This feature first appeared in the June issue of InStyle. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine now.
Rebecca Taylor may have a CFDA nomination under her cinched belt and dozens of celebrities dying to be dressed by her (the fan club includes Olivia Palermo, Emma Roberts, and Taylor Swift), but at her charming home in Shelter Island, New York, she's just Mom. "(My husband) Wayne and I get very traditional in our roles out here: cooking and cleaning for me, lawn and trash for him," she says jokingly. "It's really perfection."
The designer takes her role as head chef very seriously, whipping up healthy and mouthwatering meals for her brood. Come summer, the family and their friends typically dine beneath an ancient oak tree, then roast marshmallows in the fire pit that Taylor's clan dug themselves. "A beach house should be casual," she insists.
Taylor shared three of her all-time favorite recipes with us. Bring a little of Rebecca's dreamy summer style to your table with her carrot and avocado salad, corn on the cob with cilantro and lime butter, and meringues topped with peaches.
Carrot & Avocado Salad
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. small to medium carrots, peeled
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut in thin wedges
1½ cups lightly packed radish sprouts or other sprouts
Sour cream, to serve
3 tbsp toasted pepitas
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a small food processor, crush garlic to a paste with cumin, thyme, red pepper, 1½ tsp salt, and ¾ tsp pepper. Add vinegar and 2 tbsp oil; mix well.
2. Arrange carrots in a roasting pan and spread spice paste on top. Place orange and lemon halves, cut-side down, on carrots. Roast until carrots are tender and starting to brown, 40–45 minutes.
3. Using tongs, arrange carrots on a serving platter. Using a dish towel to protect your hands, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into a measuring cup. You should have about ¼ cup juice. Beat in remaining 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper to make a dressing.
4. Arrange avocado wedges over carrots, then scatter sprouts on top. Drizzle with dressing, and top with dollops of sour cream and a sprinkling of the pepitas.
Whole Corn with Cilantro & Lime Butter
Total time: 30 minutes
4 ears corn
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Salt and black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ red chili, seeded and minced
1 tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lime
1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan.
2. Pull back the husk of each corn cob, but leave it attached; remove silk. Brush corn with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Replace husks and tie the ends in place with kitchen string.
3. Grill over hot coals for 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
4. While corn is cooking, put butter, chili, cilantro, and lime zest in a bowl; beat together.
5. Shape lime butter into a cylinder about 4" in diameter. Roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate until needed. (You can also serve it straight from the bowl if preferred.)
6. When corn is tender and charred on the outside, take cobs off grill and serve with lime butter.
Meringues with Fragrant Peaches
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
2 large egg whites
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ cinnamon stick
1 tsp orange flower water
3 peaches, pitted and quartered
Good-quality vanilla ice cream, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 250ºF.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat egg whites with salt to form soft peaks. Add sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating continuously at high speed until sugar is dissolved and whites are thick and form stiff peaks.
3. Spoon out 4 meringues, 3 inches apart, onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 1 hour, 30 minutes. Let cool in oven for an hour with door slightly ajar.
1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cinnamon, orange flower water, and ½ cup water; stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Add peach quarters and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove peach quarters; peel off the skins. Return skins to the poaching liquid; boil until liquid is reduced to syrup; strain into a small bowl.
2. To serve, place a meringue in a bowl and crush the top. Add a scoop of ice cream and a few peach wedges; drizzle with syrup. Serve immediately.