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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

by Sarah Steimer

Avocado-lime ice pops

These creamy (and rather healthy) ice pops were surprisingly refreshing — thanks to the lime, most likely. I can imagine what a splash of tequila would add to these pops…

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by Sarah Steimer

I love, love, love tomato season. Lots of the vendors at my farmer's market offer heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors, and this was the perfect way to showcase them. This might have been the best thing I've made this summer!

I love, love, love tomato season. Lots of the vendors at my farmer’s market offer heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors, and this was the perfect way to showcase them. This might have been the best thing I’ve made this summer!

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by Sarah Steimer

This month's (July) Bon Appetit magazine showed up a couple of weeks ago and I knew I was making that cover recipe. When Caitlin suggested we do kebabs as a guide this month I was all set with my first idea.

When Caitlin suggested we do kebabs as a guide this month, I was all set with my first idea. The July Bon Appetit issue had been sitting on my coffee table for a couple of weeks and I’d been eying these chicken skewers on the cover every day. What a cover model.

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by Sarah Steimer

I made the full recipe so Bill and I could eat it throughout the week. I noticed him break some tortilla chips in it one day, so I assume that’s a good upgrade if you’re looking for one. This is a vegan recipe, FYI.

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth/stock
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed for less spice
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle sauce (if you don’t have it, you can skip it or use hot sauce instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional)

Roast, peel and chop the poblano and red peppers. (see Caitlin’s video if you need a how-to)

Heat a dutch oven or heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add enough olive oil just to cover the bottom and, once heated, add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they have caramelized. Every once in awhile you may have to de-glaze the pan (keep the onions from sticking) by adding a little of the vegetable broth.

While the onions are cooking, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the remaining vegetable both to the dutch oven, along with the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, red bell pepper, chili powder, coriander, cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon and chipotle sauce. Bring everything to a boil (you may need to put the lid on for this, that’s a lot of liquid to get boiling). Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 25 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally.

Remove the bay leaves and add the cooked quinoa. Mix well and serve, topped with the cubed avocado.

Makes about six servings.

Recipe adapted from: Prevention RD

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by Sarah Steimer

This is a good make-ahead salad. Just cook the rice in advance and get everything cut up so all you have to do before the actual meal is toss it all together. The nuts in this recipe really are optional, in my opinion, because the basmati rice already has a nice, nutty flavor.

  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled
  • 2 cups bite-size pieces assorted vegetables (I used radishes, edamame and summer squash)
  • 3/4 cup torn mixed leafy greens (I used spinach)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red, yellow or white onion or scallions
  • 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts or pine nuts (optional)

Finely mince the shallot, thyme and parsley and place in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and, while whisking with a fork, slowly pour in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.

In a serving bowl, combine the rice, vegetables and nuts. Drizzle and toss with about half of the dressing, allowing others to add more if they please.

Makes 2-4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

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by Sarah Steimer

I’ll admit I didn’t grill this. I took the easy way out (because I didn’t feel like powering up the grill for lunch) and just popped the kale under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Do keep an eye on it, though. It crisps up quickly. Also – this dish has some of the best textures in all the land.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium plum, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
  • 6 medium curly kale leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh ricotta

Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and honey. Season with the salt and pepper. Toss the plums in the oil and vinegar mixture to coat and set aside.

Brush the kale leaves with olive oil and season with salt. Grill the kale over medium-high heat OR take my short cut and put the kale on a metal pan and pop in the broiler. If grilling, be sure to turn after a few minutes. Either method only takes a few minutes to darken and crisp the kale, to keep a careful eye on the leaves.

Once the kale has a moment to cool, remove the large stems if you did not do so before. Toss the kale in the oil-vinegar dressing.

Place the ricotta on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Top with the kale, plums and drizzle with the remaining dressing.

Makes one serving.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appetit

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by Sarah Steimer

Bill has been getting Sweet Fire Pickles from Stover’s Farm at our farmer’s market, and they served as the inspiration for this recipe. In fact, I even washed out one of their jars and reused it for my version. Oh – and if you’re wondering what the red is, those are just mature banana peppers (that’s right, not all are yellow).

NOTE: For any of these peppers, de-seed them entirely or at least some, depending on your heat tolerance.

  • 3 medium-sized banana peppers, sliced a little thinner than a 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/4 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced a little thinner than 1/2-inch thick, then quarter these pieces
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt OR canning salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

    My dad likes to make “refrigerator pickles” for his hot dogs in the summer. It’s a simple combination of cucumbers, onions, water, sugar, vinegar and dill (I’m probably forgetting something). This is like the amped up version of that, and I went with a chicken brat instead of a hot dog.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the vinegars, salt, sugar and turmeric until everything has dissolved. Add the vegetables to the liquids and mix thoroughly. Transfer the vegetables to a 16-ounce jar first and cover with the liquid, making sure everything is submerged. If necessary, add water to cover the vegetables.

Refrigerate for about three hours before using. These pickles can be kept in the fridge for about two weeks.

* Lickety Split is our August guide that features recipes for quick pickles, or pickles you can make in minutes and store in the fridge. See all of our Lickety Split pickle recipes here.

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by Sarah Steimer

The inspiration for this pie came from a dessert at Owen & Engine here in Chicago. On the restaurant’s menu right now is a blueberry pie with a cheddar crust, caramel popcorn cobbler and sweet corn ice cream.

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Combine the flour, sugar and salt. In a food processor, combine the flour mixture with the butter and pulse until pea-sized pieces appear. Pulse in cheddar cheese. With the food processor running, add the water and mix just until the crust comes together.

Remove the dough from the machine and form into a block-like shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to two days.

