Keep your cool by refreshing yourself and your guests with no-fuss summer fare. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I like to have a few quick and slick tricks in the kitchen, especially when it comes to summer snacking. During these fleeting warmer months, it’s typical for family members to drop in for a dip in the cove and a breezy deck visit. Naturally, I like to have ingredients on hand that can be fashioned on the fly into something delicious.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected] Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

Grilled chicken is a go-to that is especially yummy if it hangs out in brine before cooking. Toss it in a bright lemony sauce and serve it up with Greek Panzanella, a favorite because I incorporate fresh garden herbs and veggies and rustic bread.

Trips to the local farmers markets and stands are what keep me sane these days, and even though we’re all wearing masks, I can look into all the smiling eyes of my farmer friends and give them a namaste.

Making a vanilla or citrus-flavored pound cake from scratch is easy enough, especially if you bake it in the morning before the day heats up. If you’re not going to serve the cake on the next day or two, wrap it up nice and tight then tuck it in the fridge or freezer for future use.

Another option, however, is to just pick up a Sara Lee frozen pound cake. The bakery section also has decent delectables in loaf form or pre-sliced servings. It really is OK. Once it’s dressed up with boozy berries and sorbet, no one is going to care.

When I served this dessert recently, I used rainbow sherbet and a store-bought lemon pound cake. I added whipped cream, too – just because!

The moral of the story is: Make it easy on yourself so there’s more time for self care that includes swimming, sun worshiping and delving into that summer romance novel. Namaste!

Saucy Grilled Chicken

2 quarts water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 ½ pounds chicken parts
2 large lemons, cut in half, for the grill

Combine water, salt and sugar in a large container. Add chicken parts and cover. Refrigerate for 1-6 hours. Remove from brine and pat dry when ready to grill.

For gas grill, heat all burners to high for 10 minutes then adjust to medium-high. For charcoal grill, heat charcoals until they’re grayish-white, leaving one-quarter of grill free of charcoal for indirect heat.

Lightly oil grill racks. Arrange chicken, cover grill and cook until browned, turning once, for 6-8 minutes total for smaller parts (wings, thighs and drumsticks) and 8-10 minutes for breasts.

For gas grill, reduce heat to medium. For charcoal grill, move chicken to indirect heat. Continue to cook, covered for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of each piece is 160 degrees. When chicken is almost done place lemon halves, cut side down, on grill for 2-3 minutes.

Lemon Sauce

4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat. Yield: 4 servings

Greek Panzanella

Salad

1 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
2 colored peppers, seeded and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, diced
8 ounces feta cheese, diced
1/2 cup black olives

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Croutons

1/4 cup olive oil
1 loaf rustic bread, cubed to make 6 cups
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan and add bread cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook over medium heat, tossing frequently for 5-10 minutes until browned.

Vinaigrette

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a glass measuring cup and blend together. Whisking constantly, slowly add olive oil to make an emulsion. Add vinaigrette and bread cubes to vegetables and toss. Allow time for flavors to mingle, about 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve at room temperature.

Boozy Berry Parfaits

1 pint strawberries and/or raspberries
2 tablespoons orange or berry liqueur
4 slices pound cake, cut into bite-size cubes
1 pint sorbet or sherbet
Mint leaves

Reserve 1/4 cup berries for garnish. Stir together remaining berries and liqueur in a medium bowl. Layer cake cubes, sorbet and berry mixture into tall glasses. Garnish with whole berries and mint leaves. Yield: 4 servings

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