Fall vegetables are starting to appear in the markets – lots of different types of squash, beets, cauliflower and cabbage are typical at this time. Hot Dogs or Franks say fall and hot dogs can fit into a healthy diet, if you read the label to make sure you are getting the right type. Check for high sodium and sugar levels in the nutrient list. Ideally, one hot dog should have less than 100 calories, no more than 6 grams of fat (and no more than one-third of that as saturated fat), and no more than 300-400 grams of sodium.
I like to purchase Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Beef Hot Dogs. They contain beef, spices and that’s about it. These hot dogs are free of nitrates and have only 70 calories, 6 grams of fat and 330 mg of sodium. Yes, they taste good and yes, they taste like a hot dog. So when the hot dog craving happens choose wisely. I like to skip the bun and prefer the way they taste cooked in sauerkraut.
Cauliflower fritters are a great way to use up any leftover cauliflower. This recipe makes a delicious side dish.
Franks and Sauerkraut Saute
Serve with your favorite pumpernickel or rye bread.
4 uncured (nitrate free), natural/organic all beef hot dogs
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped red or white onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
Heat a deep skillet with a cover over medium heat.
Melt the butter, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and paprika, cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the sauerkraut and caraway, simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
Add the hot dogs and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes more.
2 cups cooked cauliflower florets
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup green onions or shallots, minced
3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or almond flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Sour cream for serving
In a shallow mixing bowl mash or finely chop the cooked cauliflower. Squeeze out any moisture. Add egg, flour, cheese and spices.
Place a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Place four 1/4 cup fritter mixture in the pan and cook 3 minutes per side.
Don’t turn the fritters until the bottoms are well cooked. Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining fritters and add more oil if needed. Serve with a little sour cream on top of each fritter.
Old Fashioned Baked Beans
I make a big pot of these beans and freeze them in 1 to 2 cup containers, so they are handy for a quick meal. Of course, you can use canned beans but homemade tastes so much better.
1 pound navy beans
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 pieces thick bacon
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup honey
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup Dijon country mustard
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Rinse beans in a colander under water to remove any stones or impurities.
Place the rinsed beans in a large pot or bowl and fill with water to completely cover the beans.
Set aside, loosely covered, on the kitchen counter, overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Cook the bacon in an ovenproof Dutch Oven. When crisp, remove to a paper towel to cool and, then, cut into small pieces.
Drain the beans and place in the Dutch Oven with the onions and the garlic. Mix well.
Add all the remaining ingredients, including the chopped bacon and stir until all contents are well mixed.
Add enough water to cover the beans, about 3 cups, depending on the size of your pot.
Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 4-5 hours – stirring several times during the baking period.
Remove the lid after 3 hours and continue baking for the next hour – to allow the liquid to evaporate into a thick sauce.
Add the kosher salt. Taste the beans and add more salt, if needed.
Making a BBQ dinner for friends is a great way to entertain, especially if the weather cooperates. I enjoy having guests for dinner and I usually plan my menu with dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. That way I am able to spend time with friends rather than doing a lot of food preparations while they are visiting.
You may have noticed that more and more of your friends are following different diets. Some are only eating low carb foods, others are on a Paleo diet, some are diabetic, others vegetarian and some vegan. It is a good idea to check with your friends to see what they can eat. I am always open to planning variations of what I am making to accommodate their diets. In this case a few friends are following a vegan diet, so instead of 8 beef burgers, four are beef and four are made from oats and beans. These vegan burgers are great on the grill, hold up perfectly and do not fall apart. Just be sure your grill is well oiled. The rest of the menu works for everyone.
For 4 servings
20 oz (1 ¼ lbs grass-fed organic ground steak for burgers
Steak seasoning (I like Penzey’s Chicago seasoning)
1 large sweet onion, cut into 4 ½ inch thick slices
Olive oil cooking spray
4 wheat burger buns
Shape the meat into four equal patties, about 5 oz each.
Sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the patties and spray each with olive oil cooking spray.
Coat the onion slices on both sides with cooking spray
Heat an outdoor grill on high. Oil the grill grates. Place the burgers on the grill, cover, cook turning once, for a total of 8 minutes.
