Heat wave number two has arrived and it’s starting to make me worried. Will I ever want to turn on my oven again? Will I ever want to serve something other than cold soup, raw vegetables, fruit, and ice cream?
Who am I kidding? That menu doesn’t have me worried in the least! I am worried about the environment, climate change, etc., but it’s not so bad to live in a world where vegetables are crisp, refreshing, and satiating. A girl can dream.
Here’s a list of the things I’m making or wish I was making this Shabbat.
I’m always playing with challah–I try to make a different kind every week. But sometimes I like to stray a bit from the norm and make a bread that isn’t actually challah, but still allows me and my guests to say hamotzi. So if I were you and you were feeling adventurous this week I would make this Sour Cherry Focaccia. It speaks for itself
Fig Taleggio Pizza is sweet and pungent and bitter all at once. It’s festive and light.
Since we’ve entered the full swing of CSA season and local crop availability is hitting its peak, my box was crazy heavy this week and snuggled in with the romaine and the chard was kohlrabi. A funky looking vegetable, it’s a great base for a slaw or home fries or any number of other recipes.
Another wonderful light side or main dish is this radish cous cous. You can easily substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock if you want to make it pareve. I would also recommend my favorite radish for this dish
This blueberry boy bait (I don’t know what boy bait is, but it looks like something I would want to eat a whole pan of) PLUS roasted peaches and lavender ice cream, which is sweetened with honey! If you make these, can I come over for dessert?
Summer means a lot of things when it comes to food–berries and cucumbers and tomatoes, to name a few! It’s also a time when herbs are plentiful–almost too plentiful to keep up with. There’s one sure way to tackle this problem: pesto. You can use pesto for so many different wonderful things–pasta (of course), pizza sauce, dip, salad dressing. And you can make vats of pesto and freeze it in usable portions for later (just stop before you add any dairy).
But what if I told you pesto didn’t have to be herb based? While traditional pesto is a combination of basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil, the word is derived from an Italian verb meaning to pound or crush and can really involve any kind of vegetation. So here I’m introducing Arugula Hazelnut pesto. It’s full of flavor and bite, but mellowed out with the subtle sweetness of the hazelnut. If you don’t want quite so much arugula taste, throw in some parsley to balance the flavor a little more.
3 cups arugula
1 cup parsley (optional)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant. Remove from the heat and cool.
Add the arugula and parsley (if using) to a blender or food processor. Pulse for 5 seconds.
Add the garlic, hazelnuts, salt, and pepper.
Gradually drizzle in the olive oil while the blender or food processor is running. Process until smooth.
Taste to adjust seasoning and consistency. If it's too thick, add more oil.
Wednesday was officially the first day of summer 2012. Earlier this week I went to a farmers’ market for work, where a chef was giving a cooking demonstration to residents of Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. She taught them how to make a cold spaghetti dish with tomatoes, capers, and olives and she introduced them to a new food: jicama.
Native to Central America, jicama is a white tuber with a texture similar to a water chestnut. It’s an ideal food for a hot summer day, since it is almost completely made of water. Jicama does not have much flavor of it’s own, so once you’ve peeled the brown skin, serve it with a dip or dressing. When you go to the store look for a firm, heavy jicama with mostly unblemished skin and store it at cool temperatures.
In Latin America, jicama is served with lime juice, coarse salt, and ground chile. This salad plays on the idea, but adds a sweet and juicy element to it: watermelon. Nothing says summer like watermelon and with this heat, it’s high time we accept the fact that summer has arrived.
1 small to medium size watermelon
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice (about 2 limes)
3 tablespoons basil, chiffonade
2 tablespoons mint, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta (optional)
Peel brown skin off jicama (some recommend using a spoon). Cut into 1/4 inch strips or into small dice.
Chop up watermelon into bite sized chunks.
Combine jicama and watermelon. Dress with orange juice and lime juice.
Toss with basil and mint. Season to taste.
Sprinkle with crumbled feta if using.
Unless you’ve been living in an igloo, you may have noticed that it’s really, really hot out. My extensive research indicates that this seems to be happening all over, so I bet it applies even to the igloo-dwellers. Here’s a great group of recipes that will cool you down and taste delicious! The best part: you don’t have to turn on your oven.
Start off with something non-traditional, but refreshing and light. This chilled watermelon soup is full of nutrients and interesting flavors. You do not need to add the sugar recommended in the recipe. If you are serving it with a meat meal, take out the feta and serve it with spiced nuts and diced cucumbers.
Keep the crunchy-sweet-refreshing theme going with mango jicama salad. This has a bit of a kick, but the sweet fruit balances it out. The chile powder plus mango combination makes it feel like a Latin American street food.
Take this opportunity to make a red snapper ceviche. It tastes like something cooked, but all it takes is a hefty dose of citrus juice, plus a few bonus flavors on the side. Serve with chips or just a spoon.
Per usual, I’m going to throw out a Mark Bittman resource here: slaws eight ways. One of these crunchy creative salads will be the perfect vegetable side dish for your ceviche.
For dessert, play with different combinations of macerated fruit. You can never go wrong with strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar. (I thought it was gross the first time I heard about it, but, believe me, you’ll like it.)