TIME

7 Fabulous Summer Recipes from Writers We Love

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Eat, drink, and enjoy a good book

1. “Ground to Glass” Cocktail from Greg Seider

Owner of Summit Bar and author of Alchemy in a Glass

The Ground to Glass was born on a rooftop where my brother and I grew a cornucopia of vegetables (much to the chagrin of our landlord) and used them to tweak the classic Margarita. Our Bloody Mary-Margarita hybrid features red pepper and cucumber, highlighted by the earthy vegetable notes of tequila. For an added dimension of BBQ-influenced umami, I topped it with hickory-smoked salt, thus crowning our pilgrimage from ground to glass.

2 ounces Corralejo Blanco tequila

(notable substitutions: Olmeca Altos, Herradura, and Cabeza Blanco)

1 ounce fresh lime juice, and lime wedge

¾ ounce agave mix

1 cucumber slice

¾ ounce red pepper puree

2 dashes orange bitters

Hickory-smoked salt

Rub the top rim of the glass with the lime wedge, then roll in smoked salt. muddle the cucumber in a shaker tin. Add all the remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain and pour over fresh ice into a double old fashioned.

 

2. Grilled Cucumber with Pumpkin Seed Yogurt and Grapes

From Michael Gibney, Author of Sous Chef

Nothing says summer like cooking over an open flame. Whether it’s a campfire or a backyard barbeque, a smoky cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Lacquered ribs and pork chops are always a hit, burgers and sausages too. But what about those accouterments? Cole slaw, mac-n-cheese—they always seem like a high-calorie after thought. Here’s a great way to liven up that all-too-familiar cucumber salad, which can act as a refreshing side for your steak, or a healthy snack on its own.

6 pc Persian cucumber

12 oz. Greek yogurt

2 T Pumpkin Seed oil

2 oz. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (chopped)

1 bu. Champagne grapes

1 T Canola oil

To taste:

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Ground cumin

Champagne vinegar

Preheat the grill on high. In a large mixing bowl, toss the whole cucumbers in canola oil, season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin, and a few drops of champagne vinegar, and place them on the grill, parallel to the bars. Let them sit until they begin to develop a light char. If the grill is hot enough, this should only take a minute or two. Rotate every thirty seconds or so, until all sides are equally colored. Meantime, mix the pumpkin seed oil and the yogurt in a bowl with a rubber spatula until they are thoroughly incorporated, season with salt and pepper, and adjust the acidity as necessary with champagne vinegar. Rinse the grapes under cold running water and separate into small clusters.

To plate, paint a large swoosh of yogurt across the bottom of a bowl or plate. Cut the cooked cucumber into one-inch coins and arrange around the yogurt. Place grape clusters here and there around the cucumber. Finish with a dusting of chopped pumpkin seeds.

Depending on what’s available at your local market a few adjustments can be made: champagne grapes can be swapped for red seedless grapes split in half, sesame seeds and sesame oil can take the place of the pumpkin ingredients, and apple cider vinegar can be substituted for champagne vinegar.

 

3. Avocado Crostini with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Almonds and Arugula

From Ben Ford, Author of Taming the Feast

 

16 ½-in.-thick diagonal slices from a baguette

olive oil for brushing the crostini and avocados

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for the crostini and avocados

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 whole garlic clove, peeled, to rub on the crostini, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced

¼ cup niçoise olives, pitted

¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil

3 medium Hass avocados, halved and pitted

¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1 cup wild arugula, loosely packed

Fire up a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high heat with the lid closed to help it get nice and hot. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Brush both sides of each bread slice with olive oil and season both sides with salt and some of the pepper. Put the bread slices on the grill or in the oven until they’re nicely toasted but not hard, 12 to 15 min. If you’re grilling the bread, you will need to turn the slices once during cooking; this isn’t necessary if you’re toasting them in the oven.

Rub one side of each toasted bread slice with the garlic clove. If you’re toasting the crostini ahead of time, store them in an -airtight container -until it’s time to -assemble them.

Gently stir together the tomato, olives, capers, avocado or olive oil and ½ tsp. of the salt in a bowl.

