You Know it’s Summer When…

As part of the research for that Summer Cooking Manifesto I worked on for the June 2011 issue of Bon Appetit — yes, the one with Gwyneth on the cover – I asked a bunch of editors the question you see up there in the title of this post: You Know it’s Summer When _______ is in the Fridge. There were basil-infused simple syrups (mixed into my Gin & Tonic, this has the potential to be my signature summer cocktail), there were chili oils amd chimichurris, and there was a sunny yellow ladolemeno vinaigrette that you pour over grilled fish (Holy. Freaking. Cow.) which tastes as bright and summery as it looks.  But the most special of all, I think, was this special sauce. Not only because it elevates any burger (we used it on our rolled-out California-style turkey burgers the other night) but because it elevates any cookout. Think what a rock star you will be if you show up to the burger-and-dog barbecue with a jar of this in your hand.

Special Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit

In a small jar, mix together:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon finely grated onion
1 tablespoon sweet relish or 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
salt and pepper to taste

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42 Comments

Nancy

Would it be complete heresy to make this with greek yogurt instead of mayo?

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Stephanie

I definitely know it’s summer when cold-brewed iced coffee is in the fridge. However, San Francisco is experiencing some seasonal confusion right now (current conditions: 57 degrees and raining)

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Heather at Heather's Dish

I absolutely adored your article in Bon Appetit! In fact that’s how I came to discover this delicious blog and I’m so glad I did. Our summer fridge is always stocked with home-brewed iced sweet tea – the definition if summer in my house!

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Phaedra

#1 I’m LOVING you guys in BA! #2 I just made the Special Sauce this weekend for our burgers from this BA recipe and it was delish.
(The sun was out, the deck furniture is out, what better way to spend an afternoon than with the grill & friends?)

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Kris

Have to agree with basil simple syrup. I mix it with gin, tonic and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Best summer drink Ever.

Well, that and rhubarb syrup mixed with white tequila and seltzer. makes me thirsty.

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Holly

I ADORE the BA redesign! Granted, I’m clearly in the foodie-who-no-longer-gets-to-dine-out-much-because-of-small-human-in-tow demographic they seem to be catering directly to now, but the last two issues have just made me ravenously hungry and super inspired!

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Emilee Whitehurst

I know its summer when our fridge is filled with ground beef for burgers, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a lot of cold beer :) ohhhhh sweet summer time!!

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Caitlin

This weekend will do it for me, a long weekend at my grandmother’s of veggies at the farm stands and grilling and strawberry picking. And today I had my first sit outside lunch with a midday margarita (don’t tell my boss). That felt like summer.

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Juliana

I know it’s summer when our fridge is overflowing with fresh fruits & veggies. And when most all of the food in the fridge is destined to be part of a dish that is served cold. That said, Sacramento is also experiencing serious seasonal confusion today, so I am in the mood something warm and wintry.

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Maureen

My summer extra is caramelized onions – I keep them in the fridge to top burgers, grilled pizzas, and bruschetta. So yummy!

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cari

That’s kind of funny. In Utah they call this fry sauce and you can squirt it into little cups, just like ketchup and mustard. Of course, technically, their’s is only mayo, ketchup and pickle juice. Yours sounds much more fancy and tasty.
Summer for me is found in the freezer. Popsicles to be exact. Who wants a popsicle in winter? We seem to always have a box of them on hand in the summer.

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Amanda

Corn on the cob, watermelon and basil simple syrup in the fridge for me means summertime. It’s a little frustrating that grocery stores offer (poor) tasteless substitutes during the winter months – who do they think they are fooling? Watermelon in December?

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Amy

I live in Montana and we have a short summer. For me, I know it’s ALMOST summer when we get our first veggie box from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), usually with lots of lettuce and greens for the first couple of weeks. We should be getting that first box in a few weeks. Then, I know when it really IS summer when I can start finding local fresh fruits! Our own raspberries from the backyard don’t come in till mid-summer, and that is what I wait for all year!!!! (PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?)

