Herbs

How To Make Crispy Corn Fritters — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Making fresh summer corn into crisp corn fritters is one of the fastest ways to turn corn on the cob into a hearty dinner (or breakfast or a snack, really). Corn fritters are essentially a quick corn cake batter studded with fresh corn, jalapeños, and chives that's gently fried in a slick of oil. The resulting fritters have a thin, crispy exterior with a soft and moist center that's full of crisp-tender vegetables.

This classic recipe also makes a fine fritter from frozen corn too. These corn cakes can serve as a meal on their own with a sauce for dipping, as a side for grilled or roasted meats, or as a vehicle for fried eggs for breakfast. What I'm saying here is that this corn fritter recipe is one you'll want to know by heart so you can make it any time the craving strikes.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you come over to my house for dinner, I'll most likely serve carnitas tacos. Why? The combination of tender pork, crunchy fresh toppings, and soft warm tortillas make for a fun, satisfying meal that each person can customize to their exact mood and preferences. Traditional carnitas always hit the spot, but, come summer, I like to switch things up and make a vibrant peach salsa.

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Recipe: The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When your garden is awash with zucchini and yellow squash, grill them into submission and make this fork and knife salad. Chunky zucchini are grilled until smoky and tender and then tossed in a bright lemon vinaigrette while still warm so that the squash gets a chance to soak in all that flavor. Creamy crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh mint finish off this easy summery side dish that can be served next to grilled meats or even stuffed into warm pita bread for a vegetarian lunch.

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Recipe: Stovetop Pesto Macaroni and Cheese — Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

A few big spoonfuls of bright, herby pesto make mac and cheese a weeknight dinner suitable for summer. The creamy, nutty flavors of sharp cheddar play nicely with the herby pesto, which brings a vibrant contrast to the cheese's richness. Store-bought pesto is always a back-pocket shortcut for us, but during the summer fresh become our first choice. So when considering this for dinner, include homemade pesto in the plans too.

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Recipe: Portuguese-Style Mint Rice — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I don't know about your garden, but in summertime the mint in my own vegetable patch always threatens to take over. I love that sweet herb, but how many juleps can one gal make? Luckily I was in Portugal recently and I found that mint, or hortelã, as the Portuguese call it, was a common ingredient throughout the meal there. I ate it in soups, from a refreshing, chilled green melon soup to a lemony chicken sopa; it was paired with fava beans for fish; and, along with olive oil, it dressed a "carpaccio" of thin-sliced oranges for dessert.

But the very best minty dish I tried was the arroz de hortelã — mint rice — at Luar de Janeiro, a low-key, traditional restaurant in the Medieval town of Évora.

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Recipe: Crispy Chicken Thighs with Fresh Cherry Salsa — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Chicken thighs are on the menu weekly in my house. It's hard to beat their versatility and affordability. This is how I plan to eat them until fresh cherry season — aka the best season — comes to an end. The thighs are cooked in a cast iron skillet until their skin crackles and then they're topped with a quick and easy cherry salsa made with red onion, jalapeño, fresh cilantro, and a big squeeze of lime. When piled onto the chicken thighs, it's an effortless yet elegant summer meal that's as ready for casual weeknights as it is for simple dinner parties out on the back porch.

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