What to do when the heat wave wears on and on, and the garden is full of big delicious ripened bounty? I’ve been steadfast about watering daily– even when I really wasn’t eager to be out in the heat anymore– and I’ve lost little to the crazy heat. I made several loaves of buckwheat zucchini bread during brief cooler cloudy day breaks, also cold dinner salads with just-picked zucchini, cucumber, mint, and the first of my ripened tomatoes and hot peppers. But I’ve got LOTS of zucchini… and now a flavorful and satisfying chilled zucchini soup recipe to enjoy.
1 medium large leek, chopped
2 medium red potatoes, coarsely chopped
6 c coarsely chopped zucchini
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium Serrano pepper, diced, with seeds
1 t caraway seeds
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 t fresh lemon thyme
5-6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
l lemon, juice and pulp
scant 1/2 t sea salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste
several T fresh dill, chopped, for garnish
Discard thick and dark green ends of leek. Coarsely chop zucchini by slicing in half lengthwise, perhaps in quarters if large, then chop into 1/4 inch slices. Chop tender leek and saute over medium heat in 2 T butter, adding caraway seeds to toast. Add 2 T olive oil, the red potato and minced garlic, stir for 2-3 minutes until red potato just begins to brown. Add diced Serrano, a couple T water, reduce heat and cover with lid; steam until potatoes are just beginning to soften. Add grated carrot, chopped celery and zucchini, spices except dill, and a splash of white wine, continue to steam covered for about 5-8 minutes until potatoes and zucchini are pleasingly softened but not mushy. Remove from heat and allow to cool some before pureeing in half full blender. Add freshly squeezed lemon, salt and ground pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with plenty of fresh chopped dill, perhaps a dollop of plain European style yogurt. I served this on a hot night with Triscuit rye crackers and a fresh salad with walnuts, feta and fresh tomatoes.
An extended heat wave wears away my energy in so many ways, including my desire to cook other than minimalist stovetop prep early in the morning. I find I have less appetite beyond munching on veggies and cool berries, yet know I still need to get good protein. I’ve been enjoying wonderful nectarines recently for breakfast with plain yogurt, a handful of fresh blueberries and chopped walnuts. Seeing beautiful plums at the market made me think it was time for this quinoa salad with plums, cooling mint and fresh lime, and quinoa, tempeh and pistachios that make it a protein powerhouse while still being light. Served over a bed of fresh lettuce from the garden, it’s a full nutrient, light yet satisfying meal. This salad will be best when made with a variety of plum that is firm and tart to sweet-tart, rather than super sweet and juicy.
3/4 cup quinoa
1 package tempeh, cubed and sauted in 2 T olive oil
4 large dark plums, coarsely chopped
1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6-8 fresh mint leaves, diced
1/2 Serrano pepper, minced
1 lime, juice and pulp
1/2 cup pistachio nuts, as garnish immediately before serving.
Rinse quinoa very well. Bring 2 cups of fresh water with a pinch of salt and quinoa just to a boil, then simmer on low heat for about 18 minutes until all fluid absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, allow to cool uncovered. Saute chopped tempeh in 2T olive oil, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Chop all remaining ingredients, then stir all together with cooked and cooled quinoa. Dress with juice and pulp of lime. If desired, press or finely mince 2-3 slices of fresh ginger root, add to scant 1/8 cup olive oil with a bit of fresh ground pepper for dressing. Refrigerate in air tight container. Serve garnished with pistachios, or another good alternative for garnish would be crumbled feta or roquefort cheese.
Hot and Hotter: our ten day forecast shows high’s in the 90’s or 100’s, two of those days expected to be record breaking at 107F. That’s too hot for me! With an overnight low of 70F, the house and I don’t have a chance to cool off much. Early morning is clearly the time for me to get my food prep done, also walk my dogs, and water the garden.
Early yesterday morning I harvested from the garden too, before the excessive heat took its toll: lettuce and broccoli, yellow crooked neck squash, snap peas, basil and mint. One blessing of the heat is that my tomatoes and hot peppers will ripen so I can start to enjoy those too! For today and tomorrow, I’ll make some light cool and cooling meals from the garden– complemented with cooling hot peppers, mint and lemon. Ahhh…
1/2 cup quinoa
1-2 medium yellow crooked neck squash, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas
1-2 stalks celery, chopped thinly
2-3 shallots, diced
1/2 medium Serrano pepper, diced
1 t fresh ginger root, diced
4-6 medium mint fresh leaves, diced
walnuts or feta cheese
Rinse quinoa well, cover with a generous cup of fresh water and dash of salt, bring to boil then simmer covered over low heat about 18 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Saute chopped shallots in 1-2 T butter or olive oil for 2-3 minutes until just starts to lightly brown, then transfer to casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same pan, saute chopped yellow squash for 3-4 minutes, then add the diced ginger root and Serrano pepper with a couple tablespoons white wine (I used an open bottle of Pinot Grigio), cover and simmer until the squash softens a bit, but is not mushy, about 2 minutes. Remove squash to casserole dish. Turn the heat up a little and saute the chopped yellow pepper for about 2 minutes, just until it brightens. Add to casserole dish, mix all together well, and dress with juice and pulp of lemon. Refrigerate. I served this chilled over a bed of lettuce, topped with walnuts and sheep feta, with a cool glass of Pinot Grigio for dinner, then with fresh mint infused water for lunch the next day.
