Oh the dog days of summer are upon us where I live! It dawned on me the other day that our sweltering summers are the equivalent of the freezing winters our northern counterparts endure. We just stay indoors down here because we can’t handle going outside. In fact, I’m so inactive during summer that I end up gaining weight! Ha! 😛
It’s a good thing this seasonal recipe is fat free and uses all the fresh summer ingredients that are in abundance and thrives in this heat! You can serve this with blue corn chips, as a side to baked fish, top off your burgers with this salsa, or just eat it fresh right out of a bowl!
- 2 small organic peaches ~ thoroughly washed, pitted, skin left on, diced
- 1 pint San Marzano tomatoes ~ diced
- 1/2 bunch organic cilantro ~ reserve only the leaves, chopped
- 1 small serrano pepper ~ finely chopped
- 1 small shallot ~ peeled, finely chopped
- juice of 1 large lime
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Gently combine all your ingredients in a large glass bowl
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving
Lemon-Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 8 T butter, softened (1 stick)
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 2T lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp dried lavender buds. Ground
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 2 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- Mix cheese, butter and sugar in a food processor or mixer. Add other ingredients until smooth. Can be spread or piped onto cupcakes or cakes.
Lemon Lavender Greek Yogurt Pound Cake
A recipe for incredibly moist Greek yogurt pound cake with tart lemon and flowery lavender.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces, weight) 2% Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbs. dried lavender
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease one 9×5 (or two 5.75×3 mini) loaf pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended. Gently stir in the lavender.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Lavender Honey Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp lavender honey
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp coarse Dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients in a jar. Cap, tighten the lid and shake well. Serve at room temperature.
This is a marinade recipe for the adventurous palate. I used it to marinade the chicken for some banh mi sandwiches. Since I don’t have a working grill, I sautéd the chicken thighs in a skillet, over the stove. They browned and caramelized nicely and tasted delicious! Even the kiddos that were over for an event wanted this recipe so that “their mommies can make it at home too.” 🙂
- 3 lbs organic skinless, deboned chicken thighs ~ rinsed, drained
- 3 tbs fish sauce
- 3 tbs toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs mirin
- 3 tbs granular sugar
- 3-5 tbs lemongrass ~ minced (you can buy this pre-minced at your local Asian grocer)
- 3-5 tbs fresh ginger root ~ grated
- 6 cloves garlic ~ peeled, minced
- 1 large purple shallot ~ peeled, finely chopped
- freshly ground black pepper ~ optional
- In a large container with a lid, combine the liquid ingredients and sugar. Stir until sugar has somewhat dissolved. Add the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallot, and black pepper.
- Wear some disposable gloves. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the meat.
- Cover the chicken and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 1.5 hours. It’s best to let it marinade overnight.
- The next day, when you’re ready to cook the chicken, simply heat some cooking oil in a stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Brown the pieces on both sides, adding more oil as you need to avoid the meat sticking to the pan.
- Once you’ve browned the meat, add the marinade sauce to the pan. Let the marinade bubble and simmer, then reduce the heat and cook until the marinade caramelizes. Flip the chicken a few times so that it’s coated on both sides. Cut into the chicken to make sure it’s cooked.
- You can serve the chicken in banh mi sandwiches, with a fresh salad, or top it on a bed of fluffy rice, with a side of steamed veggies. Super healthy and delicious! Enjoy! 🙂
There were about two months over the summer when I think I subsisted mostly on spring rolls and this amazing dipping sauce. The addiction started when I went to a tea house nearby that served the best (and fattest!) napa cabbage rolls I’ve ever had. They were crammed with finely chopped cabbage; shredded carrots; and chopped basil, mint, and cilantro. They served the rolls with a house peanut sauce and Sriracha. I decided I wanted to make my own for the dinner cravings, rather than ordering them daily and nightly. 🙂 I scoured the inter webs for this sauce recipe because I knew that I detected coconut milk in the sauce, which seems to be a rare thing for peanut dipping sauces. Thanks to the Food Network, I was able to modify this and I love it! Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
- 1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 cloves fresh garlic ~ peeled
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger ~ washed with veggies scrub; skin left on
- freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
In a blender or food processor, mix all the ingredients (except the pepper) together until the texture is how you like it. I prefer it on the smooth side. Add the red pepper flakes and stir.
