Tag Archives: summer
7/6/14

Coconut Guava Popsicles

coconut guava popsicles

Since we don’t have family in the area, we rarely get drop-by visitors. But we were in for a huge surprise this weekend when Sam’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew drove up from California and showed up at our doorstep Thursday afternoon. Sam and I are probably the least spontaneous people, but we were happy to reorganize our weekend around our unexpected visitors. Our plans quickly shifted to focus around kid-friendly fun, like walks in the park, running through fountains, and eating popsicles until we got brain freeze. All in all a pretty fabulous 4th of July.

coconut guava popsicles

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9/29/13

A Tribute To Summer {in iPhone photos}

I had a slightly insane summer. So busy that I haven’t had the chance to fill y’all in. I feel like I spent more time in the airport than at home – but I was lucky to travel to some truly exciting cities. It started with a weekend in LA for my sister-in-law’s wedding. Then we flew to San Diego to celebrate the marriage of one of my besties from high school. Next up was Hawaii – where I attended my cousin’s wedding AND got to meet my new nephew – who is a total doll, omg. Finally, I had to be in NYC for work, so Sam and I flew out a few days early to spend some time playing tourist the city. In the city, I learned that you haven’t lived until your hotel catches on fire and you get woken up and evacuated in the middle of the night. But that’s a whole other story.

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7/10/13

Fresh Cherry Granita

fresh cherry granita

Sometimes I get carried away at the farmer’s market. It usually starts with a sample. A bite of fresh fruit, nuts or pie always does me in. This weekend was no different. I walked in to the market with a free cherry sample, and left with a 5 pound bag. As if that doesn’t sound excessive enough, I should point out that Sam wasn’t home last week. So those 5 pounds of cherries? Ya, they were just for me. Knowing that I didn’t need to bake (and then likely eat) a cherry pie, I opted for another great use of the fresh fruit: Fresh Cherry Granita. Continue reading

6/17/13

Grilled French Sausages

Grilled French Sausages

You might be thinking these French Grilled Sausages are simply fancy hot dogs. I assure you, mes amies, they are so much more. And they will become your go-to item on the grill this summer.

Right around this time last year, we were honeymooning in Paris. One of the best meals we had – and this is going to sound insane – was a grilled sausage picnic that we ordered from a deli near our hotel. We carried our packed lunch to a nearby park and sat in the sun, enjoying our lunch next to others taking mid-day breaks in the sunshine. The sausages were delicious, but what really made this special was that the sausages were served in slices of baguette. Because, apparently when you’re a Parisian, you can eat french bread all day and still look like a model. Would this be a good time to point out that I gained 7 pounds on our honeymoon? But anyway.

Grilled French Sausages

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6/10/13

Summer Picnic Upgrades

picnic foods

Picnics are one of my ALL TIME favorite summer activities. Our little neighborhood is surrounded by four parks in walking distance, and believe me when I say that I spend every possible second bouncing between them when the sun is out. Each one has their perk; one allows dogs so I can bring Lola, another is closer to the local ice cream shop, and so on. You can see where my priorities are, clearly.

Anyway. Last month I wrote an article for Plum Deluxe about all things Pineapple, and I’m excited to share my next article with you: 10 Easy Upgrades to Classic Picnic Foods. Check it out – and then share your favorite picnic recipe below.

10/18/12

Sweet + Savory Fig Jam

People often ask me what it was like to grow up in Hawaii.

Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam

What can I say? Warm beaches, tropical fruit stands, and frolicking in the sun. Everyday.

Fig Jam

But I missed out on things, too. Like, shopping for winter coats. Taking family road trips to the Grand Canyon. Learning to ski on snow days.

And… canning.

Fig Jam

Now that I live in warm-beach-less-tropical-fruit-less-generally-sun-less Oregon, I’m making up for lost time.I still haven’t gone on a road trip or learned to ski, but I’ve learned to can, gosh darn it.

I like knowing what’s in my food, and I also enjoy the satisfaction of doing something that gives you payback all year long. Perhaps it’s a control thing. Aaanyway, I make a variety of different jams, butters and pickles over the course of the year.

