Welcome to the Hamptons: home to beautiful beaches, incredible real estate and renowned traffic (especially during prime summer season). In the many villages and hamlets of the towns of Southampton and East Hampton, restaurants can cycle through as quickly as summer tourists. But an abundance of local produce and access to both the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean for fresh seafood mean you’re guaranteed to get a great meal at any time of the year. Plentiful weekly farmers markets, along with roadside stands like Little Dog Farm (pictured above), The Green Thumb farm stand (one of Katie Lee’s favorites, where she buys local Mecox cheese) and North Sea Farms, mean you can also make a mean meal at home. To help craft this tour we reached out to a few experts, including Food Network stars Katie Lee and Geoffrey Zakarian; Dan Rattiner, the publisher of the local iconic weekly Dan’s Papers and host of Dan’s Taste of Summer (where you can try almost all of these spots in one place); and Kathleen King, founder and owner of Tate’s Bake Shop. And we added a few of our personal favorites.
Soup isn’t for just the winter months and it’s not fit for just veggies either. These recipes (most made in simply a blender) will keep you cool all summer long by putting fresh summer produce and even a few in season fruits to work.
While you’re staying hydrated this summer with copious amounts of water to get you through sweltering days, try branching out at lunch or dinner with a beer or glass of wine. These pairings work particularly well with your favorite summer recipes for burgers, ribs and even dessert.
1. Grilled Shrimp with Grilled Tomato Cocktail Sauce
Take this classic party starter outdoors and onto the grill. Grilled tomatoes, onions and lemons serve as the smoky base for a homemade cocktail sauce that’s blended with Worcestershire sauce, honey, horseradish and hot sauce until smooth. Whether you serve the sauce warm or at room temperature alongside simply charred shrimp, the dish is perfect for a crowd.
If you’re having a Fourth of July party this weekend, serve Ina’s crowd-pleasing cake that feeds up to 24 guests. You can make the easy vanilla sheet cake ahead of time and decorate it with berries and frosting the day of your party to cut down on in-the-kitchen prep during your gathering.
Cutthroat host Alton Brown knows the ultimate grilling sabotage. “Easy,” he says, “a dirty grill. When grills get dirty, they don’t conduct heat properly. Food will wind up sticking to the surface and will take on the flavor of the grill.” Proper grill cleaning and upkeep will prevent this from happening. If your food does get stuck, though, get the grill hot, then lightly saturate a paper towel with oil and, using tongs, swipe it gently over the surface of the grate. Brush your grill down well once you’re done cooking every meal so you’re not stuck cleaning right before dinner next time.
Alton Brown may be spending most of his time on the set of Food Network Star or Cutthroat Kitchen, but there’s always time for a cocktail. He gave us the low-down on his favorite drink for summer, told us which trends he is totally over and answered how you can best stock your at-home bar.
What cocktail trends are you over?
Alton Brown: I’m over anything that involves a cheese-stuffed olive because I don’t like cheese in my booze.
A traditional Moscow Mule calls for vodka mixed with lime, sugar and ginger beer. This version infuses even more ginger flavor by simmering ginger grounds with maple syrup (you can also make your own brown sugar syrup) before stirring in lemon juice and vodka. Top with club soda and garnish with a piece of fresh ginger.
If your recipe calls for a fancy ingredient, don’t skip the recipe, simply swap the costly item for another less expensive alternative. Our supermarket expert Nicole Cherie Jones chatted with Beth Moncel, author of Budget Bytes, Gabi Moskowitz of brokeassgourmet.com, Carrie Robinson of thefrugalfoodiemama.com and Amy McCoy, author of Poor Girl Gourmet, to find out how you can save hundreds of dollars at the grocery store and still nail recipes that call for pricey ingredients.
1. Porcini Mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms are pricey at $5 to $8 per ounce, and they’re also elusive. Save up to 95 percent with baby bella (cremini) mushrooms that register at only 38 cents per ounce.
Trisha Yearwood entertains family and friends in her backyard all summer long. The Grammy winner is a pro at making big-batch recipes that will feed a hungry crowd. From ribs to chicken, follow her easy solutions for summer recipes that’ll be sure to satisfy your group.