Summer…in a bowl!

Spoiler Alert: Summer is ending.

Yeah…it’s happening.  I can’t stop it.  You can’t stop it.  We’re helpless people!  It’s time to let go.

Let’s just make a salad.  Like this one.  I know you doubt me.  You say it’s just a salad.  You say a salad is not comfort food.  You don’t think salad will calm you down.  It’s ok, because I’m right (duh).

When you feel like you can’t follow directions, make a salad.  You can put whatever you want in your salad.  Should I start with lettuce, you ask?  Only if you feel like it.  You pick.  You’re in charge.

Tomatoes, naturally.

Corn…just because.  Because  we don’t even need to cook this corn.  That’s right.  We’re fast, easy, and fresh.

If you can, strip your corn right into the bowl you’ll use to serve.  That way you save all the juiciness.

Enter: fat.  Avocado.  Olive oil.  Parmesan cheese.  Feta cheese.  Any cheese.  A fried egg.  Get wild and go nuts…literally.

If you feel fancy, lobster or crab meat or shrimp would be a gorgeous addition.

Let’s drizzle some lemon juice.  And add some chives.  What’s that, you don’t have any chives?  And you don’t want to shell out the $2.69 needed to buy a pack from Whole Foods?  Skip it.  Who needs chives anyway when there’s basil, or cilantro, or arugula, or scallions, or shallots, or red onion…

I’ll show you my recipe, but it’s really just a list of what caught my eye and was cheap enough to make it into the grocery basket.  Or what was still safe to eat in my refrigerator.  That always helps.

I named mine “summer in a bowl.”  What are you going to name yours?

Whatever you do, remember that your salad is beautiful.  And special.  It’s your baby!  Or your work of art.  Slightly less weird.

recipe

[serves a few.]

3 ears of corn

2 [good] tomatoes

3 or so handfuls of arugula

parmesan cheese, grated

a bit less than a whole avocado

cooked crab meat

olive oil, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper to serve

Using a knife, strip corn kernels off cob into bowl or on large plate.  Dig deep!  Add chopped/diced/sliced tomatoes, arugula, diced avocado, grated parmesan cheese, crab meat, and toss.  Drizzle generously with lemon juice and olive oil.  Sprinkle with ground pepper, if desired.  Serve immediately and enjoy 🙂

Tangy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I just watched Julie & Julia.  It made me remember the wonder of butter.

Oh butter.  No one else can caramelize onions quite like you do.  And chocolate chip cookies…we all know they’d be nothing without you, butter.

But we’ve broken up.  It was for good.  I’ve found a new love: the sweet potato.  Sweet potatoes aren’t pasty.  They’re tan (ok, orange, fine).  And though they’re creamy richness reminds me of you, butter, sweet potatoes are, well, sweet!

Sweet potatoes are strong; they don’t cave into a melt-down when it’s hot outside.

They can handle the heat.

Dressed with a sticky lime syrup, I pop these babies like they’re candy.

We get to undress a lime.  How scandalous!

Butter?  Butter who?

recipe

(adapted from Gourmet)

serves 4-6, depending on portions, and takes a bit longer than 30 minutes.

3 or 4 medium to large sweet potatoes

2 or 3 T extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper, to taste…a sprinkling of cayenne pepper might also be nice…

1/8 cup water

1 T sugar

1 T lime juice

1/2 t lime zest

freshly chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Wash and lightly scrub sweet potatoes.  Dry with a towel.  Slice sweet potatoes into 1” disks, then cube each disk into roughly 9 pieces.

In a bowl, combine cubed sweet potatoes, evoo, and salt & pepper(s).  Toss and make sure all the cubes are coated (add more oil if necessary).  Spread out the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet that is lightly oiled.

Roast sweet potatoes in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring/flipping the cubes frequently to make sure they do not burn on one side.

