Think grilled chicken is boring? Try this recipe from Bittman’s newest book ‘How to Grill Everything’

Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” books are reliable, creative and, most importantly, useful.

This grilled chicken breast from “How to Grill Everything” by Mark Bittman is anything but boring. Contributed by Christina Holmes

Why are the recipes that fill those books so well-loved and easy to adapt? Because Bittman knows, perhaps more than any cookbook writer today, how we cook. Sometimes, we start to cook with nothing more than a craving — a fruit cobbler, a potato salad or a grilled chicken — so he starts with a basic recipe for each and then offers up to a dozen ways to adjust the recipe to fit your palate or your pantry, as well as your schedule and skill level.

For example, in the latest book in this series, “How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), Bittman starts the chapter on chicken with a basic grilled chicken breast recipe that includes alternative cooking times and methods for chicken thighs and turkey cutlets, as well as nine variations on the flavor profile (curried, Thai, North African, Mediterranean, etc).

RELATED: Fresh corn adds a summer spin to this (Instant Pot-friendly) clam chowder

Ready to fire up the grill for July Fourth? Here’s a recipe for tacos al pastor to feed a crowd

Mark Bittman is the author of several books in the “How to Cook Everything” series. Contributed

After a recipe for crunchy breaded chicken cutlets on the grill — yes, you read that right, breaded chicken on the grill — he shares this recipe for chicken in Mexican-style escabeche. Knowing that a Chinese-inspired sweet-and-sour sauce serves a similar culinary function, Bittman includes that variation, as well as a Jamaican-style escovitch and a whole fish en escabeche, a traditional dish in South America and the Caribbean.

Oh, and he reminds us that you can make the original dish with turkey cutlets, salmon, tuna or swordfish and that you can turn it into a main-course salad by serving it over baby spinach and adding sliced peaches, mango or grapes. As if we needed another reminder that Bittman really does know how to cook everything.

Grilled Chicken Breasts and Red Onion en Escabeche

1/2 cup good-quality olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño, or more to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red onion, cut into small wedges

If you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.

Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the 1/2 cup oil, vinegar and the orange and lime juices together in a small bowl until thickened. Whisk in the garlic, oregano, cloves, cinnamon and jalapeño, if you’re using it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then pound the breasts to an even thickness if necessary. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Skewer the onion wedges and brush with the vinaigrette.

Put the chicken and skewers on the grill directly over the fire. Close the lid and cook the chicken, turning once, until the breasts are no longer pink in the center, 3 to 8 minutes per side depending on their size. (Nick with a small knife and peek inside.) Cook the onions, turning the skewers several times, until they have softened and taken on some color, even some char, 8 to 10 minutes per side. As they finish, transfer the chicken and onions to a deep platter or shallow bowl. Let them rest for 5 minutes.

Slice the chicken 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick and return it to the platter. Slide the onions from the skewers and scatter them over the chicken. Pour the vinaigrette over all and serve. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours and serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 4.

— From “How to Grill Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Flame-Cooked Food” by Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)

What’s for Dinner Tonight: Fresh corn adds a summer spin to this (Instant Pot-friendly) clam chowder

You might not be the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, but I am the kind of person who eats chowder in the summer, especially when there’s fresh corn on the cob involved.

This summer corn clam chowder includes bacon, potatoes, onions and green onions. If you’re making this in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, you can make the roux in a microwave. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’ve been getting to know my Instant Pot for the past two weeks, and this recipe came from the booklet that comes with the popular countertop appliance.

Because it’s officially summer and I love fresh corn, I adjusted it to add kernels of corn and to make the roux in the microwave (more on that in a minute), and the result was a savory summer comfort food that we enjoyed on the summer solstice last night. I paired it with some Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits, which I love to make from their boxed mix that you can find in grocery stores.

When you’re cutting the kernels off the cob, use the back of the knife to also scrape all the corn milk/juice that you’ll find at the base of each kernel. All that corn flavor — and by all means, use a third or fourth ear if you really like corn — adds a sweetness to the stew.

Cutting corn off the cob is only the first step in extracting corn flavor. You can use the back of your knife to scrape out the corn juice along the cob. Contributed by Chris Dunn.

