Today’s post in the series “What are your Favorite Summer Fruits and Veggies?” was contributed by David Rogers.
Summer-eating season is one of my favorite times of the year! Living in suburban Atlanta, I have a wealth of fresh local produce (including my own and my neighbors’ gardens) to choose from.
This season’s recipes and fare are lighter and easier to prepare, and are on the menu as much as possible at my house.
Since my family stays pretty active outdoors during the longer daylight hours, there are a few go-to items that I keep handy in my own kitchen for quick preparation: tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella, cilantro, garlic and nuts are the types of ingredients we like to eat on a regular basis. These can be prepared in simple, hearty meals with little-to-no prep time.
One of my all-time favorites is a Beefsteak or Big Boy tomato. Slice up one of these and pair it with light mayo, Greek yogurt, or just enjoy it as a plain tomato sandwich, and you’ll have a wonderful picnic meal or after-swim snack! Make the tomato into a fresh summer salad by pairing it with fresh basil, spinach or mixed greens, parmesan cheese, and your favorite nut like almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Nuts like thsese are packed with nutritional value and help balance out the meal. I like to dress a salad like this with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, a light dressing that brings out the fresh, natural flavors of the salad.
I also like to serve easy tapas like these Pesto-Stuffed Peppers. They are a perfect complement to a salad or to something fresh from the grill like veggies, chicken, beef or fish.
I hope you enjoy your summer eating, and remember to keep it simple and fresh!
• 2 cups fresh cilantro
• 2 small garlic cloves
• 3/4 cup toasted walnuts
• Small pinch of sea salt
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup olive oil
• 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Put all of the above ingredients in a blender or a food processor and puree.
• Pesto (see recipe above)
• 30 red, yellow, orange Sweet Mini Peppers
• 18 ounces cream cheese or goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Leaving stem on the peppers, slice peppers and remove the seeds. Fill each pepper with cheese. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes until peppers are tender and a touch crispy. Remove from oven and arrange on a platter & spoon pesto on top of each pepper. Save left over pesto — it’s great on grilled chicken or warm veggies!
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• Italian spice blend to taste
Mix ingredients in cruet. Shake and enjoy!