Sippin on Gin And Juice: Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz

I can’t drink Craft Beer all the time, IPAs are sometimes too heavy in the dog days of Summer. This is my new favorite cocktail, light, refreshing and delicious.

Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz

1/4  Hot house cucumber

1 Lime

1 jigger Gin ( about 1 1/2 oz)

1 c ice

1 t chopped mint

8 oz club soda

Muddle mint and about 2 T cucumber in the bottom of a glass, add juice from 1/2 a lime ( about 1T) add gin and club soda, stir. Garnish with cucumber and a lime slice.

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Cool off this Summer with this refreshing, easy and tasty pasta salad.

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

8 oz pasta cooked, drained and rinsed

2 cucumbers peeled, quartered and cut into 1 ” pieces

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped fresh parsley

1 T chopped ginger ( I used the refrigerated pre-minced found in the produce section of my supermarket)

1/2 c sour cream

3 T rice wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to incorperate. Chill and serve.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Pasta Salad

Sunny Sangria

Sunny Sangria

Here is a yummy sangria guaranteed to bring sunshine on a cloudy day or be the belle of the ball at your next pool party.

Sunny Sangria

1 bottle pinot noir or any light red wine

1 shot ginger liquor

1 shot spiced rum

1 cup orange juice

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 t orange zest

1 orange sliced

1 lemon sliced

ginger ale

ice

Mix wine, ginger liquor, spiced rum, mint, zest and orange and lemon slices in a large pitcher. Fill glasses with ice and add wine mixture until 3/4 full, add ginger ale to fill glass, garnish with mint and fruit if desired.

Adding the ginger ale and ice to the glasses instead of the pitcher keeps the sangria from going flat and getting too watery.

Sunny Sangria

Lebanese Please: My New Favorite Food

Lebanese Please:Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing and Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

On a recent trip to London I was amazed by all the great food. It is not just the land of Fish and Chips and Bangers and Mash. They are utilizing fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients creatively. Also there are many ethnic restaurants that span the globe. I was intrigued by the amount of Lebanese restaurants we found around Kensington. So being the foodie I am we had to try one. After reading about the 5 freshly squeezed lemonades on the menu I was hooked and had to try Comptoir Libanais. I think it might have even been a chain restaurant but it still was delicious. My friend and I shared a Falafel Wrap and Salad, Baba Ghanouj, and a dish called Lebanese Fries. I also had the fresh squeezed Apple, Ginger, and Mint Lemonade. (It is the glass full of green stuff) It was all delicious and so fresh and tasty. The potatoes and the salad were my favorite, though the pickled turnip on the falafel wrap was pretty darn good too. So I came back inspired and wanted my husband to be able to get a hint at the taste and feel of the food.

Comptoir Libanais in South Kensington

I gave it a try and even if it was totally wrong it had the same fresh feel with the emphasis on fresh herbs and citrus which is what I was looking for. Perfect for Summer, I will be making these again and again.

Lebanese Style Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

4-5 cups diced potatoes, I used Yukon Gold

1/2 stick butter

1 lemon juiced

1 t red pepper flakes

2 T fresh cilantro chopped

1 t salt

Melt butter in a large pan over med high heat. Add potatoes and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir and cook 15 minutes more or until golden and crunchy on the outside.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Add lemon juice and red pepper flakes and toss to coat, cook about 5 minutes more over med heat. Then toss with cilantro and serve.

Fried Potatoes with Lemon, Red Pepper and Cilantro

 

Tossed Salad with Herbs and Lemon Coriander Dressing

Lemon Coriander Dressing

2 T lemon Juice

1 T olive oil

1 t ground coriander

1/4 t black pepper

1/4 t salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve over salad.

Tossed Salad with Herbs

4-6 cups of fresh crisp torn greens ( I used hearts of romaine and spring mix)

1/2 c thinly sliced radishes ( Soak the radishes in ice water after slicing that will remove some of the bitterness and make them crisp)

1/2 c grape tomatoes

1 cucumber peeled and sliced

2 T chopped fresh parsley

2 T chopped fresh mint

 

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately, I topped with grilled chicken and served with warm pita bread.

