Over the last three years as JewishBoston.com’s food blogger, I’ve shared some of my favorite summer recipes. Some I’ve come up with on my own, while others were inspired by dishes I saw in restaurants, cookbooks or friends’ kitchens. Since summer is officially in full swing, here’s a collection of a few of my favorites.
Rhubarb Compote, Wheat Berries and Greek Yogurt Parfait: In addition to tasting great and cooling you off, this breakfast has another cool perk. The versatile, fruity compote also tastes great on another heat wave-approved snack: ice cream!
Snap Pea Salad with Mint and Ricotta Salata: Every bite has great crunch, and the citrusy dressing keeps everything together but doesn’t overpower it. And there isn’t a leafy green in sight. It might just redefine the term “salad” for you. It certainly has for me.
Summer Solstice Pasta Salad: Most vegetable pastas just mix together the two main components and drizzle some oil over them. Instead of an oil slick holding this dish together, I wanted vinaigrette that was well-balanced and bright. For that, I whipped up a dressing and punched up its flavor with the brightest ingredient I could think of: lemon. I also found that topping each serving bowl with a spoonful of ricotta cheese gave each bite a slightly sweet, smooth quality. Sounds like the perfect kick-off to summer to me!
Grilled Watermelon, Cherry Tomato and Burrata Salad: This dish is a fresh take on two summer staples: Caprese salads and watermelon. Most watermelon salad recipes pair the fruit with spongy feta cheese, which lends the dish a welcome saltiness and texture. Since I prefer the smoothness of burrata, I have to get that texture from another ingredient. For that, I turn to light, crisp, Japanese-style breadcrumbs, which I toast with some butter, salt and basil.
S’mores Pops: I swapped marshmallows for Marshmallow Fluff because of its spreadability, and used the “pop” component of cake pops by putting the s’mores sandwiches on a stick. I put the chocolate on the outside and froze the whole lot so it doesn’t melt too quickly when you eat it on a hot summer day.
Ice Pops: Homemade ice pops are also more than just kid-friendly; they’re health-friendly! Using your own ingredients, like fresh fruit and herbs, allows you to forgo all of those ingredients that health experts advise you to avoid, including high-fructose corn syrup and weird artificial food dyes. (They’re also adult-friendly, as you’ll see from the Gin and Tonic Ice Pop recipe.)
Strawberry-Basil Lemonade: Thanks to a simple syrup that’s infused with strawberries and basil and then pureed, this lemonade is packed to the brim with fruity, bright flavor. Leaving the berries and basil in the sauce and liquefying the whole lot produces a slightly thick version with even more fruity punch that can easily compete with anything else on a cookout menu.