Chill Out for Summer

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For those who love to garden and cook — and eat — summer is “show time!” with its profusion of fruits and vegetables. With so much variety right outside our back door and at local markets, summer cooking becomes a creative expression, a joy.

During the warm months, our way of cooking and eating shifts to lighter and less-filling meals. And when it’s especially hot, we intuitively gravitate towards cooling fare, such as cucumbers and fruit, which refresh and revive. Long summer days and late summer nights beckon us outdoors to dine with summer’s special guests and relish in her short window of abundance.

Sylvia Fountaine is a chef and caterer and the author/photographer of Feasting at Home, a seasonal, plant inspired cooking blog at


7 limes
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 bunches cilantro
2 jalapenos
2 English cucumbers
1 ripe avocado
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch scallions
1 small purple cabbage
2 medium carrots
1 bunch mint
1/4 cup chopped mint (or cilantro or Thai basil)
microgreens or edible flowers (nasturtium)
1 pound raw, sushi-grade shrimp (21–26 per pound), peeled and deveined, with tails removed (or scallops, thinly sliced into 1/3-inch rounds)
3.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 pint sour cream
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (not nonfat)
1 stick butter
2 eggs
1 pint heavy whipping cream
12 6-inch tortillas (corn- flour blend)
1 bag tortilla chips or mini tostadas
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Pantry Ingredients:

kosher salt
brown sugar
Chinese 5 Spice
chipotle powder
white pepper
Aleppo chili flakes (optional)
olive oil
rice wine vinegar
fish sauce
Sriracha (or chili garlic sauce)
white sugar cornstarch


serves 4-6 | active time 30 minutes, total time 90 minutes

This light and refreshing summer appetizer is inspired by the flavors of Mexico. Aguachile literally means “chili water” and is what essentially flavors and cooks the shrimp (or scallops) in this recipe. Think of this as a variation of shrimp ceviche, served alongside tortilla chips or mini tostadas for a light beginning to any summer meal. Lime, jalapeno, and cilantro infuse the shrimp with a flavorful, bright acidity, which pairs deliciously with salted crunchy tortilla chips.


1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro, tender stems OK
1 jalapeno, sliced, seeds OK
1 1/2 cups sliced English cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder ( optional)
1 pound raw, sushi-grade shrimp (21–26 per pound), peeled and deveined, with tails removed (or scallops, thinly sliced into 1/3-inch rounds)


avocado slices
radish slices
olive oil
Aleppo chili flakes tortilla chips or mini tostadas

Place the first 9 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Place the shrimp in a bowl. Pour the aguachile over the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate 1–4 hours.

When ready to serve, spoon the green aguachile on a platter. Arrange shrimp over the top in a single layer. Arrange slices of avocado and radish in between and around shrimp. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter fresh cilantro over the top and finish with a generous pinch of Aleppo chili flakes.

Serve with tortilla chips or mini tostadas.


serves 4-6 | Start to finish about 30 minutes

In the heat of summer, nothing is as cooling and refreshing as cucumber. Here, it is blended into a silky, creamy soup with Greek yogurt, coriander, lime, and cilantro, and then chilled. When ready to serve, top the gazpacho with finely chopped shallot, diced cucumber, and scallions for delicious texture and beautiful color. This can easily be made a day ahead.

Fountaine-Sylvia-Cucumber Gazpacho-101Gazpacho

1/3 jalapeno, sliced
1 tablespoon shallot, plus more for garnish
1 small garlic clove
1 English cucumber (12 ounces) sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
1–2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (not nonfat)
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil


1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced
1–2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
2 scallions (or chives), thinly sliced at a diagonal
microgreens or edible flowers (nasturtium)
3 tablespoons sour cream, thinned with 1 tablespoon water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

Prep garnishes, finely dicing cucumber and shallot, slicing scallions. Mix sour cream and water in a small bowl.
To serve, divide chilled soup among bowls.

Spoon a large circle or half circle of thinned sour cream on top of the soup, then top with cucumber, shallots, scallions, and microgreens or edible flowers.

Serve immediately.


serves 4-6 | active time 30 minutes, total time 6 hours

Pulled pork gets an Asian twist in this recipe with the addition of a flavorful Chinese 5 Spice rub. The pork cooks low and slow in the oven (or use a slow cooker), infusing your home with an incredible exotic aroma. Piled on tortillas with a flavorful cabbage carrot slaw and a spicy Sriracha sauce, and the tacos are the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, tart, and umami flavors. Summer has arrived!

Fountaine-Sylvia-5 spice tacos-105Pulled Pork

1/8 cup salt
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice
3.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Cabbage Carrot Slaw

3 cups purple cabbage, shredded or finely sliced
1 cup carrots, shredded
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped mint (or cilantro or Thai basil)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Spicy Sauce

1/2 cup mayo
2 tablespoons Sriracha or chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Serve With

warm or toasted corn-flour tortillas, cilantro, lime, and avocado slices (optional).

Mix salt, brown sugar, and Chinese 5 Spice together. Coat all sides of the pork shoulder well, discarding excess. Place in a small baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).

In an uncovered baking dish, bake in a 250°F oven for 6 hours, basting with the flavorful pan juices once every hour. Pull the roast from the oven and let it cool a bit. Shred the pork with two forks. Mix in the vinegar. Keep warm in the oven, or refrigerate and reheat before serving.

To make the slaw, mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let stand 15–30 minutes before serving, to allow flavors to meld.

To make the sauce, mix mayo, Sriracha, and vinegar in a small bowl.

Toast tortillas in a toaster oven or “grill” them directly over a gas flame on the stove until warm.

Place a little sauce on the tortilla, then top with pulled pork and slaw.

Garnish with avocado slice (optional), fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Note: To get the pork crispy, saute in a skillet to let it brown up, right before serving.

serves 8 | Total time 2 hours

Fountaine-Sylvia-coconut tart-108Crust:

9- or 10-inch round tart pan with removable bottom
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk


1 14-ounce can sweetened, condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
zest from 2 limes (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup lightly toasted coconut flakes, unsweetened


1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon lime zest
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
Aleppo chili flakes (optional)

To make the crust, place butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer, and with the paddle attachment, whip on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down sides if necessary, about 3 minutes.

Add flour, and beat on low speed 30–45 seconds or until it re- sembles course sand.

Add the yolk and continue mixing on low speed until the mixture clumps into a ball, about 30 more seconds.

Form the mixture into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to a week.

Remove disk from the fridge and place on a well-floured surface, flouring the top as well. Roll from the center out, turning the dough to create a nice circle that is about 1/4-inch thick and 12 inches in diameter.

Roll the dough around the pin, then unfurl it over the tart pan. If it breaks apart, don’t worry; just press it back into place with your fingers, patching any holes or cracks. The dough is very forgiving.

Roll the pin over the top of the tart pan to create a nice clean edge.

Refrigerate 30 minutes to prevent the tart shell from “shrinking.”

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 30–35 minutes, until golden.

Make the filling. Mix the first 5 ingredients together with a fork in a medium bowl. Once smooth, add the coconut.

Pour into the slightly cooled tart shell. Bake 15 minutes at 350°F or until set.

Remove and chill for 2 hours.

Make the topping. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, lime zest, sugar, and cornstarch until stiff peaks form.

Pour the cream mixture over the chilled tart. Top with toasted coconut, lime zest and Aleppo chili flakes (optional).

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