Category Archives: Summer

Mischievous Squid Rice (arroz de lulas malandrinho

A Portuguese rice dish that's tasty and simple. I can't explain why it's considered mischievous though, it's just delicious!
4 servings
Shopping List

1½ pounds cleaned squid

2 TBL olive oil

1 medium onion

1 garlic clove

1 bay leaf

1½ cups canned tomatoes

1⅓ cups rice

a few stems of cilantro

Squid needs to be cooked quickly or else a long enough time to make it tender. I’m in the latter camp generally, so my technique for this recipe might differ from others you will find. The recipe is extremely foregiving, so don’t stress too much about exact quantities.

Chop finely,

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic

In a heavy pot (2-3 quarts), over a medium heat, add

  • 2 TBL olive oil

and when the oil is heated, add add the onion and garlic. Let the mixture cook until they are tender and fragrant, but do not let them brown! While the mixture is cooking, cut up

  • 1½ lbs cleaned squid

I like to use a mix of tentacles and bodies and I also prefer pieces that are bite-sized, but not rings. Cut it as you prefer but be sure to rinse it off to remove any sand. When the onions are tender, add the squid and let it saute for a few minutes. It will start to give off some liquid. Add

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups of canned tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper (or red pepper flakes if you prefer), to taste

lower the heat (but maintain a gentle simmer) and cover the pot. When the mixture has cooked for about 20 minutes, add

  • 1⅓ cups rice
  • 2½ cups of water

Note that you can check the salinity at this point and if you think it needs a bit more salt, add to taste. Cover the pot for about 18-20 minutes, checking that the rice is cooked.

While you’re waiting, pluck and save all the leaves from

  • a few stems of cilantro

When the rice is cooked, the mixture will still be a bit soupy. Check the salt and pepper, remove the bay leaf and dd the cilantro leaves, stirring them in. Serve in bowls. A bit of crusty bread and a glass of wine will be appreciated by your guests.

Adapted from a recipe at

Salmorejo (cold Spanish tomato soup)

An alternative to gazpacho, this traditional cold soup captures the intense flavor of ripe tomatoes perfectly.
6 servings
Shopping List

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, like beefsteaks

1 TBL sherry vinegar

½ cup oil

1 to 3 average-sized cloves of garlic

4-inch chunk of baguette or 2 slices of a rustic white bread

You can do this in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. I get the best results using two of those, but if you’re not as fixated on getting a smooth, seed-free soup as I am, choose any one and you’ll be very happy.

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Clean and cut in half (on the “equator”)

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, like beefsteaks

Season to taste with

  • salt
  • finely ground black pepper

And place on an oiled baking tray ATTN that has closed sides, such as a sheet pan. Place in the 375º F oven and let bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a

  • 4-inch piece of baguette or 2 slices of a rustic white bread

in a large drinking glass or a soup bowl. Add tepid water and soak the bread for 5+ minutes to it is totally soft; if it has a hard crust, it might take longer. Squeeze out the bread gently if it’s really gotten soggy.

The original recipe calls for 2 cloves of raw garlic, which are to be chopped up a bit and then added to the blender. With the raw garlic, I found that one clove was enough. I have decided that I prefer the taste of cooked garlic, so what I do is as follows:

In a small saucepan, place

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

and over a medium-low heat, let the garlic cook until it starts to show some color and the oil is fragrant. Let cool.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool enough that they are easily handled. Working over the tray or the food processor bowl (so you don’t lose the juice) ATTN remove the peels and cores, discarding them. If you leave on the peels you are going to probably end up with an unpleasant collection of rolled tomato skins throughout the soup. Ew!

Run the food processor to break up the pulp fully, run it through a strainer so you’re mostly left with the seeds. Working in batches, return the pulp to the blender (or food processor), and add the oil, garlic (raw or cooked, to taste), soaked bread and

  • 1 TBL sherry vinegar

Run for a minute to let the mixture emulsify completely. Check the seasoning, as it will probably need more vinegar, salt and/or pepper. As it is usually served chilled, I suggest you adjust the seasoning once it is fully chilled rather than while it is still at room temperature.

