Bruschetta pasta

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Bruschetta is my go-to party dish whenever I have guests in the summer. I usually tend to do three versions for a little variety: a classic tomato, roasted yellow bell pepper and crème de parmesan. It’s always a hit, and seems like more work than it actually is. Even when doing three different kinds, it comes together easily and effortlessly. Once the guests arrive, all I have to do is heat up my bread rounds and spoon on my different sauces.

The last time that I made bruschetta I ended up with some leftovers. While the sharp tomatoey goodness of my classic recipe is delicious enough to eat right out of the bowl with a spoon, I decided to see what it would be like if I added it to some pasta. I ate this particular dish luke-warm, but I have a feeling it would be even better as a cold vegetarian pasta salad. The capers and olives paired perfectly with the pasta with a little zest from the lemon juice. Some mild gruyère cheese topped it all off and helped the dish to find balance. Continue reading

Shrimp, orzo and mozzarella bake

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I needed a new use for my nice, cheap, flavorful little shrimp that I’d been buying and grilling a little too often over the summer. I’d tried them with garlic and lemon in salads, spicy straight off the BBQ as a main dish, and mixed with vegetables on kebabs. Jé was getting sick of them, but we had one last package in the fridge that had been meant for guests, but never made. We also had some leftover mozzarella and a few tomatoes after a week-long pizza marathon, and I just couldn’t figure out how all of those things were going to come together into a coherent meal. Thanks once again, Epicurious.

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Tomato, shallot and bell pepper gratin

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After a summer chocked full of different kinds of gazpacho, I needed a change of pace. The multi-colored and multi-variety tomatoes I found at the market were still amazing and ripe, but the weather was becoming colder and I wanted something warm and inviting, instead of cool and refreshing. I came across a recipe on Food52 that sounded perfect. It was described by one tester as being like a hot panzanella, and I knew then that it was exactly what I needed. Continue reading

Watermelon gazpacho with basil mint syrup

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I don’t need to tell you how much I love gazpacho. I’m pretty sure I took care of that when I wrote about my nectarine gazpacho a few weeks ago. I also mentioned that I’d been wanting to try a watermelon gazpacho after having it in a restaurant in June. The occasion finally presented itself when I found a beautiful watermelon at the market and couldn’t resist. Continue reading

Caramelized onion and tomato tart with balsamic reduction

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I first attempted, and succeeded at, making crust that was destined for the best ever tomato tart around this time last year. It was our first summer in the new house, and even though aren’t exactly whizzes in the garden department, we managed to have lots of ripe tomatoes all at the same time. I’d been making them into gaspacho all summer long, and felt the need to try something different. I whipped up a savory tart crust, garnished with caramelized onions, zucchini and plenty of juicy tomatoes, a bit of crème fraîche and some fresh herbs, and my tomato tart was born. Although I’ve only made it a couple of times since, the recipe has stuck with me. I even considered it for my food truck, calculating the cost of making one tart and the price of each slice divided by all of my overhead… So yes, this recipe has a special place in my repertoire, and since summer is in full swing, I decided to share it here today. Continue reading

Sweet and spicy nectarine and tomato gazpacho with chorizo chips

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What summer table is complete without gazpacho? It’s probably one of the easiest things I know how to make and the best part is, you don’t even really need a recipe. It’s all about using what’s fresh, and what you like. I like mine smooth with lots of onion and lots of spice. I love adding a dollop of crème fraiche or even cream cheese to lighten things up a bit. But the best possible addition? Crispy, crunchy slices of chorizo. Continue reading

Fresh panzanella (Italian tomato and bread salad)

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Man, I love summer. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of it this year in my corner of France. My family came to visit recently and the first week was spent toting umbrellas and tightly tying scarves around our necks to keep the chill out. Luckily, the last week or so was amazing, culminating with the hottest and sunniest day of the year on my birthday.

It looks like that’s all over now, but I can’t stop myself from whipping up typically summer-friendly recipes that involve fresh, ripe produce and minimal cooking. I also can’t stop wearing summer dresses, even though technically it’s cold outside. I think I’ll just ignore those goosebumps for now, and keep on pretending like it’s still summer. Continue reading