Pensacola, Florida
Monday August 20th 2018

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Summa Down Now

Summer is here again, and has been since it unapologetically dethroned spring in early March. If you’re like me, you’re just now adjusting your eating habits—and not for “bikini season.” No, for reasons of physical comfort. After all, is anything more miserable than eating a big bowl of Mac and Cheese and then trudging off through the battlefield that is Pensacola in summertime? I look at my wintertime favorites like bisque and chicken potpie with startling indifference now—even mild disgust. Like an ex you were once madly in love with and then see on the street and think “meh”—wintertime foods, I’m over you!

The new hotness is summertime appropriate food options. Forget about tank tops and sandals—food is the secret to keeping you comfortable in this sweltering summer.

Glass

Summer Beer (aka Beer Margaritas aka encourage people to take cabs to your party)

Sometimes unlikely things go together sublimely. Maple syrup and sausage. French fries and vanilla shakes. Cheap beer and cheap vodka. Yes, ‘tis true. Discerning taste buds and class step aside—this proletariat cocktail can make even the most skeptical of drinkers raise their glass for another.

Ingredients:
(And really—don’t try to class it up with top-shelf booze and micro-brews. The delicate, majestic nature of this concoction is rooted in the fact that three mediocre ingredients can combine to make one helluva drink.)

1 6 ounce can of frozen lemonade concentrate
1 12 ounce can of beer
12 ounces of vodka

Mix these three ingredients together. Add ice. Be careful.

Plate

With warm weather comes the farmer’s markets, blueberry picking, and avocado and watermelon season—reasons alone to celebrate. After all, it’s nice being able to incorporate fresh vegetables again into your diet without having to forego something else to afford them. Behold! The glory of a refrigerator beaming with colors! Keep the oven off and the kitchen cool by making one of the following dishes with your newly acquired produce cornucopia.

Make: Summer Salad
A certain very popular chain makes a summer salad with blueberries, strawberries, pecans, and chicken. I love this salad, but because it’s so easy to make I feel foolish ordering it. After all, in the summertime you probably have most of its ingredients in your house already. And let’s be honest: this is as simple as cooking gets so why pay someone 200 percent more to make it for you? Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that so you can keep the stove/oven off. If you want to do the old “buy a store-bought dressing and pour it into a canning jar and claim you ‘made it yourself’” trick, we won’t tell anyone.

Ingredients (for two salads):
6 cups of greens (I like spinach or spring mix)
1 cup of sliced strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup chopped pineapple (I’ve used watermelon before instead of pineapple: so good!)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 chicken breasts, cooked (or whatever your preference)

Dressing
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put all the dressing ingredients into a mason jar and give it a good shake. Assemble salad with all ingredients. Pour dressing over the top. Use the money you saved making it yourself on a bottle of white wine.

Buy: Global Grill
Sometimes, the most simplistic of dishes are the most delicious. The Heirloom Tomato Salad from Global Grill being a pristine example. The fact that it’s served in a mason jar only adds to its appeal. Fresh, seasonal ingredients like red and yellow peppers, green beans, peppers and heirloom tomatoes are nestled into their serving glass before being accented with house made mozzarella and lightly marinated in their famous red wine vinaigrette dressing.

Bowl
Move over nachos—summertime is all about covering chips in a variety of salsas and convincing oneself that eating fried cornmeal is “healthy” if it features a vegetable.

Buy: Sabor
If you just want to have a smorgasbord of flavors in your mouth and you don’t feel like cooking, or shopping, then head to Sabor and get an assortment of their salads to go. All are $5.49 and come in 12 ounce cups (except the fresh guacamole which is 8 oz.). Their current selections are Beet Salad (with cilantro and lime juice), the Pebre Salad (fresh tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice) and the Aztec Salad (corn, black beans, cilantro & green onion). Order a tamale too while you’re there—just don’t pull a President Ford and try to eat it with the husk still on.

Make: Watermelon Jalapeno Salsa
Those wanting to shake up the tried and true salsa varieties: look no further! While at first look this may seem odd, the resulting mélange of flavors are anything but dull and 100 percent delicious. Serve simply with tortilla chips, or embrace your inner Bravo Chef and serve with fried plantains or atop grilled swordfish.

Ingredients:
3 cups chopped watermelon (if you don’t like your salsa very watery, you may want to place chopped watermelon in a colander to drain the excess water)
1/2 cup diced green pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon finely diced jalapeno
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. The longer it sits the stronger the blended flavors will become. It’s best not to make it too far in advance though, as the watermelon will break down in the salt and become too soft.

Bowl
Buy: Ever’Deli, Dolce, The Leisure Club:

Perhaps no other treat embodies the taste of summertime better than smoothies or ice cream. The Leisure Club has always been a favorite for health conscience people who adore their smoothies made with fresh fruit and yogurt, but recently their addition of High Road Craft Ice Cream based out of Atlanta, in favors such Bourbon Burnt Sugar and Brown Butter Praline, could satisfy even the most wicked of sweet tooth. Every High Road order is specially crafted for the retailer—think of it as bespoke ice cream.

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