Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. This is perfect for me since I love food and cooking almost as much as I love books!
This was a typical busy summer week here. On some evenings, it was only my husband and I for dinner and on others, both sons, plus friends and my father-in-law joined us. In all cases, I tried to make good use of the bounty of summer produce fresh from our local CSA farm, including 5 pounds of fresh, local, organic tomatoes this week! Even my son (who is not a huge tomato fan) tasted the tomatoes in his salad last night and noticed the difference! I made his favorite, Caesar Salad, with a homemade dressing. I discovered this very easy no-egg Caesar Salad dressing last month, and the 3 Caesar-loving men in our house absolutely love it!
We had friends over one night this week, and I made several of our favorite summer dishes: Italian Balsamic Chicken, Tuscan White Beans, and a Tomato-Cucumber Salad. The first two dishes were made with Cooking Light recipes (my favorite recipe source!), but they are from a 1999 issue so are not online. Both are super-simple, though. The chicken breasts are marinated in a mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper, cooked on the grill, then sliced. They can be served as is or with lettuce in a wrap. The Tuscan White Beans is an all-time favorite of ours - everyone in the family loves it. Again, it's pretty simple: cook two strips of bacon in a skillet, saute chopped onion and fresh rosemary in the drippings, add 2 cans of cannelini beans (rinsed and drained) with lemon zest, salt and pepper, 1 cup of white wine, and a half cup of water. Simmer for 30 minutes on medium-low and then add the crumbled bacon and fresh parsley. Soooo good! The Tomato and Cucumber Salad uses super-fresh ingredients and is simply dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. This whole meal - with all the fresh herbs - tastes like the very essence of summer.
My husband and I had a Cobb salad one night (my favorite!), and we set out fixings for make-your-own soft chicken tacos the night we had a crowd (perfect summer dinner for a large group).
Friday night, I made a flavor-filled meal for my husband and I: Simmered Cabbage with Beef, Shan Style, a dish from Northern Thailand and Myanmar. The recipe calls for only a quarter-pound of ground beef in a dish that serves 4. That would never fly with my husband, so I used a whole pound of ground beef, and we enjoyed delicious leftovers for lunch the next day. Whichever way you cook it, this dish is filled with flavor and would work well any time of year (I had a red cabbage from our farm, so that's why I chose it). For a Paleo version, just substitute cashews for the peanuts.