Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Keeping it fresh

When the weather is really warm, yes I’m talking about those 100 plus days we’ve been having in Southern California, heating up the house to cook can seem torturous!  So, I’ve started looking at the weekly weather forecast before planning our meals.  If it is going to be north of the nineties, we are either grilling or going raw with the menu. 

Summer lunches are such a treat.  Even though Greg is back at work, he can often come home for lunch and though I know we won’t be sharing this meal for much longer when I return to the classroom, for now we are enjoying lunches at home. 

Here are a few examples of how we are keeping it fresh, even as the mercury keeps rising.

Summer Salad

This is a quick and simple preparation.  Toss arugula with some farmer’s market tomatoes (or backyard if you’ve got ‘em, our garden is deader than a doornail due to the drought).  Toss in some shredded basil, fresh mozzarella, toasted pecans (or pinenuts), and dress with a simple balsamic vinegrette. 

Veggie tacos

We do some version of tacos each week, whether its fish or veggie, lunch or dinner. We grill the corn tortillas just to get them warm and slightly crisp.  Either grill your zucchini and warm the tomatoes whole on the grill, then dice (or you could sautee with a little oil in a pan, we have a side burner on our grill, so I’ll often use that versus heating up the kitchen).  I usually season with some cumin to get that tacoy flavor.  Here we have topped them with a spicy sour cream (just stir in some Tapatio) and some crumbled ricotta salata (or you could use cojita cheese).

Tofu steaks with peanut sauce over rice and salads

We did fire up the rice cooker for this one.  Simply marinated tofu steaks (firm tofu cut in half to reduce thickness) in homemade peanut sauce (I’m sure I’ve published my recipe for that somewhere in this blog) then grill until warm.  Serve over rice drizzled with more peanut sauce and be sure to include lots of fresh veggies. We had some leftover purple cabbage salad (which I usually serve with fish tacos) and I spiralized a zucchini and sliced up some bell pepper to make a healthy and colorful plate. 

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