Cooking

This Just Can't Be Summer Love

11 things to eat before summer winds down
Boozy Ice Pops
Photo: Tasting Table

Summer ends in exactly 44 days. That's a little more than a month left for eating way too many ears of corn at friends' barbecues, slurping up cold Asian noodles straight out of the take-out container and guzzling sangria like there's no tomorrow (or such thing as a hangover).

Have you actually eaten enough tomatoes not to complain about the mealy supermarket kind for the rest of the year? Or have you lost interest in the strange but delicious grilling phenomenon known as beer-can chicken? We thought not.

We're with you. So here's our summer bucket list of all the things you have to eat before fall rolls in.

  • Tomatoes

    Some people don't like raw tomatoes. We get it. Who likes its soft peach-like flesh or how it bubbles with sweet juice when bitten straight into? Who are we kidding—we do. The plump member of the nightshade family is best right freaking now. Eat Sun Gold pearls by the handful, stack hunks of beefsteak high for tomato-mayo sandwiches or, for the uncooked uninitiated, bake whatever varieties are at the market into one big tomato pie.

    Get our best tomato recipes.

  • Grilled Fish

    Now as much as we love silky steamed whole fish, it really shines when stuffed with aromatics and slapped on a hot grill. Whole fish might seem fussy with scaling and picking out the bones as you're eating, but it's well worth it when you see your friends' expressions once you've set this smoky, showstopping beauty on the table.

    Master whole fish on the grill.

  • Strawberries

    Yes, we're guilty of succumbing to subpar out-of-season strawberries. That's why we're so excited now with the height of berry season and all of its regional variations—we do love a good Gaviota. Rosy-hued and concentrated with juicy sweetness, they're great in shortcake, salads or best on their own dipped into a surprisingly awesome combo of light brown sugar and sour cream.

    Stock up on the best berries this season.

  • Cold Asian Noodles

    You have all winter long to hibernate with hearty Bolognese, so cozy up with chilled Asian-style noodles during hot summer days. Fight the heat with more heat, lashing springy noodles with chile oil, or wade in somen soaking in cool broth—apple juice and bonito is this TT editor's current favorite combo. Bonus: It's picnic ready.

    Chill out with cold soba noodle salad.

  • Corn

    Barely do anything to these guys—dunk them into boiling water or hide them for a few minutes more under the grill hood—and they become perfect little bubbles of sugar and crunch. (We've been known to pick off each kernel, one by one, for full enjoyment.) However, we're anything but basic, so we love brushing miso-spiked butter over ears or shucking kernels into an elote-style dip.

    Take your pick of TT's corn recipes.

  • Shave Ice

    For this TT editor, it's a Sunday-afternoon tradition to loiter in front of a nearby shave ice shop right before it opens. Blocks of ice grated down to snowy mounds blushed with vibrant, supersweet syrups is the true hallmark of summer—sorry, ice cream. It's not easy to attain that superfine grind, but there are great homemade ice machines that can get the job done for when you're making your own at home.

    Crank out snowy ice with one of these machines.

  • Beer-Can Chicken

    Call it vertical roasting or shoving PBR where the sun don't shine—either way beer-can chicken is equal parts fun and delicious. The beer keeps the meat moist and, yes, provides some all-American flavor, but we like to crank it up a bit with a za'atar spice rub. Standing by the grill, getting our tan on, guzzling down PBR—this is why we love summer.

    Up your beer-can chicken routine with our spice rub.

  • Sangria

    Bad news: Restaurant sangrias usually aren't all that great. Good news: You can make it way better—and bask with a jug of it on your rooftop—from your kitchen. TT Drinks Editor Jim Meehan is out to share the gospel of good sangria, fragrant with summer fruits and spiked with more interesting spirits than brandy and triple sec. We're believers.

    Throw a sangria party with these three recipes.

  • Eggplant

    Spend time with the whole nightshade family this summer with slender Japanese eggplants and big speckled bowling ball-like Fairy Tales. Late summer marks the start of their season, so grab as many as you can fit into your canvas farmers' market bag to make ratatouille, baba ghanoush and for straight-up simple grilling.

    Spice, then grill your eggplant.

  • Ice Pops

    Who freezes pops during the winter? No one, that's who. Ice pops are best eaten sweltering under the hot sun on someone's patio or as the final sweet touch to a day well spent barbecuing or beaching. And they're best swirled with a little booze and studded with summer's juiciest berries. We'll let hot chocolate and mulled wine have their day when it's terrible and snowy outside. Ice pops are for right this minute.

    Freeze these boozy blackberry pops.

  • Potato Salad

    Spuds never go out of season, but come picnic weather and potluck barbecues, there is only one way to prepare them: cubed and smothered in mustardy or mayo-heavy sauce. Potato salad is a summer staple for a reason due to its versatility and portability, but we love it most, because it's just one more delicious way to get our tater intake.

    Make better potato salad with these five variations.

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