Tag: summer

Whole Wheat Zucchini Blondies

Ready for another shredded zucchini recipe?  One that also features chocolate chips?  This recipe can be made as cookies or bars, but we all know bars are a lot quicker.  I used a cup of regular sugar in place of the sucanat in the original recipe and mixed all of the ingredients in one bowl.  The batter was spread in a 13″x9″ dish, and then popped in the oven.

Even using all whole wheat flour, the batter rose fairly high.  These cute squares were perfect with a cup of hot (or iced!) coffee.  They’re sweet enough to be dessert, but not overly sweet.  And now, I am off to a farmer’s market to get myself more zucchini!

 

 

al fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausage

At a gathering I attended last week, we talked about how you decide what food to bring to a party.  One woman brings food she loves like kettlecorn, so she can enjoy a small amount and not be faced with the whole bag at home.  Others go for a favorite family recipe, or perhaps a dish that meets certain dietary restrictions.

I guess people take a risk when they invite me over because unless a host is super specific, I am likely to bring a brand new recipe or product.  Luckily, most times this works out OK.

I brought a package of  al fresco Buffalo Chicken Sausages to a party last week, and they went over well.  Not only did they taste good (and spicy!) but they also have a decent ingredient list with chicken and spices in a natural pork casing.  They are pre-cooked, so no one needs to slave over the grill for very long.  If you want something new for your grill this weekend, look for these in the meat case at your grocery store.

 

 

Disclaimer: I purchased this product at retail price with my own funds.  I was not compensated in any way for this product review.

Grilled Balsamic Eggplant

While I was at the Brookline Farmer’s Market, I also picked up 2 enormous eggplants for just $1 each.  Now that’s a deal!  Last year I made Grilled Pesto Eggplant, but this time I wanted to let the eggplant marinate before bringing it to the BBQ to grill.  Later that night, the eggplant slices went on the grill with many other delicious items including chicken, sausages, and steak.

 

The eggplant got nicely charred on the outside and soft on the inside, and picked up the balsamic flavor.  But something was missing.  Cheese!  The next day, I created another sandwich using two pieces of eggplant and a slice of provolone cheese on a whole wheat bun.  With very little effort, you can have a great vegetarian double cheeseburger.

 

Grilled Balsamic Eggplant

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ slices
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 t minced garlic
Salt & Pepper

Mix oil, vinegar, and garlic in a shallow dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place eggplant slices in the dish one at at time, making sure to dip both sides in the marinade.  Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.

Cook on a grill until the eggplant slices are fork tender.

 

Tangy Potato Salad

I bookmarked this Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad from RecipeGirl a while ago, thinking it would be perfect for the 4th of July.  Of course that didn’t happen, but when I was invited over to a BBQ Friday night, I decided to make the recipe with local red potatoes from the Brookline Farmer’s Market.  I made a few other tweaks, using a heavier hand with the mustard and a lighter hand with the salt.

Since I needed to rename the recipe anyway, I thought I would reference the flavor – this potato salad is tangy!  With the mustard, red wine vinegar, and black pepper, there’s a lot of zing.  I enjoyed it though, and a few guests really liked it as an alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salad.  But no matter what kind of potato salad you make, I guarantee it will taste better if you’re relaxing in the backyard with a tiki torch.

 

 

 

Tangy Potato Salad

5 large red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1 1/2″ chunks
1/4 c. chopped red onion
2 T chopped parsley
2 T chopped chives
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T mustard
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t salt

Place cut potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse with cold water and allow to cool slightly.

Mix cooked potatoes with onion and herbs.  In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, pepper, and salt.  Pour dressing over potatoes and toss well.

 – Recipes adapted from Recipe Girl

Fresh Herbs and Yellow Squash

The other day, a friend brought me fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano from her garden.  Everyone needs this kind of friend.  Just like fresh vegetables taste best, so do fresh herbs.

You can get fussy and try to match certain herbs to certain foods, but I threw caution to the wind and used all three at once.  I know, crazy, right?  I had some yellow squash on hand, rice in the pantry, and feta in the refrigerator.  This dish was quick, easy, and contained vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and dairy all in one bowl. 

