Summer. I don’t know about you, but there is something so special and pure about the Summer.
Hell, think of all of the songs created in honor of this warm and wonderful season.
“Ain’t no cure for the Summertime blues.”, “Summer in the City”, “Surf City”, “Endless Summer Nights” “Surfin’ USA”, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and one of my favorites, “Summer Nights”, by Van Halen. If you haven’t heard it..get ready to blast it.
Oh, to be asparagus: One of the most vilified vegetables of the bunch. Next to broccoli and Brussel sprouts, asparagus continues to be one of the most misunderstood and underutilized greens in the garden……but not for long.
We’re taking it back to the top, gang.
There’s a game I like to play every summer evening when walking our dog: What’s on my neighbor’s menu.
It’s an adventure in olfactory exploration. One house has the charred and robust smell of slow smoked brisket, and another the garlicy aroma of vegetable kabobs. Perhaps there is the yeasty scent of grilled pizza and then the unmistakable smell of beer can chicken. Potatoes, corn, hot dogs, burgers – you name it. I can sniff it out with my nose.
Summertime is quite literally a magical time: It is a time of rebirth, awakening, and reemergence. We are well out of our winter stupor, let go of our soups and our casseroles, and make way for fresh, crisp, vibrant foods that rise like a phoenix during the sunny summer days. It is the time of Farmer’s Markets and vegetable stands on the side of the road. It is the season of grass-fed beef, copper river salmon if you’re in the pacific northwest, or lobster if you’re on the east coast. It is the time to unleash all of the amazing ingredients that hid quietly and unassumingly during the winter months.
I love grilling for so many reasons. The cleanup is easy, the act is social, and there is something beautiful about cooking a meal with the wind blowing through your hair and the sun upon your face. Beyond that, grilling is a method of cooking that releases subtleties in flavor that simply sautéing, baking, or frying just cannot compete with.
If you want to maximize your spring and summer culinary game, just follow these easy steps:
- Talk to the farmer or butcher Some of the best meals start with the following phrase: “What would you recommend today?” Farmers and butchers are more artist than grocer. These are the people that know their produce and meats. They can tell you not only what is best in the bunch, but how best to prepare it.
- Get spicy Or herby. Whatever you choose, choose fresh. Use old coffee cans to grow your own herb garden and simple pick and choose your spices and herbs straight from the plant.
- Let your meat rest This is good advice anytime you are cooking meat, but it is crucial when grilling. The super heat of the grill can char and beautify a piece of meat, but without the proper rest time, your grilled meat will be an utter disappointment.
And if you’re looking for inspiration, I encourage you to walk through your neighborhood and follow your nose: You never know what inspiration you might find.
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and on Instagram #thefooduluv
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States.
It celebrates the commemorating of the adoption of Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776, stating that the 13 American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire and that the United States of America was born.
It also gives us the right to shoot off fireworks, attend awesome parades, drink beer and participate in some serious grilling.
Let us not, ever, downplay the freedom aspect of the holiday and the respect portion.
Don’t ever let my humor, sarcasm, amazing culinary skills, ninja-esque veggie chopping abilities, outrageously handsome and rugged stature make you think that I am diluting the holiday. Not a chance. I’m just enhancing it with the previously mentioned details…because we live in the most amazing country ever and have freedoms that should never be taken for granted.
Now on to the cooking……
Spring has sprung.
Birds are singing their anthems…
The flowers are sweet and fragrant…
The sun is shining bright early in the morning…
The landscapers are in the backyard at 7 am waving their leaf blowers around like light sabers..
And the pollen count is already high….
But, that also means that farm stand fruits and veggies are on the menu, fresh seafood is at the market and we’re cooking outside more often, so get ready for a marinade that will not only be synonymous with the nice weather but will also be known as your favorite go-to recipe.
Enter: The Only Marinade You Will Ever Need.
It really doesn’t get any easier than this.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, a high quality olive oil, a fragrant selection of dry and fresh herbs make this marinade the flavor of warm weather.
The zesty lemon, rich oil and delicious herbs compliment almost anything that you marinate, baste and brush this on.
Check out the recipe below in the Recipe Card section!
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and on Instagram #thefooduluv
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic-about 2-3 large cloves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from one lemon
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Whisk together lemon juice, oregano, parsley, dill, garlic, tablespoon salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon zest in a large bowl and add oil in a slow stream, whisking while you pour.
- Perfect for chicken, seafood, meat or your favorite fresh veggies.
I originally posted this 3 years ago and I decided to post it again, as it’s very special to me.
So, here you go! Enjoy.
This Easter was the first “Real” big Easter celebration for my little guy.
The last 3 year’s were nice but this year there was a build up in expectations. It was more than just a candy overload holiday. There was a deeper meaning behind it to him.
It was very special.
This year he went to church more often and had been reading more about the holidays and their importance to us as a family.
But, being more vocal, he also let us know about all the cool Easter treats that he wanted and didn’t let a day go by without telling us how nutritious and healthy jelly beans are for growing boys.
2 Peas in a Pod.
He also knows the importance of friendship, building close bonds and finding the dudes that share his love of animals, are sensitive, can handle the stress of multiple egg hunts and love sweets as much as he does.
After hours of rummaging through grass for brightly colored plastic eggs, getting your hopes built up that you are going to be “That” kid who finds the golden egg that carries an extra sticker or peanut butter cup, the kid wanted some real food and drink.
Not just cheap jelly beans.
Not just rock hard Jolly Ranchers.
Not just petrified taffy that was probably manufactured when Men at Work were being played on the radio.
Real food was about to be on the menu.
