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picnic

Sesame Cucumber Edamame Salad

Asian Sesame Cucumber Salad

The unofficial start to summer has arrived, and all I want to be eating are refreshing treats like watermelon, lots and lots of watermelon, and cucumbers, too.

This sesame-seasoned dish gets even better with time. It’s part of what makes it an ideal picnic bring-along. Put an hour aside to let the flavors mingle. And then serve it as a compliment to other summery dishes, whether a cold soba noodle salad, or warm yet light grain bowl.

Note: If you don’t have sesame seeds available, crushed peanuts are a great substitute.

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Asian Cabbage Slaw

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables. And especially the purple variety.

It will always lend a touch of beauty to your dinner table.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Here, it takes the center of an Asian-influenced coleslaw, which swaps mayo for olive oil and a touch of sesame. A splash of rice vinegar adds some acid, while soy sauce creates a salty component.

And one of the best parts? The crunchy, salty peanuts on top, cut with the freshness of chopped cilantro.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

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Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

Summer becomes real when you have a slice of peach pie on your plate from fresh fruit just picked from the nearby orchard.

This, my friends, is true summer beauty.

Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

I may have to declare this as one of the best pies I’ve ever made. And it’s the peaches that went inside that must be bestowed with a large portion of the credit.

Peach season here in Pennsylvania has reached its prime, and the fruit on the trees this year is thriving.

Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

Juicy and sweet, peaches are certainly undergoing a stellar year.

And as a result, the pies that are produced from those peaches are reaping all of the benefits.

After all, a pie is only as good as the fresh fruit that’s going inside of it. Which is why the filling needn’t be anything too fancy or complicated.

Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

The project in undertaking the creation of this pie isn’t the filling, but the crust, which you’ll find true of most pie recipes. After some slicing and dicing, the filling takes minutes to make.

Meanwhile, the crust takes a little finesse. But nothing unmanageable, even for the novice baker.

I like to consider pie-making as the perfect put-on-a-few-records and chill-in-the-kitchen-all-Sunday-afternoon activity. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Vegan Peach Pie with Spelt Rye Crust

If you’ve never done a lattice before, basically you’re just attempting to weave the top strips of crust over and under each other. You may wish to refer to a simple tutorial when you get to that step, as I admit, my instructions may not be the most extensively written-out.

The warm slice of pie that comes out of the oven, (one you’ll top with cold ice cream…perhaps vanilla coconut!) is certainly worthy of every last second of effort that goes into creating this. As I said earlier, this is true summer beauty on a plate and certainly summer baking at its finest.

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Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Often it’s the simplest dishes that make for the tastiest meals.

Fresh, seasonal ingredients, a pinch of spices and chopped herbs, and really that’s all you need to create a recipe that’s memorable, many times even more memorable than a combination that calls for hours upon hours of cooking.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

I’ve been getting into swimming lately, which generally leaves me ravishing upon arriving home.

My patience doesn’t have time for anything fancy when I show up to the kitchen counter. And when I have quality ingredients on-hand, I don’t need anything complicated either.

Luckily, my stockpile of winter squash has been conducive to all of this. A hearty tray of simply seasoned kabocha or a steaming baked sweet potato can really knock the edge off of hunger in a satisfying way. I find this to be one of the richest parts of winter.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

This recipe draws upon that heartiness of squash to create a nourishing meal that stays both light and satisfying. Baked with a little spice and tossed over crunchy, massaged kale to ever-so-slightly wilt the leaves, this becomes a powerful salad.

Salty chickpeas top it all off along with a creamy tahini dressing, where you’ll find the strength of fresh herbs kicking in.

Warm Chickpea Squash Salad Over Kale with Tahini Sauce

Serve with a slice of crusty bread, and feel free to sprinkle a few toasted nuts and seeds on top to give the meal a boost.

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Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

What do you do with an abundance of beets? Pickle them. Turn your tabbouleh pink. Or your hummus.

Or perhaps your end-of-summer burgers, as Food52 would suggest.

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

I spotted this recipe over on Food52, and of course with all things beet-related, was captivated by its color. You could nearly mistake that burger in the picture above for a beef patty. That doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me, but I do find this depiction beautiful, nonetheless. Especially with a creamy cucumber sauce lathered on top. I assure you, this meat-free burger is an abundance of appetizing deliciousness.

It’s one of the most firm, well-held-together veggie burgers I’ve ever made as well.

Sweet and Smoky Beet Burgers

Rice acts as the glue that keeps these lentil beet burgers together, and it does a rather efficient job at doing so. You won’t need a million spatulas and utensils and tablespoons of oil to flip them in the pan, which is often the case with homemade veggie burgers.

As the name depicts, slightly sweet (from the beets and raisins), slightly smoky (from the paprika), these burgers are a unique treat. Place them between pita or a bun, or simply atop a bed of greens, and serve with a side of tomatoes and cool cucumber-yogurt sauce.

P.S. These freeze well, too!

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