Here’s to Long Days, Warm Nights … and Healthy Eating
June 2021 Issue
By Chef Lynn Michelle—The East Coast Chef
Photography by Lindsay Gifford
Ahh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are once again upon us. Not only is summertime the perfect time to relax and unwind, it’s also the perfect time to embrace healthier eating.
During the summer the abundance of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, the opportunities to spend time strolling through farmer’s markets and buying from local farms are just some of the benefits that encourage healthier eating. For example, the berries of summer that are so plentiful at this time of year—blackberries, blueberries and strawberries— are not only low in fat and calories, but also are a great source of antioxidants that can help protect you from certain health conditions … and are all healthy sources of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
In addition, the natural tendency to choose “lighter” foods during the summer and cook outdoors on the grill present many unique opportunities to savor the longer, sun-kissed days of summer and the ripe, rich flavors that come with it. Summer barbecues are the perfect way to enjoy the health benefits of cooking lean meats, vegetables and tofu on the grill, but don’t forget to grill fruits, such as pineapples and pears, which truly brings out their flavors and are a great summertime treat!
The longer, more relaxed days of summer also provide opportunities to try your hand at new healthy salad combinations chock-full of fresh fruit and vibrant veggies, as well as some new twists on how to prepare your favorite healthy vegetables, such as our “No Peek Cheesy Cauliflower Bake”—a whole new spin on cauliflower that you’ll have to experience to believe. And the ripe, bursting-with-flavor summertime fruits that make a perfect, healthy, hot-weather snack and addition to many fresh and light summertime dishes. You can enjoy them in beverage form, too! (Who doesn’t love a summertime fruit smoothie?) Or, savor the refreshing and incredibly healthy taste of our Chilled Blueberry Bisque.
So enjoy the slower pace, sun-kissed days and more relaxing nights that summer brings, as well as the opportunity to truly savor the distinctive and healthy tastes of the season. As the song says, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy.” With these tips, recipes and some simple substitutions, not only is the living easy here in the beautiful Lowcountry, but healthy eating is, too!
Garden Fresh Green Been Salad
Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan | Keto [Pictured Above]
1/2 Red onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1/2 cup, Olive oil
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
1 tsp Salt
2 tsps Pepper
2 lbs fresh Green beans, ends chopped off, keep whole
In a large sauce pan on medium heat cook green beans to desired doneness or al dente (firm to the bite). Rinse in a cold ice bath to stop the cooking and keep them green. In a large mixing bowl, add red onion, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add cooked green beans. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 4 hours to marinate and chill. Enjoy!
Veggie & Tofu Kabobs
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
2 pkgs Extra Firm Tofu, cut into large pieces
8 Campari tomatoes
1 Red Onion, cut into 8 pieces
1 Sweet Onion, cut into 8 pieces
1 Yellow Pepper. cut into 6 pieces
1 Red Pepper, cut into 6 pieces
10 small Portobello mushroom caps
10 small White mushroom caps
Steak seasoning, to taste
Wide Bamboo Skewers, soaked in water
Ken’s Italian Romano Dressing, or Gluten-Free Italian Dressing
Preheat oven to 375°F. Par bake all of the vegetables for about 10 minutes. Place 4-5 pieces of tofu arranged with a variety of vegetables on each soaked bamboo skewer. When the skewers are completed, sprinkle lightly with steak seasoning and drizzle with Italian Dressing. Let set and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Place the skewers on a hot grill, or a hot iron skillet, until the vegetables and tofu have a grill edge.
Cheesy “No Peek” Cauliflower Bake
Gluten-free | Sugar-free | Vegetarian | Vegan
8 small Cauliflower steaks
2 cups Wild rice (uncooked)
1 Tbsp Parsley
1/2 cup Sweet onion, chopped
1 cup Mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp Curry powder
4 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Pepper
1/4 cup measure-to-measure gluten-free Flour
1 tsp Onion flakes
Shredded Colby cheese, or vegan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 3-quart shallow baking pan or Dutch oven. In a medium sauce pan on medium heat, add olive oil, mushrooms, sweet onion, parsley, salt, pepper, curry, onion flakes and garlic powder. Sauté slightly. Add measure-to-measure flour to make the rue. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes. Slowly add vegetable broth and carefully whisk together well. Turn off heat and set aside.
Prepare the cauliflower steaks. Wash the entire cauliflower and keep whole and intact, do not cut off green leaves yet. (This keeps the cauliflower together as you slice it.) Starting off center, cut roughly 2-3 solid cauliflower steaks. Now trim off the green leaves, as you can see where the cauliflower will remain intact.The ends will be smaller steaks. Place the rice mixture into the greased pan. Place the cauliflower steaks on top of the rice mixture. Sprinkle the cauliflower with salt, pepper and a garlic powder. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes and DO NOT PEEK! After 25 minutes, take the foil off and sprinkle shredded Colby cheese or vegan cheese over the cauliflower. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese and cauliflower are golden.
Chilled Blueberry Bisque
Gluten-free | Sugar-free
Vegetarian | Vegan
2 cups Blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup Milk, or Almond milk
1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream, or Nut pod cream
1/2 cup Sour cream, or Tofutti
2 Tbsp Sugar, or 1 Tbsp Splenda (for sugar-free option)
Fresh mint, minced for garnish
Puree blueberries, milk, cream and sour cream in blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in sugar. Chill 8 hours, or overnight in refrigerator before serving.
Chef Lynn Michelle is a personal chef located on Hilton Head Island serving the entire Lowcountry. Whether it’s preparing healthy, gourmet, family-style meals, or expertly creating elaborate dinner parties, Chef Lynn and her team do it all—planning, shopping, cooking and clean up. www.cheflynnmichelle.com (843) 422-5280