I would apologize for the carby overload this week but in reality, I think you should be thanking me. I’ve given you a reason to eat carbs, unabashedly, and in the most marvelous way possible. Alas, it’s summer time and although we binge eat at our cookouts, we also have to play it cool. When it’s super hot outside, I like to do minimal cooking possible. “Throwing together” is more my pace when I’m sweating just from walking 2 steps from my car to my house. I also love a yummy sauce that doesn’t need to be reduced over the stove; just a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and we’re in business! But really, eating light can be a great and rather delicious idea. And what better season to do it in? The herbs are plentiful, the veggies are crisp, the fruits are juicier than ever.
I use salmon for this dinner but I think any white, mild fish would taste just as great! I season my salmon with salt and pepper and I roast it at 275 for about 20ish minutes. Meanwhile, I take a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, parsley, dill, juice of half a lemon, one tablespoon of chopped capers, and one clove of minced garlic and throw it into a mixing bowl. Can you predict what comes next? We mix! This is our dill salsa verde and it’s fresh, herbacious, and the right amount of garlicky. If you were expecting the salsa verde you get at Mexican restaurants, I apologize for that disappointment. But this Mediterranean version is great to try this summer on fish, chicken, pork, or, why not, steak! Get creative with the herbs too!
I’m that person at a cookout who has a plate completely piled high with carby sides. Potato salad, macaroni salad, potato chips, and mac and cheese all make the cut with a measly hot dog clinging to the edge of my plate, begging for its life. Of course, the whole focus of a cookout is the protein because, duh, we’re at a cookout. But no one gets excited for a cookout if there isn’t a plastic cloth covered table, displaying the endless possibilities of sides. Mac and cheese dog anyone? I’ll save that for another day. This gem has been a “must make” for any cookout I go to for the last couple of years. I make it and I know I will be coming home with an empty bowl. This recipe is broken down into 3 easy steps: roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, and cheese. Don’t you wish all of life was this simple?
Let’s check out our ingredient line up!
From Left to Right: We got olive oil, butter, garlic, yellow onion, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, red and white small potatoes, blue cheese, and parsley.
We will start with our potatoes. Depending on their size, quarter or halve them so they are all close to the same size. Place on a sheet pan.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix so everything is evenly covered and arrange them cut side down. Make sure they are all in one layer so they roast evenly. If your pan seems crowded, move the party to another sheet pan so the potatoes can roast and not steam. Put them in the hot oven and cook until fork tender; turning once during the cooking time.
As the potatoes cook, let’s start on the onions. Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. We’re layering our seasoning, people! Cook onions until golden brown. Make sure you stir those onions every couple of minutes so they don’t burn! After onions are caramelized, add garlic and cook one more minute. Just a minute!
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced and thickened. about 2-3 minutes.
The last thing we need to assemble here is the blue cheese dressing. We take the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, dijon, blue cheese, parsley, and black pepper. They are placed in a bowl and simply stirred. Black pepper is key in this recipe since there is a lot of saltiness going on (I’m definitely not complaining). Let’s gather everything!
Grab a large serving bowl and combine potatoes, onions, and blue cheese dressing. Mix and taste for seasoning. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE! Sprinkle parsley as the garnish.
Don’t you just want to plunge your face into that? Also, this potato salad is best served right away or at room temp. Once you put it in the fridge, it all goes downhill from there; the potatoes get weird. Trust me. Enjoy!
It was a Friday night and as usual, all four of us kids were huddled around the televison. Every friday, we would grab blankets and our favorite snacks in anticipation of watching our favorite TV shows. Depending on the season, my mom would either make buttery popcorn for us to enjoy or cheesy parmesan pumpkin seeds but tonight was different. We didn’t see any delicious snacks coming our way any time soon so we just settled for those wax candies that look like soda bottles. Then it happened. My father came through the front door and the house was immediately filled with the familiar aroma of the double arches. My dad brought us cheeseburgers from McDonald’s! They were special in that instead of being doused in ketchup and mustard, they were plain. I never had a plain one before and as I opened my snack deprived mouth, the pure flavors of beef and cheese were on my tongue. No distractions, just delightfully simple. Cheeseburgers are one of my favorite meals to this day and yes, I have come very far from McDonald’s finest. To me, it’s extremely important to have a flavorful patty that if need be, could be eaten without any condiment and still be delicious. So add on your favorite toppings or not, but enjoy my rendition of the classic.
From Left to Right: fresh thyme, dried oregano, garlic, hamburger buns, ground beef, hot sauce, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, and american cheese.