And for making the roux in the microwave. It sounds unconventional, but I learned this tip in a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, and it worked really well, especially for a multicooker recipe, where part of the point is to not have to cook on the stove.

Now, can you make this soup without an Instant Pot? Of course, you’ll just cook the potatoes in the clam juice at a simmer until they are soft and then add the roux, corn, milk, cream and clams to simmer a little longer.

Summer Corn and Clam Chowder

6 to 8 ounces bacon, chopped (about 1/2 package)
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 cups clam juice (or liquid from the packaged clams, plus water)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Kernels and juice from 2 ears of corn
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 (6-ounce) cans chopped clams, drained, with juice reserved
Green onions, chopped, for garnish

Place the bacon in the Instant Pot and turn on the Saute function to medium heat. Cook the bacon until it starts to release its fat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and continue cooking until the onions have softened and the bacon has left brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Add the wine to the pot and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the diced potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme and cayenne pepper.

Close the Instant Pot and select the manual option to cook for 5 minutes of pressure time.

While the Instant Pot cooks, mix together the butter and flour in a small microwavable bowl to make the roux. Heat the mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds, stir and then cook again for 45 seconds. Do this one or two more times until the flour starts to brown.

Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking, use quick release to let the steam out of the pressure cooker. Then take off the lid and add the roux, corn kernels and juice, milk, cream and clams.

Press cancel and then saute to bring the chowder to a simmer. The soup will thicken as it simmers, about 5 minutes. Serve with green onions.

— Adapted from a recipe by Laura Pzzaglia,




This grapefruit and basil ice cream tastes like the very best Flintstones Push Ups you had as a kid

I am always utterly charmed by Diana Henry’s cookbooks.

To make Diana Henry’s grapefruit and basil ice cream, the first step is to grind the grapefruit zest and sugar in a mortar and pestle, which infuses the sugar with the citrus flavor and helps break down the zest. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

She’s one of the few UK-based “cookery” authors whose flavor profiles and recipes are just as appealing on this side of the pond — Yotam Ottolenghi is another — and her latest book, “How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places” (Mitchell Beazley, $34.99), is a classic example of why.

In the new book, Henry compiles menus inspired by places she’s visited and meals she’s enjoyed over the years, and this pink grapefruit and basil ice cream was inspired by her time in San Francisco, first as a diner at Chez Panisse and then later as a friend of chef and author Alice Waters, whose of fresh ingredients and nouveau flavor combinations left an indelible impact on Henry.

Diana Henry’s “How to Eat a Peach” is a collection of recipes categorized into menus that were inspired by the author’s travels and memorable meals. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

In the recipe introduction, Henry explains that this version was inspired by her tried-and-true lemon and basil ice cream, which she had been making for years. But swapping out the lemon for grapefruit created a floral, dreamy ice cream that she says is “possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever made.”

RELATED: Nominate your favorite people and places in Austin for our inaugural Best of the Best Awards

Having made it this weekend, I have to agree. I saved half of the custard to make during my Facebook livestream today at Check out the video to hear why this ice cream tastes like the Flintstones Push Ups I used to love as a kid and why I’ll be making “frosecco” for 100-percent work-only purposes later today.

One coworker said he thought the ice cream tastes like “a more refreshing summertime treat than any mixed cocktail” and would be something he could imagine feeding guests at a party. Another ice cream lover in the newsroom said the grapefruit flavor was a little too bitter for his taste, but that it was “refreshing on a hot Austin day.” Served in a cocktail tumbler with ice cold Topo Chico would make a lovely Austin affogato.

Grapefruit and Basil Ice Cream

Zest and juice of 1 grapefruit
1/4 plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups whole milk
35 basil leaves
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place the zest and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a mortar and pestle. (Reserve the grapefruit juice for later in the recipe.) Grind until the mixture forms a citrus sugar paste. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, place the milk and the citrus zest mixture. Heat to almost a boil and then remove from heat. Tear the basil leaves and add them to the pan. Cover and let rest for at least an hour on the stovetop so that the flavors can infuse.

