Ayyyyeee! Last week I was sort of barely here on da blog and on social (even tho I’m always on the insta stories). I’ve been planning a fun lil’ thing that I’m excited to share with you. Hint: I can cook in it and I’m gonna make it look as pretty and functional as possible! MORE SOON!
In the meantime, I have a ton of new-to-you summer recipes to share. The past few weeks have been filled with lots of cooking and I took all of your suggestions into account.
You all asked for easy and sort of healthy weeknight dinners AND you asked for some desserts using blueberries, pies (coming soon!) and more cakes (you speakin’ my language).
This obviously falls into the blueberry category and not the healthy, weeknight dinner.
Is putting cheese on vegetables a recipe? Sorta not. This is more of an idea…but it’s a good one, that’s why I’m sharing it with you.
I guess you could say I’m currently a raclette enthusiast. (A few months ago I made these raclette collard green thingy-ies.) This is super simple. Here are a few important things about this sorta-recipe:
1. The asparagus is grilled. That char is everything in life and this summer I’ve vowed to grill all the vegetables that come into my life. You should do the same.
2. The raclette is thinly sliced so it melts super easily.
3. The bread crumbs add nice texture. They’re important.
4. The lemon zest is a MUST!
5. Italian parsley is da best.
That’s it. It’s so simple and delicious. I know that I post a lot of recipes that are a bit more labor-intensive (things like pie and cheesecake and cake), so I do like to offer super easy and delicious ideas every now and then too. I truly hope you make it at every BBQ this summer because cheese really does make everything better.
For the full recipe and more photos, go to PBS Food.
A few ex-boyfriends ago, I learned an incredibly valuable less: how to properly make a tomato sandwich. I am forever grateful.
During the summers we’d drive to Virginia to his family’s lake house. It was there where I’d buy big-ass tomatoes from old men who sold them out of their pick-up trucks parked alongside the road. They were beautiful and warm from the sun (the tomatoes not the old men). There’s something about a southern tomato that’s just really special. They’re kinda magical.
The first step to a glorious tomato sandwich is salting the tomatoes and allowing them to sit and drain on a few paper towels. This makes it so the tomato sandwich doesn’t end up being soggy. NO SOG ZONE.
I learned that tomato sandwiches MUST be eaten on white bread.
One of my favorite summahtime memories was in college. I got a job on a film set in Maryland for a few days and instead of flying, which they offered, I took it as an opportunity to go on a solo road-trip through the south.
It wasn’t too far, actually, maybe six or seven hours. And instead of opting for highway only, I went for the route that took me on a lot of one lane roads, running straight through a bunch of small towns in North Carolina and Virginia.
I packed a large sweet tea, made a super long mix-CD and filled up my Jetta.
Nothing crazy happened. I stopped off at a diner, had hoecakes and ate Western North Carolina BBQ. At dusk, fireflies helped light up the roads. I listened to music my parents did. But mostly I remember thinking that everyone seemed so happy and normal and maybe this whole idea of moving to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, which is inherently sort of abnormal, was maybe flawed. Maybe they had it right and I had it all wrong.
Tomorrow I’m headed to Sonoma for a friend’s wedding and I’m excited to leave L.A. for three days and drink lots of bourbon and maybe dance. I also have a tight dress I need to fit into and Ice Cream Week didn’t help at all. Also, Chipotle. I dunno what it is but since I practically cook all day, with most of it being sweet, all I want at the end of the day is SALT. Like, “Hi, I’ll take the kale salad with a side of salt,” or “I’ll take that piece of healthy fish and please season it a.k.a put hella salt on it.” It’s a part of my need for balance which in this instance backfires.
There are currantly (someone told me to do that on Instagram and I couldn’t resist – so cheesy yet still funny!) like ten different flavors of ice cream in my fridge and this is the one I keep going back for. The white chocolate unexpectedly works. I usually don’t even like white chocolate but it’s really lovely.
The currant part is so pretty and pink. Dat color! It’s like cotton candy pink which is maybe my favorite shade of pink. And it’s tart! So dang tart in the best way possible.
I’m a bit on a grilling kick. I don’t own an outside grill so instead I use my big griddle that has a side that is like a grill pan. It’s almost like reversible sheets. Or reversible shirts, which were popular for a very short while in the 90s. I think they should come back because seriously, how useful! I also had a shirt that would change different colors if you breathed on it. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to work like mood ring but it failed completely.
