Easy recipes you have to make before summer ends

By Krysten Chambrot, The New York Times

While it may feel like we’re deep in the dog days, soup and braises will soon be upon us. Seize the moment and make these new recipes: Each is simple and summery, full of seasonal produce and bright flavors, so you can soak up every last bit of the season.

Crispy Chicken Thighs With Charred Zucchini

By Ham El-Waylly

Char your vegetables. It brings the best out of many brassicas, including broccoli and cabbage, but also summer squash such as zucchini. All too often zucchini can fall a little flat, but charring caramelizes the natural sugars that are present in the zucchini, enhancing their sweetness and adding a hint of smoky flavor. This is the perfect, punchy weeknight dinner, as the pumpkin seed dressing comes together entirely in the blender while the chicken finishes cooking in the oven. Save this sauce in your back pocket, as it does everything a green goddess dressing can do, but is much lighter — and equally great on a wedge of iceberg or as a dip for potato chips.

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 1 hour


  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • Tender cilantro sprigs, for garnish

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup torn tender cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed (and seeded, if preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)

To serve:

  • Plain white rice


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a paper towel to pat both sides of the thighs until dry. Generously season the chicken thighs all over with kosher salt. On a plate, season the cut sides of the zucchini with salt and let sit.

2. Place the thighs skin side down in a medium or large oven-safe skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook, undisturbed, until the fat on the chicken skin has rendered, the thighs release easily from the pan, and the skin is a golden brown with splotches of dark brown, about 15 minutes. Flip the thighs over and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, to a plate. Return the pan to medium heat. Pat the zucchini dry and place cut side down in the pan and press down firmly with a spatula. Cook until deeply charred in spots, about 3 minutes, then flip. Add 1/4 cup water and scrape up any browned bits with a stiff spatula or wooden spoon. Place the thighs (and any juices) on top of the zucchini, skin side up. Scatter the pumpkin seeds around the pan and transfer skillet to the oven. Roast until thighs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

4. While the chicken roasts, make the sauce: To a blender, add the buttermilk, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, lemon juice and salt; blend until smooth.

5. Scatter cilantro on top of the chicken and finish with a light drizzle of sauce. Serve with rice and the rest of the sauce on the side.

Tomato Cheddar Toasts

By Ali Slagle

Tomato and cheddar toasts don’t need fussing — just crusty bread, swoops of mayonnaise, perfect summer tomatoes and the sharpest cheddar you can find. It’s in the construction where things can go from good to great. Instead of cheese that’s sliced (which can be stiff and unrelenting) or broiled (and coagulated), take a cue from Chris Kronner’s burger wisdom in “A Burger to Believe In” (Ten Speed Press, 2018) and stir finely grated cheddar into the mayonnaise. When slathered on hot, toasted bread, the cheese will melt into a creamy base somewhere between a queso and pepper-free pimento cheese. It has the pluck of sharp cheddar, albeit in a plush and delightful form.

Yield: 4 toasts

Total time: 10 minutes


  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 packed cup (2 ounces) finely grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • 4 slices crusty bread


1. Arrange the tomatoes on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Stir together the mayonnaise, cheddar and a pinch of salt.

2. Toast the bread however you like. Right when the bread’s hot and ready, slather with the cheddar mayonnaise. (Extra mayo will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.) Top with the tomatoes and devour.

Poc Chuc (Citrus-Marinated Grilled Pork)

By Christian Reynoso

Super citrusy and smoky, poc chuc is both charred and full of tangy brightness. This dish with Mayan origins, from the state of Yucatán in Mexico, translates to “toast” over “fire” and is grilled hot and fast. Traditionally, thinly sliced pork is marinated in sour orange juice. Here, a mixture of citrus juices mimics the spirit of sour oranges, and makes the meat tender and full of flavor. A simple yet delicious way to prepare versatile and cost-effective pork shoulder, poc chuc can top tacos or salads or be served with beans, rice, tortillas, pickled onions, cabbage and avocado. There are no boundaries on how to enjoy it.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 35 minutes, plus at least 4 hours’ marinating


