When Ruth Reichl was at the helm of Gourmet, she was aware that people saw the magazine as trafficking in what could be called recreational cooking—the kind of cooking that takes up an entire weekend. That assumption was not wrong: Gourmet often published ambitious menus with multiple appetizers and several courses of dessert. Last December, Epicurous published one such menu that had been left behind after Gourmet closed.
But under Reichl, Gourmet also published much simpler menus. For her, that was a matter of principle. “We wanted people to know that they didn’t have to [spend their entire weekend cooking] to have a spectacular meal,” she told me recently over the phone. “It felt like an important subliminal message to me.”
For the second installment in our Lost Recipes of Gourmet series, we’ve selected one of those simpler menus. It’s a summery meal meant for the lake house, with recipes you can cook while holding a cocktail in one hand, skin still damp and cool from the water.
The recipes were written by Maggie Ruggiero, who was one of Gourmet’s food editors at the time. Ruggiero was the food editor “you couldn’t classify,” Reichl recalled. “You would say ‘Let’s do a meal for the real heat of summer, you’ve rented an Airbnb and you’ve got fifteen people coming to dinner. What have you got?’ And Maggie would take it to a place you wouldn’t expect.”
In this menu, that place seems to be an amalgam of the Mediterranean and the American South. Unsweetened pomegranate juice is slipped into the sauce of a sticky grilled chicken; piquillo peppers get roasted alongside tomatoes and coins of goat cheese; and a baklava is filled with pecans and bourbon (and served with vanilla ice cream, making it even more reminiscent of a classic American pie).
From there, the recipes get even simpler: Peak-summer tomatoes tossed with lemon juice and herbs, romano beans tossed in mustard-thyme vinaigrette, corn schmeared in basil butter. When you eat this food, you understand why Reichl felt it was important that a modern food magazine hype it: these recipes don't take the weekend—they make the weekend. Ten years later, they're finally here to make yours.
Get the recipes: The Lost Lake House Menu of Gourmet
Originally Appeared on Epicurious