Two Great Light Summer Recipes and One Not So Light Dessert!

As we approach the middle of summer, I want to share with you 2 delicious light summer recipes and 1 pretty amazing not so light dessert.

Summer Squash Tacos with Avocado Chimichurri

Summery tacos stuffed with zucchini, yellow squash, corn, tomatoes and black-eyed peas. Top with a dollop of avocado chimichurri sauce for a sublime summer meal. This recipe happens to be vegan and gluten free, too. You could add any meat of your choice, but as a meat eater, I find these Tacos very satisfying just the way they are.

Ingredients

  • Tacos
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 ear of corn, husked and kernels sliced off from the cob
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 small zucchinis, ribboned or chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, ribboned or chopped
  • salt and black pepper
  • big handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas or black beans (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
  • about 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 radishes, sliced super thin using a mandoline, vegetable peeler or knife
  • Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1 cup parsley, lightly packed (mostly leaves, some small stems are ok)
  • small handful cilantro
  • 1 avocado, pitted, sliced into chunks and skin removed
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small lime, juiced or 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. First, make the chimichurri sauce. In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime juice or vinegar. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container once or twice. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil and water. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and process again to blend well. Use a spatula to transfer the sauce to a small bowl and cover it.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the red onion and corn for about 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the jalapeño, zucchini, yellow squash and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or longer, stirring often, until the squash has lost a substantial amount of water. Reduce the heat to low and add the cherry tomatoes and black-eyed peas, stirring until the mixture is heated through. Remove the taco filling from heat and set aside.
  3. In a small pan over medium heat, heat each tortilla on both sides for a few seconds until warmed. Or, stack the tortillas on a plate, cover and microwave for a few seconds, until warmed through. Spoon taco filling into the middle of each tortilla. Top with ample chimichurri sauce (don’t skimp) and sliced radish. Serve immediately

Author: Cookie and Kate

 

My 2nd recipe is one of my favorite cold side dishes. Cold Noodle Salad with Peanut Lime Chicken. Since it is served with Chicken  it could be served as a side dish or an entree lunch salad. You could serve it without the protein to make it a vegetarian meal.

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Serves 4 generously, 6 moderately

Dipping sauce
6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
12 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chiles, thinly sliced, to taste

Peanut dressing
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
9 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of cayenne

Chicken and noodle salad
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
Additional vegetables, as suggested above
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)

Make the dipping sauce: Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.

Make the peanut dressing: In a blender or small food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.

Marinate the chicken: Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.

Cook the chicken: Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.

To serve: At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:

Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Adapted from David Tanis by Smitten Kitchen

Last but not least is this tangy, moist cake made with thawed Lemonade. It gives the cake so much flavor, you will WOW your guests with this cake.

Lemonade Layer Cake

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • Frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. To prepare cake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.
  3. Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. To prepare frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.
  5. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.
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