The recent rains have made my herbs quite happy—especially the rosemary bush. Rosemary and garlic are such a perfect combo, that immediately I thought the two would be great in some kind of balsamic vinegar sauce. I found this great recipe and modified it ever so slightly for my roasted root veggies.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots ~ coarsely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves ~ minced
- 3/4 cup pomegranate balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary ~ leaves only, coarsely chopped
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil.
- Add shallots and garlic and cook for about 2 min until soft.
- Stir in vinegar and rosemary
- Let simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes or until reduced to approximately 1/2 cup.
I like to make my own dressings because that’s what my sweet mama frequently did when I was growing up. I have been guilty of purchasing pre-made dressings, but lately I’ve been rather bored of the pricey bottled stuff. A friend inspired me to make my own dressings because, well, I was reminded how fun and adventurous the simple task really is!
This mustard vinaigrette is an amalgamation of several recipes. They all seemed rather similar, omitting and adding 1-2 ingredients, here and there. I call this the “1-2-3” tablespoons recipe. Quite simple to follow! 🙂
Use whatever seasonal veggies pleases you. This is what I did (I was at Whole Foods and couldn’t stop myself!):
- 3 tablespoons habanero mustard ~ add fresh minced habanero if you just have mustard
- 3 tablespoons sweet white wine ~ I used Chardonnay
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red onion ~ finely chopped
- 1 small clove garlic ~ minced
- coarsely ground black pepper ~ to taste
- sea salt ~ to taste
- Mix dressing well and store in a sealed mason jar. Let the dressing stand for about 30 minutes-1 hour in the fridge (overnight is better).
- Prepare your colorful salad.
- Serve cold. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad. Top with hemp hearts.
- organic frisée ~ roughly torn into pieces
- organic escarole ~ roughly torn into pieces
- organic beets ~ thinly sliced
- organic radishes ~thinly sliced
- early girl tomatoes ~thinly sliced
- organic carrots ~ julienned
- mint & basil from my garden ~ coarsely chopped 🙂
- cucumber from my garden ~thinly sliced 🙂
- hemp hearts ~ I used about 2 tablespoons per serving
One of my favorite American side dishes is cole slaw. The name is actually an Anglicisation of an original Dutch term “koolsla,” (short for “Koolsalade”) which means “cabbage salad.” (source: Wikipedia)
It’s healthy, easy to make, and in my humble opinion, compliments many entreés. However, all this is negated if the vegetables are smothered in mayonnaise or a sugar-vinegar coating. That’s why I’m excited to share this new recipe. It’s a twist on the standard American fare, which typically only uses green cabbage and orange carrots. The bright colors are sure to brighten up your next meal and the tangy vinegar is sure to wake up your palate! I call this “Royal Slaw” because of the deep purple, red, and dark green hues.
- 1/2 head organic purple cabbage ~ finely grated or sliced
- 2 stalks organic celery ~ sliced diagonally & thin
- 2-3 organic red carrots ~ leave skin on, julienned or finely grated
- 3-4 sprigs organic Italian flat leaf parsley ~ chopped
- 3 scallions ~ washed, ends removed, chopped; reserve some for garnish
- 1/4 cup distilled vinegar
- 2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
- Place all your slaw ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients. Be sure the sugar and salt have completely dissolved.
- Pour the dressing into the slaw and lightly toss. Drain any excess liquid.
- Serve cold. Garnish with parsley leaves, sprouts, celery seeds, and/or scallions. Voila!
This is a delightful salad dressing that will add some zing to your salads (and your life!). The carrots provide beta carotene, fiber, and antioxidants, while fresh ginger root aids in your digestion. Amazing why we don’t just drink this every day after a hearty meal! 🙂
- 3 medium organic carrots ~ thoroughly washed with a veggie brush, leave the skin on
- 1 piece (2-inches) fresh ginger root ~ thoroughly washed with a veggie brush, leave the skin on
- 1 medium purple shallot ~ peeled, minced
- 5 cloves garlic ~ peeled
- 1/2 bunch organic parsley ~ washed, stems removed (I prefer curly, but flat-leaf will work!)
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup filtered water
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
- sea salt ~ dash
- 4 tsp red miso paste ~ optional
- Put all the ingredients in a large blender and whirl away. I like my dressing a bit on the coarse side.
- Serve with your salads or use it as a spring roll dipping sauce.