Sam can make fun of me, but the only complaint I’ve ever heard from him is that I didn’t make enough pickles. 

Fig Jam

In years past, I didn’t have real canning equipment. So I’d have to freeze or refrigerate the jams. However, my in-laws gave me a gift certificate to Sur La Table for my birthday this year, and I practically sprinted to the store to buy a canning set.

Fig Jam

Halleluiah for in-laws! Yup, I said it.

Fig Jam

My first attempt at “real” canning [via the boiling water method] was the Fig Jam recipe that I’ve been eyeing for months in a beautiful canning book called Put em Up. I was pretty impressed with the results. We’ve used the fig jam on just about anything you can imagine  But my favorite combo? Grilled cheese with turkey and fig jam. 

Fig Jam

Has anyone else used a recipe from Put em Up? I’d love to know how it turned out. I’m ready for my next canning extravaganza.

Sweet + Savory Fig Jam

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Ingredients
2 pounds figs, stemmed and quartered
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup bottled lemon juice

Instructions
Bring the figs and water to a boil in a large nonreactive pot. Reduce the heat and summer for 5 minutes to soften the fruit. Crush using a potato masher.
Add the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and summer, stirring frequently, until thick and jammy, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes, stirring to release air bubbles.
Refrigeration method: Ladle into jars. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Canning method: Ladle into jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Release trapped air by stirring mixture with a plastic knife. Center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

9/28/12

Fresh Melon Margaritas

I believe in signs.

Melon Margarita
 
I know, I’m kinda weird like that.So when I accidentally discovered Margarita Melons at the farmers’ market a few weeks back, hidden in a row of multi-colored watermelons, I took it as a sign. Like, the end-of-summer gods were smiling down on me.
 
Melon Margarita

But wait! The story gets better. The farmer was offering a two-for-one deal on all his melons. So I came home with a Tangerine Melon (a sweet, orange watermelon), and a Margarita Melon.

It was clearly meant to be.

Melon Margarita

Previous to this particular market trip, Sam and I had already declared this the summer o’ watermelons, as we’ve literally spent the last month eating pounds and pounds of the juicy fruit. We just couldn’t get enough of it.

However, what we hadn’t been doing was drinking watermelons. And really, what else would you expect from something with “margarita” in its name? It goes without saying that I decided to make Tangerine Watermelon + Margarita Melon margaritas.

 
If you’re like me and had never heard of a Margarita Melon, let me give you a quick rundown on what I discovered. It’s NOT a watermelon; but it’s definitely in the honeydew family. Only smaller and sweeter. And guess what? It made my new frothy, summery, melon concoction really good! So I just had to share it.
 
Melon Margarita

It may technically be the start of Fall, but these margaritas taste like summer in a glass.

Enjoy!

Melon Margaritas
Serves 2

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Ingredients
4 cups assorted and de-seeded melons
juice of 2 limes
2 shots of tequila*
* or more if you’re feeling feisty.

Instructions
Blend in food processor or blender and enjoy!

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 

9/18/12

The Best Blueberry Coffee Cake

A few years back, I found a killer blueberry coffee cake recipe in Cooking Light. I’ve made it every summer since. I’ve turned the batter into cupcakes, square loaves and everything in between.

Blueberries
Blueberry

The recipe is so well-worn that I keep it in a plastic sleeve to protect it from the inevitable cooking messes that cover most of my cookbooks and magazine tear-outs. Don’t judge me. 

Soon, you’ll be keeping this recipe in a safe place, too. And since blueberry season is on its way out (booo…), I recommend you start soon.

Like, today.

Just sayin’.

As you can see, this isn’t your typical crumbly-Starbucks-style breakfast cake. This recipe is moist, light and spongey. It feels almost sinful to eat something so delicious for breakfast…

But don’t just take my word for it. Stop reading and start baking.

9/11/12

Light + Fruity White Sangria

I don’t know about you, but I always start my weekends with a To Do list.

fruity white sangria

You know, for things like: organizing the closet, cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, writing overdue thank-you cards, and painting my nails. And about 50 other things.