A cold rainy night and a potluck dinner with extended family, old friends and new – that calls for big pots of chile and vegetarian lentil soup. This lentil soup has been my favorite for as long as some of those childhood friendships! It’s healthy and satisfying, smells and tastes great, is inexpensive and easy to make, and a virtual “bottomless pot” as it’s delicious as a thick stew or as you add more water while it simmers to feed more people. Goes great with a glass of red wine or a chilled microbrew, a mixed green salad or a bowl of chips, depending on who shows up.
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red potato, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 red Serrano or red thai hot peppers, minced
1 medium rutabaga, chopped
1 medium turnip, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups lentils, culled and rinsed
1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2-3 T each oregano, basil, thyme, and sage to taste
2-3 T red cider vinegar
1 t salt and fresh black pepper to taste, added after soup is cooked
In large 5 quart soup pot with lid, saute chopped onions and red potato in 2-3 T olive oil. After 2-3 minutes add minced garlic and red peppers, chopped rutabaga, turnip, carrots, and celery, oregano, basil, thyme, and sage, continuing to saute for 2-3 minutes. Add carefully culled and rinsed lentils and basmati rice, stir well. Add canned tomatoes including juice and red cider vinegar. Put 8 cups water on the stove top to heat til near but not boiling, then add 6 cups to the soup pot and stir well. Cover and bring to simmer, then lower heat and cook with lid just slightly cracked open for 1 hour-1.5 hours or so, checking and stirring occasionally. Add more water as it cooks, getting all 8 cups in to create a thick stew, or yet more water to create a thick soup. Test rutabaga, carrots, and lentils for doneness. Once vegetables are soft, lentils and rice fully cooked, add 1 t salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese. Tastes even better the next day. Freezes well.
The warm days are ripening the last of my garden tomatoes and hot peppers, and the cooler nights tell me it’s the season again to roast some veggies and make a savory soup! I decided to make a tomato soup to enjoy with buckwheat zucchini bread, perhaps too a little grilled salmon?
12-14 medium-large roma and heirloom tomatoes
handful or two of cherry tomatoes
1 large yellow onion
3-4 large cloves garlic
2 large red serrano peppers
2 small red thai peppers
fresh lemon thyme, oregano and marjoram
1/4 t salt and black pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
2-4 c water or stock
toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
1 cup spinach, cut into thin ribbons
Cut roma tomatoes in half, heirloom tomatoes into quarters, cut onion into half then 1/4 inch slices, and place all into large bowl. Dice the fresh lemon thyme, oregano and marjoram leaves until you have about 2 T each. Pour olive oil over tomatoes, whole peppers and peeled whole garlic, add diced spices and mix well. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet and roast at 375 until tomatoes soften and onions caramelize– check after about 10 minutes. When all are nicely roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool some. Press roasted garlic into blender, roughly chop the the roasted onions, then puree all in the blender in batches, being careful not to fill the blender full with too hot vegetables. Return to large soup pot. Depending upon desired thickness and intensity of flavors, add fresh water (or stock you have on hand) a cup at a time to fine tune the soup’s texture and flavor. Season with freshly ground black pepper. To serve, place 1/4 c spinach cut into thin ribbons into a deep bowl then ladle in soup and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
“There’s mosquitoes on the river Fish are rising up like birds It’s been hot for seven weeks now, Too hot to even speak now, Did you hear what I just heard?”
Well maybe not yet seven weeks, but it has been many weeks now of daily temps over 90F, and with the 4th of July and Fare Thee Well concert streaming potluck dinners to attend, it’s been a time to come up with easy to make and cooling, protein rich main dish salads…
3/4 c quinoa
1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
2-3 medium cucumbers, thick sliced into half rounds or quarters
1 yellow pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 serrano pepper, diced, including seeds
10-12 leaves spearmint, diced
1 lime, squeezed for dressing
organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for garnish
Rinse quinoa well, then place in 1 1/2 c fresh water with a dash of salt, bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Rinse beans well, chop and dice all vegetables and combine all. Dress with squeezed lime, and store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for additional protein.
Blazing hot sunny days therefore time for easy light salads with some protein too!
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
3 medium celery stocks, chopped
1-2 c of snap peas, cut into chunks
5 green onions, chopped
1 serrano pepper, including seeds, chopped
1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
1 c or so of cooked quinoa
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, squeezed, as dressing
Chop all the vegetables except the avocado, rinse the beans, and mix all together well in a glass container with airtight lid. Dress with fresh lime and refrigerate until ready to serve. I’ll add the avocado right before serving… perhaps with a cold IPA at a picnic dinner.