Melon season has passed for most, but thanks to Indian Summer in California, my tiny little garden is still producing, and I am harvesting my first round of tigger melons! This Armenian melon only grows to about one pound but is packed with an incredible fragrance and is marked by truly stunning red and orange stripes. The creamy flesh is pale white, and quite similar to a honeydew, flavor-wise. I picked up my seed packet from Rare Seeds, a great site that sells a huge variety of heirloom and exotic seeds. To see even more photos of this amazing melon, keep reading.
Looking for a new fruit salad recipe? I've found one! This scrumptious salad combines the sweetness of tropical fruits with creamy avocados, peppery arugula, crunchy pistachios, and tart shallots. Once all of the fruit has been prepped, this salad is easy to make. If you have never cut a pineapple, don't fret it, just follow these simple steps. The vinaigrette is wonderfully complex. It's a blend of champagne vinegar infused with shallots, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Ready to try a new take on an old classic? Keep reading for the recipe.
Inspired by the idea of a vampire-themed party, I decided to make my own bloody yet delicious treat. With Halloween only a couple of weeks away, I pulled out the ice-cream maker and started on a blood orange and mint sorbet — a perfect treat for your fangtastic friends! Although the last time I made ice cream, I had a problem with curdling custard, making this sorbet was easier and much less risky.
I started with a mint-infused simple syrup. While that cooled, I pulled out my glass citrus press (just like my grandmother had!) and hand-juiced some blood oranges. Even with the manual juicing, the whole process is quite quick and in only a few hours, I had refreshing and flavorful sorbet. If you want to feed your vamp guests this sensational sorbet, keep reading.
Once Fall farmers market hits, I always buy at least one bunch of beets just about every week. Week after week I roast the bunch, but beet salads can become a little tiresome. I skipped the salad bowl and started experimenting with this Fall root vegetable as a pizza topping. My first attempt resulted in pizza — a creamy, earthy and a delicious meatless meal complete with roasted beets, goat cheese, mozzarella, scallions and a drizzle of basil olive oil.
For my second attempt at perfecting a beet pizza, I skipped the olive oil and added fresh and easy arugula pesto, which added a little more color and even more dimension to this pizza. With a little planning you can easily add this pizza into your fast and easy weeknight dinner routine. Just roast the beets and prepare the arugula pesto the night before. If you want to skip both of these steps, Trader Joe's carries roasted beets in the refrigerator section and a store-bought basil pesto would work just the same. Give these earthy roots a try on your next pizza pie and keep reading for this easy recipe.
I have loved Jamie Oliver since his days on The Naked Chef and have definitely picked up each one of his cookbook along the way! His latest, Meals in Minutes, is a new take on the cookbook: rather than being individual dishes, the recipes are full meals that, in his words, only take about 30 minutes to prepare with some practice.
Fall is arriving in San Francisco, so it was the perfect opportunity to try out one of his comforting meals of chicken pot pie, smashed carrots, French-style peas, and a seasonal fruit shortcake-like dessert. Rather than make use of prepared ingredients like pre-sliced mushrooms to save time, he calls on home cooks to use whole ingredients and pull out their food processors for quick prep. This amazing dinner took me about an hour (including the photos along the way), so it really was a delicious and doable weeknight meal. So see if you can beat my time for this fast feast when you keep reading for the recipe.
ABC's Pan Am starts this Sunday, and I can't wait to watch the series premiere to see if it can captivate audiences just like Mad Men! The show will be an interesting glimpse into yesteryear, and if you're just as fascinated by this period, take a peek at Pan American's Complete Round the World Cookbook, which was first published in 1954.
With the show's premiere fast approaching, it was time to dust off my copy and discover the culinary world according to this airline giant. The book was a collaborative effort with recipes submitted by employees of Pan Am from across the globe. Of course, cuisine in 1954 was a very different place than it is now; I passed on a recipe for chicken enchiladas made with pancakes instead of difficult-to-find tortillas. However, many of the cocktails, like the ones featured here, were rather intriguing.
Before you sit back on Sunday to watch the season premiere, stir up one of Pan Am's very own around-the-world cocktail recipes!
While it's easy to pick up a jar of roasted red peppers, it's nearly just as easy to make your own. You will need to pay a bit of attention while you roast them, so they don't get too charred, but in less than an hour, you will have fresh roasted peppers! They are great for sandwiches, pizzas, hummus, and even more delicious pureed and served as a pasta sauce.
