Hopefully you found some inspiration in last week’s post, Summer Recipes – Episode 1. Here’s round 2 of fast, cool and easy summer meal ideas!
Summer Recipe Nostalgia
I grew up in New England. Summer vacations were spent on the coast of Maine. One of my nostalgic food memories from those summer vacations is the taste of a fresh tuna salad sandwich.
“Fresh“, as in not made from canned tuna. Tuna salad sandwiches are a staple on any menu in Maine (at least on the kids menu) and were either served on a fat kaiser roll or sometimes in the beloved New England-style lightly toasted split-top hot dog bun.
Dunkin Donuts also had a tuna salad on a croissant that I still dream about. There is just something so satisfying about perfectly cool tuna salad with crunchy celery and some lettuce on a fluffy, buttery croissant in the summer.
Yes, opening a can is easy. But I’m telling you that steaming a piece of sashimi grade fresh tuna is actually just as easy. If you can boil water you can make a real tuna salad. Eat it on your preferred bread product, or on a salad, or on half of an avocado. Click the image to jump to my recipe.
A close second to tuna salad sandwiches in the summer is the egg salad sandwich. People have strong opinions on what should and should not be in egg salad. I say as long as you use farm fresh eggs, do what you want. My version is a little snobby. Check out Dijon & Dill Egg Salad for this cool summer recipe.
Go To BATs
BAT stands for “bacon-avocado-tomato”. A more indulgent version of the BLT. Making bacon for breakfast on Sunday? Make extra. Undercook it just a tad, refrigerate. Nuke it for 30 seconds to reheat and crisp. Bacon and avocado plus vine-ripened garden tomato = heaven.
No tomato? Oh well. Bacon and Avocado with a touch of mayo is just as satisfying.
The percentage of days when I DON’T eat avocado in some form is usually 5%. In the summer, it’s pretty much never. When you slice one open and discover you have that absolutely pristinely perfect fruit, celebrate it by putting it front and center in an avocado and goat cheese salad. Get out your best extra virgin olive oil and some farm fresh crumbled goat cheese.
A Lotta Burrata
In my last post on summer recipes I introduced some of you to halloumi for the first time. If that blew you away, wait til you meet burrata. You’ve likely had fresh mozzarella at some point. It’s good, but sometimes I find it a little soapy especially from pre-packaged store brands.
Burrata is fresh mozz’s sultry, sexy big sister. This Grilled Mango and Avocado Salad with Burrata is my current weeknight dinner obsession. It literally takes 10 minutes, tops, and is impressive enough for guests should they stop by around dinner time.
Bread, Oil & Vinegar
Another go-to weeknight meal in my kitchen is panzanella. For panzanella, you take bite sized cubes of stale bread, toast them and then toss them together with whatever else needs using up from your refrigerator. The dressing is just oil & vinegar, but if you have some fresh basil it elevates the salad to a whole different level of freshness.
I’m a sucker for those gorgeous loaves of artisanal bread in the bakery. But they have no preservatives, so they are usually stale by day 3. Panzanella is a great way to use up that gorgeous bread when it’s past the sandwich stage. Cut up some rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers and red onion. Toss with the toasted bread, oil & vinegar. Fresh torn basil. Done
Go Bananas – Indoor ‘Smores
Made this one up last night. I feel like someone must have tried this before, but I honestly can’t remember ever seeing the idea. Banana ‘Smores.
I thread my marshmallows on a kebab skewer and slowly rotate them above a very low gas stove flame. That takes some skill or you’ll have a flaming marshmallow bomb in a matter of seconds.
The safer way to do indoor ‘smores is to broil the marshmallows. Put the oven rack on the second level from the top and broil on high for 4 minutes, turn and broil 2 more minutes. I chopped it into pieces and threw over ice cream.
Beet The Heat
How ’bout a little something boozy to finish off my summer recipe series! I’m not much of a mixologist so I’m always looking for easy cocktail recipes that don’t require too many steps. Beet Gin ‘n Tonics fit the bill.
I buy pre-roasted beets in the produce section of the grocery and throw them in a large mason jar. Fill jar with Bombay Sapphire Gin, throw in a sprig of fresh dill and allow to steep overnight (24 hours ideally).
Put one shot of gin in a glass with 1/2 cup of ice cold tonic and a good squeeze of lime juice. Rub the lime around the rim of the cup too, it provides a nice fragrance. People who normally don’t like gin will love this version. Great summer cocktail. The gin keeps in the fridge for weeks.