by Lygeia Grace in How-to, In Season, July 22nd, 2014
by Virginia Willis in In Season, Recipes, July 11th, 2014
Summer is the season of spontaneity — when a passing neighbor can become a last-minute dinner guest, and the plump tomatoes and zucchini you picked up at the market turn into the centerpiece of brunch. And when it comes to go-with-the-flow entertaining, there’s nothing better than a grill: It’s fast, cleanup is a snap, and practically everything tastes better with the smoky, crispy char you can get only from a fire. The following supermarket staples make it easy to improvise at the grill, no matter if you’re cooking T-bones, plums or potatoes. Stock up and you’ll be prepared, whatever the mood brings.
by Sara Levine in In Season, Recipes, July 10th, 2014
Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are members of the nightshade family. There’s something a bit sexy about those nightshades; maybe it’s the deadly yet beautiful part …. Tomatoes are, in fact, a fruit, but their affinity for other savory ingredients means that they are usually classed as a vegetable. Fruit or vegetable, they are a rock-solid part of summer down-home comfort.
Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full flavor of a garden-ripe tomato — and there is nothing as sad and disappointing as the insipid, lifeless flavor of a tennis ball-like tomato held in cold storage and shipped in a case from the other side of the world. I don’t eat those atrocities and strongly suggest that you don’t either. So, when it’s tomato season, I vigorously support eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible.
by Virginia Willis in In Season, Recipes, July 4th, 2014
Why wait until dinner to fire up the grill? The grill masters in Food Network Kitchen came up with all-new recipes for great breakfasts and lunches that can be easily prepared in the backyard. Get ready to grill all weekend with flame-kissed versions of French toast, breakfast tacos, cobb salad and more. Read more
by Cameron Curtis in Food Network Chef, In Season, July 1st, 2014
I grew up in Macon County, Georgia. Central and South Georgia are well known for their peach crops in the summer. Summer means peach pie, peach jelly, pickled peaches, peach ice cream and peach cobbler. Macon County is adjacent to Peach County, home of “The Big Peach,” a 75-foot-tall peach mounted on a 100-foot-tall pole — a gigantic totem that makes it pretty clear that peaches are serious business in Georgia. So is July, as the temperatures often soar into the triple digits with a humidity that makes life a lot more comfortable when experienced at a slower pace.
Where do you think the expression “easy as pie” originated? Many cooks are scared of making pie — they don’t think it’s easy! Everyone loves pie, but making it can be intimidating. Even perfectly useful kitchen folk are rendered helpless when pie is mentioned. That’s where the cobbler saves the day. The really great part about a cobbler is that it can be made ahead and is equally delicious served warm, chilled or at room temperature. (Don’t limit yourself to only peaches for this simple and spectacular dessert. Other fruits include blueberry, blackberry, plum, cherry and apricot, depending on what is ripe in your part of the country.)
by Sara Levine in How-to, In Season, June 27th, 2014
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.
Check out Alton’s tips for a clean grill.
by Virginia Willis in In Season, Recipes, June 27th, 2014
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
by Rupa Bhattacharya in In Season, June 17th, 2014
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.
by Rupa Bhattacharya in In Season, Recipes, June 16th, 2014
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).
by Virginia Willis in In Season, Recipes, June 13th, 2014
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