{Supper} Sweet ‘n Spicy Roasted Broccoli

I have to apologize for my absence over the past couple days. I am a teacher, and school is starting up in my part of the state. Please bear with me as I find a balance between school and updating this website :) For those of you waiting, the last installment of the farmer’s market find series of the season is coming up. I just haven’t had time to photograph and post it yet. Thank you for your patience!

In the meantime, let me share a quick, flavorful side that can accompany any entrée. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s very versatile to prepare. Steam it, saute it, boil it, roast it, or just eat it raw with a side of homemade ranch. Another reason to eat broccoli: according to research I’ve been reading lately, broccoli has strong anticancer nutrients. It’s also number 25 out of 50 on EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which means it’s one of the cleaner veggies you can buy without spending the big bucks on organic. It’s a quite affordable option. As long as it’s not saturated with processed cheese-from-a-jar, broccoli is a sure way to go.

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads broccoli, washed, cut into florets
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pep
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Arrange broccoli on baking sheet. Toss with oil to ensure the broccoli will not stick to the pan.
  3. Drizzle honey over broccoli. Toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with red pepper, salt and pep.
  5. Bake 8- 10 minutes.

{FMF: Cucumbers} Refreshing Cucumber Water

Throughout the hot summer months I like to keep my glass beverage dispenser filled with ice-cold water. I’ll often flavor the water with slices of lemon, lime, or even a occasional strawberry or two. However, the most surprising flavor I’ve infused in my water is cucumber. Cucumbers are naturally refreshing, and I’ve discovered that ice-cold water flavored with cool cucumber does not disappoint. It’s an instant cooling sensation when you’re temp is up! All you need is a gallon (or a glass) of water, a sliced medium-size cucumber, and ice cubes. Sip up!

{Lunch} Basil Tomato Corn Salad

Besides grilled fruit (here and here), this summer I’m loving experimenting with different types of salads. It has been so liberating to realize that salad doesn’t have to mean green leafy lettuces drizzled with dressing. Don’t get me wrong, I love those types of salads, but I’m also starting to develop a taste for a medley of other veggies, too. To me, that’s just what a salad represents: a medley of different types of fresh veggies tossed together with the right flavors from herbs, spices, and vinaigrettes. It’s an orchestra of flavors for my taste buds!

I receive weekly emails from my local farmer’s market association that detail which vendors will be present, what produce they’ll be selling, and (my favorite part) a recipe of the week featuring one of the products that will be present at the market that weekend. This Basil Tomato Corn Salad was inspired by one of the weekly emails. It’s so fun when a recipe that someone else has made sparks an idea in my mind of a way that I could recreate it. The great part of this recipe is that tomatoes and corn are always in abundance around my area, so I’m never really at a lack of ingredients when I’m craving this salad. It’s a wonderful compliment to a grilled chicken sandwich (which I’ll post later this week), a hamburger made from local beef, or even by itself with a glass of lemon water and a piece of fruit for lunch. Simply put, you can’t go wrong with this one!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ear local corn (or 1 1/2 cups frozen and thawed)
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  1. Shuck and grill corn for 3 minutes, or until it reaches the tenderness you prefer. Cut kernels off ear and place in bowl.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes to corn. If you’d like your salad a bit more dry, remove tomato seeds before adding to bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, mustard, salt and pepper until dissolved. Pour over salad and toss to combine.
  4. Just before serving, garnish with basil. Can be served immediately or after chilling for about 15 minutes.

{FMF: Cucumbers} Cucumbers ‘n Vinegar

This recipe is an ode to my grandmother. Some of my very earliest memories are of crunching these cool, sour cucumbers that came straight from my granddaddy’s garden. They are a staple on their table in the summertime. Grandmother has been preparing cucumbers this way for as long as I can remember, and every time I eat them a sense of nostalgia washes over me. Beware! If you’re not a fan of sour, you might not like these! For me though, the tangy flavor is one of my favorites!

