I don’t know about you, but when it comes to cooking in the summertime, I want everything to be very simple so I can spend as much time outside as possible. When I’m looking to make the most of my summer produce, these are the tools that I gravitate towards most to create easy yet beguiling new dishes.
Spiralizer – The spiralizer is an incredibly handy tool that is especially useful during summer when we’re all trying to eat a bit lighter and take advantage of the abundance of seasonal produce that’s available. Incorporate more veggies into your life like cucumbers, radishes, carrots, and summer squash! Using your spiralizer, these can be used as replacements for noodles in any kind of dish from traditional spaghetti to an Asian inspired stir-fry.
On an evening when you’re in the mood for some cheesy pasta, but don’t want to be weighed down for the rest of the night, try this simple Cacio e Pepe with Zoodles recipe for two. This dish is creamy, filling and super nutritious!
You will need 3 zucchinis, 1/3 cup parm cheese, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and pepper to taste. Spiralize your zucchini and cook the zoodles in heated olive oil on the stove for about 2-3 minutes until they become a bit tender. Let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes and reserve the water that drips out while they are cooling. Combine zucchini water, cheese, and pepper into a paste and mix with the warm zoodles. Add more pepper and olive oil to taste, and you’re done!
Popsicle mold – Growing up in a particularly hot climate, there was nothing quite as refreshing as a Popsicle after a long day of playing outside. As an adult, Popsicles evoke happy childhood memories, and I love to come up with new recipe ideas on summer weekends! Back away from the store bought varieties with all that unnecessary extra sugar – this summer, you are making your very own! Try out any combo of juice, milk, yogurt, fruit, and even veggies. If you’re a morning green smoothie maker like me, pour any extras into your mold. Even veggie-resistant kids (or grown-ups) can’t resist a delicious green Popsicle!
If you find yourself with extra peaches on hand (lucky you!), give these sweet creamy pops a try. You can even use peaches that are bit past their prime to avoid tossing them out!
Slice three peaches into thin wedges. If you’d like a more concentrated flavor, roast these peaches in the oven! Combine five tablespoons of honey with your peaches, adding a dash of salt, 2 cups plain yogurt, the juice of a small lemon, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Transfer your ingredients into your Popsicle mold, freeze for at least 6 hours, and enjoy!
Pizza stone – A favorite summer dish of mine has to be homemade pizza. If you haven’t made your own pizza before, I encourage you to try your hand at it this summer! Soon, it will become a weekly staple. The great thing about pizza making is that you can top your pies with just about anything you have in your fridge. I find this to be particularly helpful during this time of year when my kitchen is always bursting with summer produce!
For the perfect summer pizza, create your crust, and let it warm up to room temperature. If you have the time, make your own pizza sauce - classic marinara and pesto are my two favorites. If you’re in a meaty mood, bacon, chicken, or sausage make great additions. If veggies are more your thing, go for greens, peppers, caramelized onions, garlic, tomato slices, fresh herbs, mushrooms, or eggplant! Next, top with your favorite cheese like mozzarella, goat cheese, or ricotta! Once your pizza is ready, slide it onto your pizza stone that’s been warming up in the 500 degree oven. In 12-15 minutes, you’ll have the perfect pizza pie, ready to enjoy!
Wishing you a happy summer, and I hope you have fun trying out some new recipes this year!