Posts tagged Summer
Grilled Peach & Toasted Almonds and Goat Cheese Salad

How to Make a Grilled Peach Salad

Weekends around our house have been so good lately. There is seriously nothing like lazily preparing dinner on the grill while our daughter plays in the backyard and mom and dad sip on a little bit of the summertime sauce. And the peaches. Dear lord. The peaches. It's like biting into a ray of sunshine (sorry to be so trite, but is there any other way to describe it?). So of course peach fizz cocktails were our relaxation liquid of choice this weekend. And, our salad of choice: Grilled Peach Salad with Toasted Almonds and Goat Cheese. Delicious.  

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Roasted Beet and Smoked Trout Salad with Creme Fraiche

How to Make a Roasted Beet and Smoked Trout Salad with Creme Fraiche, Dill and Red Onions

The way the smoked trout mingle with the beets in this salad turning the edges of the trout a beautiful magenta color and then mix with creme fraiche and red onions turning all of the salad bright pink like a summer sunset is just plain magical. It's also magical how the pairing of the sweet beets with the smoky, salty trout and creamy tangy creme fraiche creates a medley of flavors that will turn your dinner table into a fine dining experience. I picked up my smoked trout from the local farm stand in upstate New York where trout is abundant. But, if you don't have access to local trout, most supermarkets have package smoked trout in the same section that you can find smoked salmon. Promise me you will try this salad. It is seriously one of my finest culinary accomplishments.

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Chive and Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

Recipe for Chive and Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

I'm going to have to blame the accidental making of these decadent chive and herb biscuits and the 3-4 pounds I gained after inhaling the entire batch on my southern husband.  One morning he was like- hey, I bought all this breakfast sausage and I don't know what we should make with it.  And I was like- oh, I know.  Let's completely ruin the last couple trips I made to the gym by making buttermilk biscuits and then putting pork sausage and fried eggs between them.  Real smart.  Also, real, real effin good.  So, maybe it wasn't exactly worth it in the health department, but totally worth it in the delicious southern cooking, butter laden, flavorful herb biscuit department.  I plucked the chives and herbs straight from my back deck, used some buttermilk and butter I got from the farm stand down the road and spent the morning crafting the most delicious biscuits I've ever made.  These are perfect to take to a summer BBQ or just to eat on the back deck on a warm summer morning with your family.  

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Roasted Ranch Potatoes Recipe

How to Make Roasted Ranch Potatoes

I would basically describe these potatoes as a mashed potato encased in a crispy, ranch flavored outer shell that will explode in your mouth with the force not unlike a cool ranch Dorito chip.  Now we don't eat Dorito's in our house, (not at all saying I'm immune to the deliciousness of a Dorito, just merely trying to keep our house free of processed foods) but we definitely like to eat a crispy, ranch-y potato now and then.  I've been making this roasted potato recipe for a while now, which is NOT AT ALL like a regular old roasted potato.  Boiling the potato first so it gets all soft and then baking it in vegetable oil and corn starch creates a magical effect that is probably a little unhealthy, but unhealthy in a way that is crispy and divine thereby making it totally worth it.  Adding in the ranch seasoning has taken the recipe to a whole new level.  A level that is definitely going to make everyone freak out the next time I make them for a dinner party, which is the goal of my entire life.

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Grilled Watermelon Salad

Heat Up Your Summer Salad with Grilled Watermelon

Grilling watermelon is not a new thing for me.  It was something I discovered last summer when my husband mentioned it to me and about lost my brain thinking about the amazing possibilities that grilling watermelon could bring to my dinner table.  My first attempt at using grilled watermelon was the thai inspired Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Salad which came out AMAZING and seriously wowed my dinner guests.  This time around I wanted to make something that featured the watermelon so I created this salad.  The warmth and sweetness of the cubed grilled watermelon is the star of the show in this arugula, feta and mint salad and the balsamic vinaigrette plays nicely off the sweetness of the melon, rounding out the flavor of the dish.    

