eat your veggies.


We are in the middle of summer, and in Virginia that means a lot of heat, a lot of humidity, and also a lot of delicious summer vegetables.  Last week my summer bounty included hand-picked green beans, butter lettuce, summer squash, the beets I featured in this post, and teeny tiny potatoes.  Best part?  Each of these required short prep time and ingredients you probably already have in your fridge.  Here’s a quick how to:

For the potatoes:  preheat oven to 425, put the a rimmed baking sheet into the oven while you preheat.  Half the potatoes and toss in olive oil, S+P, and cumin (all ingredients to taste, but if you are a fan of measurements, I would say 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil, 1 tsp cumin per pound of potatoes).  Bake for about 25 minutes.

For the squash: cut squash lengthwise into wedges.  Toss in olive oil and salt and pepper, grill on the stove top using a grooved pan (preferably cast iron).  I added a few slices of sweet onion for flavor.

For the beans:  blanch beans in salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes.  Put directly into ice bath.  Sautee garlic (or in my case, garlic scapes) and a swirl of olive oil over medium heat.  Add beans and a squeeze of lemon for five more minutes.

For the salad: I used a homemade mustard vinaigrette, loosely adopted from Frank Stitt.  I macerate a mix (1-2 TBSP)of vinegars (ideally sherry and red wine) with a few thyme sprigs and salt and pepper.  Add a dollop of dijon, whisk in 4 TBSP of olive oil.  For these butter lettuces, I added feta and cherry tomatoes.

For the beets:  I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Summer perfection!  What are your best easy veggie recipes?


Image via Food52.

Ladies and gents: this is not a summer cocktail, but instead a delectable and delightful non-alcoholic beverage guaranteed to refresh and spiff up your next summer soiree.  Louisa Shafia’s Watermelon, Mint, and Drinking Vinegar Tonic is certain to refresh and delight.  And, if you have an extra day to prep, put this on your list.  If you start now, you can have a fun potable for tomorrow’s Fourth Festivities.

What you need:  3 cups water, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 cup honey, 6 cups chopped watermelon, 1 cup tightly packed mint, 1 cup cider vinegar.

  1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add honey until dissolved; remove from heat.
  2. Combine the watermelon, mint, and honey-water and let cool, then add the vinegar. Steep the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. Strain the mixture and store in refrigerator for up to a week.  Once, you’ve strained the mixture, you’re left with delicious pickled watermelon.  How’s that for a bonus?
  4. To serve, pour 1/4 cup of the concentrate into a glass over ice and dilute to taste.  I recommend soda water.  Garnish with whatever’s around: sliced cukes, mint, basil, shaved ginger.  You pick!
  5. Deliciousness.

Louisa Shafia also just published her own cookbook: The New Persian KitchenYou should buy it.

things i want right now: summer cocktails

Tomato-Tequila Fizz Recipe

(c) Hector Sanchez @Southern Living

About me:  I L-O-V-E tequila.  Love it.  So when breezing through our work subscription to Southern Living magazine during a few moments of downtime today, this summer cocktail jumped right off the page.  Muddled grape tomato halves, fresh mint, agave nectar, and tequila– voila!  Gazpacho in a glass.  Or at least that’s what I am imagining it will be like.  I’ve yet to experiment with the recipe, but will plan on doing so as soon as I can get my hands on some local cherry tomatoes.  Here’s what you have to do:

Muddle 3/4 cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, 1 lime, cut into wedges, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt in a medium bowl to release flavors.

Stir in 2 cups tequila and 1/2 cup agave nectar; let stand 15 minutes.

Discard pulp and leaves by straining through fine mesh.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Mix with club soda to taste, chinks of half tomatoes, and mint leaves for garnish.  Enjoy!

See also: cucumber gin & tonic.  Featured alongside the tequila drink was this summer gem, for the friends of gin over the tequila amigos.

i love buffalo sauce.

Image via How Sweet It Is.

And I am always trying to come up with a new way to make quinoa more palatable.  I like it when I try it, but I never know myself how to cook it.  And considering buffalo wing sauce makes everything better, and this recipe calls for white cheddar (one of my other favorites), I will have to try it.  And soon.  Plus, it totally satisfies my requirement that most of the things in this recipe are either already in my kitchen or not that hard to find.  For the recipe, visit How Sweet It Is.

easy summer recipes.

Chilled Beets With Sour Cream

(c) Amy Neunsinger

While we’re on the subject of things I want for the summer, I want some amazing easy summer recipes I can make with things I have in the fridge!  I always get so excited for delicious recipes, and then totally frustrated when they require many ingredients I don’t have .  Here’s an example from Food52— this kale and mint salad looks amazing, but it requires pomegranate molasses.  I definitely do not have that lying around, nor do I know where I could easily get it.  Real Simple has just compiled 52 recipes that are simple– they use what you have in your cupboard to take advantage of the season’s bounty.  One of my favorites is their chilled beets with sour cream and dill.  Check out their other 51 recipes, or tell me what some of your favorite simple snacks are.