Best Summer Recipes

I love cooking and especially in the summer, when I have more time and many of my favorite foods are in season! After going to cooking school for a few weeks in July, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the kitchen and these are some of my favorite recipes.

Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, serves 6

From “Barefoot Contessa Parties” by Ina Garten

I like basically anything that has goat cheese in it so I’ve experimented with many different kinds of goat cheese recipes in the kitchen! This is certainly the best one I’ve come across— I’m convinced that there are few things better than warm goat cheese and on top of salad with a vinaigrette, it’s perfect.


  • 1 (11-ounce) log plain or herbed Montrachet

  • 2 extra-large egg whites, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

  • Fresh white bread crumbs

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons good cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons good Champagne vinegar

  • Pinch sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 extra-large egg yolk

  • 1 cup good olive oil

  • Enough mixed salad greens for 6 servings

  • Olive oil and unsalted butter, for frying


  1. Slice the Montrachet into 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. (The easiest way to slice goat cheese is to use a length of dental floss.) Dip each slice into the beaten egg whites, then the bread crumbs, being sure the cheese is thoroughly coated. Place the slices on a rack and chill them for at least 15 minutes.

  2. For the dressing, place the vinegars, sugar, salt, pepper, and egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and blend for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube until the vinaigrette is thickened. Season, to taste.

  3. Toss the salad greens with enough dressing to moisten, then divide them among 6 plates.

  4. Melt 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat until just under smoking. Cook the goat cheese rounds quickly on both sides until browned on the outside but not melted inside. Top each salad with 2 warm rounds and serve.

Summer Garden Pasta, serves 4

From “Barefoot Contessa at Home” by Ina Garten

I love going to the farmer’s market, in Palo Alto, and picking out fresh summer tomatoes! While this recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, I have found that it works well with any kind of ripe tomato. It’s super easy to throw together and tastes pretty great too!


  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

  • Good olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)

  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


  1. Combine the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.

  2. Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package (be careful – it only takes 2 to 3 minutes!). Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Peach and Cucumber Salad, serves 4

From Real Simple, July 2013 issue

Peaches are my favorite summer fruit and I love to pair them with other foods, in addition to eating them plain. This chicken recipe is delicious on its own and even better with the peach and cucumber salad.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the grill

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 4 lbs total)

  • 2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

  • 2 small cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Heat grill or a grill pan to medium. Once it is hot, clean the grill grate with a wire brush. Just before grilling, oil the grill grate or grill pan.

  2. Mix together the mayonnaise, paprika, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Loosen the skin from the chicken with your fingers and dividing evenly, spread the mayonnaise mixture underneath. Brush the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place on grill, skin-side down. Grill, covered, until the skin is browned and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 165 ºF, 12 to 15 minutes per side.

  3. Meanwhile, toss the peaches with the cucumbers, shallot, vinegar, thyme, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl.

  4. Serve the chicken with the peach and cucumber salad.

Watermelon and Feta, serves 4

From “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi

Because who doesn’t enjoy watermelon in the summer?


  • 10 oz feta

  • 4 ½ cups large chunks of watermelon

  • ¾ cup basil leaves

  • ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced (optional)

  • olive oil


  1. Slice the feta into large but thin pieces, or just break it by hand into rough chunks.

  2. Arrange all the ingredients, except the olive oil, on a platter, mixing them up a little. Drizze over some oil and serve at once.