This Monday, like no other, calls for a healthy start. We got home late Saturday night after spending the week in Chicago. We ate way too many things at way too many places… which is generally how our vacations go. The difference this time is that because we’re food blogging now, I’d make the excuse that we were eating in the name of “inspiration”, or even more ridiculous “research.”
While I might have brought home a few new ideas, I also brought home probably a few extra pounds. So this week is gonna be a healthy one. Yesterday we went to the farmers market and loaded up on fresh vegetables. Light, simple, refreshing food is on the agenda (along with some pilates).
I’ve gone on about my love of midwestern corn before. Sweet, juicy, crunchy… the quintessential taste of summer. I’m in Chicago visiting my family this week, and that corn is every bit as good as I remembered. Salt, a little bit of butter, that’s it.
This succotash, I made a few weeks ago at home with what I call “pretty-good” local Texas corn. It’s the kind of that I don’t feel guilty about mixing it up with other things… crunchy colorful vegetables, spicy jalapenos, and some bright herbs. I love a succotash that is rich and creamy, but to keep this on the lighter side I splashed in just a bit of coconut milk.
Serve this room temperature by itself or as a side dish. We managed to have a tiny bit leftover, and it was absolutely delicious cold the next day.
I’ve been a peach purist until this summer. Peaches and cream, cobblers, and peach cakes have never been my thing. Plain ripe peaches with sticky hands and peach juice running down my elbows is more like it… so why mess with a good thing? Because it turns out that sometimes good things can be made even better.
The natural caramelized sweetness that comes out of these peaches straight off the grill is to die for. Paired with contrasting tastes and textures – spicy arugula, creamy fresh mozzarella, crunchy pine nuts, and herb-y pesto… complete perfection. This one has moved to the top of my list for favorite summertime dishes. It’s simple enough to put together for a light weeknight meal, but fancy enough to serve as a starter at your next dinner party… It’s sure to impress even your snobbiest of foodie friends.
I love charred bread, but I haven’t always. When I was younger, my dad ate all the family reject burnt food. Overdone toast, accidentally burnt pancakes, cookies we left in the oven too long… my sister and I had a preference toward underdone and doughy food so whatever we messed up and overcooked, we’d pile on a plate for my dad. And he’d always say “this is the best kind.”
The first time I put burnt toast on a plate for Jack, he looked at me and said “what’s this, am I your dad now?” I had just always assumed that burnt food equalled man food. So over time, I selflessly became the eater of the black toast… not quite as black as my dad would eat but I’ve come to love bread with a nice deep char. Especially in a salad like this.
Toasty garlicky bread cubes kick up your average panzanella… that char offers such a delightful contrast to the juicy tomatoes, sweet basil and fruity olive oil.
Make it a full meal by topping it with a poached egg.
I eat a lot of tacos. Here in Austin, you can’t walk 10 feet without tripping over another taco truck or mexican restaurant. But my favorite thing is actually the taco in it’s deconstructed form: the taco salad.
You can take this in as many different directions as there are taco fillings, but I especially like this with red quinoa (although if you had non-red quinoa it would taste pretty much the same). The chewy little red kernels sort of take on the essence of taco meat.
The rest of the ingredients came together from what I happened to have on hand: half a pint of cherry tomatoes, scallions, a poblano, leftover tortillas, etc. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies, meats and cheeses that you might already have in your kitchen.
This recipe is featured in the summer issue of Foodiecrush.