Summer

"Nude" Berry Tartlets and Why I Can't Be a Raw Foodie

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by Susan Russo

fruittartA rawist is a person who consumes primarily raw food, (or all raw food in some cases).

Now a rawist should not to be confused with a nudist. A nudist could be a rawist, but not necessarily so - it really just depends on what they eat. We actually have plenty of both here in California. As it turns out, however, I am neither.

Don't get me wrong, I like raw foods plenty - love peaches, kiwis, cucumbers, and tomatoes. But the thought of eating solely uncooked food seems, well, not fun. I cannot imagine life without grilled eggplant, roasted carrots, or, heaven forbid, stuffed artichokes.

A couple years ago when I was feeling particularly in touch with my natural-girl-self, I attended a talk in LA given by a rawist woman (wearing clothes) who made claims like, "Raw foods will cleanse your system!" "Raw foods make your skin glow!" and "Raw foods will make you healthy and improve your sex life!" I remember during the talk thinking, "Geeze, the only thing raw foods couldn't do is solve the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Or could it?"

Sangria with Sparkling Wine and Stone Fruit

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by Joseph Erdos

summersangrisFor an excellent summer refresher, perfect for a picnic or party this upcoming Labor Day, how about trying this recipe for sangria? Using in-season stone fruit, this recipe is the perfect way to celebrate (or mourn) the end of summer. Feel free to use whichever fruit you choose, but it is especially nice with fresh, ripe stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines, and/or plums. Mangoes, pluots, or cherries would also make a nice addition. I happened to use a white peach, a white nectarine, and a white pluot.

For the spirit, a peach or plum brandy works especially well (try a plum Palinka from Hungary), but any other brandy works fine too. Many white wine sangria recipes call for the addition of sugar and soda, but there is no need if you use a sweet sparkling wine. Sweet sparkling wines such as Asti, semi-seco Cava, demi-sec Champagne, or Prosecco work the best.

The addition of peach nectar to the sangria is reminiscent of a Bellini, a cocktail of Prosecco and peach purée that was invented in the late 1930s at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. So, if like me you were unable to take a trip this summer, grab a glass of sangria and let your mind wander.

Nectarine and Raspberry Crumble. It's Not a Cobbler or a Crisp.

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by Susan Russo

nectarinecobblerIt's that time of year again when people everywhere find themselves completely confused about crisps, crumbles, and cobblers, not to mention brown bettys, slumps, and grunts. I think I'm finally starting to remember. How 'bout you? Think you know the difference yet? Let's find out.

(Click here to cue Jeopardy music.)

1. This dessert has a dough-like crust, which can be enclosed or made as a biscuit topping.
What is a ___________.

2. This dessert is made by mixing fruit with sugar and spices and topping it with a streusel, which is a mixture of butter, sugar, flour, and nuts.
What is a ___________.

3. This dessert is made by mixing fruit of your choice with sugar and spices then topping it with a crisp mix made of butter and sugar and a binding agent such as flour or oatmeal.
What is a _____________.

OK, hands off the keyboard, folks. Let's see how you did.

What to do With Sweet Summer Corn

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by Editors

From the LA Times

sweetcornYou’ll find bins full of corn at farmers markets and supermarkets. These usually aren’t your parents’ ears, though – remember the old advice about the only way to cook it was to have the water boiling when you went out into the field? New varieties of corn have been bred to be sweeter and to hold on to that sugar longer before it converts to starch. It’s convenient corn.

How to choose: Ears should be well filled out (check the tips of the ears to make sure there are kernels), and make sure the silk is still soft, not dried out. Don't shuck the whole ear before buying, though; it makes the farmers really cranky.

How to store: Corn should be refrigerated, tightly wrapped.

How to prepare: If you haven't already tried grilled corn, you really need to.

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Tarragon Coleslaw

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by Cathy Pollak

tarragon-coleslawWhat potluck or summer gathering would be complete without the addition of some kind of coleslaw? I have to admit I have an affection for this shredded cabbage dish.

What amazes me is how many variations there are to this simple side. The list of ingredients seem to vary by region and season. Has anyone ever tried a North Carolina version of coleslaw? It is made with ketchup and vinegar, which sounds really different to me. I haven't really wrapped my head around that one yet. I have made a Tennessee version, which is mustard based and I really like it.

