Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summer Faves

It is so very clear now that the summer days are coming to an end. I of course mean the official season of summer, since the actual feeling of summer is long gone. During the transitional period, I was having panic attacks about it - stressed about balancing school and multiple works and putting my house on the market, and upset about my lack of a summer vacay. But now that I am almost completely crossed over into the new school-year lifestyle, I know everything will be fine. I am actually really looking forward to the fall season...the leaves, the warm food, and the non-unbearable weather. We are already experiencing chilly mornings and a lil' bit of fall color :)

During the summer, I was lucky to reap the benefits of friends with garden
s as well as the ever-bountiful WonderLab garden. We've had some really delicious eggplant, tomato, and squash, and I found some new favorite recipes that worked well with the season. Also, I realized I want to try to plant a vegetable garden at my next house. It's a hell of a lot of work, I know, but wouldn't it be so nice?
My #1 summer fave is this amazing broiled eggplant, onion, and hummus sandwich that I made after trying a super-bland eggplant and hummus sandwich at Bloomingfood's a while back. The BFood's sandwich was JUST eggplant and hummus on bread. blah. So, I decided it would be best to toast the bread, spread both sides with a layer of hummus, pile up thinly-sliced eggplant and red onion (both broiled with olive oil, salt & pepper) on one half, mixed greens on the other half, and top it off with black pepper and a touch of salt. Oh my goodness...this thing is da bomb. So it wins the gold prize for summer food love. The picture above was taken on a night when I packed a couple of these up with some Miller Lite tallboys and popcorn to take to the Starlite Drive-In. It was fun. Another summer fave is this summer corn salad that is delicious either warm or cold. This is an adaptation of a recipe from The Red Cat Cookbook, which I received as a gift last Christmas. I am especially fond of the added soybeans, which make it a delicious full meal, all on its own.
Summer Corn Salad
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into bite-size pieces
fresh kernels removed from from 6 ears of corn (don't use frozen)
5-6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can soybeans, drained and rinsed
juice and zest from one lemon
approximately 1/4 c. olive oil
1 T. chopped thyme
1 T. chopped fresh basil
1 clamshell package of arugula

Boil potatoes in salted water for about 5 minutes, or until tender when pierced, drain (it is best to fish them out or use a pasta pot so you won't lose the hot water), and add to a very large mixing bowl. Return the water to a boil and add the asparagus, cooking for about 2 minutes or until bright green, but crisp. Remove asparagus from water and add to the large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T. olive oil in a wide, deep saute-pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the corn and toast until beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes until heated through and beginning to break apart. Add soybeans to the pan and stir together until heated through.

Add corn mixture to the large mixing bowl and top with lemon juice, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a hefty drizzle of olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, add thyme and basil, and mix to combine. (Note: if you are not eating all of the salad right away, reserve the basil to top the individual portions. It will turn brown if left overnight.) Serve salad on top of a bed of arugula when warm or refrigerate and serve cool.

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