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

Herb Tossed Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing

Pea Soup with Mint and Feta

Pea Soup with Mint and Feta

Light and perfect for Spring. Great as lunch with a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Pea Soup with Feta and Mint

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 cups frozen peas

1/4 cup cream

1 T chopped shallots

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 T chopped mint

1-2 T crumbled Feta cheese

In a sauce pan bring broth to a simmer, add peas and shallot continue to cook for 4–5  minutes or until peas are cooked, add chopped mint, lemon juice and cream, cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat and puree in blender. Re heat in pan if necessary.  Ladle into bowls and add crumbled feta. Makes 4 appetizer or 2 main course servings.

IMG_7389

 

Simple Summer Flavor: Grilled Chicken and Vegetables with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

Let’s admit it, simple, clean flavors are the best. Especially in the summer when produce is at its peak. This uncomplicated dish sings Summer and lets the true flavor of the food shine through. Delicious, filling and healthy, the chicken and vegetables are kicked up with the acid of the lemon, the freshness of the mint and a subtle kick from cayenne. Perfect for a Labor Day cook out or any day of the week.

Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken and Vegetables

3 lbs of chicken ( I used boneless skinless thighs and breasts)

4-5 T olive oil

1 lemon juiced

1 T garlic

1/4 t cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

2 zucchini sliced in 1 inch rounds

2 cups eggplant cut in 1 inch chunks

2 sweet yellow onions halved

2 red bell peppers cut into 2″ x 2″ chunks

Combine 2 T olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Lay chicken in a shallow baking dish and por marinade over chicken using , tongs to turn chicken so it is coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile chop vegetables and place in a large bowl, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat, add salt and pepper .

Thread on skewers. I like to do each skewer with an individual vegetable so they cook evenly since different vegetables have different cooking times.

Preheat Grill and place chicken and veggie skewers on grill.

Cook until vegetables are slightly charred and softened slightly. The onions and zucchini will cook slightly longer.

Cook chicken to preferred temperature or until no longer pink. About 5 min per side.

Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 lemon juiced

1t lemon zest

1 t garlic

2 T chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl

Serve with grilled chicken and vegetables

Spicy Green Curry with Turkey and Eggplant

 

Try this new twist with ground meat, Turkey , Beef, Chicken or Pork would work. A great alternative to the ho-hum Hamburger Helper, this dish tastes fresh, light and a little spicy. Adjust the heat to your liking by the amount of jalapeno you use.If your not an eggplant fan try zucchini or butternut squash instead.

Spicy Green Curry with Turkey and Eggplant

2 T Olive Oil

1.5 lbs ground meat (Turkey, Chicken,Beef or Pork)

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/2 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed

3 cups cubed eggplant, ( skin off or on)

1 jalapeno minced (adjust to your spice preference)

2 T minced ginger

1T minced garlic

1-2 T green curry paste (found in Asian section of supermarket)

1 can coconut milk

1t lime zest

1T lime juice

1 T chopped mint

1 T chopped cilantro

Brown ground meat in a large pan over high heat, add 1 T of olive oil if using turkey or chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while browning. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Turn heat down to medium and add 1 T oil to the pan, add eggplant, green beans, jalapeno, ginger and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes. Move vegetables to the sides of the pan and add green curry paste to the middle. cook for about 2 more minutes. Add can of coconut milk, and lime juice and zest and stir.

 

Add ground meat back in and stir. Simmer with cover on for about 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and eggplant and beans are tender. Add fresh herbs (Mint and Cilantro) and stir. Serve with lime wedges and more fresh herbs if desired.

*If using zucchini, cook time will be shorter, if using butternut squash cook time will be longer.

 

Pinspired: Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls

I was looking for a starter to bring to a barbecue at my in-laws. It’s August and its hot as can be here in Florida so I didn’t want to do anything that required an oven. I was stumped so I went on to Pinterest,  and reviewed my boards, I had pinned this Summer Roll recipe from Williams-Sonoma awhile back. It seemed perfect but I have never made Summer rolls before, never used rice paper, so I had my reservations. I couldn’t come up with anything else though so I decided to go for it. I am glad I did. I have to say as long as you prep all the ingredients before hand and follow the instructions it’s pretty easy and the rice paper is much more forgiving that I thought it would be. My husband even rolled a few and had no trouble and he is not a patient man. They were so fresh and delicious, I will be making these again, and again. My only snag was my neighborhood supermarket was out of rice paper ( normally my market has it by the pre-made sushi/fish counter). I had to take a trip to the Asian market, but that was fine, they were super friendly and had several different kinds, their prices were cheaper than the supermarket too.

