Summer On A Plate – Bacon, Tomato & Peach Salad (paleo, Whole30*)

I read something enchanting a few weeks ago: grilled bacon. I saw it somewhere, in some recipe header, and the concept lodged in my brain; unwilling to let go.

Grilled bacon, brain said, in the middle of the night. GrilledBacon, it said, in the afternoon. GRILLED BACON, it screamed, while trying to think of what to have for dinner. So I tried grilling bacon. And … ???? It was just like pan-fried bacon, only more burnt. Still fantabulous, mind you, since I happen to *like* bacon that’s been on fire – but not the best use of my bacony buck. Maybe I should have read the recipe afterall.

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Summer On A Plate – Bacon, Tomato & Peach Salad (paleo, Whole30*)

2 strips bacon (check your source for Whole30!)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1 Saturn peach (or any variety, I just so happen to be addicted to the Saturn variety from Trader Joe’s)
3 leaves basil
Citrus salt
Balsamic vinegar (the best quality, thickest you can find)

Crisp your bacon however you see fit, drain on paper towels and chop. Chiffonade the basil, slice the cherry tomatoes in half, and the peaches in thin slices. Combine all and drizzle with balsamic. Finish off with some nice citrus salt.

Serves 1 as a side for dinner or lunch. Easily scaleable to feed more.

*This recipe can be made Whole30 compliant. Bacon isn’t completely verboten, just mostly. According to the Whole30 edict, bacon that is made with no added sugar is clear, which you’re most likely not going to find in the regular grocery store. US Wellness Meats sells Whole30 approved bacon, and your local natural food store, butcher or farmers would be a good place to look as well.

Sweet Summer Sunshine – aka Tomato, Peach & Basil Salad with Chili

Sometimes I try to pretend that I don’t wait for this season all year long with varying degrees of patience. Some years, I’d like to think that it’s the corn I’m really after. The berries. Burgers on the grill. But who am I kidding? It’s tomatoes. Tomatoes are what I crave in the deep recesses of winter – tomatoes are what I pine for. Sweet, umami-laden globules of liquid sunshine.

This salad highlights their peak season glory perfectly – and lucky for me, I’m the only tomato worshipper in the house. It’s a dead simple thing to whip up for lunch – barely a recipe, really.

Mine… all mine 😀

Sweet Summer Sunshine – aka Tomato, Peach & Basil Salad with Chili

Mixed heirloom tomatoes – a cup, cup and a half – thinly sliced
1 ripe peach, pitted and sliced thinly
1 tsp. thinly sliced basil ribbons
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tsp. sambal oelek (hot garlic chili sauce – I use the brand with the white chicken – it should be located near the squeeze bottle sriracha with the same chicken and comes in a clear plastic jar with a green lid) – sub for Whole30 sriracha if going that route

Your favorite finishing salt – I used some grey sea salt, but I could see black or Maldon salt being fabulous here, or even citrus-infused kosher

Arrange your tomatoes on a plate. Scatter peaches about until you have something that looks exciting and alive. Sprinkle with basil.

In a small bowl, mix the grapeseed oil and sambal oelek. Beat with a fork to combine.

Drizzle oil mixture over salad. Sprinkle with salt to finish.

Serves 1 for lunch. Feel free to scale up to feed a crowd. If you are making for a party, prepare as close to go time as possible. This salad is best at room temperature (I would never suggest refrigerating fresh tomatoes as it kills some of their taste) or even a little above.

Update: After writing this, my DH came home from work not hungry in the slightest for dinner. I ate this salad again for dinner beefed up with slivers of fennel, crumbles of feta and citrus salt. Yum. I might just have to hit the greenmarket this weekend so I can try a version with rosemary-infused olive oil, smoky cheese and orange….

Risottoed Fresh Sweet Corn

If your household is anything like mine, fresh ears of corn dominates the shopping list every week this time of year. And while I absolutely love my corn on the cob and various corn salad permutations, sometimes you just need something a little different. That’s where this creamy, risotto-like side comes into play. This dish takes the best summer has to offer and transports it to near fall amounts of decadence. It’s creamy, it’s hearty, and it makes the perfect accompaniment to a protein main (like the too-dry pheasant in the picture).

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Risottoed Fresh Sweet Corn

4 ears corn
1/2 c. liquid – water, stock or milk
1/2 red onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. half & half
Salt & pepper to taste

Dice onion and set to sautée in the oil over medium-low heat.

