May 24, 2019

If you haven’t gathered from our previous blogs, Aria is an office of food fanatics. Many of us whip up epic creations for our Wednesday breakfasts and monthly happy hours, and we often convene over lunch from one of our go-to restaurants and discuss everything from healthcare IT to PR to life in the Boston area.


Speaking of Boston, spring is a very special time of year in the city. Aside from occasional temps that sink below 60, the leaves and blossoms are vibrantly blooming and there are days that reach the 70s or 80s…giving us a real taste of summer that leaves us wanting more. Considering most of the Aria team are big fans of warm weather, we decided to compile some of our favorite summer recipes and food selections to usher in the warmer weather. Check out the recipes below and let us know what your go-to summer recipe is by connecting with us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.


Ross Homer, SVP: I know it’s officially summer when we start making this simple, refreshing honey dew soup. It’s a summer staple at our house:


Minted Honeydew Soup (a recipe by Joanne Weir)

  • 2 pounds ripe melon, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks (about 1/2 large melon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh mint sprigs, thin lime slices for garnish (optional)

Process ingredients in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Taste, adding additional lime juice if necessary, and salt. Serve in individual chilled bowls, garnished with lime slices and mint sprigs, if desired.


Lindsey Honig, AE: My favorite summer dish is Mediterranean layered dip; a twist on the tried-and-true Mexican salsa/guacamole/bean layered dip. First, add a container of hummus into a large pan (any flavor will work, but I recommend the roasted garlic variety). Then layer some tabbouleh over the hummus, and top it off with chunks of feta cheese. For a refreshing bonus you can also sprinkle on some lemon zest at the end. This recipe is so simple but people always rave about it at BBQs!


Madeleine Smith, AC: This is my favorite summer salad. I love that the flavors are strong and sharp. These flavors are vivid like the colors of summer.


Green Salad with Peas, Fennel, Avocado and Queso Fresco (a recipe by Chef Katianna Hong)

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 2½ cups poached peas
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup basil
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups butter lettuce and/or Little Gem lettuce
  • 2 large avocados, diced
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 head fennel, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco

For the salad: In a large bowl combine lettuce, remaining herbs, avocado, radishes, fennel and queso fresco. Dress with enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Season with more lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and salt to taste.


For the vinaigrette: In a food processor, combine garlic, half the lemon juice, half the zest, half the mint, 1 cup peas, half the cilantro, half the basil, olive oil, vinegar and mayo. Pulse to combine. Once smooth and uniform, season with salt and more lemon juice and zest to taste.


Julia Dakhlia, AC: I don’t do much in the way of cooking, but here are some of my favorite food assembly ideas -- easy to prepare, delicious to eat:


  •  Apple + gouda + balsamic glaze
  • Baguette + camembert + balsamic glaze
  • Tropical blue cocktail: 2 parts ginger beer, 1/3 part blue curacao, 1/3 part gin, 1/3 part peach schnapps


Scott Collins, CEO and President: My summer secret weapon is Chimichurri. It’s an Argentine sauce that is simple to make and lights up pretty much anything you put it on. Steak is a classic, but any grilled meat and starch and most veggies are delish with this stuff.  You can even just dip bread in it.


There’s lots of variations but here is my go-to:

  • 1 cup cilantro firmly packed, trimmed of thick stems
  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup best olive oil you got
  • 4 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

You can food process the first 3 ingredients. I chop by hand for a more rustic texture, but some people like it smooth. Then stir in the remaining and adjust oil/vinegar/salt balance as needed. ¡Buen Provecho!


Kara McCrudden, AE: My favorite warm weather meal is a caprese salad! Super simple and requires no cooking – which is great for summer when it is too hot to turn on your oven. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, salt and pepper is all you need. Refreshing and delicious.


Antonia Rutter, SAE: I love this dish because it’s very easy to make, and fresh and flavorful for spring and summer. It can be used as a dip or taco filling, and is vegan/vegetarian friendly, so it’s always a safe bet to bring for a big group.


Quinoa Summer Salad

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa, fluffed and cooling in a bowl
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Juice from 2-3 medium, juicy limes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 half small red or purple onion, diced fine
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced fine
  • 1 cup roasted corn kernels (I used frozen, roasted on a cookie sheet for 7ish minutes, then cooled)
  • 1 cup canned, drained/rinsed black beans
  • Sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 large head of crisp romaine lettuce, washed, dried, sliced crosswise
  • 1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced
  • Tortilla chips
  • Crumbled goat cheese (optional)

Drizzle the cooked quinoa with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Squeeze on fresh lime juice and toss again. Season with sea salt, to taste. Add in the fresh chopped cilantro, diced red onion, diced yellow pepper, and roasted corn kernels. Stir lightly to distribute. Taste test for seasoning adjustments. Line four salad bowls or plates with the fresh romaine. Spoon the quinoa salad on the center of the lettuce. Add the diced avocado to each plate. Tuck in a few tortilla chips around the edges. Top with sprinkled goat cheese if desired. Serve with an extra lime wedge.


Jessica Cohen, EVP: We host dinner parties year round, but with the addition of our new deck I think this summer will be our peak party season. I am a big fan of doing a bunch of apps and small plates for parties – and skipping entrées altogether. Crostinis are a great staple to master – just throw a few ingredients on some good, grilled bread and call it a day. Here’s one of my favorites:


Bruschetta: Dice fresh tomatoes and put in medium bowl. Add minced or pressed garlic, a little red onion, and loads of fresh basil. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle EVOO, and mix. Pro tip: Let the tomato mixture sit out for at least a half hour so the flavors come together, then drain some of the extra juice at the very end. Take a loaf of ciabatta or a nice sourdough and cut in half lengthwise. Drizzle bread with good EVOO and throw on the grill, face down. 


When the bread is toasted, top with tomato mixture. Then – here’s the fun part. Top with some fresh buffalo mozzarella and put the whole crostini on a pan, and put it back on the grill. Close the grill so the cheese melts. When it’s nice and melty, take it off the grill and drizzle with balsamic glaze.  Slice and serve hot!


Bonus crostini idea: Take your loaf of bread, again, slice in half lengthwise, and toast on BBQ. Remove from grill and top with some good ricotta (season your ricotta first with kosher salt, pepper, and any fresh herbs on hand – mix well and spread on the toast). Then, take a ripe peach or nectarine, slice it, and throw it on the grill until you get some nice char lines on the flesh of the fruit. Place slices of the peach on the toast. Sprinkle with kosher salt and then drizzle generously with honey or balsamic and garnish with fresh basil. Bon appetite!

Blog post written by:
Ashley Owen
Author: Ashley Owen
Account Director & Wellness Officer