Final Fling: End of Summer Bites

There’s still time to enjoy the best of summer, without resorting to “it’s complicated.” With flavors at their peak, keeping things simple is the best way to go.

For starters, heirloom tomatoes are worth every penny. So splurge one last time! Simply season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Or slice and serve with fresh avocado (a winter crop in summer’s clothing) or goat milk yogurt and basil.

Peaches are best undressed. While I love a good cobbler or pie, the best way to enjoy them for dessert on warm summer nights is au naturel.

For a refreshing hors d’oeuvre that takes no time, slice a cucumber and top with smoked salmon. Party bonus: The colors will pop on a buffet table.

Mixed company? The options above will make it easy for all dietary persuasions to partake!

Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Grill Me: Calling for Meat Recipes

My meat-cooking skills are in a rut. We’ve endured endless pork tenderloins, ground turkey tacos and crockpot experiments. It’s time for a change!

With the arrival of a new grill in the coming weeks, I’ll finally be able to try out BBQ tips and tricks. But in the meantime, I need help! Please share your favorite meats, cuts and recipes. I’ll test out and blog the best of ‘em!

Ribs @ Tank House

Put an Egg on It: Frozen Fan

You can have your hash, and eat it too – without messing up the kitchen. Simply microwave a frozen meal compromised of veggies, grains and/or beans in a bowl, and then top it with a fried egg or two. I used Amy’s Organic Quinoa & Black Beans with Butternut Squash & Chard.

In no time you’ll be singing “Let it go!” to anyone who bad mouths TV dinners. (Just make sure to find one that uses all natural, wholesome ingredients.)

Goat Milk Yogurt Caprese Salad

Love a good caprese, but mozzarella got you down? Simply layer goat milk yogurt in between each slice of tomato for a creamy (but not overpowering) substitute. Finish with olive oil, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Cool as a Cucumber Yogurt & Lox Salad

Last weekend I whipped up another summer-inspired salad to-go using sliced cucumbers, lox and goat milk yogurt. Mix equal parts of each to your liking, and you’re off!

Thai Pulled Pork Soup

Here’s a great way to get a takeout-like Thai soup, using leftover pulled pork.

Start by adding pork to a sauce pan over medium; cook meat until it’s warm but don’t let it over cook. Add a quart of broth and bring to a simmer. Add noodles, fish sauce, basil and mint; cook until desired consistency. Enjoy!

Thai Peanut Crock-Pot Pork and Coconut Milk-Steamed Potatoes

Tonight’s dinner was a Thai spin on slow cooked meat and potatoes, minus the caloric unknowns of takeout. Even with my simplified and somewhat clumsy hybrid of Domestic Superhero’s Crock Pot Thai Peanut Pork and Eats Well with Others’ Coconut Potato Curry, the crock pot generated heavenly smells all afternoon, and the potatoes turned out oh so tender.

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Here’s what to do:

In the crock pot, place a pork tenderloin followed by a jar or so (drained) of roasted red (bell) peppers, 1/2 cup of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Sprinkle 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of peanut butter around the liquid. Set the crock pot on low for 6-7 hours.

Midway through, turn loins over and distribute peppers over the top to keep meat moist.

Towards the end of the cooking time, shred meat in the pot and let it cook in its own juices until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, drizzle about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium to low heat. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cumin, followed by 1/2 cup soaked and chopped cashews, and stir to coat. (Keep heat low so cashews don’t burn.) Add about 1 pound red potatoes and toss to coat. Next, add a mixture of 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp tomato paste, followed by a can of lite coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 bag of frozen peas.

Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender; turn potatoes from time to time. (If needed, add almond milk to bring the liquid level to the mid point of the potatoes.)

Serve shredded pork in a bowl with the potatoes, peas and coconut milk broth. Enjoy the clearing of your sinuses!

Lox, Avocado & Goat Cheese Salad

The highly compatible combination of smoked salmon, avocado, goat cheese and spinach are perfect for a healthy and filling lunch on the run.

In about 3 minutes, you can toss pre-washed spinach in a bowl, add lox right from its package (cut if desired once it’s in the bowl), scoop in half an avocado, then drop in a pat of goat cheese and finish with olive oil. Slap on a lid and go!

Put an Egg On It: Quinoa & Avocado

Ever have one of those mornings where protein is the only thing that will satisfy your hunger? Here’s a healthy way to tame the beast:

Warm a thin layer of pre-cooked (cold leftovers works great) quinoa with a bit of melted butter in a skillet (cast iron will prevent burning). Crack eggs over the top, season with salt, cover and reduce heat to low.

Once they’re close to set, remove from heat to finish cooking through, and serve immediately with avocado.

Put an Egg on It: Beg, Borrow & Meal Breakfast

Leftover Mexican food provides a deceivingly complex base for sunny side up eggs!

Simply cook the leftovers (in this case, refried beans and half an enchilada) on low and then crack eggs over the top and cook covered until set. All the flavors of the original dish are enhanced by the runny eggs. Tastes fancy, but it’s fuss-free.

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