It’s the unofficial start to summer and you know what that means: dining alfresco! Whether it be picnics, backyard BBQ’s or lunch hours outside on a bench while soaking up a little sunshine, this grain salad with it’s rainbow of colors has you covered.
It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy nature’s bounty of fresh vegetables. If you are trying to eat a little cleaner and healthier, grain salads are for you! The satisfying chewiness of whole grains, the crunch of fresh veggies, the freshness of herbs and the zing of red wine vinegar make this salad a home run.
If you are a tomato person, you will want to check back here from time to time and here’s why: I have an exploding tomato population. As someone said to me a few days ago, this is not a bad problem to have!
So let me just tell you now that for the next few months, there will likely be a number of recipes here using tomatoes… Salsas, tomato tarts, tomato jam, tomato soup, etc.
Sometimes I am hesitant to put recipes here that I think will be too simple or maybe you just won’t find that interesting. Recently, there was a discussion amongst a few of my foodie friends regarding the subject of “overdoing” food.
Example: a cookie inside of a brownie inside of a cupcake inside of a pie, then deep fried and topped with caramel and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Obviously this is a gross exaggeration, but you catch my drift. Continue reading →
Labor Day has passed and thus marks the unofficial end of summer (moment of silence, please).
Once again, it is time to put away the bathing suits and sunscreen. No more tousled beach hair, salty lips from the sea or digging your toes into the sand. Summer fruits and vegetables are still here for a few more weeks and I try to get every last bite I can before they disappear until next year.
Tomatoes will soon be those pale pink, insipid, cellophane-wrapped globes trying to pass for the real thing and even though we know better, some of us will buy them anyway… only to be thoroughly disappointed.
I usually make a last-ditch effort this time of year to get the last of the summer produce before I am limited to root veggies. Fall produce is wonderful and I love it, but there’s nothing like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, corn, etc. during the summer months.
This salad makes wonderful use of what most people grow in their gardens, so if you are lucky enough to grow some of your own veggies, you may not have to go farther than your back yard to get your ingredients!
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?!
In the Midwest, and certainly other parts of the country, the end of summer marks canning season at it’s height. This is when the air smells of ripe tomatoes being “put up”, jars of preserves and jams lining the kitchen counter like a glass army of winter provisions… cabinets and cellars receive the summer’s bounty before colder temperatures bring the first frost.
Canning may be a lost art form in other parts of the country, but if you’re near an agricultural area you are very familiar with the process.
My step-dad & I used to do this as a two man operation… It was a bit of an elaborate set-up. There were two stoves working simultaneously, I was at one cooking the fruit and he was at the other sterilizing jars.
We’d meet at the halfway point for the hand off:
He’d sterilize the jars, bring them to me piping hot, I’d fill them and put the lids on then take them back out to him to process and seal. We ran our operation like a well-oiled machine (he IS German, so there’s really no other acceptable way).
Bread and butter pickles have always been my favorite. They are sweet and yet have a little bite from the vinegar and they remind me of my Grandfather, they were his favorite too. I sometimes feel obligated to “Chef” it up a bit, but at the end of the day I’m just a girl from Ohio and the simple, familiar things are what I crave.
Most of us are trying to eat healthier these days & lose a few pounds before we have to put on the dreaded bathing suit. I am among the masses doing the very same… I’ve been eating so much lettuce I’m afraid my front teeth are about to elongate into Bugs Bunny teeth.
The problem with salads, although to be quite honest I do like them, is the dressing. You think you are making a good choice by eating a salad for dinner and then you pour on a claggy dressing that has a ton of fat in it so you opt for the (sometimes chemical-laden) fat free variety, which in my book isn’t always the lesser of two evils.
Making salad dressing at home takes 5 minutes at most and is so much heathier and tastier that it really is worth the very minimal effort.
Tonight’s dinner was a Greek salad and chicken, so I made a Yogurt Dill dressing to tie the flavors together.
(A helpful hint to catch the lemon pits is to put a small strainer on top of the blender)