If you're ready to skip the aisle at your local market and get started in the kitchen, click through for the simple step-by-step instructions.
Tapenade is a staple in my house, since it does double duty served with a cheese plate or used as a spread on your favorite panini. I must admit, however, I always end up making it with black olives, so I was thrilled when I found a recipe specifically for a tasty green olive spread. Because the olive's flavor takes center stage in this milk-based dip, I recommend using your favorite green olives; I chose castelvetranos since they impart an amazingly buttery flavor and bright green color, and they aren't incredibly briny.
The result was a salty and creamy dip that was perfect served on crunchy crostini, and would also be ideal in pasta or even as a dressing for salad. Move over, olive tapenade; it's all about going green! Keep reading for this simple recipe.
Buffalo wings are quintessential game day eats, but they're often a little hard and messy to make at home, and those premade ones from the store just never seem like a good idea. Thankfully, this recipe's perfect for Monday Night Football; it brings together crunchy, panko-crusted chicken, numbingly tangy buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dip for a classic buffalo wing combination without as much hassle.
You can make the strips even healthier by swapping the regular mayo for a lower-fat alternative, or even using sour cream or milk instead. If you find yourself with leftovers, just thin the dip with a bit more milk for a blue cheese dressing, and toss the strips into lettuce leaves to make an amazing chicken salad! Skip out on your local pub's food — we promise you won't miss the orange-tinted fingers — and make your own buffalo chicken strips when you keep reading.
Baked shrimp is a great weeknight dinner because it can be prepped in advance, and the quick cook time ensures no one will have a rumbling belly. For my version, I combined lemon-flavored olive oil with a bunch of herbs, including tarragon, lemon thyme, and chives. However, the simplicity of this dish allows you to use whatever herbs you have on hand: oregano, rosemary, basil, anything would be delicious! Feel free to experiment with the endless varieties. Want more spice? Add chopped jalapeños or some crushed red pepper flakes. I served it with a Spring salad and fresh bread for a filling meal. Keep reading for this incredibly easy dish.
There are certain things in this world that are a natural match made in heaven; the pairing of peanut butter and chocolate is one of those combinations in my book. Everyone's seen this in ice cream, but I decided that it's time for a peanut butter pop dipped in some choc!
I used all-natural peanut butter since I had it on hand, but a traditional store-bought peanut butter like Skippy or Jif would make a better base, as the flavor is more intense. Since these little guys are exceptionally rich, keeping these popsicles on the miniature side is key (if you don't have small popsicle molds, use tiny paper cups or shot glasses instead). The chocolate shell needs to be cool to room temperature to ensure you don't melt the popsicles while dipping. Once dipped, however, the popsicles are ready to eat; alternatively, store them in the freezer until you're ready to serve them.
If you, too, are a peanut butter-and-chocolate fiend, bust out your popsicle sticks and get to freezing these easy chocolate and peanut butter packed popsicles. Read ahead for the recipe.
The caprese salad, with its fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, is a simple Summer dish. I must admit I thought my standard caprese recipe didn't need any improvement, but on a recent episode of Jamie Oliver at Home, Chef Oliver suggested generously salting and straining the tomatoes to improve the flavor intensity for the ultimate caprese salad. While I have often salted veggies to remove excess water, I hadn't ever thought to use the same technique on tomatoes. I was a little apprehensive about the tip but had to give it a try!
I sliced up a basket full of fresh tomatoes, placed them in my colander, and salted away. After 20 minutes, the tomatoes had lost a fair amount of water, and with that most of the salt as well. The result was just as Jamie Oliver promised: a more intense tomato flavor that wasn't overly salted. Of course, assembling a caprese with these flavorful tomatoes, burrata mozzarella and a variety of basil fresh from my garden was a piece of cake. I can't wait to use the same technique for my next batch of bruschetta — or even a simple garden salad. Don't be scared of a little extra salt to bring out even more flavor; keep reading for the recipe.
Every once in a while, I come across a recipe and wonder, why didn't I think of this?! Since most fruit tastes delicious on a Summer night with a couple of grill marks, watermelon, naturally, would be the same way. This light and refreshing grilled watermelon salad is an essential to the season.
Prep is easy and only requires a little olive oil brushed on the watermelon to ensure it doesn’t stick to the grill. Don't forget to let the melon cool before chopping it up for the salad. The dressing, a mixture of orange juice, lemon juice, and olive oil, adds a touch of tang and a hint of sweetness to the dish. You could also barbecue a few other fruits, like pineapple or peaches, and make a grilled fruit salad. Keep reading for the simple recipe.