Place the onion slices on the grill and cook until grill marks form on the bottom, turn them over with a wide spatula and cook the second side for a total of about 4 minutes.
Toast the rolls at the same time. Place the burgers on the bottom half of the rolls and top with a grilled onion slice.
Serve with ketchup and your favorite burger condiments.
Vegan Bean and Oat Burgers
For 4 servings
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup dry pinto beans
1/4 cup dry red or black beans
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 medium carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for grilling
Grilled Onion slices
4 wheat burger buns
Ketchup or other condiments
Soak the beans overnight in water to cover and cook the next day for 30 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place the oats in the bowl of the processor and process until finely ground.
Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
Remove the mixture from the processor and shape into four patties. Cover with plastic wrap.
Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before grilling.
Brush the patties with olive oil and place on an oiled grill.
Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place on toasted buns and add a grilled onion slice. Serve with ketchup or other condiments.
Whole-Wheat Burger Buns
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the flours, yeast, salt, wheat gluten and baking soda.
Add the warm water, honey and oil. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together around the paddle.
Switch to the dough hook and knead on low until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky.
Place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.
Punch down the dough and divide into 6 smooth balls
Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet, a few inches apart or in a greased burger baking pan.
Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool.
Zucchini Fennel Salad
1 large zucchini, sliced very thin
Half red onion, sliced very thin
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
12 Italian green olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
In a large serving bowl, combine the zucchini, onion, olives and fennel.
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well.
Pour over the zucchini mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for several hours until chilled before serving.
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 8 medium peaches)
2-3 tablespoons agave nectar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 – 1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit and the agave nectar. Spread the mixture evenly in an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir the oil into the topping mix with a fork until you get a crumbly mixture forms.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking pan.
Bake for 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.
Cook an easy, elegant, restaurant quality dinner at home. Make the meal special by placing a bouquet of flowers on the table and getting a good bottle of wine. This picture just says – relax!
Salad With Roasted Beets, Blue Cheese and Pistachios
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 bunch small golden beets, trimmed of leaves and washed well
4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
¼ of a red onion, sliced very thin
4 ounces blue cheese, cut into cubes
1/3 cup shelled, toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Homemade croutons, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the beets on a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and seal the ends to create a package.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender. Cool; peel and slice or cut into ½ inch pieces. Transfer to a small bowl.
Make the vinaigrette:
Combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined
Toss the beets with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Set aside until ready to prepare the salad.
Place the romaine and onion in a salad bowl and toss with some of the remaining vinaigrette.
Add the beets, pistachios and blue cheese and toss gently. Top with croutons, if using.
Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon
2 filet mignon steaks, (5 to 6 ounces each, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black peppercorns
2 teaspoons olive oil
Red Wine Sauce
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
Coarse salt to taste
For the beef:
Season the beef filets very generously on both sides with the salt and pepper, patting it firmly. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Move the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
Place the steaks in the skillet and cook, without moving the steaks, until a dark brown crust has formed, about 3 minutes.
Using tongs, turn the steaks over and cook until well browned on the second side, about 3 minutes.
Place the skillet in the oven and roast the steaks 5 minutes for rare or 7 minutes for medium-rare to medium.
Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes, then serve with the sauce.
For the red wine sauce:
Place 1 cup red wine in a small saucepan; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from the pan from the heat and add the butter. Stir the sauce until the butter is melted and the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.
Season with salt according to taste, if needed.
Steak dinners are special and you don’t need to go to a steakhouse to get a great steak dinner. Easy to do at home. Choosing a cut of steak may seem an intimidating task as there are so many to choose from. When choosing your cut, it should be moist rather than dry or slimy. Look for firm, fine-grained meat with a light marbling of fat – without this the steak will be dry once cooked. Any fat on the edges of the steak should be creamy-colored and the meat should be deep burgundy in color, not bright red. Rib-eyes, strip steaks, top sirloin steaks and T-bone steaks are familiar and delicious; you can’t go wrong with any of them. My choice and just the right size for a special dinner are New York strip steaks also called Delmonico steaks. The biggest mistake cooks make when grilling steak is that they overcook it. I prefer organic, grass-fed meat and that type of steak is very easy to overcook. Grass-fed beef cooks much more quickly than regular beef. To make these steaks delicious – use a marinade and follow the directions for the cooking time below. If you cook regular beef, the steaks will need a few more minutes on the grill than grass-fed beef. All you need then are some great side dishes. Dinner party a success!
