Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Subs
Matt Neal had never made ratatouille before he opened Neal's Deli. He took the recipe from his father, the legendary Southern chef Bill Neal, and used it as the basis for his own version. Neal cooks the key ingredients—eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers and onion—separately. "That way, I can make sure each vegetable cooks exactly how I want it; plus they won't steam in a big group all together," he says.
Butter Bean Salad with Lime and Mint
The secret to this delicate and refreshing butter bean salad is the dressing, made with cold, tangy buttermilk, olive oil and lime juice. The Lees call it "the flavors of a Southern summer."
Santa Fe Quinoa Salad
Chad Aaland makes quinoa salad with three types of beans and house-pickled onions. This streamlined version with black beans and jarred cocktail onions is tasty, too.
Watermelon Salad with Mint and Lime
Matt Neal calls this supremely simple fruit salad the ultimate refresher on a hot day. For a grown-up version, he adds splashes of rum. "It's even more satisfying, then," he jokes.
Sarah Simmons came up with these moist, chewy blondies when she was left with extra caramel after an event. The little bit of orange zest is lovely with the sweet-salty caramel.
The usual version of this Provençal sandwich is basically a salade niçoise on a roll. We've omitted the tuna and added fennel and chickpeas. Stuff the filling into hollowed-out rolls and let the delicious juices soak into the bread.
This combination of sugar snap peas, snow peas and green peas—dressed in a sherry vinaigrette blended with a touch of sour cream—is clever and delicious. It can be made into a main course by adding shaved Manchego cheese and serrano ham.
Cold Soba Salad with Dried Shiitake Dressing
This sweet and savory Japanese-style cold noodle salad is an easy dish to serve to a crowd, since it's delicious chilled or at room temperature. Use preshredded carrots in place of julienned to make it even more quickly.
Take 5 Carrot Cupcakes
Chef Bryan Vietmeier makes these terrifically moist and carroty cupcakes for Seattle's Take 5 Urban Market. He suggests freezing the cupcakes before frosting to firm them up, preventing crumbs.
Citrus Salad with Candied Ginger
The key to making this simple fruit salad with candied ginger: Use a sharp knife to cut the citrus. "The better your knife, the better this dish will look," says chef Jason Travi.
Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese and Grapes
Grace Parisi considered many classic salads, like Waldorf and Cobb, before deciding on her version of chicken salad, which mixes store-bought roasted chicken with blue cheese, grapes, celery and sunflower seeds. She likes eating it wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves.
Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables, Parsley and Feta
A salute to the flavors of New Orleans, this cocktail spices up Napoleon House's Pimm's Cup (Pimm's No. 1, lemonade and 7-Up) with a splash of Tabasco and a generous dose of rum or vodka.
Chocolate-Chip-Pecan Cookie Bars
Feel free to swap walnuts or almonds for the pecans, or use half nuts and half dried cranberries for tart, chewy bars.
Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts
Barley is versatile enough to be served warm or at room temperature, as in this terrific salad with walnuts, parsley and salty bits of ricotta salata cheese in a lemon-garlic vinaigrette.
Hazelnut-Nutella Sandwich Cookies
Ground hazelnuts in the dough give these Nutella sandwich cookies extra crunch.