Strawberry-Peach Smoothie

When I did my three-day raw cleanse this summer (read about it here!), I seriously got into smoothies. I don’t have a juicer and certainly didn’t have $350 to spend on the one I want (I’ll save that for the wedding registry). Since I couldn’t prepare any kind of green juice, I decided smoothies were the next best thing and have continued enjoying them for breakfast or lunch (and tweaking my recipe) all summer.

You will notice that the recipe calls for frozen berries and peaches – I want to point out that I do not buy frozen fruit at the grocery store. You totally could, but I prefer farmer’s market produce.

To freeze the fruit, I wash and core (strawberries) or roughly chop (peaches) and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with saran wrap. I let them freeze in a single layer overnight, and them move them to a big ziplock. This keeps them from sticking together.

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Roasted Tomato Soup

The calendar is telling me that Fall has officially arrived, though (as usual) the Paso Robles weather begs to differ – it’s been in the 80’s and 90’s! Despite the heat, I needed to use up some tomatoes (I’ve picked about 6 pounds from our plants in the past couple weeks) and decided to combine two of my favorite things: roasted tomatoes and soup.

I served this with an awesome grilled cheese made with Bravo Sage Cheddar – it was a classy take on the grilled cheese that surprised me with its mild sage flavor (I was worried the sage would be overwhelming, but it was just right).

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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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We Olive Recipe Contest Winner: Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

I have exciting news! We Olive, a great olive oil shop with a location here in Paso Robles, recently hosted a Facebook contest. To enter, you had to submit a recipe that featured California Olive Oil – not too hard to do for me, given the obsession with Pasolivo Olive Oil in this household. I submitted one of my very favorite recipes, Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella……and I was selected as a finalist! That means I won a $100 gift certificate to We Olive as well as a great prize package centered around the Paso Robles Olive Oil Festival, which my mom and I have attended together every year since it started eight years ago!

 If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I posted a Panzanella recipe last summer. I am going to post the winning recipe here, because this recipe is new and improved with a better way of preparing the croutons – it makes a huge difference!

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New England Lobster Rolls

I just returned home from two lovely weeks on the East Coast! I spent the first ten years of my life in New England and my college years in New Jersey, but I hadn’t been back in over two years. It was wonderful to see the friends and family that I was able to see, and I insisted on doing all of the tourist activities we could possibly fit in! Most of my to-see list consisted of breweries and creameries (cheese AND ice cream!), and I also ate a lot of seafood that I had never tried as a kid, like lobster and oysters.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy my Mom’s lobster rolls not once, but twice! While I learned to love lobster earlier this year, I had never cooked live lobster or done anything with it, so I feel very lucky that I was traveling with my mom and that she taught me how to prepare a lobster and how to make these delicious lobster rolls!

Click through for the easy recipe. Since my mom was cooking, it was easy for me to take step-by-step photos!

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Beer and Gouda Risotto

Despite the fact that it has been been between 80 to 100+ degrees every day for the past few weeks, I have been craving risotto like a mad woman. Nevermind the fact that it requires about an hour (maybe a little less) over a hot stove in a house that doesn’t have central air conditioning. I know it’s not just for the excuse to open a bottle of wine (or beer, in this case), and I certainly don’t enjoy sweating any more than necessary. Risotto is fun to experiment with; it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time and end up with a dish that feels like I put a little work into it, even though all it really requires is stirring and sipping a cool beverage.

one for the risotto...one for the cook

I usually use a dry white wine for risotto (see here and here), but this time I wondered if beer would be a successful switch. I’ve been obsessed with Firestone’s summer release, Solace, so that was the beer I decided to use…because of course I had to drink my accompaniment! It will be fun to experiment with beers of different intensities. Solace is on the lighter side. I’d be very curious to try a porter risotto – but maybe I’ll wait for the fall for that one!

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