The Summer Food Guide

   By ChefErin  Jul 31, 2009

Summer, more than any other season, offers a variety of fresh produce options.  I would argue that summer is as much about eating as the holiday season. The only difference is the type of eating we are doing. 

Summer is filled with picnics, barbeques and outdoor events. Sure we might eat hot dogs and hamburgers galore, but our side dishes include green salads, and fresh fruits and vegetables.    

Okay then, hurray for summer and all its abundance!  Remember eating seasonally not only ensures optimal flavor and ripeness, but prices also drop when there is plenty.  Some items that will be easy on your waistline as well as your pocketbook this season include: apricots, beans, berries, cherries, corn, cucumbers, melons, peaches, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, and watermelon. 

Here are a few of my favorite summer-inspired dishes:

Grilled Peaches With A Drizzle Of Aged Balsamic Vinegar And Crumbled Blue Cheese Or Feta 

Cut peaches in half and remove the pit.  Then, brush them with a tiny bit of olive oil just before grilling to keep them from sticking to your grill.  You’ll be surprised how delicious this combination is. (If you don’t have aged balsamic vinegar, simmer any balsamic vinegar for about 10 minutes to create a thicker “balsamic syrup” for your drizzle.)  

Lasagna With Shredded Zucchini Instead Of Pasta

Shred zucchini on a box grater/cheese grater and drain on paper towels for a half an hour. Assemble the lasagna as you normally would except instead of using pasta, layer shredded zucchini.  By substituting the zucchini, you’ll decrease the overall calories and increase the fiber.

Shortbread Crostini

For a fun summertime dessert, combine mascarpone cheese or cream cheese with sugar and lemon zest to taste.  Spread the cheese mixture on shortbread cookies and top with fresh blueberries or homemade blueberry jam.  Top with extra lemon zest if you want to be fancy.

Watermelon with Mint and Feta

Here’s a new way for us to increase watermelon consumption!  Cube watermelon as you would for a fruit salad. Add a handful of torn or chopped mint leaves, and crumble in a good amount of feta cheese.  The mint is refreshing while the saltiness of the feta compliments the sweetness of the watermelon. And here’s a fun watermelon fact: according to the USDA, the United States consumes about 3.9 billion pound of watermelon each year. That’s almost 13 pounds per person! If you’re filling up on watermelon, that ought to reduce your calorie intake overall. 

What are some of your favorite summer recipes?


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marylynnf by marylynnf | Three Rivers, MI
Nov 05, 2009

On my way to the store and just added feta, peaches and watermelon to the list. Yum!

kqspeaks by kqspeaks | Katy, TX
Aug 28, 2009

mmmmmmm, I would love to try these recipes.

ladygaga34 by ladygaga34 | Johnston, IA
Aug 15, 2009

I love to cook, I will try these great recipees.

red_hot314 by red_hot314 | Anchorage, AK
Aug 15, 2009

Cant wait to try the watermelon mint feta dish!

LuckyMama2 by LuckyMama2 | MURRIETA, CA
Aug 09, 2009

I LOVE watermelon already but adding my other favorite thing, mint and some feta sounds amazing!

ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
Aug 06, 2009

Grilled zucchini is a wonderful suggestion. I like to brush mine with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper before grilling. Delicious!

ChefErin by ChefErin | SEATTLE, WA
Aug 06, 2009

Grilled zucchini is a wonderful suggestion. I like to brush mine with olive oil and sprinkle it with oregano, salt and pepper before grilling. Delicious!

BlondieKAA by BlondieKAA | CRIVITZ, WI
Aug 01, 2009

These recipes sound great!! I'll have to try some of these! In the summertime, I love putting zucchini on the grill! Tastes so good!

nancyclh by nancyclh | summerville, SC
Aug 01, 2009

really like the idea of replacing the pasta with the zucchini. and the grilled peaches...are yummy! I'm going to try the watermelon with mint and feta. that's something I haven't had but can't wait to taste it.

mamma_nee by mamma_nee | Dix Hills, NY
Jul 31, 2009

mmm, The Grilled peaches sound scrumptious , I will try them next time I grill .