Potato chips are fantastic. But the kind you find at your typical BBQ are definitely not something you should be eating all the time. But these homemade versions are much better for you, and yet still delicious and addicting!
To me, this is one of those quintessential summer dinners. It involves a lot of different vegetables, and is healthy and light, but also filling. The corn cakes are similar to the zucchini fritters I posted previously, so if you liked those, definitely try this out. These have quickly become a new favorite in my house, made even better by the tomato and avocado home-made salsa we served with them. The green bean salad is another light and healthy item with a lot of diverse flavors, but it takes very little time to throw together.
When I come home to California in the summer, I feel like all I eat is fresh veggies and fruits. In my parents’ garden alone, I can find tomatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplants, nectarines, plums, peaches, blackberries, and tons of flowers and herbs. And living on the east coast, I definitely feel deprived of all of this fresh produce, so we often try to eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible in one meal. One of my favorite meals at home is grilled veggies on bread with pesto and fresh tomatoes. So before summer ends, I just wanted to share this dish with you. This is one of those that doesn’t really have a recipe. It’s really about doing whatever fresh vegetables you can find at your local market. But here’s a list to give you some ideas.
2 slices of your favorite bread per person (I bought rosemary bread at Whole Foods)
1 cup fresh made pesto
Sliced zucchini, squash, eggplant, onion, pepper, brushed with oil
Sliced tomato to garnish
Sliced cheese, optional
1. Warm bread in oven (if using cheese, go ahead and melt it on the bread). Grill veggies on grill. Make pesto (see here).
2. Top bread with pesto and cheese, cover with as many vegetables as you can, and then top with fresh tomato.
At a dinner party this summer, our friends made an amazing spicy cucumber gazpacho that I wanted to recreate. I decided it would be the perfect thing to take to jazz in the sculpture garden on a humid Friday night. But as luck would have it, jazz got rained out. But we still really enjoyed this soup. We ate it for dinner with some garlic bread, but you could also serve it as a light summer appetizer.
In my opinion, the all-American meal is a grilled cheese with a cup of tomato soup. Not sure why, it just is. It’s also the best comfort food! For the birthday party I threw back in June, I was trying to do really fresh, all-American food because the guest of honor had just returned from a month long stint in the Middle East. And so of course I had to serve grilled cheeses. The hard part is that these are obviously best when hot. So I set up all of the ingredients, and then let people make their own on a little George Foreman Grill. I also had a pot of tomato soup warming on the stove, that people could ladle into small cups to eat with the sandwiches.
In the summers, I live for watermelon. When I can, I eat half a mini-watermelon every day. I literally cut it in half, and then sit with the half I’m going to eat, using a melon baller to scoop out bites (which immediately go into my mouth, no need to get a bowl dirty). It’s so refreshing and is the perfect palate cleanser after dinner. But sometimes, I need to class it up, and you know, serve it to people. Recently, I’ve started serving a watermelon, feta, and mint salad. The first time I did it as a traditional salad for a dinner party. The second time, I did mini ones on toothpicks for a birthday party. Both were delicious.
Many of you may be looking at the title of this post wondering what it is. Well, it just so happens to be one of my favorite things to order at a particularly good (read: fancy, not greasy take out) Indian restaurant in DC, Rasika. The first time I went to this restaurant was for Dave’s birthday a couple years ago. And in typical Dave fashion, he researched the restaurant in advance on Yelp so that he showed up knowing exactly what to order. One of the dishes he ordered was the Palak Chaat. And I have to say, when he ordered this dish, I was skeptical. It was lightly fried spinach with a yogurt date sauce, which really just didn’t sound that good.
Oh dear god, was I wrong. I can’t even explain it, but this dish is seriously amazing. The spinach is so light and crunchy and all of the flavors are just unreal. The point of this whole story is that I love this dish so much that I wanted to at least try to recreate it at home. I went into the process knowing that I would never make something as delicious as the salad at Rasika, but I at least had to try. And I wasn’t disappointed. I read a couple of different recipes and combined them to come up with the following recipe. Also if you like Indian food, watch out for next week’s post – chicken tikka masala – my other favorite dish at Rasika.
Continuing from my post last Sunday, here is another great recipe for a Fourth of July BBQ! I used to think I didn’t like pasta salad, but turns out, I just don’t like the traditional mayonnaise based ones. But if you take out the mayonnaise, I’m a big pasta salad fan. A friend had made one last year for the Fourth that I loved, and after a lot of research I think I found a similar one.
So before we get started, I have to share a very special picture with you that my dad just found this past weekend. I’ve decided this picture means that I was clearly destined to have a baking blog one day!
The adorable tyke in the red and white jumper is my younger brother, and the one on the stool is yours truly. This picture clearly documents an important teaching moment, that of the older sister to the younger brother about how to properly lick the bowl clean.
Ok, back to recipes. Today, I bring to you a HenderBarry family speciality – tostadas. We had these all the time growing up, and they were definitely one of my favorite meals. And I can see the appeal to my mom, fast and easy!
First of all, I want to say how happy I am to be back blogging (if you don’t know where I was, read this). Spending a week at the beach doing very little besides reading, napping, and eating gave me lots of time to do some thinking and planning for the blog. So get excited for a summer full of yummy recipes.
Ok, now onto today’s post. After nine days of heavy meals, I returned to DC very excited to eat light, healthy summer fruits and vegetables. It also just so happened that for my first night back, I was having a friend over for dinner who was about to leave for a work trip to Afghanistan (and thus would be missing out on all the same fruits and veggies I was craving). So in honor of this, I put together the following spread:
– Homemade Pesto (with basil from our garden) and Smashed Tomatoes served on Toasted French Bread
– A Lemon Kale Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
– A Cauliflower and Garbanzo Bean Salad