with watermelon. I had a marvellous watermelon and crispy chicken with pumpkin seed sauce at an amazing Chinese restaurant in Boston once...

                                                                                    1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                      I was really wary of that salad too, as was my husband, and we both loved it. I know what you mean about that feeling though - and, it sounds vile as gazpacho. The red onions in the dish, as well as the mint, really make it work. Also, I don't remember if it calls for French or Greek feta, but I find the French milder - so if you do at some point decide to give it a go, it might be worth seeking it out.

                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        I sometimes sub goat cheese for the feta with fine results; also makes it less extreme.

                                                                                      2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                        hey gooseberry, look at this lonely post of mine that has a ton of recipes for watermelon dishes, grilled and otherwise:

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          seriously, Alkapal - first a post all about tomatoes, and now a post all about grilled watermelon? You are reading my mind, perhaps even fine tuning it!

                                                                                          Which of the recipe links you give have you tried? Maybe I must resurrect the post.

                                                                                          I am so ready for watermelon...

                                                                                          1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                            gooseberry, how long will you have to wait before watermelon season?

                                                                                            i've tried the basic melon, cheese, greens, vinegar-y dressing combo. it is very flexible. love watercress and arugula. love goat cheese or feta. i like how the cheese gets a little softened by the melon juice!

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              Mmm... looked at my seasonal food calendar (yes, I actually record when fruit comes into season) for last year, and watermelons hit the shelves in the last week of October. Which thankfully isn't that far off! Goody, watermelon's one of my favourites... Sweet melons come in around then, too.

                                                                                              I'm thinking sweet melon slices wrapped in some local charcuterie, a la prosciutto-style...

                                                                                    2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                      Adapted from Zak Pelaccio
                                                                                      Time: 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours, plus at least 24 hours' marinating

                                                                                      For the pork belly:
                                                                                      3 pounds raw, uncured pork belly, skin on
                                                                                      2 cups kecap manis
                                                                                      6 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
                                                                                      3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
                                                                                      3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
                                                                                      Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
                                                                                      Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
                                                                                      All-purpose flour, for dusting
                                                                                      Salt, if needed

                                                                                      For the watermelon salad:
                                                                                      5 pounds watermelon
                                                                                      2 cups rice wine vinegar
                                                                                      3 shallots, sliced
                                                                                      2 Thai bird chilies, sliced
                                                                                      2 kaffir lime leaves
                                                                                      1 ounce (2 inches) fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced
                                                                                      1/2 round (1 ounce) palm sugar or 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
                                                                                      1 tablespoon kosher salt

                                                                                      For the dressing:
                                                                                      1 1/2 rounds palm sugar (3 ounces) or 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
                                                                                      1 cup rice wine vinegar
                                                                                      1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
                                                                                      6 ounces gingerroot, peeled and sliced
                                                                                      6 cilantro roots and 1 inch of stems, cleaned and trimmed
                                                                                      2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
                                                                                      3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
                                                                                      3 scallions, trimmed and sliced, for garnish
                                                                                      1 cup torn Vietnamese coriander (rau ram) leaves, for garnish
                                                                                      1 cup torn Thai basil leaves, for garnish
                                                                                      Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional).

                                                                                      1. Crosshatch pork belly skin with sharp knife, making cuts 1/2-inch apart. Place pork belly in non-reactive dish. Combine kecap manis, vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice, and pour over pork belly. Chill for 24 to 48 hours, turning several times.
                                                                                      2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place belly, skin side up, in baking pan with 2 cups marinating liquid and 2 cups water. Liquid should come halfway up the pork; if not, add more water or use smaller pan. Cover pan with foil. Bake until a skewer penetrates the belly with little or no resistance, 3 to 4 hours. Remove pork from liquid and let cool. Leaving skin on, slice belly into 1-inch chunks.
                                                                                      3. To make salad, cut watermelon flesh into 1-inch cubes (discarding seeds). Reserve rind. Refrigerate flesh until ready to use. With sharp knife, remove outer green skin of rind, reserving white part. Dice white rind into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
                                                                                      4. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine rice wine vinegar, shallots, chilies, kaffir lime, ginger, palm sugar, salt and 1 cup water, and bring to boil. Cook until sugar dissolves. Strain liquid over white rind. Let cool, then chill for at least 1 hour or as long as 2 days.
                                                                                      5. To make dressing, roughly crush palm sugar using a mortar and pestle or place in a plastic bag and crush with a hammer or heavy can. In a food processor, combine sugar with vinegar, lime juice, ginger, cilantro, garlic and salt, and blend until smooth.
                                                                                      6. In medium saucepan or wok, heat 3 inches canola or peanut oil to 375 degrees. Lightly dust pork belly cubes with flour, shaking off excess. Working in batches, fry pork belly until dark golden brown and crispy, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Season with salt, if necessary.
                                                                                      7. In a mixing bowl, toss the watermelon flesh with just enough dressing to coat. Divide pork among serving plates, and top with watermelon flesh and a few cubes of pickled rind. Drizzle additional dressing around plate. Garnish with scallions, coriander leaves, basil, and sesame seeds, if using.

                                                                                      1. re: budlit

                                                                                        gosh, this sounds fantastic! I'm not sure why I didn't take the chicken-watermelon concept in my head and translate it into other meat-and-watermelon pairings. Belly Pork sounds wonderful.

                                                                                        I'll make this as soon as watermelon come into season. Thanks for the recipe!

                                                                                      2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                        zak palaccio (fatty crab) ny times, aug. 16, 2008, you will find the recipe there.

                                                                                    3. I was testing recipes for a new cookbook coming out next fall so i had a lot of new Asian dishes all very good. But, my favorite summer dish in Nigella's Watermelon Salad. Unfortunately I only got ariound to making it once.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                                        Speaking of Nigella, I am a huge fan of her rhubarb fool and the za'atar chicken with fettoush (especially the fettoush) from her Forever Summer book. The first I don't make often (can anyone eat that much whipped cream often?) but the second has become a staple.

                                                                                      2. bbq shrimp with plum sauce over fresh baby greens....great salad with eggs, and tomatoes. Got the idea from a Donna Hay recipe...

                                                                                        1. Nothing new and not really a recipe. Simply perfectly ripe figs wrapped with the best proscuitto di Parma I could get my hands on, drizzed with balsamic that was reduced to almost a black ooze and topped with the tiniest little dab of creme fraiche. Just the best bite I put into my mouth this summer.

                                                                                          1. Everything in Russ Parson's "How toe Pick a Peach" especially the Heirloom Tomato Tart.
                                                                                            Best Discovery new things to make with all that Zuchinni- Thanks Russ Parsons-

                                                                                            1. fresh mozz, tomato, spinach, and pesto on a french baguette. mmm...so delicious.

                                                                                              1. Ina Garten's Herbed Grilled Shrimp.