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parsley

Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash

 Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash

Squash is one of my favorite remedies for surviving East Coast winters. Caramelized juices, from all varieties, are constantly dripping over the bottom rack of my oven. It’s just the warmth I need to make my little apartment cozier.

Butternut Squash

Here, you’ll find a recipe that features one of my favorites — butternut, both its seeds and its flesh.

It’s a garlicky dish the works as a side to plenty of hearty winter meals. I also love it slathered across slices of crusty toast.

No matter the execution, the seeds lend a nice crunch. Use the leftovers to top salads or simply snack on.

Garlic and Herb Butternut Squash

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Baked Herbed Chickpea Bites

Baked Herbed Chickpea Bites

This is essentially a recipe for baked falafel. But to me, if the batter isn’t crisped up in the deep-fryer, it’s not falafel.

So I present you instead with “baked herbed chickpea bites”. The name, I know, could use a little work. But they’re delicious, I promise.

Baked Herbed Chickpea Bites

These are best served aside a creamy dip. Pick the tahini-based sauce of your choice. Hummus, baba ganoush, or even just a simple sesame-garlic-lemon sauce will all serve you well.

To make the latter, finely mince a small clove of garlic and whisk it into several large spoonfuls of tahini. Add a pinch of salt. Squeeze in a wedge or two of lemon. Then add warm water, as needed, to thin it out.

Baked Herbed Chickpea Bites

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Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

 

When it’s hot, I love fresh meals like Gazpacho.

An even added bonus with this cool soup is that.

What is needed? A bunch of ripe tomatoes and whatever else your farmer’s market or garden offers up.

Summer Gazpacho

After a nice walk through the woods, a good girlfriend of mine and I refueled with a large bowl of this, utilizing some heirlooms from her garden.

It came together in no time, thanks to the help of a food processor (you could certainly use a blender) and the natural beauty of this type of soup.

Gazpacho is all about the freshness of its ingredients. It’s simple. And absolutely divine on a steamy summer day.

Summer Gazpacho

Keep the soup as chunky as you desire, or pulse it for a little extra time if you want something creamier than what’s pictured above.

Either way, I recommend serving it with a nice slice of crusty bread to sop up some of its flavorful juices and add an element of crunch.

Summer Gazpacho

And definitely don’t skip out on the avocado topping. This provides the richness that this light soup needs to complete it. In fact, you could even drizzle a little olive oil on top once served up for an added element of richness.

Summer Gazpacho

What are you making to tide you over during these early August days? Would love to hear your favorite recipes of the season!

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Ratatouille with Herb Corn Topping

Ratatouille with Herb Corn Topping

After last post’s summer-in-a-bowl, I was immediately ready for round two.

When the growing seasons’s at its prime, produce combinations fare to rarely ever bore me. As [insert singer of your choice here] says, “Gotta get it while the gettin’s good.”

In the August, the garden is good, and my fork is gettin’ it.

Ratatouille with Herb Corn Topping

Ratatouille remains a yearly favorite. It’s easy. It’s flexible. It’s quick, healthy, beautiful, and a million other adjectives.

To it, you can add chickpeas. You could add eggplant. You could add fresh thyme, pair it with bread, or top it with cheese. None of this I did. But you could, if you so please.

That’s the beauty of ratatouille.

Ratatouille with Herb Corn Topping

For my ratatouille, I generally do a combination of summer squash, tomatoes, onions and eggplant. I didn’t have eggplant available this time around, but I did have corn, so I whipped up this fancy-but-not-actually-fancy topping.

The corn adds an extra sweetness and crunch, which pairs well with the creamy grains placed beneath it. It’s also adds just one extra summery touch to a bowl full of already natural August goodness.

Ratatouille with Herb Corn Topping

Again, when veggies are fresh and local, you really needn’t do much to them but put them together and let their flavors swim free. Ready in 45 minutes or less (depending on your grain choice), this recipe lends itself well to a weeknight meal that’ll leave you feeling great. Pair with a side of protein, or sprinkle some toasted walnuts on top and call it a meal. Then most importantly, let your fork get in on that good.

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Toasted Wheat Berry and Summer Herb Salad

Summer Herb Wheat Berry Salad

What’s a wheat berry?

Remember that time back in 5th grade, when you entered that gum-chewing marathon, and you tried to fit a whole roll of Bubble Tape in your mouth? And remember how your jaw felt afterwards? Essentially, a wheat berry is a grain that’ll bring that same sensation, likely after one large bowl or 20 minutes of chewing.

It’s a jaw workout-and-a-half.  But one that’s oh so worth it, with the right flavors piled in, and in the summertime, that’s easy.

Summer Herb Wheat Berry Salad

In reality, a wheat berry is a whole wheat kernel, dressed to the nines in its bran, germ, and endosperm. I.e., whole wheat flour, before it is milled.

All these extra layers give the wheat a style best defined as “chewy”, which is one that compliments a good salad quite well. It’ll bring your lettuce leaves quite the stylish, texture-filled flair, and a bunch of protein and fiber, too. Oh, and a whole host of energizing B vitamins as well. I’ll happily chew on that.

Summer Herb Wheat Berry Salad

Rather than throw a handful on top of some not fully in season lettuce leaves, I decided to create a wheat berry centered salad that celebrate some of my favorite flavors of summer — tomatoes, cukes, and herbs. There is no easier way to add robust flavor than with fresh herbs, and this recipe really packs that in.

Summer Herb Wheat Berry Salad

Oregano, basil, and parsley? Move over cheese – you’re not needed in this salad. (Although, if your heart desires, I’d suggest a goat or Greek feta. Both would compliment what’s already a plentifully flavored salad.)

Feel free to play around with the combination of herbs you use, just make sure you don’t hold back on how much you throw into the bowl. Wheat berries are hardy, and can use all the loving they can get from the light flavors with which you surround them. Plus, all of the taste you add is what will make their inherent chewiness an asset. Who wouldn’t want to chew on something tasty for a few extra minutes? Continue Reading…