Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I am currently en route to my parents house and I am so excited to see the family.  There are two main things on the agenda for the weekend:  horse around with my niece and nephew (perhaps a visit to the pool) and spend a little time with my Mimi (grandmother).  I haven’t been home since February since we usually meet up at the beach so it’s about time I make the trek.

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Here are my favorites from the last week of July:

Favorite Homegrown:  Hot Pepper Jelly.  I never know what to do with all the extra jalapenos that are growing in the garden.  But now I do.

 

Favorite Slice:  Charred Corn with Rosemary Grilled Pizza.   Ugh.  We haven’t had a pizza night in far too long.  That needs to change.

 

Favorite Scoop:  Sea Salt and Vanilla Fudge Chunk Ice Cream.  Any ice cream name including “fudge chunk” is an ice cream I want to meet.

 

Favorite Unexpected: Girl and the Goat Magic Beans.  Green beans rarely make my “favorite” list because they’re pretty basic.  But these sound ahhhh-mazing.  A little bit of Asian flair and crunchy cashews.

 

Favorite Throwback:  Honeycomb Cereal Pound Cake with Salted Honey Buttercream.   Please tell me you grew up eating Honeycomb Cereal.

 

Favorite Drool:  Gouda Mac and Cheese with Peaches and Prosciutto.  I can’t even handle this bowl of creamy deliciousness.

 

Favorite Combination:  Coconut Oat Bars.  Oatmeal cookie on the bottom, coconut macaroon on top.

 

Favorite On the Side:  Peach and Corn Coleslaw.  This would be really good next to ribs or barbecue chicken.  Just sayin’.

 

Favorite Wanderlust:  Gorgeous Seaside Towns in Italy.  Take my breath away…

 

Favorite Want:  City Slim Clutch.  Pineapples, palm trees, flamingos.  These are a few of my favorite things.

Favorite Must: Goat Cheese Guac Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Cheddar.  I’ve only been thinking about this burger since May.

Favorite Bubbles:  White Nectarine Prosecco Sangria with Ginger + Elderflower.  Refreshing and so totally summer.

Cheers!

Tomato and Avocado Stack

“Poach an egg” should be added to my list from yesterday.  

I had every intention of there being a poached egg on top of my tomato and avocado stack.  I watched a video.  I read a few articles.  And after trying to poach all the eggs in the fridge, I gave up.

I’m fairly certain that my water wasn’t hot enough.  There’s a fine line between “simmer” and “boil.”

Regardless – the stack was delicious and super simple.  And instead of an egg, I paired some yogurt on the side for a little protein.

I missed the egg but it wasn’t like I didn’t try.

A tomato is sliced and then layered with avocado slices.  Instead of olive tapenade, I simply chopped up a few olives and arranged them on the stack.  A hefty sprinkle pepper and salt rounded out the plate along with a couple of sliced cherry tomatoes and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

I honestly don’t know how a poached egg would have balanced on top – that last tomato was sliding quite a bit.

Every time I see or hear about a poached egg, I tell myself that I’m going to master that technique in the kitchen.  And after my “fail” with this dinner, more than ever do I want to learn.

I received a few tips including salt the water and add vinegar, so wish me luck!

Five Things

I’ve been known to make a Summer Bucket List but this year I decided against setting myself up for failure and decided to just make a Summer Reading List.  (Which, by the way, I only have one book left and it’s currently being shipped to my door step.)  With August only a few days away, I find myself creating a list of things I want to accomplish in August. Funny thing is, they’re all food or drink.  I’m sure none of you are surprised.  The list isn’t long because I’m trying to be realistic – there are only so many days I have to cook between now and my birthday.

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Lemon Bars

Lemon bars have made an appearance on Friday Favorites more than once.  That means they need to happen.

Burger

I already have plans for when this is happening.  This sparks from a bottle of wine from SoCo last year that I was encouraged to age until August.  And with that bottle, a burger was recommended.  Maybe this one or even this one.

Spicy Margarita

Maggie and I talked about spicy margaritas a few weekends ago and now I must have one before the summer comes to an end.  And I think Maggie needs to be around for the cocktail sippin’.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a new addition to my “must make now” list.  I’m eyeing Alton Brown’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe after Jen blogged about them…again.

Barbecue Chicken

Another recent craving.  I’m talking chicken thighs with thick, sweet but spicy barbecue sauce.  And corn as a side dish would be perfect.

Sweet Corn, Leek and Basil Crab Cakes {plus an avocado and tomato salad}

Big Guy is counting down to football season and I just cannot believe that July is almost over and August is right around the corner.  I’m not ready for summer to be over.  {insert pouting}  I honestly wish it could be summer 11 months of the year – it can be winter in December – and that is all.

We’ve had some incredible evening weather the past few days.  We spent both Friday evening and Saturday evening outside – the humidity was low and even the bugs were tolerable.

Besides the warm weather, I love summertime food.  And this dinner from Friday is full of homegrown goodness.

