The moment summer starts, my boys begin clamoring for their very favorite summer dish: this crunchy, flaky, fresh fish in a luxurious, tangy butter sauce. I have a hard time holding them off til late July, when the stripers are ubiquitous and tomatoes are good and ripe. But once I treat them to it, they wish they could have it every night.

Making the dish is easy, although I typically have to triple the recipe to feed my hulking teens. Grrrrr. The good thing is that striped bass is fairly firm, so it doesn’t fall apart in the pan like more delicate fish, plus it cooks relatively quickly. The key is to keep pieces of similar thickness…

Almost Rao’s Lemon Chicken

Oh, the power of suggestion.

I saw an episode of “Barefoot Contessa” recently where Ina visited legendary New York Italian restaurant Rao’s, and learned to cook their famous lemon chicken. Essentially, it’s broiled chicken that’s then bathed in a simple lemon-garlic vinaigrette, but I wanted to eat the television, it looked so succulent. I could barely wait to make it for dinner the next day with fresh poultry from the chicken farm up the road.

I almost always follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it, but this time was an exception. I underestimated the number of lemons I would need, so I was shy on the amount of lemon juice it called for. And because…

The Best Guacamole

Want the best guacamole recipe? Hands-down, it’s this one I adapted about 20 years ago from Diane Rossen Worthington’s The Cuisine of California. I’ve used it ever since, to rave reviews. As my sister likes to say, “It’s seriously so good that it makes people faint!”

Assuming you use creamy, ripe avocados, you’ll end up with the most luscious dip or spread you can imagine. Adjust the cumin and jalapeño to your own taste, of course. We love to scoop it up with blue corn tortilla chips, but really, the possibilities are limitless. Use it atop any kind of taco. Serve it alongside warm scrambled eggs. Put it on a burger. Spread it on toast for…

Top 5 Summer Tomato Recipes

Looking for some great recipes for your summer tomato bounty? Here are five of our favorites from over the years:

1. Barefoot Contessa Provencal Tomatoes: An unfortunate tomato incident resulted in our discovery of this low-effort/high-reward treat.

2. Barefoot Contessa Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup: The only disappointment with this easy, divine soup was that there weren’t any leftovers!

3. Barefoot Contessa Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts: My very favorite lunch. Tomatoes and goat cheese are heavenly together, especially when they’re having a love affair atop a crunchy puff pastry crust.


Pico de Gallo

Yup, again with the tomatoes. Can’t help myself—they’re so sweet and ripe and juicy that they enhance every summer meal. It’s quite a love affair I’m having this year.

This time, they’re the star of a cool and tasty pico de gallo, or fresh salsa, that can be enjoyed many ways. You can scoop it up with tortilla chips as a refreshing appetizer with a nice, cold cerveza. You can heap it atop a hot-off-the-grill steak for a bright, tangy counterpoint. You can spoon it over a perfectly poached egg for a flavorful, healthy breakfast.

We used it as part of the delectable grilled fish tacos we made over the weekend. The sweet crunchiness of the…

Creamy Gazpacho


My experience with this gazpacho was like going on an exquisitely swoonful first date—where the guy is Jon Hamm-handsome; you trade exceedingly witty, wise and charming discourse; and you wake up the next morning walking on clouds and daydreaming with a silly grin on your face—and then following it up with an even more enchanting second date just days later. Oh yes. It’s that sublime.

I spotted the recipe while flipping through Fine Cooking, and was instantly intrigued that the author was inspired by a handwritten recipe from her Spanish mother-in-law, who hailed from Sevilla, the birthplace of gazpacho. Like she urges, you must wait until the tomatoes are ripe and juicy, or the resulting soup will…

Corn & Tomato Salad

If there’s one simple, scrumptious salad that screams “summer”…that people will beg you to bring to BBQs and picnics…that you will never tire of, it’s this Corn & Tomato Salad. The recipe is inspired by a dish at Alforno, one of our favorite restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island.

It’s the goodness of summer on a plate: sweet, crunchy kernels of fresh local corn; juicy sun-ripened tomatoes; crispy-chewy bread with a slight char; a sharp burst of pungent red onion; and a hint of delicate floral basil. We eagerly await that July day when the first early field tomatoes show up in a basket at our favorite farm stand, and the piles of corn beckon. From then…

Spicy Apricot Grilled Chicken

Just like I’m a sucker for a fabulous roast chicken, I’m also enchanted by delectable grilled chicken. There’s something so irresistible about flavorful crispy char that gives way to velvety, slightly smoky meat. It screams summer.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we were one of the happy families who managed to score fresh chickens from the Iacono’s chicken farm in East Hampton. They raise, kill and prepare the birds right there at their home/farm stand, and especially on holiday weekends, you need to reserve early because once the birds are spoken for, ain’t no mo’. And once you’ve had chicken that was walking around the day before yesterday, anything that’s wrapped…

Every once in a while, I have a stuffed mushroom craving. There’s something so “cocktail culture” about them, and besides being flavorful and a satisfying mix of textures, they’re a snap to make.

While I’ve seen mushrooms stuffed with things like crabmeat and sausage, nothing fancy for me, thankyouverymuch. Just a simple savory breadcrumb stuffing, enhanced with some salty romano cheese, a zippy touch of garlic, and a couple of herbs. It’s the perfect bite every time!

Stuffed Mushrooms Adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis


    • 1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 28…

It’s official: grilling season is underway!

I pulled out one of my long-lost, all-time favorite grill recipes last weekend, and apparently I haven’t made pork tenderloin in years, because the boys told me they’d never had it before. And they were kinda peeved that I had held out for so long because they all loved this easy, yummy entré!

Pork tenderloin isn’t the most flavorful meat on its own, but the simply blender marinade adds some tangy citrus flavor and a hint of spice from the cayenne. Truth be told, I don’t always have both variations of chile powder in the pantry, and I often just double up on whatever’s on hand. It’s always good. The recipe calls for…