Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Short List of Recipes for the Summer

Now that it is officially Midsummer's Day, I feel like I can share with you my short list of my favorite recipes for the summer.  Personally, I think the best summer recipes are ones that are light, refreshing, and generally served cool or cold, like carpaccios or fruit salads.  Summer is also the time for grilling and for eating popsicles.

No, this isn't a popsicle, but my popsicles
didn't photograph beautifully and they
tasted too good so I stopped taking
pictures and ate them instead.  So here is a
yogurt and honey parfait. Almost the same thing,
just not frozen.
Let's talk about the popsicles first.  I am a big fan of frozen treats.  I like ice cream, gelato, and sorbets.  (I even enjoy eating frozen peas, but that's probably not universally considered a "frozen treat," so we don't have to focus on that.)  I really enjoy reading recipes on making ice cream or sorbets at home, but I don't have an ice cream maker and I don't think it would be a good idea for me to invest in one simply because I don't want to give myself diabetes.  That said, the idea of making my own ice cream at home is still fun.
Unfortunately, without an ice cream machine you'll have a hard time getting the dreamy, light, and creamy texture of store bought ice cream, but you can get something close to it.  So what is summer recipe #1?  Frozen yogurt and honey popsicles.  These are deliciously easy to make.
  1. Get some store bought plain yogurt (normally I buy mine in 32oz plastic containers).  Open it, stir it, close the lid and come back in a few hours, or better yet a day.  The yogurt will probably have separated a little bit, so that there is some water on the top.  Carefully pour that off.  You can do this a few times, or you can move on to the next step.
  2. Pour in some honey.  I normally do about 1 teaspoon for every quarter-cup of yogurt.  Blend the yogurt and honey with a hand held mixer, or some vigorous whisking.
  3. Pour the yogurt into little plastic/paper cups.  You can add some chopped up peaches or cherries if you'd like.
  4. Put a plastic spoon into the middle (this will work as the popsicle stick).  I find that the best popsicle molds are actually individual yogurt cups (e.g. Activia) which have been washed and saved.
  5. Freeze for 4-6 hours, depending on the size of the popsicles you are making.  To remove the popsicles from the mold, just quickly run some hot water around the outside of the mold.

Another favorite recipe of mine is roasted eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, and avocado salad.  You grill/roast the vegetables (everything except for the avocado), and then you serve the salad chilled with a deliciously easy dressing.  I eat this salad as a full meal, but it also tastes great with chicken, steak, ribs, you name it.  I also love that you can prep the ingredients in one day, make the salad another day, and eat it two days later and everything still tastes amazing.

My third favorite summer recipe is my mom's zucchini "carpaccio" with avocado, shrimp, and pistachio (recipe and pictures coming soon!).  This recipe just thinned sliced zucchini and avocado dressed with lime juice and olive oil.  Add some grilled/sauteed shrimp and some crushed pistachios, and you have a beautiful harmony or flavors that'll quickly become your go-to summer lunch, especially since this recipe tastes better after some time "marinating" in the lime juice and olive oil.

I have other favorites that include lightly sauteed sweet corn, potato blinis with salmon, and a melon/cantaloupe salad that I've already written about, but we've got the whole summer ahead of us.  For now let's just enjoy the peaches, nectarines, and cherries that the farmer's markets have given us.  There's plenty of time for sharing recipes.


  1. Thank you! I just got eggplants in my CSA share and I have never, ever liked eggplants - going to give your roasted eggplant salad a try this week, it looks really good!

  2. I know this is super random, but I love your blog! I've been keeping up with a healthy cooking blog of my own as well, though my cooking is much less exciting, so your recipes are great inspiration! :)