This weekend edition of Snapshots could be titled, "So Much Produce ... So Little Time!" I don't know about you, but at the beginning of the summer season I am so excited for the fresh juicy peaches; red ripe tomatoes; Olathe Sweet sweet corn and any number of local produce. As the summer progresses, we eat our fill of fresh fruits and veggies, but as the season wanes we start losing interest ... mainly because we can't come up with any new ways to enjoy them. That has certainly been the case for us this summer ... for the most part because our garden has been very productive! Each evening after work, Brett comes home, drops off his bag, gives me a smooch and heads out to see what's ready. Just last night he came back in with four tomatoes, two cucumbers and an eggplant. It's hard to keep up with such a prolific garden! In light of this "problem" :) I would like to share with you a number of recipes to spice up your vegetables - whether they come from the grocery store, the farmer's market or your own backyard.
Confetti Orzo Salad
(This recipe has its origin in the FoodNetwork Magazine, September 2010 ... with a good amount of tweaking!)
1 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
Medium zucchini, cut in quarters and sliced thinly
Medium eggplant, cut in to cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
Medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 Tb. olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Prepare the orzo according to directions. Rinse the pasta in cold water and set aside. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add garlic, zucchini and eggplant and saute until browned. Pour veggies onto a plate to cool. When everything is cooled, toss the pasta, veggies, tomato, feta and basil. This was even better the next day!
(This recipe also has its origin in the FoodNetwork Magazine, September 2010 ... but, you guessed it ... with some adjustments!)
10 ears of sweet corn (uncooked and cut off the cob)
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup cilantro
Put the cut corn in a pot and cover with water. Cook on the stove just until boiling and then drain in a colander. Run cold water over it until cool. Toss corn with lemon juice and cilantro. It's just that easy!
Tomato - Cucumber Salad
(This is a family recipe ... found at most summer gatherings.)
Salt & Pepper
(Sorry - no actual measurements here ... it's all tossed together!)
Dice the tomatoes and cucumbers so they are similar sizes. Toss together with a dash of vinegar, add the salt and pepper and chives and the stir in the cheese. Pretty simple, but "oh, so good!"
And finally ... the recipe that will change how you feel about green beans! :) Growing up, we didn't eat green beans, except at school and those were out of the can. But now ... we are addicted to:
Fiery Green Beans
(This is a recipe adapted ... again ... from a recipe by Guy Fieri.)
2 lbs. fresh green beans (more if you want to actually share them with anyone!)
3 Tb. olive oil
4 Tb. garlic powder
1 tsp. red chili pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
A face mask ... and I'm only sort of kidding :)
Clean up the green beans (snapping of ends and pulling out yucky ones) and rinse in a colander. Set them aside to drip dry. In a ziplock bag, toss in all the seasonings and mix well.
Set your saute pan on medium-high and add the oil. Take the green beans and add them to the ziplock bag and seal it up. Give the bag a serious tossing until the beans are fully coated.
Now comes the face mask part. :) When the oil is "screamin' hot" (according to Guy), add the beans carefully and then turn on your hood vent! :) Essentially you are going to blacken the seasoning coating on the green beans so you will have a lot of smoke, perhaps your eyes will water and the smoldering pepper/garlic mixture will catch in your throat ... but it's so worth it! :) With tongs, keep turning the beans. Don't worry when parts of them start to turn black, that means you're doing it right. I think it takes about 5 minutes to get them all cooked through.
You'll end up with a delicious little side dish that looks like this:
We have discovered that this recipe works equally well with asparagus and even broccoli (all the blackened seasonings get nestled in the little tree parts ... I'm currently salivating!)
I hope that you feel inspired to try a few new recipes ... and enjoy summer's bounty!