Thursday, August 10, 2017

Easy Summer Recipes


Eating light: it’s something we talk about year ‘round, but summer temperatures make it easier. Heat makes comfort food less comfortable. It’s never to late to add a few easy summer recipes to your culinary repertoire.

The neat thing is that while salads are often in high rotation when it comes to summer recipes, there are plenty of wonderful appetizer, entrée and dessert options that fit that bill, too, using fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Try one of these the next time you need a new go-to for warm-weather entertaining!

Blueberry Kale Salad

This beautiful blue-green creation looks as alluring as it tastes. Many people balk at the idea of including fruits in savory dishes but sweet-tart blueberries not only add color to the mix of silvery-green kale and broccoli, but loads of antioxidants, as well.

Feel free to experiment with other berries in this salad, as well, or switch out the milder Feta cheese for something bold, like creamy crumbly Gorgonzola. The flavors here meld beautifully with a nice vinaigrette, but red wine or balsamic vinegars will both work. The measurements below serves 4.

  • 8 oz. chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ½ cup blueberries
  •  ½ cup crumbled Feta

Several teaspoons each of dried cranberries and sunflower seeds
Toss all ingredients and serve!

Spicy Chinese Eggplant

Some people think eggplant and their mind either goes to heavy eggplant parmigiana. Going with something Chinese – specifically Szechuan – means going spicy. And what you may not know is that spicy food, which makes you sweat, actually cools you off! Summer recipes that bring about natural air conditioning should be celebrated.

  • 1 pound Asian eggplant (smaller and more slender than the larger variety), halved and cut into ½-inch thick, forkable slices
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chili paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Lightly steam eggplant until a little tender, set aside.

Whisk broth, sugar, mirin, vinegar, soy sauce and chili paste together.

Heat oil in pan and stir-fry chopped garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggplant, sprinkle in salt, then add mixed marinade. Cover and simmer at low heat for five minutes. Excellent served cold, too!

Bangkok Fruit Salad

Mangoes and pineapple are heavenly together, and make for great easy summer recipes. Add a spicy-sweet twist and you’ve got something truly special! It’s nearly like a fruit ceviche!

  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • Teaspoon honey
  • Teaspoon of hot sauce (consider Sriracha or chili paste)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cups chopped mango
  • 2 cups chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons rough-chopped cashews, salted okay but not necessary

Combine milk, honey, hot sauce and lime juice/zest in a bowl. Add in fruits and nuts and toss, serve in dessert glasses. Want to add some decadence? Layer the fruit salad with a good vanilla ice cream.

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