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Summer

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

It’s been a bit of surprise to see corn so largely displayed and promoted in the grocery store as of recently. It’s definitely a bit early for the local season, but I caught the summer bug and have succumbed to buying it on more than one occasion.

There’s something about these early 90-degree days in June that has been keeping summer on my mind, along with a menu of eats that match.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This dish was also inspired by a recent purchase of basil that I’ve planted in my backyard Philly garden. It looks as though I’ll never reap a large enough harvest for pesto, but my potted plants are, for now, yielding enough herbs for dishes like this. Score.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This is a light and refreshing meal, perfect for a midday lunch on a warm day. It’s nourishing and certainly not the kind of dish that’ll weigh you down as those hot temps takeover.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Don’t skimp out on the quality of olive oil that you use and be sure to reach for fresh (vs. dried) basil here, as both add a lot to the delicate complexity of flavors here.

However, if you want to get playful, feel free to switch up the nuts, and work with pine nuts or pistachios or something else that might sound fun to you.

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Asian Cabbage Slaw

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

Er, let me correct that. Purple cabbage is among the most underrated vegetables.

I mean, just look at it! It’s a beaut.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

One of purple cabbage’s greatest attributes – besides its color, of course – is the fact that it can last for weeks and weeks in the fridge before going bad. That being said, I always keep a head on hand so that I can thinly slice it up whenever a dish could use a splash of color.

Salads, banh mi sandwiches, summery tacos, grain bowls, you name it…purple cabbage is always there to save the day and make food beautiful.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

This time around, however, I let the vibrant veggie take center stage in a slaw I now make every summer.

It’s an Asian-influenced cole slaw, meaning that traditional mayo gets swapped with a fragrant oil + rice vinegar + soy sauce combo.

Add a few crunchy, salty peanuts on top and some fresh cilantro, and you’re left with a slaw that’s so full of flavor it becomes addicting. Cole slaw…addicting? Yes.

And this one’s fresher than ever.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

While you could certainly down an entire bowl of this, it pairs nicely on the side of other dishes, too. Think fish tacos, or a stir-fry of sorts or even an Asian-themed veggie burger on the grill. It’s up to you to get creative with what you put this with, but I promise the recipe laid out for you here won’t let you down!

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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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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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Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

This has been the summer of grilling for me.

Crispy broccoli. Caramelized onions. Charred corn. Homemade bean burgers. You name it, and likely I’ve been grilling it with friends and favorites in my life.

And as of last week, we can add pizza to that list, a collab between Emily from Nourishing Matters and I. Dare I say, Emily’s pizza dough recipe may have produced the best whole wheat crust I’ve ever tasted. Add grill marks to it, and it easily surpasses any standard, junkie-white-flour alternative. I could’ve eaten it on its own, sans all the other pizza ingredients, minus perhaps a little smear of her herbed pesto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Inspired by the latest bounties displayed at the farmer’s market, Emily and I brainstormed different topping options and settled upon this super summery-themed pizza. Fresh corn, grated zucchini and garden herb pesto…does the season get any better than that?

We added a goat feta on top to lend a punch of saltiness and flavor that wouldn’t take too much away from the sweetness of the fresh ingredients at hand. Perfecto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

While this might come across as a lot of work to make when giving a quick glance to the recipe below, rest assured this pizza can be fairly effortless.

Emily recommends making the dough the night before, which she ensures takes no time at all. How could that be? A food processor does all of the labor for you. Score.

You could make the pesto ahead of time, too, which again calls in a food processor to do all the work. (Food processors, always for the win.)

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Once those steps are squared way, the pizza becomes as simple as a roughly five-minute stint on the grill. Although, be sure to pay attention at this step! Divert your eyes for too long, and your dough can quickly get charred far past that perfect crispness we’re seeking here with grilling the crust.

Don’t worry though. Grilled pizza isn’t too hard. You just need some quick hands and pair of tongs and an attention span longer than a Pokemon-goer, and the dough will come out fabulous every time.

As noted in the recipe, be sure to have all of the toppings nearby so that you can quickly throw them on top after flipping the crust. This will enable the zucchini to get a nice wilt from the heat of the grill.

Serve with a side of tomatoes and basil drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic and pinch of salt, and voila.┬áSummer meals don’t get much better than that.

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