Cucumber and Avocado Summer Rolls

For the dipping sauce:

juice from 1/2 lime

2 T canola oil

2 T rice wine vinegar

1/2 Dijon mustard

1/2 soy sauce

1 t brown sugar

1/4 t red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl

For the Rolls:

1 package rice paper rounds (I used about 12)

1 head green leaf lettuce, washed, leaves left whole (not iceberg or romaine hearts, it needs to be soft and flexible)

1 bunch basil

1 bunch mint

about 2 c matchstick carrots (or carrots and shred them yourself)

2 haas avocados peeled and diced

2 T lime juice

1/4 t salt

1 english cucumber peeled and cut into matchstick like strips

Prep all vegetables. put into piles or bowl for easy access. For the avocado, toss with lime juice and salt to prevent browning. To cut the cucumber, cut into 4 pieces and then slice into planks

turn on its side

and then cut into thin strips

Get a large sallow pie plate or bowl and fill with warm water, must be big enough to submerge whole sheet of rice paper. Place a clean kitchen towel in front of the water and all prepped ingredients next to it. (I had not yet chopped my avocado in this picture)

Submerge 1 sheet of rice paper into water until pliable, place on towel, submerge 2nd sheet and place directly on top. Each roll will have a double ply of rice paper. Then Place one lettuce leaf on top of paper (tearing if needed to fit) the Horizontally , one row of carrots, one row of cucumber and one row of avocado, then place 2 mint and 2 basil leaves on top.

lift bottom edge of rice paper up and over the filling and roll once to make a tight cylinder. If paper sticks to towel, use water to wet fingers and gently pull off. Fold in the sides of the paper and continue to roll into a cylinder shape, place seam side down on a platter and continue rolling the rest of the rolls, place a wet paper towel between layers to prevent sticking.

Cut on the bias and serve with dipping sauce.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and a Ramona Shandy

Nothing says Summer like fresh squeezed lemonade. I had a bunch of left over lemons from my son’s graduation I need to use so I decided to whip up a batch. I am also trying to find a drink I can make for a crowd and thought this would be a good mixer for alcohol. You could mix it with a flavored vodka, berry , vanilla  etc… Mix it with a wheat beer for a traditional Shandy or go out on a limb and make a drink worthy of Ramona from Real Housewives of NYC, yes it’s turtle time somewhere. Mix 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 Pinot Grigio and you’ve got a Ramona Shandy. This drink is refreshing and light and economical for a party or a large group of housewives. Maybe even serve it at book club if you are reading Most Talkative by Andy Cohen. I apologize for the picture quality, I made this spur of the moment and used my phone camera, but you get the idea.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Mint

4 c water

2T fresh mint leaves

2 c sugar

1 c fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 c ice

1 lemon sliced for garnish

Mint sprigs for garnish

Put 4 cups water in a sauce pan with mint leaves, add sugar and stir, bring to a boil stir making sure all sugar is dissolved and remove from heat and let cool, remove mint leaves.

In a large pitcher add lemon juice, cooled mint and sugar mixture and ice, stir until combined.

Serve over ice, garnish with mint and lemon, or mix with Pinot Grigio for a Ramona Shandy

Asian Slaw with Cantaloupe and Mint

I love the unexpected surprise and the pop of sweetness of fruit in salads. This was a refreshing and satisfying accompaniment to our Chili Lime Glazed Salmon. Double the recipe for potlucks or large crowds.

1/2 bag cole slaw mix (red, and green shredded cabbage and carrots)

1T chopped fresh mint

1/2 of a cantaloupe ,seeds removed, and cut into bite sized chunks

1T fresh lime juice

3T Asian Vinaigrette ( I used a store-bought one for this recipe)

Mix together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and serve.