Over a large bowl, de-kernel the corn and then run the back of your knife down the empty cobs to extract the milk.

Add the corn & 1/2 c. liquid to a food processor; whiz until the mixture looks like risotto.

When the onion is softened, add the corn. Raise the temperature to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, 20 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached. You want a loose risotto texture.

Add the cheese and half & half. Stir and cook another couple minutes to fully incorporate. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch.

‘It’s Too Hot To Cook’ Watermelon Salad

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but in mine, we’ve been having a heat wave. And I thought it got hot in South Florida — It does, but this heat is something different. In Miami, you have a nice-to-annoying breeze continually wiping the land clean – dragging humid air in its wake. In NYC, you have humidity as well, but asphalt everywhere and tall buildings that alternately create wind tunnels and block all air from moving. It’s taking some getting used to, especially when the mercury tops out at 103, a temperature I haven’t seen since living in northern Florida.

So, what do you cook for dinner when going outside means flirting with immolation? Watermelon salad. This salad is cool, sweet, hot, savory, and delicious. I’ve been eating big bowlfuls by itself for lunch and dinner, but you could serve alongside some form of quick-cooking meat in tube or patty form to round out a meal for more than one if you can stand the heat.

A note on buying watermelon: This recipe is easiest when made with a seedless varietal, but I wasn’t thinking about that when selecting my melon – I was more excited by seeing something new – the deep green Sugar Baby Red variety – than I was concerned with practicality. If you don’t happen to remember seedless watermelon, no biggie, just more prep work will be involved to pick the seeds out.

‘It’s Too Hot To Cook’ Watermelon Salad

4 c. watermelon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (bite sized)
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped fine
Most of a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, diced
5 scallions, sliced thin
2 jalapenos, de-seeded and diced
1/2 – 3/4 c. feta, crumbled if in a block (optional)
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. the best (thickest) balsamic vinegar you can find

Combine everything in a large bowl, stir to combine, and set back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to marry.

Makes a ton – I’ve gotten at least 3 big bowls out of the batch I made.

Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado Mousse

This dish makes the perfect accompaniment to any summer grilled entree, from veggie burgers to sausage or steaks. Yum.

Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado Mousse

4 ears corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper
1 avocado, halved and separated from its skin
2 limes, halved
1/4 red onions, diced
1 Tbsp. basil, diced
1 Tbsp. cilantro, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 c. creme fraiche
1 squirt sriracha
Salt & pepper to taste

On a medium-high flame, grill the corn until blistered all over and burned in spots. Don’t worry – slightly burned corn tastes great.

Grill the pepper until the skin has blackened on all sides and is starting to split.

Grill the avocado until well marked.

Grill the limes until well marked and juicy. This is the perfect preparation for limes that have gotten a little hard, as the heat brings the juices right back out.

Remove everything from the grill as it is done and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, creme fraiche, juice of 1 lime, 1 squirt sriracha and half the garlic. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If this mixture is thicker than you would like, thin with a little water. I wanted a mousse-like consistency.

When the veggies have cooled enough to handle, peel the pepper and chop. Stand the corn up on its cut-from-the-stalk end and run your knife slowly down the cob to separate the kernels, making sure to get down to the hard cob core. You may want to do this in a big bowl or on a big chopping board – things can get a little messy.

Combine the corn kernels, pepper, the juice of the second lime, basil, cilantro, second half of the garlic, cumin and chili powder in a bowl. Taste. Season accordingly and serve topped with avocado mousse.

Serves 2-4

Roasted Potato Salad

Ok, so I totally forgot to take a picture of this recipe. Here, have a Vidalia onion instead 🙂

Roasted Potato Salad

1/2 lb. small red-skinned potatoes
Canola oil to toss with
1 ear corn, kernels removed
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 lb. your favorite bacon
3-5 oz. baby arugula
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. dried cumin powder
1 Tbsp. dried chipotle powder
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Big pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.

Chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch or so pieces, toss in a little canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast approximately 25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into 1/4 inch thick batons (or however you like) and crisp over medium heat. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Add the onion and corn to the bacon fat and kick the heat up to medium high. Cook 10-25 minutes or until browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine potatoes with the corn mixture and 3-5 oz. baby arugula in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cumin, chipotle powder, mustard and red pepper flakes. Taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Pour over potato mixture and toss to coat. Taste again and adjust seasonings to your liking. Add bacon to finish and serve.

Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a side.