Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash, and Basil

The flavors in this dish are so light and fresh, which makes it perfect for a hot summer evening meal. You can use any white, flaky fish, but I indulged and bought Halibut. The fish cooks on a bed of thinly sliced shallots and summer squash, with cherry tomatoes and basil sprinkled around. It’s important to salt and pepper everything before you cook to make the subtle flavors shine. A tablespoon each of dry white wine and olive oil creates enough moisture inside the parchment packets to steam-cook the filets, keeping them tender and juicy.

i couldn't find yellow crookneck squash at the store, so subbed all zucchini

i couldn’t find yellow crookneck squash at the store, so subbed all zucchini

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This fish is quick and easy to make, and shows off the beautiful colors of fresh summer produce. I steamed some extra vegetables as a side, adding a hearty squeeze of fresh lime juice to finish. Top the finished filets with more fresh basil and enjoy!

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Fish Fillets with Tomatoes, Squash, and Basil

Bon Appétit            June 2012

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Frozen Fruit Smoothie & Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Welcome to the first full day of summer! As the season warms up, I like to add some cold dishes to my regular rotation. For breakfast that means making a frozen fruit smoothie. I love how the richness of the yogurt keeps me satisfied all day long. You can use whatever fruit you like, but make sure to have some sweeter fruits to balance out the tartness of the yogurt. I used ½ cup frozen blackberries, ½ cup frozen mango, and ½ of a large frozen banana. To that I added ¼ cup whole milk Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons of almond milk. You can add honey if you like, but I found the mango and banana sweet enough on their own. Lastly, I added a hearty dash of cinnamon. The result was thick, decadent, and delicious! This recipe makes enough for two smoothies, and they also store well in the freezer. Just give it a few minutes to soften before diving in.

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For summer dinners, I am perfecting the art of grilling. It’s so pleasant cooking outside when the sun doesn’t set until 9 o’clock! These Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers couldn’t be easier. I started by cutting some fresh rosemary from our garden and removing all but the tips so the woody stem could be used as a skewer. The stem holds a ton of flavor, infusing the meat with rosemary as it cooks.

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Next, I prepared the marinade. The chicken only needs to marinate for thirty minutes, which gives just enough time for the grill to heat up. Fifteen minutes on the grill created succulent, flavorful chicken. I served this with grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, green onions, and squeezed fresh lime over the entire plate. I hope you enjoy this summery feast as much as I did!

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Baja-Style Rosemary Chicken Skewers

Food and Wine            June 2014

California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw

In a moment of confidence I decided to master the grill. Last weekend I made my first-ever attempt at grilling and it was a success! Bolstered by my ability to grill simple vegetable and pre-made chicken skewers, I felt undaunted by this recipe, which calls for a whole grilled chicken. I may have been overconfident. This required an entirely different level of grilling skills, but with a second chance and some coaching from my dad over the phone, the end result was a smoky, tender, perfectly grilled chicken.

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

the lime and salt tenderize the chicken

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First let me say that the recipe gives you the option of oven roasting or grilling. I chose to grill so I could improve my skills and because I think the smoky flavor is an essential flavor in tacos. The preparation of the chicken is very simple—just slide some lime zest beneath the skin, pour lime juice on the outside, salt and pepper liberally and stuff with the used limes. If you go for the grilling method, you can separate your heated coals to make them line the sides of the grill. Place the chicken in the middle of the grill so it cooks over indirect heat. After the coals are nice and hot, cover the grill with the lid making sure to leave the vents open. A five-pound chicken might take about an hour to cook with this method, and using a meat thermometer will ensure your meat is cooked all the way through. Taking the lid off the grill is the same as opening the oven—it dramatically drops the temperature and will increase cooking time, so try to be patient!