You can serve this at room temperature or chilled. I’ve even had it heated up (!) although that doesn’t work well with the raw garlic version. Serve garnished with sliced Serrano ham, grated hard-boiled eggs and/or bits of basil leaves.

Adapted from a recipe at

Summer Squash with Mint

Simple and delicious. Best served at room temperature.
Makes one portion, but easily scaled up.
Shopping List

very small summer squash (generally one per serving)

1 glug olive oil

shallot (to taste)

fresh mint (generally 1-2 stems of mint per serving)

The measurements in this recipe are vague. Don’t let it throw you. When shopping, look for the squash with the smallest diameter. They should be cylindrical in shape more than bulging or the seeds will overwhelm the results.

Using careful knife skill, a mandoline or other gadget, cut

  • very small summer squash (1 per serving)

into very thin slices. Heat a large skillet on a high flame. Add

  • a glug of olive oil

and add the sliced squash although ATTNcook in batches if you are making a sizable quantity (relative to the surface area of the pan being used). Stir to coat with oil and then let the squash brown a bit before stirring. When it’s cooked enough, set aside in a bowl. Cook additional batches of squash.

Lower temperature on heat and add

  • thinly sliced shallot, to taste

and cook without browning. Add to cooked squash in bowl.

Pluck mint leaves from 

  • stems of fresh mint (1-2 per serving)

Combine the mint and salt to taste with the squash and cooked shallots. Serve at room temperature.

Inspired by several different restaurants in and around Bologna, Italy.

Peach-Sweet Tea Sherbet

I'm not a fan of sherbet but I really loved this: captures the taste of fresh peaches perfectly, and it's not icy.
1+ quart sherbet
Shopping List

3  large fresh peaches (or frozen)

½ cup buttermilk

almond extract

1 tsp citric acid

1½ cups milk

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

3 TBL black tea leaves (loose, not from tea bags)

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch

The book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is an outstanding source of information and recipe ideas for ice cream. I found the amount of almond flavor overwhelming and suggest a smaller amount here.


  • 3 large fresh peaches

If using frozen peaches make sure they are peeled.

Cut the peaches into chunks and heat in a small saucepan, mashing. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool and strain through a medium-to-fine sieve. You need to obtain 1¼ cups peach puree and to it add

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 couple drops (⅛ tsp) almond extract
  • 1 tsp citric acid

Refrigerate this mixture.

In a saucepan, combine

  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL water


3 TBL black tea leaves (not from tea bags)

Steep for 6 minutes, but ATTN no longer as it will impart a bitter taste. Strain the hot base through a fine sieve and cool in an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), combine with the peach mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, it’s much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream

Mango Lassi Frozen Yogurt

The hint of orange flower water really makes this frozen yogurt a delight. It's tangy.
1+ quart of frozen yogurt

Shopping List

2 cups full fat Greek yogurt

2 or 3 fresh mangos or 300g frozen mango pieces

¼ cup buttermilk

1 tsp orange flower water

1 cup heavy cream

2 TBL milk

1 cup sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

2 tsp tapioca starch OR 4 tsp cornstarch



The recipe in Hello, My Name is Ice Cream is a much more nuanced description of how to make this frozen yogurt, giving you a number of options for thickeners (“texture agents”) and it has a more subtle mango flavor. I pushed up the mango puree volume substantially. I encourage you to track down the book if you have any interest in ways to improve the result through the use of other texture agents or alternatives to the corn syrup I used. Don’t use low-fat Greek yogurt: it will change the texture of the result because of the higher water ratio.

In a blender, puree about

  • 300g (¾ pound) mango peeled cubes (fresh or defrosted)

run through a medium strainer to remove any stringy bits. You should have about 1⅓ cups mango puree.