In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the yolks and remaining 1/3 cup cream until the yolks have turned pale and creamy. Strain the flavored milk and then add to the bowl, stirring to combine. Place the custard mixture into a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stirring often, heat the mixture until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. (Do not boil the mixture or heat it above 180 degrees or else the eggs will curdle or scramble.)

While the custard heats, place a bowl over ice in the sink. When the custard has thickened, pour it into the cool bowl to help stop the cooking. Let the custard come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, use a handheld or stand mixer to whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard, and then add the grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine and then either refrigerate the mixture or add it to your ice cream maker. (You can also place the mixture in a shallow container and put it in the freezer. To make the ice cream manually, remove the custard mixture from the freezer three times during the freezing process to churn with a handheld mixer, once after an hour and then in two-hour intervals.)

If using an electric ice cream machine, churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Store in the freezer and then serve. Serves 6.

— Adapted from “How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places” by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley, $34.99)

Breaking in my new Instant Pot with rice, beans and a New York-style cheesecake you have to try

Every Instant Pot fantasy I’d ever had about making refried beans in no time flat came true last week when I finally turned on this crazy popular countertop appliance.

Multicookers, the most famous brand of which is the Instant Pot, is a great way to cook in the summer when you don’t want to turn on the stove or the oven. You can make refried beans, from dried to finished, in less than 2 hours. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

In about 90 minutes, I turned an 88-cent bag of dried pinto beans into a pot of hot, cheesy, creamy deliciousness. The next day, I made jasmine rice in about 15 minutes, which wasn’t quite as impressive in saving time because I’m used to a rice cooker. The rice stuck to the bottom of the pot, but that was likely a first timer error on my part.

I made this cheesecake in an Instant Pot, but you could use a regular pressure cooker or another brand of a multicooker. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But the recipe that has made me an earlier believer in this whole Instant Pot thing is a New York-style cheesecake recipe from This is author Amy and Jacky’s 17th version of this recipe, and their thorough instructions made it easy for me to follow the steps as I made the dessert with my kids on Sunday.

When I brought the cheesecake into the office, I was worried that it might be too eggy or too savory or too pasty, but what a delight to take one bite and know that it was a success. With a thick crust and a smooth, dense center, the cheesecake was rich but not heavy. My editor tasted it and said it reminded her of her mother’s cheese pie, a sweet memory of Oklahoma foodways when she was a kid.

To make the cherry glaze, I pitted about ½ pound of cherries and simmered them with sugar. Next time, I’ll follow the Washington State Fruit Commission’s recipe (below) for cherry jubilee, a cherry topping sauce that can be swirled into ice cream or used as a pie filling.

This cherry cheesecake took about an hour to make, not counting the time needed to let the ingredients come to room temperature. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

New York-Style Cheesecake in a Pressure Cooker

Making a cheesecake – especially in an Instant Pot, where you don’t have to fiddle with making a bain marie setup in your oven – is easy if you remember the most important step in making a cheesecake: letting the cream cheese come to room temperature, which takes at least a few hours. You should also let your eggs and sour cream come to room temperature before starting to make the batter. If you don’t, you’ll have lumpy or puffy or otherwise weirdly textured cheesecake, which will make you never want to bake a cheesecake again.

This recipe comes from the genius cooks behind, who are on their 17th iteration of this recipe. They are thoroughly detailed in their methodology, which I’ve streamlined and adapted below.

You can either make it dense and rich or smooth and creamy, and I chose to make it the former but added instructions to the recipe on how to make it lighter and creamier. They suggest using a handheld mixer instead of a stand mixer for this recipe because it introduces less air into the batter. If you’re using a 6-inch pan, increase the cooking time to 31 minutes. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees, but don’t forget that water bath.

10 graham crackers
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the batter:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup white sugar
2 pinches of sea salt
16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature

To make the crust, finely grind graham crackers in a food processor. Alternatively, you can place them in a zip-top plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin. In a small mixing bowl, mix graham crackers, a pinch of sea salt and brown sugar. Add melted butter until the mixture sticks together when you pinch it with your fingers.