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Blueberry Basil Smash

How to Make a Refreshing Blueberry Basil Smash Cocktail

My family and I just settled into a two week vacation at our country house in Woodstock, NY and I am loving the summer weather complete with fresh summer fruits and vegetables.  I was just starting to feel nice and relaxed when I realized that I had promised myself I would do the three day potty training bootcamp with our 2 year old this week.  Ugh.  What a pain in the diapered butt.  So now I'm one and half days into being stuck in my living room doing a touch down dance every time a drop of pee makes it inside the potty.  Lord knows, Mama needs a tall glass of medicine right about now.  Cue the fresh blueberries I just picked up at the farmer's market, the basil growing on the back deck and a bottle of vodka.  Ahhhh... that's nice.  So now I'm happily sipping on a delicious Blueberry Basil Smash and perfecting my celebratory potty dance and song.  One and half more days to go.  I'd better send the hubby out for more vodka

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Radishes with Creme Fraiche dip

Phew!  It is HOTT with two T's out there and my poor oven is feeling awfully abandoned these days.  But, who wants to turn on the oven when the A/C is running full blast and we are still sitting in a pool of our own sweat?  My awesome neighbor recently had my husband and I over to their apartment for a "no cook" summer dinner with fresh veggies, fruits and charcuterie.  She really inspired me to say goodbye to the oven for the last few blistering weeks of summer and embrace a fresh "no cook" style of eating for a little while.  One of my favorite vegetables this time of year are radishes.  I love the classic American round radishes and the French long and skinny ones alike.  Serve this dish/ appetizer with a baguette and sea salt and encourage your guests to spread the dip on the bread, pile with radishes and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.  Add a charcuterie plate and some fresh slices of cantelope and your "no cook" dinner is complete! 

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Easy Baked Ratatouille

There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of traditional ratatouille.  Some insist that the vegetables be stewed, others agree that it should be stewed then baked.  My approach to ratatouille comes from a very American desire to make cooking quick and painless.  There is no stewing involved in this ratatouille.  Just layer and bake.  I developed this ratatouille many years ago and have come up with a version for each season.  This particular ratatouille uses summer vegetables and is probably my favorite because of the bright flavors.  You can experiment with different vegetables, herbs and cheeses and find your own favorite version of baked ratatouille.

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Peach and Rasberry Punch

Nothing says summer like an ice cold fruit cocktail.  Peaches and raspberries were in season at the farm stand so I fashioned this drink around those two beautiful fruits.  The drink was sweet, without being too sweet, clean, crisp and flavorful.  I used cupcake liners with ball jars to create a bug free sipper for my Outdoor Movie night.  

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Peach Basil and Blueberry Chambord Adult Popsicles

Popsicles were a staple of my summer growing up.  Summer just wouldn't be summer without them.  They go hand in hand with slip-in-slides, chigger bites, tree houses and all day bicycle excursions.  Usually my parents would buy us a box or two of some off-brand, chemically flavored, two stick popsicles, but when those ran out, it was up to my brother and I to get creative.  Mom had an old Tupperware popsicle mold from the 60's that we used to make our own lemonade/ kool-aide/ orange juice popsicles.  Little did I know that these early experimentations in popsicle artistry would someday inform the art of adult gourmet popsicles making.  These popsicles are pretty simple to throw together and you can create just about any iteration that inspires you.  I brought these popsicles with me to a dinner party and handed them out after dinner for desert, but you could hand them out before dinner on a hot summer night for a fun twist on the summer cocktail.

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Heirloom Tomato Tartlets

This past weekend Ruby had a play date with an adorable little boy named Stellan.  He and his lovely parents came over to our house and the adults pretended it was a play date by listlessly looking over in the general direction of our children every once in a while and and saying "oh, look how nicely you two are playing together."  In reality, the play date was just a guise for the adults to drink white wine, eat the most luscious heirloom tomato tartlets and enjoy the gorgeous summer day.  After a while, I think Ruby and Stellan were on to us and so they began to try and capture our attentions by looking impossibly cute in Mr. Potato Head's glasses and drinking out of our empty wine bottle (not sure if I should have let the wine bottle drinking continue, but it was cute, right?).  We remarked on how adorable they were, snapped a photo and then just went right on ignoring them.  The tomato tartlets were unbelievably, melt in your mouth, delicious with fresh from the farmer's stand heirloom tomatoes in 3 different varieties, goat cheese from a local dairy, fresh garlic and basil picked from the plant on my porch.  They make perfect summer afternoon hor d'oeuvres and couldn't be easier to whip up.

