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Tag Archive for summer love

::summer love:: Southwest Keen Wah Salad

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This past year has been the year of changes. Now that I have a deck, someday we’ll get deck furniture, and then I will have a place to eat outside. For now, I’ll drag a kitchen stool out there on the occasional evening, enjoy a margarita, and watch the sun go down. If I did have deck furniture, this is a perfect dish for a Summer dinner on the deck.

I’ve never really been one for pasta salads. Just in the past few years have I even been willing to try non-creamy looking ones. I’m not really sure why I still hesitate on them. Beyond burgers, I have always shied away from most picnic foods. Last year, I decided it was time to experiment with quinoa (pronounced keen wah) in the kitchen. The most appealing things I found turned out to be fancied up “pasta” salads. Go figure. But quinoa is a “super grain”, so I had to try it! My first quinoa salad scared everyone I served it to. No one had ever seen or heard of it before. But it was delicious. I never wrote down the recipe, but I know there was edamame, garlic, lemon, roasted red peppers and scallions involved (I took pictures). It looked like this:

I’m going to have to recreate it at some point this summer, because it was good. I just made way too much of it. It may have been about 2 gallons of Quinoa Edamame Salad… This one was a bit smaller, but not by much, and still seemed to last us forever. It can be served as a side on it’s own, or if you want it as a main course, add to the top of a bed of greens, and for a finishing touch, some slices of avocado on top do the trick quite nicely. Best part: we got to use some cilantro from our garden 🙂

What You Need
Step One

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
Step Two
lime, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Agave syrup
1 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper
Step Three
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 med red onion, chopped (~1/2 cup)
handful of cilantro, chopped
Step Four
Salad Greens
Avocado

Always rinse your quinoa first! Then just like rice, combine the quinoa and water in a pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover. Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes, then take it off the heat and sit for 5 more minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together all step two ingredients. In a large bowl, mix together all step three ingredients.  Add the cooled quinoa to the large bowl and mix in. Once combined, stir in your dressing.

Done!

Make your presentation fancy. Serve on top of a bed of greens. I would not recommend an herb salad! The extra cilantro can take the flavor balance overboard a bit.

The slices of avocado add exactly what this salad needs to round it out. Be careful with your portions, this can be quickly filling!

::vegan:: Bulgur Stuffed Peppers

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I’ve been craving stuffed peppers recently. What I haven’t been craving is meaty meals. I’ve also been wanting to find fun summery things to make with my deck garden harvest. This recipe has a dual function. You can either just make the bulgur stuffing and serve room temp, or you can fill some peppers and have a sweet, citrus-y, mint-y meal. I may make the bulgur salad for the next picnic we go to. It was so bright and refreshing.

When I put the plate in front of PTB and he asked what was in it, the first response I got was “no meat or cheese?”. Oh well, I can’t please everyone all the time. Next time around, I will give him some cheese. Some fresh goat cheese mixed into the filling would work well. It just wasn’t a cheese kind of night for me.

What You Need
Bulgur Salad

Step One
1 cup raw bulgar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
Step Two
1/2 cup walnuts
Step Three
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint
3 Tbsp dried currants
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Stuffed Peppers
4 Bell Peppers, your choice of color

400F oven

This was my first experience using bulgur. I’m pretty satisfied. I had no idea it was the grain in tabbouleh, but I guess I never really questioned what that grain was. Based on how easy it is to make, I’m going to have to experiment more. To make the bulgur, pour the boiling water over the grain and cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. After about 20-25 minutes, drain off any extra water and fluff. Yeah, it’s that easy.

While the bulgur is cooking, chop up and toast the walnuts. Once the bulgur is ready, stir in the walnuts and all step three ingredients.

Chop off the tops of your peppers, and if necessary to have them stand, slice off a bit of the bottom. Be sure to remove the ribs and seeds. Arrange the peppers in a baking dish and fill with your bulgur mix. Drizzle with olive oil and add about 1/2″ of hot water to the pan. Place in 400F oven for approx. 40 minutes.

Serves: 4     Cost: $2/serving

::eating out:: Louie’s Pizza, Rehoboth Beach, DE

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While we always go to Gus & Gus for boardwalk night in Rehoboth, it usually only gets two visits the entire week. The next restaurant on the list gets visits almost daily. Louie’s gets a visit from someone on boardwalk night, is the go to for pizza night at the house, provides a 2nd dinner on those nights when the kids all go to bed early and we want to eat again, and we’ll trek 6 blocks on the hot boardwalk to carry hot pizza back to eat on the sand when we need a beach snack (once barefoot, that was not good).

In a sea of Grotta Pizzas, Louie’s is another favorite owned and operated by the original family. Despite my love of all things Starbucks, Apple, and Whole Foods, I do have a huge soft spot for small family run businesses. The same rules apply at Louie’s as they do Gus’s. You either eat in with a waitress or you order from the walk up counter. You can’t mix and match! These are small establishments, please don’t be shocked when they ask you to not haul your double-wide stroller in. If this is the situation for you…get counter service and find a bench along the boardwalk. It’s not because they don’t want to help you. It’s because you annoy the other patrons trying to squeeze by you.