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

grilled green onions are a tasty side dish

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Heating the tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds will make them warm and pliable. The simple red cabbage slaw adds freshness, color, and crunch to the tacos. I left out the corn because I used it my black bean and corn salad, which I served as a side dish. A few dashes of Cholula brought a pleasant heat to the meal and brought the other flavors together. I have to say, these were some of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten! 0608141947_resized 0608141947b_resized

California Chicken Tacos with Corn and Red Cabbage Slaw by Linda Burkhart

Food 52            May 2014

Lemon Posset

I have these lovely friends, a couple, who are pretty much good at everything. One is a doctor, the other a nurse. They volunteer in a hospital in Haiti a couple of times a year. They renovated their home, deconstructing the chimney and building skylights with their own hands. They garden, and of course, they cook. And let me be clear—when I say “cook,” I mean one of them trained under a French chef. So when they invite me over for dinner, I always say yes. Then I have a brief moment of panic while I try to decide what to contribute to the meal.

Life has been busy lately, so I decided not to over think it and just make a chocolate espresso pudding I’ve made a few times before. It’s quick, it’s easy, and who doesn’t love chocolate? Sadly, I attempted to make the pudding while I was preparing dinner. My impatience meant that the pudding never thickened properly, and remained a soupy mess even after a full night in the fridge.

Meyer lemons are sweeter and milder than other lemons. Much of the lemon flavor comes from the oils in the skin.

Meyer lemons are sweeter than other lemons. Much of the lemon flavor comes from the oils in the peel.

That’s when I decided to take the risk of making a recipe that had caught my eye—lemon posset. Historically, posset refers to a drink of warm milk curdled with ale or wine, then spiced. Thought to have healing properties, this drink was enjoyed as a cold remedy in medieval England. Today posset more commonly refers to a custard-like dessert. The original recipe has only three ingredients: heavy cream, sugar, and lemon juice. With a recipe this simple I couldn’t resist adding my own little twist. First, I decided to use Meyer lemons. Since Meyer lemons have a more delicate flavor, adding a teaspoon of zest seemed like the best way to ensure the lemon taste would shine through. I also love the combination of lemon and lavender, so I decided to sprinkle the posset with dried lavender flowers just before chilling. I added raspberries just before serving, because it just felt right to incorporate the first local berries of the summer.

let the cream come all the way to a boil, but keep your eye on it so it doesn't boil over

let the cream come all the way to a boil, but keep your eye on it so it doesn’t boil over

This was so delicious that one of my friends licked the bowl! It was a success that bears repeating, except next time I plan to use fresh Oregon blueberries as a complement to the floral note of the lavender. This was the perfect dessert for an early summer dinner with such dear friends. Enjoy!

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Lemon Posset via Food 52

By Mrs. Larkin

Baby Lettuces with Feta, Strawberries, and Almonds

This strawberry salad made a lovely contribution to my book group’s brunch this month. I wanted to make a salad that tasted summery and looked beautiful, and this recipe did the trick!

sweet strawberries and tender baby greens make up the heart of this summer salad

sweet strawberries and tender baby greens make up the heart of this summer salad

For the greens, I went with a mix of baby spring greens. The strawberries I used were rather large, so I sliced them instead of quartering them. I’m loyal to a mild goat’s milk feta that I love. Goat’s milk is also easier to digest than cow’s milk, so it’s a great alternative for people with sensitivities. (Note: this is not the same as lactose-free, it’s just generally easier to digest.) If you’re nervous about using shallots in the dressing—don’t be. The sharpness of shallots adds a needed contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries. As long as they’re properly minced, you’ll be glad you used them. Soaking sliced shallots in ice water for 10 minutes before mincing them will also lower the intensity if you prefer a milder flavor.

salty-sweet marcona almonds

salty-sweet marcona almonds

Surprisingly, my local grocery store was out of smoked almonds, so after considering my options I decided to go with Marcona almonds. These Spanish almonds are soft and sweet, and typically fried and heavily salted. They added the crunchiness and saltiness that the smoked almonds would have, but I prefer their mildness to the heavy smoky flavor of smoked almonds. They’re also soft enough that my lazy-self didn’t need to chop them first.

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This salad was a cinch to make and good the next day, as long as you keep the dressing on the side until serving. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

Baby Lettuces with Feta, Strawberries, and Almonds by Jeff Banker

Food and Wine            June 2012