Summer Cocktails. Doesn't the term conjure up days relaxing in the sun? By the pool? At the beach? Under a big umbrella? Whatever you dream, a big, frothy, frozen cocktail adds to the enjoyment. Especially one handcrafted using the freshest possible, in-season melons. One that is softened by the addition of coconut milk...and spiced with fresh ginger, herbs and a bit of lime juice. Add your favorite vodka and jump into summer. Enjoy!
I especially enjoy this cocktail with hot & spicy food...perfect for the recipes on this blog. To customize your cocktail, you can change the proportions of melon to suit your preferences...all watermelon? Perfect. More honeydew than cantaloupe? Fine. Just ensure you equal 4 cups. I love the taste of the three together and the red, orange and green deliver such a beautiful color, don't you think?
Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
2 cups watermelon cubes (rind removed and seeded, about 2 inches each cube)
1 cup cantaloupe cubes (rind removed and seeded, about 2 inches each cube)
1 cup honeydew melon (rind removed and seeded, about 2 inches each cube)
3/4 cup coconut milk ( the type in the carton, not canned)
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh mint
2 tsp minced fresh basil
2 oz vodka
pinch sea salt
fresh mint leaves for garnish
Place the melon cubes on a parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Place all ingredients (except mint garnish) in a blender and process until well mixed. Note, the mixture may freeze in the blender. If this happens, stop processing and stir with a wooden spoon to break up cocktail. Resume processing until frothy. Taste and add additional ginger or lime juice if desired.
Pour into tall glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve immediately.
So this is Corn on the Cob week at Food Network's #SummerSoiree. This is a tough week for me. Every year, when the July and August food magazines are delivered, I read all the corn recipes. I dog-ear the pages, copy down the ingredients needed for the shopping list, purchase said ingredients and then, at the last minute, decide to just boil, roast or grill the corn on the cob. I have created a number of different toppings for the corn and cannot get enough of this simple and easy summer treat.
Corn season is so short I rarely actually do the corn salsa, or succotash, or corn soups, or salads, or corn relish, or pudding, or all the other delicious sounding options for fresh corn. Give me corn on the cob drizzled with olive oil and salt, or pesto and Parmesan cheese, or (it is the blog Red or Green? after all, chili powder, salt and lime, or jalapeno olive oil, salsa and cilantro, or vinaigrette with fresh herbs, chipotle and cilantro. The list goes on and on. C'mon..grilled corn on the cob with one of these toppings. What is more representative of summer?
Thanks to Bobby Flay and Food Network I have an easy and foolproof way to grill corn perfectly every time. Enjoy!
Perfect Grilled Corn on the Cob
(from Bobby Flay and Food Network
Corn on the cob (1-2 ears per serving)
Toppings of your choice
Light a charcoal fire and let the coals burn down to ash red and medium-high heat. (medium-high heat means you can hold your hand over the coals for about 5 seconds before it is too hot.)
Pull down the husks and remove the silk. Replace the husks and put the corn in a large bowl of cold water with a large pinch of sea salt. Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.
Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place the corn on the grill, close the cover and grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate the corn on the cobs every 5 minutes, Continue grilling until you have grill marks on all sides. Remove from grill, pull down the husks and spread butter, olive oil or one of the toppings mentioned above and eat immediately. Alternatively, cut the corn off the cobs and use in one of the recipes listed below.
And from my blog Napa Farmhouse 1885 for this week's post:
So...our long construction project is finally finished and we are ready to tackle the back yard. Time for a celebration, don't you think? Even though the yard currently is, literally, just dirt, it is summer and we need to be outside. I decided the food theme would be "alfresco Provençal picnic; cheese, olives, fruit, good bread, roasted vegetables, salads, tarts, crisps and lots of wine. Chicken Provençal is the perfect main dish...easy to make and terrific for a party because you can make it the day before and then serve hot, warm or at room temperature. With tomatoes and peppers coming into their season, this is the dish you will want to make all summer!
Spicy Chicken Provençal with Peppers & Heirloom Tomatoes
(I will triple the recipe for my party)
8 whole chicken legs (organic & free range if possible)
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 pints organic cherry tomatoes
8 heirloom tomatoes, quartered and then cut into eighths
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 bottle dry white wine
3 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
additional heirloom tomatoes cut into quarters and sprinkled with fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, lavender and sea salt and black pepper) as garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You will need one very large, or 2 medium sized rectangular roasting pans for this recipe. Generously season both side of the chicken with salt and pepper. (note you can keep the legs attached, or cut into legs and thighs. I left half of the legs whole and separated the rest ). Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until hot. Add the onion, bell pepper and cherry tomatoes and sauté until the onion just begins to brown and caramelize. Add the garlic, heirloom tomatoes, jalapeno a pinch each salt and pepper and the Herbs de Provence. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Spread the tomato mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan(s). Add the chicken, skin side down, to the pan on top of the vegetables. Add enough of the wine to come halfway up the side of the chicken. Cover pan(s) with lid or foil and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove lid and turn chicken skin side up. Wine should still come halfway up side of chicken. Remove or add additional wine if necessary. Do not let wine come more than half way or chicken will not brown properly. Place chicken back in oven and cook an additional 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until nicely browned. Remove from oven. Place chicken on serving dish. Pour liquid and vegetables into saucepan. Reduce by half, taste and adjust seasonings if needed, and pour over chicken.
Garnish with the reserved tomatoes and fresh herbs, sprinkled with sea salt and additional Herbs de Provence.
This slaw is full of crunchy cabbage and apples with a light, sweet/spicy dressing of seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil and a touch of honey and chipotle chiles. Perfect with barbecue, grilled meat or poultry or as part of a salad dinner....try added to sandwiches, wraps or (my favorite) tacos & burritos. You can make it early in the day; it holds really well. Sometimes I throw in a small handful of chopped pistachio nuts for protein if I am doing a vegetarian meal but this is not necessary.
Fast, easy, versatile and very, healthy, the slaw is packed full of nutrients from the cabbage and apples, along with healthy fats and plenty of fiber. Don't you love it when something that tastes delicious is actually good for you?
"Purple and blue fruits and vegetables contain nutrients which include lutein, zeaxanthin, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid, and quercetin. These nutrients support retinal health, lower LDL cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, act as an anticarcinogens in the digestive tract, and limit the activity of cancer cells. " ** from Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
Purple Cabbage Slaw with Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 red delicious apple, cored and diced
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1-3 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies
pinch sea salt
pinch black pepper
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, optional
Add cabbage and apple to large bowl. In a jar with tight fitting lid (I use mason jars for my vinaigrette) add vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, adobo sauce, salt and pepper. Screw on lid and shake vigorously until combined. Drizzle half of vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. Stir to combine. Add more vinaigrette to your liking.
This slaw keeps in the refrigerator for up to two days.