For best results, line the bottom of a 7-inch springform cheesecake pan with parchment and cut a strip of parchment to line the sides, too. If you have a nonstick springform pan, parchment is not necessary. Press the graham cracker crust into the bottom of the pan, using the back of a spoon or bottom of a measuring cup.

At this point, you can freeze the cheesecake pan in the freezer while you make the cheesecake batter, or, for a crisper crust, you can blind-bake it at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

To make the cheesecake batter, mix together cornstarch, two pinches of sea salt and white sugar together. In a medium bowl, use a handheld mixer to briefly beat the room temperature cream cheese for about 10 to 15 seconds, which will further soften it. Add half the sugar mixture and beat at low speed until just incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the sugar. For a creamier cheesecake, beat for a minute.

Add sour cream and vanilla extract to the cream cheese mixture. Beat until just incorporated, or longer for a creamier cheesecake. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl in between each one.

Fold the batter with a silicon spatula and then pour the batter onto the crust in the cheesecake pan. Tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, which you can pop with a toothpick.

To cook the cheesecake, pour 1 cup of cold water in pressure cooker and place the steamer rack in the pot. Place the cheesecake pan on the rack and close the lid. Cook at High Pressure for 26 minutes and let the steam release naturally, which will take about 7 minutes. Open the multicooker and use a paper towel to absorb any condensation that collects on top of the cheesecake.

Leave the cheesecake in the cooker with the lid off and allow to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, store the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the fridge about 20 minutes before you’d like to serve it. Release the springform and peel off the parchment paper. Cut into slices and serve with cherry topping (see recipe below).

— Adapted from a recipe by Amy and Jacky on

Let the cheesecake cool in the multicooker and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

Fresh Cherry Sauce

The founding fathers didn’t plan it this way, but the nation’s birthday celebration occurs smack dab in the middle of the Northwest fresh sweet cherry season. Even though young George Washington apparently had an ax to grind with the tree itself, other colonists worked long and hard to develop cherry orchards in their adopted land.

All sweet cherries work in a cherry sauce, although dark cherries offer a more dramatic color contrast with the ice cream. Enjoy the fresh cherries while you can. Northwest cherries arrive in markets beginning in June and are gone by mid-August. Make sure you get all the pits or the sauce will take on an almond-like flavor.

— Northwest Cherry Growers

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup brandy, optional
1 quart vanilla ice cream

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Blend in water and orange juice. Cook and stir until thickened and smooth. Add cherries and orange peel; return to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Gently heat brandy, pour over sauce and flame, if desired. Serve over ice cream. Serves 8, but recipe can be halved.

— Washington State Fruit Commission

It’s Philippine Independence Day, but do you really need an excuse to make tangy, sweet barbecue pork?

Filipino food isn’t one that many Americans are familiar with, even though Filipino Americans are the second-largest demographic of Asian Americans in the country, according to the U.S. Census.

Filipino food is notable for its convergence of flavors, blending Spanish, Malaysian and Chinese cuisines. Contributed by Be More Pacific.

Nearly 4 million Americans identify as Filipino, which means millions of home cooks throughout the U.S. are making dishes that blend Malaysian, Chinese and Spanish flavors. And because today is Philippine Independence Day, I wanted to share a Filipino recipe from a local restaurant with a little background on the country.

After more than 300 years of Spanish rule, the Philippines started their transition toward independence in 1898, when Spain ceded the islands to the U.S., but after the Philippine-American War in the years that followed, the nation of more than 7,000 islands remained under U.S. rule until 1946, when the Philippines were granted full independence.

That’s one, short version of a long, complicated and often tumultuous history of occupation and colonization, but it helps explain why, since 1964, June 12 has been considered Independence Day in the Philippines. (The original date was July 4 to coincide with the U.S. Independence Day.)

Only Chinese Americans outnumber Filipinos in the U.S., but the Filipino population in Austin isn’t as high as in other areas, such as Houston and California’s Central Valley.

There’s a Filipinos in Austin Facebook group and an Austin Filipino-American Association, but for a taste of Filipino food, you can head to a number of spots, including Tito AdoboMang Dedoy’s and Little Mama’s in Round Rock. For Filipino groceries, you can head to Gammad Oriental Store & Restaurant, Oriental Grocery & Bakery or Filipino Asian Mart in South Austin.

