Cold beers are great and all, but you’ll really raise your summer party game this weekend with these boozy ideas. Take the watermelon keg to the next level by turning it into tequila shot skewers, make summery sangria right in your cooler, and stock the ultimate DIY margarita bar with an array of citrus juices and mango puree. See how it’s done below, and check out more cool ways to win summer. Read more
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Succotash is essentially an all-American stir-fry. Succotash has many variants and adaptations, but by definition, nearly all contain corn and beans. Fresh vegetables are what make this recipe so special, so I gently suggest not to bother with this recipe unless you can make it with peak-of-summer produce. All the ingredients are diced about the same size, resulting in a stellar vegetable medley. I promise you will be rewarded! The key to succotash is that simple ingredients are combined with a minimum of fuss, and the results are a colorful and crisp burst of down-home comfort.
Choosing the vegetables is important. When faced with a mountain of corn at the grocery store, farmers market or produce stand, look for the silk at the top of the ear to be very dark brown, almost black. It is not unusual to see people peeling back the husks in search of ears with perfect rows of kernels. Just take a peek to make sure the ear is full and free of worm. Try to purchase corn still in the husk and keep it on until ready to cook, to keep the corn moist and sweet.
What do you really need on hand for quick, easy summer dinners? Here’s our go-to list — it’s a combo of veggies that turn into meals in a snap, seasonings that make everything a little more summery, and starches that help round out whatever you’ve got on hand (ideally without heating up the house too much).
We had just lost the amazing ice-pop stand downstairs from our office and were really feeling the void. To make up for our loss, we developed some fun, summery flavors sort-of-inspired by Chopped baskets, working savory flavors in where we could.
These mixed-up pops were ridiculously fun to test (and taste). If you plan on developing your own recipes, here’s what we learned: Basically, it’s really easy to freeze things — you could put plain fruit juice in the freezer and it’d end up a pop — but for perfect popsicle texture, you’re looking for a balance between fruity, creamy and icy.
At its simplest, squash casserole consists of thinly sliced tender summer squash and a cheese sauce to bind it all together, perhaps with a smattering of crispy, buttery crumbs strewn on the top for crunch. But, as with many favorite dishes, there are a whole lot of opinions about which recipe is the absolute best. Variations include those with homemade white sauce, those with sauces made with familiar red-and-white cans of cream of fill-in-the-blank soup, decadent heavy cream and cheese-laden versions crowned with smashed sleeves of crackers and pats of butter, and mayonnaise-cream cheese dump-and-stir versions. The truth is, nearly all are foolproof, crowd-pleasing favorites, because nothing, absolutely nothing, spells Down-Home Comfort like a casserole. Read more
Here in New York City, strawberries arriving at the farmers market signal the arrival of summer and all the glorious fresh fruit waiting just around the corner. The simplest and often tastiest way to enjoy them is to pluck the stems from the top, and pop them in your mouth. Every now and then, I get fooled by a batch of berries that smell intoxicatingly sweet, only to bite into them and find my taste buds crestfallen. When that happens, there are a few things you can do to coax some flavor from your berries — jam and pie are usually at the top of my list. A more hands-off approach is roasting them. The oven does most of the work. The sauce can then be used as syrup for pancakes or a topping for sundaes, stirred into some plain yogurt for an inexpensive and healthier fruit-flavored version, or my other favorite — stirred into some sparkling water or seltzer for a summer spritzer.
Summer’s heating up, and we’ve got plenty of frozen treats to cool you down. But here’s something unexpected to store in the freezer alongside your ice pops and ice cream sandwiches: 11 ingredients that freeze beautifully in ice cube trays. Those tiny compartments are perfect for preserving leftover condiments or the last few glugs of a bottle of wine. And when it’s just too hot to sizzle bacon in a skillet to render its fat or to roast garlic in the oven, you’ll be glad you’ve got those flavorful goods chilling out in the freezer. Read more
Along with longer days and warmer nights, late spring and early summer ushers in an abundance of ultra-fresh produce. From tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries to colorful squash and bell peppers, there’s no shortage of fruits and vegetables during these warm months, and one of the best, most-versatile items to enjoy is a bright, ripe tomato. Simple pastas and salads are classic picks for putting the tomato to work, but these juicy bites can go beyond the basics as well, as The Kitchen co-hosts showed off this morning with their takes on stuffed tomatoes. Read on below to get 15 ideas and recipes for taking tomatoes to the next level, and learn how to celebrate these beauties all summer long.
1. Perhaps the most-traditional use for tomatoes, a pasta-ready sauce is a must-have in every recipe arsenal. Master Alton’s Tomato Sauce recipe this summer, and keep coming back to it when you need a satisfying meal. He starts off by baking the tomatoes to add a subtle sweetness to the sauce, then processes them through a food mill to achieve a smooth texture.
2. Just like pasta sauce, salsa is also a no-fail way to put tomatoes to work. Instead of picking up jarred salsa, try Marcela’s speedy homemade version instead. Her Roasted Tomato Salsa is made with just a handful of ingredients, and it features a single serrano chile, which offers manageable heat.
3. Whether you need a last-minute potluck addition or an elegant appetizer, The Pioneer Woman’s party-perfect Bruschetta (pictured above) is a timeless favorite, made with colorful grape tomatoes and a splash of balsamic.
It’s about that time that we switch gears from spring eating to something more suited for the warm weather. When you think summer eating, visions of ketchup-laced hot dogs, smothered-in-sauce ribs and other staples are likely to come to mind. Casseroles, on the other hand, likely aren’t at the top of your brain. But maybe they should be. When you incorporate seasonal ingredients, this potluck power player can go well beyond the tired tuna casserole. Take your pick of Food Network’s best casseroles, from creamy sides to complete dinners.
Like tacos, loaded Beef and Cheddar Casserole (pictured above) is a dish with major staying power on your family’s weeknight dinner roster, especially since it’s ready in just under an hour. Simply pour beefy tomato sauce over wide egg noodles and bring on the cheese.
Farmers markets are starting to see more and more produce as the summer season takes off and the weather heats up. From tomatoes to corn and all kinds of summer squash, put these ingredients to use while they’re in their prime.