Summer Inspired Recipes

Written by Hairee Lee Our ninth dinner ushered in Summer by featuring an outdoor grill and dining al fresco. Or at least that was the plan. In any case, with the help of our host, Drew, and the lovely dining room set with Jars Maguelone Ceramics, Chilewich mats, iittala glassware, Berti knives, Modern Twist table accesories, and Libeco linens, the drippy weather didn't have a chance in hell of raining on our parade. Here are all the recipes from our dinner for your perfect summer dinner. Hope you have as much fun as we did!

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Aunt Tina's Coleslaw Stuffed Cucumber Cups Serves 8

Ramen noodles? In coleslaw? The savory crunch of the uncooked noodles are like Asian style croutons in my new favorite salad recipe. And you won't believe what the dressing is made of . . . and how delicious!

Ingredients

  • 4 English cucumbers
  • 1 bag of coleslaw
  • 1 Ramen Noodle (oriental flavor) broken up into small pieces
  • 6 scallion chopped
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Peel the cucumber in stripes using a canelle knife like the Rosle vertical canelle knife, for a dual-toned affect. Cut the cucumber into 1-1.5 inch chunks. Use a melon-baller, like the Rosle melon/potato baller, to scoop out part of the insides, leaving a half-inch or so on the bottom.
  2. Mix together flavor packet from ramen noodle bag with 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup sugar. (this is your dressing)
  3. Put coleslaw, almonds, Ramen noodles into a large bowl and mix. Dress the salad immediately before serving in the cucumber cups.

Fill the cups with just about anything your heart desires, leaving them on a tray in the fridge right up until guests arrive. Besides the coleslaw that Melissa used, here are a few other ideas:

  • Hummus with a few thin carrot sticks laid on top
  • Gazpacho
  • Ceviche
  • Soba noodles with sesame oil
  • Tabbouleh
  • Grilled shrimp in cocktail sauce
  • Crab salad

Recipe adapted from the kitchen and made excellent by Melissa's Aunt Tina's coleslaw recipe.


Mama’s Pepperoni Bread Bites Serves 8

This savory appetizer is so good you won't believe how easy it is to make. Two ingredients, roll out, roll up, and bake. It's that simple.

Ingredients

  • 2 bags of pre-made pizza dough
  • 1 lb. of sliced pepperoni

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough into four equal square, about 1/4" thick.
  3. Place a single layer of pepperoni and leave a 1/2" border around the edge.
  4. Roll up the dough in one direction so that it creates a log with a swirl of pepperoni inside.
  5. Transfer to baking sheet covered in foil.
  6. Pinch edges of loaves on either side and fold underneath to prevent contents from spilling out during baking.
  7. Bake the logs for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Slice into 1 inch sections and serve flat to display the pepperoni swirl.

Recipe courtesy of Melissa's grandma. Thank you, Mama!


Wedge Style Cobb Salad Serves 8

The original recipe calls for shredded lettuce, but Melissa served the lettuce cut into 1 inch disks, making the presentation much more elegant and contemporary.

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon, fried and julienne
  • 4 eggs, boiled and sliced
  • 1-1/4 heads iceberg lettuce, cut into wedges (6 per head) or 1 inch disks
  • 2-3/4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled (set aside 1/2 cup for dressing)
  • 1-1/4 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced lengthwise
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 8 ounce of Ranch-style salad dressing

Directions

  1. To boil the eggs, place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and slice.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, julienne, and set aside.
  3. Place a wedge or disk of lettuce on individual plates.
  4. Evenly divide and arrange eggs, tomatoes, blue cheese, bacon, avocado and green onions in a row on top of the lettuce.
  5. Drizzle with the ranch dressing mixed with the remaining blue cheese and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.


Grilled Corn on the Cob with Dill Butter Serves 8

The dill in the butter makes this side-dish dill-icious!

Ingredients

  • 8 ears corn, silks removed, husks left on, and soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat grill to high.
  2. Remove corn from water and place on the grill. Close cover and grill until just cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. While corn is grilling, combine butter and dill in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Remove husk and slather with dill butter.

Recipe courtesy of the Iron Chef favorite, Bobby Flay, on The Foodnetwork


Perfectly Grilled Steak Serves 8

Start with a great cut of meat and you can't go wrong. We got ours from Savenor's Market, serving prime cuts of meat since 1939 to gastronomists like the Didriks Dinner Series. And Julia Child.

Ingredients

  • 8 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch-thick boneless rib-eye or New York strip steaks (about 12 ounces each) or filets mignons (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature.
  2. Heat the grill to high.
  3. Brush oil on both sides of the steaks and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees F), 5 to 7 minutes for medium (140 degrees F) or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well (150 degrees F).
  6. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of the Iron Chef favorite, Bobby Flay, on The Foodnetwork.


"Old Bay" Grilled Steak Fries Serves 8

This "Old Bay" seasoning is an adaptation by Bobby Flay of the trademarked Old Bay Seasoning recipe from the Chesapeake Bay area and used on crab and shrimp. Bobby uses 13 (that's it? right.) instead of the whopping 18 spices and herbs used in the original blend.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Combine all spices in a small bowl.
  2. Place potatoes in a pot of cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and cook until potatoes are tender, but still firm, about 10 minutes. Drain, let cool and cut each potato lengthwise into 8 slices.
  3. Heat grill to high.
  4. Brush potatoes with oil and season with the "Old Bay-style" spice rub and grill until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of the Iron Chef favorite, Bobby Flay, on The Foodnetwork.


Double Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream Serves 9

Who's coming to dinner? Martha!

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces coarsely chopped good-quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • vanilla ice cream. A good one like Toscanini's French Vanilla.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
  2. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
  4. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
  6. When cutting, if the knife pulls on the top crust, wipe the blade with a bit of vegetable oil. You'll get smoother slices this way.
  7. Served in bowl topped with your favorite vanilla ice cream, or whatever flavor you like! My fave is mint chocolate chip. It pairs extremely well with the brownie.)

Adapted from recipe courtesy of my favorite cookie recipes provider and ex-felon, Martha Stewart dot com.