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium cucumbers (about the length of a hand) or 2-3 large cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled. I leave mine unpeeled for extra color. Grandmother peels hers.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • pinch of pepper
  1. Thinly slice all cucumbers. Place in bowl with bell peppers and onion.
  2. Add honey to the vegetables. Gently toss until the honey is coating all the veggies.
  3. Start covering cucumbers with 1/4 cup of each type of vinegar. If the vinegar doesn’t cover the cucumbers, continue adding vinegar in equal parts until cucumbers are floating in the liquid. Or, if you prefer, cover the remaining cucumbers with any one choice of vinegar.
  4. Gently stir in herbs, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate to marinate 1 hour before serving. Can be refrigerated up to one week. (Word of warning, the longer the cucumbers marinate in the vinegar, the more stout they become.)
  6. Serve chilled with meats, cooked vegetables, or sandwiches.

{Farmer’s Market Find: Cucumbers}

It’s the end of summer, and pickings at our local market are getting pretty slim. In fact, next Saturday is the last weekend for our market to be open this season. The vendors will be busy planting winter crops, so until the market reopens later in the fall we’ll have to make do with produce from the grocery store. I know of some farmer’s markets in other parts of the country that are open pretty much year round. If you live near one that doesn’t close then please continue supporting them! Voting with our dollars is the best way that we can say we love their food and appreciate their hard work.

That being said, let’s talk about this week’s gem from the FM. Cucumbers are one of those fruits (or are they vegetables?) that seem like they have a pretty singular purpose. I mean, it’s not like you can bake them in the oven or sauté them in a skillet. I’ve most commonly eaten them raw dipped in ranch dressing. You too? Well, you could continue eating them that way, dipped in homemade buttermilk ranch, of course. Or you could branch out with me and try some new recipes! I can’t wait to share them with you. Oh, and if you want a head start, take a look at this unique salad featuring cucumbers.  Happy Monday, everyone!

{Lunch} Meatless Taco Salad

Here’s a simple salad to throw together on a Saturday. Sometimes my day off is very hectic; other times it is very lazy. Whichever way it is for you today, remember not to grab a brown bag of fast food! This salad is a cinch to make. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic, whole grain chips (mine have only three ingredients: whole organic corn, sunflower oil, and salt)
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup prepared black beans
  • 1 cup fresh corn (or frozen and thawed)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • homemade salsa to taste
  • plain Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay chips out on baking sheet. Sprinkle with cumin.
  2. Bake chips 3-5 minutes until extra crispy and fragrant. Remove from oven.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chips, lettuce, beans, corn, pepper,  and cheese. Toss to combine.
  4. Top with salsa and plain Greek yogurt (if you’re craving sour cream)

{FMF: Peaches} Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Cream

I’ve discovered that grilled fruit is the quintessential summer dessert. I remember when I realized how versatile and delicious grilled vegetables were, how they could compliment any meal and carry any flavor profile. I’m having a similar discovery now with grilled fruit. And I’m in love.

On a hot summer night the last thing I want is a heavy, sickening sweet dessert. Grilled fruit is the perfect answer. Just as with grilled veggies, fruit can adopt a variety of flavors. If you’re going savory, salty, or sweet– grilled fruit. Craving vanilla, caramel, or smoky maple– grilled fruit. If you’ve already got the grill pulled out and charcoal heated up for supper, it’s so easy to throw a couple of pieces of fruit on for a quick singe. Or if you use your stove top grill pan often like I do, then cutting the fruit is really the only extra step you have to take. Lately, my favorite grilled fruits have been watermelon, pineapple, and peaches. My stomach never feels heavy or sick from too much sugar when I eat a piece after supper.

I know I say this all the time, but this is my mantra in the kitchen: this recipe is so easy, so quick, and so yummy. Especially with the homemade whipped cream.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp organic butter
  • 2 peaches, halved, pits removed
  • 1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Preheat grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Rub butter over grill until smoking.
  2. Place peach halves flesh side down on hot grill. Press to ensure grill marks. Let heat 3-5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pour cream in bowl. Add honey and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until stiff white peaks form in cream.
  4. Serve peaches warm topped with whipped cream.

I will say that I did not whip my cream long enough this time. You can tell in the picture that it is rather runny. It also started to melt a little when I put it on the warm peach. It didn’t make for the best picture, but that’s okay because it still tasted just as good!