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Grilled California Fish Tacos

These are perhaps the perfect summer taco. Grilled white fish gets rubbed with a spicy paprika mixture and grilled until just cooked through. We grilled some scallions alongside for extra flavor, then topped it off with creamy avocado and zesty pico de gallo. Swordfish is a good choice for grilling because it holds its shape, but you can use any firm white fish that looks fresh. Be sure to get your grill or grill pan really hot before you start grilling. Give it a cleaning with a stiff brush to take off any bits from its last rodeo (but some bunched up foil makes a nice abrasive tool too).

Chile-Lime Mango and Jicama

If you walk down the street in San Francisco’s Mission District you’ll find carts selling plastic bags full of mango and jicama dusted with a spicy tangy mixture of lime juice and chile. We love the tender mango and crunchy jicama but the sweet and savory combination also works on cucumber, watermelon, or green apple (a great substitution for jicama in recipes if you can’t find it). This is an easy nosh to throw together for summer picnics or poolside gatherings, but we like to keep a bowl chilled and ready to go in the fridge on hot days for an instantly cooling and satisfying snack.

Blueberry Cornbread With Ginger-Honey Butter

It’s totally acceptable to eat this cake for breakfast because it’s just cornbread, right? Cooking the “cake” in a large cast iron skillet imparts super crusty delicious edges and prevents the blueberries from sinking in the batter. Speaking of blueberries, if you’re making this cake during the wintertime, frozen blueberries can be substituted for fresh. A note on compound butter: if you have leftovers, transfer it to a sheet of wax or parchment paper, shape it into a log, and roll it up. You can store it in the fridge and cut off slices when you need it.

Melted Ice Cream Whoopie Pies

Meet your new obsession. Three. Ingredient. Ice Cream Sandwiches. The key ingredient is self-rising flour, a combination of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. If you can’t find it (or don’t feel like making a special trip to the supermarket) you can make it yourself: for every cup of flour add 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. From there, choose your favorite ice cream and start experimenting. We like pints with some texture—chocolate chips, nuts, rum-soaked raisins—but not too much. Too many bells and whistles will make the cookies crumble and nobody wants that.

6 Creative Ways to Use Lemongrass

With an unmistakable citrus-floral flavor, this woody ingredient—often found in Thai curries and Vietnamese dishes—may confuse the heck out of many home cooks. But it can play a regular role in soups, sauces, and cocktails if you stick with these easy ideas. 

Steak and Beet Salad With Cheddar and Pistachios

The classic beet and goat cheese salad has been there and done that. This fresh take combines golden beets, crumbled aged white cheddar, and sliced hanger steak and makes for a delightful dinner salad. The sweet and acidic dressing, made from vinegar, honey, mustard, and olive oil, is a great complement to the rich and flavorful meat. You could swap in flank steak, but we love the super tender results from pan-seared hanger steak. If possible, buy beets with perky greens still attached to make sure they’re quite fresh; older beets tend to dry out and lose some of their color.

Watermelon-Mint Agua Fresca

Few things are more refreshing on a hot summer day than a slice of chilled watermelon. Except, perhaps, if you blend it, chill it, and sweeten it with a mint-infused syrup. Served over ice with a healthy dose of perky lime juice, this “fresh water” will have you feeling like you just got watered like a plant. You can also make it with honeydew or cantaloupe. Adjust the sweetness to your liking depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Guaranteed to sooth heat-tingling tongues, serve this cooler alongside spicy salsas, tacos, or other chile-smothered dishes.