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I had a seriously craving for corn chowder this week. And a little extra kick! So I hit the produce stand, grabbed a couple of peppers and got to work. I also substituted cilantro for the traditional parsley, which I loved with the flavor of the peppers. It ended up not too spicy, but just with a bit of bite, so if you’re looking for a real kick, feel free to pile the peppers on!

corn chowder

Four Pepper Corn Chowder
adapted from food52

6 medium ears of corn
6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 medium poblano pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small celery rib, finely chopped
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups light cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons Corn Meal OR Masa
1/4 cup Water

Add bacon to a pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook for a few of minutes until it just starts to brown. Throw in the diced onion, poblano, jalapeño, bell pepper and celery and stir, cooking for 5 to 8 minutes. Add butter and melt. Add the potato and saute with the vegetables for an additional minute. Add the corn. Stir and pour in chicken broth and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Pour in the cream. Combine cornmeal (or masa) with water. Stir to combine, then pour into the chowder. Cover and cook for 15 minutes over low heat. If chowder needs more thickening, add another tablespoon of cornmeal mixed with water. Cook for another ten minutes. Serve with crusty sourdough bread or even torilla chips!

While I’m a huge mayonnaise fan, I know not everyone is. When I stumbled across this potato salad I first thought, “Yum!” then that this could be quite the crowd pleaser. Not everyone loves classic mayo-filled salads quite as much as I do. This version is so fresh and bright! And the dressing provides just the right amount of tanginess, balancing the creamy mozzarella, and slightly sweet tomatoes. We were a little short on basil leaves, so I threw in a bit of fresh parsley and oregano too. Just about any fresh herb combination would be great here.

Tomato and Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon Buttermilk Dressing

Tomato & Mozzarella Potato Salad with Lemon-Buttermilk Dressing
via the kitchn

3 pounds petite red or Yellow Yukon potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey, warmed
8 ounces tiny mozzarella balls
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ounces basil, roughly chopped

Heat a large pot of water to boiling and salt it generously with at least 1 tablespoon salt. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are very tender but not yet falling apart. Drain cooked potatoes and return them to the pot.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour this dressing over the warm potatoes and toss to coat. Toss with the mozzarella balls, halved cherry tomatoes, and basil. Season generously with salt and fresh pepper (the salad will need more salt than you expect). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve at room temperature.

When I see pesto listed in the ingredients list, I know it’s going to be an immediate dinner consideration. I love pesto – and parsley pesto? Amazing! I think parsley is one of the most underrated herbs. I love to put it in just about everything. I had a pulled pork sandwich from Pike Street Fish Fry this past week that had some sort of parsley sauce on it – the pork was amazing, but the pesto was what really made the sandwich. And here, the bibb lettuce (love!), asparaus (love!) and perfectly grilled chicken are the perfect accompaniment.

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto
via food and wine

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3)
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded
1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons water
Kosher Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups loosely packed parsley leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 heads Bibb lettuce (about 1 1/2 pounds in all), torn into bite size pieces

Light the grill or heat the broiler. Coat the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the chicken for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until just done, about 5 minutes more. When the chicken breasts are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite-size pieces.
Toss the asparagus spears with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill or broil the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes, depending on the width of the spears. Cut the spears into 2-inch lengths.
In a blender, combine the garlic, water, parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Puree until smooth, scraping down the side of the blender with a spatula as necessary.
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the lettuce, chicken, and asparagus with half the vinaigrette. Put the salad on plates. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salads.

