When the oppressive August heat takes hold, I want light fare. Luckily, there’s a wealth of fresh vegetables and herbs available. A light vegetable dip is always perfect this time of year, so I make Dill Tzatziki Dip, which is good with veggies or pita chips. Corn on the cob is a summer joy, and Toasted Coconut Corn on the Cob, inspired by a trip to the Caribbean, is fantastic! Chilled soups are a great way to use nature’s bounty and cool off, and my Gold Gazpacho incorporates Southwest flavors like cumin, cilantro and lime. Of course, limeade is another way to cool off, and this Cherry Limeade is lightly flavored with frozen cherries. Several of these refreshing recipes need to be made in advance, so read the directions ahead of time. Enjoy!
Dill Tzatziki Dip
1 cucumber (English variety works best), unpeeled
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (do not use fat-free)
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 green onions, sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons dried dill or 4 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
Assorted vegetables or pita chips
Use a cheese grater to shred cucumber; squeeze out water. In a medium bowl, combine cucumber with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate overnight, and adjust salt to taste before serving with vegetables or pita chips.
Toasted Coconut Corn on the Cob
4 ears of corn
1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Leaving corn in husks, microwave for 5 1/2 minutes. Allow to cool before shucking.
Place a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, and add coconut. Carefully cook until coconut is toasted, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
On a small plate, stir together mayonnaise, seasoned salt and smoked paprika.
When corn is cool enough to handle, shuck; evenly smear with seasoned mayonnaise. Roll corn in coconut, pressing on shreds so they stick. Serve.
Note: This dish is delicious at room temperature or even cold. Refrigerate leftovers.
1 yellow bell pepper, halved with seeds removed
3/4 cup dry French bread, sliced
2/3 cup water
3 cups yellow tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup red onion, sliced
1/4 cup prepared plain hummus
1/4 cup cilantro, plus more to garnish
Heat oven to 400 or heat grill.
Bake or grill one half of a yellow pepper for 15 minutes or until it blisters. (The other pepper half stays raw; slice it.)
Place blistered pepper in a plastic bag, and allow to sweat for 10 minutes. Carefully peel off charred skin, and slice pepper into 8-10 pieces.
Soak bread in water, and set aside.
Place cooked pepper, raw pepper, soaked bread and all remaining ingredients in a blender, and pulse until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Refrigerate overnight; garnish with cilantro.
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen sweet dark cherries, thawed
2 quarts water
1 cup sugar
1/2 to 2/3 cup lime juice (to taste)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Mash cherries with potato masher, and add to a pitcher. Add remaining ingredients. Adjust lime juice and sugar to taste. Refrigerate overnight. Strain cherries, if desired, before serving.
Note: This refreshing limeade is very light and not overly sweet.