We put the ground beef, dried oregano, hot sauce, dijon, and worcestershire sauce in a
mixing bowl. Then, we mince our garlic and thyme and add those into the bowl as well. If you use dried thyme, use about 1/2 a teaspoon. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!
Instead of using our pretty paws to mix these ingredients up, we will use a fork! A fork is working triple duty: mixing the ingredients, keeping our meat fluffy (not dense), and saving our manicures (not mine, yours?). Either way, use the fork until everything is mixed. I forgot to season until the last minute. Forgive me?
Now, we make 4 meatballs, using all of the meat. From these meatballs, you can make patties, whatever thickness you want. I like thin burgers so I do this extra step. If you like them thick, you are more than welcome to skip this step. We lay them on a surface, evenly spaced apart.
Cover the meat with plastic wrap and grab a heavy, cylindrical object i.e. a rolling pin or a Christmas wine bottle. We use the heavy object to roll the meat to about 1/4 inch patties. They ain’t perfect, but they are good.
Heat up a skillet to medium high heat with a tad bit of olive oil. Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the patties. Since they are so thin, they only need about 2 minutes per side to cook. Also, you might need 2 spatulas to flip them. After they are flipped, immediately add your cheese of choice so it gets nice and melted!
Here comes the fun part! If you do 1 patty cheeseburgers, then this recipe serves 4. If you want to do the double decker I show in my pictures, then this recipe serves 2. Just place cheeseburgers on your bun of choice and enjoy the juicy, cheesy goodness of a classic cheeseburger! Cook these up for 4th of July or any other night of the week! They definitely satisfy any good burger craving.
My husband is “allergic” to shrimp. We have constant arguments around if he’s allergic or just being a big baby. He says he feels funny after eating it sometimes and other times, he’s perfectly fine. The reason I argue his allergy with him is because I LOVE shrimp and I LOVE cooking it. But I rarely do since he doesn’t feel comfortable eating it. Shrimp is great in the summer; you can barbecue it or serve it as a cocktail. I love roasting it with herbs, spices, citrus, and of course, butter. I try to make this whenever we have people over or if we are going to a potluck, just so I can get my fill. The choices for the shrimp are wonderfully endless but let’s start with the basics. Shall we?
Shrimp is laid on a sheet pan. We pulse lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, and most importantly, cold butter in a food processor until combined. The delectable butter is spread over the shrimp and roasted until just pink.
This shrimp is best if the shells are off, it’s more appealing eating depending on your dining setting and the flavors get into the shrimp more. But they are still delicious and fun to eat with the shells, too. Just a little more work. Last time, I promise, please do something with those buttery, garlicky, lemony juices. Please and thank you!
Salmon is always a must for me during the week. Whether I make it into tacos or place a simple white wine sauce over it, it tends to be an easy meal regardless. And that’s what I need during the week: easy peasy.
This meal is hardly a recipe, just one of those “throw together” gigs. The onions and fennel add a nice warmth to the salmon, while the pea shoot salad adds a vinegary freshness. If you have never had pea shoots before, they taste similar to alfalfa sprouts (yum!) but are crisper and cleaner. For multiple reasons, I prefer Wild Sockeye Salmon over the Atlantic Farm Raised Salmon. I’m not imposing on your salmon beliefs, just encouraging you to try it out!
I generally like to cook my salmon in the oven versus pan frying it so my house doesn’t smell like fish for the next couple of days. Also, I’m not a salmon skin fan so I don’t care if it’s crispy or not, it’s coming off! The oven is at 275 and the fish is seasoned with salt and pepper. Then it is cooked to a medium, about 20 minutes(although 15 minutes for medium rare is the preferred way to go and you won’t get as much as that “white stuff” if you cook it medium rare). Since I just mentioned it, let’s talk about that “white stuff”. It is also called albumin and it is the result of the fish releasing fat and losing moisture as it cooks. So the less time you cook it, the less albumin will be on your fish. I’ve done my thorough research on why the “white stuff” occurs and have decided I’ve been too hard on myself. The white stuff won’t stand between me and my salmon. It can be removed just fine!
Ok, back to the meal. While the salmon is roasting, take half an onion and half a fennel bulb and thinly slice. Add to a skillet with olive oil at medium heat and cook until a deep golden color (about 20 minutes). To assemble the pea shoot salad, just combine pea shoots (about 1 cup per person), rice vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Take the salmon out, remove skin (if you wish), top with caramelized onion mixture and pea shoot salad.
Tip: If you want an even simpler meal for these hot days of summer, don’t cook the onions and fennel. Just thinly slice (almost shaving them) and add into the pea shoot salad!
PS. This recipe is for 2 people, using 2 salmon fillets. Adjust according to your taste and family!