Combine and refrigerate

  • 1⅓ cups mango puree
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • ½ tsp salt

In a saucepan, combine

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup  (The book provides other options)

Over medium heat, cook and stir until it comes to a full boil.  I prefer to use tapioca starch, but ATTNif you are using cornstarch, add

  • 4 tsp cornstarch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

If you are using tapioca starch, add

  • 2 tsp tapioca starch dissolved completely in 2 TBL cold milk

Cool the hot base mixture using an ice bath. When the temperature is cool to the touch (50º F), pour the base through a fine sieve to combine it with the mango mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (to get a better texture). Churn in ice cream freezer. While  you can eat it right away, the frozen yogurt will have a  much better packed and frozen for at least 4-6 hours.

Dana Cree’s excellent book Hello, My Name is Ice Cream


Fresh Cherry Crostata

Easy to make and adaptable to other fruit (see notes)
Makes a 12-inch crostata, serving about 8 people

Shopping List

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter

¼ cup sugar

2 TBL almond flour or blanched, slivered almond ground finely

2+ cups  flour

3 pounds fresh cherries, pitted (or other stone fruit)

1 TBL tapioca starch or corn starch (for other stone fruit)



A crostata is a homestyle pie that is made in a free-form shape on a flat pan.

In food processor bowl, combine

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 6 ounces (1½ sticks) cold butter, cut into dice

Pulse food processor until mixed. With the motor running, in a slow stream begin to add

  • ½ cup ice water

ATTN however you will not use all the water.  As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop the motor. (Discard any extra water.) Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container and ATTN refrigerate for at least one hour.

Prepare the fruit just before the dough comes out of the oven. If using cherries, wash and pit them, removing stems. If using peaches or other larger stone fruit, peel them by dipping briefly in boiling water, cut into wedges or desired pieces..

Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a small bowl combine the following

  • 2 TBL almond flour
  • 1 TBL flour
  • 1 TBL sugar

ATTN If using fruit other than cherries, add

  • 1 TBL flour (for a total of 2 TBL)
  • 1 TBL tapioca starch

Roll the dough into a 15-inch circle, even up the edges of the dough and transfer to a baking tray that has sides Spread the almond/flour mixture in the center 12-inch circle and place the fruit in that area. Fold the outer 1½ inch edge of dough in, making a pattern of decorative folds with the excess. Spread

  • 2 TBL melted butter

on the dough and then sprinkle with

  • 2 TBL sugar (sometimes I use coarser sugar)

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling. Remove and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine.


Fig and Hazelnut Tart

Shopping List

1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted

⅓+ cup granulated sugar

scant light brown sugar

½ tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks

1 Tbl Frangelico

1 Tbl vanilla extract

about 15 fresh black figs



In an 8- to 10-inch tart pan, make

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Adjust oven rack to middle position. In a food processor, combine

  • 1 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted
  • ⅓+ cup granulated sugar
  • scant TBL light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Pulse until the mixture is sandy and there aren’t large pieces of nuts left.  Add

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbl Frangelico
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract

and pulse until the eggs are smooth but chunks of butter are still visible, about 15 – 20 short pulses. Scrape the sides of the food processor and pulse an additional 5 times. Scrape the mixture into the cooled tart shell. Arrange

  • about 15 fresh black figs, stems trimmed and cut in half

cut side up on top of the filling.

Bake 20 minutes at 375°F, then rotate the tart 90 degrees on the rack. Lower the oven to 325°F and bake until the figs begin to bubble and caramelize and the filling turns golden brown all over, about 45 additional minutes, turning again halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving.