Here’s what came from our garden:  corn, leeks, onion, basil, chives, parsley, tomatoes and mint.

The crab cakes are are stuffed with crab but also with fresh flavors like crisp corn, herbaceous basil and hints of onions.  Incredibly tender but very filling – but not with fillers.  Panko bread crumbs hold them together with a little help from mayonnaise and eggs.  They were very delicate to work with but the end result was outstanding.

The crab cakes were served with a champagne-citrus beurre blanc that is rich and creamy.  Perfect for dipping each and every bite of crab cake.

And how gorgeous is the avocado and tomato salad?  Not only is it gorgeous but it’s effortless.  Tomatoes, onions and sliced avocado are tossed herbs and a drizzle of EVOO and red wine vinegar plus a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  The perfect summer salad.

Now if only I were sitting on the back deck sippin’ bubbles today…Then life would be perfect.  (wink wink)

{virtual} coffee chat.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would be completely honest with you in saying that I am not excited about Monday.  So we’d talk about the weekend.  Because weekends are always more fun.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you at the slide at the pool is really fast.  Like really, really fast.  We were the only ones at the pool on Saturday and I randomly decided I should try out the slide.  It’s fun to act like a kid.

If we were having coffee this morning…We’d talk about the garden and how I have tomatoes coming out of my ears.  So many cherry tomatoes.  If you have any recipes that utilize the baby tomatoes, send ’em my way!

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you about our Saturday night shenanigans.  Supper Club was a luau theme and Big Guy couldn’t wait to put on his Hawaiian shirt.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you how blessed we are to have such a great group of friends.  It was one of the biggest supper club groups yet and it’s always nice to catch up with some of the people you don’t see all the time.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d talk about how Sunday was baby-filled.  I helped host a shower for one of my dear friends Katie who is having a baby girl in October.  The theme was “Sugar and Spice” and it was fun to shower Katie with lots of love and the most adorable baby girl clothes.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that as soon as the shower was over, Big Guy and I hit the road for Raleigh to go meet the newest little Pirate – our friends James and Kimberly had a baby girl and we finally got to meet her.  She’s the sweetest.  It was nice to catch up with James and Kimberly and hopefully we’ll plan a dinner out soon.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that we ended the weekend on a high note – sushi at Mura.  My favorite.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d already be talking about the upcoming weekend.  I’m heading to Charlotte to see my family and some quality time with my two favorite kids.  I cannot believe how fast they’re growing and that they’ll be 4 and 1 in October.  Where does the time go?!?!

If we were having coffee this morning…We’d talk about our day dreams.  Mine right now is all about the beach.  A mini-vacation is in the near future and I am so, so, so ready.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d have an extra cup of coffee…because it’s that kind of morning.

Friday Favorites {cherry edition}

Last week it was cocktails, this week it’s all about cherries.  A few days ago I realized that I was hoarding so many cherry recipes and so now I’m just going to get it out in the open that I’m crushing on cherries lately.  From cocktails to desserts, from sweet to savory, cherries are beautiful and delicious.  Here are my favorite cherry finds this week!

Favorite Flavors:  Cherry Caprese Salad with Toasted Almonds and Smoked Sea Salt.  I would have never thought to swap out the usual tomato for cherry but does this not look insane?  Tart cherries.  Creamy mozzarella.  Crunchy almonds.  Smoked sea salt.  Tangy balsamic vinegar.

 

 

Favorite Dip:  Grilled Cherry Salsa.  Someone hand me the bag of tortilla chips.

 

Favorite Unexpected:  Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad with Pickled Cherries and Shallots.  Stop.  I adore all things pickled and cherries are now on my to-pickle list.

 

Favorite Scoop:  Cherry Pie Ice Cream.  Pie crust in my ice cream?  Yes, please.

 

Favorite Date Night:  Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steaks with Drunken Sweet Cherries and Burrata.   This plate of food is begging for a glass of red wine.  Begging.

 

Favorite Cocktail:  Sweet and Sour Cherry Salty Dog.  I love Salty Dogs and the addition of cherries sounds amazing.

 

Happy Weekend!

Hot Cheesy Corn Dip

Y’all – we are plowing through our corn stash way too fast.  But I can’t help myself!

This appetizer + that cocktail = the perfect “appy” hour

And we all know that’s my favorite hour ever.

This appetizer is everything you want – a little spicy, addicting and insanely cheesy.

I literally had to walk away so that I wouldn’t eat too many bites.

corn dip

And it doesn’t photograph well – like most dips.

But I can’t not share this dip because you HAVE to make it.

This weekend.

In the mix: corn, onions and bell pepper that are sautéed in a little butter (and I have to brag – the corn, onions and bell pepper were all from our garden), jalapeno and garlic, a little mayo for creaminess, and CHEESE.  All the cheese – but seriously, a mixture of cheddar and monterey jack.  Everything is baked until bubbly and warm.

It’s perfection.  Unless you eat it straight out of the oven – and then it just burns your mouth.

But that’s your fault.  Not mine.

Corn + Cheese = everything