Happy Labor Day Weekend 2014!

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Happy Labor Day Weekend!!! I can’t believe that’s it’s almost the end of summer 2014! Still enough time to grill, swim, play in the sun, slurp up ice cream or popsicles, and enjoy other summertime activities! Especially the foods of the summer!

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 Back in July, at my parent’s house, we feasted on some “foods of the summer” including burgers, barbecue, and also summer fruits and veggies from my dad’s garden. Among those homegrown goodies were cherries, peaches, eggplant, several varieties of peppers, cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes (of different shapes, sizes and colors), and even corn! As usual, it was a delectable feast. Simple, but good. It’s the experience as a whole that makes food memorable. Good food loves good company, right?

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That said, even though pets get their own special food, we also include them in the fun. Here’s Keiko!

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Keiko, did you smell the food cooking?

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Jack seemed to be looking for some too!

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Jack and Keiko, never far from each other. They live at my parent’s house. I love visiting them too.

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 They sure do enjoy sun-bathing 🙂

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Whenever we cook some sort of meat, especially barbecue or grilled, we like to pair it with some great sides. Simple sides such as homegrown organic corn simply steamed and served with butter, garden tomatoes lightly seasoned with salt & pepper (or fish sauce if you like 🙂 ), and fruity gazpacho just go so well with barbecue or grilled-fare.

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I made the brie-stuffed burgers again this year. So good. Remember last year’s 4th of July post? This time I served these badass burgers protein style, wrapped in lettuce with tomato, onion and mustard. I got my mom hooked on this. She even makes this for lunches to bring to work. It’s my favorite way to eat a burger. That way I have room for some sides 🙂

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But why did I pair these burgers with roasted zucchini?  Because my sister’s recipe for roasted zucchini is the best tasting zucchini dish that I’ve had! You can pair them with anything! As a side for burgers, these taste better than fries! Some of you green thumbs may know that it can be hard to keep up with zucchini. When they get big, they get seedy, hehe. Roasting them is one way to use those big ones up.

Slice them at around 3/4″ thick and take out the seeds and stringy membranes. You should get nice rings of zucchini. Then toss them some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F until starting to brown.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan. Very addicting. You can add other seasonings and herbs if you want, but don’t make it too complicated.

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So proud of my dad for all the plants he takes care of and for the corn that he harvested! Now if only he can cook more of what he harvests! If I lived close by, I would try to use up the extras.

4July2014Food7Morelia-style gazpacho is one dish that I discovered this summer. It is basically a fruit salad with a “sweet and savory” element and a kick with some chile and lime. Queso sprinkled on top ramps up the savory element. I think it will become a summertime staple for me, or when a fruit salad craving arises. Rick Bayless even serves it with crab!

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My mom and I chopped up these fruits (even cucumber) and my dad helped by peeling everything that we needed to chop. My dad has some serious fruit/veggie peeling skills using a small knife. There are some fruits that are more common in this recipe, but I think you can use up anything that you have, like we did! Mmm…glad that we used the papaya.

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Chiquita banana lady, or anyone trying to be like Carmen Miranda, can you fit these on your head?

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I’ve made queso fresco before and I highly suggest that you eat your fruity gazpacho with it– either homemade or store-bought. If you are feeling fancy, eat this fruit salad with shrimp and crab. Even without the seafood, this is a bonafide flavor explosion.

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Fruity Gazpacho

Serves ~6

Ingredients (can always adjust according to your taste):

  • 6 cups diced fruit mix (in whatever ratio you desire), such as:  mango, jicama, pineapple, papaya, melon (any type), oranges, peaches, or maybe even avocado!
  • 1/4-1/2 cup peeled, deseeded, and diced cucumber (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (or to taste)
  • 3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground chile (such as chile piquín, arból, or any type you like best)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Garnishes:  Crumbled queso fresco/cotija, paneer, (or any mild, crumbly & firm cheese), finely chopped cilantro (optional), more ground chile

Mix everything except the garnishes in a large bowl.  For each serving, sprinkle with crumbled cheese, finely chopped cilantro, and more ground chile.

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Stay cool this holiday weekend! 😀

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5 thoughts on “Happy Labor Day Weekend 2014!

  1. wow–what a crazy good meal! Especially love how everything has a story (your dad grows the corn? How awesome is that!) and is so authentically yours. This is amazing, Sam. Thanks for sharing and Happy Labor Day weekend to you, too. And fun to see the doggies again. They look so happy 😀

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