Marinated Grass-Fed Steak
Six 1-inch-thick top loin (New York strip/Delmonico) bone-in, organic, grass-fed (8 to 10 oz. each) steaks, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
8 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
For the marinade:
In a medium bowl, mix the oil with the soy sauce, the Worcestershire, mustard, vinegar, half of the thyme and garlic.
Put the steaks in a large dish and coat them with the marinade mixture.
Cover the bowl and marinate the steaks in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
Sprinkle the steaks with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 4 teaspoons pepper.
Clean and oil the grill grates. Heat one burner to medium high and the second burner to medium low.
While the grill heats, let the steaks rest at room temperature.
Place the steaks over the hotter part of the fire.
Cook, covered, 2 minutes per side. If the steaks are thinner then only grill for 1 minutes per side.
Using an instant meat thermometer, check the temperature of the meat.
If it is 120-125 degrees F, remove the steaks to a serving plate.
If the temperature is lower than 120 degrees F, move the steaks to the low heat burner.
Continue to grill until the temperature reaches 120 degrees F.
Transfer the steaks to a large serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining thyme and let rest five minutes before serving.
4 pounds red-skinned potatoes
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley and chives
Place the potatoes, unpeeled, in a large saucepan with salted water to cover.
Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool.
When cool enough to handle, peel them. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
(The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point. Drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil, cover and refrigerate until ready to saute.)
Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold potatoes in one layer. When oil is quite hot, add potatoes.
Cook over high heat, shaking skillet and stirring gently, until lightly browned. Turn potatoes with a spatula.
Cook for a few minutes more until light brown.
Add butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss and blend well. Sprinkle with parsley and chives. Serve immediately.
Stuffed Grilled Zucchini
Start the zucchini on the low heat side of the grill about 5 minutes before you put the steaks on the grill.
3 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 chopped plum tomato
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped deli sliced pepper rings
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in.ch thick shells. Brush with oil; set aside.
Chop the zucchini pulp.
In a large skillet, saute the zucchini pulp, celery and onion in oil. Add garlic and tomato; cook 1 minute longer.
Add the dried bread crumbs; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped pepper rings, parsley and salt. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini shells.
Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until zucchini is tender and the top of the stuffing begins to brown.
remove the cooked zucchini to a serving dish. cover with foil until the steaks are ready to be served.
August means summer and it is a good time to take advantage of all the great produce at the market. Tomatoes are tasting good now, lots of corn around, as well as eggplant, peaches and blueberries. Take advantage of the grill. Pair pasta with lots of vegetables. Make colorful salads. Seafood is in season, so pair it with tomatoes or seasonal vegetables. Lots of delicious meals ahead for the month.
There are several cuts of beef that work well in making steak burgers including: Brisket, Hanger, Short rib, Steak tail and/or Sirloin and when combined with chuck or each other, they can create some of the best-tasting Burgers around. Get creative with your toppings. While bacon and cheese are ever popular, I like to create healthier toppings from what is seasonally available. So my toppings incorporate tomatoes, peppers and onions.
You can actually roast the peppers on the grill. After the grill is heated, oil the grates and place the peppers directly on the hot grill. Rotate them as they blacken. As soon as all the sides are blackened, place the peppers in a paper bag to cool. when they are cool enough to touch, remove the stem and seeds and pull off the skin. The peppers are then ready to place on top of the burgers.
Serve these burgers with a Greek Salad.
- 1 1/3 lbs grass-fed organic ground beef steak for burgers
- Steak seasoning (I like Penzey’s Chicago seasoning)
- 4 sturdy burger rolls (recipe link for my homemade rolls)
- 1/2 cup tomato jam (recipe link)
- 2 whole roasted red peppers
- 1 medium onion sliced and sautéed in butter
Shape the meat into four equal patties. If you want to make just two servings, freeze two of the burgers for another time.
Sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the patties and spray each with olive oil cooking spray.
Heat an outdoor grill on high. Oil the grill grates. Place burgers on the grill, cover, cook turning once, for 8 minutes total.
Toast the rolls at the same time. Place the burgers on the bottom half of the rolls.
Assemble the burgers by placing 2 tablespoons of tomato jam on each patty, then one-quarter of the onions and top each with half of a roasted red pepper. Place the roll tops on the burgers and serve.
Greek Vegetable Salad
For 2 servings
- Half of a red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 4 Tuscan pickled peppers
- Half of a cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large salad bowl, combine the onion, olives, bell peppers, Tuscan peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.
Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, agave and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss and serve.
Creamy Zucchini Pasta
Serve with Stuffed Tomatoes, recipe below.
- Salt to taste
- 8 ounces penne or other short pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 small sweet onion
- 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
- 1 large zucchini, about one pound
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or a combination of herbs you like
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain.
Slice the zucchini into ½ inch circles and then cut each circle into little logs.
Cut the onion in the same manner, so that the pieces are about the same size as the zucchini.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic, stir and, then, add the zucchini.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and tender. Do not let it brown.
Add the chile flakes and stir. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Let cook on low heat until thickened a bit.
Stir the basil into the sauce, add the cooked pasta and let the pasta cook in the sauce for a minute or two.
Turn off the heat. Toss with the Parmesan cheese and serve.
- 2 vine-ripened medium-sized tomatoes
- 1/2 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp and seeds.
Salt the insides of the tomato shells and set upside down on a paper towel to drain, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs, 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese and the oil.
Stuff the tomatoes with the filling, sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
Place the tomatoes in a small oiled baking dish and bake the tomatoes until cooked through and the tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
For the corn stock ingredients
- 12 corn cobs (corn kernels removed and set aside for the chowder)
- 2 chive stalks
- 2 stems fresh parsley
- 2 stems fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
Put corn cobs, chives, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and cold water to cover in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours. Strain, discard the solids and measure the broth.
If you do not have 6 cups add water to make the 6 cups. Set aside the broth.
For the chowder ingredients
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 leeks, white and light green sections, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 carrots, diced
- 1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
- 6 cups corn stock or vegetable broth if you don’t make the corn stock
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Grated cheddar cheese, chopped chives or crumbled bacon, for garnish
Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.
Add the leeks, celery, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno and potatoes to the pot and saute for ten minutes until soft.
Add 3 cups of the corn, the 6 cups corn stock, chili powder and the thyme.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Remove the thyme branches.
Take the pot off the heat and puree the contents with an immersion blender.
Add the half and half, salt and pepper to taste and the remaining 3 cups of corn.
Return the pot to the heat and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.
Gulf of Maine Redfish Poached in Puttanesca Sauce
Acadian Redfish, also known as ocean perch, are caught in the Gulf of Maine (deep waters off the coasts of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire). The fish I purchased is certified, wild caught and sustainable. Fish cooked this way is so tasty and tender.
- 1 ¼ pounds Maine redfish of other boneless white fish fillets, cut into 4 equal pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 small onion or 1 large shallot, diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons dry red wine
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 cups seeded and finely diced fresh plum tomatoes, about 8-9
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper chile flakes
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 3 oz thin spaghetti or linguine
For the puttanesca sauce
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan with a cover over medium-high heat until hot.
Saute the onions and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes, and then stir in the wine, olives, capers and anchovy paste, tossing to combine.
Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, stir in the tomato paste, followed by the oregano and red pepper flakes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Cook the pasta al dente. Drain
For the fillets
Dry the fillets well with paper towels. Score the skin of each fillet three times with a sharp knife.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bring the sauce to a boil, again. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the fish fillets, skin side down.
Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 6 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Divide the pasta between two plates and place the fish and sauce over the pasta to serve.
July’s dinner recipes take full advantage of all the wonderful, seasonal produce available at this time of year. Where I live, this month is just about the end of the local growing season, too hot, while many of you are just reaping the benefits of gardens begun just a few months ago. And, for me, it is also too hot to grill. What you say! Since I am fortunate to be able to grill 12 months a year, the thrill is not seasonal. Some days I do not want to deal with the heat and the hot grill. So. many of my meals on these very hot days are prepared in an air-conditioned house.
