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It’s always been my dream to have a midsummer party, complete with fairy lights in the trees, small bites made with locally grown ingredients, and lots of chilled Champagne. I would love to add in a fire pit and lots of comfy seating and friends laughing and talking into the night. We now have the yard for it, but this year it doesn’t seem like we have had the time. We’re bogged down with some house projects and some major stress with a crooked former contractor (there will be SO much more on that when I am allowed to discuss), so entertaining hasn’t been a top priority.

Midsummer’s bounty from Red Fire Farm has buoyed my spirits during this past week, which was particularly tough. Our CSA share this week included carrots, sweet corn, celery, watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, two cartons of blueberries, sage, basil, chives, green onions, kale, and lettuce.

Red Fire Farm CSA

While we’re not entertaining large groups, we did make time on CSA day for a family barbecue, My father-in-law is visiting from Ireland, and casual back yard get togethers are an easy way to enjoy our yard, family, and great food. We grilled the sweet corn right in the husks, along with some carne asada and buffalo burgers. A grilled Japanese eggplant from an earlier CSA share and a huge salad rounded out the meal.

 

sweet corn

I received a sweet surprise when I cut into the CSA watermelon; it was yellow! And it was so incredibly sweet and juicy and good. I love being messily covered in watermelon juice. Smile

yellow watermelon

I wanted to do some prepping of veggies from our share so they didn’t go bad quickly, so I decided to make an oven roasted salsa. I used CSA heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and an Aisla Craig onion along with a red tomato and red hot chili peppers from my own garden. Roasted up and blended together, the salsa is actually great cold with chips or hot as a sauce over chicken and veggies. I love how simple and healthy it is.

oven roasted salsa

I took the sage and oven dried it at 180 degrees for a few hours. Sage to me smells like instant Thanksgiving, and sadly I am already thinking of the stuffing I will make that chilly morning in November. At least I will be able to bring a piece of my favorite season into it!

The rest of the week will include lots of salads and kale smoothies along with stuffed zucchini. I feel so grateful that we have amazing Massachusetts farms to bring food to our tables, and I look forward to sharing more!

Have a great weekend!

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Tags: CSA. farm to table, Food, fruit, Red Fire Farm, salsa, summer produce, vegetables

A recipe so simple I almost didn’t post it, these swordfish skewers with pineapple salsa are the essence of summer. They require very little prep and very little cleanup, but they pack a healthy, flavorful punch that will impress any barbecue guest.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, a project I was working on unexpectedly ended, leaving me with some extra time on my hands. I HATE down time, so not having enough work is never a good thing. I’ve been trying really hard to fill those extra hours with fun things, so on a sunny day last week, I went for a run that ended at the grocery store. (Um, never, ever a good idea.)

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I knew I wanted to make something bright and healthy, so I gather ingredients for an easy pineapple salsa: pineapple, red bell pepper, white onion, cilantro, and lime juice. If you are not a lover of spice, this salsa is for you. I simply blended all of the ingredients together to make a smooth salsa that we could use to dress the main dish.

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The swordfish kebabs took just a few minutes to assemble and cook. Fresh swordfish and multicolored bell peppers went together very nicely, grilled to perfection, and topped with a generous portion of salsa. Next time I might add chunks of pineapple to the skewers as well; I can’t get enough of it! The best thing about meaty fish like swordfish is that it is super satisfying and filling without feeling heavy. This dinner felt like a spa meal!

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The run and the dinner (which I packed up to eat on the boat) cheered me up and helped me to enjoy the slowdown a little. You never know when things will pick up again! (I hope it’s soon).

What deliciously healthy meals have you whipped up lately?

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Tags: Food, healthy, pineapple salsa, recipe, salsa, swordfish

Tempeh Tacos

It’s going to be a scorcher today, Boston! Cooking might be the last thing on your minds on this freakishly warm March day. I appreciate warmth and a mild winter, but mid-to-high 80’s in March is worrisome even to me. More importantly, we have wine traveling from California, and I am crossing my fingers the crazy temps don’t spoil it.

As you know, I celebrated the big 32 on Tuesday, and dinner was so great I thought I would share. Since we were in Sonoma and Napa so recently, I decided I wanted a quiet birthday evening at home. After lots of loving messages from friends and family and gorgeous flowers from my family and my husband and a loooong work day, I kicked off my birthday celebration with a bubble bath and a glass of bubbly.

flowers

I was able to relax because I had started dinner the night before. I cubed a giant block of tempeh to start. After this meal, I realize I prefer tempeh to tofu for a vegetarian protein; I like the chewiness, and does it soak up sauce!

Raw tempeh looks a little like brains, unfortunately.

tempeh

I chose to marinate my tempeh in this Ortega taco sauce. When we were little and my dad would travel for work,  we often had tacos for dinner because my dad didn’t like them.  This taco sauce brings back fond memories of these dinners. And it’s tasty.

taco sauce

Marinated overnight, the tempeh basically took on the flavor of the taco sauce which made it a fabulous filling for our tacos.

marinated tempeh

When it was time to start our build-your-own-taco bar, I sautéed the tempeh on low in a frying pan while I prepped our toppings.

They included grated cheddar and chopped romaine,

cheese and lettuce

I also brought out some of my homemade habanero salsa which is to-die-for and makes my forehead sweat, guacamole,  2% Fage yogurt, and of course warmed whole wheat tortillas. We each built out own tacos, starting the tempeh, piling them high with deliciousness.

tempeh tacos

We ate on the floor with the windows open and bubbly in our glasses and followed our tacos with some desserts that my husband brought from Flour. It was a nice picnic dinner.

Warm weather definitely brings out the desire for quick foods that don’t take a ton of heat to prepare. The tempeh was the only part of these tacos that required turning on a burner, and that was only for about 10 minutes so it didn’t heat the house much. Tonight we’re having giant salads with fried eggs and trying to stay cool with a walk at Castle Island. What a week!

Have you done anything summery this week?

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Tags: dinner, Food, recipe, salsa, tacos, tempeh, Vegetarian

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