But………. not for the kid on the left.
He was in a chocolate state of mind and was boycotting anything that wasn’t multicolored or in the shape of a rabbit or chick.
Me: “Pal, I need inspiration! I blog about food. I get motivated, create a dish and take pictures. I can’t do that with candy.”
My Son: “You’re so smart Daddy. I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
So, what does any self-respecting parent do?
I went to mass…but was late. Very late. In fact they were closing up, so I just sat for a minute, said a prayer and meditated. And then all of a sudden I came up with a few things.
Nothing too significant. They were mostly just images of sweets. Sweets that I wasn’t going to bake and then all of a sudden it hit me.
St. Joseph’s Pastry.
The light poured on me like a celestial spotlight directing me to the bakery for these delicious, cannoli cream filled puffs of love.
Ok, it didn’t happen like that at all….I’m just grasping at straws here. It’s Easter. Cut me some slack.
St. Joseph’s pastry is essentially a larger version of a zeppole filled with cannoli cream.
Sounds horrible, right? Good…so go away and leave them for me.
He, ( St. Joe) is the patron saint of the family, and is celebrated at the Spring equinox and his day is a feast of bread.
Bread..pastry, it’s all in the same family so it’s celebrated. Who am I to argue with this logic?
At the end of the day I did end up having some delicious treats as well as a wonderful dinner, of “real” food, with my family.
Halibut, roasted cauliflower, antipasto, etc. More details on that coming up shortly.
I hope you and your family had a wonderful day and if it was anything like mine…make an appointment with the dentist for next week.
Only kidding. Keep the feelings and memories in your heart.
“This is the time to remember, cause it will not last forever. These are the days to hold on to cause we won’t although we’ll want to.” Billy Joel.
Psst…show me some love.
and on Instagram @ thefooduluv
As 2019 is well upon us, I realize that I have now have 2 bad addictions to battle.
Pizza and Pizzelle.
These 2 demons are going to be responsible for me eating more salads and exercising more.
I know you know what pizza is…but are you familiar with pizzelles?
The Pizzelle is a wafer-type of cookie that originated in Ortona, in the Abruzzo region of central Italy in the 8th century.
It’s made by pouring batter between 2 plates of an iron and then held over a fire, or now…heated electrically.
Usually, the iron stamps a snow flake design onto both sides of this thin crispy golden treat and is usually seen more often around Christmas
In Italian pizzelle means, “small, flat, and round.”
In my book, it means, “delicious.”
Irish Soda Bread.
You can buy it from so many places.
The supermarket, the bakery, heck, even your 24 hour convenience store may sell it,but it never is as good as when you bake it yourself.
It’s simple, inexpensive and trust me. You make it one time you will be hooked.
Not familiar with Irish Soda Bread?
The sugary top? The raisins? The “X” on top?
Many Irish soda bread recipes tell you that you need to make an “X” slashed into the top prior to baking.
According to history, there are a few reasons for this. Because Ireland is a primarily Catholic country, it may be in respect of the symbol of the cross and a blessing of the bread and giving thanks. It may also be to ward off the devil and to protect the household or most likely there is a more practical reason, like it allows the bread to stretch and expand as it rises. I also think that when you slash a cross into it you can easily divide the bread into breakable chunks.
I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Let me know what you think and don’t forget to share the love!
and on Instagram @ thefooduluv
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and set on the set. Whisk together just 4 cups of flour (saving 1/2 cup), the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.
- Fold the butter into the flour, sprinkle in the raisins and by using your fingers, massage the butter into the mixture until it looks like grainy oatmeal. Now gently mix in the raisins.
- Make a well in the middle of the dough, add buttermilk, egg, knead into dough: Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add a beaten egg and buttermilk and mix in manually with a spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
- Coat your hands with some flour, then knead dough in the bowl until it forms a, not so perfect, soft ball. Keep in mind that if the dough is too sticky or gummy add a little more flour to it.
- Bring your dough to a lightly floured counter top, cutting board or clean surface for you to shape it into an almost round loaf.
- Mold the dough just until the flour is moist and the dough barely stays together.
- Transfer your dough to a large, lightly greased baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
- Take a serrated knife and make a cross or X mark on the top of dough about an inch and a half deep. Essentially scoring the dough will help heat get into the center of the dough while cooking.
- Into the oven it goes and bakes until the bread is nice and golden and the bottom of the loaf sounds almost hollow when tapped. This should take about 35-45 minutes. When it's time, the bread is golden brown stick a toothpick into it and if it comes out clean, your bread is ready.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the skillet or pan. Eat !!!!
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check it after half an hour. If it is browning too fast, you can place a piece of foil on top of it.
- Tasty tip: Brush the loaf with butter half an hour into the baking process.
- You can also use currants instead of raisins if you like.
I’m going to have to get a more powerful computer and hire one of those Geek Squad guys to maintain this website for a little bit because once you guys try this…..if you can take your hand off the crackers, the emails are going to blow up my servers.
If you are like the many that feel that food is Love, then my homemade boursin-like herbed cheese spread is similar to your biggest crush.
The best relationship that you ever had.
Your first kiss.
That episode of the Brady Bunch when Bobby Brady kissed that girl from Little House and saw fire works.
I originally posted a version of this recipe a few years ago and received rave reviews about it, so I wanted to post it again.
I was not the perfectionist with the pictures and stories as I am now, but the recipe is really worth sharing.
I hope you enjoy.
Did someone say Football?
That’s right kid’s. The Super Bowl is right around the corner and to me that means food.
“Don’t you mean football?”….
Nope…I’m not a huge football fan ..but I do love food….so on with the show.