Summer

 

Lasagna Al Fresco

lasagna-al-fresco

I am a big fan of lasagna, but usually don’t eat grains, so am always happy to come up with a way to eat something that takes like lasagna but doesn’t have the noodles. And this one is a winner.

Larry was visiting from California to take care of me during my second eye surgery and we were considering what to make from the various foods we had collected when we went grocery shopping.

We started by cooking the whole box of organic baby spinach with onions, then topped it with a layer of ricotta cheese and a layer of pasta sauce and a layer of provolone and finished it off with sliced mushrooms. We baked it in the oven and it satisfied every craving for Italian/pizza/lasagna.

But it was even better the second night when we paired it with a huge salad with garlic dressing (that’s the “al fresco” part—fresco being Italian for dining outdoors. I am using the word loosely to mean “fresh” as in “from the fresh air outdoors.”)

Anyway we agreed that the lasagna paired perfectly with the green salad and can’t wait to make it again.

And if you love lasagna, try my Skillet Lasagna as well.

 

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Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

I love many fruits, but I think my favorite has to be the peach. It probably goes back to that day when I was about three or four years old, when my grandfather picked me up way over his head so I could reach a sun-ripened peach in his backyard tree and pick it. My grandmother peeled, pitted, and sliced this peach and covered it with sugar and evaporated milk. It was just the best thing I had ever eaten.

And so even though I eat a very low carb diet (more about that coming soon), every summer I have to each a peach. This year I bought a peach and let it sit on my kitchen island for a week until it’s fragrance called to me. And then I made peach cobbler.

Now I also want to mention that I make a point to make desserts in individual small portions. Instead of making a whole pan of peach cobbler, I made two 1/2 cup ramekins, each one containing half of the peach. This really is a proper portion to enjoy something sweet without spiking blood sugar badly (of course, the amount depends on your own individual body).

A “cobbler” is called a cobbler because originally it had a biscuit topping on the fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small spoonfuls or round cutouts, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road. Hence the name. But cobblers are now also made with cake batter or cookie dough on top and are still called cobblers, so I think mine qualifies. With almond flour crumble on top, it looks like a cobbled street.

I’ve included the flavors of peach cobbler—peaches, butter, cinnamon—with a gluten-free topping.

I just took the photo and ate one, still warm out of the oven with a glass of iced jasmine green tea. Mmmmmmmmm! Tastes like a peach with just a bit of sweet and cinnamon and crust. And just the right amount. Wow. Summer 🙂

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Raw Plum Sauce

Raw Plu Sauce
I first made this plum sauce back in 2009 when I was writing a blog about natural sweeteners called Sweet Savvy.

It was so delicious that it got picked up and published in a cookbook called Locally Delicious.

I made it again this week because plums are in season. I love eating foods that you can only eat at a certain time of year, and now is the time for plum sauce.

I first discovered plum sauce in a Chinese restaurant. It’s part of a dish called Mu Shu Pork. There’s a very thin pancake, you smear on the plum sauce, put the ground pork on top and sprinkle with rice vinegar. One of my all-time favorite dishes.

As I’ve been eating gluten-free, I’ve found that usually the gluten part of a dish does’t have much flavor. The spectacular part of Mu Shu Pork is the plum sauce!

So I make plum sauce and put it on anything! In the photo I made a little stir fry, but you could also use it as a condiment like catsup.

It’s a wonderful way to bring the taste of summer to any dish.

All of the flavoring ingredients can be adjusted to taste—more or less. Start with less and add more to taste.

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BURRATA + GARDEN

burrata

Now that it’s getting to be summer, I just want to encourage you to grow something and eat from your garden. Even if only a few herbs in a pot, bringing your garden to your table is a delicious experience.

Last week I went shopping with my friend Joyce and we picked up a wonderful Italian cheese called burrata. It’s fresh mozzerella with cream inside. Oh so delicious. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby they usually have it. If you have an Italian delicatessen that makes their own cheese (like if you live in Manhattan), that’s the place to buy this.

I wanted the burrata to be the star of the dish and wanted only to enhance it, so I went to my garden and got a few lettuce leaves and chives, drizzled olive oil and local honey on top, and sprinkled a bit of cracked pepper on it.

It was so satisfying to taste my garden with the amazing cheese.

This is my idea of fast food for summer.

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Cucumber Noodles With Asian Peanut Sauce

Cucumber Noodles With Asian Peanut Sauce

As I write this, I’m sitting here eating the very bowl of cucumber noodles in the photo above, and they are delicious!

The first time I ever used a vegetable spiral slicer I made cucumber noodles.

They are fresh and crunchy and a delight to eat all spring and summer.

I have loved peanut sauce since the first moment I tasted it.

Here’s a very yummy quick version that can be used as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. You can modify it to your taste and dietary needs. And if you don’t eat peanuts, try making it with almond butter. You’ll still get the Asian flavor from the other ingredients.

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Vanilla Frittata With Strawberries and Ricotta

vanilla-fritatta-strawberries-ricotta

I first made this in 2008 when I was living in San Francisco. Now that I live in Florida, February is the start of our strawberry season, so this is a good time for me to enjoy this for breakfast.

It would also make a great Valentine’s breakfast, as you can easily trim the strawberry slices around the top into a heart shape.

If strawberries are out of season, you can melt frozen strawberries and mash them into a little sauce for the top, but fresh is best.

Though vanilla in eggs sounds odd, it’s absolutely lovely and transforms the eggs into something special.

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Ginger Limeade

ginger-lime-ade

Ginger Limeade

 

I’ve been seeing ginger limeade around…on a cooking show…in a rack of fresh juices…When I used to drink soda (a long time ago!) I used to always put a squeeze of lime in my ginger ale.

But my preference now is to always eliminate sugar wherever I can, and so I was very happy to discover I can make a wonderful ginger limeade with no sweetener at all.

One day I was making a recipe that called for the juice of half a lime. I had this other half lime so I just squeezed it into a glass and…ginger limeade!

This is so much fresher and alive than any other ginger limeade, and a great pick-me up. Try it!

Make it fresh to get all the benefits of the lime and ginger.

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Cucumber Herb Dip

cucumber herb dip

Cucumber herb dip with celery

 

Cool, refreshing, and healthy, this dip is packed with probiotics from the Greek yogurt and cleansing cucumber

Inspired by a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, I whipped this up in about 5 minutes.

Celery sticks provide the crunch instead of chips.

Actually what I did—after I took the photo—was add more grated cucumber until it was mostly cucumber and ate it with a fork as a salad. So wonderful!

Only a few weeks left to eat this while summer herbs are still available.

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Roasted Tomatoes

roasted-tomatoes-top

 

I LOVE these little bites of summer sweetness. And they are so easy to make.

I use these in a lot of ways. I put them in salads along with fresh tomatoes for a wonderful intense tomato flavor. You can use them as a substitute for canned tomato paste in any sauce and as a replacement for expensive sun-dried tomatoes in any recipe. I just put them in whatever I am eating and even just eat them all by themselves. I often eat them right out of the pan when I take them out of the oven.

You can roast any tomatoes, but I like to roast cherry or grape tomatoes because they are sweetener and already bite-sozed. The photo shows red and yellow and purple tomatoes. This is because I buy boxes of tomatoes with all these colors together at my local natural food store.

While tomatoes are in season now during the summer, it’s a good time to make a lot of roasted tomatoes. You can store them in the freezer to use the, throughout the year (if you can keep from eating them right away!).

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