August 31, 2012

Cumin and lemon roasted cauliflower

I adore roasted veggies. Roasting brings out such great flavor to almost all vegetables. I always tell people who think they don't like certain vegetables (e.g., brussel sprouts, asparagus, beets) - roast them and give them another try. It adds such a nutty flavor while not overcooking them like is often done in boiling. My favorite way to eat cauliflower is definitely roasted. While I usually use nothing more than some olive oil, salt, and pepper, sometimes it's fun to add a little more spice and flavor. 

Cauliflower is coming into season here and I'm happy about that. I'm going to try to get back into the habit of creating and posting more side dishes. I really want to encourage people to try vegetables that they may not have eaten since they were a kid because they think they don't like them. Creative side dishes are ways to hopefully get even the pickiest of eaters to give something another try.

August 21, 2012

Peach-nutmeg frozen yogurt

Peach season is something I look forward to every summer. It's a bittersweet time of year because I know it means the end of the summer is coming, but there's so much wonderful produce. My husband works up in peach farm country and we always end up with a lot of them once their peak hits this time of year. We eat them as much as we can, but some of them end up needing to be sacrificed into a dessert or two.... Since I've been absolutely loving making ice cream this summer, I thought I would make a peach one. Then I decided to give my first frozen yogurt a try. I absolutely loved this yogurt. The peaches were very ripe and since they were in season, they were so flavorful - which made the yogurt incredibly peachy. I added some nutmeg to give the yogurt a little more depth of flavor. The yogurt was very creamy and slightly tangy - making this dessert very palate pleasing all around.

If you find yourself with a couple extra peaches, please try out this recipe. It will make about 1 quart of frozen yogurt.  

August 17, 2012

Summer squash macaroni and cheese

A macaroni and cheese for summer?!? Yes, please! If you haven't discovered this already, macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. It's so warm, creamy, and delicious - it is like a hug in a bowl really. I like to make classic mac n' cheese, but also like to change it up by using some butternut squash puree, including veggies like broccoli, or even spiced up with Mexican flavors, etc. This time, I figured that a bunch of shredded summer squash could be an interesting experiment. It turned out to be one of my favorite bowls of macaroni and cheese I've eaten so far! The cheese sauce was so creamy and there were tasty flecks of yellow and green summer squash throughout. Since I stirred the squash in raw, it retained it's freshness which provided a nice contrast in flavor and texture to the cheese and noodles.

So, here we have another recipe to use up some of your zucchini and other summer squash. I used one small yellow squash and a small-medium zucchini. You can use any that you have around, though the green is a nice color contrast. I find this type of recipe to be a good transition meal from summer to fall. This recipe will make enough to serve about four people as a main dish with a salad, or more people as a side dish. 

August 14, 2012

Chocolate zucchini bread

I know that everyone out there is putting zucchini in just about everything they can think of right now. I am a believer that you can never have too many zucchini recipes. I've been using a lot of it lately (and all summer squash). And while I certainly love regular zucchini bread, when I saw King Arthur Flour's chocolate version, I was set on making some. I have been avoiding the oven at all costs this summer because it's just been so hot. But, we have been enjoying a cool trend and last Saturday morning provided the perfect opportunity to make this treat after picking up some zucchini from the farmers' market. I took it over to a family gathering that afternoon and it was gobbled up pretty quickly!

This recipe will make one loaf (8-1/2" x 4-1/2"). It is definitely more like a dessert (aka cake) than classic zucchini bread. I would recommend enjoying this as a dessert after dinner or as a mid-afternoon/mid-morning snack with a cup of tea. Below is the slightly adapted recipe that I used. Also, when it comes to any sort of chocolate/cocoa, please remember to try to find chocolate that has been certified organic and fair trade.

August 10, 2012

Warm Mexican corn salad

Mexican corn on the cob, or Elote, is something I've never had, but have always wanted. I have seen a lot of recipes for it and they talk about how you can get it on the streets of Mexico from vendors. I love food vendors. Since I've never been to Mexico, I have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy this delicious sounding treat. But, I did decide that it would make a great side dish to our steak tacos with pico de gallo. I read a lot of recipes for Elote and then I decided to change it up and use the same flavor profile to make a warm salad. I had bought some fresh corn recently and had just gotten a garden fresh jalapeno. While Elote is made with all mayo, I opted to cut the mayo and use mostly sour cream as well as add some scallions and jalapeno for more veggies and flavor.

One bite of this and my husband and I were both hooked! It was the perfect combination of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. The two of us polished off the bowl quite easily, even opting for seconds of the corn instead of another steak taco, which says a lot! This recipe will make a side dish for about three people and is super easy to adjust for more. Definitely give this dish a try before sweet corn season is behind us.

August 2, 2012

Tomato-Parmesan buttermilk biscuits

I love the color of these biscuits. Tomatoes are starting to come in full force now and as with other seasonal produce, I like to find as many ways as possible to incorporate them into our meals. I certainly enjoy just slicing tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, eating them in salads, and tossing them into pastas, but when I saw this recipe that incorporates raw tomatoes into beautiful biscuits, I was pretty excited. I served these biscuits as a side dish to a spicy fried chicken dinner with buttery corn on the cob, so I wanted to keep them relatively simple. I think the addition of garlic, chives, basil, and/or a touch of cayenne would be wonderful in them as well. 

This recipe will make about 10-12 biscuits. I used about a 2" cutter (OK, a juice glass) to make these so they were on the small side (also, I rolled them out a little to thinly so they didn't get very thick). We still warmed up some leftovers the next morning and made egg sandwiches on them for breakfast. I think that if you made them larger, they'd be great for breakfast sandwiches or even a simple lunch sandwich of basil, fresh mozzarella, and slice of tomato. Very delicious and pretty! I would recommend making them a little thicker than I did, but these were still really good and they don't even need any extra butter - they are flaky, light, and buttery already.