5 Simple Ways to Summer Up in the Kitchen

1. Flee to the Farmers' Market. Find the closest one, ride your bike or drive your car (bike preferred), and enjoy summer's bounty in the shape of tomatoes, peaches, berries, and more.

2. Basil = Summer. I can't think of summer without thinking of basil. And I can't think of basil without thinking of pesto. And if you're going to make pesto, you'll need some fresh tomatoes. See how basil equals summer? Made into pesto, its lightly pungent flavor, combined with garlic, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts and topping a tomato slice epitomizes summer

3. Dine Al Fresco. It can be as simple as a blanket, a bouquet of flowers, a few select stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums), and water. It can be as art-directed as a cover spread for Saveur magazine. It can be in your backyard, on your patio, or in a national park. All I'm saying is go outside and eat your dinner, breakfast or lunch. Remove yourself from the doldrums and drudgery of fixing a meal, setting the table, and looking up at the dreaded ceiling one more time. Come winter, you'll have few regrets. 

4. Eat off the board  Take a charcuterie board. Swipe off the prepared meat products. Slice some fresh vegetables. Add a little fresh bread. Some butter. Then a little pesto. Hand out napkins. Leave the plates in the cupboard. Serve. 

5. Grow Something. Summer is about abundance, expansion, and growth. Grow basil in a pot on the window sill, radishes in the garden, or a window box of flowers off the balcony. Watching a living thing grow from seed to sprout to salad inspires, reminding us summer is growth and abundance in in the kitchen as well as in our hearts and minds.