Every holiday comes with its own foods unique to that day. It's hard to imagine celebrating Thanksgiving without turkey and pumpkin pie? Easter without ham, Halloween without candy, Valentine's Day without chocolate, Christmas without cookies or Cinco De Mayo without tacos and margaritas? 🌮
Those holidays have really obvious food pairings, but others seem like they're more open for interpretation. Take the 4th of July, for example. There are those who celebrate America's birthday with burgers and hot dogs.🍔🌭 Others find it fitting to honor the day with apple pie and ice cream. 🥧🍨 This inquiring mind wants to know - what do you eat on the 4th of July?
4th of July celebrations are undoubtedly going to look different this year because we're all being cautious about the Covid 19 virus. Even though large gatherings and in some cases, even the fireworks, have been cancelled, it seems to me that people are still planning to host or attend small, more intimate, celebrations to commemorate the day. 🎆
Whether you're planning to cook hamburgers in the backyard for your family or packing a picnic to eat in the car while you watch fireworks from the safety of your vehicle, I've got the perfect side dish for you. Panzanella! It's time to move beyond traditional potato salad and branch out to something new and different.
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 cups crusty white bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Transfer to a serving dish. Season with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar. Top with cheese and a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Panzanella is traditionally a salad that is made when you have leftover bread and extra tomatoes. I don't like to wait for my ingredients to become leftovers though. I got fresh tomatoes from the farmers market and crusty Italian bread from the grocery store. I added some fresh basil from my garden and voila - the perfect Panzanella.
He also serves as the chief taste tester for my catering business. (A job that I've NEVER heard him complain about.) 😂 He doesn't ever critique my food. He is an expert at finding something positive to say about even the most dried out, vegetable based, paleo brownie that looks like it's been regurgitated. With that being said - it can be a challenge to figure out what foods he really likes and and what he eats out of marital politeness.
I do take notice of the desserts that he orders when we go out to eat, because I figure that's a pretty good indication of his favorites. One thing that I've never seen him pass up is a slice of freshly made coconut cake. I certainly don't discourage him either, because I'm assured a taste of it and I'm just a big a fan of coconut cake as he is. 😋
I feel like we've sampled coconut cake at enough different establishments that I'm pretty much a coconut cake expert. Not at baking it - at eating it. 😂 I'm a big fan of coconut cake made with coconut milk and real coconut in the batter. I can spot a coconut cake imposter in one bite. A white cake layered with shredded coconut and vanilla frosting is NOT a coconut cake.
In honor of my coconut cake loving husband, I'm trying my hand at a new coconut cake recipe. A delicate white cake made with coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut. A cake frosted with a creamy, fluffy, buttery frosting packed with even more coconut milk, coconut extract and shredded coconut. This cake is absolutely LOADED with coconut flavor. It's the perfect birthday cake for this special guy.
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 2/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned coconut milk, at room temperature
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Press coconut onto sides and top of cake. I used desiccated coconut on the top and toasted coconut chips to cover the sides.
Refrigerate 30 minutes before slicing.
Happy Birthday Ben!!!
It's blueberry season!!! And with the 4th of July holiday right around the corner, the timing couldn't be better. I went to bed last night with visions of buttery shortcakes topped with pillows of whipped cream and piles of fresh strawberries and blueberries. Bowls of fresh berries and melon balls sprinkled with fresh mint. And stacks of hot blueberry pancakes and waffles on our breakfast table. (Some people dream of sugar plums - I dream of blueberry desserts.) 😂
Lucky for me, I have friends who are equally blueberry obsessed - or at least willing to spend a morning with me filling buckets with the tiny fruit. If you've never been blueberry picking - I highly recommend it. Starting the day in the blueberry field is therapeutic and relaxing - and it's cheaper than therapy.
Fresh blueberries in our house are treated like little pearls of gold. Not a single berry is wasted in a smoothie - frozen blueberries work just fine for those. The hand picked, carefully chosen blueberries that I bring home, get the star treatment. Blueberry muffins, blueberry pies and pancakes - those are the recipes that can really highlight the fresh flavor of the berries.
I've been dreaming about blueberry crisp since my mom made one during our last visit. It was sooo good!! So with every blueberry that I dropped into my basket, I could see the reality of that blueberry crisp getting closer. I really can't believe that I haven't posted a blueberry crisp recipe on my blog before this.
Because I get really stingy with my hand picked blueberries and I didn't want to use ALL of my berries in one dish soooo I decided to add some fresh peaches to the mix. Literally. 😂 A Peach and Blueberry Crisp is the perfect way to highlight both fruits and still have some fresh blueberries leftover for muffins and pancakes.
Peach Blueberry Crisp
For the Topping
Bake 1 hour at 375. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.
There was no way that we could eat this warm blueberry cobbler without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We're not barbarians. 😂 But when can't drive yourself to the store to buy ice cream, you pull out your ice cream maker and mix up a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. 🍨 This Peach Blueberry Crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream was AMAZING!
There are certain dates and places that will forever be etched in my mind. September 28, 2018, Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Lahaini, Hawaii- This was date and location of the last time I ordered and ate a hamburger. 🍔 My husband was so shocked that I ordered a burger, I thought he was going to fall off his chair.
My family's reaction to me eating a hamburger was hilarious. You would have thought that I was eating something way more extravagant or unusual than a patty of ground beef with white bread and ketchup.
The truth is that I've never felt deprived by not eating hamburgers. Please don't judge me but beef burgers really just aren't my thing. All ground beef falls into that category really. I'm not a fan.
A turkey burger is a whole different organism though. I have no rational explanation for why I love ground turkey but not ground beef. A thick, juicy turkey burger piled high with pickles and condiments is just about the most perfect summer meal for me. This turkey burger recipe is amazing AND you can make them even when the weather isn't ideal for grilling. ⛈
Skillet Turkey Burgers
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 Tablespoons panko
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 slices Colby Jack cheese
4 hamburger buns
It doesn't happen very often but this beautiful picture plate was all mine on turkey burger night. I gobbled up this scrumptious burger with the eagerness of a donkey who's been given a corn cob. 😂
Eggplant Parmesan will forever be one of my all time favorite comfort foods. There's just something about taking a bite of the gooey, sauce covered vegetable that feels like a great big hug. I don't even know when I became such an eggplant parm fan because as a child, I'm fairly certain that I refused to even try it. Or eggplant in any other form for that matter. I don't know when that all changed but now I can't seem to get enough of it. 😋
Even though I prefer to eat my Eggplant smothered in cheese and sauce, I'm calling this a plant based recipe. It's mostly vegetable based, right? I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that it's a "healthy" recipe but I feel like it's healthy-er than the deep fried Eggplant Parmesan recipes.
You may notice that this eggplant pecorino has no breading. I've always wondered why people go through the trouble of breading the eggplant in eggplant parmesan anyway. After you drench it in marinara, the breading on the eggplant gets soggy. I much prefer this method of lightly sautéing the eggplant before layering it with spicy marinara and salty cheeses. I've actually heard that this is the traditional way that Italians first made eggplant parmesan. Not sure if that's true but I choose to believe it.
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy filets, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup flour
1 cup olive oil
2 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
Repeat layering 3 more times. Spread remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with mozarella.
Bake 30 minutes at 375. Place under broiler and cook until browned. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Hahahaha
It's officially eggplant season and I can't get enough of the purple fruit. 🍆 There has never been a better time to make my favorite eggplant dishes. I've got eggplant lasagna and eggplant meatballs on my menu for next week. Here's hoping my family doesn't get tired of eggplant dinners before the season ends. 😂
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