Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cooking in the Summer

While looking over my blog posts in the past few weeks, I realized that it's been a month and a half since I posted anything cooking related. Rest assured (because I'm sure you were worried): I am still cooking. Quite frequently, actually. The thing is, with the glorious bounty that comes from the farmers' market here in the summer, I haven't been following too many recipes. Mostly I'm cooking vegetables simply and tossing them with pasta--after all, nothing can beat the fresh taste of summer veg!

In case you are lacking your own cooking inspiration, here is a list of some of the things I've been making in my kitchen the last few weeks. Use whatever yummy fruits and veggies you can get where you are to make these things or others just as simple, and do let me know what works for you!

Zucchini Pesto Pasta: Depending upon time, shape of zucchini, and how much I feel in need of some repetitive slicing action, I slice some zucchini into strips using either a julienne peeler or my regular kitchen knife. I saute these strips in a bit of olive oil with some pepper and cayenne sprinkled over the top for extra flavor. Just when the zucchini looks perfectly cooked--a bit caramelized, tending toward translucent, but not falling apart--I add in some pesto. I toss the whole thing with whole grain linguine, grate a bit of cheese on top, and dive in.

Roasted Tomato Pasta: I slice cherry and/or grape tomatoes in half (either red or yellow work, the sweeter the better) and place them, cut side up, in a baking dish. I drizzle some olive oil over the tops, sprinkle on a bit of bread crumbs and grated cheese, add a dash of pepper, and then stick the whole dish in a 400-ish oven until the cheese is melty, the tomatoes are starting to burst, or the bits on the bottom of the dish are tending toward burning. I then gently "pop" the tomatoes to release their juices, which makes a wonderful sauce, then toss with whole grain linguine. Add a bit of grated Parm on the top and it's perfection.

Tabbouleh: After my roommate made tabbouleh with dinner one night, I decided it was a perfectly wonderful way to use fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for a cool dish on a hot day. I sprinkle some crumbled feta on top when serving, and you can also add in some cooked chicken to add protein and make the tabbouleh the main dish and not just a salad. Delicious.

I guess I've been eating rather repetitive dishes in the last few weeks. When the ingredients are so perfectly in season and delicious, though, I don't mind a bit.

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