Chopped Moroccan Salad

You know the drill. It's summer, it's hot out (hello, 103 degrees with a heat index of 119!), you don't feel like cooking, and there's no way you're turning on any sort of stove, oven, or other heat-emitting device. Obviously, this situation calls for a salad. This one's really fresh and full of nutritious and delicious ingredients. The Moroccan inspiration is mostly found in the spices of the dressing, but probably also in the fact that Moroccans likely don't feel like cooking in July either.

Chopped Moroccan Salad
From Women's Health Magazine
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups baby arugula, chopped if desired
  • 1/2 avocado, diced (use the whole thing if you love avocado)
  • 2 medium or 1 large yellow tomato, diced
  • Cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pistachios
Combine the oil, zest, lime juice, honey, cinnamon, and cumin in a blender or food processor, or whisk together until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Toss well with dressing.

Pappardelle with Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes

The second I got the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living (don't judge, I got the subscription as a gift from my aunt), I knew I was going to make the recipe on the cover. Despite the fact that it calls for half a cup of olive oil. It just looked that delicious. And it was! This recipe isn't elaborate and doesn't have a lot of ingredients. It really just lets the flavor of the tomatoes shine through, so make sure you spring for the most gorgeous heirlooms you can find at the farmers market.

Pappardelle with Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes

From Martha Stewart Living
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (you can cut this back to 1/4 if you like (but it won't be as good...))
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3/4 cup torn fresh basil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound pappardelle or other flat pasta, such as croxetti or maltagliati, cooked until al dente
Heat garlic in oil in a saucepan over low heat until pale gold, about 10 minutes. Strain; reserve oil and garlic. Let cool. Combine tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil, the capers, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Pour garlic oil and chips over tomato mixture. Marinate, covered, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add warm pasta to bowl, and toss gently. Top with remaining 1/2 cup basil. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with lemon zest.

Salsa Verde and Peach-Pepper Relish

Remember when Joe did that guest post a while back about pickling? Well, we've expanded our repertoire even further. Now we're canning. Yes, canning! It's not that weird, really. Actually it's pretty cool. It's what all the hipsters are doing these days.

Home canning is actually really easy. You just need the right equipment. Basically, you just need Ball mason jars of various sizes and a canning kit, which you can buy online (like on Amazon). The kits contain a huge pot that can accommodate a bunch of jars, a funnel for filling the jars, tongs for taking the jars out of the boiling water, and a couple other things. 

Basically, all you do is put stuff in the jars (always use a canning recipe!), submerse the jars completely in boiling water for a specified amount of time, and when you take them out, they've formed a vacuum seal that allows you to store them at room temperature for an indefinite period of time. It's a great way to preserve a lot of stuff at once, because you can just stick the jars on a shelf somewhere, instead of taking up precious refrigerator space.

Today we did two canning projects: salsa verde and peach-pepper relish. The salsa verde is, of course, a tomatillo-based salsa with roasted peppers, onions, lime, and garlic. It's awesome with chips, tacos, or really anything Mexican. The peach-pepper relish is a sweet and spicy condiment that's kind of a Southern thing. I grew up eating it as an appetizer with cream cheese and crackers.

Salsa Verde
From The Joy of Pickling

Makes 3 pints
  • 2 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, halved
  • 1/2 pound (about 8) roasted, peeled, and seeded Anaheim chile peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
In a nonreactive pot over medium-low heat, cook the tomatillos, stirring occasionally at first, until they are tender, about 10 minutes. After they have cooled a bit, blend them briefly in a blender or food processor.

In the pot combine the tomatillo puree and the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.

Ladle the salsa into pint or half-pint mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place.

Peach-Pepper Relish
From The Joy of Pickling

Makes 6 half-pint jars
  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 6) red bell or pimiento peppers, minced
  • 1/2 pound red hot peppers, such as Fresno or jalapeno, minced
  • 2 pounds (about 6) peaches or nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
Put all of the peppers into a nonreactive bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them stand until they are cool.

Drain the peppers and put them into a nonreactive pot with the chopped peaches or nectarines. Juice the lemons and add both the juice and peels to the pot. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes.

Remove the lemon peels and add the sugar and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil again. Let it boil, stirring constantly, until it forms a 2-inch thread or reaches 230 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Remove the pot from the heat and immediately ladle the relish into half-pint mason jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 2 weeks before eating the relish.

Mango BBQ Beans

This dish screams "summer" in so many ways. First of all, they're BBQ beans, which is just a summer staple. Second, they're flavored with sweet tropical mango, which you can buy really deliciously ripe at this time of year. Even beyond their seasonal appropriateness, these beans are seriously delicious. They're sweet, spicy, and smoky, and they go great with all kinds of grains and green veggies -- so they're easy to build a meal around. The cookbook I got the recipe from also suggests serving them with fresh cornbread or over mashed yuca. Yum! 

Mango BBQ Beans
From Appetite for Reduction
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped small
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 14-oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar (to taste)
Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt, and kidney beans. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.

Turn off the heat, mix in the agave and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Adjust any seasonings as necessary and serve.

Fresh Corn & Potato Salad

While there's a lot to love about summer produce, there may be no greater joy than freshly harvested sweet corn, so tender that the kernels can be eaten raw. No need for blanching here! This salad showcases this wonderful crop in a citrusy lime-based dressing. It's perfect picnic material, though eating it left-over for lunch in your office kitchen is good too.
Fresh Corn & Potato Salad
From Southern Living
  • 1 pound baby red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears)
  • Large red bell pepper, diced
  • Avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
Bring potatoes and salted cold water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven; boil 10 minutes or just until tender. Drain and let cool 15 minutes.
Whisk together cilantro and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add warm potatoes, corn, and remaining 3 ingredients; toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Corn Tortilla & Egg Scramble

I'm filing this one under "breakfast," but this meal is seriously something that could be eaten at any time of day. Everybody loves a little breakfast for dinner every once in a while, am I right? But we had this one for breakfast on a lazy, sunny Saturday morning. What a great way to start the day. 

Corn Tortilla & Egg Scramble
From Everyday Food
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 white onion, diced small
  • 1 large poblano chile, seeded and diced small
  • 1 medium tomato, diced small
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Salsa and/or hot sauce, for serving (optional)
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add tortillas and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and crisp, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2 teaspoons oil from skillet. Add onion and chile and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato and cook until it begins to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add eggs, tortillas, and cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are set, about 3 minutes. Serve with salsa and/or hot sauce if desired.

Serves 4