During the busy rush of the season, making time for dear friends nurtures your soul. Invite them over, keep the menu simple and the hospitality warm, and renew your ties. Cookbook author Sarah Copeland shares just how easy it can be.
Watermelon radishes tend to be sweeter and can be cut a little thicker for heartier crunch. It you can't find them, use classic red radishes.
Copeland uses Arrowood smoked lager (it's local for her). You can use any smoked beer—or if you can't find one, try a nut ale, a porter, or 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. This recipe makes enough for leftovers (or hungrier guests).
Make It: Easy Smoky Black Beans
Since everything else in this menu requires a bit more of your attention, it's good to have a dish that's simpler to prepare. Gussied-up canned beans are easy and delicious.
Make It: Baked Coconut Plantains
With their crisp exterior, tender and creamy interior, and hint of coconut flavor, these plantains are irresistible.
Make It: Spicy Tomatillo-Lime Sauce
This sauce serves as a delicious unifying element to the meal—it's fantastic on the pork, the beans, and the plantains. The recipe makes a large batch, but you'll be glad you have extra on hand; people tend to go back for more and more of it. It keeps for up to a week in the fridge, or top with a thin layer of olive oil (to act as a seal to prevent oxidation) and freeze for up to two months. Spoon it over fish tacos, scrambled eggs, nachos, or burrito bowls.
Make it: Pickled Farm Vegetables
We love the look of multicolored carrots, but you can use all orange carrots if that's what you have on hand. For heat seekers, tuck a slice or two of jalapeño or serrano pepper into the jar; the spice is particularly nice with the carrots. You can make the pickles (and keep them refrigerated) up to a couple of weeks ahead; just keep in mind that the longer they marinate in the brine, the tangier they'll taste.