Brush the insides of the avocado halves with olive oil, and season with salt and some more of the pepper. Grill the avocados cut side down for 3 to 4 min., until they have nice grill marks and are warmed through. Scoop the avocado out of the skin into a bowl. Add the minced garlic, the remaining ½ tsp. salt and the remaining pepper, and mash well. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you want.

To assemble the crostini, top each piece of toast with a heaping tbsp. of avocado. Spoon about a tsp. of the tomato mixture over the avocado and top that with a sprinkling of the almonds and a few pieces of arugula. Makes 16 crostini.

 

4. Fresh Peach Breakfast Cobbler from Ruth Reichl

Author of Delicious!

 

4 large ripe peaches

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 – 1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 stick butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the peaches by putting them into boiling water for 10 seconds, then running them under cool water. The skins should slip right off. Slice the peaches into a glass or ceramic pie plate. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit and toss with the sugar and cornstarch.

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in the sugar using a pastry blender or two knives, until the butter is the size of peas. Gently stir in the buttermilk.

Cover the peaches, loosely, with the wet dough. If it doesn’t cover all the fruit, don’t worry; it will spread in the oven. Bake for half an hour, until the top is craggy and golden. Serve warm with a pitcher of cold cream.

 

5. Instant Strawberry Ice Cream

(Also from Ruth Reichl!)

This is a miracle of a recipe: it has only three ingredients, requires no fancy equipment and makes the most delicious ice cream you will ever eat. Serves four to six people—depending how greedy they are

A pint (about a pound) of fresh strawberries from the farmers’ market

¼ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling

1 cup heavy cream

Wash and stem your berries, and cut them into 1- to 2-in. chunks (leave them whole if they’re very small). Sprinkle the berries liberally with sugar and put them in the freezer until they are frozen solid. (You can do this ahead of time, then put the berries into plastic bags and have them on hand whenever you want them.)

Just before serving, mix the cream with the sugar. Put the frozen berries into the blender, and slowly add the cream, stopping to stir from time to time. Blend until it has come together into a cool, gorgeously pink ice cream.

Serve immediately; this is best when it is freshly made, although it will keep in the freezer for a few weeks.

 

6. V11 Juice

From Dan Barber, Chef of Blue Hill and Author of The Third Plate

 

A Blue Hill play on classic vegetable juice, served in shot glasses. Serves a party.

 

6 lb. tomatoes, mixed
varieties

2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded

2 parsnips, peeled

2 carrots, peeled

2 stalks celery

4 shallots

1 jalapeño, seeded

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. sugar

½ bunch tarragon, stems removed

1 bunch parsley, stems
removed

1 bunch basil, stems removed

 

Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsnips, carrots, celery, shallots, jalapeño and fennel in a food processor.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and mix in the sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 12 hours.

Combine the marinated vegetables, basil, tarragon and parsley in a blender, and puree until very smooth. Strain the vegetable puree through a fine mesh sieve. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Chill and serve.

 

7. Gin & Tonic Sorbet From Natasha Case and Freya Estreller

Owners of the Coolhaus Truck and Authors of Coolhaus Ice Cream Book

Makes about: 1 quart

Active time: 15 to 20 minutes

 

1. The first step in making sorbet is simple syrup.

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and chill, about 30 minutes. (Syrup keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)

 

2. Then, make the base:

Makes about: 2 1/2 cups; 2 cups simple syrup

Active time: 10 minutes

 

2 cups Simple Syrup

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

Combine simple syrup, 1 cup water, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl. Stir well. (Base keeps, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 months.)

 

3. Make the ice cream:

1 ½ cups tonic water

¼ cup fresh lime juice (grate zest first)

1 ½ teaspoons juniper berry extract

½ cup gin (we like Hendrick’s)

Zest of 1 lime, grated on a microplane

 

Combine sorbet base, tonic water, lime juice, and juniper extract in a bowl.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Add gin during last 2 minutes of churning. Add zest and churn for a few more seconds.

Scrape into an airtight storage container. Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.

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