Summer is in full swing, and what a summer we are having here in Michigan. It’s been years since I have enjoyed the lake so much. The sunny skies and calm days have made paddle boarding, swimming and boating extra special this year. It’s also made “social distancing” so much easier to be outside in the fresh air with family and friends.
Local produce is making its way to the farmer’s markets, and life does not get any better with an abundance of peaches, berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and peppers filling the stalls.
I dream about these ingredients all year long, and finding recipes that will incorporate as many of them as possible into one dish is always my goal. I hope you will enjoy these tasty summertime recipes, most can be eaten as an appetizer or entrée.
Feta Dip with Sautéed Garlic, Lemon and Tomato Vinaigrette
Feta cheese dip with pan roasted garlic, lemon rind and burst tomato vinaigrette is addicting. You may even try using this warm vinaigrette over pasta or zucchini noodles as a main dish.
- 1/3 cup imported extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 lemon, peel and slice peel into thin strips lengthwise
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- Pinch of coarse sea salt and pepper
- 8 ounces feta cheese, finely crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- Fresh arugula for garnish
- Toast, bread or pita for serving
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, lemon rind and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes just begin to burst and the garlic is fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Crumble the feta into a serving bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes and oil over the feta. Top with fresh dill, chives and arugula. Serve with bread or pita for scooping. Enjoy!
Deconstructed Traditional Greek Salad
A traditional Greek salad, or “Horiatiki Salad” as it is called in Greek, means “village.” Typically this salad combines fresh summer produce, salty olives and creamy goat cheese served with a light oil and vinegar dressing for a satisfying meal or side dish. In Greece it is rarely served with lettuce as we see it served here in the U.S. It’s super easy, tasty and colorful.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ large cucumber, peel and chop
- 1 small green bell pepper, sliced
- ½ large red onion, slice thin
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
- Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces “high-quality” Feta cheese brick cut into chunks
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 Tablespoons imported extra virgin olive oil from Greece or Italy, preferably
Note: Not all the ingredients listed in the recipe are pictured above. Add or omit ingredients you like or dislike. This is the traditional recipe.
- Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and the Feta cheese into larger chunks. Arrange on a serving platter and generously salt and pepper. Sprinkle with dried oregano and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil, have guests help themselves.
*Add a protein like chicken or fish and you have a lovely lunch or light dinner.
Peach and Avocado Salsa
Whenever peaches are in season this is my “go-to” salsa. This sweet and spicy summer salsa is wonderful as an appetizer served with blue corn chips, on fish tacos or as a side dish with grilled fish or meat.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 4 ripe peaches, peel if desired and diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 jalapeño, cut in half, seeded and minced
- ½ medium sweet red bell pepper, seed and chop small
- ¼ cup packed cilantro, chopped
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- ½ lime, juiced
- Splash of white wine vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Gently toss all of the chopped ingredients together in a bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl add lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the chopped ingredients.
- Toss and add salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Yummy Langostine Ceviche
Langostinos, also known as squat lobster, are a type of shellfish that are related to hermit crabs. In the U.S. you can find langostino tails (frozen) at Trader Joe’s and Costco. In terms of taste, they are slightly sweeter than shrimp. You could say that these langostinos as not quite lobsters, but are more delicate than shrimp and have a more similar texture to lobster. This easy recipe for Ceviche is made with langoustines, shrimp or lobster, lime juice, red onions, cilantro, hot peppers, garlic and olive oil. Super simple and super good!
- 2 lbs. of cooked langoustine meat defrosted if frozen – can also use lobster tail or crawfish
- ½ red onion cut in half and finely sliced lengthwise
- 10-12 limes juiced
- 1-2 serrano peppers or other hot peppers, cut in half
- A few sprigs of cilantro + ½ bunch finely chopped
- 1-2 Tablespoons imported extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove lightly crushed
- Salt to taste
- Place the sliced onions in a bowl, add some salt and cover with warm water. Let rest for about 10 minutes, drain and rinse well with cold water.
- Place the cooked langoustines in a glass or plastic bowl; add the lime juice, washed onion slices, hot peppers, cilantro sprigs, garlic clove and salt. Cover and let marinate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.
- Remove the hot peppers, the cilantro springs and the garlic clove.
- Add the cilantro and olive oil to the marinated langoustines and onions, mix well. Taste and add additional salt if needed.
- Serve with tortilla chips, or popcorn.
That’s it for this month. Follow me on Instagram, VivaItalyToursllc, for healthy living inspiration. Check out my “2021 Fall Food and Wine Tours to Italy” at VivaItalyToursllc.com for that small group tour you’ve always dreamed about. Buon appetito!
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