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Gail Simmons’ Secrets to Easy-Breezy Summer Cooking

June 7, 2018
Summer cooking
Photo Credit: Johnny Miller

By Beth Lipton

We always want to cook crowd-pleasing, chef-worthy food, easily and effortlessly—but especially in the summer. #Goals, right?

So we turned to one of our favorite experts: Gail Simmons. The Top Chef judge shared two of her fave summer dishes from her cookbook Bringing It Home (below) and chatted with us about what makes them special, and how to make them yours, stress-free.

“In the summertime, you want to be out in the sunshine, spending time with your family, not sweating over a hot stove,” Simmons tells Clean Plates. “Especially for summer entertaining, keeping it simple is important.”

One way to do this is to look at recipes with a fresh eye. “Be more loose with your recipes,” she says. “Not the technique per se, but with the ingredients. Most cooks are either really improvisational or really by-the-recipe. Learning to be a really good home cook and learning to be the least stressed in your cooking is to be somewhere in the middle. Look at a recipe and then make simple ingredient exchanges. Making a filet of fish and cooking a hangar steak is the same technique, so it’s freeing to be able to look at a recipe and look beyond the exact ingredient list.

“Use basic recipes that you can alter in 5 different ways,” she adds. “Do them your way. Don’t be afraid to stray from the path.”

Here are two of hers, with an inside look at how she elevated them. Make them as is, or add your own spin.

[ic_add_posts post_type=’recipe’ ids=’14894,14899′]

BIO: Beth Lipton is a contributing editor at Clean Plates.

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