  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or use thin-cut boneless pork chops, see Tips)
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange and 1 lime (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) or 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for grilling
  • Warm tortillas, black beans, pickled red onions, shaved cabbage, avocado slices and orange or lime wedges, for serving (not all necessary, but encouraged)


1. If you have one large chunk of pork, cut it into a few smaller pieces. Cut the pork against the grain into thin (1/4-inch) slices.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the orange and lime zest, if using, with the garlic, orange, grapefruit and lime juices, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the pork slices and toss to coat, then submerge in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

3. Heat an outdoor grill (see Tips) to high, making sure the grates are clean and oiled. Meanwhile, drain the pork thoroughly, discarding the marinade. Coat the pork with 2 tablespoons of oil.

4. Once grill grates are very hot, lay the pork down in an even layer and cook, covered, until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Turn pork over to kiss the second side with heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter.

5. Serve the poc chuc immediately with your choice of warm tortillas, black beans, pickled red onions, shaved cabbage, avocado slices and citrus wedges.


Traditionally, this recipe is made with pork shoulder, thinly sliced. You can ask your butcher to do it for you or, if you’re slicing it at home, freeze the pork chunks for 30 minutes to make them easier to thinly slice. Thin-cut boneless pork chops aren’t traditional, but will also work if you’re short on time.

If you don’t have access to a grill, a grill pan works well here too.

Southern Fried Corn

By Millie Peartree

Southern fried corn, a dish with deep roots in African American cooking, preserves fresh kernels and their natural sweetness. It’s traditionally made with corn shucked fresh from the cobs. Reserving the “milk” — the milky liquid from the lining of the cob — makes this dish lightly creamy without any cream. Sautéed with onions and jarred peppers, the kernels pick up loads of fresh flavor, then a final shower of bacon and sliced scallions adds crunch for a side dish that’s sweet, salty and perfect for any Sunday dinner.

Yield: 5 cups (4 to 6 servings)

Total time: 35 minutes


  • 6 fresh ears of corn
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced


1. Slice off the kernels from each ear of corn (you should have about 4 cups). Then, with the flat edge of the knife or the edge of a small spoon, scrape each corn cob over a plate to collect the starchy “milk.” Discard the cobs.

2. Heat the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook until crisp, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain any fat into a small heatproof bowl, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the skillet.

3. Add the butter to the skillet to melt. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add corn kernels to the skillet, along with the reserved starchy milk, the salt, paprika, pepper and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until corn is softened and lightly browned in spots, 5 to 7 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup water with the cornstarch; stir until well combined to create a slurry.

6. Add the slurry to the corn mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Stir in cooked bacon, red peppers and half the scallions to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve topped with remaining scallions.

Peach Crisp

By Yossy Arefi

Peach crisp is one of the joys of summer, and honey-sweet peaches need very little adornment, aside from this buttery crisp topping. Choose peaches that are just ripe for baking, as super-ripe peaches will turn into mush during this dessert’s long bake time. In this crisp, the peaches are peeled for the most luscious texture — and you can do so using a standard Y-shaped peeler (no need to boil a pot of water). That said, if you don’t have the time or energy to peel your peaches, you can leave them on for a slightly more rustic dessert. You may notice there aren’t any spices in this recipe, but vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg all pair very nicely with peaches.

Yield: 8 servings

Total time: About 2 hours


  • 3 pounds peaches (about 8), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Fine salt
  • 1 cup (128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 packed cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (45 grams) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, soft but cool and cut into pieces
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional), to serve


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the center.

2. In a large bowl, combine the peaches, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, transfer to an 8-by-8 inch baking dish and press down gently to compact the fruit in the dish.

3. To a medium bowl, add the flour, light brown sugar, oats and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir to combine. Add the butter and use your fingers or a pastry blender to smash the butter into the flour mixture until evenly mixed and clumps form.

4. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the peaches, then bake the crisp until the topping is golden brown and the peach juices are bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes.

5. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream on top, if using.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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