Tomorrow marks the first day of August. I know, I can’t believe it’s here already either. But rather than dwell that the last full month of beach weather is here; I’m going to make the best of the time I have left. New Jersey certainly won’t make that hard with all the food centered events coming. August is all about Jersey produce and seafood. It’s definitely the common theme across most of the events state wide. Eat as much corn, tomatoes, and clams as you can get your hands on in the next few weeks!
Summer and seafood goes hand in hand. Growing up near the beach paired with countless trips to New England for summer vacations have spoiled me with delicious seafood year after year. I find myself craving all things from the sea as soon as the warm weather starts to appear. One of my favorite dishes to make is mussels. When bought fresh they are so tender and sweet. Mussels also soak up flavors very well. It’s so fun and easy to play around with the palate of flavors that can be paired with these morsels. Let’s not forget that the broth is what will be sopped up with crusty bread as the meal’s “side dish”.
I have dying to do a post on bloody mary’s for a while now. They are one of my all-time favorite cocktails. It’s actually the first drink that my fiance and I have on each vacation we take. It’s kind of our “We’re about to have a great time” benchmark. While I never quite got around to coming up with the perfect idea, my amazing blogger friend Elizabeth Palmer Starnes who writes Elizabeth Palmer Kitchen, did! Elizabeth has put together all the essentials to make your own bloody mary bar. Start planning your brunch parties now! I’m thinking it would go perfectly with BTP’s Bruchetta Bar idea for a casual summer lunch soiree.
I love a challenge. Really, anything competitive such as a casual bet, a workout challenge, or trying to replicate a dish (hint hint), really gets my gears going. A few months back I had a work dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Il Cappriccio in Whippany, NJ. While the dinner was great, what really stood out was the simple bowl of pickled vegetables that they put out as a little amuse bouche with their bread baskets. It was tangy, crispy, sweet and sour. Our table polished off the bowl in about 2 minutes flat. When we politely asked for seconds, I squeaked out a question to the waiter. “What’s the recipe?” While he wouldn’t give me a steadfast reply; he did tell me the secret was balsamic and lemon juice. Ok, so they wouldn’t tell me how to make it…challenge accepted!
During the summer I tend to eat a lot of salads. They are a cool and crisp relief on those sticky summer nights. With salad the possibilities are endless. Yet, I tend to fall into the same hum drum everyday salad routine. This year I have tried to break out of the monotony. First came, the Watermelon and Arugula salad (which was a big hit with all of you!) and now…. the Crab Cobb Salad Stacks.
Over the fourth of July I made my second annual visit to Rye Beach, New Hampshire with my fiancé and his family for their yearly holiday festivities. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read about the serene, but small, stretch of beach that his family calls home here is a link to last year’s post. There is a fun little blurb on the area and reviews of two MUST visit restaurants. I was more than just a little excited to get my fill of Petey’s Seafood again this year. I had a plate of their famous fried clams in front of me less than 2 hours after my arrival (We don’t like to waste any time!).
I made a dreamy little zucchini and feta pie recently and I just had to share it all of you. I’m salivating just thinking about it. It was fluffy and light like a soufflé, rich in flavor from the cheese, and vibrant and fresh with the farmer’s market zucchini! It truly tasted like there was so much more effort put into it then just dumping all the ingredients in a bowl, pouring it into a pie plate and baking (it’s that easy folks!). I ate this for breakfast (my rationale: it has a few eggs in it….), lunch and dinner the week I made it. I’ll be making this little number again and again!
As we celebrate this upcoming weekend, remember to take a second to reflect on just how lucky we are to live in this great country! On that same note I love some of this month’s upcoming events because there are so many that embody the culture of New Jersey and all this state has to offer!(NJ Pride!) From Jersey corn, to our wines, to our fresh seafood and even our efforts towards charitable endeavors; they will all be celebrated this July. As always…get those calendars ready!!!