Once the crust has chilled properly, cut it in half and roll out one half on a lightly floured surface, making it wide enough to overlap the lip of your pie dish by about 1 inch or so. Place the crust in the pie dish and refrigerate. Roll the second half out on a piece of parchment paper, again slightly larger than the dish itself. Refrigerate this half as well, allowing it to remain flat on the parchment paper in the fridge until firm, about 20 minutes.

For the filling

  • 8 cups (about 4 pints) blueberries, picked over
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 egg

Place the blueberries in a large bowl and crush about 1/2 cup’s worth with your hands. Add sugar, butter, cornstarch, flour and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Pour the berry mixture into the prepared pie dish once the crust has set. Allow the berries to mound slightly higher in the center of the dish.

Top the pie with the other half of the crust that has been rolled out, tucking the edges underneath and crimping if desired. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the crust for steam to escape.

My mom told me my grandfather used to eat apple pie with a slice of cheese, and the idea never appealed to me until more recently. Apple pie and cheese is, however, much more common than blueberry with cheese, so I may use this crust recipe with an apple pie in the fall.

Whisk the egg with 1-2 teaspoons of water and brush the top of the pie crust with the egg mixture, making sure it does not pool. Refrigerate the pie for an additional 30 minutes.

Place the pie on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees in the lower third of the oven. After 20 minutes, once the crust has begun to golden, lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40-50 minutes, or until the berry juices begin to bubble and thicken and the crust is golden brown. NOTE: Always check the edges of your crust. If they begin to brown quickly, cover the edges with aluminium foil.

If not eating the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Makes one 9- or 10-inch pie.

Crust recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

Pie recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

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by Sarah Steimer

The tomatoes do all the work in this dish. Heirloom tomatoes have such great flavors that there’s really very little you need to make a delicious, fresh dish.

  • 2 slices vegetarian fake bacon (can use real bacon for a non-Meatless Monday option)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    Shoot for a lot of different-colored tomatoes at your farmer’s market. I picked up purple, pink and green-yellow tomatoes. And don’t be put off by the fact that heirloom tomatoes come in some crazy shapes – you just have to get inventive with your cutting.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 medium or large heirloom tomatoes, sliced crosswise about 1/2-inch thick (I also threw in a few grape and cherry tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper
  • basil, arugula or watercress for topping

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain, cool and finely chop. Mix the bacon with the cheese and flour. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, divide the bacon0cheese mixture into four mounds and flatten in to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Bake at 375 degress until golden and the cheese melts, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven when done and allow the crisps to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them (carefully) to a paper towel to finish cooling.

The salad isn’t at all ruined when you serve it. I actually couldn’t decide which plating was prettier.

To make the dressing, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.

Arrange the tomatoes on a platter, adding salt and pepper to each layer and some of the dressing (I did not use all of the dressing). Top the dish with whichever greens you choose. Crumble the crisps over the top and serve. Tip: If you do not plan on eating the entire salad in one sitting, set aside some of the crisps so they do not get soggy staying in the dish.

Makes four servings.

Recipe adapted from: Food Network Magazine

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by Sarah Steimer

This summer I’ve frozen raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.

This time of year I tend to go a little overboard on the summer berries. I go to two farmer’s markets each week and somehow get more berries than I could possibly eat before the fruit goes bad. The best solution to the quick-aging berry? Freeze it. This way, you save yourself from having to throw out food — which is like throwing out money. Freezing berries now also means you can use your own, local fruit in the dead of winter rather than buying strawberries by way of Mexico at the grocery store.

Possible berries to freeze:

  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cherries (may want to pit them first)
  • cranberries (fall)
  • raspberries
  • strawberries (hulled)

For the sake of this how-to I’ll focus on raspberries and blueberries, two of the easier berries to freeze.

Step 1:

Rinse and pick.

Rinse the berries in a colander under cool, lightly streaming water. Do not turn the water on very hard as the berries are delicate and can bruise. Pick out any sad berries or stems that made it past the farmer’s eye.

Step 2:

At ease, raspberries.

Place one or two paper towels on a cooling rack. Gently shake the berries in the colander to remove as much excess water as possible. Transfer the berries to the towels using your hands — do not pour the fruit directly from the colander as it will dump extra water on the towels. Arrange the berries in a single layer. Fruit such as blueberries and strawberries can be arranged on the racks at random, but I like to sit raspberries and blackberries upside down (as pictured above), so their insides have a chance to drip-dry. It takes a little more time, but will save you from having tiny icicles inside the berries later.

The berries should dry completely (or close to it) for about an hour or so on the counter.

Why make sure the berries are totally dry? Because if you toss them into a bag while they are still wet, you wind up with an icy block of fruit. Using this drying method, it will allow you to grab a cup of frozen fruit without having to thaw the entire bag.

Step 3:

Semi-frozen blueberries on a baking sheet.

Once the berries have dried fully, place them on a clean baking sheet in a single layer.

I also found it helpful to set the raspberries on end even while they froze. Raspberries tend to stay a little more soggy than blueberries, so the less they touch one another, the better.

Freeze for 1-2 hours, or until the berries are relatively hard to the touch.

Step 4:

Bagged and ready.

Label freezer bags with the date and fill ’em up! Berries can stay in the freezer for a very long time because they contain a high amount of sugar. From what I read online, some people have used frozen berries up to four years after freezing them. Of course, I would suggest using them within a year, that way you can freeze a fresh new round next season.

To thaw the berries, either leave them out at room temperature or in the refrigerator over night. Some recipes, such as blueberry muffins, actually work without ever needing to thaw the berries at all. Frozen berries also make excellent smoothies because they create an icy texture when blended with yogurt and other ingredients — no extra ice necessary.

If you have any additional questions about freezing berries — or other foods — leave a comment below!

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