Crisps are one of the best summer desserts. They come together in minutes and can then be left alone to bake — no need to be exact about the timing, just bake until fragrant, golden and bubbling. With crisps, you get everything a pie has to offer in much less time and without any risk of a soggy crust.
With all that summer has to offer in the way of showy vegetables (squash blossoms, anyone?) and fleeting stars (get your heirloom tomatoes while they’re here!), cucumbers can easily be overlooked. But not anymore.
Never cooked a cucumber before? Now’s your big chance. Simmer slices in a little butter and water until tender, season them with dill and salt — and then pile atop pumpernickel bread.
Black and Blue Cheesecake Tart
Blackberries and blueberries co-star in this luscious cheesecake. With all of the antioxidants going on here, you’ll be fighting free radicals while simultaneously poking your fork into a graham-cracker crust.
This colorful dish makes a bright side and comes together in not a ton of time. The fresh corn gets sauteed with red onion and orange bell pepper and, just before it’s served, a pop of fresh basil (or other green herb) delivers an added burst of color and flavor.
“Nutrition was always something I was interested in,” says Josh Feathers, corporate chef at Blackberry Farm, the acclaimed Tennessee hotel and restaurant in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. A veteran of the Navy, where he was an admiral’s cook for seven years, Feathers was in fantastic shape when he joined Blackberry Farm in 2000. But as time went by, things changed. “I spent more and more time than ever in the kitchen and middle age started creeping up on me,” he recalls. “I looked at myself and said, ‘’Wow, I need to lose about 30 pounds.’” By focusing on portion control and adding a regimen of running and weigh- training at the gym, Feathers shed the weight in six months.
Ready to get your zucchini on? Here are seven inventive ways to cook it up now.
Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese
Attention, goat cheese fans! Here, the creamy spread, plus parsley and lemon juice, is topped with spinach and basil leaves before being rolled up in slices of grilled zucchini.
When summer produce is at its peak, it needs little more than the addition of a few seasonings for the flavors to really shine. Here, cucumbers, summer squash and tomatoes are blended into three simple soups accented with herbs and enriched with avocados and nuts.
Chilled soups are not only the ideal starter for a summer dinner party, but they’re also perfect for sipping as a healthy snack on hot days, offering a savory change of pace to the usual fruit smoothies. These chilled soups are best made ahead so they can thoroughly chill in the fridge. They will keep well for up to up to 4 days.
Tomatoes? Check. Corn and cucumber? Double check. The next time you overdo it at the farmers market, you know what to do: Let’s get some salad up in here!
Cherry Tomatoes: Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (above, from Food Network Magazine)
Basil and garlic elicit their savory side, but these little tomatoes, tossed in buttermilk-sour cream dressing, also know how to sweet-talk.
Just a few minutes of scorching heat will transform any farmers market find into charred, perfectly smoky bliss.
Grilled Ratatouille Salad (above, from Food Network Magazine)
A swirl of eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and rings of red bell pepper and red onion — combined with olive oil, red wine vinegar and fresh basil — turn this dish into a colorful, barbecue-perfect side salad. Read more