Classic Basil Pesto

Pesto never goes out of style and it’s application is wide and varied. Add it to pasta or roasted vegetables. Slather it on chicken or use it as a pizza sauce. And the best part? You can make large batches, while the basil is overflowing in the summer, and freeze it for later use. Hooray for pesto!

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Classic Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

 

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

Note: Care for a nuttier flavor in your pesto? Try using toasted pine nuts.

 

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Halibut Ceviche with Tomato Gazpacho

Halibut Ceviche

Photo by Andrew Grinton

Strike this recipe while the tomatoes are overflowing at your local farmers market or in your very own backyard garden! (P.S. This recipe was recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine!)

 

Yield: 4 servings

Gazpacho

½ pound small cucumbers (Persian or Japanese) (approximately 2 cucumbers) peeled and chopped roughly

½ large red bell pepper (¼ pound), seeded and chopped roughly (reserve other half for ceviche)

2 pounds red tomatoes (approximately 7 medium tomatoes), cored and chopped roughly

1-ounce shallot (1 medium shallot), peeled and quartered

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Add all the above ingredients to a blender, except the olive oil.

Blend until smooth. With blender on low, stream in the olive oil until combined.

Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Refrigerate until ceviche is ready to be served. Stir or re-blend briefly before serving.

 

Ceviche

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 small jalapeno (.75-ounces), seeded, deveined and diced small (1½ tablespoons)

1 pound skinless halibut, diced into ¼-inch cubes (Use Seafood Watch to select halibut)

½ large red bell pepper (¼ pound), seeded and diced small (½ cup) (reserved from gazpacho)

1 scallion, thinly sliced (¼ cup)

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Combine lemon juice, lime juice, salt and jalapeno in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add halibut and mix thoroughly.

Using the back of a spoon, level the halibut off so it is pressed down in the liquid. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly atop the fish in the bowl.

Refrigerate for 8 minutes.

Remove plastic wrap and stir. Using the back of a spoon, re-level the halibut off so it is pressed down in the liquid. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly atop the fish in the bowl.

Refrigerate for an additional 8 minutes. The halibut should be opaque and white in color.

Drain the mixture in a colander and return it to the original small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve immediately.

To serve, pour 1¼ cups of the gazpacho in a shallow bowl. Then, mound ¾ cup of the halibut ceviche in the center of the bowl.

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Thyme and Garlic

Chef Nathan Lyon Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Thyme and Garlic

These sweet snackable tomatoes are worth the wait of the roasting time. Top them over a piece of fish, chicken or bowl of pasta or simply eat them straight out of a bowl!

Yield: 2 cups

 

2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled

1½ tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

1.Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 225ºF.

 

  1. Place the tomato halves, flesh-side up, and all of the garlic cloves on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Season the tomatoes evenly with the thyme, salt, and pepper and drizzle over the olive oil.

 

  1. Roast in the oven, uncovered, until lightly colored, soft and slightly collapsed, around 3½ hours… or more. The total roasting time will depend upon the size of the tomato used.
  2. Remove from the oven. Squeeze each garlic clove to remove the sweet, soft insides, and add to the tomatoes. Serve and enjoy.

 

Note:  When roasting for long periods of time, keeping skins on the garlic allows them to steam in their skins and remain sweet, whereas peeled garlic can get bitter. Any leftover tomatoes, garlic, and oil can be transferred into a container, topped off with more olive oil, and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Summer Squash Salad with Pecorino Romano and Capers

Yield: 6 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

3 small zucchini or summer squash (mix of both, preferably)

Kosher salt, to taste

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

 

1. In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Using a mandoline or your vegetable peeler, carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/16-inch thick slices lengthwise. The slices will resemble wide pasta noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the zucchini in a medium bowl.

4. Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture and add the capers. On a plate, loosely arrange some zucchini slices into a small pile, then spoon some of the caper vinaigrette over the top.

5. Lastly, using a vegetable peeler, top with some shavings of cheese and some of the parsley.

Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Nathan Lyon Strawberry Canteloupe

Strawberry and Cantaloupe Salad with Fresh Mint

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

½ cantaloupe, seeded, rind removed, and sliced into 1-inch sections

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 tablespoons of balsamic OR white wine vinegar*

15 medium-sized fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

1. Gently toss the cantaloupe, strawberries, vinegar of choice*, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl.

2. Add the feta and chopped mint to the bowl just prior to serving and toss.

*Note: If you prefer the flavor of the strawberries to pop, go with a nice balsamic. If you’re more of a cantaloupe person, go with the white wine vinegar. Both work great.

Honey Vanilla Ricotta with Fresh Berries

It’s summer! Make use of your stash of berries with this simple and super quick dessert. Sure to be a crowd pleaser (for kids and adults)… Enjoy! Recipe is below (and in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, page 110) AND you can also watch me make this on my youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvHnOrIlE

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Fresh Fruit with Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fruit: (feel free to make your own berry combo!)

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 pint blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination

5 large fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (2 tablespoons) plus 4 large whole mint leaves for garnish

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Whipped Ricotta:

1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

 

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the fruit salad ingredients.

Put the ricotta, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Process or whip until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time for dessert.

To serve, divide the fruit into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of the Honey Whipped Vanilla Ricotta and garnish with a mint leaf.

Sweet Summer Corn Soup

What is summer without corn?! Grilled, sauteed, boiled – it’s all delicious, but one of my all time favorite ways to enjoy corn is corn soup.

This recipe is packed with that sweet corn flavor because everything comes to a boil, including the otherwise discarded cobs. Even when you take all the kernels off, they still hold so much flavor! So, why not use that flavor to your advantage? This recipe is also drought friendly: not only because we use every last inch of that corn on the cob, but also because it’s creamy without using any butter or dairy. The trick? Throwing a potato into the mix to give it extra richness. Oh, and there’s also that dollop of avocado. Mmmm.

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Creamed Summer Corn Soup with Chopped Cilantro and Avocado Puree

Yield: 6 cups

 

¼ cup grapeseed oil

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

4 ears corn, kernels sliced off the cob (2 cups), reserving cobs

1 medium yellow potato, peeled and diced medium (1 cup)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 large lime)

1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste!)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

Avocado puree (recipe below)

 

Heat the grapeseed oil in a small pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Stir in the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the corn (and their cobs), the diced potato and the stock, then cover. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.

Remove from the heat, then remove and discard the corn cobs.

Using an immersion blender, blend continuously until smooth. Add the lime juice, chipotle powder and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm and garnish each bowl with a dollop of avocado puree, a good sprinkle of chopped cilantro and a light grind of pepper.

 

Avocado Puree

1 large avocado (9 ounces), flesh scooped out, seed and skin discarded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1/2 large lime)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

A few good grinds of black pepper

 

In a small food processor combine the ingredients and puree until smooth.