Cooking and eating outdoors, in the open air, is far more relaxed and mindful than exactly the same meal prepared and eaten indoors.
It really is high summer, a time for long evenings, barbecues, and alfresco dining. Chill the wine and the beer, and prepare to be relaxed and happy. This week we are going to concentrate on salads and vegetables to go along with whatever meat or fish you have on the grill. Unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, or just like vegetables, in which case a lot of these recipes will make a complete meal for you.
Personally, I just love salads.
From San Diego cook Averie Sunshine we have this dish of grilled vegetables with smoky honey mustard dipping sauce ~ looks fabulous. Averie says this recipe is easy ~ ready in 5 minutes ~ healthy and there’s zero cleanup. Grilling vegetables is so very good.
Grilled Vegetables with Smoky Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
The Bojon Gourmet has a very elegant looking dish, a summer vegan green goddess salad ~ avocado, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, seeds and a cashew herb dressing. I think this salad looks interesting, different, tasty, and refreshing. I also think that most of us could add our own little interesting twist to this recipe.
Summer Vegan Green Goddess Salad
The cool and together Jessica at How Sweet Eats has published a recipe for a 20 minute Thai avocado salad, and you have to admit this looks fantastic, filled with taste and texture. I guess it’s 20 minutes if you can use a chef’s knife.
20 Minute Thai Avocado Salad
Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has found for us this dish by Summer Miller; lentil salad with summer vegetables. This should take you 35 minutes to make, and is a brilliant side dish, or as a light lunch. Make a lot and take some to work the following day.
Lentil Salad with Summer Vegetables
Heather Christo has a different kind of recipe for a warm summer afternoon, this tomato peach and avocado salad with cilantro vinaigrette. Heather says that this is a beautifully simple 30 minute salad that will totally blow your socks off. I tend to agree. Nice to take to work for lunch too.
Tomato Peach and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
I very much like the recipes from Cookie + Kate, and this one is no exception. Anyway, what’s not to like about colourful strawberry arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette?
Colourful Strawberry Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Lastly for this week, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have 15 quick and easy vegetable side dishes. This cool collection includes this 25 minute recipe for baked Parmesan mushrooms ~ I love baked mushrooms. Actually I often like side dishes and appetisers better than the entrée.
Baked Parmesan Mushrooms
Marmaduke also likes salads
Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education. ~ Mark Twain
Most will regard the humble cauliflower as a boring side dish ~ at best. Perhaps something not to put into one’s shopping cart on a regular basis. But, as I hope these smashing recipes from some great cooks will show you, there are a lot of exciting dishes you can make with this cruciferous vegetable. Cauliflower is from the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts and is said to be even better for you, in some ways, than these green vegetables.
First this week we have these cool cauliflower rice carne asada bowls with mango salsa, from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. This whole meal will take you an hour to make, but you can do so much with the leftovers afterwards. Lunch at work, tacos, burritos, topped with a fried egg…
Cauliflowere Rice Carne Asada Bowls with Mango Salsa
Cauliflower cheese is a classic dish, but this creamy cauliflower gratin from Chungah at Damn Delicious is just a little bit special. Again this easy dish will take you about an hour, and again this is something that you can reheat in the microwave at work. Or have with a nice steak for dinner later in the week.
Creamy Cauliflower Gratin
Next, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower there’s this cool dish to think about; zucchini lentil pasta with mashed cauliflower. Made with mushrooms, squash, and grape tomatoes ~ with a side of creamy mashed cauliflower. It looks very delicious for a midweek dinner.
Zucchini Lentil Pasta with Mashed Cauliflower
Yvette’s Gourmet Kitchen has this brilliant looking recipe for roasted cauliflower with almonds and capers. I think you can have this dish ready in 30 minutes. It’s vegan if you use a vegetarian substitute for the Parmesan cheese.
Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds and Capers
Here’s something exotically different and up-market from Petra at Food Eat Love; cauliflower soup with beetroot and gin cured salmon. This dish is something for a really posh dinner party ~or be even posher than that and serve to your house-guests at breakfast. The dish only takes 10 minutes to prepare, but you have to cure the salmon for 36 hours before that.