While sweet potatoes are in the oven, combine water, sugar, and lime juice.  Here’s where I cheated: Gourmet says to bring this mixture to a boil and then simmer until it is reduced.  That’s too much work for me.  Instead, I microwaved the mixture for 1 minute on HIGH and then stirred until it cooled a little.  Take your pick.

When sweet potatoes are done cooking, toss them in a bowl with the 2-3 tablespoons of the syrup.  Sprinkle generously with lime zest and chives and serve.  Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Truffles

I have a couple of reasons why you should make these.  Now.

Reason # 1:

Before an interview at the College of William & Mary, my dad was quizzing me with some practice questions that my interviewer might ask me.  One question was the typical, “Why do you want to come to this college?”  My dad suggested that I answer, “Because you have an ampersand in your name.”  Um….what?  Apparently the ‘&’ symbol is also known as an ampersand.  Ok Dad.

So, if you’re following my dad’s logic, you should make (and eat) these because I put an ampersand in the title.  There’s a reason for all you grammar nerds out there.

Reason #2:

Of all the people who eat my food (ok, so, basically just friends and family…), my sister is my most discerning critic.  Sometimes in my quest to create healthy desserts, I end up accidentally sacrificing flavor.  My sister is always the judge of that; she can spot my substitutions instantly as she suspiciously eyes the food I’ve put out in front of her.

The first person who tried these (besides me, of course) was my sister.  Instead of wrinkling her nose and asking, “Are these healthy?” she simply said, “These are good.”  Coming from my sister, that’s a rave.

Later when I was looking in the fridge for these truffles, I found that 2 were missing.  I asked my sister and she confessed to taking them.  Rather than get angry that she stole my food,  I took it as a good sign.

These truffles taste like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, they’re that delicious.  When chilled in the refrigerator (if you can resist eating them), they’re cool and melt in your mouth.

Sweet enough to be a dessert but healthy enough to be a snack, these truffles are a good source of protein that will satisfy any dessert craving.

Recipe

(taken from chockohlawtay )

makes 4-5 truffles, depending on size.  takes 10 minutes if you’re slow.

2 T peanut butter, smooth or chunky

1-2 T agave nectar or other sweetener

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use whey)

raw cacao nibs or other coating, if desired

In a small bowl, combine protein powder and agave nectar.  Mix until powder and sweetener stick together to make a sort of dough.  Add peanut butter and stir to combine.  Using your hands, shape 4-5 balls out of dough.  Roll in cacao or other decoration, if using.  Store in refrigerator and enjoy 🙂

Swiss Summer Oats

I have no idea what makes these oats Swiss; they probably aren’t.  But a friend passed on a recipe for Swiss oats and this is what I came up with.

During the winter I eat oatmeal almost every day.  Sometimes for lunch.  Sometimes for dinner.  Most of the time for breakfast.

When it’s hot outside, though, I take a hiatus from oatmeal.  Needless to say, I haven’t had oatmeal in quite some time.  In fact, I didn’t even have oatmeal in my house until I was inspired by this recipe.

These oats have become a quick favorite of mine.  They are cool and refreshing but still hearty and filling.  Often times when I enjoy a bowl of granola, I let the cereal sit for a while and absorb some of the milk.  These oats are similar to the soft and creamy texture that ensues.

Lots of oat-loving folk rave about overnight oatmeal.  This is kind of like that, but better.

Feel free to play around with combinations you like.  I used fruits that I had on hand, but use whatever combination you prefer/have.  I used agave and added some cinnamon, but brown sugar might be a more traditional sweetener.  And I could totally see some sort of nutbutter coming onto the scene here.  Next time 😉

Recipe

(serves 1)

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

milk (any kind)

1/2 banana, diced

small handful of fresh cherries, pitted and quartered

1/8 cup plain Greek yogurt

toasted slivered almonds

1 T agave nectar

cinnamon, if desired

Put oats in a bowl and pour in enough milk to just barely cover the oats.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, at least 8 hours.

In the morning (or whenever you happen to be eating these), drain out leftover liquid.  Top oats with remaining ingredients.  Enjoy 🙂