Saturday, June 18, 2011

outdoor eats part two


Now with the weather getting hotter and sunny days are in abundance (love) and cooking anything complicated is out of the question. You want something healthy, quick and fresh. One of my go to things especially if you have people coming over and you're firing up the grill but you don't want to go the meat and potato salad route is to gather up some veg and grill some ciabattas. I love using jarred roasted bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes for things like this. Add a few other favorite things, top with cheese and your ready to go.
Another of my favorites is out of the ordinary salads. Forget the caesar or garden salad and op for something different, maybe with roasted butternut squash? Which tastes great cold too if you want this salad portable. Maybe too fall? You could always do watermelon.
Last we cannot forget about dessert. Hot days require something cold and light and oh so refreshing. Ice pops are perfection on days like this.

pinacoladaicepopsblog

roastedbutternutsquashblog

pina colada ice pops

100% pineapple juice
1 can coconut milk
juice of 1/2 a lime
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 tsp desiccated coconut
(coconut rum optional)

In a bowl mix the coconut milk with the honey, vanilla, lime juice and coconut. Set aside. In a popsicle mold or small paper cups fill the mold half of the way with the pineapple juice. Place in the freezer for 1-2hrs, place a popsicle stick in if using the paper cup mold just before it it fully frozen. Let that freeze. Add the coconut mixture and freeze for about 2-4hrs or over night. Makes 4-8 pops depending on size of the mold.

Grilled open-faced ciabatta's
(or add all your favorite things to a slice of thick bread and grill it)

First half (sweet and earthy): Red chili jam, dijon mustard, arugula, shallots, radish, roasted yellow bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. Top with mozzarella or goats cheese and a drizzle of olive oil or sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a grill or roast in the oven until cheese has melted and the veg is slightly soft.
Second half (smokey and salty): Basil pesto, arugula, roasted yellow bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes (in oil), cherry tomatoes and prosciutto. Top with white cheddar, mozzarella or goats cheese (your choice) and drizzle with olive oil and pinch of pepper.

Butternut squash and feta salad

1 medium size squash
50g greek feta
arugula and spinach leaf mix
roasted sunflower seeds
for the dressing
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 clove garlic finely chopped
2-3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Heat oven to 350 F. Cut up the squash in to medium size chunks, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper and place on a pan in the oven. Cook for 15-20 min or until soft. Let cool. Meanwhile mix all the ingredients together for the dressing. In a bowl add the arugula and spinach mix, the cooled squash, and the sunflower seeds. Add as much dressing as you need and lightly toss. Top with feta and a pinch of pepper.

Have an amazing weekend and happy father's day to all the father's out there!

Friday, June 10, 2011

outdoor eats part one

AGCsummerbeansalad410

Outdoor eats. We love them. There's nothing better then gathering a bunch of friends, lots of food and sitting it all out under the big blue sky or even the starring night. This is my favorite time of year for this reason alone. The weather is nice, everyone is more relaxed and fresh produce is abundant. I can't complain.

AGCroastedpotatoes410

For the recipes, check out the summer issue of N.E.E.T. magazine, where both of these recipes and I were featured along with a couple other fab bloggers.

Happy Weekend!