Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Recipe Roundup

We've been enjoying the bounties of summer gardens lately.  As much as I hate the heat, there's nothing finer than a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato in this Southern girl's estimation.    

Here are some things I've whipped up of late: 

I riffed on this Grilled Shrimp Panzanella with Basil from the August 2011 Real Simple and becuase I rarely leave well enough alone, I also added chunks of cucumbers, avocado, fresh oregano, and olives.  I used a green zebra tomato and some other variety that was small and red.  It was amazing. 

The components to be grilled

Doesn't look that pretty (certainly not as pretty as the magazine) but it sure was tasty!

I neglected to take a photo of this, but it was so delicious.  It made a wonderful, easy, no-cook supper one night when John was working (which is convenient since he doesn't like corn).  The lemonade vinaigrette is intriguing, but I like a tangy vinaigrette so I'd probably cut back on the sugar a bit next time.  Loved the crunch of the seeds.  I put a big scoop of mine over a healthy serving of these greens, which are a new favorite.  I get mine at Whole


My herbs have been really exploding so I used my thyme and some local honey to whip up these beauties from my kitchen crush, Deb.  John & I tend to eat late, after we get MKM to bed (which lately has been nearing 9 p.m.; oh how I miss the days of the strict 7 p.m. bedtime) so sometimes I like a little bite of something to bridge the gap when we get home from work.  This was perfect, and they were easy enough to whip up if you find out you have some last minute company dropping by.

I have also already made a huge batch of pesto for the freezer, just the way I like it.  I keep mine really thick, pretty much a paste (less oil than many recipes call for): a couple of healthy squeezes of lemon juice, fresh grated parm, toasted pine nuts and 1-2 large cloves of garlic.  Just enough oil through the top of the food processor to bring it all together but when I'm done with mine I usually have to end up scraping it out of the processor bowl.  I like to keep mine thick because that way it works great as a sandwich spread and if you need to thin it out to toss with pasta, some of the pasta water does that naturally and you don't end up with an overly loose sauce.  Also, when you store your pesto, either in the fridge or the freezer, if you leave enough room to put a thin layer of olive oil across the top before you seal it, this will help keep the pesto from turning brown.  I so love that bright green color, so I always do this!

In addition to the standard genovese basil, this year I also planted this spicy globe basil which has tiny leaves that are more delicate in texture, and I just use the stems whole (they are much more tender and not woody at all) and throw them in the food processor.  Obviously I like to have more standard variety on hand for chiffonades and other purposes, but I find myself using the spicy globe a lot lately.  You can just pinch the leaves off and use as it with no knife necessary!

For the kiddies, I recently made these PB&J cookies.  They actually have another name and are from my local Junior League cookbook, Seasoned to Taste.  In the book they are the Kids in the Kitchen cookies, but PB&J is what they are.  I sent them to school with MKM on Monday and by all accounts they were a hit.  I made mine totally organic (and luckily, no one has a nut allergy in his room right now) but I'm sure they'd be as delicious with store brand jelly and Jif. :)  If you want the recipe, email me {bkmaedelATgmailDOTcom}, but they are a pretty standard PB cookie recipe, make a small well in the middle and put a little dollop of your favorite jelly or jam in the middle & bake.

Next up, I want to try this Eggplant with Tahini & Honey, these grits with corn, goat cheese & roasted tomatoes, and sample this roasted peach lemonade while the crops are still plentiful and juicy!

Bon Appetit!

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