The Larder TM_TL_HEIRL_FI_001

There is no better late summer treat than a ripe, juicy, misshapen heirloom tomato. When they’re in season, I eat them at every meal. In the morning, I scramble eggs and top them with cubes of tomato. For lunch, I cut tomatoes into thick wedges and stack them on top of sturdy slices of mayonnaise-spread toast. Come dinnertime, I make tomato salads, pasta sauces, spicy salsa frescas, and even cocktails.

This week, I’ve pulled together some of my very favorite tomato-centric dishes for a full-on tomato supper. MORE

The Whole Chicken Project TM_WC_BASIL_FI_001

My grandma Bunny was of the opinion that if you had to turn your oven on in the summertime, it was best to do it for short periods of time at very high heat. Her thinking was that fairly quick blasts of heat (no more than 45 minutes were permitted) could be fanned out of the house without too much effort, while longer roasts and braises would stay with you all darned day. I have long taken her word as gospel on this topic because her A/C-free Southern California home was always perfectly temperate, even on the hottest days.

Fish Fortnight TM_TL_BLUFSH_FI_001

When I was very young, my great-aunt had a house in one of the little towns that dots the Jersey shore. Despite living in Southern California, many summers, we’d make the cross-country trek to spend some time with the extended family at Aunt Doris’ shore house.

There would be long days at the beach and in the late afternoon, everyone would regroup at the house for showers and dinner. While my grandmother wasn’t much of a cook, at least once during these gatherings, she’d cook up a bluefish feast, which was one of her few specialties.

Ingredient TM_IN_TOMAT_FI_001

When it comes to summer cooking, I often find myself falling into the same monotonous rut. Fish. Salad. Burger. Repeat. When it’s over 100 degrees outside, everyday tasks like making dinner turn tedious, and up until recently, very few things get me inspired enough to set up shop up in my tiny, poorly ventilated apartment kitchen.

Until I started paying attention to the tomatillo. MORE

The Larder TM_TL_GRAPET_FI_001

Grape tomatoes. Most of year they are readily available and entirely average. But as soon as the hotter days arrive, truly exceptional tiny tomatoes start trickling into local markets. By high summer, it’s a welcome deluge.

I buy a pint or two every time I shop, to have on hand for quick meals. I toss them into salads, scramble them into eggs, and dip them into hummus. I also have a few favorite recipes in which I make repeatedly over the summer months, in order to get my fill before the season ends. MORE

The Whole Chicken Project TM_WC_GRILLED_FI_001

Deep summer is here. The days are hot and sticky, farmers markets are bursting with peaches and tomatoes, and most people haven’t turned on their ovens in at least three weeks. That’s why this month’s Whole Chicken Project is devoted to a recipe that is best made outside, on your trusty grill.

When I was growing up, we often used the backyard barbeque during the summer to keep the heat out of the house (a particularly important trick as our houses never had central A/C). My mom mostly stuck to hot dogs and hamburgers, though, because she had a heck of a time getting her chicken to cook all the way through without being burnt to a crisp on the outside. MORE

Wine 101

Tickled Pink

Embrace the sociable sophistication of real rosé


“That just might be the girliest thing I’ve seen you drink all year,” said my friend as I sipped on a vibrant pink glass of rosé at a local wine bar recently. This friend of mine trained in the army, still wears her sturdy combat boots, and doesn’t own makeup — the least “girly” girl I know. When I suggested she try my wine, she refused to let go of the grip she had on her own full glass, which she had ordered from the “Sociable Reds” category on the wine list.

I didn’t understand her hesitation. If she were truly feeling sociable, she would have at least sampled a sip. After all, there’s nothing more friendly and approachable than a chilled glass of pink rosé on a sunny, spring day. “Come on, you’ll like it,” I said. “I promise, you won’t turn into Barbie if you try it.”

“But it looks like Arbor Mist!” she said with a laugh. “Too sweet for me.”

Yes, the Spanish 2011 Celler el Masroig Les Sorts Rosat in my glass was undeniably bright pink in color. And yes, it did look dainty and feminine and flirty. But it was also everything a serious rosé should be — youthful and vivacious, with ripe, bold berry flavors, juicy acidity, and a hint of spiciness. It made me feel good when I drank it — revived and refreshed — and it was far from being too sweet.