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Jenny

I’d say tomatoes, but they don’t go in the fridge. More veggies than you can shake a stick at? Corn? The mention of cold beer is making me thirsty.

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Caroline

Definitely trying this soon! PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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kari

hmmm…when I have macerated strawberries in a tupperware container waiting to be eaten. yum. I would say iced coffee steeping in the fridge but I had to quit the caffeine wagon for the time being. Boo.
PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Jessica

I’d say limes and watermelon. I can’t stand drinking just water all the time so I like to add lime and….um, what is better then a big hunk of messy watermelon? Watermelon = Summer (for me anyway!)

Love the posts! Keep up the phenomenal work!

P.S. Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Lisa McB

I know summer has arrived when my fresh mint hits the refrigerator and meets the fresh limes and rum–mmm!

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Laura

I know it’s summer when I start saving watermelon rinds in the fridge to pickle!!

“PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

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JessicaLeaRD

Far better special sauce than that famous fast food joint…

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron? :)

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elaine

OK, how do you make basil simple syrup?! Yum. Must try this holiday weekend!

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Kim

I know it’s summer when there’s a yummy cocktail in hand. My husband decided a few years ago to have a signature cocktail for each season, so we’ve have summers of mojitos, planter’s punch, margaritas, and so on. We’re currently tasting recipes for this year’s drink.
PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Laura

Summer means I can eat my favorite food every day for nearly every meal. Watermelon! It’s even great as a slushy mojito with rum and fresh mint.

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Zoe

I made this sauce last night – delicious! The adobo sauce is a must and elevates this from simple “special sauce”

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CookiePie

LOVE your blog! You know it’s summer when… our fridge is bursting with corn, basil, peaches and berries berries berries :)

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Meg

Mmmm…summer…

It is finally warming up in the northeast. For us, I know it’s summer when there’s home brewed ice tea in the fridge and the fixings for dark ‘n stormys in the house.

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Abigail

Summer means my quick cucumber pickles with sweet onion and white vinegar. They don’t keep well, but they don’t need to!

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Jessica

Mmmmmmmm… So ready for the smell of cooking burgers and potato salad. I know its summer when I have the stuff for lemonaid and popsicles right at the front of the fridge.

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

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Debi

I know its summer when I have a shaker of whiskey sours in the fridge.
PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

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My2girls

I know it’s summer when I have large glass containers filled with fresh cut melon and macerated berries. Oh! and I start justifying the Margaritas earlier and earlier in the day.

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Amanda

Jeez… I should have said this earlier.

P.S. Your newsletter sent me… Do I win the apron?

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Jessica

Definitely fresh strawberries scream summer for me.
P.S. Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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carolyn

Mine is basic: I know it’s summer when the simple syrup jar is always full for iced tea and coffee.

PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

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Trina

I would have to say it’s all about the BERRIES…if they even it make to the fridge. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…yum!

And the homemade juice pops in the freezer. We love summer!

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melanie

Have to grab a copy of BA, i have lapsed. Summer around here means tomatoes everyday and corn every other day. I am excited for summer drink recipes – the ones in your comments look fab.

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Torrie @ a place to share...

I cannot believe that I’ve been blogging for over a year, and just discovered your blog. I’m following now, and having a lot of fun looking through a few archives.

This sauce is sure to be a summer tradition… from this point forward. I can’t wait to surprise my husband with it, and to bring it to our next BBQ. Thank you!

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jennifer

Summer for us means grilling. Kebabs are a favorite for ease and variety. Anything locally grown–tomatoes, melon, and corn on the cob, particularly. Although not locally grown, I flip for stone fruit–apricots, nectarines, and cherries (especially rainiers). And, I load the freezer with ice cream bars and Popsicles, which are hugely nostalgic. These summer-only treats throw me right back to childhood when my no-sugar/whole-foods mother indulged me and my sibs similarly.

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Rebecca

I know it’s summer when kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are awaiting simple fruit salad with lime and honey drizzles!

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shannon ellis

I own Dinner: A Love Story and I use it ALL the time. We had the black bean burritos this week and they were excellent as always. I love this cookbook!!!

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