It's Summertime and The Livin' Is Easy

Tonight we are enjoying a great summer evening. After a rainy day the evening is cool and a nice breeze is blowing through the kitchen. As has been the case in recent weeks we are incorporating fresh and local ingredients when we can while still exploring new culinary ideas. Our three courses tonight are all technically simple and come together quickly with relatively few ingredients. Our main source of inspiration this week was The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper, a wonderful new cookbook worth checking out.

Our first course, a direct recipe from How To Eat Supper, was a chilled soup. This no-cook Iced Cantaloupe Soup was a great way to start the evening. After only a few minutes in the kitchen we were sitting on the back porch enjoying a refreshing appetizer and catching up on the events of the week. Here is the recipe, we recommend you seek out a fresh cantaloupe and try this beautiful orange soup.
Iced Cantaloupe Soup With Jalapeno and Basil

One 2 1/2-pound intensely sweet-smelling ripe cantaloupe
2 cups ice cubes
Generous pinch of salt
4 or 5 grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 2 large limes (about 1/2 cup)
Grated zest of 1/2 large lime

1 or 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut into fine dice
10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, coarse chopped
1/2 medium red onion, cut into 1/8-inch dice (optional)

1. Cut the melon into quarters. Scoop out its seeds and trim away the rind. Slice it into chunks and put them into a food processor. Add the ice, salt, pepper, sugar, and lime juice, and puree. Stir in the grated zest.

2. Place the jalapeños, basil, and onion in separate small serving bowls. Pour the puree into individual soup bowls or into a pitcher for further chilling.

3. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and pass the condiments. The basil and jalapeño are the essential finishes for the soup, while the onion is an attractive option.

Our Main Course, inspired by 101 Cookbooks, came together quickly and utilized minimum ingredients. We used store-bought ravioli and rotini and threw together a quick sun-dried tomato pesto to toss with the pasta. We added roasted cherry tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese to the top and served it on top of a bed of baby spinach. Check out the recipe at 101 Cookbooks and if you aren't familiar with Heidi's site spend a while getting familiar with her wonderful blog.

Dessert was another no-cook recipe. This sorbet had frozen pineapple at the base that was flavored with ginger and almond extract. All ingredients were mixed in the food processor and blended smooth. Spoon into bowls and enjoy this little slice of heaven. By the way, this is another How To Eat Supper Recipe.


A Trip To The Mediterranean

Since it's summer and fresh produce is bountiful we wanted to prepare a meal that captured the freshness of our ingredients. With our minds fixed on lush, fresh produce we immediately decided to fix a Mediterranean themed meal.
Our starter was an easy, easy bean dip. We will even give you the recipe (courtesy of Epicurious.com).

Balsamic Bean Dip with Fresh Veggies

  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus extra for drizzling
  • Oil from jar of roasted red peppers
  • Assorted crudités (we used bell peppers and carrots)
  • Pita bread, cut into wedges
Puree beans, olive oil, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Drizzle with pepper oil and a few drops of vinegar. Serve with crudités and pita wedges.

This was simple and tasty and a great recipe to have in your go-to cookbook. A high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar really make this spectacular.

For the main course we ventured into a new realm for BIV - a savory pie. We made a Mediterranean Vegetable Cheese Pie flavored with spinach, onion and dill.

This beautiful main dish filled the kitchen with wonderful scents as our anticipation heightened. We served this pie with a somewhat unusual pasta size dish. We used orzo, a rice shaped pasta, tossed with butter and flavored with a touch of cinnamon.

The spice was more of an understatement, but the dish truly complemented the Mediterranean flavors of the pie.

And as so often happens on BIV, the dessert was the star. And this desert, as with the entire meal, was simple and easy.

We used greek yogurt flavored with vanilla and sweetened with honey. The yogurt was topped with toasted walnuts to make a delicious, yet light finish to the evening.



Sometimes, pictures speak better than words and tonight that explains our meal. The menu was simple and our agenda was to use great ingredients and let them shine. The food truly was the star and we will let the pictures for themselves. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

Our appetizer was simply popcorn drizzled with browned butter

Salad greens with blueberries, radish and goat cheese

Foccacia Bread with rosemary and sea salt

Squash ribbons with pasta

Chai Cupcakes with Honey