Saturday, June 30, 2012

Individual Red White and Blue Trifles for #SundaySupper

Today is a very exciting day, for two reasons. One, because it's my birthday! And two, because I'm participating in my very first #SundaySupper post! I am so honored to be a part of the Sunday Supper Movement and their mission to bring back Sunday Supper Around the Family Table.

As if there weren't enough reasons to celebrate, this week is also the 4th of July! I absolutely love this time of year. The weather is warm hot, grilling season is in full swing, and there's a party to go to every weekend! What's not to love? Not to mention all of the delicious desserts that summer has to offer. Like these Individual Red White and Blue Trifles....






Decadent white chocolate cream is draped over layers of angel food cake, fresh strawberries, and fresh blueberries to create this mouth watering 4th of July treat. And in individual jars these treats are perfect to wrap up and transport to your next family gathering.





They almost look too cute to eat.




...I said almost

Makes about 12 pint size jars
Ingredients:

1 angel food pound cake, cut into small cubes
2 pints strawberries, chopped
2 pints blueberries

White Chocolate Cream Filling:

1 1/2 package white chocolate instant pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat milk and pudding mix at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add melted white chocolate and vanilla, beating to combine. Let stand for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping.

To assemble the trifles, spoon in a layer of cream filling, a layer of cake cubes, fresh chopped strawberries, more filling, blueberries, more filling and add a garnish of a few berries to the top.

Wrap with ribbon and tie a plastic spoon into the ribbon. Put on the lids and they're ready to go!

Make sure you check out all of the other fabulous dishes for this weeks #SundaySupper:

Main Dishes:
Salads and Sides:
Desserts:
Fabulous Pairings by Martin from ENOFYLZ

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Garden Inspired Patio Party

Yesterday I hosted my very first dinner party. It all started when I dreamed up a garden inspired patio party to submit to Foodbuzz, thinking there was no way I would  be picked to be featured in their upcoming June 24x24. Well, a few days later I was so very pleasantly surprised to find an acceptance letter in my inbox!! I could not believe it! I would like to thank Foodbuzz so much for the opportunity to create my dream dinner party.

I wanted to host a garden inspired patio party to celebrate our new home and welcome summer with my closest girl friends. Summer is the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh produce and herbs from your own garden or your local farmers market so I wanted to create a meal inspired by the seasons freshest ingredients.



A Garden Inspired Menu:

Drinks:

Limoncello Blueberry Coolers
 


Spiked Watermelon Pops

Appetizer:

Summer Vegetable Tart
   

Side Dishes:


Fresh Potato, Tomato, Grilled Corn and Basil Salad


Grilled Clams with Basil Breadcrumbs 


Main Course:

Grilled Summer Lobster with Lemon Herb Butter


Dessert:

Strawberry Lavender Ice Cream

Little Lemon Souffles




I just loved how pretty the drinks looked on the table!


We had such an amazing time relaxing outside and enjoying all the food...boy was there a lot of it!



And here is the best part...all of the recipes! The best part about this menu is that most of the dishes can be prepared ahead of time, which is a key ingredient to a laid back summer patio party.


Limoncello Blueberry Coolers
Mix the cocktail the morning of the party and let chill in the fridge.

Here is the link to Giada's recipe. I added about 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and more sparking water to taste to my cocktail to give it a little less punch.

Spiked Watermelon Pops
These can be prepared days in advance if  you'd like. They are so easy to make too.

Here is the link to Giada's recipe. She is clearly my go to girl for tasty cocktails!

Summer Vegetable Tart
Prepare the morning of the party. When ready to serve heat in the oven at 350 degrees until warm.

Serves 4 
Ingredients: 

1 Store Bought Pre-made pie crust
Cornmeal for dusting
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garlic
1 small red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/2 medium fennel bulb, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 egg and a tablespoon water (egg wash)

Directions:

Lay out sliced veggies on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 30 minutes to draw out the moisture from the veggies. After 30 minutes, pat the veggies dry with paper towels. You don't want soggy veggies on your fresh summer tart! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out the prepared pie crust and sprinkle with some cornmeal (this will help to make the dough stronger). Spread goat cheese mixture over the center of the tart leaving a 1 inch edge. Add the veggies and drizzle with some olive oil. Fold the sides of the tart up and over the filling, pinching the folds together with egg wash, until all the sides are folded up. Bake for about 40 minutes until the tart is golden brown and the veggies are cooked through.


Fresh Potato, Tomato, Grilled Corn and Basil Salad
Prepare the salad the day before the party.

Here is the link to Dave Lieberman's recipe. Note: Instead of boiling the corn I grilled mine.

Grilled Clams with Basil Breadcrumbs

Here is the link to Ina Garten's recipe. Note: I cut the recipe in half and omitted the pine nuts.

Grilled Summer Lobster with Lemon Herb Butter

Serves 4
Ingredients:

Lobster tails
1 stick butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Grill lobster tails until they turn red and start to curl up. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat the remaining ingredients until butter becomes melted.