 

I start out with good intentions, I really do. But then… I get distracted.

fruity white sangria

This weekend was no exception. It was sweltering in Portland. We were hosting some friends for dinner, and I quickly realized that a batch of cold cocktails was in order. I put together a large pitcher of white sangria, and let me tell you: it did NOT disappoint. Unlike some sangria recipes, this one doesn’t call for sugar or sweetener, so it’s fruity, crispy and very refreshing.

fruity white sangria

The best thing about recipes like this one is that you can totally improvise depending on what’s in season – or in your fridge. I added basil, peaches, strawberries, blueberries and orange watermelon from the Portland Farmer’s Market. 

fruity white sangria

I love summer.

fruity white sangria
9/15/10

Easy End-Of-Summer BBQ

The sun was out again today, and we decided to throw together a simple barbecue for dinner. After all, it’s hard to say how many more sunny days we’re going to have. Weather in mid September in the Pacific Northwest is anyone’s guess!

In our house, Sam is the grill master and I’m the food prep. So I’ll show you what we threw together and hopefully inspire you to take advantage of the grill for whatever sunny days we have left.

I should also mention that Sam is on a two week “no dairy trial diet” per orders of his doctor – which means I’ve been on an all-dairy diet, trying to consume the cheese, yogurt and milk in our fridge all by my lonesome before it all goes bad. I hate wasting food. I’ve been working really hard on the ice cream too… I am TOTALLY taking one for the team here 🙂

In all seriousness though, this trial diet has made us realize that we don’t have many dairy-free recipes. Lucikly, this BBQ is totally dairy free and would make Sam’s doctor proud.

Dad’s Famous BBQ Chicken

Because I love my Margaritas In the Rain fans, I’ve decided to reveal the recipe for potentially the best BBQ chicken in the world: my dad’s famous recipe. Scroll down to see the secret ingredient:

Yup, you’ve got it. Yoshidas. It’s not just the SECRET ingredient; it’s the ONLY ingredient! Just give the chicken a good soaking in Yoshidas, and plop those suckers on the grill until they’re done. We normally buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they are slightly lower in fat, but chicken thighs are actually a little better on the BBQ because they maintain moisture.   

 


BBQ Veggies

This is by far the EASIEST recipe in the history of recipes, and perhaps also the most delicious. Simply cut a zucchini and some summer squash in half (they are dirt cheap at the local farmer’s markets this time of year), rub with olive oil and sea salt – and grill!

Brown Rice

We own a rice cooker, so there’s really no need to explain anything here. But I will mention that between my Asian-inspired cooking habits and Sam’s Mexican-inspired culinary skills, we use the rice cooker quite a bit.

And when we’re making stir fry, sushi, teriyaki tofu or even Dad’s Famous BBQ Chicken – I always bust open the Furikake to sprinkle over the rice for a little “oomph!” Furikake is a salty Japanese condiment (often called the salt and pepper of Japan) that is generally sprinkled over rice. Furikake usually consist of various ingredients such as sushi nori (seaweed), sesame seeds, dried tuna flakes, salmon flakes, powdered soy sauce or miso, and dried egg.  I grew up eating the stuff, but here in Portland, I can always find my favorite flavor at Uwajimaya.
Salad
 
You’d think we would turn into Popeye with the amount of spinach Sam and I consume. In truth, we buy the organic baby spinach boxes from Costco and usually consume the box before it goes bad. We throw handfuls of spinach into omelets, spaghetti sauce, and eat it raw in salads. It’s filled with tons of vitamins and fiber (much more so than iceberg or romaine lettuce), plus we both happen to love the taste of it. I also make our own salad dressing thanks to one of my favorite toys: this salad dressing dispenser from Williams-Sonoma, which was a housewarming present from one of my besties. 

We generally try to keep our salads entertaining with different toppers. Tonight I used fresh tomatoes from this week’s Portland Farmer’s Market.

And here’s a post-grill picture before we dove in to devour the meal:

Told you it was easy! Now try it for yourselves  – or share YOUR favorite easy BBQ recipes!