Rhode Island Dentists + Staff Share their Favorite Summer Recipes
For such a small state, Rhode Island is surprisingly big on food. Given that we are known as the Ocean State, some of our favorite summer fare centers around life near the water, be it at the beach, floating out on Narragansett Bay or hanging out poolside. From dishes that feature fresh seafood like clam cakes, stuffies and calamari (remember we are the only state with an official appetizer!) to sweet treats like Doughboys and those that keep us cool like Del’s Frozen Lemonade.
In this edition of the RIDA blog, we asked RIDA members to share their favorite summer recipes. We still have one full month of summer to go so get out there, get cooking and enjoy! Just be sure to brush afterwards.
Classic Clam Boil
It’s easy to add a personal touch to this New England favorite. The classic version features littleneck clams, whole ears of corn, onions, garlic, lemons, Old Bay seasoning, small red potatoes, grilled sausage, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper boiled together until the clams open up and the potatoes are tender.
Jamie Montgomery, an oral surgery assistant from Tiverton, RI, adds Narragansett Beer to her clam boil for a bit of extra flavor. Interestingly, chef Emeril Lagasse (a native of nearby Fall River, MA) has been quoted as saying that some of the best clams in New England are from Tiverton! For a bit of added flavor, Sarah Eager, DDS from East Providence adds Portuguese chourico sausage to her clam boils.
If you love the oversized, hard-shell clams known as quahogs (challenge your non-New England residing dental school classmates to spell that one!), check out this recipe for Rhode Island Stuffed Quahogs or “stuffies”. It’s one of the most iconic offerings found in restaurants across our state but is easy enough to make at home for family and friends.
Black Sea Bass Ceviche
Fred Hartman, DMD, a Rhode Island oral surgeon, recommends a simple ceviche for summer entertaining without having to turn on the oven. Just fill a Ziploc bag with fresh lemon and lime juice, add chopped red onion and some chopped jalapenos. Cube the filets and add into the Ziploc bags. Toss the bags in the fridge or, better yet, right into the cooler should you be out fishing. After several hours, the sea bass is cooked. Add chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, and chopped tomatoes for a refreshing and delicious evening meal.
Block Island Mudslide
Dr. Jonathan Enright from Bristol, RI thinks the MudSlide served aboard the Block Island ferry as it heads out of Point Judith is a classic Rhody summertime fun starter. If you don’t have sea legs that enjoy drinking on the ferry, then it's a must to visit The Oar once on island and order one of their famous versions of this drink.
Even better, you don’t have to leave home to try this summertime staple. It’s as easy as adding equal parts vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Kahlua to a blender, fill with ice and blend. Swirl some Hershey’s chocolate syrup around in your glass before pouring in the frozen concoction. Top it off with some whipped cream and a chocolate-syrup drizzle and you’re ready to put your feet up, blast the AC and enjoy this cold and creamy summertime treat.
Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Erin Kelly, RDH, cherishes summertime walks through the fields surrounding her home to harvest the red rhubarb planted by her great-grandmother! She uses it for delicious coffee cakes she shares with coworkers and neighbors. There are many versions of rhubarb coffee cake, but the food.com Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe is simple and flavorful. If you don’t grow your own rhubarb, be sure to check out one of the many farmers’ markets in Rhode Island, where fresh produce abounds.
Local Sweet Corn
Dr. Nick Barone, an orthodontist in North Providence, tells us local sweet corn stands alone as the best part of the Rhode Island summer harvest. Brine it. Grill it. Boil it. You can’t go wrong – unless you buy the corn too early in the summer!
Dr. Barone’s orthodontic assistant Sandra knows nothing is better in the summer than carne asada on the grill. In fact, no summer meal is truly complete without throwing something on the grill. Of course, carne asada gets its deep flavor from a proper and patient marinade so do the prep work in advance in the air conditioning by following a recipe like this one for Simple Carne Asada and then relax and wait for things to cool down in the evening before firing up your grill to do the relatively quick cook.