Strawberry Lavender Ice Cream
Prepare the ice cream 2 days ahead of time for the best results.
 
Serves 6
Ingredients:

1 pint fresh strawberries
30 fresh lavender buds with flowers removed 
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, mixing well. Stir in milk and vanilla and mix. Add strawberries and lavender and mix. Gently stir in whipping cream just until combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. 
Little Lemon Souffles

Here is the link to Martha Stewart's recipe. These are so cute and fun to serve at a party!

Of course this menu would not have been nearly as delicious without using the freshest ingredients. Here are some tips for picking out the best seasonal ingredients at your local farmers market:

Basil
Pick basil that is bright green and has no signs of wilting or bruising.

Summer Squash
Look for small squash that is firm and free of blemishes.
Tomatoes
There is nothing like the taste of tomatoes from your own garden or farmers market! The best tomatoes should be vine ripened, smell fresh, and be a deep color red.

Corn
Choose corn with husks that are bright green in color. Grab a piece of the husk and pull it a little to see the kernels inside. They should be plump, firm, and full of color.

Strawberries
Always choose locally grown strawberries, they will be sweeter and juicier. Pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries.


I am so happy that my first dinner party was a great success, and I will look forward to the next time!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Lemon Souffle Pancakes

Today I am very honored to be guest posting over on Natalie's blog Oven Love! And let me tell you, this girl makes some magic happen in the kitchen! From dreamy baked goods to awesome breakfast dishes, or a combination of both...Stuffed French Toast Cupcakes!?! This blog has it all so be sure to show her some love!

Seeing as there are so many yummy breakfast dishes on Oven Love I decided to add one more. These fluffy lemon souffle pancakes are bursting with fresh lemon flavor, and are extra delicious with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some agave nectar.






Makes about 6-8 pancakes
Ingredients:

A cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted
3 egg whites
Agave nectar and powdered sugar to garnish

Directions:

In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, lemon peel, and salt.  Make a well in the center of flour mixture and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, milk, and the ¼ cup melted butter. 

Add egg yolk mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened.

In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form (tips will stand straight up).   Gently fold egg whites into batter.  Do not overmix.

Pour ¼ cup of the batter onto a hot lightly greased griddle.  Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side until pancakes are golden brown.  Serve with agave nectar and powdered sugar.




























Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grilled Lime Marinated Flank Steak & an Award

That's right friends, grilling season is officially upon us! Yesterday marked the first day of summer and to celebrate the hubby and I made this perfectly marinated Grilled Lime Flank Steak. This steak is juicy, tender, and sweetened with an amazing lime flavor. What could possibly make this meal better? The fact that it's ridiculously easy to make.

Get ready for one of the easiest recipes I've ever shared with you! We're talking a 2 minute marinade thrown together the night before. When you're ready to eat, throw this baby on the grill while you sip a margarita and soak up some sunshine...it's that easy! Enjoy the steak as is with a side of grilled veggies, wrap it into a burrito, or serve alongside a taco bar with all the fixins.



Ingredients:

1 pound flank steak or skirt steak
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

Place the flank steak in a Ziplock bag and throw in the rest of the ingredients. Zip the bag and mix everything around so that the steak is covered in the marinade. Let the flavors mingle overnight. The next day, grill the steak about 3-4 minutes on each side. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.




And in other news...

I am so thrilled to be nominated for the Illuminating Blogger Award! Thank you so much CJ from Food Stories for the nomination! To find out more about the award check it out Here!




Here are my nominations for bloggers with illuminating and informative blog content. Some of them are my long-time favorites and some are blogs I've just recently discovered, and you should too!
Make sure to check out their blogs for some delicious recipes and beautiful pics!

One random thing about myself is that I am obsessed with collecting wine corks...bags and bags of them. I still haven't done anything with them, but eventually I'll get around to it!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grilled Swordfish with Citrus Pesto

Wow! It's been a long time that I've been m.i.a. from the world of blogging. I do have a good reason though...I promise. A great reason actually...we bought a house!! That's right, we now have a place to call our home, and we couldn't be happier. After finally settling in I now have some time on my hands to get back to what I love most, so without further adieu I give you this Grilled Swordfish with Citrus Pesto. With the first days of summer coming near it's time to break out the grill, enjoy the outdoors, and eat some delicious quick and easy food!


























Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 bunch fresh basil, about 3 cups
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan

Swordfish:
4 Swordfish filets
Extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Blend the basil, pine nuts, garlic, zest, juice, salt and pepper in a food processor until the mixture is finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually pour in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.

Prepare an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill. Brush both sides of the swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the swordfish for about 3-4 minutes on each side for a 1-inch filet.

Transfer the grilled swordfish to serving plates, top with the citrus pesto, and serve.


Pesto...my how I love pesto. This citrus pesto was one of the best I've tried. So easy to make and oh so fresh and versatile! Try this pesto on any grilled meat, mixed into some pasta, or spread atop Crostini. The possibilities are endless.

Recipe Adapted From Giada