Cauliflower Soup with Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon
A blog-post of cauliflower recipes wouldn’t be anything without a soup. Ergo from Alanna at the Bojon Gourmet we have cauliflower and yellow split pea soup with turmeric and curried ghee. Both cauliflower and turmeric are supposed to be very good for you. This is a great soup to make a lot of, to take to work later, as it will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator.
Cauliflower and Yellow Split Pea Soup with Turmeric and Curried Ghee
And finally this week we have our list, this time from delish. So, how about 70 crazy creative things to make with cauliflower???? These 70 cool recipes include this loaded grilled cauliflower by Lauren Miyashiro, which should take you about 20 minutes to prepare.
Loaded Grilled Cauliflower
cauliflower is easy to grow, even if you only have a small garden, it’s pretty decorative too.
Good food begins and ends with good talk.
Some say that a Mediterranean diet is good for you. And, that if you eat a mostly Mediterranean diet you’ll be healthier and live longer. All I know is that you should always have a really good extra virgin olive oil.
From Greece, tzatziki is basically a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and mint, and you can buy it from your local store, or you can even make your own. The Bojon Gourmet has this nice little farro and cucumber salad with feta, dill, and mint that not only would be nice with some tzatziki, but also combines its flavours. Both would go nicely with some grilled goat.
Farro and Cucumber Salad with Feta, Dill, and Mint
And now, from Heidi at foodiecrush we have this outrageous herbacious Mediterranean chickpea salad. (I had to include this just for the name of the dish.)
Outrageous Herbacious Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
From Heather Christo this week we have Mediterranean pasta with grilled swordfish, lemons and gremolata. Gremolata is also dead easy to make for yourself. (I love grilled swordfish, but some say we shouldn’t buy swordfish ~ I will go on eating it, because whatever I do won’t affect how much fish the Japanese rape from the sea.) This 25 minute dish is perfect for a barbecue with the kind of friend who doesn’t expect a burned burger in a cheap bun.
Mediterranean Pasta with Grilled Swordfish, Lemons, and Gremolata
Sardines are a quintessentially Mediterranean dish, and Petra from Food Eat Love has some super taste combinations in this dish of fresh sardines, roast baby beets with whipped avocado and feta. As you’d expect it’s the beetroot that going to take the longest to cook here.
Fresh Sardines, Roast baby Beets with Whipped Avocado and Feta
This is another Mediterranean dish I love, grilled lamb kebabs, this time from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. (Do you want to know my own secret ingredient for grilling Mediterranean style? 7Up ~ when the charcoal gets too hot and the meat looks like it might burn, I sprinkle 7Up over the grill.) Tieghan’s is a half-hour dish, but one should really marinade the lamb overnight.
Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Kebabs
Dana at The Minimalist Baker has the ultimate Mediterranean bowl, looks fabulous, and it’s easy, healthy, and gluten-free. However, I would definitely add a little more extra virgin olive oil.
The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl
Cod Cherry Tomato and Green Olive Tray Roast
get yourself a cookery book
Christmas Party Booze
‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Some people like parties, and some people like drinking. For people who like a lot of both, here are some drinks that should probably go down well at Christmas Parties. Good Grief!
Remember, anyone can make a really strong cocktail that will get people very drunk very fast ~ but how good a party does that make? So here are some more tastefully interesting drinks.
First up this week is a great looking cocktail I found on Jessica Merchant’s site how sweet it is we have this great recipe for rose champagne mojitos. I would serve these to my discerning guests.
Rose Champagne Mojitos
For a different take on the mojito, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this brilliant looking White Christmas Mojito.
White Christmas Mojito
Maple Apple Cider
Here’s something for a Californian Christmas. Recovering pastry chef, the bojon gourmet has these rosemary, pomegranate and grilled meyer lemon vodka sparklers. Don’t try saying all that after drinking five or six of those things.
Rosemary Pomegranate and Grilled Meyer Lemon Vodka Sparklers
From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s a simple and easy strawberry pineapple mimosa, although in England we call champagne and orange juice Buck’s Fizz, and we make it a lot stronger. Add a splash of brandy to that and you’ve got yourself a fresh juice Barbotage. Consume that Barbotage very carefully.
