Fresh foods to help you Spring into Summer

April 21, 2015, 1:37 p.m. | By Neida Mbuia Joao | 7 years, 1 month ago

After a long cold winter, warm weather is finally here! In honor of the warmer temperatures and the delicious fruits and vegetable that will be available along with them, here are some fresh and (mostly) healthy recipes to brighten up the warmer months.

Caprese Sandwich with Tomato Pesto— An updated version of the grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.

Photo: Pesto can help take grilled cheese to the next level.  Photo courtesy of Neida Mbuia Joao.

•Tomato Pesto
•1 large tomato
•1/2 cup parmesan cheese
•30-45 leaves of basil
•1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
•3 garlic cloves
•Salt and pepper to taste
•1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (you can really use any kind of bread but ciabatta's my favorite for this one)
•2 balls of fresh mozzarella
•10 leaves of basil
For Pesto:
1.Chop tomatoes.
2.Place tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil and seasonings into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add cheese and pulse until combined.
Note: This makes a lot of pesto. You can use it for pasta, bake it into bread, use it for other sandwiches, etc. It should keep in the fridge for about a week and in the freezer for about 3-4 months.

To assemble Sandwich:
1.Slice ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise.
2.Spread a bit of pesto on both sides of the bread.
3.Place basil leaves and mozzarella on bread and close the sandwich.
4.Optional: Place sandwich on oiled grill pan, panini press, or griddle and cook until both sides of bread are toasted and cheese is melted.

Strawberry Chocolate Icebox Cake— A simple but delicious way to cool down on a hot summer day.

Photo: Despite its appearance, this icebox cake is surprisingly delicious.  Photo courtesy of Neida Mbuia Joao.

•8x8 baking tin
•Approx. 25 oreos, creme removed
•5 tablespoons melted butter
Strawberry Filling
•1 cup strawberries
•1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
•1 stick softened butter
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•3 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
•Oreo creme
To prepare crust:
1.Smash Oreos in a zip top bag or food processor until they are crumbs.
2.Combine Oreos and melted butter in a bowl and stir until mixture is moist.
3.Press Oreo-butter mixture into the bottom of a lined 8x8 baking tin. Chill for at least one hour before filling.
For Filling:
1.Puree strawberries in a blender or food processor (use a bit of water and/or sugar to aid blending).
2.Combine sugar, softened butter and cream cheese in a bowl or food processor and beat until smooth.
3.Beat strawberry puree into cream cheese mixture in two installments (separate the strawberry puree into two batches).
4.Chill for 30 minutes.
To assemble icebox cake:
1.Pour strawberry cream cheese mixture into baking tin containing crust. Smoot out top
2.Cover and refridgerate for at least four hours or until firm.

Peach Salsa— Because mango salsa is just a little too expected.

Photo: Peach salsa can add a springy twist to a delicious snack Photo courtesy of Neida Mbuia Joao.

•1 large tomatoes
•1 peach (look for firmer but ripe ones)
•1/2 bell pepper
•1/4 medium Valencia onion
•1/2 jalapeno, seeded
•1 teaspoon lime juice
•Salt, pepper to taste
•Cilantro to taste
1.Chop tomatoes and peaches into similarly sized pieces. Dice bell pepper, onion and jalapeno into slightly smaller pieces. Chop cilantro.
2.Combine chopped fruit and veg in a small bowl and toss together.
3.Add lime juice, cilantro and seasonings to taste. Combine.

Blackberry Mint Lemonade— Now this will spice up that old lemonade stand! Lemonade is the quintessential refreshing summer beverage and this recipe yields a lot (about a half-gallon), so keep this in the fridge in a pitcher to have something delicious to drink for a while.

Photo: Ripe berries will make your Blackberry Mint Lemonade delicious.  Photo courtesy of Neida Mbuia Joao.

Blackberry mint simple syrup
•1 pint blackberries
•1 1/2 cups sugar
•1 cup water
•1 cup packed mint leaves
•1 cup blackberry simple syrup
•1 cup lemon juice (about 8 small lemons and 6 large ones)
•5 cups water (sparkling optional)

Simple Syrup
1.Combine sugar, water and mint in a saucepan. Place on medium heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.
2.Add berries to mixture and simmer for four minutes. Take syrup off heat.
3.Allow syrup to cool completely before straining through a sieve.
To assemble lemonade
1.Add simple syrup, lemon juice and water to a pitcher and stir until thoroughly combined.

With these new recipes, you can have a refreshing and satisfying summer meal that won't widen your waistline. Enjoy!

Tags: summer recipes grilled cheese lemonade pesto salsa spring

Neida Mbuia Joao. Welcome to SCO! I'm Neida (pronounced Neigh-duh) and I'm the online opinion editor for the site. My favorite pass-times include snacking, reading super dense novels and watching lots of television. Clearly I'm on track to become a vegetable. If so I'd like to be a … More »

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