Be More Pacific started as a food truck in 2011 but now operates a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd., and their chef, Buddy Melgarejo, who grew up in the Philippines and moved to Houston in 2015, shared his versatile barbecue pork recipe, which has a lemon-, tomato- and soy-based marinade that showcases the convergence of flavors you’ll find in many Filipino dishes.

This pork dish from Be More Pacific uses a marinade that you could use for many cuts of pork. Contributed by Be More Pacific.

Filipino Pork Barbecue

This pork marinade is well-suited for ribs or pork belly, but you could also use it for pork chops. The pork should be marinaded for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, and the cooking time will vary depending on the cut of meat and cooking method. If using wooden skewers to grill the pork belly, pre-soak them for 20 minutes before placing the meat on them. You’ll want to serve this with rice and, if you have time, pickled papaya.

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 pounds pork ribs or 1 (2-pound) pork belly, sliced in 1-inch cubes

In a bowl, mix the garlic powder, soy sauce, lemon juice, tomato sauce, salt and pepper together. Pour the marinade over the pork, reserving 1/2 cup for glaze. In a bowl or pan, pour the marinade on the pork, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.

If using pork belly, skewer the pork on a bamboo stick with up to six pieces per stick. Heat the grill. Mix the brown sugar with the remaining marinade.

Grill the ribs or the skewers, basting with the additional marinade as you cook the meat. The grilling time will vary, depending on the cut of meat, but it should be shiny and moist when finished. Serve with hot rice and pickled papaya.

— Buddy Melgarejo, Be More Pacific

Atchara (Pickled Papaya)

2 cups green papaya, grated
1/4 cup rock salt
1 1/2 cup coconut vinegar
1 small bell pepper, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 big thumb-size ginger, strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
Sugar, salt and pepper

Mix papaya and rock salt then squeeze out the juice. Set aside.

In a pot, place vinegar, bell peppers, carrots, ginger, onions and garlic. Bring to a boil until carrots soften, about 5 minutes. Adjust flavor to suit your taste by adding sugar, salt and pepper.

When done, add papaya and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Let it cool then store overnight in the fridge before serving.

— Buddy Melgarejo, Be More Pacific



Craving seafood? Try these wok-roasted mussels with lemongrass, cilantro and garlic toast

Last week, I shared a recipe for dry-fried green beans, a technique the uses a searing-hot pan to cook foods quickly while retaining their texture and color.

It turns out that vegetables aren’t the only thing you can dry-fry. This recipe for dry-fried (or wok-roasted) mussels comes from the Boston restaurant Myers+Chang, which published a cookbook earlier this year.

In their eponymous book, “Myers+Chang at Home” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32), you’ll find a lemongrass mussel dish that’s a little different from mussels you might find elsewhere.

These wok-roasted mussels are seasoned with lemongrass. Contributed by

Owner Joanne Chang explains the process of “dry-frying” shellfish: Throwing mussels in a really hot, dry pan allows them to pop open and pick up a smoky, roasted-in-the-fire-at-the-beach kind of flavor. “Cooking mussels this way also means their liquid reduces instantly as soon as they open, which concentrates their flavor,” she writes. “Mussel broth is always the best part of mussels, anyway.”

RELATED: Green beans don’t have to be boring: Here’s the umami-rich dry-fried green bean recipe from Wu Chow

Unlike many mussels recipes, which focus on garlic and white wine, this one adds extra layers of flavor with lemongrass, cilantro and fish sauce.

Chang recommends making a meal of these babies by serving them with garlic toast or as an appetizer. Don’t forget the trick for cleaning mussels: Cover them in cold water for about 20 minutes or so; they will spit out any sand that might be inside. Scrub the shells and pull the stringy “beard,” and you’re ready to cook them.

