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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Celebrate Summer


Today is June 21 which means that summer has officially arrived.  Most of us have been experiencing summer weather for quite some time, which is why I’ve never really paid much attention to the calendar dates of the seasons.  (In fact, it is a huge pet peeve of mine that the calendar seasons are so out of sync with the weather – just ask Ben.)  The longer I blog and the more the archives grow, the greater chance that there are some really fantastic past recipes that readers may miss because they weren’t a recent entry.  I thought I would start doing a feature at the (calendar) beginning of each season to highlight some of my personal favorites with you.


I hate the thought of ever having to choose a favorite pie, but if it came down to it my choice would be this blueberry pie.  There is something magical about blueberries after they are cooked and this pie is the embodiment of summer for me.


I used to be lukewarm about pickles until I met this recipe.  Now, I positively can’t get enough of them.  Excuse me while I run and make some.


For me, the very best thing about summer is the abundance of fresh produce, specifically fruit.  Right now my fridge is bursting with so much produce, I’m not sure I’ll be able to make use of it all.  (I will though, I am determined!)  With beautiful bright colors and natural sweetness, combined with vanilla pastry cream it’s positively irresistible in the form of this tart.


Living in the midwest, we don’t tend to use the grill all year round.  (Well, my dad does, but we won’t go there today.)  In summer I try to take advantage of the grilling season by planning at least one or two meals per week on the grill.  These burgers make it into the rotation frequently.  To us, they are the perfect classic burger – nothing fancy or odd, just the right ratio of the usual suspects to take them from good to great.  (They also require the perfect burger bun, in my opinion.)


Berries can be extremely pricey during some parts of the year, but in summer there seems to be a magical few weeks when they are all dirt cheap.  That’s the time to make this summer berry pie.  The lovely berries and their deep jewel tones almost look too pretty to eat.  Almost.


A beautiful summer evening, grilling up some fabulous chicken fajitas while you sit outside on the patio and indulge in a margarita or two = perfection.  That is what I’ll be doing this Friday night, for real.


Cold weather has never deterred me from making or eating ice cream, but the heat of summer certainly makes me crave it even more than usual.  This chocolate ice cream is perfectly thick, creamy and well, chocolatey.  Such a classic treat.


At the end of summer many home gardeners end up with a plethora of zucchini.  Zucchini bread, cupcakes, everything are baked at a frantic pace.  This easy side dish is one of my favorite uses for zucchini, and it is fun to make (I love squeezing out all the water!)



Mississippi mud pie combines two of my favorite treats in one – pie and ice cream.  Very different than a fruit pie a la mode, but certainly no less delicious.  Coffee, toffee, and chocolate?  Yes, please.


This cherry tomato salad is my new favorite summer side dish.  Fresh cherry tomatoes are the perfect match for crisp, cool cucumber and tangy feta in a simple dressing.  It’s love, I tell you.


Sorbet can be the perfect ending to a hot summer day when you want something lighter than ice cream.  This one in particular screams summer to me, with its beautiful magenta color, smooth texture, and sweet-tart flavoring.  It’s good stuff.


For me, one of the very best things about summer is home grown produce.  Pizza margherita is my very favorite because in summer, you can step outside for tomatoes and basil fresh from your own garden.  With homemade pizza dough, it just doesn’t get much better than that.  Except in the form of this tomato mozzarella tart with basil garlic crust – same flavors, but they take on new life in this savory tart.


Summer gatherings spent cooking hot dogs over a fire and ending with s’mores are a popular past time.  This s’mores layer cake is a fun variation on the classic flavor combo, and is an ideal dessert for any summer get together.

  • Anne Marie

    My tastebuds just went into overdrive. Where to begin? Such utter deliciousness and beauty! It’s going to be a fantastic summer!

  • HB

    Brilliant post! Love it and looking forward to upcoming seasonal as well! And yes — summer temps started long before today for us :) I had a hard time explaining outside vs. the calendar with my 4yo just last week! Wish we had a fall and spring for as long as we have a summer though! May have to start with the tart from this post! Thank you…

  • Patti

    Mmmmm..the tastes of summer! Fantastic choice of recipes for the season.

