Hi! I hope you are continuing to enjoy Summer, my favorite time of year! July has always been my favorite month…everyone is on vacation & there are no expectations other than to enjoy this spectacular time of year…plus, Summer produce is finally in abundance! Whether you like to cook or not, you have to admit, is there anything better than fresh tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, zucchini or peaches? In my book, no.
Three years ago, I created a Latin-Inspired Summer Dinner Menu for a group of friends, & I focused on creating dishes with Summer’s wonderful offerings . When I looked at that blog, not only was I dissatisfied with the photos, but I also no longer cared for the menu…it needed tweaking, from cocktails to dessert…let’s get cooking…& begin with cocktails & appetizers…
…while Jalapeño Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Tomato-Corn-Cucumber Salsa has remained a Summer entertaining staple for us, the photos needed to be redone. The original photos were not appealing, which was a shame as the quesadilla is so good! What I love most about this appetizer is that the goat cheese & salsa can be made ahead of time, so when it’s time to serve the quesadillas, you can put the entire dish together in minutes! Serve this with either an icy cold Rosé or…
So, what to do? First of all, since it is Summer, I thought it would be fun to grill the entire main course…beef, potatoes & zucchini…it’s time to cook outside, not indoors. Secondly, I decided to make my own Romesco Sauce, as this fresh tomato & pepper-based sauce was wonderful when originally served with the tequila citrus-marinated beef. After reading a variety of recipes, I decided to make a gluten-free sauce with roasted tomato, red pepper & garlic, which were processed with toasted almonds, olive oil, red wine & red wine vinegar…the sauce is rich & tangy & so versatile with everything from grilled veggies to all proteins, even scrambled eggs.
Grilled Potato Salad with Green Olive & Tomato Tapenade is a 5-ingredient summer side dish that will become a staple in your summer recipe repertoire. Boiling the potatoes softens them…grilling adds a dimension of flavor that intensifies with the addition of the green olive tapenade. Olives, in general, make me think of tapas, & this dish certainly could be served as part of a tapas menu. The tapenade also compliments the flavors in the sirloin filet nicely….certainly, this is not just “steak & potatoes” anymore!
Grilled Zucchini with Olive Oil & Sea Salt is simple, delicious & easy-to-make…it’s a straightforward dish that can be made in minutes. Zucchini tastes wonderful grilled & is the perfect summer dish to pair with this menu & so many others!
Dessert has a bit of a latin influence, too! Roasted Peaches with Ricotta Buttercream & Panko Streusel is a spinoff from a dessert I found Online from Bon Appétit earlier this month. Rather than using honey & white wine vinegar as a syrup for roasting the peaches, I instead used agave & rum. A dash of cinnamon to the crunchy panko streusel worked nicely with the roasted rum-soaked peaches & the ricotta buttercream added a little decadence. Rum’s Caribbean origin has a latin influence as well…I always think of the Dominican Republic, with its vast heritage, so why not here in this dessert? We also loved the addition of agave…so delicious with the rum & peaches! As a timesaver, make the components of this dessert ahead of time & put it together last-minute…how easy is that?
I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s menu! Be sure to set a colorful table & put on a little salsa music to get your party started! Please comment as your feedback is so important to me! I hope you will try this menu, as it is delicious & perfect for Summer entertaining…&, best of all, it’s easy! Cheers!