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This is summer in a bowl, and I have a loose recipe to represent the season:

170 g (1 6-oz package) raspberries, 12 raspberries reserved for garnish
1/4 cup sugar
1 loaf store-bought cornbread, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
Mint sprigs, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Combine the raspberries (except for the 12 reserved raspberries) and the sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until the raspberries have broken down. Remove from heat and cool.
3. Place the cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted and light golden brown, about 5 minutes.
4. Whip the cream with powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest until stiff peaks form.
5. Stir a third of the whipped cream into the raspberry compote. Gently fold the rest of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture.
6. Divide the cornbread croutons among four bowls. Top with the raspberry fool and garnish with three raspberries and a mint sprig.

Serves 4

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A while back I posted my favorite guacamole recipe, which calls for little more than the avocados themselves. This is typically my go-to approach for this simple starter, but here I deviated a bit. The avocados I bought were, for some reason, on the bland side, so I added a few more ingredients to the mix.

photo 1 (2)

2 Hass avocados, medium dice
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tomato, small dice (I only had cherry tomatoes so feel free to use whatever  you have on hand)
1/4 small red onion, minced (or 1 shallot, minced)
kosher salt, to taste

1. Place the avocados into a medium bowl and, using 2 knives, cut the pieces so that the avocados break down. Be sure to leave some chunks (unless you prefer it smooth).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and stir.
3. Adjust seasoning as needed.

There is something about peas that really bothers me. Perhaps it’s that they’re not all that great. Seldom do I eat something with peas as the centerpiece and think, Damn—these peas just make me wanna take my pants off. For this reason I question my motivation to torture myself with a pea and mint crostini.

Heat frozen peas in boiling water or in the microwave until fully defrosted (they don’t have to be warm, just thawed). Combine with chopped fresh mint, minced garlic, grated Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly squeezed lemon juice, S & P. Mash gently with a fork. Don’t puree to oblivion; we want to know we’re dealing with crappy old peas. Spread on toasted baguette and garnish with a bit more shaved or grated Pecorino.

After trying this crostini, I turned into a pea fanatic! No, that’s a lie. But I did quite enjoy the brightness of the peas, the fresh mint flavor, and the contrast of the mash to the crunch of the baguette. I’ve become less offended by the little guys, and perhaps more inclined to use them in the future.

For now, however, the pants are staying put.

Diets suck. The key is to eat less, cook more, and include plenty of fruits and veggies. That’s the concentrated advice. Trust me, I’m a dietitian. Whether or not you want to diet, I assure you you need to make this recipe for marinated zucchini before summer disappears. (Adapted from a lunch at al di la.)

Finely dice zucchini and summer squash (alternately, thinly slice lengthwise). Marinate in freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, chopped fresh mint, red pepper flakes and salt. Say what? Yes, that’s it.

This raw salad is so healthy and guilt-free, you’ll feel so good about the way you look, you’ll want to do more than just eat in your underwear.

One of my favorite weekend activities includes lazing around all day in my underwear, watching movies, putting off responsibilities, drinking too much coffee till late in the afternoon (particularly in bed), googling stupidity, and making a hearty lunfast (not quite as catchy as brunch, I suppose). A perfect meal for this type of day? Huevos rancheros:

Microwave frozen brown rice according to the directions, or use boil-in-a-bag brown rice. (Feel free to make your own brown rice. I rarely do.) Mix with rinsed canned beans and chopped fresh cilantro. Top the rice with salsa, sliced avocado and a fried egg. Season with S & P.