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My 12 Favorite Summer Recipes

stephanie_levy_guacamole_recipe

Summer is almost here, and today I wanted to share some of my favorite classic seasonal recipes with you!

This collection features several of my very best recipes for summer picnics, parties, and simply good eating, enjoy!

My Favorite Homemade Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, peeled and chopped
2 limes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili
salt and Tabasco to taste
fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Squeeze the juice of the two limes into a small bowl - or into your food processor. Add minced garlic and a little salt. Then add avocado and spices, and blend into a paste. Your results will be chunkier if you are blending by hand, and creamier if you are using a food processor. Place the avocado puree into a serving bowl and gently stir in chopped tomato. Adjust seasonings, adding more salt or Tabasco to taste. Sprinkle with a bit of tomato or fresh chopped cilantro as desired. Refrigerate and let flavors blend for 1-2 hours - if you can resist eating this immediately.

Great served with classic, natural tortilla chips, but also with toasted pita bread triangles, or as a raw vegetable dip, feel free to experiment. Enjoy!

stephanie_levy_recipe_tzaziki_greek

A light and refreshing Greek style summer dip!

Greek Tzatziki Cucumber Dip

1 medium cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
14 oz./400 grams Greek or Turkish plain yogurt (if you can't find this, substitute 1/2 plain yogurt, and 1/2 sour cream)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
fresh ground pepper
salt 

Grate cucumber, season with salt, and let drain in a sieve for 10 minutes. Press out excess water. Mix cucumber with all remaining ingredients, and season to taste. Let flavors blend for at least one hour or longer in the refrigerator, and serve with fresh vegetables or pita bread. So good!

stephanie_levy_italian_recipe_bruschetta

These Italian style bruschetta are great for party buffets or for a special appetizer. The combination of flavors is melt in your mouth wonderful.

Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta

3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, shredded
3 tsp. capers, drained
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1 baguette, sliced diagonally, in ½“ slices
1 package (4 oz.) spreadable goat cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to marinate. Meanwhile, spread baguette slices with soft goat cheese (or herbal cream cheese works well too). Top each baguette slice with a spoonful of the tomato mixture and serve immediately. Simple + delicious!

stephanie_levy_potato_salad_recipe

A fresh take on a classic summer picnic salad. 

Potato Salad with Feta Cheese, Bell Pepper, and Olives

2 pounds/1 kilo small potatoes (choose a variety that is good for salads and doesn't get mushy when cooked)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs is wonderful too)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 oz./200 grams Feta cheese, chopped (eliminate, or use smoked tofu to make this vegan)
1/2 cup black olives (I prefer Kalamata olives if you can find them)

Boil potatoes in skins for 20-25 minutes or until just tender. 

Meanwhile, prepare vinaigrette dressing ingredients by whisking together vinegar, oil, mustard, herbs, red onion, and salt and pepper to taste. When potatoes are done, drain, peel if desired, cut into chunks, and place in a large bowl. This is important - while potatoes are still warm, pour over vinaigrette dressing and mix gently. The potatoes really soak up the flavors of the dressing best while warm.

Let potatoes cool then add bell pepper, Feta cheese, and olives. Mix very gently, and season to taste. Allow all salad ingredients to marinate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature. This is a great picnic salad, or served with grilled vegetables for a light meal.

stephanie_levy_salad_recipe

A flavorful combination of ingredients in this lovely summer salad!

Green Bean and Feta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

8 oz./250g fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red onion, minced
8 oz./250g cherry tomatoes, halved
7 oz./200g Feta cheese, diced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. honey
6 Tbsp. olive oil
salt + pepper to taste.

Cook green beans in boiling salted water or vegetable stock until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool. Mix cooled beans with red onion, tomatoes, cheese, and basil in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, blend remaining ingredients into a creamy vinaigrette. Pour over vegetables and toss gently. Check seasonings, chill for at least one hour and serve. Healthy and so good!

stephanie_levy_pasta_recipe_summer

This is a delicious and beautiful way to eat your vegetables. Simple to make and this is a colorful, light main dish that also works well for a crowd.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Fresh Herbs, Parmesan, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
1 each - red, green, and yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 red onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, left whole
6-7 cups seasonal vegetables of your choice (eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms work well)
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette:

3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
juice of one lemon
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped herbs of your choice 

freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

16 oz./500 g dried pasta of your choice (I used penne noodles, bowties or corkscrew pasta work well too)

Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC and oil a large ceramic or glass baking dish. Toss chopped vegetables with olive oil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until vegetables are soft and golden, stirring a couple of times during baking. 

Meanwhile, about 10 minutes before vegetables are done, cook pasta and drain. Blend together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Toss hot, fresh pasta with roasted vegetables, and pour over vinaigrette, mixing well. Season with additional salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice as needed.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Yum!

*If you are reducing carbohydrates in your diet, you can also completely omit or use half the amount of pasta in this recipe.

stephanie_levy_zucchini_tart_recipe

A "Flammkuchen" or "flame cake" is a savory thin crusted tart typical for the Alsace region of France. Traditionally made with bacon and creme fraiche, I especially like this vegetarian version made with zucchini and red onions.

Zucchini Red Onion Gorgonzola Flammkuchen

Crust:

2 cups flour (250 g)
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. olive oil
one egg yolk
6-7 Tbsp. ice water

Topping:

3/4 cup sour cream (200 g / 7 oz.)
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 red onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (200 g / 7 oz.)
thyme
salt/pepper

For the crust, combine flour, salt, olive oil, egg yolk, then slowly add water until mixture sticks together. Knead into a smooth dough, press into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest 5 minutes. Line or grease a large baking sheet and Preheat oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.