Of course, what goes better with the spiciness of carne asada than this refreshing margarita recipe that came to us from Michelle, a dental assistant at Samuel Dental Center.
Start with local, fresh blueberries and a bottle of Natalie's margarita mix from Dave's Market.
Make blueberry simple syrup by blending 1 cup water, 1 cup berries, 1/2 cup sugar in a small pan. Boil until berries open and smash a bit. Cool and strain.
1.5 oz tequila
1 oz Cointreau
3oz Natalie’s Margarita Mix
1oz blueberry simple (more or less to taste)
Shake and serve over ice, adding a blueberry and lime wedge garnish!
And, while we’re talking blueberries, they are an incredibly versatile summertime favorite featured not only in cocktails but in baked goods and summer salads, all which benefit from the addition of their one of a kind sweet-tart taste. Lynne Vaudry, DDS, a general dentist in Lincoln, RI notes that her husband, Steve, is the cook in their family. Their summer entertaining features these delicious blueberry recipes.
Summer Berry Cobbler
1 pint blueberries
1 pint raspberries, red
1 pint blackberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
½ cup of granulated sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
2 T Cornstarch
½ Lemon, juiced
1 recipe of Blueberry Scones
As needed – Unsalted butter, melted
As needed – Granulated sugar
Method of Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. In a mixing bowl combine berries with sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine.
3. Spread mixture out on 10-inch pie dish or gratin dish.
4. Dollop spoonfuls of scone dough evenly over the top of the fruit; leave a border around the edge of the dish for spreading.
5. Drizzle the surface with melted butter and dust with sugar, as needed.
6. Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, to catch any of the overflows of juices.
7. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.
8. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a la mode or with whipped cream.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
¼ cup of unsalted butter, chilled, cut into chunks
¾ cup Buttermilk or heavy cream
1 egg, whole
1 pint blueberries, fresh
Method of Preparation:
1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; mix thoroughly
2. Cut in butter using 2 forks or a pastry blender. The butter pieces should be coated with flour and resemble crumbs.
3. In another mixing bowl, mix buttermilk (or heavy cream), egg together, then add to the flour mixture. Mix to incorporate but be careful not to overwork the dough.
4. Roll blueberries into extra flour to coat. Fold blueberries into the dough. Be careful not to bruise.
5. Press the dough out on a floured surface, creating a rectangle. Cut into triangles about 1-1/2 inches thick.
6. Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with a bit of milk or cream.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Tops should be golden-brown.
Watermelon Feta Blueberry Salad
½ seedless watermelon, cubed (about 8-10 cups)
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup of crumbled feta
2 T mint leaves, chopped (if you love mint, use more)
2 T Honey
Juice of 1 lime
Method of Preparation:
1. Combine the fruit, mint, and cheese in a bowl.
2. Toss in the honey and lime and mix lightly.
3. Serve immediately.
Salted Cucumber Slices
Finally, we received a simple, quick side dish that takes just three ingredients from Laila Kafi, over at East Side Endodontics. She notes that her family enjoys eating meals that feature fresh produce grown right in their own their garden.
“When the weather starts to warm up, my sons love to help plant a summer vegetable garden (tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs). I should add that my husband leads this effort but we all help and definitely enjoy harvest time. It’s fun to watch the seedlings grow and tiny blossoms develop into cucumbers. We drizzle our cucumbers with olive oil and sprinkle with Maldon salt (must be Maldon!). Crunchy and refreshing. Give it a try!”
Thanks to everyone who contributed a recipe to our blog this month. If you are interested and would like to continue seeing recipes from our members, let us know. If you have a recipe you’d like to share, especially if it features traditional Rhode Island ingredients, we’d love to hear from you!
Happy Cooking! Happy Eating!
Stay tuned for our next blog about ways your RIDA colleagues are coping with stress and burnout.