Hello again, all! I hope this summer has treated you all quite well. As you know, we’ve had a bit of an odd one out here and we are finally, I hope(!), coming into a new routine. Thank you all for your kind words last month.
July is also a busy month for us. Our little girl turned 3, so we have family over for a long weekend and then on the Sunday after her birthday, we have a big gumbo party where we invite most of our friends. I start baking and freezing cupcakes a week ahead of time and we work on the 3 gumbos–pork andouille/crawfish, chicken/chicken andouille, and vegan–starting about 5 days before. This year, we had 60 people (the most yet!) in our little house . . . thankfully with the outdoor spaces and overall flow it didn’t feel like that many people were here.
Thus, it was also a time for eating lots of vegetables to make sure we stayed healthy! So, on to the recipes!
This month I made 7 recipes: Peperonata (p. 20), Marinated cucumbers with mint (p. 122), Green beans with potatoes and olives (p. 222), Summer stirfy with cauli rice (p. 286), Artichokes (p. 310), Charred leeks with romesco (p. 336), and Green beans with tomatoes and garlic (p. 375).
As I was trying to maximize veggie consumption, anytime bread or grains were called for this month, I substituted. The peperonata–a mix of tomatoes with bell peppers and garlic slow cooked on the stove–was so very tasty. I grilled some slices of summer squash as a base. The next morning, my husband ate the rest of it with eggs over easy on top! I will definitely make this again as the slow cooking really melded the flavors into something quite special.
Marinated Cucumbers with Mint
This was a very easy dish to put together. I had some trouble with what exactly is a medium cucumber and so I think I could’ve used more of the vinegar mixture. The recipe is a little loose-y goose-y and the baker in me harumphs a bit at that. I’ll try this recipe again, but it wasn’t my favorite way to eat cucumbers (and I love me some cucumbers).
Green Beans with Potatoes and Olives
This dish, pictured at the top of this post, was also a favorite. What I’m really enjoying about the recipes in River Cottage Veg is that they are generally fairly simple to prepare. My mother-in-law was visiting for a week and it was hot and humid (in comparison to our normal weather). This summer meal I put together–the simple and fabulous green beans, creamy cucumbers with parsley and onion, and grilled salmon with lime butter–was nice for that hot day. Especially with a glass of rosé.
Summer Stir Fry with CauliRice
If you didn’t try this dish, I highly recommend it! In the way of stir fries, it’s a wonderful means of using up odd veggies about to go bad. For this one, I accidentally bought snap peas instead of snow peas (you know, I did that twice this month…so silly), so in those went. I also used arugula and chard for the greens, along with the zucchini and peas the recipe called for. Lightly flavored with toasted sesame oil and some soy sauce, the adults loved it. Instead of rice, I riced cauliflower in my food processor. Then, I sautéd some chopped onions in some ghee until soft and added the cauliflower to the pan, sautéing for about 7-10 minutes to soften it. I added some leftover pulled pork to the caulirice because I felt like it. 🙂 As I said, what a great catch-all recipe and I was so happy to clean out my fridge of so many vegetables.
Well, there’s the detritus! I forgot to take a photo. I live in one of the areas that artichokes grow well and these weren’t quite in season…I usually see them in late spring and then fall. Our local company (Baroda Farms) recommends serving them with a smoked paprika aioli. I steamed those babies and we all dipped the leaves into the quite yummy dip, including the 3-year-old!
NB: If you’ve never done homemade mayo with avocado oil, you are in for a treat! There is something about avocado oil that makes an extra emollient mayo! I’ve long disliked mayo because I’d only ever had store-bought. Making my own with avocado oil was really a revelation.
Charred Leeks with Romesco
Also a fabulous dish! Smoked paprika was often on my menu in the last week, for whatever reason. I simply omitted the bread in the romesco and it turned out great; I was a bit worried about texture and it was not a problem in the end. The smoky romesco with the smoky sweet flavor of the leeks was lovely. The only funny thing is that I started to take a bite of them after taking the above photo and realized that I’d only charred them, but not “until soft” as the recipe directed. Oops! I quickly turned on the broiler and finished them off. Thankfully no one was home to see my reaction to the way undercooked leeks. 🙂
Green Beans with Tomatoes & Garlic
I was the only one in my family who liked this dish as the girl and the husband are not super fond of fresh tomato-y things. Frankly, I shouldn’t have told them how I made this it. Alas, I was really intrigued by this novel-to-me method of grating the tomatoes to end up with the pulp and no skin! I’ll definitely re-use that technique in the future. Overall, I’d classify as okay. It was a bit on the sweet side for me, likely due to the specific tomatoes I used, and I thought it could use some acid or briney type of thing (lemon/vinegar or olives) to better offset the tomatoes. I’ll do that next time.
We had a bouncy house in the front yard for the kiddos. The guy showed up super early (pre-nap, argh!) so the little girl got to jump around in it all on her own for a while. She was so utterly joyful to have this fun toy!
Later in the evening, she was with a friend and the man came to deflate it. She asked where it was going and I told the girls, “say good night to the bouncy house!” They were quiet for a moment and then her friend said, “Good night bouncy house!” My daughter turned away and in a very exasperated voice said, “Ohhhhkay. Good night.” And then she sighed. HA!
Phew! Congrats to you if you made it all the way through!