Roll dough out as thinly as possible and place on prepared baking sheet. Spread with sour cream, then add zucchini slices and top with chopped onion and garlic. Sprinkle vegetables with dried or fresh thyme leaves, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add crumbled gorgonzola cheese, then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with salad + perhaps a glass of your favorite wine :) 

stephanie_levy_veggie_recipe_kebabs

A quick, colorful, and tasty summertime meal!

Chicken/Tofu/Veggie Souvlaki Kebabs

** If you are vegetarian/vegan, simply use tofu instead chicken, or substitute extra vegetables like mushrooms or cherry tomatoes for a vegan variation.

Marinade:

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
juice of 1/2 medium lemon 
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into slices
1 pound / 450 g chicken breasts/ or tofu, cut into bite sized pieces 

4-6 wooden or metal skewers

Whisk together all marinade ingredients, then add vegetables, chicken or tofu, and stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Divide the vegetable, chicken/tofu pieces among the metal skewers. 

In the summer, you can grill these outdoors - or you can can also grill the skewers in a pan in a 400ºF / 200ºC oven for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, turning at least once during cooking.

These are easy to make and delicious with rice, toasted pita bread, and a salad.

stephanie_levy_apricot_tart_recipe

I am a huge fan of the fruits of summer, and when I find fresh apricots at the market, I know exactly what to do with them! This simple tart is one of our all-time favorites and a big hit whenever I bring it to brunches or parties. Best of all, it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare before baking. The crust has a delightful taste and texture, and you don't even have to roll it out. I adapted this recipe from one I found in a book about Parisian bakeries :)

French Apricot Tart

Pastry: 

4 oz. butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350° and butter tart form. A ceramic quiche form works especially well, but a 10" spring form pan is also fine. Mix together melted butter and sugar, add flour and knead until blended. The mixture will be crumbly. Press into tart form and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

5 oz. creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1 pound fresh apricots, pitted and halved or quartered
powdered sugar

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine creme fraiche or sour cream with the egg and mix until well blended. Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, and orange liqueur. Pour mixture into prebaked pastry shell, and arrange apricots, cut side down, on top of the cream mixture. Bake until a knife inserted in the cream mixture comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature, preferably within an hour of baking. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. 

I promise your taste buds will be delighted!

stephanie_levy_lemon_bars_recipe

These bars are wonderful at any time of the year, but especially nice served chilled for a summer picnic.

Luscious Lemon Tart Bars

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter

Filling:

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 heaping Tbsp. flour
pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
1 tsp. lemon zest (use organic lemons!)

Preheat oven to 350º F/ 175ºC. Grease and flour an 8 inch square baking pan.

For the crust: Combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press mixture into bottom of pan as evenly as possible (you may need to dust hands with flour to do this). Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. 

Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together eggs, sugar, and cream. Sprinkle in flour and salt, stir well. Then add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, mix until smooth and foamy. Pour the lemon filling on top of the crust - it's fine if the crust is still hot - and bake for 25-30 minutes or until just set.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.* I find these are even better after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours, so don't get too impatient. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. 

*To make sure that your bars cut easily, try this special trick: fill a heat-resistant glass with hot water, and dip your knife into the hot water before slicing. Repeat with each new cut. Your bars will look perfect!

stephanie_levy_strawberry_tiramisu_recipe

Summer Strawberry Tiramisu

This combination of strawberries with flavors of orange and vanilla, fresh whipped cream, and layered ladyfingers is a light and fruity version of Italian tiramisu. It's a memorable way to use your summer strawberries, and it's a special treat when garnished with grated white chocolate and fresh mint leaves.

4 cups strawberries, cleaned, trimmed, and quartered (reserving a few berry halves for garnish)
4 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur
2 cups heavy cream
8 oz. mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)'
1 tsp. vanilla extract
juice of 1 orange
14 oz./ 400g package of ladyfingers (about 50 pieces)
a few fresh mint leaves
3-4 Tbsp. grated white chocolate

Marinate quartered strawberries in 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier, set aside.

Whip heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks, then stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar and vanilla extract. Fold in mascarpone/cream cheese, and continue beating until creamy.

In a separate bowl, combine juice of 1 orange and 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier.

Place a layer of ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9 x 13" glass serving dish. Drizzle with one half of the orange juice/Grand Marnier mixture. Add a layer of strawberries (including juice), then one half of the whipped cream. Repeat. Garnish with grated white chocolate, fresh mint leaves, and a few halved strawberries.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend. An amazing summertime recipe that makes plenty to share with friends!

Variation: use raspberries instead of strawberries, and garnish with grated bittersweet chocolate

stephanie_levy_white_sangria_recipe

Sparkling, citrusy, and always a big hit at my summer parties!

White Sangria

1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
2 oranges, sliced

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 oz. Grand Marnier
1 bottle of your favorite white wine, chilled
2 cups sparkling water
plenty of ice cubes

Boil sugar and water briefly until sugar is dissolved, let cool. Place sliced citrus fruits in a large pitcher, add Grand Marnier, sugar syrup, white wine, and sparkling water. Stir well and chill. Just before serving, add ice cubes.

Perfect for an afternoon picnic or outdoor evening meal, light and refreshing!

*****

creative.courageous.summer_stephanie_levy

If you like these recipes, be sure to check out my upcoming Creative Courageous Summer online course - with many fresh + delicious ideas for picnics, outdoor parties, a South of France themed menu, DIY, summer reading, guest artist interviews and more.

Our Early Bird Registration Discount is running today, get all the info here.


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Get your free artwork +  other summer treats here.

xo
Stephanie

Source: stephanie_levy_apricot_tart