If you’ve spent much time traveling in Mexico or the southwestern United States, you may have seen folks enjoying an agua fresca on a hot day. Agua frescas are simply water blended with sugar, fresh fruit, seeds (like chia) or dried flowers to make a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink. Fruits like lime, pineapple and watermelon are […]

Ricard is the pastis brand most commonly available in the states, but if you can’t find it, you can use its cooking cousin, Pernod. Pernod is a useful kitchen staple, and is great paired with shellfish, chicken, mushrooms and spinach — anything that is good seasoned with tarragon.

Tzatziki is one of the most classic Greek sauces, served with everything from pita (as a dip) to lamb to seafood. It’s a refreshing mix of cucumber, garlic and yogurt, and then the options broaden. You can add any number of fresh herbs, such as dill, oregano, mint, parsley, even the fronds of fennel bulbs. You can swap out the garlic for shallots, or another member of the onion family. Olive oil is often added for a bit of richness, and there is usually some sort of acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, to give it a little kick. I added some chopped fennel to this version because I love its anise-y flavor. The amount of garlic is fairly light; add more if you wish.

My favorite blueberry sweetener is maple syrup. The two go beautifully together. But be sure that your maple syrup is robust. Until just a few years ago, the strongest-tasting maple syrup was labeled Grade B. But then the labeling system was changed. Now your eyes should be peeled for the words dark or robust on the label. In general, the darker the color, the stronger the flavor.

I love coating the tenderloin with my simple “crusty” barbecue rub of dark brown sugar, salt, pepper and paprika. The sugar in the rub helps to create a nice crust on the pork, and thus the name. After applying the rub, I sear the tenderloin over direct heat on both sides and then move it to indirect heat to finish cooking. Depending on the size of the tenderloin, the entire cooking time will be between 15 and 20 minutes, making it perfect for a quick weekday meal.

There is nothing better than a creamy tomato soup made from fresh summer tomatoes. Today’s recipe “Creamy” Tomato Soup takes advantage of the roma tomato deluge and makes lunch. Since the tomatoes are more flavorful this time of year, I merely flash-roast them — about 10 or so minutes will do the trick — which keeps the oven use down to a minimum. (Sometimes, I grill them, uncut, instead, but I’ll confess that’s a bit messier.)