Tag Archives: Summer

Lavender & Honey Lemonade

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It’s the first day of Summer! And do you know what that means?!

I am wearing shorts.

Zucchini will soon overtake my garden and kitchen.

My hair is never sitting on my neck.

I will eat more gazpacho in two months than in all the other months of the year combined.

And I need an iced cold one. At all times.

But I’m not talking about beer! No… I’m taking about lemonade!

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Summer Fruit Tart

About two weeks ago, I ate nectarines and plums for the very first time. This may seem a shocker for some, but here in Texas, peaches are the “big deal” fruit of the season. However, most peaches around these parts aren’t really ready until July. But the nectarines, plums, and apricots, however, are ready for the picking.

When Edgar first ate a nectarine (same time I did), he confessed that he may like nectarines more than peaches! (To that I responded that it wasn’t peach season yet, so he couldn’t really make that assessment. Winking smile )

When I first ate on, I realized that I needed to turn nectarines into dessert! Stat!

When the sun comes out every year as the mercury rises, I think we all tend to stash away our chocolate desserts and reach for the fresh fruits of the seasons. Since many people I know disliked cooked fruit, I came up with this fruit tart that is only about 2/3 cooked. And given my recent efforts toward simplicity in cooking and baking, I decided to make the crust with almond meal and sweeten the entire dessert with only honey and fruit. Thus, this dessert is grain-free and wholesome. And given the simple construction of this confection, you can easily swap out portions to cater to your own tastes! Red current jam or whipped cream instead of lemon curd? Berries instead of stone fruits? Go ahead and experiment!

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Summer Fruit Tart

8 oz (about 2 cups) almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 oz (1/4 c) solid coconut oil
1 egg
1 T honey

1 full recipe Lemon curd (I followed this recipe exactly. In the interest of respect for other food bloggers, I’m not listing the recipe here. Follow the link and you’ll find the original recipe!)

About 3 each nectarines and plums, pitted and cut into wedges
About 1 tbsp honey. If too thick to spread with a basting brush, thin only SLIGHTLY with warm water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, salt, and cinnamon until integrated. Then add the coconut oil, in pieces, and cut it into the almond meal mixture with a fork until the mix resembles a very coarse meal. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the egg and honey. Then add the egg mix to the almond meal mix and combine until the dough is one well-integrated ball. Set aside.

Line an 8.5×11 baking pan with parchment paper (or omit this step entirely and use a tart pan! In hindsight I think the recipe would be even better this way). You may have to cut the paper narrow to fit inside the pan. This will be used like a sling to help lift the tart out of the pan later. Take the dough and press it into the bottom of the pan on top of the parchment paper. It will be a thin crust and you may have to use a spoon to spread it.

Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes until firm and just barely turning brown on the edges. Allow the crust to cool on a cooling rack for an hour.

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Once cooled, apply the full lemon curd recipe on top of the crust. It will be a little runny. It’s okay. Call it rustic and lick the curd off your fingers when nobody is looking.

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Arrange the nectarine and plum wedges in a pretty pattern on top of the curd. Then brush honey on top of the fruit to glisten!

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Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

Fresh Summer Gazpacho

I tell you what.

It is HOT.

I’m going delirious.

I’m making brash decisions like buying produce I don’t like at the farmers market.

I don’t like cucumbers.

Or raw tomatoes.

Or raw onions.

But the other day as I was stuffing kleenex under my armpits and daydreaming about ice baths, I realized there could be nothing better than chilled, summery, vegetable soup.

I imagined myself on some beach on the Mediterranean coast. I’m wearing a flowy sundress, sunglasses, and my hair is in a knot on the top of my head, but unlike my normal do, this one actually looks cute instead of sloppy.

I’m also eating gazpacho with some rustic white bread baked lovingly that morning by some lady with a buttery European accent. I spoon some of the soup onto the bread before biting into it, which I never do.

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I tell you, the heat is making me delirious!

What really happened is that I walked into the door of my house, cranked my thermostat to 70 degrees, stripped off half my clothes, threw my hair in a sloppy knot and started tossing fresh veggies in a food processor.

24 hours later I changed my mind about cucumbers. This soup hit the spot like no other summer dish could.

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Fresh Summer Gazpacho
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
About 4 healthy servings

1 large cucumber, seeded and diced, but not peeled
2 large FRESH tomatoes, diced
1 large yellow pepper, diced
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree, in a jar or homemade (not canned!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used a combo of regular and this “Orange-Saffron” flavored one I had on hand!)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Roughly chop cucumber, tomatoes, yellow pepper, shallot, and garlic in a food processor. Process until chunky but not smooth. Pour processed veggies into a large glass bowl. Stir in tomato puree, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Flavors will develop more the longer it stays in the fridge, so I highly recommend overnight!

Serve with a hunk of rustic bread. I used the recipe for No-Knead Bread from the NY Times, but used 2/3 white bread flour and 1/3 whole wheat flour.

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Keep in mind that since this is not cooked at all, you should NOT used canned ingredients! It will leave a nasty metallic taste in the soup and ruin the whole thing. Use fresh or jarred without salt or preservatives wherever possible.

A Taste of Summer

Hey everyone!

Want to know what I’ve been up to lately?

Yeah, I haven’t been posting as frequently as desired. Life happens.

For example, a big chunk of my non-work life is spent reading Harry Potter. Edgar has demanded that I must read the entire series before we see Deathly Hallows Part II. Thing is, I’m sorta behind. At the beginning of May, I was still on Chamber of Secrets. Shame on me.

Anyway, I’m now about a third of the way into Order of the Phoenix, but I’ve still got a ways to go before next weekend. Eeps! It can be done, though.

Another thing that took up our long holiday weekend was prepping for our fall garden!

We spent all of Saturday outdoors planting pumpkin seeds and digging up a chunk of yard. It’s nothing to look at right now, but the ground is at least broken so I can start planting seeds in about two weeks.

Edgar also spent the day washing his truck with a natural soap product we picked up a few weeks ago (Dr Bronner Sal Suds. Smells AMAZING). I caught him through the back window. Winking smile

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I also picked the one tomato that has yet grown on my heirloom tomato plant. It’s a late bloomer. I blame the scorching heat and arid climate.

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Edgar and I shared it. I’m not one for raw tomatoes, but this was pretty good!

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Let me share a recipe I served for our 4th cookout!

Blackberry Sun Tea!

 

First, I tossed some frozen blackberries into the bottom of a pitcher. Just enough to sort of cover the bottom. I chose frozen instead of fresh because the frozen will better release their juices when thawed.

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I filled the pitcher with water and drizzled in about 1/4 cup of agave nectar. I would have used honey but mine is crystallized and I was too impatient to deal with it. Plus, agave dissolves in cold water, unlike honey or table sugar. That alone is enough reason for me to keep it around.

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Drop in four regular-sized iced tea bags and sit in the sun for a few hours or until the color is dark.

As luck would have it, this was the first day in many, many months we weren’t being blinded by the sun. In fact, it was rather cloudy. As I was taking this picture, I felt a raindrop, so I moved the pitcher to a shaded spot. However, that drop may have been the only thing to fall from the sky in Plainview that day. Figures.

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After a few hours, take out the tea bags and give the pitcher a good stir. Then serve over ice!

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I love it because it’s very lightly sweet (just enough to take off the bitter tinge of unsweet tea), and has a subtle berry flavor. Great for a blistering hot day when you need a cold refreshment with just enough sugar to keep you functional. Winking smile

 

 

Have you ever tried sun tea?

What did you do for the 4th?

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