"Summer summer, it will always be summer."       --- Rachel Peden

Every now and then it’s nice to freshen your summer repertoire ... simply. We’ve taken three of our favorites and cranked them up a notch so that they’re amazing in taste, yet can still be made in the blink of an eye on the hottest day. Such are these that they’re easy to use as a palette on which to layer other flavors to titillate your personal palate all summer long.


We began making Tabbouleh in college. Now that’s a long long time ago. It’s always been a great summer staple for al fresco dining, especially when it’s too hot to cook at all. Years ago it was actually a mostly bulgur salad lightened with parsley and mint, but over time we’ve increased the herbs and decreased the bulgur which is much the way the Lebanese intended. It becomes a very interesting green herbal salad that is difficult to stop munching.

You’ll want to look for the freshest and tenderest flat leaf parsley you can find ... we’ve even used Parcelle (an herb that is parsley with a hint of celery). And, always use the very best olive oil you can afford, as it makes such a difference. Then, just recently we’ve spiced it up (“Tabal” actually means “to season”) and accented it with roasted tomatoes. Now, we’re talking Tabbouleh!!! We thought it good enough to share. Serves 8.

• 2 cups cooked bulgur (we prefer the dark Lebanese variety to the pale Turkish one), rice or quinoa
• 2 cups Italian flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
• 2 cups fresh mint, coarsely chopped
• 2 cups English cucumber, chopped in a small dice
• 1 cup scallions, chopped (shaved) into small discs
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or olive oil from the sundried tomatoes)
• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or sprinkle slowly to taste)
• ½ teaspoon ground allspice (or sprinkle slowly to taste) • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• Sea salt, to taste
• ½-1 cup (as you wish) sundried or roasted tomatoes, small dice

1. Combine the first eight ingredients in a medium sized salad bowl. Toss well. Little by little alternatively add the cinnamon and allspice, tasting as you go. Season with salt and pepper and taste again. Adjust season to your palate. Add the tomatoes and allow to stand, loosely covered, for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to emerge. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

"Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the seashore of the mind."
                                                                                                --- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


For years we ignored hummus. To our mind, it was bland and boring. We had much better ways to “spend” our calories. Until ... we discovered The Hummus at a Turkish restaurant on Third Avenue in New York. Now this was memorable. Repeatedly, we found ourselves making it the last stop on the way to LaGuardia so that we could schlep some home, not only to enjoy, but to attempt to duplicate those intriguing flavors that kept calling us. It proved a challenge. Repeatedly we tried ... too much tahini, not enough sass, not memorable. Finally our tenacity won. Depending on our mood, sometimes we flavor it with roasted peppers and pimenton, sometimes with guacamole or herbs, but generally we adore it au natural, served with only warm toasted pita triangles. Serves 8

• 2 tablespoons garlic cloves
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2-15oz. cans of chickpeas, reserve juice
• 1 cup tahini
• 3½ teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Mince garlic and mash to a paste wit the salt using side of a large heavy knife. Transfer paste to a food processor, add chickpeas, tahini, cumin, lemon juice, oil,8 tablespoons reserved bean juice and blend, scraping down sides as necessary until smooth. Add the parsley and pepper and pulse until just combined. Taste and add additional salt, if desired. Pulse to incorporate.


On our first trip to England, in the days when there was no good food in the Motherland, Summer Pudding and Eton Mess got us through those first rainy days of Europe On Five Dollars A Day. We were hooked on both for evermore. We’ve learned that this is a very easy way to serve berries in an elegant fashion for a Garden Tea or a dinner party…..and the leftovers are great for breakfast. We like ours softened with a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 6 - 8.

• 1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 1½ cups fresh blackberries
• 2 cups fresh raspberries
• ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped, seeds reserved
• 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons crème de cassis
• 1 loaf brioche bread, sliced 1 inch thick
• Additional berries for garnish

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine strawberries, blackberries, 1 cup of raspberries, sugars, salt, reserved vanilla bean seeds, orange zest, orange and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes until thickened. Add the remaining raspberries and crème de cassis, and stir to blend. Remove from heat, and strain, reserving liquid and fruit solids separately.
2. Line a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing at least a 2-inch overhang on all sides of pan.
3. Cut bread to fit bottom and sides of pan. Carefully dip bread in reserved liquid, turning to completely coat both sides. Place bread in bottom and up sides of pan. Pour fruit solids mixture into pan. Top with bread, covering all fruit. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place another 10 x 5-inch pan with weights on top of loaf to compress it. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.
4. Remove top pan and weights. Open plastic, and invert onto a serving platter. Remove plastic wrap. Garnish with berries and mint leaves, if desired. Slice and serve immediately with masses of whipped cream.



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