Garden Fresh Meatloaf
Serve with a green bean salad and fried Italian peppers, recipes below.
2 lbs. grass-fed, organic, lean ground beef
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
Half of a large green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Half pint grape tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup of your favorite fresh herbs, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup ketchup
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup water
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add all the diced vegetables and garlic to the skillet and cook until tender.
Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the beef in a mixing bowl. Add the cooked vegetables, beaten eggs, ketchup, water and bread crumbs.
Combine thoroughly and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan.
Bake the meatloaf until an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F, about 60-75 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes and then unmold, slice and serve.
Green Bean Salad
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a serving bowl; set aside.
For the green beans:
Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil; add the beans and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and toss with the vinaigrette, oregano, feta and onion.
Chill before serving.
Italian Fried Peppers
10-12 long Italian frying peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, sliced thin
½ teaspoon crushed fennel seed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash and dry the peppers.
Heat a large saute pan over medium to high heat and add just enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds
Add the peppers and season with salt and pepper. Turn the peppers over a few times to coat in oil.
Add the fennel and oregano and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Can be served at room temperature.
Shrimp Tacos For Two
Serve this entrée with a cucumber salad. Recipe below.
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic grated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
4 corn tortillas
Homemade Tomato Salsa, recipe link
Shredded Garden Leaf lettuce
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese
Combine olive oil, lime juice, cumin, paprika, garlic and red pepper in a zip-top plastic bag, add the shrimp and seal. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Remove shrimp from the bag; discard marinade. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Arrange the shrimp on the pan and grill 2 minutes on each side.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat 4 corn tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and place them in a metal taco holder.
Place the holder in the oven and heat the tortillas until just beginning to get crispy, about 10 minutes.
Remove the holder from the oven and fill each shell with shrimp, tomato salsa, cheese and shredded lettuce.
Cucumber Salad with Ranch Dressing
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced into 1/4″-thick half-moons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small sweet onion sliced into thin rounds and halved
¼ cup ranch dressing (recipe link here)
Chopped fresh dill, optional for garnish
Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Alternate the cucumber and onion slices on a serving plate. Drizzle with the ranch dressing, garnish with dill, if using, and serve.
This is a great one pot meal. If you do not have access to fresh cherry peppers, you can use the jarred version instead.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
All-Purpose flour, Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
½ cup dry white wine
A dozen fresh sweet red cherry peppers, halved and seeded
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes, optional
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the potatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.
Season the chicken with a 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess.
Cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
Return the potatoes to the skillet.
Add the wine, artichoke hearts, red chile flakes, if using, and cherry peppers.
Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Stir in the oregano and serve.
Grilled Greek Salmon
Serve with a Tabbouleh Salad (click here for recipe link), Tzatziki Sauce and Pita Bread or Chips.
Sumac is a middle eastern spice that’s tangy and a little tart. If you don’t have it, use more lemon zest instead.
1 1/2 lbs fresh salmon fillets, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sumac
Tzatziki Sauce, recipe below
Mix together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dill, dried oregano, crushed red pepper and sumac in a plastic ziplock bag.
Place the salmon fillets in the bag and close the bag.
Gently massage the marinade into the fish to coat it evenly, refrigerate and allow the fish to marinade for about 30 minutes.
Heat an outdoor grill to medium high.
Place the fish on a foil lined baking sheet skin-side down, turn the foil edges up and pour the marinade over the fish.
Slide the foil onto the grill, close the lid and cook the salmon for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the foil from the grill by sliding the foil back on the baking sheet.
You can also cook the salmon in the oven.
Bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Spoon some Tzatziki Sauce over the top and serve with Tabbouleh Salad and pita chips or bread.
This sauce is delicious on top of grilled salmon.
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 1/4 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Place the yogurt in a medium bowl.
Grate the cucumber on a box grater onto a paper towel, roll up and squeeze the towel to remove some of the liquid.
Add it to the yogurt along with the remaining ingredients and stir.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.