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July 25, 2014
 

Ah, the grill. That emblematic totem of summer eating. It holds such promise. But somehow, the food coming off the grill rarely seems to live up to its potential. The halfhearted, overdone cheeseburgers. The chicken pieces still raw in the middle with charred barbecue sauce coating the outside. It doesn’t have to be this way!

This summer, try making dinners on the grill that take full advantage of the smoky flavors and satisfying textures that grilling imparts, without settling for the traditional limitations. Salads, chops, vegetable dishes, seafood, and desserts can all come from that same grill grate. Paired with marinades, sauces, and seasonal produce, they’ll make for satisfying suppers all summer.

Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

 
  by Linda and Martha Greenlaw 

Fish can be more than a little intimidating to grill. All that tender, flaky flesh and delicate skin seems like it could easily turn into a burnt, fall-apart-y mess as soon as it hits the grate. But if you start with a hardy fish like salmon and leave the skin on, you should have good results. Try using a fish basket if you’re particularly nervous. And you want the salmon to be juicy on the inside when you’re done, bordering on rare. The sweet corn and blueberries make a delectable and colorful salsa.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Peaches, Plums, and Apricots

July 17, 2014

I went to see the movie Chef last weekend, and I highly recommend it. It’s so warm and funny and sweet. But most importantly, there’s a scene early on where Jon Favreau’s character is at the farmers’ market with his ten year old son, who’s asking for kettle corn. “Why don’t you get a piece of fruit?” He picks up an orange and says, “Look at how beautiful this is. Why wouldn’t you want to eat this?” Of course, they get the kettle corn, but the point is, every summer I’m reminded that for sheer aesthetic pleasure, packaging, and flavor, it’s hard to beat a ripe piece of fruit.

This time of year, stone fruits like peaches, plums, and apricots are in season. They’re obviously ideal in pies, cobblers, and compotes, but they work surprisingly well in savory dishes, paired with meats or cheeses, as well.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  by Molly Stevens 

“Each time I make this, I marvel at the interplay of flavors between the plump pork sausages, the sweet-tart fruit, and the lightly acidic wine. And because this is such an easy dish, requiring few ingredients and little time, I make it often, especially in the summer, when plums are at their peak. As you’re cutting up the plums for this recipe, taste a piece. If the plums are on the sour side (as some early-season varieties are), add a pinch of sugar to the braise to bring out their sweetness.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Camping Recipes for S’mores and More

July 15, 2014

When I was growing up, we went camping often: it was a cheap, character-building, safely adventurous take on vacation, and I remember it fondly. The magic transformation of a bag of sticks and fabric into a shelter, the day hikes through muddy swamps and over rickety bridges, the traumatic if harmless proliferation of daddy longlegs. But most of all, I remember camping food. It was far from fancy, maybe a can of beans heated over the fire in the morning, and instant soup, and corn cobs and baking potatoes that were wrapped in tinfoil and nestled into the coals until they were finally soft. But it was always good.

It seems like everything you cook over a campfire (with or without a grill grate, or even on a nearby camping stove) is imbued with a primal, smoky, satisfying flavor. Almost everything is impressive if you cook it while camping, and the recipes below take it a step further to truly gourmet. Of course, it’s always a good idea to supplement with granola bars and trail mix you make at home – still honorary campfire cuisine.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds 

 
 “When you’re cooking out of a chuckwagon, necessity is the mother of invention, especially when you’re feeding armed, hungry cowhands. Many a meal has been made of beef, beans and whatever else was available, and a soup similar to this was surely on the menu for many nights around the campfire.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Recipes for Summer Squash

July 7, 2014
I’ve joined a CSA this year, and the old line is more than true: what do I do with this excess of [insert abundant in-season vegetable here]? For the last few weeks, of course, that’s been summer squash. And after the first few stir-fries, sautés, and summer stews, I was ready for fresh inspiration,
Zucchini and summer squash are ideal for baking, with their subtle flavor relaying a moist backdrop to cakes and muffins. And using a mandoline, spiralizer, or vegetable peeler to cut summer squash into thin, pliable strips will lead you to a pasta substitute that’s perfect for summer.
Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Judita Wignall  

“No carbohydrate overload for this Italian “pasta” dish. I’ve served this to friends who didn’t even realize it was raw. It contains all the elements I love about Italian food: garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes all in a creamy sauce. That’s amore!” 

The “creamy” sauce in this recipe comes from soaked cashews, which take on the Italian seasonings for a much lighter take on traditional and familiar flavors.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Fourth of July Favorites

July 1, 2014
Long summertime weekends mean picnics, potlucks, and cookouts, and the Fourth of July is a perfect time to introduce updated takes on barbecue favorites. On the grill, add seafood to the mix along with the buns and burger patties. Try side dishes that rely on in-season vegetables while toning down the mayonnaise. And don’t forget to provide plenty of dessert options. Hand pies are the ideal fun and portable treat to nibble while you are tending the grill, playing backyard games, or sipping something cold.
In other news, we’re excited to announce the launch of the Clever Cookstr podcast on the Quick & Dirty Tips network. Every week, we’ll be sharing kitchen tips and tricks from our favorite chefs and cookbook authors. Visit us on Quick & Dirty Tips, iTunes, or Stitcher and let us know whom you would like to hear on the show!
Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  by Myra Goodman

 This picnic-perfect salad will be the colorful star of a Fourth of July table. Red, yellow, and purple new potatoes studded with green beans, red onion, tomatoes, and olives create a mayonnaise-free mixture that will go well with everything from grilled fish to burgers. Make this ahead and keep it in the fridge for a day or two, so that the flavors have a chance to mingle and so that there’s less work to do on the day of the celebration. 

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Cheesy Recipes for Summer

July 1, 2014
June 19, 2014

You might think of cheese as an ingredient best suited to cold-weather comfort foods. But you’d be missing out! Aside from the obvious pairings of mozzarella and tomatoes or watermelon and feta, a variety of cheeses make their way into dishes that are perfect for summer.
Tangy goat cheeses, creamy ricotta and mascarpone, salty cotija, and meltable queso fresco are great counterpoints to the fresh fruits and flavorful vegetables in season this time of year. Explore your own pairings and let us know what you discover!
Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

 What could be nicer than a blushing peach? The sun-kissed color, the ticklish feel of the fuzz, the sweet-as-sugarcane flavor. This simple orzo salad lets these traits shine-and without the nuisance of peach juice dribbling down your arm. Summer in a bowl, this is.

“If there is any cheese that pairs best with a peach, it’s Humboldt Fog. This humble yet multi-award-winning specimen was the herald for American-made artisan cheeses and shows up on nearly every cheese plate in the country, with good reason. Crafted by Cypress Grove in Humboldt County, California, this superlative goat cheese possesses plenty of flavor. Beneath this cheese’s bloomy rind lies an intoxicating paste that guards its savory core: a line of decorative vegetable ash running through the middle, giving Humboldt Fog its distinct layer-cake appearance.

- Stephanie Stiavetti and Garrett McCord

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The Cookstr Weekly: Recipes from The Glass Kitchen

July 1, 2014
June 12, 2014

The two things we love most here at Cookstr are food and books. Not just cookbooks, but all kinds of books. And we have a soft spot for fiction that includes culinary descriptions so vivid that the food itself becomes a character. That’s why we launched Cookstr’s Food + Fiction Goodreads group, and why the first book we’re featuring there is Linda Francis Lee’s upcoming novel The Glass Kitchen.

We’ve got a sneak preview for you of some recipes from The Glass Kitchen, as well as a word from Linda about her process of getting back into the kitchen while writing the book. Enjoy!

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Linda Francis Lee 

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