This one was a serious wow. The fresh veggies, the bright flavors, the balance of spice, the heartiness of the quinoa and beans. This recipe is pure summer perfection. And we plucked the first full size Carolina Gold tomato from our garden to use in place of the cherry tomatoes. It was delicious! I doubled the avocado, because I love avocado so very much, but other than that and a very extra shakes of hot sauce, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Grilled Poblanos Corn Black Beans and Quinoa with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Grilled Poblano & Corn Quinoa with Cilantro Lime Dressing
via flourishing foodie

1 cup dry black beans
2 corn cobs, grilled
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 poblano peppers, grilled
1 cup dry quinoa
2 avocado, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lime, squeezed
1 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce

Garnishes
queso fresco or cotija cheese
chopped cilantro
hot sauce
lime juice
salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water, or in very hot water for 2 hours. Rinse the beans, and then bring them to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the beans have begun to boil, reduce the heat to medium and boil for 1 hour. Drain and set to the side. Or you could use canned black beans for convenience.
Shuck the corn, rub with butter, and then wrap in tin foil. Wash the poblano peppers. Turn the barbecue/grill to high. Place the corn on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove a piece of corn and lift back the tin foil to check for black grill marks. If the corn looks sufficiently cooked, flip, and cook on the opposite side for 10 minutes.
A few minutes before you are ready to remove the corn, place the peppers directly on the grill. Grill until black, rotating after a few minutes. Remove the corn and the peppers from the grill. Place the peppers into a plastic bag to loosen the skins. Once cooled, removed the skins, break open, and then remove the center stem and seeds. Chop the pepper and set to the side. Let the corn cool in the tin foil.
Wash and rinse the quinoa thoroughly to remove any bitter flavor. Place the quinoa and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until all of the water has evaporated. Fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, wash and pat dry the cilantro. Remove the leaves from the stems and chop. Place the leaves into a food processor or blender and puree. Add the yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and Tabasco. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove the corn from the tin foil, and slice off the kernels.
In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, poblano peppers, quinoa, avocado and tomatoes and toss. Either add the dressing to the bowl, or plate and then drizzle the dressing on top. Add queso fresco, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, and lime juice as a garnish.

image via my iphone

Now that it’s summer and we have a grill, I’m completely obsessed with outdoor cooking. My darling husband suggested this amazing twist on burgers the other day and I practically jumped at the thought of them. Burgers are something I seem to crave constantly… and topped with guacamole? Heaven.

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole on the grill

Cheddar Jalapeño Chicken Burgers with Guacamole
via what’s gaby cooking

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (original recipe called for yellow, we used the red we had on hand)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4 hamburger buns
sour cream
lettuce
red onion slices
guacamole [see additional recipe below]
salsa

Prepare an indoor or outdoor grill over medium heat.
Transfer the ground chicken to a medium bowl. Add in the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese, salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using your hands, incorporate everything together. Make sure everything is evenly incorporated without over mixing the ground chicken. Form the mixture into four 1/2″ thick patties. Grill burgers over medium heat until cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side.
Serve each patty in a burger bun topped with guacamole, sour cream and salsa if desired.

Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole
For simple homemade guacamole:

2 ripe avocados, diced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste

Mash your avocado to desired consistency. I like mine pretty chunky and just use a fork.
Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper and mash some more.
Add half the chopped jalapeño and taste, add the rest to your desired level of hotness.
Squeeze a little extra lime on top to taste.

images via my iphone

I forgot to take a picture of this beauty the other night, because I had just come home from work and it was already ready to go (thank you my dearest husband!) and I gobbled it right up. The flavor here is amazing. I’m a huge fan of fennel and this tomato sauce does it right. We served it over brown rice to give it a little more heft (and to provide some lunch leftovers for the next day).

braised fennel with saffron and tomato

Braised Fennel with Saffron & Tomato
via Vegetable Literacy

2 large fennel bulbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
good pinch of saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups fennel stock, chicken stock, or water
sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
freshly ground pepper
minced fennel greens or fresh flat-leaf parsley

Trim off the stalks and greens from the fennel bulbs. (Mince the greens for a garnish. If there are none, you can use parsley.) If the outer thick leaves of the bulbs look tough and scarred, as they often do, take a slice off the base to loosen them and set them aside for another use. Halve each bulb lengthwise and cut the halves into wedges about 1 1/2 inches at the widest part.
Heat the olive oil in a wide saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and fennel seeds, crumble in the saffron and thyme and then cook until the steam releases the color from the saffron, after several minutes. Add the fennel wedges and cook them until golden, turning them and the onions occasionally. Once they are well colored, add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste and then add the stock and 1 teaspoon salt. Scrape the pan to release the juices, then cover and simmer until the fennel is tender, another 15 minutes.

