Summertime Cooking Made Simple (Really)

July 9, 2009

imagesWith all of the great fruit and vegetables available this time of year, I’ve been cooking a lot more. I’m always trying to create simple, tasty, healthy dishes. The key is to buy fresh food so you don’t have to do much to make it taste good. Here are a few easy side dishes I am loving right now:

Mozarella and Tomato: This is a delicious summer salad, and I’ve found a way to make it even easier. Take some grape tomatoes, cut them in half in a bowl. Take some small fresh mozarella balls, cut them and half and add them to the cut tomatoes. Sprinkle some fresh cracked pepper over top, toss and serve! (You can add fresh basil to this as well, if you have it.) This one makes a good snack, too.

Summer squash with Parmesan: Take zucchini or yellow squash and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Saute in a little bit of olive oil until they start to soften. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over top while cooking. As it starts to melt, stir and add fresh black pepper. (Make extra — you can reheat this one easily.)

Portobello mushrooms: Because portobellos are so meaty, this is a filling side dish. Slice the tops into strips. Saute in a pan in a little olive oil. As it starts to cook, add some balsamic vinegar to the pan (how much depends on how much you like balsamic vinegar). Stir to coat. Finishing cooking and serve.

Swiss Chard with Lemon and Garlic: Rinse the swiss chard and roughly chop it. Mince two or three cloves of garlic and start to cook it in a little olive oil over medium heat. After a few minutes, add the swiss chard. When it starts to soften and cook down, squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the top (make sure to take the seeds out beforehand). Stir and cook a minute or two longer and serve.

Green Bean Almondine: Cook fresh green beans in a pan with some butter. As they start to turn bright green, add in a handful of slivered almonds. Cook a few minutes more and serve! (You want these crispy, not soft.)

There — now you have no excuse for opening up a can tonight…

Now You Can Be True, Too

Regular readers may recall I wrote about a great little shop in NoLita called True Boutique, which has a cool edited collection for all shapes and sizes and an especially fantastic selection of jeans (in fact I am wearing a Dallin Chase top I bought there as I write this). Well, those of you who aren’t in the NYC area can now check it out and shop online: betruenyc.com. I am a huge fan of the Beija Flor jeans — I just got another complement on them this weekend. And for a limited time, enter the coupon code 24 and you’ll get 20% off your online purchases. Which makes it even easier to buy some great stuff and support a wonderful small business! (You can check out my original True Boutique post here — scroll down to April 27th, 2009.)

Etc.

A beautiful day here in NYC — low humidity and sun makes everyone happy!

I went to a kids sample sale at lunch and I was amazed at how many people there had brought their poor children along. Worse than that, they were so engrossed in the clothes that the kids were tearing the place apart, unsupervised. I helped one little girl hang up some clothes she had taken down and couldn’t reach to put back. Things all came to a head when one little boy who couldn’t have been more than 18 months was swinging a metal rack around and hit a saleswoman, who promptly screamed out, “Whose child is this?” And I was SO happy it wasn’t mine!!

Apparently it was Wacky Wednesday today at Austin’s camp. I asked why and he said, “Because we did a lot of wacky stuff!” Duh!

Hope you’re having a great week! Until tomorrow…

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