Risotto is one of the easiest things to make – all you need is a few ingredients and a bit of patience – but it can also be one of the most delectable. When prepared properly it’s delicate, creamy texture can be both luxurious and comforting. It’s also a versatile dish that can be made year-round using seasonal ingredients. One of my favorite summer risotto uses pancetta (or bacon in a pinch) and fresh sweet corn.
Chicken Souvlaki Salad
I haven’t always been a big fan of salads. Here in America salads seem to be an afterthought. Case in point, a side salad usually consists of iceberg lettuce with bad tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded cheese, along with a huge amount of the dressing of your choice. To me that is not very appetizing. When I started reading books about France and learned that salads were amazing dishes – not an afterthought – I was intrigued but a little bit unbelieving.
White Pizza With Fermented Dough, Topped with Peppadew Peppers and Caramelized Onions
This is an amazingly easy pizza recipe that’s light and delicious. This is a white pizza, meaning that there is no tomato sauce, only cheese and toppings. The caramelized onions add sweetness and the peppadew peppers add a hit of acidity which cuts through the richness of the cheese. A few chives tossed on at the end gives the pizza a light freshness.
I fermented the dough for this recipe – it’s easier than it sounds, and it greatly increases the lightness and quality of the final crust. It takes a few days, but most of that is just sitting in the fridge. This is a great dough to make on a Sunday then easily toss together your pizza on, say, Wednesday. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of fermenting, simply let the dough rest for 30 minutes after step 5, then roll it out and top it as you normally would.
Grilled Rosemary Garlic Lamb Chops
Lamb is one our favorite meats, and it features heavily in both Mediterranean and certain Asian cuisines. It’s also less impactful on the environment than beef. When cooked properly, it’s tender, juicy, moist and delicious. However, overcooking it can result in a dry, and almost gamey tasting piece of meat.
This lamb dish is one our go-to dishes every the summer since its an easy and delicious weeknight meal. It has just a handful of simple, fresh ingredients that let the lamb shine. Mashing the garlic into a paste reduces the likelihood of it burning on the grill. Letting the rosemary char directly on the meat gives it an deep smoky and herbal flavor.
Grilled Halibut in Lemon Garlic Herb Sauce
Grilled fish is one of the great pleasures of having warmer weather. This is a simple and fast dish that is packed full of amazing flavor. The sauce is inspired by a Salmoriglio sauce – which is a tangy, herby, lemony sauce of which there are countless variations. But this variation is incredibly simple, and the marinade doubles as the sauce. You cant get much more simple than this – and the simplicity allows the delicate flavor of the fish to shine.
Spring Pasta with Herbs and Greek Yogurt
It doesn’t get much easier than this. This versatile recipe is as simple as lightly sauteing spring vegetables, and tossing them in cooked pasta with fresh herbs and Greek yogurt. This can be made any time with whatever vegetables and herbs are currently in season. We used spring Vidalia onions, asparagus, zucchini, and mushrooms, but any fresh vegetable would work great! This dish is amazing warm, at room temperature, or cold the next day.
Pesto Pizza with Tomato and Mozzarella
This is another and easy and delicious weeknight meal! This can be made faster and more easily by purchasing pizza dough from the grocery store. I prefer to make my own, but store bought dough is actually pretty good and easy to find. You can also make your own pesto if you are so inclined – we will add a recipe for that soon. When buying pesto, make sure to get it from the refrigerated section – the jarred pesto has a bunch of preservatives that affect the flavor.
You will get a better crust if you use a pizza stone, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one. If you enjoy making pizzas, a stone is an invaluable tool that will take your pies to the next level. You can get a reasonably good one fairly cheap, and if you take care of it, it should last a very long time.
Five Ingredient Grilled Souvlaki
I’m always so excited for grilling season to start because it really opens up our repertoire of recipes. So many great Mediterranean and Asian recipes are perfect for grilling. One prime example is Souvlaki – a delicious Greek grilled chicken dish. This version is very simple – only 5 ingredients: chicken, garlic, oregano, olive oil, and lemon. Like most of our recipes, it’s fast, easy, and healthy!
While my husband and I visited France last fall, and we stayed in a beautiful little port town on the Mediterranean called Port Vendre. It was walking distance to the more touristy town of Collioure. Port Vendre was wonderful and quiet, but Collioure, despite being a bit more crowded and busy, had a number of sites that we wanted to see so we planned a day around going there. But the weather was not very agreeable – it rained the whole day. However, we didn’t let that stop us. We walked around the beautiful old town, past the Château Royal de Collioure, and down the beach. In the middle of a downpour, we stopped at a small Creperie. The only available seating was outdoors, but the tables were covered and dry. We were cold, wet, and starving, and my husband really wanted a drink.
Sauteed Cod with Caper Butter and Lemon
Incorporating fish into our diet has been a bit tough, especially since we live in a part of the country that’s nowhere near the ocean, and fresh fish is a bit tougher to come by. However, one of the fish that is always readily available is cod. It also happens to be one of my favorites! It’s flaky, but meaty. The taste isn’t fishy or strong, and it takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with. This Mediterranean style fish dish is very simple to make, and absolutely delicious!
Polenta with White Beans and Kale
This is one of our favorite recipes! We got the original recipe from Lidia Bastianich and modified it to make it easier and faster to prepare on a weeknight. Lidia uses dried beans and cooks them for nearly an hour, but we found that using canned beans is just as good and doesn’t require as much time or effort. This meal can be made in roughly 30 minutes – and it’s healthy and delicious!
Even Better Hummus
The secret to our Even Better Hummus recipe is starting with dried chickpeas that are soaked overnight in water and baking soda. This method, used commonly in the Middle East, results in a much fluffier and creamier hummus than if you use canned chickpeas. This is a more time consuming recipe than ones using canned chickpeas, but the results are amazing.
Healthy Snack: Roasted Chick Peas
Roast chick peas are are a healthy, delicious snack that is easy to make. If you roast them perfectly, they are crunchy on the outside, but have a somewhat creamy texture inside. The best thing about them is that you can customize them to your taste. The recipe below contains smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic – but you can add any spices or herbs you like!
Turkish Lentils with Cauliflower Steaks
This is a very healthy lentil recipe that’s easy to make. It’s a delicious, satisfying and – despite its simplicity – deep and complex in flavor from the variety of spices. The dish can easily be made vegetarian by replacing the chicken broth with vegetable stock or water or vegan by replacing the stock and omitting the yogurt.
Super Simple Hummus
One of the easiest (and best) things to make with chickpeas is hummus. Hummus is incredibly versatile and you can flavor it with just about anything. Below is a very simple hummus recipe that can be used as a base. You can add just about anything to this base to make a more unique flavor – roasted red peppers, roast garlic, cumin, spices, herbs, or just about anything you can imagine.