Warm Grilled Shrimp, Zucchini and Orzo Salad

I made this delicious warm pasta salad right before we left for Europe, thinking that I’d get a little Greek going on before we got there (feta, seafood, lemon, herbs…). If vacation turns out the way I’ve imagined it, I might be eating something just like this as you are reading – probably something even better.

I adapted this salad from this Ina Garten recipe. She developed the salad to be served cold, but my version was delicious hot (and cold as well – the leftovers are amazing!). A few changes: I used grilled zucchini instead of raw cucumber, and left out the dill and red onion (I realize all of these changes make it less Greek…that’s okay). I halved the original recipe and, even with three people, we had a ton of leftovers.

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Margarita Shrimp

At the beginning of summer, I was incredibly wary about shrimp. I had eaten them here and there but never more than a couple at a time – they weirded me out. Totally abnormal, I know, but crustaceans were one of those things I adamantly refused to eat as a kid and I was still getting used to them. After my time on the East Coast this summer (where I gladly ate a few of these), my crustacean avoidance has disappeared. Realizing this, I have been incredibly excited to see what I can do with these babies!

When I’m not quite sure what to do with an ingredient, I usually ask my dad. For this recipe, which was a last-minute dinner one night when I couldn’t decide what to make, I looked at what we had in the fridge and my dad’s Citrus Chicken immediately came to mind. Using what we had, I gave my shrimp a nice citrus, cayenne, and – why not? – tequila bath, based loosely on his recipe.

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Grilled Crostini with Fresh Chèvre, Tomatoes, and Basil

I hear that Labor Day is unofficially the end of summer. Technically, we still have 16 more days until Fall, so let’s stay positive here. I don’t think anyone has told my tomato plants a thing about this because they are turning out beautiful, ripe tomatoes like crazy! (I’m not complaining, I’m thrilled!). If you’re lucky like me, you are probably trying to find a way to use up all your end-of-summer tomatoes.

These crostini has been one of my favorite picnic recipes this summer. They are easy and pretty quick, but still tasty enough to seem like a treat, especially if you are using home grown or farmer’s market tomatoes. The smokey grill flavor makes the crostini extra-special, so I would recommend grilling if you can – but I did include the how-to for preparing the crostini in the oven.

Now go enjoy the last of the summer produce and weather!

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Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

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I did a guest post for the girls at Lovely at Your Side – all I’m going to say here is that you definitely need to make these mushrooms this summer! They are the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish or steak…or let’s be honest, just by them selves. Check out the recipe here: Lovely at Your Side.

Blackened Opah

Oh my goodness. It’s the last day of August, and I haven’t posted since the first. It’s the end of summer, but wait…was summer here? It’s been so cold, and the grapes are 2+ weeks behind. My skin is still white white white, and um…I haven’t made it to the beach since last year? I almost feel like a bad Californian!

Luckily, we’ve been eating well. We managed to BBQ a lot, at least once a week, and I grilled fish for the first time – enter, this Opah.

Opah are huge – like, as big as your wingspan. They aren’t intentionally fished, but are caught in the nets made for tuna, and the texture is like a cross between Tuna and Swordfish. When I went to Pier 46, I was planning on getting Swordfish, but once I saw the Opah I knew I needed to try something new, and Eric was very patient in answering all my questions (as always!). Pier 46 is the best!

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Spicy Grilled Citrus Chicken

Spicy Grilled Citrus Chicken

Fun fact: my favorite food for most of my pre-vegetarian life was the rarest of rare prime rib…oh how things change!  I’m going on my ninth year of vegetarianism, but I can hold my own in the carnivore world.  My Dad was a chef, and I learned how to cook a steak when I was seven; I cook meat all the time for the kids I nanny for. I’m not a squeamish vegetarian; I’m okay if meat touches or is cooked with what I am eating, and although I’d rather not touch raw meat it’s not the end of the world if I have to.  That being said……here’s what I made my dad and brother for dinner this weekend.

Click through for the recipe, as well as a picture of my cute brother grilling!

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Grilled Gruyère-and-Zucchini Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto

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Confession: I’m a vegetarian.  I eat eggs, cheese, chicken broth, and ahi tuna, but no actual meat (besides the raw tuna).  My family grills out a lot, especially in the summer, and sometimes I get sick of the old veggie burger routine (although I’ll never say no to a Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Burger…so delish).  Tonight was one of those nights, so while the kids I nanny for were at swimming lessons, I looked up some good grilling recipes and found this gem.  Swiss Gruyere, Grilled Zucchini, Pesto, and an English muffin – sounded like perfection to me, and then I saw the wine pairing.  Robert Mondavi’s Fume Blanc!! My favorite wine!!  Just let me tell you, it was amazing, and so easy to throw together.  ENJOY!  You definitely will!!

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