And it's not just the ingredients in coleslaw that vary, but how and what it's served with is also diverse. Coleslaw is most often found as side dish to barbecued meats. However, it's also the quintessential side for a fish fry and is found on top of hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches everywhere.

Best Simple Boiled Corn on the Cob

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by James Moore

sweetcornFresh corn on the cob just seems to be a summer tradition for most people. It’s so simple to do, but everyone I know seems to use a different method – grilled, steamed, boiled, microwaved.

When I was growing up, we picked fresh corn from the garden and it was thrown into a pot of boiling water, cooked briefly, stacked on a large platter, slathered with butter and placed in the center of the table.

It’s still my favorite method, although grilling is a close second. This recipe is pretty fool proof and brings out the natural sweetness of fresh corn.

Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad

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by Amy Sherman

roastedcornblackbeansaladThis recipe for Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad is brought to you by the fresh corn, leftover cotija cheese and a can of beans. And that lazy feeling that strikes during the Summer for something delicious yet easy. Like most everyone, I love fresh corn. Eight ears for 2 dollars? Sold!

When corn is sweet it's a cinch to prepare. In addition to adding it to a salad, my other favorite ways to prepare it are making corn chowder (I make a different version just about very time) and on the cob, slathered with mayo and dredged in crumbled cheese served with a wedge of lime.

While corn should be cooked soon after picking or purchasing, cotija cheese is the exact opposite. I bought cotija for some recipe or another and found the leftover cheese lasted and lasted. Like other Mexican cheeses, it's inexpensive, and easy to use. Cotija is a crumbly cheese, less salty than feta, but a little goes a long way. The beans in this recipe make the salad feel hearty and substantial. I suppose you could make it with canned or frozen corn all year round, but it really feels like a Summer dish to me. 

Light and Tasty Lobster Salad

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by Lisa McRee

lobstersaladongreenswideThere is no place I’d rather be in the summer than the breathtaking coast of Maine...And nothing I’d rather eat, anytime of year, than Maine lobster.

But if you can’t get to Maine, here’s a way to experience the region’s magical flavors (and this year’s record setting lobster harvest) in a healthy and delicious way: Skinny Lobster Salad and Light Lobster Rolls.

Unlike the salads and rolls you’ll find at the ubiquitous lobster stands that dot the roadsides of Maine, this one has no mayonnaise…which lets the natural flavor of the sweet lobster come through and drastically cuts the calories and fat.

(On it’s own, lobster is a fairly low calorie and nutrition dense food…with just 145 calories, less than a gram of fat and 29 grams of protein per cup of cooked meat. Mayo? About 900 calories and 80 grams of fat per cup!)

Greek Pasta Salad

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by Joseph Erdos

pastasaladWhenever I think of summer, I always remember the backyard parties and picnics my mom used to host just around my birthday in July. She always fried up batches of chicken while my dad grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. The menus never changed much from year to year. So I could always expect there to be potato salad and pasta salad. What would a backyard barbecue be without them?

I do love those types of "picnic" salads, but they're usually laden with mayonnaise and oftentimes pretty flavorless. I'm a bit more creative now with my pasta salads. I eschew the macaroni for penne, and make a very flavorful vinaigrette in place of the gloppy mayo. One of my favorite standbys is Greek-style pasta salad.

I love all Mediterranean flavors, but especially the salty and briny flavors of feta and olives. This pasta salad wouldn't be Greek without them. Fresh oregano and red-wine vinegar also help to make this salad feel truly Greek. The best part is the time it takes for this salad to come together, which is just about the time it takes to cook the pasta, 10 minutes.

Plum and Toasted Almond Galette

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by Megan Martin

plum6I'm still thinking about the smell of the sweet Virginia hay - wishing there was a way to bottle that scent. We couldn't bring the hay home, but we did bring other treasures back to remind us of our trip: honey, old frames and fruit from various farmers markets.

On the drive home, the dark red plums were on my mind while they sat on the console of the car. Each time I glanced at them, I could almost taste them.

They were tart...so very sharp in that first bite and the bright red inside had a sweetness that was intensely satisfying - a perfect compromise to the sour skin.

We came home to rain and knee high grass and with too many things I needed to do to count. Yet again, those plums called to me.

Dane held them in her hands. I could see it was their size that excited her, as if they were grown just for her small inquisitive hands.

She played and I rolled dough beside her - a perfect way to be home.

 

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