  • http://trainingtable.blogspot.com/ 12th Man

    Summer Solstice is today, but here’s an astronomical factoid if you need another reason to celebrate the warmer weather. Summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and also marks the point where Earth is furthest from the sun. But, because of inertia, July 4-5 are typically the “slowest” days of the year: the days in which Earth’s orbital speed is the slowest. That’s why everyone is so laid back in the summer!

  • http://nasilemaklover.blogspot.com Sonai aka Nasi Lemak Lover

    Wish I can have a chance to taste all these delicious foods !!

  • http://warmvanillasugar.wordpress.com Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Thanks for all the ideas! They sound great :)

  • http://www.smittensugar.com Krystle

    Well its offically just before 9am on Monday morning and I want a piece of everything you just mentioned.

  • Hilary

    whoa nellie! Every single thing looks incredible. I can’t wait to try some of them! (belated happy Birthday to your cute little boy too :)

  • Sara

    Pretty sure I just book-marked almost all of these recipes… I’m looking forward to the pickles and the sorbet the most. Yum! Thanks, Annie :)

  • Liz

    Annie, thanks for sharing this seasonal feature with us. I don’t want to miss on ANY opportunity to try a recipe from your archives! I wanted to let you know that I made the Island Spice Pork Tenderloin this weekend and it turned out great! I loved the melted sugar glaze on top because it enhanced the cumin/chili powder/cinnamon blend. I have leftovers for lunch at work today! Your recipes never disappoint!

  • http://www.heidisfullplate.com Heidi

    Love seasonal cooking! Summer has so many fresh option! Your pics are beautiful! I want to cook them all.

  • http://theobsessivechef.blogspot.com StephenC

    This was a nice idea. It is frustrating to think of the recipes one has made that have seemed to disappear into the archives.

  • http://cookingwithkait.com Cooking with Kait

    What a wonderful collection of summer treats. I love the fruit tart!

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com DessertForTwo

    I’m having a bbq this Friday and you just gave me all my ideas for the perfect menu! thanks!

  • http://comfortofcooking.blogspot.com Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Annie, I’m planning on making your fresh fruit tart for a July 4th party this year. I can’t wait to start making it, and especially taste it! Great post.

  • http://www.crumblycookie.net Bridget

    Hey I see some of my favorite on there as well!

    Here, let me get all know-it-all-y about the seasons (which you probably know, but whatever, I like to be a know-it-all). The official first day of the seasons is based on the position of the Earth relative to the Sun and the amount of sunlight recieved, of course. The reason there’s a delay for most of the seasons is that it takes the Earth some time to absorb (or lose) enough of the sun’s heat to respond to the change in amount of sunlight.

    Of course that doesn’t explain the 100-degree weather we’ve had here for the last month…

  • Annie

    Oh yes, I’m well aware there is a reason behind the difference in the calendar vs. actual weather season. It just bothers me that it feels so off.

  • http://likemotherlikedaughters.com/ urmomcooks

    Luv this post! Like a yummy stroll down memory lane… And exciting incentive to shrug off the hot weather and get cooking! Some of the best goodies on earth are available right now! Enjoy ur blog!

  • http://www.thehealthyapron.com www.thehealthyapron.com

    I came here for help making my grocery list..everything in this post screams at me!! thanks!

  • http://scrambledhenfruit.blogspot.com Betty

    So many choices! Thanks for sharing from your archives. I discovered blogging less than a year ago and I have a lot to catch up on. :) Your fruit tart is gorgeous- I think that will be dessert this weekend!

  • http://kelseysappleaday.blogspot.com Kelsey

    I know where that palm tree picture was taken and I am so jealous! I wish I could go this year!

  • http://www.chichoskitchen.blogspot.com Cherine

    I’m simply drooling now!!

  • Jenni

    Last night I made your cherry tomato salad to go along with your beef stroganoff recipe. Both were delicious! I will be making these again soon!!

  • http://yumsiliciousbakes.blogspot.com Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes)

    The day was June 21 which means it was my birthday!! :) :P

  • http://ifellinloveat22.blogspot.com Kate

    The Summer Berry Pie is a favorite at our house, but I make it with a crust that has toasted granola and walnuts. Delicious!