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

I hope you had a lovely and safe 4th! We BBQ’d with new friends in the afternoon and had  a relaxing night in. Back to work today, but so nice that it’s already the weekend! xoxo.

palms

A little link love from the week:

Obsessed with these pumps, the top of my birthday wish list
Genius and indulgent popsicle recipes
Should be our house motto (p.s. – turn down the volume first)
A great remix, because girls deserve more
On my list of to-do‘s
I want to put this sauce on everything
Makes me laugh and never want to open my mouth again
Every house needs a statement chair
Rose gold imperfection perfection
Counting down to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

image via open country

This recipe was so delightfully different that what we usually make. And a team effort tonight! Husband made the balsamic reduction and did most of the chopping, I whisked together the dressing and dressed the salad. Husband grilled the lovely endives and I put it all together, voila!
Perfection. And while sometimes endives can be a bit too bitter for me, grilled they are quite nice, particularly with the balsamic reduction drizzled across. The perfect balance of flavor.
The original recipe called for radicchio to be grilled also, which we did, but I found it still too bitter for my own personal liking, and decided to forgo them for just the delicious endives instead.

farro with grilled endives

Farro & White Bean Salad with Grilled Endives
via the first mess

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup farro (whole grain spelt or spelt berries), rinsed
1 cup cooked white beans
1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried currants
3 ounces arugula, chopped
3-4 belgian endives, trimmed of rough outer leaves and cut in half lengthwise
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper

Dressing
juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup-worth)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or olive, sunflower etc)

Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until vinegar is reduced by half and it coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Once adequately reduced, remove from the heat, scrape into a separate container and place in the fridge to set up.

Place farro in a medium saucepan with 2.5 cups of water over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse with cold water and dump into a large bowl. Set aside.

To the cooked farro, add the white beans, chopped almonds, currants, chopped arugula, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the dressing: whisk together the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil while quickly whisking the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Pour over farro and bean mixture and toss to combine.

Heat a grill to medium high. Brush the endive with the grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the endives on the grill on their cut sides. Grill for 2-5 minutes or until you see some charring/browning of the leaves. Flip them over and repeat cooking process. Remove from the grill when charred a bit on all sides and slightly tender to the touch.

Place dressed farro and bean mixture in a serving plate. Arrange grilled endive pieces on top. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the whole thing and serve.

image via my iphone

Home alone tonight and I whipped up a pot of this lovely, creamy but light summer pasta dish. The ricotta made it seem indulgent, but the lemon and hint of mint brightened it right up. Quick and perfect for a weeknight and just a little time.

bowties with sugar snaps lemon and ricotta

Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Ricotta and Lemon
via smitten kitchen

Salt for pasta water
1 pound sugar snaps
1 pound dried pasta bowties
1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
Glug, then drizzle, of olive oil
Coarse or fine sea salt for sprinkling
Ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
Few leaves of mint, slivered
1 cup ricotta; use fresh if you can find or have motivation to make it (I did not this evening, but look foward to trying it with fresh!)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. While waiting, string sugar snaps and cut into 1/2-inch segments. Cook bow ties for two minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the package, then add sugar snaps to pasta. Cook for one minute more. Reserve one cup pasta cooking water, then drain sugar snaps and bow ties. Add them back to the empty pot with 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, grated cheese, a glug of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook on high for one minute, tossing constantly. Add a splash more cooking water if pasta looks too dry. Turn heat off, dollop ricotta all over in large spoonfuls and gently stir, then tip the pasta mixture into a wide serving bowl. Drizzle pasta with a small amount of olive oil, then squeeze lemon juice over the whole dish, sprinkle with mint, and finish with an extra sprinkling of parmesan.
Serve immediately.

image via my iphone