This is true end-of-summer fare. A batch of pesto from the basil that’s growing gangly in the garden. (Try our zippy Asian Pesto, Basil-Mint Pesto or Spicy Sage and Parsley Pesto.) A spatchcocked (butterflied) chicken cooked (relatively) quickly on the grill, since the days are shorter now. Which is good. I like saying goodbye to a season with a taste of all I love about it — and this grilled chicken recipe has it.
Christopher and I pulled this together on a whim one night when we were dialing back to just veggies, healthy fats and whole grains. We had eggplant and tomatoes in the garden, onions in the pantry, and a brand new Magic Bullet on the counter. This grilled eggplant recipe demonstrates that all it takes to make a healthy dinner is a few simple ingredients!
This baked beans recipe is an (updated) old Mack family favorite. Now, it’s one of the staples our friends look forward to at Huber gatherings. It has a long list of “goes with” … hot dogs, hamburgers, roast pork, barbecued chicken. You name it. Honestly, these baked beans make a meal in and of themselves. They also freeze really well, which makes them ideal to pull out for camping or ski trips, when we know we’ll be feeding a crowd.
I got an e-mail this week from a reporter for our local paper asking about heirloom fruits and vegetables that are native to Sonoma County. I mentioned the famed Gravenstein apple. And the Crane melon. But what got both of us the most excited was the Bodega Red potato. Our local Slow Food chapter has been actively involved in bringing this humble spud back from the brink of extinction. And I have two plants growing in my backyard. Long story short, John the photographer and I unearthed a few potatoes last night for the article and I was chomping at the bit to cook them up in a way that would showcase their flavor and texture, rather than mask it. And I have to say, this is it. These potatoes are creamy and rich with a bite that pushes back, lifted by a freshness from the lime and salt. I’m going to give a disclaimer here, though; if you’re using store-bought potatoes you’ll probably need to amp up the flavor (I’d add a dash of cider vinegar or Dijon mustard or even soy sauce). This one is meant for potatoes from garden or farmers’ market, as close as you can get to being pulled from the ground.
Need I say “use the freshest, in-season tomatoes you can possibly find, and don’t even think about making this outside of summer”? I didn’t think so. If you wanted to go beyond this basic bruschetta recipe, you could add chopped olives or capers, or sneak a slice of buffalo mozzarella under each mound. This is a classic summer appetizer.
Looking for a satisfying veggie burger recipe? These portobello burgers will win you over from beef burgers … they’re that good. Portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture that appeals even to committed carnivores.
I fell in love with this simple, stunning Melone e Limone (Melon and Lemon) appetizer at our friends’ wedding recently. The peeps behind the awesome SCOPA restaurant here in Healdsburg, CA, had cut fragrant, peak-of-season melone (that’s Italian for melon) into tiny (perfect) cubes, tossed them with lemon juice and served them mini skewers with a sprinkle of sea salt as an hors d’oeuvre. I’ve made several more rustic versions since; this is my favorite. It also makes me smile because my daughter, Noemi, still mixes up the words ‘lemon’ and ‘melon’ … so this easy side dish spares her the riddle. So, pick up some fresh melone, and enjoy!
I pulled this pasta together one night when I had leftover sausage and summer squash in the fridge and a daughter eager to help out in the kitchen–the pesto came as much as an activity as an element of the dish. We went to the garden together to pick the basil and Noemi pounded the pesto together in our mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, use a blender and add warm water by the tablespoon as needed to blend.
This is one of my favorite ways to serve summer squash. You can use any type of squash, but I prefer the denser, green-fleshed varieties, such as zucchini. It’s a great summer squash recipe to use up a bumper crop. I also like to add a dash of Guatemalan smoked chile pepper a friend of mine gave to me; this is a great dish to be adventurous with anything special you want to play with too.
True barbecue involves indirect heat and smoke, and dedicated barbecue aficionados invest in a smoker. But you can set up a standard charcoal or gas grill for smoking, which works fine for tender cuts like tri tip, seafood or poultry. Tri tip (also called triangle roast) is a lean, quick-cooking cut of beef sirloin that’s an ideal introduction to smoking. It’s the cut used in Santa Maria-style barbecue in California’s Central Coast. I’ve added a touch of brown sugar to the spice rub for a little flavor of the Deep South. The result is smoky, spicy, subtly sweet, incredibly tender and, as my husband says, very “more-ish.” Serve this with our Santa Maria-Style Beans, corn or flour tortillas and your favorite salsa. Sometimes I’ll serve it with our Roasted Red Pepper Romesco Sauce (only I’ll put the veggies on the grill to smoke with the meat). Leftovers make divine sandwiches for lunch!