Summertime is here! My absolute favorite time of the year to use fresh seasonal produce. Not only is shopping local, fresh and cheaper but it is also far tastier than produce that is flown in from other countries during other times during the year. In the summer, I have an appetite for light, fresh, right off the grill summer corn, homemade chimichurri over steak, watermelon and everything fruit.

Summer Basil Chimichurri Sauce

Photo by caramelandcashews.com

Makes about 1 ¼ cup

This is a sauce, a marinade, a dressing or a dip. Marinate chicken in this and put it on the grill, use it as a salad dressing or topper, or even roast fish with the delicious sauce on top! I like to lather it on corn before grilling them in the husks or paint it on microwaved or boiled corn.

  • 1 ¼ cups fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped (if you like cilantro, that works well here too)
  • ¾ cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of a lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a food processor or with an immersion blender, process and blend until smooth.

Oven Roasted Herby Corn on the Cob

Photo by Southern Living

Serves 4

This is a wonderful side dish at any summer bbq. I serve the butter version with dairy meals, like grilled salmon and impossible “non-meat” burgers, and the pareve version (margarine) alongside grilled steak or chicken. It’s always awesome, and the leftovers, if any, are delicious in a fresh green salad the next day. It’s almost a dressing all on it’s own.

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black
  • Juice on 1 lime
  • 4 ears fresh corn, husks removed

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Stir together butter, parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl until evenly blended.

Spread 1 tablespoon herb butter on each corn cob; wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped corn on a baking sheet. Bake until corn is soft, 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cook time. Remove corn from foil, and serve.

Tomato Basil Tarte Tatin

Serves 8

This stunning side dish, features farm fresh tomatoes and basil. It’s a show stopper in presentation and tastes just like summer. This is best made the same day it is served.

  • 50 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 pound puff pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Small bunch of fresh basil or mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat oil in an oven-proof skillet. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and honey. Arrange together as tightly as possible. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the bread crumbs, cook for a few minutes to soak up some of the excess juices, then add the fresh basil.

On a well-floured counter, roll out a circle of puff pastry the same size as the top of the skillet. Place the puff pastry over the tomatoes, tucking it around them so the tomatoes are snugly tucked in. Brush the pastry with the lightly beaten egg on the top only.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is well puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes, then tip away the excess liquid (if any) and put a large plate upside down on top of the skillet. Using oven gloves, press the plate down hard and then quickly flip the whole thing so the skillet is upside down and the plate is on the bottom. I do this over the sink because there is usually some leakage! Remove the skillet. Add the fresh basil leaves.

Tomato Peach Salad

Serves 6

Peaches are one of the only fruits that is truly only available ripe, fresh and ready to eat, in the summer. The varieties are similar but all sweet and delicious. I use them in everything from salad and salsa to cake in the summer.

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes (about 2 lb.), cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 cups peaches, sliced
  • 4 medium fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 basil leaves, coarsely chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, sugar, rosemary, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices on a platter, top with the peaches, and drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the top. Sprinkle it with mint and basil.

Sweet and Savory Chicken with Summer Squash and Zucchini

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for cooling rack
  • 6 medium yellow squash or zucchini, or both (about 1 1/2 lbs. total), sliced into 1/2-in. rounds
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs (5 to 8 pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat broiler with oven rack 3 to 4 in. from heat. Set a metal cooling rack on a 12- by 17-in. rimmed baking sheet and coat lightly with oil.

Remove the cooling rack and put squash on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper; toss to coat. Spread squash in a single layer and set cooling rack on top, nudging squash aside as needed so rack lies even.

In a large bowl, combine remaining ½ teaspoon salt with the curry powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Set aside 1 ½ teaspoon of the spice mix.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the chicken thighs to a large bowl and toss chicken to coat. Place spiced chicken skin side up on a cooling rack over zucchini.

Broil chicken and squash, turning chicken once, until starting to char at edges, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, make glaze: Whisk together reserved spice mix, honey, mustard, and vinegar in a small bowl.

Remove chicken and zucchini from the oven. Generously brush chicken with glaze. Return to the oven and broil, until nicely charred and an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in the thickest part, about 4 minutes.

Remove the rack of chicken from the baking sheet and set aside.

Return squash to the oven and broil until most pieces are charred, 2 to 3 minutes more. Lift squash from juices and serve with chicken.

Recipe and image by gourmetkoshercooking.com

Watermelon Chocolate Chip Sorbet

Photo by Taste of Home

My kids love this recipe! They think of the chocolate chips like the seeds and love the refreshing dessert with a chocolatey crunch. It is super refreshing and great as a frozen pop too. Don’t skip the vodka, it helps the sorbet stay soft and less icey and you will not taste the alcohol at all.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups chopped seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • ½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, optional

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Melt sugar until liquid is clear.

Place watermelon in a food processor; process until pureed. Add orange juice, lime juice, vodka and cooled sugar syrup; process until blended. If using a sorbet maker, mix in chocolate chips and place in the sorbet maker, and churn, according to the manufacturer's instructions. If freezing without an ice cream maker, transfer to a large bowl; refrigerate, covered, until cold, about 3 hours. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour into the freezer container, preferably glass and freeze.

Scoop and serve.