My Favorite Summer Recipes

Where has summer gone?! I don’t know about you, but this season has flown by, and for once in my life, I find myself starting to mourn that; winter was so hard on me last year. While I’m excited for sweater weather, I can be patient. And that also leads me to something else I’m really excited about that can wait no more: recipe sharing!

For those of you who don’t already know, creating delicious food for others to try is one of my passions, so I had to ban myself from Pinterest {too many great ideas, some of which turn out divine, others ending in epic failure because they are recipes that have not been tested as tried and true. #petpeeve #endrant}.

Needless to say, I have a feeling you will be seeing much more from me on the food front. I’ve even prayed the prayer, “God, can I quit my 9-5 job and just feed people? Because that is what I want. Also, I have no capital to invest, so You’ll have to fit the bill for a second oven. Thanks, talk soon!”

All of that to say this: herein finally lie three of my favorite go-to summer recipes for you and yours to try. While I’m not opposed to fall weather coming soon, I’m trying to soak up these sunny summer days and embrace each season {with local produce and fresh ingredients}. I’m researching my food’s sources more than ever before, which is hard, and takes time, but is incredibly worthwhile.

Let me know what you think if you try them. They’re incredibly easy, with little to no prep-time, and use a lot of what you already have in your pantry {#bonuspoints}!

Happy cooking,
Suzy

 

BUT FIRST, COFFEE:

I’m not the world’s largest hot coffee drinker in the winter months {I’d rather have tea + chai}, but come summer, it’s game on! Iced coffee is so refreshing to me!

photo 3

Sure, I sometimes take time to source some great beans, grind them myself at home, french press them, chill the coffee for at least 12 hours in the fridge, and serve with my favorite add-ins {unsweetened vanilla almond milk + honey + cinnamon}. It’s delish, but let’s be real: who has time for that?

photo 4
Other times {95% of the time}, I opt for my store-bought brand of choice cold-brewed coffee, Chameleon. I get the Mocha flavor, which has a very subtle nod to some bittersweet dark chocolate; it’s so smooth and rich! I kid you not, when I open a jar of this stuff {concentrated, and great for up-to 4 servings for around only $5}, I stand there and inhale it slowly for a solid amount of time before adding some to a mason jar with plenty of large ice-cubes, shaking it up {with a lid, of course} which creates a delicious “froth” or foam, much like you see in an aerated hot latte, with all of my favorite aforementioned add-ins, and the addition of sprinkles and a straw, because duh.

photo 5{Need I mention that I save these jars, scrub off the label in hot soapy water, and use them as flower vases around my space? DIY win.}

NEXT, LET’S TALK DINNER: 

Blackened Tilapia Fish Tacos 
{My Friday night tradition}
photo 2

Ingredients:
+ ocean raised + caught, well-sourced tilapia fillets
{about 16 ounces, which will feed two people two tacos each, because we’re hungry, and fish is a light meat that is easy to digest, and 4 oz. is still the appropriate serving size for meat, but YOLO!}

Marinade {for at least 1 hour}:
+ chili powder- 1 tsp
+ cumin- 1 tsp
+ the juice of one fresh lime + its zest {zest before juicing}
+ Kikkoman Teriyaki Glaze & Marinade {i know this dish is more latin-inspired, but just go with it}- 1 Tbs
+ Worcestershire sauce-1 tsp
+ lemon essential oil- 2 drops
+ agave nectar- 1 tsp
+ salt & pepper to preference

Taco Toppings:
+ fresh avocado
+ homemade pico de gallo: fresh diced tomato, fresh chopped cilantro, fresh diced red onion {My favorite ratio is 1 part onion to 3 parts tomato with as little or as much cilantro as you like}
+ cabbage slaw {from a bag, because I let myself take short-cuts sometimes, as long as all ingredients are ones I know and can pronounce}
+ queso fresco and/or sour cream {can omit these if you’re dairy free because these tacos are still bomb without it}

Cook In:
+coconut oil
+ ceramic skillet {no cast iron/grill}

Bundle In:
+ your favorite fresh soft corn tortillas {I double up with two tortillas per taco for stability}

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and put a cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack on top inside to wait on you until you’re ready to use it.

After you have cut your tilapia down to 4 oz fillets and let marinate for at least one hour in the fridge, heat up your skillet with 1 tsp of coconut oil on medium-high heat. You want a hot skillet to create that “blackened” effect, and so the marinade will form a “crust” on your fish as it seres. A crust is better than a glaze in this recipe.