Wok-Roasted Lemongrass Mussels with Garlic Toast

1 stalk lemongrass
6 medium garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds PEI mussels, cleaned, scrubbed and debearded
1 1/2 cups white wine
4 slices crusty white bread, or 1 small French baguette, split in half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh Thai bird chili or jalapeño, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)

Peel and discard the dry, papery outer layers of the lemongrass; trim off the top two-thirds of the stalk, which is also dry and papery, along with the very base, and discard. Coarsely chop the pale, bendable inner core. You should have about 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass. Mince 3 of the garlic cloves and add to the lemongrass. Add the cilantro stems and finely mince all three ingredients together. Place in a small bowl and stir in the fish sauce, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. It will look like a rough pesto. Set aside. The lemongrass mixture can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a wok or large flat-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Thinly slice 2 of the garlic cloves and add to the oil. Add the lemongrass mixture and cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mussels and wine. Turn the heat up to high, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes.

While the mussels are cooking, toast the bread until golden brown and spread with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Split the remaining garlic clove in half and run the cut side over the buttered sides of the bread. Set aside.

Take a peek inside the pot. When the liquid is boiling and the mussels have opened, add the remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper, the lime juice, sugar and chili. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with a wooden spoon. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes to incorporate the butter. Fold in the cilantro leaves and discard any unopened mussels, since they are not fit to eat. Divide the mussels between two bowls and pour the broth over the mussels. Serve with the garlic toast. Serves 2.

— From “Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery” by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32)

How to make a perfect summer salad with quinoa, avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers

Now that summer is here, I’m giving my oven a break.

I’m not one of those cooks who doesn’t bake or roast anything from June to September, but I do tend to avoid dishes that require the dry heat of an oven. It’s searing enough outside.

Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber, and it’s a hearty base to this cooling summer salad. Contributed by NLand Surf Park.

When I want to remember the lighter, brighter side of summer, I make a dish like this quinoa and avocado salad from Blue Prairie, the restaurant inside NLand Surf Park east of the airport. With crunchy pepitas, cucumbers and tangy citrus dressing, it was one of the more refreshing dishes I had during these last weeks of spring.

Even if you don’t have a view of the surfers riding waves and a freshly brewed craft beer in your hand, this protein- and fiber-packed salad dotted with tomatoes — and feta, if you like — reminds us that there is an upside to every season.

This quinoa avocado salad has cucumbers and tomatoes, making it a perfect summer salad. Contributed by NLand Surf Park.

RELATED: Good news from the Hill Country: Fredericksburg peaches are ready and plentiful

I say calimocho, you say kalimotxo: Skip the sangria and drink like a real Spaniard

New Whole30 book offers summertime recipes, including this peach and prosciutto salad

Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Feel free to use untoasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas. If you have a toaster oven or don’t mind the heat, roast them on a small sheet tray at 350 degrees for about seven minutes. Cool at room temperature and toss in the salad.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, raw
For the citrus dressing:
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon
For the salad:
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 large English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 pint ripe grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Salt, to taste

Bring a pot with 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, slowly stir in the quinoa and set a timer for 17 minutes. When the time is up, strain the quinoa and run cold water over the cooked quinoa while still in the strainer to cool.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil and salt. Blend until combined. Once mixed, slowly pour the oil in and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.

In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, avocado, cucumber, shallot and tomatoes. Give the dressing a stir and pour over the top, using only as much as you’d like. You’ll have extra dressing left over that you can use for other salads. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds and season to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

— NLand Surf Park chef Scott Kaplan

Green beans don’t have to be boring: Here’s the umami-rich dry-fried green bean recipe from Wu Chow

The green beans at Wu Chow might be some of the best in Austin. I grew up eating simmered, canned green beans, but I came to sauteing them in garlic and butter as an adult. That simple preparation is still one of my favorites, but at a recent lunch at Wu Chow, I tried the downtown restaurant’s dry-fried green beans, locally sourced vegetables that are blanched and then cooked over super-high heat in a light stir-fry sauce.

Green beans are well-suited for sauteeing, but it’s best to blanch them first. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The crisp beans and umami-rich dressing are spot-on, but to make it exactly like the restaurant does, you’ll need two ingredients that might not already be in your pantry: fermented mustard greens and mushroom powder. You can buy both at Asian markets, or with the help of the internet, you could make your own. However, even without those two additions, this method of cooking and the ingredients in the sauce will add a fresh spin to one of summer’s best side dishes.

