oh yes

Organic local cherry tomatoes- I can eat these like candy. While I am looking forward to fall, I will miss summer produce. Especially tomatoes. Since Labor Day symbolically marks the end of summer, I decided to incorporate my favorite summer produce into two different meals this weekend.

Meal #1: Grass-fed Burgers with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Roasted Okra, Bell Pepper, and Tomatoes

I decided to take advantage of the one day grass-fed beef sale at Whole Foods on Friday and make some blue cheese burgers. The burgers turned out just fine, but the real highlight of the meal was the veggies. Even Chip raved about them. Now, I kind of took a risk and decided to roast the vegetables without adding any oil. Not that I have anything against oil necessarily (warm sourdough bread dipped in a good olive oil = divine!), but I feel like it just adds a lot of calories without a lot of flavor when I oven roast vegetables. There had to be a better way, I figured.

So I threw a garlic clove, about 1/4 cup of balsamic, 1/4 cup of water, and a squirt of dijon mustard into my magic blender and whirled away. Then, I tossed the veggies in about half of the marinade and cooked them in the oven at 400 for about 30 minutes. When I removed the veggies, they seemed a little dry, so I tossed them in some of the leftover marinade and sprinkled on some salt and pepper. After that, they were perfect! Flavorful, oil free, roasted summer veggies. I was very pleased :).

Meal #2: Wild Coho Salmon with Cheddar Grits and Sauteed Kale and Tomatoes

This meal was inspired by one of my favorite restaurant dishes: the salmon and grits from the Last Resort Grill in Athens, GA. Last Resort’s version comes with white “charlestonian” grits covered in a caper cream sauce, but I don’t know how to make that. I think that any attempts to exactly replicate the dish would disappoint, so I decided to put my own spin on it.

For the salmon, I baked some wild coho salmon with tequila lime seasoning from Whole Foods (one of my favorite seasonings!) at 350 for about 15 minutes. For the grits, I used Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits and added a generous amount of shredded New Zealand sharp grass-fed cheese and some salt and pepper to taste. The kale and tomatoes were cooked in a large saute pan with a little butter, some water, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. I covered the pan, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. The dinner was fantastic!

We cooked this dinner while dog sitting at my parents’ house this weekend (hence the nicer china and granite counter tops, which we definitely do not have in our apartment, in the above picture). My friend Alison came over to join us, and had a wonderful Sunday night dinner party :).

Funny side note: Chip had been looking forward to watching the new few episodes of Breaking Bad, which we order from Netflix, ALL WEEKEND. I really like the show, too, but Chip is obsessed. I made him wait until Sunday at my parents house when we could watch it together after dinner. When it was finally time to watch the show, he ran into the family room, ripped open the Netflix envelope like a kid at Christmas, and then his excited face turned to horror as he exclaimed, “PARIS, JE T’AIME!?!?! WHAT IS THIS?!??!?” For a few frantic seconds he thought that they had sent us the wrong DVD and the whole night would be ruined. Then we realized he had accidently opened my parents’ Netflix envelope, and ours was safe on the coffee next to it. Phew. Crisis averted 😉