Hot dogs are such a summer staple. Fire up the grill, toss on a pack of Hebrew Nationals (a favorite in our household), and get ready for a great meal. There are many summer evenings when we gather around on the patio and cook up something delicious while simply enjoying each other and the weather. My favorite summer recipes are those that are simple to make and incorporate fresh ingredients from the season. For this recipe, we turned to our backyard garden for menu inspiration!
I’m a big fan of incorporating fresh flavors into summer baking and this cake definitely has that summer zing. A play on this Lemonade and Lime Cake I recently made, this Tequila Lime Cake is a great choice to serve at your next summer gathering.
The best part? You don’t even have to bake if you don’t want to. I picked up two white cake layers from the local market and just doctored them up. Simple! Just poke the tops of the cakes with a fork and then slowly drizzle over about 1/4 cup tequila on each layer. You want it to really soak in.
Last week I shared the my youngest daughter and I had been inspired to come up with a unique idea to help create a better world, and select a Summer Sunlight Activity we’d like to do together to make our household more sustainable. Pairing the challenge with her love for the kitchen, we decided to make our challenge One Ingredient, Five Ways which will help eliminate food waste in our home.
While participating in a cooking challenge at the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Innovation Center, we were inspired by Brazilian appetizers and came up with this play on the traditional monte cristo recipe. It’s made with guava paste which pairs so perfectly with the saltiness of the ham inside. Puff Pastry sheets replaced bread and this buttery, flaky flavor means all of your guests will love these — kids and adults!
I had never worked with guava paste before. It is a really interesting ingredient and added just the right amount of sweetness to this sandwich.
Over the past six months, I’ve been collaborating with Pepperidge Farm and sharing my original recipes using Puff Pastry. Along the way, my readers were asked to submit ideas for recipes they would like to create using puff pastry and just a few weeks ago one reader (Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery!) got the news she would be heading with me to the Pepperidge Farms Innovation Center to compete in our own version of a Top Chef inspired cooking challenge.
We arrived with several other bloggers and guests for a day of inspiration, taste testing and recipe development! Above is Sharon and I in the Pepperidge Farm test kitchen. It was SO cool!
With aprons tied, we worked together to create two dishes that would be presented to the judges. Our mission was to create two recipes each inspired by a new food trend –Brazilian influence and using Greek yogurt in a savory dish. Above were our two dishes.
Setting up for a nice buffet might sound simple enough, though your efforts could very easily result in a display that looks more chaotic than clever. Avoid confusion and traffic jams in your buffet line by planning ahead. Eliminate the common sight of guests reaching for plates and back-tracking for utensils that they missed along the way.
Before your guests can begin to dish up their meal, they will need a plate. Stack plates at one end of the table so that guests have access to these first. Also, if you are using disposable plates remember to choose heavier ones so that the food actually stays on the plate and guests can easily carry them.
Serve dishes that your guests understand and recognize. If you decide to serve a dish that your guests may not be familiar with, create a place card so guests can easily identify the dish. Also, make sure each dish has a coordinating serving utensil so guests can easily (and quickly) dish up their food.
At the other end of your buffet table (opposite of the plates), place the silverware. Only provide utensils that your guests will need to use. If a knife is not needed, don’t offer one. This will avoid confusion and lighten the carrying load for guests. To make the grab-and-go of the silverware a breeze, wrap each set up in one napkin and secure it with a piece of ribbon or twine. Condensing the utensils and napkin will make it easier for guests to carry their plates to their seats.