Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers

Roasted Tomatoes & Peppers

Ok, so today IS officially the first day of fall, or tonight rather…but where I live (southeast Missouri), there are still tomatoes and peppers aplenty.  And thank goodness for that, because this recipe has me swooning.  Plus it’s insanely easy.  You take a buttload of tomatoes, a couple bell peppers, a couple jalapeños, an onion, some herbs, and a hellaton of garlic and douse it with olive oil.  Season it with salt and pepper and roast it for 1 1/2 hours.  It turns into a lovely melted spreadable pool of sweet spicy caramelized summer veggies.  It tastes similar to a Fra Diavolo pasta sauce.  You will love it.  I definitely love it.  Even my not-such-a-big-fan-of-tomatoes son loves it.  And the best thing about it is it’s versatility.  I like to spread it on toasted bread, but it would perfect as a pasta sauce.  I also used it in kale and black bean quesadillas.  You could serve it over grilled mushrooms or fish.  Or you could puree it and add some tomato juice or milk/cream for a spicy tomato bisque.  So many possibilities!

3-Bean Salad with Avocado Cashew Dressing

3-Bean Salad with Avocado Cashew Dressing

The other day I was standing at the deli counter in my grocery store waiting for a lid to an olive bar container.  I stood there staring at the various “salads” that lay limp, soaked in dressings and vinegars, and couldn’t take my eyes off of the 3-bean salad.  It was drowning in a pool of vinegar dressing, which I imagined was sweetened to death with loads of sugar just to make it palatable.  I thought to myself, this potluck/family reunion staple needs a makeover.  I’ve got green beans from my CSA and dried black beans and chickpeas waiting to be used; let’s jazz up this boring, tired salad and give it a fresh zippy kick in the beans!  {see what i did there}

Potato Kale Cakes with Kimchee Mayo

Potato Kale Cakes with Kimchee Mayo

Over the past month I’ve made 2 new food discoveries: savory (the herb) and kimchee (Korea’s national dish).  I’m in love with both…and though they may seem like strange bedfellows, I’ve put them together in this recipe.

Savory, the winter variety, was introduced to me through my CSA; one of the many awesome benefits of being a member is experimenting with new foods and flavors.  To me, it tastes like a cross between thyme and flat-leaf parsley; it resembles the woodsy flavor of thyme, but also has a clean, bright quality similar to parsley. It’s a beautiful in-between seasons kind of herb.  I’ve been using it in everything, including these potato kale cakes.

Charred Eggplant with Maple Balsamic Syrup

Charred Eggplant with Maple Balsamic Syrup

This is weird, but every time I see eggplant I think of that old 1980’s Nintendo game Kid Icarus.  My siblings and I used to play that for hours.  There’s a part in that game where you’re in a dungeon and you come across an eggplant-throwing monster.  You have to dodge the flying purple eggplants as you pass through the room and if you get hit by one you turn into a giant eggplant with feet.  I think that game was actually where I first found out about eggplants.  Strange, I know.  A little sad?  Perhaps.

“Everything” Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

"Everything" Flatbread with Curried Zucchini Butter

Each summer there seems to be a point we reach where there is an overabundance of summer squash everywhere.  A plethora, if you will.  Gardening friends and familiy try to pawn it off on one another, CSA boxes go through a heavy squash period, and farmers market tables overflow with all kinds of squash varieties.  Some people wonder, “what the heck am I going to do with all this squash?”  I got ya covered.

Tomato Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

Tomato & Avocado Salad

While strolling through the farmers market I spotted this mix of heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes.  The farmer was describing them to another customer so I stopped to listen along.  He said the tiny yellow ones — yellow currant tomatoes — were nearly as sweet as grapes and offered them up for us to taste.  I happily obliged.  He was not kidding; they’re super sweet and delightfully juicy…and so darn cute!

This simple salad highlights the incredible flavor of these gorgeous tomatoes.  With just a few other salad ingredients (avocados, onions, crumbly cheese, and herbs) along with a spicy limey vinaigrette, this quick and easy salad makes for a delicious, healthy, and colorful summertime side dish.  Or, add it to any taco, sandwich or pita pocket for a complete meal.  A veggie rainbow of flavor!

Grilled Summer Squash w/ Basil-Mint Gremolata

Grilled Summer Squash w/ Basil - Mint Gremolata
Summer’s here!  My CSA is kicking serious booty and the produce at my local farmers market is bangin!  Summer is my favorite season of the year.  My anniversary, birthday, and husband’s birthday all occur over the next few steamy months, but most importantly [wink]…the veggies are KILLER.  And, hello!, tomatoes are just around the corner!  That means my love affair with fresh bloody marys will soon begin again.  Swoon.

My CSA box last week was abound with summer squash and basil (along with kale, cilantro, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and salad mix!).  I’ve also got loads of garlic scapes from the CSA and market which I’ve been using for a lot of pestos, sauces and veggie sautees.  I knew the summer squash was destined for the grill – grilled squash is superb! – but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and use up some of the basil and garlic scapes, but not in the usual pesto.  I happened to have mint and lemons hanging around in the fridge, so I decided to make a gremolata to top the grilled squash.

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto
Summer is nearing and we need to make room for the hot-weather veg about to grace our tables.  This is a fantastic way to use up any spring veggies you have on hand.

This pasta takes advantage of the spicier spring produce available: peppery arugula and piquant radishes.  The cilantro pesto — made with garlic scapes, toasted almonds, red pepper flakes, lime juice and avocado oil — compliments those flavors and steers us in the direction of the Southwest.  Fiber-rich black beans and fresh, milky mozzarella round out the dish for a hearty, healthy meal.  To add an additional kick of spice and flavor, drizzle on some sriracha!  Let’s get the party started!

Radishes with Tarragon – Garlic Chive Butter

Radishes with Tarragon - Garlic Chive Butter

Often the best snacks or party appetizers are the simplest ones that highlight fresh, raw ingredients.  With spring in full force and my local farmers market having just opened up, I wanted to taste the season.  Literally.  I found three kinds of radishes from one vendor and tarragon and garlic chives from another.  These had to join forces somehow…but with minimal manipulation.

Salad Greens with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Tempeh Sticks and Balsamic-BBQ Dressing

Salad Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato, Tempeh Sticks and Balsamic BBQ Dressing
This salad was born from a glorious idea a friend gave me.  Something so simple, so quick it’s really a non-recipe recipe:  slice up some tempeh, saute it, then dip it in barbecue sauce.  I think that little idea changed my life.  Who doesn’t need one more option of something to dip into barbecue sauce?  After that, I realized it was my duty as a citizen of this earth to pass along that gem.  You’re welcome.

But what else can I do with that?  I needed to find it a veggie companion, without dismissing the barbecue sauce.  I have a box of sweet potatoes in the basement, so they were destined to enter the picture.  At the end of the farmers market last season, I purchased a 25 lb. box of sweet potatoes for $25 to last me through the winter.  That was the end of October and I’m just now starting to see the bottom of the box.  The farmers don’t clean the dirt off the potatoes so they’ll keep longer, and they have!  I highly recommend it if you have that option.  So, sweet potatoes, check!  I had a golden beet in the fridge along with some red onion and goat cheese.  And the BBQ sauce?  Let’s turn that into a dressing!  Hows about a salad?  Let’s do it!