This week is going to be a duo of recipes to use up those garden produce! First is a build on to the last two recipes I posted (Buttermilk Avocado Dressing and Sweet Corn and Zucchini Cakes). I experimented eating the corn cakes quite a few ways. Eating them alone for lunch worked just fine. A side for a summer steak dinner was delicious as well. But, my favorite variation was my little summer vegetable bowls creation. I always see recipes for veggie packed “bowls” on Pinterest these days and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try whipping up one of my own.
I am a persistent daily deal scrolling artist. I’d estimate that I am signed up on about a dozen or so websites that offer local deals and of course clothing and other goods. I could spend an hour or more each day looking through all the great deals however; it’s once in a blue moon I actually ever purchase anything. Today’s blog post happens to be about one of those rare trigger happy purchases from Gilt City (an exclusive deals website).
Visiting my parents’ house whenever there is a meal involved always gets me excited. My parents’ share an almost equal level of excitement around their passion for food and cooking as I do. So it goes without saying that there is rarely a bad or boring meal that it is put on the table. Not only do I get to take advantage of a tasty dish but I also get to just sit back, relax and enjoy the meal. It’s definitely a win-win for me! During one of my most recent visits my parents had come up with a recipe to use up the overflowing garden vegetables from the backyard. It was one of the best homemade meals I had in a while. I have had a lack of recipe inspiration the past few weeks. So when I couldn’t stop craving this dish for a whole week after devouring it, I decided to replicate and post about it in my parent’s honor.
I love a challenge. Really, anything competitive such as a casual bet, a workout challenge, or trying to replicate a dish (hint hint), really gets my gears going. A few months back I had a work dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Il Cappriccio in Whippany, NJ. While the dinner was great, what really stood out was the simple bowl of pickled vegetables that they put out as a little amuse bouche with their bread baskets. It was tangy, crispy, sweet and sour. Our table polished off the bowl in about 2 minutes flat. When we politely asked for seconds, I squeaked out a question to the waiter. “What’s the recipe?” While he wouldn’t give me a steadfast reply; he did tell me the secret was balsamic and lemon juice. Ok, so they wouldn’t tell me how to make it…challenge accepted!
Every week the brightly colored bags of baby bell peppers call my name while at the grocery store but, I so rarely would actually purchase for fear of waste. My assumption was that a 2 lb bag would be too much for my party of 2 household. Of course after thinking about it more I realized that I could probably incorporate them into so many different recipes that it would be a money saving purchase that could be spread across meals. I personally accepted my own challenge to make a large batch and use throughout a week of meals.
If you haven’t read one of my recent posts, then you might not know I have gone Paleo for the month. My Crossfit gym is hosting a 30 day challenge that not only includes this caveman diet, but also a daily water intake test, a mile run benchmark and extra points for daily gym workouts. The winner gets a whopping $380 (2/3 of the challenge sign-up fee pot). Aside from the fact that I’ll pretty much join in on most challenges because I’m a major sucker for competition; I’m also saving for a wedding. Needless to say, I hopped on the bandwagon. This challenge has not only tested my physical agility and mental stability (I’ve had some pretty close calls on completely losing “my ish” due to sugar, carb and dairy withdrawal….lol); but it has also set me to task in the kitchen. I am not someone who is ok with eating just grilled chicken breast and steamed vegetables every night. For that very reason, creating innovative recipes that meet the Paleo requirements is necessary and it has been an adventure.
Sometimes you just need comfort food. Cold winter nights always entice me to crave warm, stick to your ribs type meals. And while I do sometimes completely splurge; I generally try to be a little more health conscious by replicating my favorite splurge meals with a healthier version.
During my moments of recipe conceptualizing (which I have referenced before predominantly happen during my long commute to work) I’ve noticed that my brain gravitates towards specific food groups. Italian food ideas are my most dominant brain default and I could probably create a new pasta every day for 365 days. But, the other food group I tend to think most about is Asian cuisine. I love the exotic, bright, and spicy flavors in Malaysian, Vietnamese, and especially Thai cooking. Thought clouds of ginger and chili peppers are always dancing in my head. I have been experimenting quite a bit in this area so expect to get a handful of Asian inspired meals in the upcoming months!
I noticed a big gap in the recipes I’ve brought to you on the blog. I have not been sharing enough side dishes! I tend to focus on the main event and don’t give enough love to all the accompaniments that are served alongside. With dinner and holiday party season on the horizon (We all have those potluck events where you are required to bring a side) I am going to do my best to showcase more side dish ideas in the upcoming weeks.
After going Mason jar salad crazy for a while there I’ve been ready for a change-up to my lunch routine. During one of my strolls around the farmer’s market I decided to grab all the appealing bright vegetables I could find that would be good for roasting. I don’t have a grill (a fact that is always a bit depressing to me…but my housing complex does not allow for them) so roasting is the next best option. It’s also on the brink of becoming a bit cooler which means the oven is beginning to enter our lives again!