Whenever I buy a quart-size bottle of buttermilk (and why is there is no other size available?), I use some for baking, some for salad dressing, and the rest for marinades. Buttermilk is a great tenderizer, as any fried-chicken lover knows, and that's especially handy for grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which can dry out quickly on the hot grill unless they've been marinated first. This recipe calls for a quick marinade, of one hour but not more than two hours, so with buttermilk and chicken breasts on hand, you can start this when you get home from work, and have it on the grill in time for dinner. Add a side of potato salad, some grilled vegetables brushed with olive oil and seasoned with... Read more →


I love farmers market season, when every variety of every vegetable is available, fresh picked on the day it comes to market. If you find multi-colored carrots at the market, buy them for this recipe, but if you don't, choose the most beautiful orange carrots you can find. The colors all taste the same. Slice them very thinly with a sharp knife or, preferably, on a mandoline. When you put together a picnic, cookout or spur-of-the-moment summer dinner, a few quick and easy side dishes in your repertoire can fill in the blanks between the protein on the grill, and cookies or brownies for dessert. These pickled carrots take less than an hour to prepare, including the time it takes to find the mandoline that... Read more →


When the zucchini come in, there's almost no way to keep up. A few are bound to get too big, or too old, before you get around to harvesting or cooking them. You can carve those over-the-top zucchini into boats, and stuff them (or float them!), or you can spiralize them into noodles. I love zucchini noodles, which are, somehow, a lighter version of diced or sliced zucchini. They hold less water, so they don't need to be salted and drained before you use them. I like to give zucchini noodles (also called, charmingly, zoodles) a quick sauté before adding them to this egg casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper, just to make sure they don't leave any excess liquid in the final... Read more →


When I see pickling cucumbers at the farmers market, I am the moth drawn to the flame. I must have them. And when I see fresh dill, I must have that, too. And then I make dill pickles, lots and lots of them. Sometimes, however, I find cucumbers but no dill, and for those times, I have my friend Pauline's bread and butter pickle recipe. Pauline, who left us for the great kitchen in the sky last year, taught me many complicated dishes, from her French-Canadian heritage and her stints living in other parts of the country, and she taught me this simple one. The only change I've made is to cut down on the sugar (and even at that, most of the sugar remains... Read more →


Years ago, while shopping at one of my favorite Latino grocery stores, Tropical Foods in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, I bought a bottle of something labeled "Naranja Agria", sour orange juice. It was sour, alright -- I found out the hard way -- not a juice for drinking, but a juice to use as a marinade. Until recently, I'd forgotten all about sour orange. A few days ago, I had some regular orange juice in the refrigerator, and a pile of limes on the countertop, and the combination of the two approximates the flavor of that sour orange juice. It's not a concoction you'd want to drink for breakfast, but it does make a bright, fresh, quick marinade for chicken on the grill. Add a few... Read more →


My friend Sarah has the greenest thumb of anyone I have ever known. On a small plot of land in the local community garden, she grows a lush variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Recently a big bunch of her mint, newly trimmed, found its way to my kitchen -- thank you, thank you -- so much, so fragrant, that I wanted to keep it forever. Well, not forever, but for the summer, and I think I found a way. In the freezer, I found a bag of chopped walnut pieces, intended for baking in cookies. Into the food processor went the large bunch of mint leaves, plus walnuts and a few more things from the pantry. Voila! A mild-tasting, yet garlicky, pesto that's perfect... Read more →


If it's green, I'm grilling it: that's my motto for this summer. After years of grilling asparagus (still my favorite way to cook it), I've moved on to the leafy greens like lettuce and bok choy. There's no stopping me. Proximity to a wonderful Asian grocery store gives me endless access to big bags of baby bok choy, and also makes it easy to keep my pantry stocked with Asian ingredients. Bok choy is a cabbage, which means it has a mild but distinct flavor of its own, and also takes well to strong flavors around it. For this and other sauces, I like to use a new-to-my-pantry ingredient, chili pepper stir-in paste, that I buy in the produce section of my supermarket; you can... Read more →