Ricotta-Herb Dip

Ricotta-Fresh Herb Dip
After a flurry of summer travel, I came home to an herb garden that more closely resembled a jungle. Thyme cascaded over the edge of the bed, my oregano looked like a small shrub, and basil was everywhere. I am always surprised when this happens.

Prepped Ingredients

In the spring, right after planting, every snip taken seems on the verge of ending the young plant’s life. I’m so eager to harvest that I find it hard to sit back and let them grow. Yet without fail, halfway through the summer and despite my efforts to the contrary, I find myself with more herbs than I know what to do with it and a flurry of activity ensues.

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Peach and Jalapeño Pops

Peach and Jalapeno Pops

Our baby gets credit for these pops.  I’ve brainstormed about a new cocktail recipe all week.  I wanted a drink made for summer.  Something straight from the farmer’s market that quenched the deepest thirst.   I just didn’t have time to make enjoy a cocktail.

Blanched and peeled peaches

I hadn’t totally given up hope.  I craved a cocktail that was sweet and spicy, so I made a batch of jalapeño simple syrup earlier this week.   It sat lonely in the fridge while I changed diapers, responded to emails, and dealt with a to-do list that runs the length of my yellow legal pad. Sigh…cocktails were not in my future.

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Beer and Blueberry Pancakes

Beer and Blueberry Pancakes

A childhood classmate loved to tell the story of the first time we met.  We must have been in kindergarten or first grade and our mothers had arranged for us to carpool together.  On the first day of the carpool, in the story my friend tells, I jumped in the backseat of the car with him and proudly exclaimed, “I just ate 100 pancakes.”

New Belgium Skinny Dip

Every time I think about this story, I want to go back in time and give that little girl a pat on the back and an “atta girl.”  It’s obviously a completely exaggerated claim, but I like the gumption (and the appetite) behind it.  My carpool friend didn’t have the same reaction.  He found the thought that anyone would eat 100 pancakes, let alone boast about it, a bit unsettling.  In his words, “I thought you were terrifying.”

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Summer Recipes for the 4th

Whether you are kicking back at the beach or grilling out with friends in the city, this 4th of July weekend you’ll find yourself with fork in hand more than once.  If you’ve played your cards right, your only duty may be to bring your sparkling wit and appetite to the table.  More likely, you’ve got some cooking to do (or at the very least, some dishes).  Don’t despair; there’s still plenty of time for that hammock.

Back in November, I posted a list of some of my favorite Minced recipes for Thanksgiving. It was a hugely popular post and now, with long summer days demanding our attention, I thought that a list of my favorite summer recipes from this blog might be just as useful.  So here it is.  From the summer corn salad that has been one of my most popular recipes for two years now to a finger-licking recipe for grilled chicken with chipotle-maple barbecue sauce, there’s a recipe for everyone and every warm-weather occasion below.

No matter what you eat this weekend, I wish you safe travels and good times with family and friends.  Happy 4th of July!

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Grilled Lemon-Garlic Shrimp on Rosemary Skewers

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp on Rosemary Skewers In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be kicking back on the North Florida gulf coast.  My parents have a place on the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Tallahassee, on the coastline affectionately known as the “Redneck Riviera.”  It’s been a retreat since I was 10 years old and many of my best memories have taken place there.

Fishing trips with my dad, my mom teaching us how to catch crabs with a piece of twine and a chicken neck, and lazy afternoons spent avoiding the heat by reading book after book in a slowly-swaying hammock was how I spent weekends growing up.  Things haven’t changed.  When we visit, my dad still wakes us up before daybreak to go fishing, I always bring a stack of books to pass away the hottest part of the day, and while we use a crab trap these days, getting fresh seafood on the table remains a priority. Continue reading

Ground Beef Sliders with Spicy Mustard and Caramelized Onions

Stacked upThere’s nothing complicated about sliders, but that doesn’t lessen anyone’s enthusiasm when they appear on the table.  Miniature versions of any food elicit such excitement in diners that I’ve often wondered why restaurants serve such large portions. Then I see someone devouring three of these mini-burgers. Portion-control be damned; the fun of eating small food makes it hard to resist.

In another puzzling twist, the smaller the food the more elegant it becomes.  You’d never think to have burgers at a cocktail party, but make them bite-size and it’s the ultimate accompaniment to the little black dress.

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Blueberry Pie with a Lattice Crust

Bluberry Pie with Lattice Top

I developed this recipe in the cold days of December.  A father had purchased an in-home cooking class for him and his daughter for Christmas.  His daughter loves to bakes and he left the menu for the class entirely in her hands.

Blueberries

I’ve taught hundreds of cooking classes and I always ask for suggestions from the client when I’m developing the menu.  I like to know if they struggle with anything in the kitchen; if they fear pan-frying or if the thought of making homemade pastry dough intimidates them.  I usually get a little feedback and then a request to just pull some ideas together for them to review.  That wasn’t the case with this class.

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