Cook each fillet for 2  1/2 minutes per side, and then transfer into the oven onto the “cooling rack” to keep warm and to let the air circulate around the entire piece of fish, which will prevent it from getting soggy and keep the crust we worked so hard for intact. 😉

After you’ve cooked all of your fish, use the same pan {with 2 fresh tablespoons of coconut oil} to shallow-fry each corn tortilla for 30 seconds per side on high. Flip using tongs. Sop-up extra oil with a paper towel, and place on a separate “cooling rack” without them touching to {you guessed it!} keep the tortillas from getting soggy. You do not want hard or crunchy tortillas, but you want a cooked tortilla that is still pliable and warm to serve.

Layer up two tortillas per taco, put slaw down first to act as a “bed” to nest your sweet + spicy fish in, and top with pico + avocado slices and queso fresco and/or sour cream. Serve with black beans and your favorite beer or Mexican soda {or La Croix w/ lime, if you are me.}

Nom nom nom! {<—the actual noise you and your family will make as you eat.}

 

 

FINALLY, WHAT IS SUMMER WITHOUT LOTS OF THINGS TO PUT ICE CREAM ON TOP OF? 

Case and point: Peach Crisp


photo-10{photo via @conveythemoment}

 

Goodness golly, is there anything more summer and southern than peaches? The answer is “no”. Some of you know I lived in Georgia for a season, and I often miss my friends and “family” down there. Good thing they came to visit just last week, and I made them their own individual Peach Crisps in small tart dishes and served them warm with a scoop of the best vanilla ice cream on top. It was such a beautiful time around my table spent catching up and laughing, and my heart was left full and refreshed after time in their presence. My good friend Emily {also from Georgia} says this of peaches: {they are} “tiny juicy fuzzy butts. That taste like nature’s candy.”

I’m not sure I could’ve worded it better myself.
So without further ado, the grand finale of this delicious post:

Filling Ingredients:
+ 1  1/2 pounds of whole peaches, quartered, pitted, and sliced 1/8″ thick {I leave skins on for texture and flavor, but you can peal first if you prefer}
+ the juice of a half of a fresh lemon + 2 drops lemon essential oil
+ 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
+ 1/4 tsp ground ginger
+ 1/4 tsp salt
+ 1/4 cup local honey
+ 1/4 cup corn starch
+ 1/2 tsp rum extract
+ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Crust Ingredients:
+ 1 cup all-purpose flour
+ 1/2 cup wheat flour
+ 1/2 cup rolled oats
+ 1 tsp salt
+ 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
+ 2 cups sugar
+ 2 sticks of cold butter {cut into 1/2 tsp cubes}

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9″ baking dish with coconut oil or butter. Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl, gently folding them together {so as not to break-up the peaches} until a semi-thick “marinade” is formed for the peaches to take a little bath in. I let the filling sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes as I make the crust.

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients with a whisk, and slowly “cut in” cold butter cubes until the mixture starts to take on a sandy consistency. {This takes about 5 minutes, so be patient, and DO NOT use a food processor. I’m a firm believer that it just isn’t the same thing.} Then, get your hands dirty and start kneading the sandy mixture into lumps, and then larger pieces of “crumble” or “streusel”, until the mixture can stay together in a ball; the body heat in your hands will start to melt the butter and help in this process. If it can successfully hold itself together, it is the right consistency, and you can slowly break it back apart into 1/2″ crumble pieces. Set your “crisp” in the fridge to let the butter solidify back up for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, pull your filling ingredients back out, and pour into  your pan, scraping the bowl down to get all of the starchy liquid into the pan. Gently push down on any loose peaches that want to stick up. You can also shake the pan horizontally back and forth to get them to settle into place for baking. After 15 minutes, pull your cold “crisp” topping back out and evenly crumble half of the mixture atop your peaches. {The topping portion of the recipe is enough to make two 9 x 9″ crisps. I just like to do all of the work up-front, and refrigerate or freeze the excess for other desserts later.}

Bake for 45 minutes, but around the 30 minute mark, keep an eye on your Crisp, as every oven is different. If you find it is browning too quickly, or if you have a convection oven, drop your temperature to 350 degrees. It should be golden and bubbly when it’s finished.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes on a cooling rack, and serve warm and with ice cream on top. And don’t be afraid to eat it for breakfast with coffee like I sometimes do. 😉

photo 1

While these peaches I used are not from Georgia, they are fresh and local Missouri-grown peaches from a nearby farmer, and I’m in love with them; we buy a bushel each week. They are also great packed in your lunch, atop your morning oatmeal, blended into smoothies and homemade popsicles, and so much more.

*Additionally, my recipe isn’t gluten-free, but you could easily alter it to be. If you need to store a partially-eaten crisp, do so in your fridge, not at room-temp. Reheat individual pieces in a toaster oven instead of a microwave to prevent sogginess.

{Can you tell I’m anti-soggy and mushy and all of those synonymous adjectives? Ha!}

I hope you enjoy these recipes, and I can’t wait to share more of my favorites with you very soon!