Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Vegetables

The last couple days have been absolutely gorgeous. It's my ideal weather really. Some may find it a little on the cool side, but I think it's perfect. Not so hot that it's unbearable, but it's warm. With a cool breeze if the sun starts to beat down a little too strongly. 

The best part about the warmer weather though is the fresh produce. Winter produce always tastes a little...boring. You can tell it came from far away. It doesn't have the fullness of flavour that comes from something that's in season. Most notable right now as far as seasonable vegetables are concerned is the asparagus. You can find it just about everywhere and I'd recommend getting it while it's in season. It really does taste so much better that way. 

And it's so easy to prepare: grill it on the barbecue, broil it with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper or a squeeze of lemon juice, or blanch it and throw it over pasta, quinoa, lettuce. The possibilities are endless.

Now, I feel like all this talk of asparagus might be midleading. I'm not actually going to give you a recipe for asparagus (although I do have one that I'll share at a later date). This one actually involves red bell pepper and zucchini (one of my other favourite summer vegetables), though I mention asparagus because it would work just as well and I think you should try it.

I was rather tired one night and didn't want to put that much effort into my dinner. Honestly, that's me most nights and simple is always the best bet. I had a zucchini, half a red bell pepper, some goat's cheese, and black beans. I diced and sauteed what I needed of the vegetables, tossed the black beans in at the end to warm them up, and then threw the whole thing over spaghetti. I crumbled the goat's cheese on top and just like that I had dinner.

It was delicious. Fresh and filling and just what I needed that night. I've made several slightly different iterations of this recipe over the last two weeks, sometimes without the beans, sometimes with chickpeas; once over gnocchi instead of spaghetti and once with tomato sauce thrown into the mix. The point is: it's very versatile. Mushrooms would make a nice addition. You could throw in chicken or tofu if you want something a bit meatier than beans for protein.

About beans though. I've been throwing them over everything from pasta to salad to quinoa. I was never one to eat a lot of meat to begin with. I find cooking it a pain and frankly it's expensive. However, since going the more or less vegetarian route, since applying that label to my diet, I've been more conscious of getting my protein. And beans are a great way to do that. You can add them to almost everything and they are delicious. I would eat most of them right out of the can.

Anyway, I feel like this post might be a little disjointed. I apologize for that, my brain feels a little all over the place right now. The point of all this is that it's summer, and the weather is nice, and the produce is delicious right now. It's really easy to throw together a good meal when you have such fresh vegetables available to you. Dinner doesn't have to be complicated, it doesn't have to be fancy, but it should taste good while it does it's job of nourishing you. 

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