When it comes to summer cooking, we like high flavor and a low labor-to-calorie ratio. So we called in some  fashionable friends (who also happen to be handy in the kitchen) to share the best of their simple summer recipes. Bon appetit!

*     *     *


“I live on the canals in Venice and summer dinners at my house can start with four of us and end up being 20. Lamb chops are one of my favorite foods so I was thrilled when they arrived in my grocery delivery box. They are so easy—all I have to do is throw them on the grill and go back to my guests!”

Grilled Lamb Chops

  • Lamb chops
  • Salt and cracked black pepper 

Season the chops with sea salt and cracked black pepper.  Grill over an open flame until they have a beautiful crust on either side and are desired doneness within (usually 3 to 5 minutes).  Remember to allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Tomato and Purslane Salad

  • Cherry tomatoes, whole or halved
  • Purslane, picked into small clusters and gently washed
  • Red onion, sliced thinly and soaked in ice water for 5-10 minutes
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper 

Combine the cherry tomatoes, purslane clusters and soaked onion slices (the soaking in the ice water take the “hotness” off and makes them more palatable to eat raw) season with salt and pepper, a big squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil.

*     *     *


“Growing up, my mother would make this recipe for me—and in fact, she still does! It’s one of my favorites, and I love that it gets better the next day served with rice or linguini.”

Chicken Basquaise

  • Whole chicken cut in 6 pieces
  • 1 kilogram of tomatoes
  • 700 grams of peppers (green and red)
  • 3 onions, diced
  • Glass of white wine (or not)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

In a large pan cook the onions, garlic, and thinly sliced peppers on medium heat for 5 minutes. Wash and slice tomatoes into small cubes and add to the pan along with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes checking regularly.

Transfer everything into a big casserole dish. Add the chicken and cook for 20 minutes. Adding the glass of white wine and cover again, cooking for another 20 minutes. If you feel the tomatoes didn’t give enough water, add one glass of water. Remove  from oven, let cool and serve with linguine or rice. 

 *     *     *


“I love the summer because of the incredibly fresh fruits and vegetable options. A healthy and simple side dish is my grilled zucchini. And one of my favorite (not to mention incredibly easy) summer desserts after lunch is an affogato. The mix of the melting ice cream with the coffee flavor is just so delicious and satisfying.”

Grilled Zucchini

  • 3 (or more) medium zucchini
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Herbs  

Start off by slicing zucchini, length-wise, into thin strips. Lightly coat the inside of a baking pan with olive oil and place the strips flat. Drizzle olive oil over the zucchini and add pepper and salt to taste. Add fresh herbs if you would like to do so. Then, place on the grill or in the broiler until lightly brown and tender.


  • Freshly brewed espresso 
  • Pint of vanilla gelato or ice cream 

In a cup or bowl, scoop one or two scoops of your favorite vanilla ice cream. Then, pour over a serving of freshly brewed espresso on top and serve! 

 *     *     *


“I will admit I’m far from being a regular cook, but my big bro, who is more comfortable and undeniably better in the kitchen, shared this salad recipe from thekithcn.com with me once. The great thing about it is that it’s easy. The list of ingredients is long but all you do is mix everything and roast it in the oven et voila. Also, for those of us who don’t cook as often and may have cupboards that are barer than others… take note that many of the ingredients are interchangeable depending on what you have at home. The only necessary constants are eggplant and goat cheese. For example, you can use maple syrup instead of honey, red chili powder instead of paprika, cashews instead of almonds, etc. Also, during the summer I always love having a big pitcher of iced hojicha (roasted green tea). It’s refreshing and goes with everything. Good luck!”

Roasted Eggplant & Goat Cheese Salad

  • 2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled and divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions

Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.

Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, and cumin. Dab away any extra water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade. Stir in the garlic. Spread the eggplant on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment and slide onto a rack placed in the center of the oven. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes, or until very tender and slightly browned. (Stir every 15 minutes and check after 30 minutes to make sure it isn’t burning.) Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce. Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture. Stir in the parsley leaves, smoked almonds, and most of the goat cheese, reserving a little.

Spread the finished salad in a serving bowl and sprinkle the reserved goat cheese crumbles and scallions on top. (See the recipe on thekitchn.com