Three light and delicious summer recipes to try

I was recently relaxing in the backyard at a friends’ house with after-dinner drinks when our hostess popped out the back door bearing a platter of what looked, for a moment under the fairy lights, like pizza. But no, it was watermelon wedges drizzled with something creamy and white, flecked with macadamia nuts and scattered with mint.

It was beautiful.

And it was a delicious surprise that pretty well floored me.

Seconds were immediately necessary, even though I wasn’t remotely hungry. 

What was this wonder, and how did it come about? 

Joe Merchanthouse is a chef we’re fortunate to call a friend, and this was his doing. The story came out: as a teen visiting Italy, he was struck by what he called a “food epiphany.” 

After dinner at a restaurant one warm summer night, the waiter brought out a big bowl of cherries for dessert.

“It was the most simple yet delicious take on dessert,” Joe said. “It was light and healthy and it was from the tree that we were sitting under. I’d never experienced anything like that being from the Midwest where, you know, it’s like cheesecake and chocolate or whatever, it’s heavier. So it kind of blew my mind how good just regular food could be, like untouched food. It was kind of a revelation. So, it stuck with me and that’s kind of always been part of how I look at food.”