Fresh Herb and Yellow Squash Bake

2 yellow squash, cut into 2″ chunks
1 heaping T fresh herbs
Olive oil
1 bag instant brown rice, cooked according to directions (makes about 2 cups)
1/2 c. feta cheese

Place squash on baking sheet, and sprinkle herbs.  Drizzle olive oil on squash, and turn to coat.  Roast at 400F for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and mix in a large bowl with cooked rice and feta cheese.  Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Brookline Farmer’s Market

It’s August already!  The summer is flying by, but it’s peak season for some of my favorite vegetables.  And they’re especially great when grown locally.  I’ve been hitting farmer’s markets here and there this summer, including my visit to Allandale Farm.  Last week I made a special trip to the Brookline Farmer’s Market, accompanied by my friends Sarah and Vanessa.  The market is on Thursday afternoons right in Coolidge Corner.

Just look at all the fresh produce, like the familiar Swiss chard, corn, and lettuce:

 

 

And some (new to me) items, like purple peppers, white currants, and two toned squash:

 

 

Farmer’s markets are often a great chance to try new produce.  (Remember the watermelon radish from the winter market?) We decided we had to try these guys, lemon cucumbers:

My friend Marsha was working at the market, and told us they they had a light taste, with just a hint of lemon.  She was right, and here’s what they look like on the inside.

It was tough to decide what to buy – I wanted it all.  I ended up taking home lettuce, carrots, Swiss chard, lemon cucumbers, zucchini, and beets.  They have a wide variety of items at this market including turkey, beef, bread, goat cheese, fresh pasta, and ice cream.  Next time I will come to the market with some cold packs, and I am not leaving without trying the ice cream. 

My first order of business that night was a fresh and local salad, topped with my favorite Honey Mustard dressing

Every day this week, I’ll feature a dish I made with my local produce.  It may already be August, but there’s still plenty of time to scope our your local farmer’s market and load up on fresh fruits and vegetables.  Thanks to Sarah and Vanessa for prompting this trip, I had a great time!

 

White Sangria

 

 

The summer was halfway over when I finally had my first glass of white sangria at a local Boston bar.  And sadly, when I ordered a second glass, the waitress informed me that they had run out.  So what’s a girl to do but concoct a pitcher of white sangria the following weekend?  This was literally a game of “Let’s Check the Liquor Cabinet” followed by “Let’s See What’s in the Fruit Basket”.  The final game was the most difficult: “Let’s Wait For the Flavors to Blend”.  We lasted about 30 minutes before glasses were poured.  It was really hot out!  Here’s the final recipe:

4 c. white wine (nothing fancy, the kind from a box)
1/2 c. triple sec
1/4 c. brandy
2 c. club soda
1/2 cantaloupe, peeled and diced
1 ripe necatrine, pit removed and diced
1 ripe plum, pit removed and diced
1 tray ice cubes

The sangria was light and refreshing, and the perfect way to kick off a summer evening.  Cheers!

S’mores on a Stick

This recipe has been making it’s way around the blog world, most notably on CarrotsnCake.  It’s a dessert that’s super simple and super cute.  When my sister wanted to make them, I quickly agreed that we should give it a try.

All you need is marshmallows, chocolate chips, animal crackers, and skewers.  You put each marshmallow on a skewer, roll it in melted chocolate chips, and then roll it in crushed graham cracker.  After chilling in the refrigerator for a bit, they’re ready to eat!

 

Any S’mores purist will tell you that toasting the marshmallow is, like, the most important part.  And I kind of agree, even if I do manage to burn my fingers every time I actually try to make them.  But this is still a quick and easy dessert in it’s own right, and great for parties because guests can pick at them throughout the evening.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

One of my favorite meals this weekend was Mediterranean Chopped Salad, which I made by loosely following a recipe from Oprah. I love that we served it salad bar style, and everyone could pick and choose their own salad ingredients. The choices included chopped Romaine, grilled zucchini, eggplant, and red onion, roasted red peppers, grape tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Everything looked so pretty on an antique tablecloth from my grandmother.

The salad bar was great, but the basil dressing stole the show. I used a smoothie maker to blend everything together, and the result was incredible. I was a bad blogger and didn’t document the exact measurements, but the dressing roughly contained:
    • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 spoonful of minced garlic

 

  • 1 spoonful of mustard

 

  • 1 spoonful of sugar

 

  • 1 cup basil leaves

 

  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar

 

  • 1 c. olive oil

 

  • 1/4 c. water

 

Here is a shot of my Dad’s (first) bowl, ready to be enjoyed with a glass of wine on the deck. We may have to make the Mediterranean salad bar a Fourth of July tradition!