Cold Borscht

The perfect thing for a hot summer night.
A little more than 2 quarts

Shopping List

2 bunches of beets (about 2¼ pounds including greens)

1 medium onion

1 TBL sugar

sour salt (citric acid), or a lemon

16 oz container of sour cream



Peel and cut into largish dice (⅜- to ½-inch on a side)

  • 2 bunches of beets

Measure the volume (about 6 cups in my case) and place in a soup pot. Note: the beets in this batch weighed about 800g after peeling. Add

  • 1 medium onion (150g), minced finely
  • 6 cups water (actually, it should match the volume of the beets)

Bring to a boil and then start a timer for 15 minutes. Check whether the beets are cooked; they should be soft enough to chew but not mushy. If they need a few more minutes, cook a little longer. Turn off the heat and remove any scum that collects at the top of the pot. Add

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL sugar
  • ¼ tsp sour salt (citric acid) or 3-4 TBL of lemon juice

Let stand to cool for 30 minutes. Place half the beets and some liquid in the jar of a blender. Run until fully pureed. Return to pot. In the jar of the blender combine

  • ¾ cup (roughly) sour cream

about a cup of liquid from the soup. Process until smooth and pour back into soup pot. Stir and adjust any seasonings as needed. Chill in refrigerator.

ATTN My mother would make borscht (with a slightly different recipe) and only add the sour cream just before serving. This allowed her to freeze the soup and serve it at a later time. I do it my way because the sour cream blends thoroughly in the blender and it’s already in use when I’m making the soup. I haven’t frozen this, but I can’t imagine any reason it would fail.

My mother would garnish this with diced boiled potatoes, diced cucumber, minced raw garlic or diced hard-boiled eggs. The only one of these I ever liked was the minced raw garlic.

Basmati Rice Salad

Simple cold salad that shouts summer.
8 servings

Shopping List

1 cup basmatic rice

1 small bunch fresh mint

1 bunch scallions

2 small, juicy lemons (or 1 large)

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup frozen edamame or peas




1 cup basmatic rice

and spread the cooked rice on a large tray or jelly roll pan to cool. That will take about 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, combine the following in a 2-quart (or larger) bowl:

  • grated zest of 2 small lemons
  • 2 TBL lemon juice
  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 3 TBL finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • ⅓ cup  chopped finely scallion greens (save the solid parts of the stems for something else)
  • ½ tsp salt


  • ½ cup frozen edamame or peas

in a strainer and run under cold water until they are defrosted. Drain and add to dressing, along with the cooled rice. Mix everything well (with your hands if you don’t mind doing that) to break up the rice thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

You can serve this right away but I prefer to let it sit in the refrigerator for a bit before serving. It’s great made a day before serving.

Adapted from Simply Recipes


Creamy Coffee Pops

When making this recipe, choose strong coffee. I used decaf to accommodate our friends. If you have already got ready-made coffee, you need about 1½ cups of coffee. Or starting from the basics, in a French press,  brew

  • ¾ cup  ground coffee (I used decaf espresso to accommodate our friends)
  • 2 cups boiling water

In a mixing bowl, combine

  • 1½ cups strong brewed coffee
  • ⅔ to ¾ 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly, adjusting the sweetness to your taste by varying the amount of sweetened condensed milk. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour and pour into a frozen pop mold.

In my mold it was enough to make 11 pops, but it will vary according to the size of the molds you use.

Eggplant Soup

Cool, delicious and creamy.
Makes 6 cups

Shopping List

2 pounds eggplant

¼ cup olive oil

2 large onions

6 garlic cloves


3 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1-2 lemons

liquid smoke (optional)

herbs to garnish (za’atar or parsley)



Prick holes in

  • 2 medium eggplants

Roast on grill very dark. If using an oven, blacken under broiler (4 minutes per side), turning as needed. When the eggplants are cool, remove flesh and discard skins. Chop flesh a bit and reserve.

In large saucepan, saute

  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook 7 minutes, until onions are soft. Add

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne to taste (non, a pinch or more!)

Add the reserved eggplant and cook for a minute. Then add

  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3 cups water

Bring to simmer for 10 minutes, check seasoning and adjust salt, pepper and cayenne.

