Just because summer is “officially” over with the coming and going of Labor Day, doesn’t mean you have to immediately stop making your favorite summer foods. Summer doesn’t really end until September 21st so we still have a few weeks to make all the barbecue, fruit cobblers and potato salads that we didn’t get a chance to all throughout June, July and August!
I have been lucky to get my hands on a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, It’s All Good. I borrowed the book and it will be a very sad day when I have to finally return it so I have been on a rampage, making my way through the recipes quickly so I can take notes on all the good ones I liked! I owe Gwyneth an apology. Well not really, because I’m sure she doesn’t care that I thought she was a big old snob and I might have made fun of her for pretending she knew anything about cooking because every celeb thinks they can write a book or worse a cookbook. Most cannot but G.P. really can. Sorry for doubting you, G.P.!
Philadelphia has been in the midst of a major heat wave so I had been planning on making chilled soup. The Jersey corn on the cob at the Farmer’s Market looked so good that I bought enough to have two nights in a row. One night we cooked it on the grill, in its husks Bobby Flay style–which was seriously the best corn on the cob I’ve ever had. Remove most of the husks but leave just enough to protect the corn from getting burnt. Soak it for a while in a pot of water and then put directly on the grill. The result is the most delicious corn ever. Try this immediately!
But the soup–this was equally as impressive as the corn on the cob. When I saw the recipe called for a serrano chile, my first instinct was to remove the seeds, even though the directions said otherwise. Please for the love of anything listen to whoever wrote this recipe because he/she KNOWS what he/she is talking about.
Like most people I know, I think samples are the best thing about any trip to a grocery store. I used to put up with the most hectic family trips imaginable to Costco because of the free food. (I still say, Costco on a Sunday is the scariest place in any suburban community.) And even though Whole Foods is considerably more expensive than most markets I shop at, the free stuff on Saturdays makes it more than worth my while.
Usually I scarf down the sample and listen to the Whole Foods employee go on and on and on about how wonderful what I’m eating is, and how I should buy it. I keep nodding…and keep eating while pretending to be interested but we both know that I have no intention of purchasing this treat, no matter how delectable.
That was until I tried a sample of a Grilled Summer Squash and Brie Sandwich. I was actually searching for something to whip up for lunch and then I spotted a Whole Foods lady making the sandwiches–grilling away with brie oozing out of every end. She informed me where the brie was and that it was on sale and I was S-O-L-D.
I picked up the rest of the ingredients, went home and made this immediately. And you should, too. Because it was really freaking good. And kinda good for you. Probably not really, but there are vegetables involved, so we can pretend.
2 zucchini or medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons of EVOO
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-cut slices of round country bread
1 large garlic glove, split
10 ounces of Brie cheese, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
1 cup sunflower, radish, or other sprouts
Prepare the grill for medium-high heat cooking or preheat the broiler. Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or broil, turning once or twice, until tender and nicely browned, 6-8 minutes. Set aside.
Grill or broil bread until just lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. Rub bread on both sides with garlic; discard the garlic. Cover tops of slices with Brie; place on a cool part of the grill and cover the grill or broil until the cheese is somewhat melted. Top with grilled squash, tomatoes and sprouts. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.
I am chomping at the bit for summer, which is now only a few weeks away! I cannot wait to retire my winter clothes and leather jacket that I’ve been forced to wear every morning for sundresses and sandals.
With the warmer weather, I find myself craving lighter food options like most people. Sometimes, it’s the most simple of dishes that I crave like this delicious yet dumbed-down pasta salad. Comprised of only a few ingredients: garden pasta, shaved carrots, plum tomatoes, red peppers and basil for some sweetness, it’s the perfect balance of satisfying and lightness. Drizzle in some olive oil, mix up and serve.
The colors really pop and will stand out on any picnic table, too. Not that you can tell how pretty this salad is from the picture because my camera is regular old point-and-shoot and despite all of the journalism classes I took in college, I’ve never learned how take a proper photograph. I’m still trying to learn, but I’m probably just a lost cause with this one–sorry!
What lighter foods do you crave in the summer time?