Shrimp and Strawberry? Do you think I sound crazy right now? Trust, young padawans, and learn the ways of combining sweet and savory. Rice noodles, pickled veg (and mango!), basil, mint, scallions, shrimp, and strawberries are combined in a rice wrapper for the ultimate summer freshness. Served with a delicious peanut sauce for dipping - get in my face!
I had seen a blog photo ages ago that I loved on this site, but I was scared to try it because I had never made summer rolls before and it seemed finicky. Then I was over at a friend's house for dinner and that is what we made! It was a bit tricky, but not as scary as I had imagined. She was a pro, so I asked her to help me make my shrimp and strawberry rolls. Then I looked at the recipe for the photo I loved, and wasn't a big fan of the ingredients. I wanted noodles instead of cabbage, and mango instead of bell pepper. So I switched some things around.
Then we got to work! She was skeptical of my flavor combo, but ended up loving it. You can see the progression here from back to front where I put the ingredients on in the wrong order so the pretty parts didn't show, then exploded one, then finally got some decent rolls. The good news is - it doesn't matter if you don't get the best looking rolls, they still taste amazing!
This week Melissa and Sarah take their vegetarian lunch adventure to the grill! Woohoo! We've been meaning to grill all summer, but for some reason every time we pick a day it starts to rain. This time was no exception - rain was forecasted starting in the afternoon - but we decided to try and grill before it started, and we succeeded! Finally!
This flatbread had been kicking around in our minds for a while, the product of brainstorming, and I am so pleased with the way it turned out! Crispy grilled flatbread topped with pesto, grilled and fresh veggies, feta, and fresh basil - the epitome of Summer.
First, we made the flatbread dough - which is very easy and requires no yeast or rising time! Just flour, salt, baking powder, water, milk, and oil mixed together.
It's my first Secret Recipe Club post!!! I had been wanting to join the SRC for a while, but wasn't sure that I met the posting requirements, because I don't always post every week. I also didn't have a recipe index for a long time, so that is something that I have been working on. I finally felt like the time was right and asked to join, and here I am with my first post! Yay!
My assigned blog was Renee's Kitchen Adventures, and I had such a great time looking through it. Renee is a stay-at-home mom and former nurse (labor and delivery - what a special unit!), and her story reminded me a lot of my mother. She talks about trying to be healthy and lose weight, and posts healthy recipes based on Weight Watchers points. I, too, am trying to be healthy and lose weight, so I loved that about this blog. Even though our ideas of what constitute healthy food are a bit different (I think fat is healthy), I think this blog will be a great resource and inspiration for me. I also love how accessible and family friendly Renee's recipes are. I think I tend to only post about the really complicated stuff, which maybe isn't so great.
As I was reading through Renee's most recent recipes, I saw a lot that I wanted to try. I love that she has a lot of s'mores recipes, and especially that she made s'mores krispy treats - because I did the same thing! I also really liked the sound of this Almond Joy Poke Cake made with coconut oil, coconut oil is the best! She writes that she isn't ashamed to use boxed cake mix as a shortcut, and I feel the same way! I don't post about them much, but I love to make poke cakes or dress up cake mix in other ways (pro tip: use 1 extra egg, milk instead of water, melted butter instead of oil).
I've been baking way more than usual lately, though, and what jumped out at me the most was this Creamy Lemon and Fresh Basil Chicken Salad. It has been super hot and humid lately, so this is exactly the kind of thing I want to be eating right now.
You know what is very summery? Tacos. Especially fish tacos. Melissa and I were looking for something light and fresh, with a lot of flavor and texture. So we cobbled together a bunch of different ideas and came up with these gorgeous tacos!
We started out by marinating mahi-mahi with tequila, lime juice, garlic, red onion, and cumin. Yum, yum, yum! We chose mahi-mahi because it is a mild white fish that will take on a marinade and stand up to searing.
We wanted a good sear on the outside, so we sauteed it at high heat for a short time, let it rest, and then flaked it into big pieces with forks.
We also wanted to make our own condiments, and came up with a lime and crema (Mexican sour cream with tons of flavor) coleslaw and a chipotle mayo, along with avocado, pickled onions, cotija cheese, and cilantro (or parsley for me).
Ugh - sorry folks, I've been bad about posting this last week! And this post is going to be pretty short, too. We are finally on our way into Fall, but the transition has been slow and there is still some stone fruit to be had. I am still really into tartines at the moment, so I paired sliced nectarine with goat cheese, prosciutto, and basil for a quick lunch.
Then the store finally had some burrata in (this is a seriously random occurrence, you never know), so I paired that with some ripe peach, basil, EVOO, balsamic, and sea salt.
So for the past few weeks I have pretty much been living off of fresh summer produce and cheese piled onto whole grain seed bread. It's pretty much all I want to eat. EVER. The French call these open-faced sandwiches "tartines". I like that, it makes them sound fancy (when really they are super simple).
