Monthly Archives: July 2012

Little Green Courgette…

Farmer’s Market Summer Squash & Zucchini
 

Anything that has “fritter” in it’s name, sign me up. 
I mean honestly, how bad can it be?!  I feel justified in making these because they are green, which as we all know means they’re healthy…

Well, they are made from zucchini and that should count for something, shouldn’t it?  The simplicity of this recipe should also count for something.  
 
When most of you think of zucchini, you don’t exactly jump up and down with glee do you? 
Truth be told, I do.  I love it.  It is without a doubt one of my favorite vegetables. 
 
I like it in soups, battered and fried alongside a beer, shaved into ribbons and tossed with pasta… I adore it on the grill with it’s smoky char marks beckoning me to eat more and I like a good zucchini bread as much as the next girl, but of the hundreds of things you can do with zucchini, this is a pretty tasty option.
 
It is my new favorite summer supper…  The transformation of this common, less than illustrious vegetable into something extraordinary is supremely satisfying.

London Calling…

Cherry season is so short, about 3-4 weeks actually, that when I see them starting to appear in the markets I can hardly contain myself.  I go on cherry overload and I know I’m not alone.  I buy bags and bags of them, but then a few days pass and I realize I haven’t touched them.  Like most people, I was brought up not to waste food and in professional kitchens, that is a cardinal sin.

There are a couple of pounds of cherries in my fridge and I’ve eaten my fair share of them as is, but I’d like to actually make something with them!  Hmmmm…  gears turning, little librarian in my head frantically thumbing through cookbooks, whizzing past shelf after shelf on the rolling ladder…

Cherry pie, cherry cobbler, cherry muffins, cherries jubilee, cherry crisp… Cherry ice cream, cherry slushies, cherry lemonade, cherry jam, cherry tart, black forest cake, peach raspberry galette, cherry crostata… 

The cherry recipes are endless and all sound like a great idea, but then it hits me.  The Olympics are in less than a week and in LONDON!  Cherry scones it is!   

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Too much of a Good Thing?

This is about the time of year when people who are lucky enough to have prolific gardens start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of gorgeous bright red tomatoes and beautiful zucchini that their loving care has yielded.   A problem I’d like to have, quite honestly…

Growing up, my grandparents next door neighbors had a garden behind their house. By the end of July, it was practically bursting at the seams.  Every summer we were the grateful recipients of brown paper grocery bags filled with tomatoes and cucumbers from his garden.  The trade off was the newspaper.  One of us was sent next door to give them the paper every day after my grandparents had read it and in turn, every few days he left a bag of fresh from the ground veggies on the back porch.  Not a bad arrangement.

If you find yourself overrun with tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, etc…  this recipe is perfect!  It utilizes all of the wonderful produce of summer in a healthy vegetarian dish that is… well, super yummy.  

Ratatouille can be eaten warm,  at room temperature or even cold. It is substantial enough to stand on its own or it can be served alongside roast chicken or tossed through your favorite pasta.

I have sandwiched it in a crusty ciabatta roll for lunch or served it on sliced, toasted baguettes as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of wine.  This recipe is the epitome of summer, there really is no wrong way to enjoy it.

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Redemption Brownies

 

Recently, I made brownies and did not have chocolate in the house to melt down.  So, I made them with only cocoa powder.  It was an epic fail.
Lesson learned, do not take short cuts with brownies. 

Feeling extremely unsatisfied with that batch of bad brownies, my craving for them was unfulfilled.
Seeking redemption, I decided that this effort had to be proportionately as good as the last batch was bad…  meaning, these brownies had to rock. 

I had about a cup of dulce de leche left over from this and aside from eating it straight from the container with the biggest spoon I could find (a thought which I seriously entertained), I decided that I should be a bit more creative.

Needing to expunge the memory of these humdrum brownies, it was clear that this was what my leftovers were intended for.

Making brownies from scratch takes about 5 minutes longer than making them from a box.   The only extra step is melting chocolate into butter, the rest of the process is the same. 

To say that brownies from scratch are the same as boxed mix is like saying cheese in a can is the same as an aged cheddar.

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Thai Chicken Salad

 

Thai Chicken Salad

In my continuing effort to avoid turning my kitchen into the sweltering fires of hell,  I decided that this time I would cheat a little.  Just a little,  and it’s for the greater good.   The heat index is hovering in the triple digits while beads of sweat are pooling at the nape of my neck.  The least entertaining thought at this moment is “let’s fire up the oven”.

Store-bought roast chicken: In the winter months, this would be considered sacrilege… but in the blistering heat of summer, it is sweet salvation! 

As if buying the chicken wasn’t enough, the food processor is going to do the majority of the work!  Yep, this might be the perfect summer recipe.  The amount of work involved barely even registers.  If you don’t own a food processor it isn’t the end of the world, just a bit of chopping & grating.

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Can’t Stand the Heat…

 

 

fig & nectarine salad final.jpgSummer time is when I really enjoy salads.  The anemic tomatoes of winter are happily forgotten and replaced with gleaming, juicy, bright red beauties.  The delicious, but boring cucumbers can go on hiatus along with their carrot friends. 

The same ol’ stuff that routinely finds its way into your salad can go by the wayside to make room for things like stone fruit! 

Sometimes we are on auto-pilot and occasionally get stuck in a bit of a rut. Considering all of the amazing things available to us in the summer, this is the time to branch out and mix it up.

Making a salad for dinner is a great option. The clean up is pretty minimal and the ingredients are merely a suggestion.  Use it as a jumping off point for an idea;  if you don’t like an ingredient, swap it out for something you do like…

Perhaps the most important reason to go with a meal that takes about 10 minutes from start to finish:

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On the Go…

It’s finally summer and you know what that means…  picnics, barbecues and long days at the beach.
This pasta salad is perfect for taking on the go.  It is light, yet substantial and dressed in a light vinaigrette, so no worries over gloppy mayo sitting out in the sun.

I love this particular pasta salad because of all the veggies in it and you can even add more…  broccoli, julienned zucchini, summer squash, cauliflower, red bell pepper, summer beans, etc. would all be great in this salad.  The beauty of summer is that so much fresh, gorgeous produce is available! 

One of my goals in summer is to avoid turning on the stove most days…  The black tar roof of the building I live in is my ceiling, need I explain further how I have come to understand what a roast chicken must feel like in the oven?!

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