Thursday, April 30, 2015

In the mood for summer recipes and pretty food blogs

I love cooking blogs. When I was first getting into this whole blog thing, I fell in love with Smitten Kitchen.  Deb made a wedding cake for her friends' wedding, and that's how I found her; I was doing research on how to make a wedding cake.  From Deb, I learned of David Lebovitz, an ex-pat living in Paris.   (Obviously I loved him from the start.)  He's a pastry chef, and has the best recipes for homemade ice cream.  He also writes about how quirky and weird the French are.  Like I said, love.  From David, I learned of Chocolate and Zucchini, and Lottie + Doof.  From L+D, I learned of The Wednesday Chef.  By then, Pinterest was a viable thing, and suddenly I had a world of beautiful food blogs at my fingertips.  (Have I mentioned that I love Pinterest with every fiber of my being?  Because I do.)

One of my favorite food blogs that I discovered on Pinterest is Alexandra's Kitchen.  I don't remember when, or what post did it, but I fell pretty hard.  Her photos are gorgeous, and her recipes are phenomenal.  Her Grilled Poblano and Corn Salad is one of my favorite recipes of all time.

Although Alexandra recommends it as topping for a grilled steak taco, we go full vegetarian and eat it piled in a warm corn tortilla (actually, TJ's corn and wheat tortillas are best) with Iberico cheese and avocado.  We also add a few tomatoes to round out the salad, and of course, a lot of cilantro.  The result is a beautiful medley of flavors and textures.  The corn is sweet, the poblano is smokey and just a little bit spicy, the lime juice is tart, the cilantro is so fresh, and the cheese and the avocado are creamy, but in different ways.  Because we usually eat the poblano-corn part cold (or room temp), there's also this wonderful interplay between the melted cheese, the warm tortilla, and the cold salad.  It's fresh and filling and deeply satisfying.  It's on our summer rotation.  It's the perfect meal on these long, hot summer days.

Another recipe on our summer rotation is lemon and olive oil marinated burrata with fennel.  This isn't an AK recipe, but I learned about it from her (it was linked in the same poblano post!).  

With some slices of toasted baguette, the cold, herby fennel and bracing lemon is perfect with the creamy burrata.

The fennel salad is a variation on another recipe that I love to make in summer, marinated mozzarella with tomatoes, as Lottie + Doof adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty.  

It's basically just a fancy caprese salad, which has long been a summer staple in our house.  I usually make it for lunch on a weekend, when Brian and I break away from whatever weekend project we're working on, and meet up in the kitchen to put together a quick lunch.  Then we move to the living room, where we eat lunch and watch an episode or two of something funny.  Last summer, it was fennel salad and Brooklyn 99.  The summer before that, it was caprese and Bob's Burgers.  After we're done eating, we pour out another cuppa tea and, if there's time, we watch maybe just one more episode while we digest.  Then we part ways, and get back to whatever it is that we were doing.  For the past few years, Brian's weekend projects have been school work and studying for the bar.  But that's over now!  He's done with law school and done with the bar!  What will these new weekends bring?  I can't wait to find out.

So what are your favorite summer meals, food blogs, and weekend rituals?  I'd love to hear!

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