August is nearly halfway done and we all know that it’s the time to squeeze in some beach days, hang out with friends and truly enjoy what’s left of the summer. Fall is right around the corner and soon we will all be faced with the reality of going to back to work (if you aren’t already), or back to school for classes and spending hours in the library cramming. So what’s left to enjoy this summer?
Well, it’s still the perfect time to catch the season’s freshest foods and cook up some delicious fresh meals and share it with friends. Summer is the season that offers the most exotic and mouth-watering abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to cook with. Should I even mention the words healthy and nutritious? These two simple recipes below will have you at the farmer’s market wanting to explore all your options to make the most of this season’s fruits and vegetables before there no longer at their peek or even offered. It’s easy to be a chef.
Open-face Tomato-Feta-Basil Sandwich
(Adapted from Bon Appétit)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes (not even)
1. 1 piece of 100% Whole Wheat or Oatmeal Bread
2. 2 Slices of Feta Cheese
3. 2 Fresh Basil Leaves Whole
4. Basil Olive Oil (lightly drizzle)
5. 2 Slices of Jersey Tomato
6. Dash of Foccia Seasonings (Romano cheese, dehydrated garlic, spices and salt)
Lightly drizzle the basil olive oil on to the piece of whole wheat bread. Do not drown the bread or cover the bread entirely. Just do a couple of drops and then spread it around with your finger (make sure your hands are clean). Place the piece of toast in the toaster. While the bread is toasting prepare your two slices of feta cheese and two slices of Jersey tomatoes. The thickness of each slice is entirely personal; I prefer a thicker slice of tomato and thinly sliced feta. Once the bread is done put it on a plate and add a dash of the Foccia seasoning. Start layering the bread with a piece of tomato, basil, then feta and repeat. The perfect summer sandwich!
From a nutritious point of view:
In this recipe we have a lot of positives for the body. The whole-wheat bread is a great source of complex carbohydrates (meaning the body won’t break it down so fast and easily like simple carbohydrates), and is high in dietary fiber. It also offers a lot of the B-vitamins we need on a daily basis, such as niacin and riboflavin. The tomatoes provide nutrients like vitamin-C, beta-carotene, folate, and potassium. It’s also a great source of an antioxidant called lycopene that can protect against some cancers. Basil contains a multitude of nutrients relating to cardiovascular health. It is particularly noted for vitamin A and the mineral magnesium. The vitamin A prevents free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol and piling up in the blood vessels. The mineral magnesium relaxes the muscles and blood vessels to improve the flow of blood and reduce the risk of heart spasms and an irregular heartbeat. The feta cheese of course offers calcium.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: None
1. 1 cup to 1½ cup of Romaine Lettuce
2. 1 Black Plum
3. 1 White or Yellow Peach (or Nectarine)
4. ¼ cup Walnuts
5. Crumbled Feta Cheese (to top with)
6. Basil Olive Oil
7. Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar
Slice or cut the romaine lettuce to measure out a cup or a cup and a half. Slice the black plum and peach (again how you slice it is entirely your preference). Put lettuce into a bowl and start adding your ingredients together. Drizzle a little bit of the olive oil and red apple balsamic vinegar on to the salad and toss together.
From a nutritious point of view:
This recipe also has a lot of positives for the body. Romaine lettuce packs in more nutrients than iceberg lettuce. It has as much as five times more vitamin-C, folate and beta-carotene than the iceberg lettuce. If you have the chance to use salad greens like Arugula, then do so because salad greens are more nutritious than lettuce. The peaches in the salad are also a good source of beta-carotene and dietary fiber. Plums on the other hand provide the body with potassium and a useful amount of vitamin C. Walnuts are rich in ellagic acid (an antioxidant) that may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, not to mention it’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Carly Bossert, Health & Fitness Contributor
Education: Rutgers University, Nutritional Sciences, Digital Media Website: http://declassifiedcollegeguide.tumblr.com/