Green Bean Salad with Quick-Pickled
Red Onions and Fried Almonds
Adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com.

  • 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 Tbs. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 red onion, medium, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb. (about 1/2 a pound), thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 c. slivered almonds
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed, thinly sliced

Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Stir in the onion, and set them aside for at least 30 minutes to pickle. Toss the fennel in the lemon juice and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add green beans and cook until barely crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cool running water to stop the cooking. Set aside. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and toss until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a plate and let cool.

Place the green beans, the celery, most of the fennel, and half of the pickled onions in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with two tablespoons of the onion pickling liquid and two tablespoons of olive oil, and fold together. Season generously with salt and pepper and top with the fried almonds. Taste, and add more fennel, pickled onion, and pickling liquid to your liking. Serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Melon Coolers
Adapted from www.gourmet.com.
Mexican aguas frescas, made from all kinds of fresh fruit, flowers, or herbs, are a great way to cool down. This cantaloupe version gets some sparkle from fizzy club soda.

  • 1 cantaloupe (4 lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 quart club soda, chilled
  • lime wedges for garnish, optional

Directions: In a blender, puree the cantaloupe and water. Transfer to a colander lined with fine cheesecloth and set over a large bowl. Allow to drain for 1 hour. Gently squeeze to release any remaining liquid into the bowl, and discard the solids.

Add the lime juice, sugar, and salt, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Divide among 8 (10-ounce) glasses and top with club soda. Garnish with lime wedges if desired. Makes 8 servings.


Corn and Basil Pancakes
Adapted from Eating Well.
Try these savory pancakes as a side dish with your next barbecue.

  • 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. milk, low-fat
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, baking powder, salt, and pepper until smooth. Fold in the corn and basil.
Heat a large skillet with another tablespoon of the oil. When hot, add the batter, about 1/4 c. for each pancake, and cook over medium heat. Cook until the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until golden-brown on the other side, 1-3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter. Reduce the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Serve hot. Makes 5 servings.

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Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
Adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

  • 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, stemmed
  • 1 shallot, large, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions: Cut the green beans into large segments. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the beans until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain and spread on a clean dish towel to cool. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a large serving bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Pour the vinaigrette over the cherry tomatoes and toss to coat. Fold in the green beans and serve immediately! Makes 6 servings.

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Thick Catalan-Style Tomato Bread Soup
Adapted from www.thewednesdaychef.com.
This is a rustic and unfussy soup, hearty but not heavy, and served, interestingly, at room temperature. A perfect summer lunch or dinner.

  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 4 oz. chorizo, casings removed, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (use smoked paprika if you can find it, otherwise regular is fine)
  • 3 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled (see note), halved horizontally
  • generous pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups rustic country bread, crusts removed, finely diced
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced

Directions: Heat oil over low heat in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and cook until soft. Raise the heat and add the chorizo and cook until it begins to brown. Stir in the paprika, then remove from heat.

Put a sieve over the pan of chorizo, and gently squeeze the tomatoes (cut side down) over the sieve until the juice is squeezed out. Reserve the tomato pulp. Warm the pan over low heat, and add the saffron. Turn off the heat, and set aside. In a food processor or by hand, finely chop the tomato pulp, and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then stir in the bread. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to stand, removed from heat, stirring occasionally, until room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve and sprinkle with parsley.

Note: To peel the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to boil, and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Core each tomato, then slice an “x” into the other end. Gently lower each tomato into boiling water, and as soon as the skin starts to pucker and wrinkle (15-30 seconds), remove it, then plunge into a bowl of ice water. After 15-30 seconds in the ice water, the skins will come right off. Makes 2 generous servings.

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Tomato and Avocado Salad
The preparation of this dish couldn’t be easier, and highlights tomatoes’ status as the stars of summer meals. Use an assortment of heirlooms or whatever type of tomatoes you have on hand.

  • 2 lb. tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper

Directions: On a large serving platter, arrange the tomatoes and avocado. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.
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Watermelon Lemonade
You can make the simple syrup in advance and keep it refrigerated.

  • 3/4 c. water, plus 3 cups, divided
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 c. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cups watermelon puree, strained through a coarse strainer to remove seeds

Directions: Make a simple syrup by boiling 3/4 c. of the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, and stir constantly over medium heat, until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a heat-resistant jar, and refrigerate to cool. When cool, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and watermelon puree in a pitcher. Stir in the three cups of water, and stir well. Serve in tall glasses over ice. Makes 4 servings.


French Potato and Green Bean Salad
Adapted from The New York Times.
Use summer’s produce at its peak to make this sophisticated potato salad.

  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, medium, scrubbed
  • Salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme, large
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed to a paste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped anchovy, plus 6-8 anchovy fillets, optional, for garnish
  • 1 Tbs. chopped capers
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 4 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. small green beans, or small yellow beans, ends trimmed
  • 4 large eggs, hard- or soft-boiled, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 Tbs. chopped chives
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped basil

Directions: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme sprig to the water. Simmer until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer, but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare a vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, chopped anchovy, capers, mustard, and vinegar. While whisking, drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the skins of the potatoes when they’re cool enough to handle. Slice into pieces 1/4 inch thick and place in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and then add half the vinaigrette. Very gently toss the potatoes with your hands to coat with vinaigrette. Cover the bowl and set aside. Simmer the green beans until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cool water over them. Pat dry with a clean dishtowel then put them in a large bowl. Drizzle with the rest of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Combine the beans and potatoes and use your hands to toss. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with chives, parsley, and basil, then top with the eggs and anchovy fillets, if using. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, and serve. Makes 4 generous servings.

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