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Peach and Tart Cherry Crisp

On our way to the farm stand before our Saturday night dinner, we agreed that fruit crisp is a far superior dessert to fruit cobbler.  With cobbler, you have too much cake that doesn't really complement the fruit.  With a crisp the fruit is the star, with a crispy cinnamon and oat topping that plays off the soft fruit.  After congratulating ourselves on sharing a similar (and no doubt correct) opinion about cobbler vs. crisp, we settled on sour cherry and peach for our dessert.  The farm stand had beautiful cherries and peaches that looked pretty good, but turned out to be only OK.  No problem though, with fruit desserts, sometimes adding a big of sugar and baking can bring life to a piece of fruit that you wouldn't want to eat raw.  The crisp turned out beautifully!  We served it with some vanilla ice cream - a classic combination that nobody can resist.  Try this crisp recipe this summer.  Choose any fruit combo that sounds good to you - but definitely consider peaches and sour cherries, they are a hot item. 

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Grilled Watermelon and Shrimp Salad

My husband recently told me that he read about grilling watermelon and I was like, wait, what???  You can do that?  Then my mind began to ponder all the amazing ways you could serve up some grilled watermelon.  All summer long, I've been trying to think of a creative way to serve grilled shrimp.  But grilled shrimp with grilled watermelon?  Oh lord, I think we found a winner.  I was super nervous about the dish turning out because we had invited guests over for dinner, but it was fan-f-ing-tastic.  I added Thai inspired spices to counter the sweetness of the watermelons and bring out the flavor of the shrimp.  If your looking to wow your guests at your next cook-out, give this salad a whirl.  

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Kale Spaghetti with Grilled Turkey Meatballs

I love this time of year more than any other time of year mainly because of the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits.  I get so overwhelmed with all of the fresh veggies and fruits at the farmer's stand that I sometimes find my fridge full of items that I'm not sure what to do with.  Luckily, I grew up with an Italian momma and I'm able to make a pasta dish with my eyes closed.  Recently, I bought a bunch of kale and didn't know what to make with it so I looked up kale pasta recipes but couldn't find anything that looked appetizing.  So, I came up with my own recipe that you can throw together in a jiffy for a healthy and quick family meal.

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Rosemary and Garlic Infused Potato Salad

WHOO HOO!  GO AMERICA!!!  Party on.  Excellent.  Don't show up to the Fourth of July party empty handed.  If you want to set off some taste bud firecrackers you should definitely make this crazy flavorful potato salad.  I love a good German potato salad, so I kept most of the ingredients but added a pretty amazing twist.  What we are going to do here is replace that boring mustard and mayo mixture with rosemary and garlic infused aioli (mayo made with olive oil), fried rosemary and garlic chips, whole grain mustard and healthy and delicious red potatoes.  I mean, come on, what else could you possibly make that would top this side dish?  Do it!


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Watermelon and Mint Salad

Today I have a super simple and delicious recipe that you can serve throughout the summer.  Watermelon and mint should be available all summer at your local farmer's market.  It is such a fresh and sweet combination of ingredients that you will love having it as a side dish or a desert with many dinners.  

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Strawberry Lemon Shortcake

Strawberries are definitely, hands down, my favorite fruit.  As a child of the 80's, I loved the Strawberry Shortcake character.  One my favorite pastimes as a child was going strawberry picking with my family (though it always resulted in spending countless hours in the kitchen cleaning and cutting strawberries for freezing--not so much fun).  If there is a pile of hard candy or lolly pops, I will always fish out the strawberry flavored ones.  I even love strawberry printed fabrics and strawberry adorned clothing.  So, when it is strawberry season, I tend to go a little overboard with the strawberry themed foods.  I hope you don't mind.  Here is a recipe for a strawberry lemon shortcake that I've been making for many years.  Enjoy!

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Strawberry Mint Gin Cocktail

It's strawberry season!  This is the time of year when I gorge myself on ripe strawberries and try to think of every recipe I can make with them.  I'm also fond of mixing any delicious seasonal fruit with alcohol and pretending I'm a fancy mixologist.  While this drink looks super fancy and will definitely wow your guests, the recipe is actually pretty easy.  There isn't any infusing or straining, just a little muddling.  Serve this at your next bbq and your sure to make your guests berry happy!

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