September 07, 2012

Round Up: End-of-Summer Eats

Before summer officially ends and I start posting about Fall goodies like pumpkin, apples, cinnamon and chai, I thought I would do one more round-up of summer recipes that I've tried lately, to follow up on my "summer eats so far" post from a couple months ago!

I'll start with two things that I've been eating a LOT of over the last month: corn on the cob and fresh tomato-basil sandwiches.  This has been my go-to meal when I don't have any other ideas prepared for dinner, or I don't feel like cooking.

It's super simple, but often that's the best way to highlight end-of-summer produce! Even though I feel like I've eaten too many tomato sandwiches and corn on the cobs to count lately, I never got sick of them!

Another fresh corn dish that appeared on the blog Five and Spice recently and I bookmarked immediately was a raw corn polenta topped with broccoli pesto.  All you do is grate the raw kernels off a cob of corn and cook them in a pan until you get a nice thick, creamy mixture with a consistency like polenta.

I only had one cob of corn to work with, so my portion ended up a bit small (I would recommend two cobs for a meal).  Since I was a bit short on time, I skipped the pesto and just topped mine with finely chopped raw broccoli, tomatoes, and basil.  This was such a delicious and fresh summer meal, and I loved the texture and the sweet, pure taste of the corn.  I'll have to make more versions of this next summer with different toppings!

Here are a couple of other simple but delicious appetizers that I've enjoyed at family gatherings in the last month:

First is this bruschetta with brie and peach salsa that I adapted from In Good Taste. The bread gets toasted with a piece of brie on top so that the cheese is slightly melted, and then each piece is topped with a generous helping of fresh peach salsa.

I changed the salsa a bit by adding some diced cherry tomatoes and leaving out the cilantro as I was serving this to a couple of cilantro haters.  I made this as an appetizer for a dinner we hosted for some out-of-town guests, and everyone loved it!

Besides the crostini, I also made another simple appetizer based on an idea I had seen on other blogs.  All you do is cut thick slices of cucumber, scoop out some of the middle, and fill it with a dip.

I decided to use a tzatziki as my filling, which I mixed with a bit of fresh dill, and I also topped them with halved cherry tomatoes. These were a big hit and disappeared quickly!  So if you're looking for an easy idea to bring to potlucks but want something a bit more creative than just veggies and dip, give these a try!

Then last weekend, my parents were bottling wine, which is part of their annual early September tradition.  Since they were spending a long day working outside, my sister made up this beautiful fruit and cheese plate for us all to enjoy as a break.  You can't go wrong with crackers, fruit, and good quality cheese!

When it comes to summer meals, one option that I rely on a lot is veggie burgers.  I tend to try a new recipe every time I make them, and I usually have a few patties stored in my freezer for a quick dinner.

Here are two versions that I've made recently and would recommend: First is this falafel burger from Edible Perspective.  The burger was really savory from all the spices and herbs, and nice and hearty from the addition of both chickpeas and quinoa.  It did remind of me falafels, and it went really well with a yogurt sauce on a bun.

Next was a rather unique veggie burger made with broccoli, chickpeas and tahini from Peachy Palate. I doubled the recipe to make two burgers, and I thought they were perfectly moist and really flavourful, not to mention really pretty with all the specks of green!

The only issue I had with them was that my broccoli must have been slightly past its prime, because it gave off a bit of an unpleasant smell once it was cooked.  So even though my breath suffered from eating these, my tastebuds were happy!

I couldn't do a post about my summer eats without including my favourite meal from last summer - this roasted summer panzanella. I made it again the other week and was reminded why I loved it so much the first time - warm roasted summer veggies at their prime, combined with toasted bread and fresh basil, and soaked in a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

This time, I left out the cheese and used zucchini instead of summer squash.  I also tried it with balsamic vinegar and I think I might prefer that over the red wine vinegar that I used last time - although any kind of vinegar would work in this dish!

And finally, I thought I would end this round-up with a couple of my summer recipes that didn't quite work out.

I bought some fresh apricots from the market a few weeks ago and looked through my cookbooks for ideas on what to make with them.  I found a recipe for vegan apricot oatbran scones that sounded good, but they didn't turn out how I was hoping.

As you can probably tell, they came out of the oven really dark, and I had to try to scrape a layer of crispy burnt crumbs off the bottom.  The insides weren't much better - they were a bit too dry for my tastes. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but luckily I only made a half batch so they weren't too much of a waste!

Another recipe that came close to being blog-worthy but still needs some more tweaking was my attempt at making savory muffins.  I thought a combination of fresh corn, zucchini and herbs would make a nice muffin to go with summer soups and salads, and I also added some cornmeal for texture and nutritional yeast for some cheesy flavour.

I loved the taste of these muffins and the chunks of corn kernels in them, but I couldn't get the texture right after two attempts.  Both times, they would seem okay fresh out of the oven, but after that they became way too crumbly to eat properly. I guess this is another recipe that I'll have to revisit next summer, because they at least had good potential!

So there you have a little taste of what I've been making and eating lately!  I'll be sad to see summer tomatoes and corn go, but I'm getting excited to start cooking with some new seasonal ingredients, and to try some of the Fall recipes that are already popping up on some of my favourite blogs!


  1. Really nice collection... too bad summer is almost over and we'll have to wait a whole year for its zucchinis, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, corn and delicious sweet fruits to come back :(

    But I'm sure you are going to keep the magic on during fall and winter, and that's quite exciting too!!

    1. Thanks so much! I think I'm finally ready to move on to fall food - so many things I want to start making!

  2. I love these rounds ups - looks like you have been eating well this summer :)

    The corn polenta is intriguing I have more corn than I know what to do with, I thnk I should try this out and top with some pesto and cherry tomatoes!

    1. Thanks! Mmm yes, pesto and cherry tomatoes would be perfect with the corn polenta, and its a good way to use up lots of corn!

  3. A wonderful recipe collection! Everything looks so yummy. I know, I am so ready for some fall food myself too!

    1. Thanks! I loved everything in this post, I don't know if I could choose a favourite!

  4. Awesome round-up :) I agree. The grated corn polenta sounds really nice. And the roasted panzanella looks amazing. Love all of the flavours. As much as I'm excited fall is upon us, I will definitely miss summer produce! Especially fresh corn, flavourful tomatoes and lots of fresh berries.

    1. I feel the exact same way! Even the tomatoes I bought last week had no flavour already...nothing beats those August tomatoes!

  5. I can't believe summer is already almost over! I bought corn this week because I know we probably only have a little bit longer to enjoy it. :( This is a great round-up--I love the falafel burger!



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