Puree soup in batches in blender. ATTN Hot liquids expand a lot in the blender and can be almost explosive, so either leave the lid ajar or work in very small batches. Alternatively wait for the soup to cool before using the blender.

ATTNGrate a small bit of lemon rind and reserve it for the garnish.

Strain soup through a fine strainer to remove seeds, if any remain after the blender. Add

  • 3 to 4 TBL lemon juice, to taste

If you want a smoky flavor, consider adding

  • ½ tsp liquid smoke

Mix the lemon zest with 1 TBL olive oil for a garnish. For each bowl of soup, top with a tsp of the lemon-flavored oil and some zaatar or chopped parsley.

ATTN I liked this so much served cold, but I guess you could serve it hot.

Adapted from The New York Times, August 14, 2013


Key Lime Pie Pops

No key limes in mine, but the taste is wonderful.
Makes 10 &frac13;-cup or 3-ounce popsicles

Shopping List

4 large limes or 7-8 key limes or 1 bottle key lime juice

14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup milk

1 box graham crackers



Zest limes to make

  • 2 tsp lime zest

Juice limes to make

  • ¾ cup lime juice

Combine juice, zest and

  • 14-ounce can of sweetenend condensed milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • pinch salt

Stir to mix and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid.

Coarsely crush graham crackers to make

3 cups of graham cracker crumbs

To serve, dip mold in lukewarm water for 10 seconds. Unmold each popsicle,   press each side into graham cracker crumbs, coating thoroughly.

ATTNUse gluten-free graham crackers if you want a gluten-free dessert. The pops are also delicious without the coating.

From Smitten Kitchen who republished it from Paletas by Fany Gerson


Cold Pea Soup

Delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. And easy to make, too.
4 servings

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

¼ cup sour cream (or more to taste)

Parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, combine

1 pound frozen peas (3 cups)

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until peas are bright green and tender, 10 minutes or so. Cool for a few minutes. Pour the cooked peas into a blender and carefully blend them until they are pureed. Do this in several batches. Add

Salt and pepper, to taste

Force through a fairly fine strainer, discarding solids. Stir or whisk in

¼ cup sour cream (or more to taste)

You may substitute heavy cream if you prefer a less tangy flavor. Refrigerate (for up to two days) before serving, cold. Garnish with some

Chopped parsley

Dollop of sour cream, if desired

Adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times

Rhubarb Crumble

Not particularly sweet — on purpose.
4 to 6 servings

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash, dry and trim

  • 1⅓ pounds of rhubarb

Cut it into short pieces across the stem. It will make about 4 cups (one quart).


  • 3 TBL sugar
  • 3 TBL flour

Let stand for 15 minutes, while you mix the crumble topping.

In another bowl, combine

  • ⅔ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ⅛ tsp salt

When it is mixed thoroughly, add

  • 5 TBL butter, melted

mix together with your fingers. It should stick together.

Butter a 1½ quart ovenproof dish. Dump the rhubarb mixture in. Dot with

  • 1 TBL butter

Place the topping over the rhubarb. You want to press it down so it holds together a bit. Bake in oven until bubbly and top is browned, about 35 to 45 minutes. Sometimes I put it under the broiler to finish the browning, but if you do that, keep an eye on it!

Delicious served in bowls with vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Tomato and Marjoram Sauce

This is great on Ricotta Gnudi.

In a pan, saute together

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Cook for 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, clean and halve

  • 2-3 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes, I mixed yellow and red ones

When the shallot is tender increase the heat, add the tomatoes. The sauce will cook for about 5 minutes. As the tomatoes soften, crush some of them to give the sauce the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the sauce along with

  • ½ to ⅔ cup water from the pasta you have just cooked

Cook for another minute or two. Stir in

  • ¼ cup fresh marjoram leaves, chopped a bit if the leaves are large

and serve immediately.

Serves 3-4, depending on how much sauce you want on your pasta.