Scrolling through Facebook recently, I noticed that a friend had asked for some “healthy, simple recipes” for summer meals. Very quickly, several friends suggested recipes from “Simply in Season,” a cookbook that focuses on using local, seasonal foods. It is categorized by season — spring, summer, autumn and winter — which can vary by geographical location. Though the recipes are filed under specific seasons, many use ingredients that can be found year round (but in that case, may not be locally fresh).
According to the cookbook’s authors, Cathleen Hockman-Wert and Mary Beth Lind, “recipes are living things that change with the season and with the preparer. And while there are few completely original recipes, contributors were encouraged to submit recipes that were shaped by their own lives.” Each recipe is accompanied by the name(s) of the contributor(s) and their hometown.
One of the first responders to the Facebook request, recommended the fajitas in the summer section. She used chicken in hers, but the recipe provides alternatives — a common thread throughout the book, as many can be adjusted for vegetarians/non-vegetarians. Likewise, many recipes suggest a variety of vegetable (i.e., what is available in your own garden, local farmer’s market or grocery store.)
To find out more about the cookbook, check out this website on “World Community Cookbooks” , where you’ll find a fruit and recipe guide, recipe of the week, related blogs, even a study guide. If you have children interested in cooking, I recommend getting them a copy of the “Simply in Season Children’s Cookbook”. Not only will they learn to prepare food, they’ll learn where foods come from and begin to understand the concept of eating locally. Which, when you think about it, might be a good starting point for adults new to the concept!
I don’t have a favorite recipe in this cookbook, but there are certain ones I return to frequently — especially during the summer when my garden is overproducing zucchini, summer squash, basil, parsley, lovage, etc.
I can’t wait to try the current “Recipe of the Week”. Just for the record, I’ll be using parsley…for some reason, cilantro and I don’t agree. For extra protein, try the quinoa version. If you’re unfamiliar with quinoa, it’s an amino acid-rich seed that is often considered a grain. It has a fluffy, but slightly crunchy/nutty texture.
The name refers to the colors in this tasty salad. Using grilled corn is optional but offers a lovely smoky flavor. Try this salad alongside grilled meats or as a light main dish.
Yields 6-8 cups / 1.5-2 L
2 cups / 500 ml tomatoes (chopped and drained)
2 cups / 500 ml corn
1 medium green pepper (diced)
1 medium red sweet pepper (diced)
1/4 cup / 60 ml fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil (chopped)
2 cups / 500 ml cooked black beans (optional)
Combine in a bowl.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or lime juice
1 clove garlic (minced)
Whisk together in a separate bowl. Pour over salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently and serve.
Southwest variation: Omit the tomatoes and add to the dressing 11/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Quinoa variation: Add 2 cups / 500 ml cooked quinoa. Serve with warm flour tortillas.
Cathi Baer, Archbold, Ohio
Laura Tiessen, Toronto, Ontario
Kristen Burkholder, Norman, Oklahoma
Marjorie Liechty, Goshen, Indiana
© 2011 Mennonite Central Committee