Strawberry Pinapple Mimosa
This recipe for holiday rum punch, by Tracy Shutterbean, (aka Tracy Benjamin), is straight from the San Francisco bay area. I’ve drunk rum punch in San Francisco, and I know that if you’re not careful this punch could get you very drunk. Nice.
Holiday Rum Punch
At some time during your own party, you may want to retire to a quiet corner, perhaps with a special friend, and enjoy a glass of the water of life. If you don’t know about whisky, here’s a post from Todd and Diane in LA, the White On Rice Couple, telling you all about the different types of whisk(e)y. Back in the day I drank Laphroaig ~ too strong and too sophisticated for most ordinary men.
If all that wasn’t enough, from Country Living magazine here are 28 Christmas cocktails that will make you forget all about the presents. These are are pretty easy, including this winter wonderland cocktail, originally from Nicole at the Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie.
Winter Wonderland Cocktail
How about some appetisers to go with all this booze? Heather Christo has the ultimate vegan appetizer platter, Damn Delicious has cheesy garlic bread, and easy firecracker shrimp, Cooking up the Pantry has cheese and mustard puffs, Half Baked Harvest has a cheese fondue board, or you can check out Food on Friday # 25 ~ Bar Snacks.
Easy Firecracker Shrimp
just don’t be a crass American and serve beers in the bottle, give your guests a glass.
On British television there used to be an honourable tradition of advertising the benefits of eating eggs. (Food rationing did not end in Britain until 1954…. no wonder I was a very small baby…) One famous slogan was; Eggs is cheap, eggs is easy… But, for goodness sakes, how many things can you do with an egg….? Well, as it turns out, a lot.
The thing is, eggs on their own are well, just eggs.
First up this week we have Chungah from Damn Delicious with her Italian baked eggs. Chungah says she used left-over marinara sauce in this dish. I guess if it came right down to it you would get away with some chopped tomato or passata…
Italian Baked Eggs
The very first time I was left alone in Southern California I made the twin mistakes of calling at an authentic Mexican roadside diner and ordering authentic Mexican Huevos Rancheros…. Terrible! But Heather Christo has this wonderful recipe for Huevos Rancheros to die for.
The lovely Averie Sunshine has something which is right up my street, an easy one pan dish. Averie offers a recipe I would eat for breakfast, lunch, or a midweek dinner ~ this easy eggs, sausage, and hash browns skillet.
Easy Eggs, Sausage, and Hash Browns Skillet
Next, and we are a little heavy on the potatoes here, but in my view they are a better source of carbohydrates than bread, and they make a great base for a work-lunch salad. Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us this grilled potato salad with almond-basil chimichurri and 7-minute eggs. And, that’s one substantial lunch, or a fairly good dinner. If I was avoiding carbs I think I’d substitute with extra mushrooms and some red peppers.
Grilled Potato Salad with Almond-Basil Chimichurri & 7-Minute Eggs
From reformed pasty chef, The Bojon Gourmet, we have rice and eggs. Allegedly this fairly sensible breakfast is authentically Chinese ~ doesn’t look like it, it looks nice. This dish is the kind of thing I would eat for breakfast, or a light lunch.
Rice and Eggs
Here’s something I hadn’t thought of, but now Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has told us, it’s flippin’ obvious that egg in avocado topped with turkey bacon is a flippin’ good idea. Although, here in England I would likely use regular bacon.
Egg In An Avocado Topped With Turkey Bacon
Here’s something else I hadn’t thought of, from Cooking Up The Pantry, baked eggs in mushrooms with parmesan. I guess if you don’t have parmesan to hand you could give this a try with any decent cheese.
Baked Eggs In Mushrooms With Parmesan
A personal favourite of mine is to fry off some bacon and onion with a little garlic, in a small skillet. Add a small can of chopped tomatoes, and cook it down a little. Carefully break a couple or three eggs onto the top, and then bake in a medium oven for about 5 minutes. A one pan complete meal in 15 minutes or so. (Should have taken a picture the last time I made this.)
A great big thank you to all the fine cooks featured this week.