Summer has ended.
Unofficially, at least, summer has ended with Labor Day this past weekend. I have yet to put away my white jeans and dig up my fall boots, but I before I start whipping up all things pumpkin, I wanted to share an easy recipe that will let you re-create summer all year round, as well as some other good eats I had over the past few months.
This is the third of my Good Eats Series where I share some some of the great foods I’ve enjoyed but were previously undocumented. This installment includes some quintessentially summery foods: burger, lobster, picnic-friendly dips, and an icy treat.
I’m all about ice cream and gelato, but sometimes I want a cool treat that’s lighter. So I made this Strawberries and Cream Granita several times over the summer, using fresh and frozen strawberries. Both work equally well, and I bet you can substitute other frozen berries as well.
At the beginning of summer, my friend Dan made this Indian Smokehouse Burger – juicy burger on a buttered homemade naan with crunchy pakora (deep fried veggie fritters) and Indian-spiced barbecue sauce. Read that sentence again and try not to drool. You can find the recipe on Dan’s blog: The Food in My Beard.
I made this creamy feta dip with jalapenos and roasted garlic for a picnic and everyone went crazy for it. I used Jessica’s recipe from How Sweet It Is and she says it’s based on a restaurant item and a dip sold at Whole Foods called Crazy Feta. Very apt name, indeed.
I’ve been eating quinoa for breakfast, subbing cooked quinoa for oatmeal and adding different toppings. You guys know how much I love oatmeal (check out my Oatmeal 7 Ways post) but I’ve been switching it up with quinoa for the texture – and also because I always end up with leftover quinoa. This one had vanilla almond milk, blueberries, and chopped chocolate roasted almonds from Q’s Nuts.
This is a dish that my dad came up with many years ago, and that my mom makes as well. It’s a stir fry of mung bean sprouts (called togue in the Philippines), cabbage, mushrooms, garlic, onions, ground beef, and tofu. My mom is here in Boston with me and I’ve been asking her to make this for dinner once a week. I know I can cook it myself, but the versions cooked by parents just taste so much better. (And also, I have a tendency to regress into a child when my parents come to visit me, depending on them for all sorts of things like dinner.)
My mom and I shared this lobster tasting plate at North 26. It had a 1 1/2 lb Maine lobster – beer battered claws, grilled tail and knuckle meat scampi, plus mushrooms and a leek and potato cake. I usually just eat lobster in the form of lobster rolls or dipped in butter, and this tasting plate was a great way to try different lobster preparations.
My friends and I checked out Happy’s Bar and Kitchen a few weeks after it opened and we shared this appetizer of homemade ricotta with olive oil and sage, served with crostini. It was really tasty and I’ve been re-creating it at home. Happy’s is owned by Michael Schlow, who also owns Tico and a few other restaurants in Boston. I remember my favorite dish at Tico was the fried manchego cheese… I guess I am now a fan of Mr. Schlow’s cheese preparations.
And I didn’t forget that I promised you guys a recipe! Although this isn’t really a recipe but more like a guide, because I’ve played around with the proportions and the granita always comes out so good. I really like the silkiness that a touch of cream brings to a recipe, as it does here. And I love this granita even more because it is pink.
Strawberries and Cream Granita
2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1/2 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk you want)
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (or half and half)
Put strawberries and sugar, if using, in a blender and puree until smooth. Add water and lemon juice and process to blend. Pour into an 8×8 inch baking pan or any freezer-safe pan. Drizzle in almond milk and swirl with a fork. Drizzle in cream and swirl with a fork.
Place in freezer. Freeze until icy around edges, about 25 minutes. Using a fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan. Place back in freezer, stirring frozen edges into center every 30 minutes, for about 1 1/2 hours.
Scrape the granita into flaky crystals using a fork. Transfer into serving glasses and serve immediately. This can be made a day or two ahead, just keep it frozen.
Hope you all had a great summer! What were some of your own good eats?