A few last flings with summer food

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The growing season is winding down in Rowan County, partially due to the extended heat and lack of rain, but you can still find some of the best of summer around.

There are tomatoes out there, a few cucumbers, your pick of peppers, and some squash and zucchini here and there.

The grocery store has fruits, like plums and nectarines, mangoes, pineapple, berries from other states. It’s still too hot to make a big meal, but with a little effort, you can enjoy some of the superfoods of summer — foods with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant, and vitamin A and C. With vitamin use called into question, might as well get the goods in our foods.

Eating Well offers these summer supper ideas

Tomato Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

4 large, firm heirloom tomatoes, sliced

2 medium cucumbers, sliced

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk basil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Arrange tomato and cucumber slices on a plate and drizzle with dressing, them sprinkle with feta and top with more basil.

Serve the salad next to this quick and flavorful shrimp dish:

Shrimp Paulista

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

8 cloves garlic, minced, divided

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, divided

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place shrimp in a medium glass bowl and toss with lime juice, 1/4 cup cilantro, half the garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp, marinade and remaining garlic and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, no more than 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining cilantro, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Toss to combine.

May be served hot or cold.

Watching carbs, or did someone leave zucchini on your porch? This could be a solution.

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Chicken

4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds)

3/4 tsp. salt, divided

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, quartered

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

Using a spiral vegetable slicer, cut zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands. Chop the strands so the zoodles are not too long. Place the zucchini in a colander and toss with 1/4 tsp. salt. Let drain for 15-20 minutes, then gently squeeze to remove excess liquid.

Meanwhile, place basil, walnuts, Parmesan, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt in a mini food processor. Process until almost smooth.

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken in 1 layer; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 3 Tbsp. of the pesto.

Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan. Add the drained zucchini noodles and toss gently until hot, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken, add the remaining pesto and toss gently to coat.

For your non-meat eaters, this hearty stuffed mushroom will be filling and satisfying.

Caprese-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. ground pepper, divided

4 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed

1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls, drained and patted dry

1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

2 tsp. best-quality balsamic vinegar

Combine 2 Tbsp. oil, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Using a silicone brush, coat mushrooms all over with the oil mixture. Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake until the mushrooms are mostly soft, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1 Tbsp. oil together in a medium bowl. Once the mushrooms have softened, remove from the oven and fill with the tomato mixture. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and the tomatoes have wilted, about 12-15 minutes. Drizzle each mushroom with 1/2 tsp. vinegar and serve.

Tip: Twist off the mushroom stems and then use a spoon to scrape the brown gills from the underside of the mushrooms.