Archive for July 15th, 2013

July 15, 2013

Quick and Pretty Summer Dinner

old wine

The best part about summertime for me is the long, dusky evening before the sun sets. The blue sky fades to pale pink, then gold, then sometimes peach and purple. Every now and then, we get a searing orange-red that burns your retinas as it lights up the horizon. What a show! During these long summer nights, I also love kicking off my shoes, opening up all the windows in the kitchen, and putting on some gorgeous music as I cook. My life works better in every way with a soundtrack accompanying it—for bustling around in the kitchen in the evening, I prefer classical mixed with a little opera, especially if pasta and wine are involved. Here are some of my favorite soundtracks that are perfect anytime you need beautiful music: No Reservations (especially apropos when cooking), Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, or Becoming Jane. I’m happy just thinking about this music!

sheet music

First, a nice big salad. Aim for 1½-2 cups of your favorite salad greens, the darker the better. Then unleash your creativity: add as many sliced or chopped veggies as you want, maybe a little bit of fruit too. Then add a healthy fat, and drizzle an oil/vinegar/lemon juice mixture or your favorite low-fat dressing over your creation. Don’t forget to top with fresh-ground pepper if you like a bit of bite!


Next, an elegant pasta dish. If I’m going to have pasta, I like Barilla Plus (a multigrain pasta packed with protein, fiber, and plant-based omega-3s). I like to cook a whole box and then use the pasta for leftovers for a few days—easy meal prep! Here’s one of my favorite recipes for summertime.

Spicy Citrus and Avocado Farfalle


  • 1 c. farfalle (bowtie-shaped) multigrain or whole-wheat pasta
  • ½ Morningstar Buffalo Chik Patty, heated and chopped (or favorite protein source)
  • 4 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ¼  green onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ avocado, roughly chopped
  • ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, pinch to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, pinch to taste
  • Grated parmesan, sprinkle (optional)

Cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Add the chik patty, tomatoes, green onion, and avocado to the pasta. Then add olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and stir well. Add grated parmesan immediately before serving, if you like.

summer pasta dish_good