Friday, July 2, 2010

Recipes: Summer dinner ideas

Now that the bounty of summer is upon us, cooking should be a breeze, right?  Except that everyone is so busy running around enjoying the nice weather, who has time to cook?  Here are some easy ideas.

Roast chicken and potatoes, with spinach salad
Preheat oven to 400F, sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken* and potatoes* in a roasting pan, roast until thigh meat registers 170.  For the salad, just wash spinach leaves and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

Pasta with beet greens
Boil pasta.  When the pasta is done, beat a duck egg* and toss it with the hot pasta, and sprinkle with lots of ground pepper.  In a pan, heat oil and add leftover chopped bacon* to heat through.  Add chopped beet greens* and wilt.  Then, mix the pasta and beet greens.  Top with crumbled feta cheese*.

Korean-inspired lettuce wraps
Traditionally, Korean lettuce wraps consist of rice, a bit of BBQ'ed beef, bean paste, and other condiments, wrapped up in lettuce and eaten like a little burrito -- yum! (see video below)  My version is based on what I had in the fridge, and I'm not Korean, so this is a liberal interpretation of the concept.

First, make fried rice to stretch the leftovers in your fridge. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped chives*, garlic, leftover rice, and leftover chicken*.  Add a little salt, hoisin sauce (or kecap manis), fish sauce, and chili garlic sauce.  Once the rice browns, add a little chicken broth.

Next, prepare the makings for the wraps.  Wash and dry large lettuce* leaves (these will be used like tortillas), peel and slice carrots*, and slice pears or apples into sticks.  Also, wash and dry a few sprigs of fresh herbs* (choose any herbs you like, we used a mix brought to us by Garden Gate, which included mint, rosemary, sage, and something I couldn't identify (!) that tasted like anise but didn't look like it).

To eat, make the wraps at the table as you enjoy the meal, trying different combinations of flavors.

And finally, from the Eggs on Sunday Blog, Amy has a great recipe for Spanish White Beans with Spinach.

*these items can be found locally here in Ithaca and the Finger Lakes right now, in June/July.

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  1. I do not understand this "leftover bacon" concept...

  2. Well, you're right -- usually leftover bacon is not an issue. But once in a while I defrost a whole pound and cook it all at once, which would be a lot for me to stomach in one meal :)