Neighbors Share Their Top Tastes for Summer

by | Jul 2023

A picnic table filled with various summertime foods.

Photos: Chris Emeott

Try recipes from your neighbors this grilling season.

As much as the summer sun brings us all together, so does the food. True Midwesterners know summer as a time for enjoying family potlucks, berry picking, perusing farmers markets and, of course, patio grilling. This year, we put out a call for locals to share their must-make summer patio cuisine—and boy did we get a response. From unique rib recipes to delicious pies, this community sure does love food; we had a hard time picking just a few to feature within these pages.

As you join in on the foodie fun this season, try one of these tried-and-true hit recipes from your neighbors.

Bánh Mì Bratwurst

“My partner’s cousin, Doug, made the ultimate grilled meal last summer … he made bratwurst and topped it with bánh mì toppings—pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, sliced jalapeños and pâté. Super cool because even though I consider myself to be pretty dang adventurous in the kitchen, and I grew up eating bratwurst at backyard barbecues and pho and bánh mì at all the local Vietnamese classics in Minneapolis— [I] never thought to put the two together … I hope that if this recipe gets included, it sparks a restauranteur’s ambition to answer the (read: my) call for more food like this. Bonus points for grilling the bun after spreading the pâté and for adding sriracha and hoisin sauce.” —Michael Stone, waterfront director at White Bear Sailing School

  • 5–8 brats
  • 5–8 brat buns, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • about 1 cup of torn cilantro
  • a few Tbsp. mayonnaise

In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, cucumber, radishes, jalapeño, fish sauce, sugar and vinegar. Toss with tongs; let this sit as long as you can. Once you’re ready to eat, sear the brats until cooked through and nicely browned. Spread the mayonnaise on each toasted brat bun. Add the brats, and top with marinated veggies. Garnish with cilantro and dive in.

This recipe comes from

Coriander Ribs with Cilantro-Lime Butter

“I came across this recipe about 10 years ago in Mastering the Grill by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. And with a description that starts, ‘You have never had ribs like these,’ I just had to give them a try! And boy, oh boy, were they right! I love to cook these for newbies on my large Big Green Egg with apple wood chips for extra smoke and flavor, and they have never failed to impress—a perfect change of pace from traditional barbecue ribs.” —Doug Niemela, executive director at H20 for Life

  • 2 racks of ribs, St. Louis or baby back
  • 2 1/2 cups cumin, coriander and lime brine
  • 1/3 cup cilantro-lime butter

Cumin, Coriander and Lime Brine

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • juice from one lime
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Cilantro-Lime Butter

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly grated zest and juice from one lime
  • 1/4 cups cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Prepare the brine by combining all ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic bag; seal and shake until the salt and sugar dissolve. For the cilantro-lime butter, heat butter and garlic in a small skillet until garlic sizzles, stir in lime zest and juice and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut racks in half; add to a plastic bag with brine; remove air and seal. Massage the liquid gently into the meat and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours. Heat the grill, with indirect medium heat (325–350 degrees F). Cook ribs until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees F, about one hour. Brush with cilantro-lime butter, remove from heat and cut into 1–2 rib sections; serve.

Costa’s Kale Salad

Contributed by Karin Costa, co-owner of Costa Produce Farm & Greenhouse

Costa's Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale, ribs removed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried mango, for sweetness
  • 1/8 cup roasted pumpkin seeds or toasted pine nuts (You can get these already roasted or toasted at the grocery.)
  • 1/8 cup almonds, toasted


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp. white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3–4 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • pepper to your liking
  • dash of Dijon mustard (1/4–1/2 tsp.)

All of these toppings are optional, or add other ingredients you like. Mix dressing and dress the salad 20–45 minutes before dinner to marinate the flavors and tenderize the kale. Enjoy.

Peach Custard Pie

“This recipe is easy and so delicious, especially when you have delicious summer peaches. The cream forms a type of custard that is awesome.” —Gloria Drake, White Bear Lake resident

Peach Custard Pie

Peach Custard Pie (left)

  • deep dish pie crust
  • 5–6 sliced peaches
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F. Fill the pie shell with sliced peaches until even across the top. Blend whipping cream, sugar and flour and pour over peaches. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy.

