July 24, 2013 at 10:24 AM ET
During these dog days of summer, many people want to avoid turning on the oven and limit their time over a hot stove or grill. But you still need to eat. Here, Giada de Laurentiis and Bobby Flay answer viewer questions and share their recipes for cool dishes to cook up this summer.
Question: What's your favorite salsa recipe?
Giada's spicy tomato salsa
4 medium tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1tbsp chopped chipotle in adobo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serving suggestion: tortilla chips
Put the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, olive oil, orange juice, red pepper flakes and chipotle in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and serve with tortilla chips.
Bobby's tomatillo avocado salsa
This bright relish melds cool, creamy avocados with tart, crisp tomatillos for an altogether fresh take on a salsa. Great for a dip, spread, topping for fish or chicken, a burger, anything!
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
3 medium-sized tomatillos, husked, scrubbed and diced
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 small jalapeno chile, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Carefully stir together the avocados, tomatillos, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, oil, honey, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Fold in the scallions and cilantro until combined. This can be made up to 30 minutes in advance, stored covered and refrigerated.
Giada's chicken and salsa
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup spicy tomato salsa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup shredded ricotta salata
Spicy tomato salsa to serve
Place the chicken thighs in a large re-sealable bag. Add the 1 cup of salsa. Seal the bag and make sure all the pieces are well coated. Allow the chicken to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
Remove the marinating chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before broiling. Preheat the broiler to high. Remove the thighs from the marinade and season with kosher salt. Discard the used marinade. Place the thighs, skin side up, on a lightly oiled baking tray and broil for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, check the chicken for even browning and rotate as needed. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until cooked through. Serve sprinkled with ricotta salata and the reserved salsa on the side.
Question: I like fruit in my salads. What's best in summer? And what type of dressing do you suggest with greens and fruit?
Giada's summer fruit salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, diced
2 peaches, halved, stones removed, sliced into wedges
1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
8 cups (7 ounces) baby arugula
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, skinned and toasted hazelnuts
In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook, stirring often, until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Toss gently with the fruit and arugula. Top with the chopped hazelnuts.
Bobby's citrus vinaigrette with mint and basil
This fruity and light dressing is perfect for Giada's summery and fruity salad. The herbs pull it together and the citrus flavors compliment the fruit, helping to enhance their natural flavor.
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup canola oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 minute.
Lightly dress salad, using just enough to enhance the beautiful fresh fruit and greens. Store the rest in a covered container, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Question: We need an icy beverage to serve with our dinners. No milkshakes though because then kids won't eat anything else!
Giada's Italian lemonade
2 cups lemon juice, about 12 to 15 lemons
2 cups Basil Simple Syrup, recipe follows
2 cups cold or sparkling water
Lemon twists, for garnish
Mix lemon juice, Basil Simple Syrup, and water together in a pitcher. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour over ice filled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.
Basil Simple Syrup
1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
In a saucepan combine basil, sugar, and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes. Cool, strain the simple syrup, and store in the refrigerator.
Bobby's watermelon limeade
Light and refreshing but still flavor packed, this goes perfectly with food and is well enjoyed by both kids and adults.
8 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed (it is fairly common to find seedless watermelon)
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup agave nectar
Lime wheels, for garnish
First make the watermelon puree: Working in batches, place the watermelon in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the pureed melon to a fine strainer set above a large bowl and discard the solids. You should end up with approximately 1 quart of watermelon juice.
Note: You could freeze this juice in ice cube trays to use with other summery beverage options like iced tea or sangria.
Add the lime juice and agave nectar to the juice and stir.
Ladle into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish with lime wheel and serve.
*With the simple addition of vodka or tequila, this beverage becomes a killer cocktail. You could even top it off with champagne for something more bubbly.