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The Fresh Tastes of Summer

Create: 06/12/2015 - 00:58
The Fresh Tastes of Summer

From sweet and tangy to savory and spicy, in-season ingredients allow you to create mouthwatering meals and thirst-quenching drinks that give rise to healthy living. Here are just a few recipes that use the summer’s freshest produce to provide an infusion of taste and health.

Refresh

Drinking plenty of water helps your metabolism, but it’s nice to have a change of pace. Try one of these healthy soda alternatives that take advantage of three summer season produce items:
Cucumber Mint Water: You can mix this right in your glass. Simply top a few cucumber slices, a mint sprig and ice off with water, stir it up and enjoy.
Raspberry Fizz: Mix a small handful of raspberries with ice and soda water. Stir well to ensure the infusion of flavors.
Basil Lemonade: Mixing lemonade with soda water helps cut the sugar without sacrificing taste. Combine lemonade and soda water one-to-one in a pitcher. Add a few basil leaves to each glass along with ice before filling them.

Snack

Cucumbers and radishes are two summer favorites with crispness that complement the flavors in this chickpea salad perfectly. Easy to prepare, this recipe is good for snacks and starters alike.
Servings: 6
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 can (19 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced crosswise
6 large red radishes, thinly sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and cumin and season with salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and let marinate for at least 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the cucumbers, radishes, onion and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Feast

Berries and mangoes are two keynotes of summer. Preparing them with your choice of white fish makes for a filling yet light meal. While this recipe calls for cod, snapper and tilapia are also great choices. Likewise, you can substitute the mangoes for peaches if you prefer.
Servings: 4
Sauce Yield: 1½ cups
4 cod fillets (about 7 oz. each)
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground chipotle chili pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
1 package (6 oz.) blueberries
¾ cup diced fresh mango
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine cumin, ginger, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Brush fish with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of fish with cumin mixture. Arrange fish in prepared baking dish.
Bake fish for 10 minutes or until it flakes easily with fork.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and red bell pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in blueberries and mango; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and jalapeño. Serve warm over fish.

Indulge

Although it’s healthy, this refreshing minted watermelon popsicle recipe will still satisfy your sweet tooth. These individual treats are great for parties of one and up.
Servings: 8
1½ lbs. seedless watermelon without the rind, cut into 1-inch dice (about 4 cups)
2 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup mint leaves, minced
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
Purée the watermelon with the sugar until smooth. Stir in the mint, lemon zest and salt. Pour the purée into 8 popsicle molds or 2 standard ice cube trays. Freeze for 1.5 hours. Insert popsicle sticks. After 3 hours in the freezer, enjoy.