It’s all about our favorite ingredients to cook with.

By Briana Riddock
July 27, 2018
Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland; Food Styling: Pam Lolley

Although cranking up the oven during the summer months isn’t always ideal, we have two seasonal fruit pies that are apt to make you reconsider. This week in the test kitchen, recipe developer and tester Pam Lolley bestowed upon us all the most beautiful sliceable summer sweets—Blueberry-Lavender Pie With Almond Streusel and a Perfect Strawberry Pie. Beyond the eye-catching colors, these pie recipes include a key ingredient that will allow you to cut a clean, non-goopy piece. Because Pam is a baking goddess, she knows all of the tricks of the trade and incorporated quick-cooking tapioca, a starch extracted from cassava root, to both pie fillings. In collaboration with cornstarch, this thickening agent ensures a berry filling that sets with a smooth, juicy texture and has no funky aftertaste. 

WATCH: How to Make Grilled Strawberry Shortcakes

So yeah, summer berries are the best. And after starting on such a sweet note, we just continued through the week celebrating some of our all-time favorite ingredients to cook with. Of course, avocados were high on the list. In fact, we came up with 73 exceptional ways to use it, just in case you’re looking for some fresh inspiration beyond the toast (don’t worry, we included few of those too). Pineapple is another beloved fruit that we just cannot get enough of, and figured everyone could use 21 tasty ways to cook with this sweet and tangy fruit in their everyday recipe rotation. In fact, a Pineapple Shake or Pineapple Rickey would be perfect treats to mix up this weekend. They’d even give you the opportunity to try out your new, reusable straws (you know, since you’ve ditched your single-use, plastic ones). 

Next on the list of beloveds is honey. No doubt, there’s a rapidly growing interest in the sticky sweetener—from learning how to harvest it yourself to understanding exactly what the difference is between raw honey and the stuff in the plastic squeeze bear. Of course, if you hang around some of the more hardcore honey enthusiasts, you’re going to start hearing about manuka, one of the most expensive specialty honeys on the market. The antioxidant-rich manuka honey, harvested in New Zealand and Australia, packs a nutrient punch that beekeepers and consumers are going crazy over. Feel like splurging? You can pick up a bottle of authentic manuka honey for about $25 to $33. 

Bringing it back to a slightly more affordable price point, we should talk about spices… because at MyRecipes, we love spices. So much so, that we created a one-stop-shop page for everything that you need to know about various spice blends, from what they are and where to buy them to how to make your own and store them properly. This week, we explored the signature Jamaican spice, jerk seasoning. The rub consists of classic Caribbean ingredients such as pimento seeds (commonly known as allspice), thyme, green onions, garlic, ginger, and the very hot scotch bonnet pepper.

Check out our guide to learn more about the seasoning blends and spices that we are obsessed with.     

My favorite dish to make with jerk seasoning is Jerk Chicken, which is best paired with Jamaican rice and peas. If you ask me, most every savory dish is best paired with rice. Many people believe white rice to be boring, but I beg to differ. With the helping hand of your Instant Pot, anyone (even the rice-cooking impaired) can make an incredibly flavored batch of rice with just a few additional ingredients—such as fresh herbs, saffron, or coconut milk—and hardly any extra effort. Yep, it really is that simple.