Paul Virant puts a spin on the classic summer side dish by tossing warm potatoes with a mustardy vinaigrette and handfuls of arugula. "I grow a lot of arugula in my garden," he says. "It's so easy to grow, it's a joke. A farmer once said to me that if everyone who had enough space planted a garden, we could produce enough food to feed the entire country. I don't know how that would work, but it's fun to think about."
The Lees created this gazpacho as a riff on a recipe from The Virginia Housewife, a seminal Southern cookbook first published in 1824 that is still in print. They sweeten the cold tomato soup with watermelon and make it fiery with habanero and poblano chiles.
Pastry chef Maggie Leung's reimagined cheesecake is super-versatile: Its three components—the creamy, tangy cheesecake custard, the crunchy cornmeal shortbread and the fresh blueberry compote—are fantastic together, but each can be used in lots of other ways. Try the custard with any fresh fruit, serve the shortbread with sorbet or drizzle the compote over ice cream.
In this lightened version of guacamole, tomatillo puree replaces some of the rich avocado, adding a bit of sweetness and tang; roasted poblano contributes a little heat. Stretching the recipe with roasted peppers, cherry or grape tomatoes, or diced jicama, mango or papaya would lighten it even more. This dip deserves the best homemade, oven-baked tortilla chips: Cut stacked corn tortillas into wedges, spray or brush them lightly with oil, then bake at 375° until curled and crisp.
Most people throw away broccoli stems, preferring to eat the florets. But cut into long thin strips with a fine julienne peeler, the sweet and crunchy stems are perfect in a fresh-tasting slaw with carrots, scallions and salty sunflower seeds.
This dessert from pastry chef Colleen Grapes, a tribute to the chocolate-covered pretzel, hits just the right salty-sweet note. Grapes mixes crushed pretzels with flour, butter, sugar and egg to make a crunchy crust, pours in a luxurious milk-chocolate filling, then sprinkles on more crushed pretzels as a garnish.