There isn’t anything extraordinary about the Louie’s pizza. I think that’s why I like it so much. Not too much or too little of any ingredient. They are fast. They are friendly. The pizza is very light on the greasiness. Not cheap, but not overpriced. It is like getting a pizza from your local pizzeria instead of in the heart of a tourist location. The steak sandwiches are the same way. They only thing I might say is that they seem a little empty. But, when I am used to overfull sandwiches that you need a fork to finish, having a sandwich stay in tact is a delight, especially on the beach.

And the flavor of their chicken cheesesteaks…might be perfect.

Louies Pizza on UrbanspoonMy, how I am getting excited for our beach trip this year… Still more to come.

Louie’s is located on the main strip, Rehoboth Avenue on the North side of the block closest to the ocean. You can eat in, take out, or just grab a slice and a soda at the counter. There isn’t delivery, but I will keep hoping…

Previously in Summer Eats: Gus & Gus, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

::eating out:: Gus & Gus, Rehoboth Beach, DE

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Well it is just the first day of June, but since Memorial Day was this past Monday, I’m going to go ahead and say it. Happy Summer!!! It is time to start enjoying the blazing heat by getting in a car with your loved ones for a few hours, fighting traffic, eventually crossing over the burning sand, and finally dipping your toes in the ocean! I don’t want to hear from the people that enjoy this weather year round. For the Northeast part of the country the beach/shore/Jersey is how many people spend their Summers. Along with any other town along the water, sand or not. Over the next few weeks, I’m hoping to share some of our favorite eateries that are always part of our Summer travels.

Every year, we spend a week in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with as many members of my immediate family as are willing to come. Of the now 24 of us, we usually average 12-14 people in the house. A few nights we spend cooking, one night we’ll eat out, one night we’ll bring home pizza from the boardwalk and couple nights we’ll eat on the boardwalk. This year is going to be our 5th year there and when we get boardwalk dinners, we have stuck to our favorites. Thrashers Fries need not be compared to any other. If you are at the beach in need of french fries, just go to Thrashers.

On “Boardwalk Dinner Night” number one, I instantly go to Gus & Gus found right on the boardwalk at Wilmington Ave (One block South of Rehoboth Ave).

If what you want is made on a grill, you’ll be able to get it at Gus & Gus. We did eat in one year, but with at least 14 people looking for food, the trend has become, grab your food from where you want it and meet back at this bench to share a meal. The service window at Gus’s is fantastic. You see your meal prepared exactly as you requested it. They are fast and always courteous.

Gus is a doll. I mean, look at him. How could you not trust a place where this is the man wrapping your steak sandwich? This year will be Gus’s 55th on the Rehoboth Boardwalk. I imagine the decor of the place has not changed since 1956 and I love that. It is the kind of place that you go because they aren’t trying to be fancy, so you know that they are trying to be good. Maybe it was the lack of neon that attracted me.

To the food.

Like I said, this is the place to go if you want something made on a grill. I stick to burgers because it is rare that I eat burgers, so I want them to have that perfect greasy salty flavor when I do. Gus’s never disappoints me. Nothing fancy, just a basic patty grilled up with the perfect amount of salt and pepper. I get mine with grilled peppers and onions. The best part? Maybe the buttered & grilled bun. Mmmmm Junk food at its best. The sausages, hotdogs and steak sandwiches don’t disappoint either. And I have had their fries, and they are great… but we aren’t in charge of the fries for Boardwalk dinner night  🙂

 
Gus & Gus Place on Urbanspoon

::summer love:: Iced Coffee

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We have had a cold and rainy week. It has been all together miserable. I have been thinking about how much I love the rain, but it really just got boring. It seemed as if the sun was never going to shine again. When I walked the dog this morning it seemed like it might just be the perfect fall day. The sun was out, it was nice and cool. Yum. Fast forward to our afternoon walk, and it is kind of hot out. Not hot-hot, but my morning outfit certainly wasn’t appropriate anymore.

Since we aren’t quite done with the perfect weather, I thought I might post one more Summer recipe. I had a few things that were put on hold when I lost all desire to talk about food. I thought they would have to wait until next Summer. Lucky for you, there is a perfect day, and a perfect recipe for today.

The best thing about this coffee is that with this method of brewing, there is no bitterness what-so-ever. You can adjust the recipe to make it as strong as you like as well.

What You Need
1 1/3 cup coarse ground coffee
6 cups filtered water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Nutmeg

Here’s the really hard part. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, stir, and let sit in the fridge overnight. You can let it go longer or shorter depending on how strong you want it.

To make it easier to serve, I pour it through a coffee filter so I can keep a clean pitcher of coffee in the fridge.

Serve with milk or half and half to your liking. For a sweeter kick, add a bit of sweetened condensed milk.

Enjoy 🙂