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Summer is heating up in the southland and the holiday weekend promises to be a scorcher. Former pastry chef Megan Mitchell, who films cooking classes for the Food Network Kitchen app, Tastemade and Thrive Market, invited us into her backyard in Van Nuys to demonstrate two recipes to help cool things down.

Her Cherry Smash Iced Tea is a blend of fresh sweet cherries hitting the markets right now and fresh thyme sprigs (take it from mocktail to cocktail by adding bourbon).

The Zucchini, Avocado and Radish Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette is a cool carpaccio topped with a refreshing citrus dressing made of orange and lemon juice.

Mitchell, also an avid gardener,  shared her summertime recipes with L.A. Weekly: 

Zucchini, Avocado and Radish Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette 

Recipe Courtesy of Megan Mitchell

Serves: 2 – 4 people

Ingredients:

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (about 1 small orange)
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 1/4 cup high-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated on a zester
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup 
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the Salad 

  • 3 radishes
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 large semi-ripe avocado 
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced chives
  • 1 tbsp. baby basil leaves
  • Chive blossoms or edible flowers, for garnish (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions:

Begin by making the dressing. In a small bowl combine the orange juice, lemon juice, EVOO, minced or grated garlic clove, dijon, maple syrup and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk together then taste for seasoning. Set aside until needed.

Begin by cutting the root off of the radishes then slicing in half and thinly slicing into half-moons. Next, using a mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice the zucchini into about 1/8-inch thick rounds. 

Halve the avocado, remove the pit and peel off the skin. Place cut side down and thinly slice lengthwise then cut in half. 

To assemble, on a large round platter or plate place down the zucchini slices overlapping them around the edge of the platter/plate. Continue this pattern around until all of the zucchini is used and you reach the middle of the platter/plate. About 5-6 rows. 

Tuck 4-5 slices of the avocado in-between the zucchini rounds every 7-8 pieces. Sprinkle with the sliced radish, minced chives, basil leaves, chive blossoms or edible flowers if using and a drizzle of the dressing. Finish with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt. 

Cherry Smash Iced Tea

Recipe Courtesy of Megan Mitchell

Makes: 1 drink

Ingredients:

Directions:

Begin by washing and removing the stems of the cherries. Pit the cherries by placing them on a cutting board and using the flat part of a large knife press down until you hit the pit. Pick up the cherry and pull out the pit, sometimes the cherry will split into 2 pieces which is fine. Continue with remaining cherries. 

In a cocktail shaker add the pitted cherries and 3 sprigs of thyme. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon break up the cherries to release their juices. As you do this you’ll also release the natural oils from the thyme. Once muddled, remove the thyme stems.

To the muddled cherries and thyme, add in the juice of 1/2 of the lemon, 1 cup of the tea and 1-2 tbsp. maple syrup. Add in 1/4 cup of ice to the top of the cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds. 

Thinly slice a few rounds from the remaining lemon half. 

Fill a large glass or tumbler to the top with crushed ice. Pour in the cherry smash and garnish with a thyme sprig and 1-2 lemon rounds. 

 

LA Weekly