The dry-fried green beans from Wu Chow. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Dry-Fried Green Beans

1 pound green beans

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 tablespoons rice wine

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon mushroom powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup fermented mustard greens, chopped

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

Place a large pot with 4 cups of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Rinse the green beans and cut the beans into 2-inch lengths. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and blanch them for 2 minutes. Once blanched, remove from boiling water and cover beans with ice.

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, rice wine, black pepper, garlic, mushroom powder, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

After the beans have cooled, remove beans from ice bath and dry well. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the green beans, mustard greens, green onions and stir-fry sauce, keeping the beans constantly moving, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the outsides begin to blister and the beans are wilted. Turn off the heat, transfer to a plate and serve hot.

— From Wu Chow

New Whole30 book offers summertime recipes, including this peach and prosciutto salad

The Whole30 might be a popular January effort to kickstart the year by eating sugar- and grain-free, but for many people, Whole30 is a year-round way of life.

Michelle Smith’s new book is called “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook.” Contributed by Michelle Smith

One of those cooks is Michelle Smith, who has a new cookbook called “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), which is officially endorsed by the Whole30 brand led by Melissa Hartwig in Dallas.

Smith is a mother of two and recipe developer for her own website,, and the official Whole30 blog, so many of the dishes are family friendly and can be adapted for paleo, vegan, dairy free or nut free homes.

She’ll be in Austin this week for an event at BookPeople. You can catch her there at 7 p.m. Thursday.

This peach and prosciutto salad is a mix of savory and sweet, with some crunch from Marcona almonds. Contributed by Michelle Smith.

In the book, Smith includes a peach and prosciutto salad that’s great for summer.

Peach and Prosciutto Salad

What’s not to love about this salad? Fresh peaches? Check. Prosciutto? Check. Combined with some blue cheese? Trust me, you’re in for a treat.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups packed baby spinach
2 cups packed watercress
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
8 slices prosciutto, halved
2 peaches, sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, and salt until emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, watercress, almonds, blueberries, and blue cheese. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Garnish the salad with the prosciutto and peach slices and serve. Serves 4.

— From “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30) by Michelle Smith

If you were ever going to try to make ceviche at home, this is the weekend to do it

It’s not going to be 105 degrees this weekend, but with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, this weekend’s heat is a perfect excuse to try your hand at making ceviche.

Ceviche is popular in many countries around the world, and each cuisine makes it differently.

Poke, the Hawaiian salad dish, might have replaced ceviche as the buzziest raw fish dish in the U.S. right now, but that means lime juice-soaked ceviche — which is served in countries spanning the equator — can now be considered a classic.

RELATED: 10 fish tips from Quality Seafood, plus a recipe for ceviche

How to make ahi tuna poke with a citrus twist

Shrimp and scallop ceviche from the now-closed Isla downtown. Photo by Ralph Barrera.

We’ve published lots of ceviche recipes over the years, including a Peruvian sea bass ceviche with tiger’s milk, but below, you’ll find a new ceviche from “Cuba: The Cookbook,” a new book from Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre that publishes today.

RELATED: Salt Traders Coastal Cooking borrows from winning playbook

How to make shrimp and scallop ceviche at home

Guild has set a strong course but requires more focus on its journey

This red snapper ceviche with vegetables is typical of what you might find in Cuba. It’s from a new book called “Cuba: The Cookbook” by Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre. Contributed by Jennifer May.

Fish Ceviche with Vegetables

This ceviche includes chay peppers and green beans that are soaked in the lime juice with the fish. You can also use freshwater fish, but the snapper is typical in the Caribbean.

1 pound red snapper (or other white fish) fillets, diced
1 1/2 cups lime juice
2 chay peppers or cubanelles, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into quarter rounds
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
1 cup mixed greens, such as lettuce, cabbage or bok choy

In a nonreactive container, combine the fish and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Add the chay peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beans, oil, salt and black pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Add the cilantro, adjust the seasoning, and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Before serving, drain the fish and vegetable mixture. Serve on a bed of mixed greens. Serves 4.

— Adapted from “Cuba: The Cookbook” by Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre (Phaidon, $49.95)