Vintage MD: Summer Recipes

Cassandra and I are both having a bit of a rough week. Nothing to get too worried about but enough of a distraction to keep us from blogging properly. So, we're going to take a very short break (we'll probably be back to normal by next week) and regale you with some vintage posts. 

Today's re-post is one of my favorites from last year - a collection of some of my classic summer recipes. We have a few weeks left before it's autumn, right?? 

Thanks for your patience, friends. 

- Alex


Original post date: Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Chow

Summer food is the most glorious thing - especially if you try to prepare things "seasonally" as the garden matures. It's been a while since we've posted recipes here at Mighty Distractible and, as it turns out, both Cassandra and I had the same idea for our posts this week! Maybe we really have started sharing a brain.

So, consider the next few posts our homage to summer cooking. Whether you prefer cold salads or stuff hot off the grill, we'll have something to entice you and, hopefully, recipes you'll add to your collection.

Because we live in Wisconsin, a lot of the older homes (mine is 104 years old) don't have air conditioning. I heard that audible gasp... I have a large window unit that I ran for exactly four days last year. I also have ceiling fans and my house is cooled by the large shade trees in the front yard. However, the house is still too warm to eat like it's winter time. I'm rarely looking for heavy comfort foods in the summer so I have my collection of warm-weather recipes that I can whip up quickly and have in the refrigerator for snacking at a moment's notice.

Here are a few that I hope you'll enjoy.

Orzo Salad
(stolen from my dear friend, Johanna)

1 lb of orzo
1/4 C chopped green onion
1/4 C chopped kalamata olives
1/4 C quartered cherry tomatoes
 A handful of pine nuts
1/2 C chopped fresh spinach
1/4 C Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 C olive oil
crushed garlic (1-2 cloves
Lemon juice (optional)

This makes a BIG batch that's perfect for a picnic, a potluck, or to keep in the fridge for the week.

While the orzo is cooking (follow package direction and don't cook it past al dente), crush the garlic and put it in the olive oil to soak. Prepare all the vegetables and set aside. When the orzo is done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Put the orzo in a bowl and mix in all the vegetables, pine nuts, and cheese. Reserving the olive oil, strain the garlic out of it (now you have garlic-flavored olive oil). Mix in the olive oil and a little salt (the olives and feta are both salty so you shouldn't need much). Add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors up a bit. Done!

This salad gets better the longer it sits. Make it early in the day and put it in the fridge for dinner. The flavors will mix and the salad will take on a whole new dimension. Also, be creative with the quantities. If you like more of a particular vegetable, put more in! This is an easily adjustable recipe depending on your tastes.

Beet Salad
(adapted from a local restaurant item - hopefully they won't sue)

This recipe is written for a single serving. Multiply it as necessary.

2 medium-size roasted beets (you can use pickled beets for a different flavor)
1 big handful of arugula
1/8 C coarsely chopped walnuts
1/8 C crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola is good too)
1 small handful of dried cranberries
Balsamic vinaigrette

Dice the beets into bite-sized pieces. Mix all the ingredients and dress with the vinaigrette. That's it.... Great combo of flavors.

My Ex-Mother-in-Law's Perfect Potato Salad
(Thanks Joan!)

This is written for a small batch of salad.

One of the secret ingredients
3 lbs of red potatoes (Joan used some other kind - I don't remember - but I like the reds)
1 medium sweet onion (preferably Vidalia), chopped
1/2 C sweet pickle relish
A touch of Miracle Whip

Peel and quarter the potatoes. Cook in boiling water until a fork easily goes through a large piece of potato. DO NOT OVERCOOK or you'll end up with mashed potatoes. :)  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mix in the chopped onion and the sweet pickle-relish - coating the potatoes as much as possible. Leave the potatoes alone until they cool to room temperature (about an hour). You can stir them a couple of times to help the cooling along.

Once the potatoes are room temperature, add your mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. This is where it gets dicey... I've never measured the amount. I like my potato salad really creamy so, if I had to guess, I'd say I add about 3/4 C of mayonnaise and about 1/4 C Miracle Whip. That's the ratio you want - 3 parts mayo to 1 part Miracle Whip. You'll have to play with it though and decide how much you like...  Add salt to taste.

Optional - add some diced hard-boiled egg. I don't care for it but some folks like the added texture.

Orange Blossom Lemonade
(idea stolen from a local restaurant - hopefully they won't sue)

So, this is a bit of a cheat. I don't have a juicer and am not willing to make lemonade from scratch. If you are, go for it. If not, you can do it my lazy way.

1 can of good frozen lemonade - without pulp. I like Cascadian Farms Organic.
1 T orange blossom water (can be found at stores that have a good selection of ethnic foods - used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking)

Prepare lemonade as directed. Should make two quarts. Add orange blossom water - adjust (add more) if necessary to achieve a nice balance of lemon and orange. Serve over ice.

ENJOY! - Alex

No comments:

Post a Comment