Greek Country Salad
Adapted from

  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. escarole, chopped (preferably pale inner leaves) (2 cups)
  • 1/4 lb. young mustard greens, trimmed and finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/2 lb. dandelion greens, tough stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (2 cups)
  • 2 c. baby spinach leaves
  • 1 c. watercress, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. chopped dill, fresh
  • 1/4 c. flat-leaf parsley, fresh
  • 1/4 c. thinly sliced scallion

Directions: In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, salt, and honey. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to blend. Add the greens and herbs to the bowl of dressing and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Makes eight servings.

Star Recommends: Cusamano Insolia
This wine is crafted 100% from the Insolia grape, a Sicilian specialty. Medium straw-gold in color, it serves up ripe pear, McIntosh apple, heady floral notes and hints of a briny sea breeze. Dry, medium bodied, textured and mouth-filling, with a gentle fruit core following through to a pleasantly refreshing finish.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from

  • 3 c. fresh mint leaves, stemmed
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 c. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped into chunks and flakes

Directions: Bruise the mint leaves with a mortar and pestle until fragrant. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cream, milk, sugar and salt together. Heat until it just begins to steam, then remove from heat, stir in the mint leaves, and cover. Let sit at room temperature at least an hour, up to three hours. With a slotted spoon, remove mint leaves from the pot and bring the cream mixture to a very low simmer. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, then while whisking, pour in a cup of the cream mixture. Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until custard reaches 170˚–174˚F. Stir in the vanilla, pour into a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions, and add the chocolate to the mix about halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Placing the plastic wrap in contact with the surface of the ice cream will prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least 4 hours, then serve. Makes two quarts.

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Captures the refreshing mountain air of the Alps and the delightful perfumes of Provence. Subtly sweet, this bubbly offers intense aromas of white flowers, ripe fruits, and is low in alcohol content (only 7%).

Dill and Cheddar Beer Bread
Adapted from
This bread is quite simple to make, and is really amazing just out of the oven, topped with butter. Try experimenting with different lagers and ales.

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 c. finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. beer

Directions: Preheat oven to 375˚F and grease an 8-inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, dill, and cheese. Form a well in the center of the mixture and pour the beer into the well. Fold until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool 10 more minutes. This is delicious warm or at room temperature. Makes one loaf.

Star Recommends: Zvygelt! Zweigelt
Great structure, typical sweet cherry aromas with blueberries, red currant and spices. A yummy, easy drinking wine that can even handle a slight chill on a hot summer day. Truly built for the back yard or out on the deck and a great complement to this yummy bread.

Braised Zucchini with Mint and Lemon
Adapted from
Slowly braised, zucchini turns rich, silky, and absolutely delicious. Just as nice at room temperature if you want a cool dinner.

  • 2 lb. zucchini, ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 c. finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped mint, divided
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts, toasted

Directions: Slice zucchini into quarters lengthwise, then in half crosswise for spears 2-3” long. Heat the olive oil over medium low heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the zucchini, garlic, lemon zest, salt, 1 teaspoon of the mint, and 2 tablespoons of water. Toss well. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is very tender and almost translucent, about 25 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, remove the lid and add the lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. Stir in the rest of the mint and add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Top with the toasted pine nuts and serve still warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 generous servings.

Star Recommends: Andezon Cotes du Rhone
Dense ruby/purple, with a stunning nose of blackberry liqueur and jus de viande (beef/meat juices), its thrilling, intensely pure, full-bodied mouthfeel, good freshness, and striking floral character all combine for one of the very best bargains in dry red wine.

Tzatziki Potato Salad
Adapted from
This is cool and refreshing, and will become your go-to potato salad.

  • 4 lb. small boiling potatoes
  • 1 3/4 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. minced dill
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cucumber (about 1 lb, unpeeled but quartered lengthwise, seeds removed)

Directions: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-high and simmer until tender enough to be pierced with a skewer, about 20-35 min. Drain and allow to cool completely.

Place yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt, and ground black pepper in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Grate cucumber on a box grater. Place the cucumber on a clean dish towel and bundle it up and squeeze the water out. Add it to the yogurt mixture.