The farmers' market has been bursting with huge, gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. This beautiful yellow, green, and red tomato made it onto pizza (which I will post about soon) AND some lovely tartines. I wanted to eat some of this super sweet and juicy tomato raw so I toasted some bread and topped it with creamy homemade ricotta, basil from my garden, slices of tomato, high quality EVOO, high quality sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Super simple and sooooooo delicious.
Next up I paired some fresh figs with more of that homemade ricotta, black pepper, and honey. Whether for lunch, dessert, or a snack - this tartine is awesome.
Lastly, I wanted to experiment with warm tartines and broiled tomatoes, so I placed sliced mozzarella and tomatoes on seedy whole grain bread, drizzled them with olive oil, and broiled them. Then I topped them with fresh basil, salt, and pepper - yum! Definitely very satisfying.
What are some of your favorite tartine ideas? Leave them in the comments!
Here's a fun summer dish for camping, grilling, or even using the oven (which is what I did). It's easy, fast, filling, and healthy.
Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray (I used coconut oil) and raw shrimp, couscous, and a big handful of spinach. Cook using your method of choice for about 10 minutes - steam will fill the foil packet and cook all the ingredients.
Open up the packets and add in a fresh salsa made with avocado, mango, tomato, red onion, and lime juice. You can eat straight out of the packets, or transfer to a bowl. Either way, this fresh dish is sure to please the whole family!
This stunning dish comes to you from my weekly vegetarian lunches with Melissa from Smells Like Brownies. Consisting of just vegetables with a little feta, this is about as healthy as you can get! It's also super filling and surprisingly delicious. I say surprisingly because let's be honest, most people don't go around graving a pile of veggies. But this is so good that even my veggie hating husband liked it! Served warm with a variety of textures and flavors, vibrant basil, and salty cheese - it really leaves you feeling satisfied.
Great on it's own as a lunch, served as a side to chicken or steak (which is what I did with leftovers), or even stuffed into a pita pocket - this is a super healthy AND yummy Summer dish. It can also become vegan quite easily. So how about it? Let's get some veggies into our lives!
I find it hard to come up with dinner ideas in the summer, I don't know if anyone else has this problem. All I want to do is snack on fruit, salads, or fresh tomatoes with cheese. And I definitely don't want to hang out in the kitchen for too long. But this? I would seriously make this every week if my husband would let me. This is the BEST summer dish ever. Gnocchi, summer squash, and fresh sweet corn sauteed in butter and topped with goat cheese, basil, chives, and a splash of lemon juice - perfection. Plus (other than boiling the water), it takes less than 10 minutes to put together!
Just look at it, you know you want it. Warm and filling, but not heavy, with bright pops of veg and fresh herbs, it's the goat cheese that sends it over the edge into awesome territory. If you crumble the cheese on top and don't stir it in, then you get a little bit of melted creaminess but also bits of cold that really compliment the gnocchi. Also, I used goat butter - cuz I'm FANCY... and it's delicious.
I served it as a side dish with salmon, but it would go well with chicken and it's perfect on it's own, as well. Swing by your local farmer's market, snag some fresh produce, and let's get cooking!
It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Smells Like Brownies! I've never really liked tabbouleh. Maybe because it's usually cold, or there's too much parsley, or there's raw red onion, or it just isn't that filling - I don't know why. As it turns out, Melissa doesn't like it either! So when she suggested we try to conquer it, I was skeptical. But making something yourself means that you get to adjust it until it is the way you like it.
Upping the bulgur, balancing the parsley with mint, and using scallions instead of onion certainly helped this dish out. But what really sent it into yummy land was serving it warm, stuffed inside pitas, with a generous amount of feta. We managed to turn something we both disliked into something we both loved! It may not be traditional, but it sure is delicious.
I bought extra pita pockets and feta to go with my leftover tabbouleh, but ended up with too much! Melissa had given me some of her CSA cucumbers (since she was drowning in them), so I threw together a quick cucumber salad with feta, mint from my garden, olive oil, and champagne vinegar.
Because everything is more fun in a pita pocket! (Except for peanut butter and jelly - I just found out the hard way that that doesn't work.)
Tabbouleh Pitas with Feta
adapted from Mad Hungry
1 cup dry bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced (about 1½ cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups minced fresh curly parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
6 pita pocket rounds
8 oz feta, crumbled
Rinse the bulgur. Cook in the water over medium heat for 12–15 minutes, or until soft and chewy. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic. Drain of any excess water and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and mint. Toss together.
Whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl. Stir the dressing into the salad to fully combine.
Serve stuffed inside pitas, layered with feta to taste.
1 cucumber, chopped
4 oz feta, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped mint
salt and pepper to taste
splash of olive oil
splash of champagne or rice wine vinegar
Mix ingredients together, serve with pitas.