When it comes to summer entertaining, I often go for dishes that require as little effort as possible to showcase the bright flavors of sun-ripened produce. I want a meal that’s festive, fast, and filling without being heavy, and it’s great if it can keep well outdoors given that’s where we do most of our eating when the weather is gorgeous. This particular meal is a favorite in our family for its mix of flavors…and because it gets to the table quickly!
Click through the slider below for three great end-of-summer recipes from my book The Happy Cook!
Daphne Oz is a mother-of-two (who’s expecting her third soon!), author, wellness and food expert, and co-host on ABC’s “The Chew.” To learn more about her and her books, visit daphneoz.com!
All recipes from THE HAPPY COOK by Daphne Oz. Copyright © 2016 by Daphne Oz. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Cucumber, Peach, and Feta SaladThis salad was inspired by my love of the classic Mediterranean combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions in a bight lemon vinaigrette. I’ve layered in sweet, juicy peaches that highlight summer’s bounty (though tomatoes on their own work great here, too!) and traded scallions for the more delicate flavor of fresh chives for a salad that is fresh, crunchy, and a cooling sidekick to the steak. Makes 4 Servings Ingredients: 1 English (seedless) cucumber or 4 Persian (mini) cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds 2 peaches, peeled, halved, pitted, and thinly sliced 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (preferably Belgian or French) 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane-style rasp 1 teaspoon grainy mustard 1 teaspoon honey 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly cracked black pepper 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives 1. On a platter, alternate slices of cucumber and peaches. Crumble the feta over the top. 2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to taste. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is creamy and emulsified. 3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve sprinkled with the chives. Photo by Amy Neunsinger
Skirt Steak with Brown Sugar-Spice RubSkirt steak is juicy and the only real trick is to cook it medium-rare to medium, and slice it thinly against the grain for tender bites. The steak is perfect on its own or layered into tacos, and the dry rub provides tons of flavor, even if you only have 10 minutes to let it sit before it goes on the grill. The flavor is smoky and can be made more or less spicy, with a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar. Makes 4 servings Ingredients: 1 tablespoon light brown sugar 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 11/4 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 4 pieces 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for serving 1. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, garlic powder, chipotle powder, cumin, and oregano. Rub the mixture all over the steak pieces, place the meat in the bowl, and set aside for 30 minutes (the meat can rest with the spices for up to 24 hours; if preparing more than 30 minutes ahead of cooking, refrigerate). 2. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to high heat, or set a grill pan over high heat for three minutes. Use a few folded paper towels or a dishrag and long grilling tongs to grease the grill grate with 1 tablespoon of the oil. 3. Drizzle the steaks with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt on all sides, then set them on the grill. Cook until the steaks have defined and deeply caramelized grill marks and release easily from the grill, 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the opposite side to finish cooking to desired doneness, 2-3 minutes more for medium rare (the steak will continue to cook while it rests). Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. 4. Season one section of the cutting board with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a sprinkle of salt. Set two of the steak pieces on top of the seasoning and slice into thin strips against the grain. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch more salt to the board and slice the remaining two steak pieces. This is a Michael Symon trick that allows each piece to get a little extra seasoning from the oil and salt. Transfer the steak and any accumulated juices to a platter and serve sprinkled with sea salt and pepper. Photo by Amy Neunsinger
Sour Apple PopsFor dessert, all our family really wants in the warmer months is ice cream and fresh fruit. But my kids are fiends for popsicles all day long, so we’ve come up with a variety of combinations to have on hand all day, and I’ll often just pull these out for dessert in a pinch (again, I’m big on easy entertaining!). This combination of freshly juiced apples with lemon or lime—throw some cucumber juice in for extra hydration if you have it—is so refreshing and the perfect way to cool down and relax with friends and family. Makes About 6 Pops (Depending on The Size Of The Molds) Ingredients: 4 Gala or Pink Lady apples, peeled and quartered 1 English (seedless) cucumber, quartered, or 2 Persian (mini) or Kirby cucumbers, halved 3 limes, peel removed, fruit quartered 1. In a juicer, juice the apples, cucumber(s), and lime. 2. Divide the mixture among ice pop molds, then refrigerate at least two hours; getting the pop blend as cold as possible before freezing helps ensure the pops aren’t icy. Freeze until hard, at least four hours or, preferably, overnight. Photo by Amy Neunsinger