When the potatoes are cool, cut them into chunks. Add them to the bowl of cucumbers and yogurt sauce and fold the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning as needed, and serve. Keeps covered in the fridge for up to three days. Makes 10 servings.

Star Recommends: Grooner Gruner Veltliner
A deliciously light, fresh, crisp and grassy Gruner, offering a lively level of acidity and bright green plum flavors. There is just a touch of pepper to make this a food friendly wine.

Panna Cotta with Lemon-Thyme Peaches
Adapted from
Use regular thyme and a bit of lemon zest if you don’t have lemon-thyme. The panna cotta can be prepared up to three days ahead of time.

  • 1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/4 c. mild honey
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon-thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 3 peaches, peeled if desired, pitted, and thinly sliced

Directions: In a small heavy saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to soften for 1 minute. Add the cream and salt, then turn on the heat to medium-low and stir gently until the gelatin dissolves.

Place the yogurt, honey, and almond extract in a medium bowl and whisk to combine, then stir in the cream mixture. Transfer to four small bowls and chill, covered, for at least 8 hours (and up to 3 days) until set.

Mince the thyme leaves with the sugar, toss with the peaches and let macerate, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes at room temperature. In the meantime, remove the panna cotta from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.

Top the bowls of panna cotta with the peaches and their juice. Drizzle with more honey if you like, and serve. Makes four servings.

Star Recommends: Norton Cosecha Tardia
Harvested late in the season, the Cosecha Tardia (or Late Harvest) is bright golden yellow in color. Aromas of flowers and peaches on the nose give way to a palate with pleasant acidity and balanced tannins. At Star we call this wine “Angel Tears.”

Summer Squash Gratin
Adapted from
Slicing the potatoes as thin as possible is essential to the success of this dish. They will turn luscious and creamy but if sliced too thick they’ll take longer to cook than the zucchini.

  • 1 Tbs. lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 pounds summer squash, cut into 1/6th inch slices
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 c. oregano leaves, fresh
  • 1/4 c. Italian parsley, fresh
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs, homemade is best
  • 1/2 lb. waxy potatoes, sliced transparently thin (a mandoline is great for this)
  • 3/4 c. coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400˚F. Grease a 9”x9” baking dish with olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon zest, and set aside.
Put the summer squash in a colander in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and allow to drain for 10-15 minutes.
Using a food processor or a hand blender, puree the oregano, parsley, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt, crushed red pepper flakes and olive oil.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it turns brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes, then add the bread crumbs and stir until they’re well coated.

Put the drained squash in a large bowl, add the potatoes and two-thirds of the oregano-parsley sauce and toss to coat. Stir in the cheese and half the breadcrumbs. Taste and add more salt or crushed red pepper if needed.

Transfer the squash and potatoes to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the bread crumbs. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve warm from the oven drizzled with the rest of the oregano-parsley sauce. Makes six servings.

Star Recommends: Maggio Petit Sirah: Fruit-forward nose
blueberries and dark cherries—with just enough peppery notes that lingered on into a soft, mellow finish. A flashy red that is not too over powering to pair with the summer squash.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad with Hoisin-Lime Dressing
Adapted from
This Vietnamese-style salad is a great accompaniment to summer’s barbequed foods.

  • 1 1/2 large seedless cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 c. cubed watermelon (1/2-inch cubes)
  • 3 1/2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. mint, fresh, chopped
  • 1/3 c. coarsely chopped peanuts

Directions: Place the cucumbers and watermelon in a large bowl, covered, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours. Drain the excess liquid.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and hoisin sauce. Drizzle over the cucumber and watermelon and toss to coat. Top with cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Makes six servings.

Star Recommends: Tiamo Organic Prosecco
Fresh and rich fruity aromas of apple and pear with a hint of citrus fruit that fade into the floral bouquet. The Tiamo Prosecco pairs well with lighter cuisine food, especially fish/shellfish and softer cheeses. It’s an ideal aperitif and with any appetizer. It is also an excellent base for cocktails—such as the Bellini or Mimosa.