Red Wine Sangria

“This refreshing fruity cocktail is my mom’s favorite on a hot summer evening (or any time of year.) The recipe can be easily adapted depending on what ingredients you have on hand.” —Lisa Beecroft, advisory board member, Explore White Bear board member and founder of Beecroft Marketing

Red Wine Sangria

  • 1 bottle red wine (malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, etc.)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2–3 cups of fresh fruit, sliced or diced (oranges, apples, pears, strawberries, etc.)
  • 12-oz. seltzer or soda (regular or diet ginger ale, Squirt or Sprite. Hard seltzer can also be used for an extra punch.)

Mix the first five items in a large pitcher; chill. When ready to serve, scoop out some fruit into each glass and top with sangria mix. Top off with your favorite carbonated beverage. Garish with an orange slice.

Summer Spaghetti

“We eat this as a chilled meal during high summer. While some might call it a salad, I see it as more of a base to add other things to; from leftover grilled chicken, some sourdough slathered with pesto … We’ve also added cooked and cooled cannellini beans to this for a protein boost. If you add beans, plan to add more dressing to keep the flavors balanced.” —Michelle Bruhn, local garden expert, author and food blogger at Forks in the Dirt

  • 1 lb. of your favorite pasta, or 1–2 large summer squash or zucchini worth of “zoodles” veggie noodles
  • 1 zucchini, chopped (if not using zucchini as noodle)
  • 1–2 cucumbers, diced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped, or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 bell or banana peppers, diced
  • 1–2 cups snap beans, raw or cooked, the smaller and more tender the better, chopped
  • 1/4–1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded


  • 1 clove garlic, minced, (or 1 Tbsp. Garlic powder)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or 3 Tbsp. dry)
  • 2–3 sprigs oregano (or 1 tsp. dry)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 3 Tbsp. dry)
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Make dressing. Especially if using dried herbs, let the dressing sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to bring out the herb flavors. If desired, blend herbs for finer consistency. Cook, strain and cool pasta if using, or use a zoodle maker or a mandolin to make zucchini noodles. Chop and mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add pasta or raw zoodles and dressing only to the amount you’ll use that night—saving the vegetable mix separately for later use. If desired, save whole herb leaves for garnish. Best eaten within 2 or 3 days—absolutely tastes best while eaten outdoors with friends with a nice crisp sauvignon blanc.

Chicken Shawarma

“Chicken Shawarma is a personal and client favorite recipe. I like to make a big batch of the spice mixture, so it is easy to toss with chicken any night of the week. In the summer, I always grill the chicken for the extra smoky flavor and serve it in a hummus bowl with seasonal produce like tomatoes and cucumber, usually with some warm grilled pita or pita crisps to scoop up the perfect bite. This Middle Eastern-inspired chicken is full of flavor. It works well served over rice (or cauli-rice), on top of greens or as part of a veggie and hummus bowl. Leftover chicken is equally delicious cold as it is warm.” —Amber Hanson, owner and nutritionist at Whole You Nutrition

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

In a bowl combine all ingredients, mixing to thoroughly coat chicken pieces. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Heat a grill pan, cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 4–6 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 4–6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (Tip: Chicken can also be prepared on an outdoor grill over medium heat for additional flavor.)

Editor’s Pick:

Citrus Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

“One of my favorite things about summer is fruit; fresh raspberries from the garden, wild blackberries and picking strawberries at a local farm are essential summer things, and I’ve found the best way to use that summer bounty is in the form of a pie. This is my absolute favorite fruit pie, with bright, sweet berries bringing an inspired variation to the beloved rhubarb pie. A few years ago, I brought this pie and a tub of ice cream along as my friends and I sat on a rocky beach to watch the fireworks on Independence Day. It was a memorable evening—and the pie was much enjoyed. To take it up a notch, make your own all-butter pie crust.” —Zoe Deal, editor of White Bear Lake Magazine

Citrus Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • 3/4 lb. fresh rhubarb, cut into
  • 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup ripe strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries, unthawed
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of your berries)
  • a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • turbinado sugar

Prepare pie crust. If making a lattice or other design for the top layer of crust, cut out pieces; return all crust to the refrigerator. To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into the chilled pie crust. Decorate the pie to your liking. I always love to do a braided lattice. After you crimp the edges, put the pie back in the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare an
egg wash by whisking a whole egg with a bit of water, and brush it over top of the pie. Place excess wash in the fridge. Bake the pie for 40 minutes, then apply another quick egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Return the pie to the oven until bubbling and golden brown. Allow the pie to cool, 4 hours to overnight for even slices; or, for my preferred method, enjoy warm with some ice cream.

This recipe is pulled from Style Sweet, with instructions rewritten by Deal. Visit for more information and a recipe for Deal’s favorite all-butter crust.


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