Creole

fleur de lis on the merry go round

Shrimp Skewers | Creole Caesar Salad

It’s summer and it’s hot, so might as well add some spice.

Love to Cook: If you have the time, talent and inclination, Brennan’s Creole Martini Caesar Salad ought to delight you – for the fried crabmeat olives if nothing else. The recipe serves six as a first course or 2-4 as dinner (on plates, not martini glasses), topped with grilled shrimp, marinated or brushed with some spicy Cajun seasoning.

Weeknight Reality: This salad recipe is a bit easier, provided you have the ingredients on hand. Or you could make a standard Caesar salad and top with Grilled Garlic Cajun Shrimp.

Need a Miracle: How about this: chilled cocktail shrimp, tossed in Creole dressing, served on any green you choose with a side of toasted bread.

What’s up the rest of the week?

Rum-spiked Jerk Chicken | Basmati Rice | Avocado & Citrus Salad
Grilled Chicken & Apple Sausage | Tomato-Basil Salad | Chocolate Cupcakes
Fruit & Cheese Platter | Ancient Grains Bread

Repeat.

cucumbers

Cold Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup | Onion Pie

Yep, still hot. Still perfect for cucumber soup, which one day you’ll actually try. And then you’ll thank me, believe it or not. The soup recipe links are repeats from a couple of weeks ago; the first one, from Eating Well, is the winner, if you have time to make it.

Love to Cook: This rich, creamy recipe from Eating Well does require a bit of cooking, but not much. And you can serve it warm or room temperature if you don’t have time to let it cook fully. With the inclusion of avocado, it’s more satisfying than soups that are just cucumber, yogurt and cream. Paired with a sweet onion pie, it’s actually a decadent dinner.

Weeknight Reality: This version of cucumber soup is quick to make but best when it has time to hang out in the refrigerator for several hours before serving – not for temperature, really, but for the flavors to develop. If you have time to make it in the morning or at lunch time, great. If not, then skip to the recipe below, which you can serve immediately. You’re not making onion pie, and we both know it. Instead, sauté some onions in butter and spoon them on top of toasted brioche, or other egg bread.

Need a Miracle: This cucumber soup is the last of the three cold soup options provided on this great post. Each soup is ready in just a few minutes, really. If you don’t have an hour for the soup to chill (develop), then just increase the amount of seasonings. Garlic bread, with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan, is your quick-fix alternative to onion pie.

Weekly Line-Up

Cold Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup | Onion Pie
Shrimp Skewers | Creole Caesar Salad
Rum-spiked Jerk Chicken | Basmati Rice | Avocado & Citrus Salad
Grilled Chicken & Apple Sausage | Tomato-Basil Salad Salad | Chocolate Cupcakes
Fruit & Cheese Platter | Ancient Grains Bread

Mediterranean

olives

So, you didn’t plan dinner and you don’t feel like cooking and it’s hot outside? Yeah, here too. How about a platter of fresh vegetables and Mediterranean treats, scooped up from the olive bar at your local market?

Mediterranean Platter (Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves, olives, hummus, grilled lemon chicken, etc.)

Love to Cook: This Composed Greek Salad makes a pretty presentation, and a hearty vegetarian meal. For a different twist, try this hummus made with white beans and anchovies.

Weeknight Reality: Here’s a Greek salad that’s ready in 15 minutes, even with homemade dressing. Provided you have a food processor, this simple hummus is also super quick. Serve with some store-bought stuffed grape leaves and a tray of olives.

Need a Miracle: Yep, you’re buying it all pre-made from the market, or take-out from Taziki’s.

Western

Pepperpalooza July 2014

Denver Omelettes | Mixed Fruit

There were luscious green bell peppers in our CSA share bag last weekend, and the ones we didn’t eat right away are now better suited for cooking than eating raw in salads. A Denver (Western) omelette (or omelet, if you prefer) is a perfect way to use them. If the idea of eggs for dinner seems like it won’t be filling enough for hungry eaters, a Denver omelette will change your mind. It makes up in hearty goodness what it lacks in sophistication. Plus, it’s super easy and adaptable. Serve with some sliced fresh fruit, and dinner’s done.

Love to Cook: This Eating Well twist on the traditional turns the omelette into a sandwich; their pairing suggestion is a tomato salad, which, you remember, is also a fruit.

Weeknight Reality: If you’re looking for the basic Denver omelette, then this recipe (with notes) from Serious Eats is perfect – and ready in 30 minutes.

Need a Miracle: Scrambled eggs, with ham, diced onion, diced bell pepper (both typically available, pre-cut, in the produce section) and a handful of shredded cheese, paired with pre-cut fruit or a salad from the salad bar.