Anyway, grilling…fruit. The two surprisingly go hand and hand, AND grilling cheese is an even better idea. The requirement is that the correct cheese be used. A lot of cheese can easily be coated in breading and fried but not many cheeses can be grilled. If you’ve never cooked with haloumi, I can assure you that it’s really really good and super easy to grill. It won’t get all melty and crazy, it’s really hard to mess up AND it’s delicious and salty. I love to pair it with something sweet and something smokey.
I spent the long holiday doing all sorts of exciting things like making sweet corn custard and binge-watching Cesar Milan, which has made me realize that perhaps I’m not what he calls “pack leader.” It’s a devastating realization, actually. I’m guessing it feels similarly when your kid tells you to “shut up, mom” in front of other people. I’m not sure what to do with my beast of a child but this week I’ve vowed to be “calm and assertive”—not my best attributes.
In other news, there’s this perfect summer lunch or dinner. And a giveaway! First, let’s talk about the recipe.
Chicken Milanese might be one of my favorite quick meals EVER! The chicken is pounded to be super thin and then dipped in light, panko bread crumbs. The chicken is pan-fried in a pretty small amount of oil, resulting in delicious, crispness. The salad that usually accompanies chicken milanese is pretty normal; usually some sort of lettuce. Instead of going the ol’ normal route, which I’ll admit is also delicious, I wanted to do something a little bit different.
Watermelon radishes are maybe the most beautiful radish in existence. If the season’s change, or if you can’t find watermelon radishes, feel free to swap them out with another type of radish. Watermelon radishes are mild in flavor–just a little bit spicy, so they’re perfect to eat all on their own. I mixed in a bit of flat-leaf parsley and fresh tarragon for added flavor (I love tarragon and chicken together!). The whole salad is tossed in a easy combo of lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Super simple.
It’s no secret that I adore Le Creuset products so it was no surprise that I loved this 3 quart sauté pan. The pan is light yet sturdy and conducts and spreads heat evenly resulting in chicken that’s perfectly cooked.
We’re not really in the dog days of summer. When I think of that term I picture early August, humidity that humbles you and days that involve inner tubes, a river, a cooler full of beer and a janky waterproof radio. Those are some dreamy summer days; instead I’ll be super busy making pie after pie recipe and wishing I had central air conditioning. I’m not complaining, in fact, I’m super excited about my summer.
Do you ever realize that the package of hot dogs and the package of buns doesn’t equate to the same amount?
This means that you’ll often times be left with two unused hot dogs buns…and then if you buy more hot dogs, you’ll end up with no buns and just hot dogs.
Every day after school I’d come home, hungry, with a desire to sit in front of the television for thirty minutes before I started my homework. I’d wrap a hot dog in a paper towel and stick it in the microwave to cook (why I did this I have no idea). On a rare occasion there’d be a bun but most of the time there was nothing! So I’d eat it with just ketchup and stuff. This had all to do with the dilemma I pointed out above. Too many hot dogs and no buns!
This is a pure example of the left hand not talking to the right hand. Also, why didn’t hot dog companies get in the business of hot dog buns?! It would only make sense. It would’ve cleaned this problem right up.
Anyway, I’ve had chili cheese dogs on my mind recently so I decided to make a version that didn’t scare me. Sometimes hot dogs can scare me a little.
This is why making hot dogs at home is the best case scenario for me. I can ensure that I’m eating hot dogs that are nitrate-free and are made with ingredients I can pronounce.
The chili might be my favorite thing ever. It’s SO fast. No need to sit here and make real chili—that’s too much work. This one cooks up in minutes and is way thicker than the normal soupier version. I think the thicker version works way better when we’re using it as a topping for a hot dog.
Sometimes I’m so hungry I feel like I might die. I know I’m being super melodramatic because people can go days and sometimes weeks without food but something happens where my blood sugar levels dictate my mood…and brain. I become angry, desperate…and then super creative.
I begin pairing ingredients that are strange and on the verge of not-so-pleasant. But a few weeks ago, I came across a freakin’ gem. I peered in my fridge, saw some tortillas, cheese and some leftover shredded chicken. That is when the first child from a quesadilla mother and taco father was born. QuesaTaco!
I’m an inventor…or so I thought. I googled it and realized some stoner kid on Reddit had already done it. SO, I didn’t exactly invent it but I still feel pretty proud of this recipe.
This recipe starts with a super quick cooking situation with diced summer squash, ancho chile powder and ground cumin. That’s the filling.
Then I made a bunch of quesadillas.
The quesadillas were then topped with all sorts of stuff…like a taco!