Summer has officially arrived and with it many beach days, barbecues and picnics. Now that vaccinated individuals can gather for those classic backyard bashing, it’s time to surprise friends and family with some delicious and healthy recipes. Over the years, AARP has teamed up with chefs from across America to share some of their summer dishes, and to celebrate, let’s round up our favorites. You can find more recipes at aarp.org/food.
Rocket Sweet Cherry Goat Cheese California Walnut Salad
By: Devin Alexander
“Cherries are addicting this time of year. They also have a slightly higher sugar content than some other summer fruits like fresh strawberries and blueberries. Instead of sitting down with a bowl, I enjoy guiltlessly enjoying this longing, high-fiber salad. The nuts and cheese help to balance the sugar level and keep your energy levels high so you can enjoy the many outdoor activities of the summer. “
- 3 cups (loosely packed) rocket leaves, coarse stems removed
- 8 cherries, pitted and halved
- 3/4 ounce (about 3 tablespoons) crumbled goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon or more store-bought light champagne vinaigrette to taste
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper, optional
- Pile the rocket on a plate or salad bowl.
- Place the cherries around the outer perimeter.
- Scatter goat cheese and walnuts on top.
- Drizzle over the dressing.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Throw if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Devin Alexander; Copyright 2012
Red, white and blue potato salad
From: Pam Anderson
Serves 6 to 8
“Use the sun-dried tomato oil to dress the salad. It is a good use of the oil and it makes a flavorful topping. “
- 2 pounds of baby red and blue potatoes
- 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, divided
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup diced shallots (2 medium or 1 large)
- 1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes wrapped in oil, plus 3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato oil
- 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers (1/2 small)
- 1/2 cup shredded basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon each of wholegrain mustard and Dijon mustard
1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover; Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium to low and simmer until a thin-bladed paring knife inserted into one of the potatoes can be removed without resistance, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes and let them cool until they are warm enough to touch. Cut the warm potatoes into thin slices with a saw knife and place in a medium-sized bowl, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and gradually season with salt and pepper. Place the shallots, tomatoes, peppers and basil over the potatoes. Can rest covered for a few hours at room temperature.
3. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar with mustard and a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Gradually stir in sun-dried tomato oil to form an emulsified dressing.
4. After serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss it gently. Adjust seasonings and serve.
Shrimp and guacamole canapes
By: Devon Alexander
“I serve these crazy tasty and insanely light bites at parties (and my family) all the time. They really are one of my favorite aperitifs or snacks in a hurry and they are always a big hit. They look so elegant that people often say I must have spent a lot of time making them. In fact, they come together within minutes. “
- 12 large prawns (preferably wild-caught)
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt-free Mexican or Southwestern spice
- 1/16 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1 medium English cucumber
- 6 tablespoons prepared guacamole (make sure to use a natural one that is as light as possible and without a lot of sodium)
1. Preheat a grill to high.
2. Peel everything but the tail off the shell of the shrimp and devein by cutting a slit in the back and then running under cold water. Dry well with paper towels. Place the prawns in a small bowl and toss in olive oil, spices and salt. Place them side by side on the grill so they don’t touch. Grill until they are no longer translucent, about a minute per side.
3. In the meantime, run the prongs of a fork from one end of the cucumber to the other in a straight line and lightly tear the skin to score (if it’s cut you have a cool pattern; check out devinalexander. com / diabetes for a video demonstration). Twist the cucumber and repeat the fork along the length of the cucumber, keeping the notches close together to create a visible pattern. Repeat around the cucumber. Slightly cut the end of the cucumber at an angle and discard. Then slice 12 (about 1/4 inch thick, not thicker) cucumber slices slightly diagonally (for a total of about 6 ounce cucumber slices). Reserve the remaining cucumber for another recipe.
4. Place the cucumber slices side by side on a serving plate. Place 1/2 tablespoon of guacamole in the center of each slice. Place one shrimp at a time so that its tail is almost up. Enjoy immediately.
Recipe compliments from Devin Alexander from “You Can Have It!” Copyright 2018.
Frozen coconut milk raspberry sorbet with blueberry sauce
From: Pam Anderson
“If you have an ice cream freezer, you can easily make homemade frozen vanilla coconut milk. It’s as simple as mixing 2 cans (13.5 ounces each) of regular coconut milk, 1 cup of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Chill overnight until well chilled. Stir for a few hours before serving, then place in the freezer until serving.
The blueberry sauce fuses the store-bought frozen coconut milk with raspberry sorbet, adding a homemade twist to this simple dessert. Leftover berry sauce can be used to season yoghurt. “
- 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries plus extra for serving (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated orange peel
- 4 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water
- 1 pint of frozen vanilla coconut milk
- 1 pint of raspberry sorbet
1. Put the berries, honey, orange peel and 6 tablespoons of water in a small casserole. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to simmer until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of the sauce. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. (Can be refrigerated in a sealed jar for a few weeks.)
2. Remove the cardboard packaging from around the sorbet a few hours before serving. Work quickly, use a sharp knife to cut the frozen tube into 6 rounds, place it on a small baking sheet and immediately return it to the freezer. Repeat the process with the frozen coconut milk.
3. When you are ready to serve, place one of each frozen round on a dessert plate. Top up with blueberry sauce – and a few fresh blueberries if you like – and serve immediately.