Greek yogurt is wildly popular, so why not use it for the perfect refreshing Summer treat: Greek frozen yogurt with raspberry swirl. This thick yogurt is easy to employ as an ice cream base — especially since you avoid the temperamental custard process. If you can't find Greek yogurt, you can actually make your own by simply straining regular yogurt.
This tangy and sweet frozen yogurt is a great base for just about any seasonal fruit or berry, so feel free to experiment with other combinations. There are two ways to achieve the perfect swirl; one is to layer the frozen yogurt and fruit puree several times, and when you scoop it out, it will swirl on its own. The second technique is to very gently mix the frozen yogurt and fruit puree in a large bowl, but the key here is to undermix it, to ensure a swirl in the end. Stay cool these last days of Summer with homemade froyo! Read more for the recipe.
You can't go wrong with corn, chicken, cheddar cheese, and chiles wrapped up in a warm tortilla. This simple supper is a great recipe to cook up in a pinch and everyone is bound to enjoy it. I had chicken tenders on hand, so I used those and the recipe was even easier and quicker to cook. Employ fresh corn since it's in season and adds great flavor. You can serve this in a tortilla (like I did) with a little salsa and avocado or offer it with rice and a side salad. Bring this tasty Tex-Mex dish to your kitchen table by reading more.
Summertime and the barbecuing is easy with this bacon-wrapped shrimp and nectarine appetizer. These bite-size treats are perfect for a hot night party. I used nectarines, but for a more tropical twist, opt for mango or pineapple. Or if you want a little heat, try adding a slice of jalapeño. The sweetness of the fruit is a great contrast with the salty bacon and juicy shrimp. Get the grill hot and listen to these babies sizzle! Keep reading for this incredibly simple recipe.
The farmers market is bursting with fresh zucchini and I bet many home gardens are too, so turn this delicious Summer vegetable into an appetizer everyone will love: oven-baked zucchini fries with buttermilk ranch dipping sauce. For the fries, I dipped the zucchini strips in flour, lightly beaten egg, and panko bread crumbs for an extra crunchy coating. Of course, if you are short on time, serve them with store-bought ranch, but if you love this dressing as much as I do, you won't regret making this tangy and fresh buttermilk ranch. Not only are these fries great as an appetizer, but they would make a great side dish too. So celebrate the season with zucchini fries and buttermilk ranch by reading more for the recipe.
Nothing compares to fresh-baked bread, but in the Summer, who wants to have their hot oven on? Why not heat up the grill and make these stuffed flatbreads to satisfy your craving? I stuffed the bread with a variety of herbs, garlic, and farmer cheese, but feel free to experiment with different fillings. Like any bread, time is needed to prepare the dough. However, they can be made in advance, separated by parchment paper, and refrigerated until needed. Although the prep may take awhile, these flatbreads cook in no time and only require a couple minutes on each side before they are ready to enjoy. At your next barbecue, while your meat is resting, keep the grill hot and bake these flatbreads! Get the recipe by reading more.
If you've visited Spain, chances are, you've sampled patatas bravas. They're a standard tapa at just about every restaurant: a fried, bite-sized piece of potato, that's smothered in a slightly spicy paprika- and mayonnaise-based sauce. I fell in love with the simplicity of the dish years ago, but only recently tried to re-create this classic dish in my own kitchen.
Traditionally, the potato pieces are deep fried, but I skipped the frying to keep this tapas recipe a touch healthier, and so my house wouldn't smell like a fast food joint. Instead, I achieved a crisp and golden potato using a hot oven and potatoes coated in olive and canola oils.
While the spuds cooked, I made the dipping sauce, which is a piece of cake if you employ the food processor. To present this dish, either drizzle the sauce over the potatoes, or serve it as a finger food, with a plate of golden potatoes and the sauce in a small bowl on the side. Get ready for a taste of Spain when you read more.
If you're barbecuing this weekend, don't forget to light the grill a little early and make these amazing jalapeño appetizers to get the party started right! Each halved jalapeño is stuffed with a combination of crispy bacon, whipped cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, then baked on the grill to keep the heat out of your kitchen. Even cooked, these peppers tend to pack a lot of heat, so to balance the spiciness, top it all off with a refreshing cilantro sauce. Sound enticing? Then turn on the barbie and keep reading.