Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that’s a salad of summer daydreams!
I love a GOOD salad.
Notice how I capitalized GOOD? I mean, I assume you noticed. I basically shouted the word at you. But only because it’s really important.
It’s hard to say, “I love salad,” with no shouting of GOOD, and still be taken seriously. Especially for the Ready To Yumble crew, after we brought you these Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies and these Cheesy Bacon Twists with Puff Pastry. Salad sounds anticlimactic, a let-down, a begrudging nod to sacrificing flavor for health.
…Ah, not so, friends! At least, not in the case of a GOOD salad. We wouldn’t expose you to a sad, blah mess of lettuce and dried out carrots. No, today we bring you a salad that’s so flavorful and rich – can I use the word “rich” to describe a salad? OK I’m going for it – that I actually crave it.
Ahi tuna poke is a refreshing and savory Hawaiian snack, perfect for warm weather – or anytime you want to pretend you’re in a tropical paradise.
Hey, remember the original Facebook poke? Back in the day, that weird creepy/flirty function that served no function whatsoever?
This is not that kind of poke. It’s a heavenly Hawaiian snack, pronounced po-kay, and it’s hit some kind of popularity tornado this year. From poke bowls to burritos, my instagram account is seeing a new kind of fishy activity. And I love it.
Speaking of back in the day, (almost) five years ago Ross and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii. It was perfect and glorious and the kind of vacation that puts you in a funk for a month when you get back because you are NO LONGER IN HAWAII. (I still haven’t gotten over it.) And although the beach was unforgettable, I also have fantastic memories of going to a local dive and eating poke on the beach. Even Ross, who normally doesn’t get enthused about fish, couldn’t help but smack his lips over the incredibly fresh flavor and savory sauce.
Queso flameado is an incredibly cheesy, just-slightly-spicy appetizer of mind-boggling deliciousness. Eat it wrapped in a tortilla with margarita in hand and die happy.
Time to take a look at that Cinco de Mayo checklist, folks. Let’s see here… delicious Mexican cocktail, check… tortillas, that hardy foundation for a multitude of foods, check… mayonnaise, nope, wrong holiday… queso… wait, WHERE THE HELL IS THE QUESO?! Without a doubt, you need queso. It’s one of the basic food groups, right up there with bacon and chocolate. Luckily, we got your back with this ridiculously good (and ridiculously easy) queso flameado recipe.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify that we have no problem with regular queso. In fact, we almost worship it. We keep an emergency ration of Rotel and Velveeta in the pantry just in case. We also have some in our hurricane/zombie apocalypse kit. Not even kidding. Queso is delicious, and watching that smooth golden goodness drizzle over nachos and burritos is just magical, but there are times where one feels the need to dress it up a little. So this is formal queso. The type that enjoys the opera and the symphony.
I first found out about this dish when we visited out favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Houston, Ninfa’s (and as Houstonians like to clarify, obviously the one on Navigation). They like to claim that they were ground zero for the popularization of the fajita as we know it. I can’t testify to that, but I can tell you that they make some first class food. Anyway, looking to branch out from our typical pre-dinner nachos (gasp!), Liz spied the following description: “Cheese Casserole with Chorizo Sausage”. In addition to being masters of tortillas and fajitas, Ninfa’s has a black belt in understatement. This is so much more; the description should just be a picture of Chuck Norris with a block of cheese in place of his fist. They bring out a sizzling, bubbling skillet of cheese and wrap it up in fresh tortillas right there at your table. And when you bite into it… wow… it’s just awesome. It tastes so fresh, and the spicy notes of the chorizo cut through the intense richness of the melted cheese (which is now stretched between your plate and your mouth) just as your eyes roll back in your head and you pass out in happiness. Then you come to and eat some more.
Puff pastry, covered in cheese and your choice of toppings, wrapped in bacon twists, baked until crispy and amazing.
This recipe all started with a bacon calendar.
If you just re-read those words, you are correct. I just said bacon calendar. It was a gift from my mom – hi mom! – and I don’t remember where she got it, but it showed up at my house in the mail one day. She knows me very well.
This bacon calendar features, obviously, pictures of bacon BUT also bacon trivia and bacon recipes! I realize this is sounding more and more absurd. What can I say, Americans are obsessed with bacon. We want to stare at it on a monthly – nay – daily basis. This bacon calendar is basically a bacon-eating-reminder. Not that I need one.
I’m starting to feel like Jim Gaffigan.
Anyhoo, one of these recipes was for “bacon twists,” which involved seasoning strips of bacon, twisting them, and baking them until crispy. On a relatively lazy day, this sounded like the perfect recipe to tackle. Plus, it’s socially acceptable to eat bacon as a snack when it’s seasoned and twisted, right? It’s the seasoning and twisting that’s key, right?
However, I wondered to myself how this recipe would actually turn out. Would the bacon stay twisted? Would it cook through? I turned to the internet to see
if anyone who had done this before. The answer, if you’re curious, is lots of people. BUT what’s most important is that I also stumbled across this recipe for cheesy bacon-wrapped puff pastry twists from Half Baked Harvest
I mean. Yes. Why stop at bacon when you can add cheese and carbs?
This open-face smoked salmon and avocado sandwich combines salty, creamy, zesty, crunchy goodness, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or hors d’oeuvres!
Two things to start us off:
- This is one of my favorite things to eat. EVER.
- I struggled on the name.
Let’s go with #1 first. This recipe puts together some of the best things on God’s green earth: smoked salmon, avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro. The avocado mixture is almost like guacamole, which is obviously awesome at all times, but it’s even a tiny bit simpler and therefore quicker to throw together.
The smoked salmon is what really puts this dish over the top. You mix the salmon with some unexpected ingredients: a bit of toasted coriander and a touch of orange zest. Of course, on further thought, these seasonings make total sense. Coriander = cilantro, and orange zest is just a mild citrus flavor that complements the lime in the avocado. In fact, the odd man out might be the smoked salmon – yet we all know smoked salmon goes beautifully with avocado, so why not avocado that’s a close cousin to guacamole, and it all just turns into one big beautiful circle of life!
I could eat this not only for lunch, but also dinner, and snacks, and breakfast. More about that later. But let’s not beat around the bush and just admit we want to add an egg to this bad boy right now.
Done. BOOM. (more…)