I love summertime and the many fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. It is also a great, relaxed time of year to meet up with your friends and family for a picnic or casual summer party.
To get you inspired, I'm sharing seven of my favorite summer recipes with you today.
AND - I have an extra special gift for you regarding 100 Days of Creative Courage! All the details are at the bottom of this post.
Pasta Salad Nicoise
juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, minced
1 Tbsp. capers, drained
2 Tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped
4 anchovies in oil, drained and finely chopped (optional)
salt + pepper to taste
fresh bail leaves for garnish
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into bit size pieces, blanched
10 small, young potatoes, cooked, peeled, and chopped coarsely
1/2 pound / 250 g spiral or penne pasta, cooked and cooled (add a bit of olive oil so the noodles don't stick together
12-15 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 hard cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup black olives
2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained and flaked
Whisk together all dressing ingredients and set aside.
After you have your greens beans and potatoes cooked and prepared and cooled, place together in a bowl. Add cooked pasta, tomatoes, eggs, olives, and tuna.
Pour over dressing and blend gently. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if desired to adjust seasoning.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves and chill for 1-2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.
A colorful, South of France inspired summer salad for a picnic or a party.
1 cup green olives, drained
1 cup black olives, drained
2 slices lemon, halved
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon juice
Combine all and let marinate at room temperature for at least one hour before serving. Super easy, elegant, and delicious.
Stuffed Dates with Goat Cheese + Pecans
12 large dates (pitted are great if you can find them)
12 perfect pecan halves (you can also use almonds or walnuts)
1 tsp. each - olive oil, soy sauce, tabasco
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1/2 tsp. dried thyme or rosemary
fresh ground black pepper
Pit dates and slit open on one side if not yet pitted. Stir together pecan (or other nuts) with olive oil, soy sauce, and Tabasco. Add a bit of salt to taste. Roast very gently in a pan until all moisture is absorbed. Be careful not to let the nuts burn or they will taste bitter.
Mix goat cheese with herbs and black pepper, and using a small spoon, fill each date with a 1/2 cheese mixture and add a bit on top of the date as well. Carefully place your pecan half on top and arrange stuffed dates on a small pretty plate + double for a crowd. These make gorgeous little snacks for your guests.
Summertime Savory Olive, Cheese, Tomato, and Herb Tart
This is a quick and easy savory tart which makes a nice appetizer for summertime parties when cut into small pieces and served with a glass of wine or something delicious. Be sure to serve warm for best flavor.
1 package puff pastry (275 g / 9 oz.) rolled out into a large rectangle
2 tsp. Dijon style French mustard
200 - 250 g (7-8 oz.) thinly sliced Emmenthaler, Gruyere, or other Swiss cheese
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
12-16 Kalamata or black olives (either whole or pitted)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt + pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, sliced
Preheat oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF.
Place rolled out puff pastry rectangle onto a lined cookie sheet. Brush very thinly with Dijon mustard (this might sound strange, but it gives the tart an extra little punch).
Top pastry completely with thin slices of Swiss cheese. Sprinkle on halved cherry tomatoes and olives.
Combine chopped garlic and oregano with olive oil in a small bowl, then drizzle this mixture over the cheese/tomatoes/olives. Season all with salt + freshly ground pepper.
Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven - then check to see if pastry is bubbling in the middle. If so, prick with a fork to release air, and then continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly (pricking again if necessary).
Serve warm, cut into small squares, with chilled wine or a summer beverage of your choice, and enjoy!
This zucchini + herb baked frittata is something like a light, crustless quiche - and it tastes great warm or at room temperature - so it's perfect for an outdoor summer party or a picnic.
Zucchini Herb Baked Frittata
4-5 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. creme fraiche or sour cream
4 Tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped (I used a mix of fresh sage, parsley, basil + mint)
1 cup crumbled or grated cheeses of your choice (I used Feta, you could use Swiss, goat, or Parmesan)
salt + pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Brush a ceramic or glass baking form generously with olive oil.
Saute zucchini, yellow bell pepper, and onion in a bit of olive oil until soft, then add chopped garlic + oregano and saute for an additional minute. Season well with salt and pepper and let cool.
Meanwhile, beat eggs together with milk and creme fraiche or sour cream. Season with salt + pepper.
Place cooked vegetables in ceramic or glass baking dish and distribute evenly.
Sprinkle over the fresh chopped herbs and the crumbled or grated cheese. Then pour over the egg, milk, and creme fraiche/sour cream mixture and spread evenly to make sure everything is well covered.
Add a last bit of fresh ground pepper and perhaps a sprinkle of parmesan before placing in the preheated oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. A super easy, light summer meal, very delicious.
Summer Berry Tart
I love using fresh red currants for this tart (Johannisbeeren in German) but if you can't find those where you live, you can substitute raspberries or blueberries for this super simple - and super delicious - European style berry tart.
No roll pastry crust:
220 g / 1 3/4 cups flour
125 g / 1/2 cup butter
60 g / 1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
400 g / 2 cups red currants or other summer berries
100 g / 1/2 cup sugar
125 g / 1/2 cup cream
To make the crust, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter until mixture forms large crumbs. Blend in egg yolk and knead well.
Press dough into a flat disk, then place dough in a large ceramic or glass quiche or deep dish pie form, and press evenly to form a crust. The texture of the dough is similar to cookie dough and very flexible, so just keep pressing until all is even.
Prick dough all over with a fork, and place quiche/pie form into the freezer to chill while you make the filling (chill for about 15 minutes) and wash/drain the berries.
To make the filling, simply beat eggs, then stir in sugar, and finally the cream. Stir well before using.
To assemble the tart, place the berries in the cooled pie crust and pour cream/egg filling over the berries. Make sure berries are distributed evenly in the tart.
Carefully place tart in oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is set.
When done, remove tart from oven and let cool down to luke warm before serving. Dust with a bit of powdered sugar if desired.
The slightly warm tart tastes amazing served with a spoonful (or two) of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Summer taste paradise, indeed!
This recipe is an adaption of my grandmother's famous summer fruit "cobbler" recipe from Tennessee. I love making this free form tart - always using the same easy pastry dough, but varying the fillings according to what fruit is in season. The nectarine or peach + fresh berries is one of my personal favorite summer taste combinations.
Grandma's Nectarine + Blueberry Summer Cobbler
Butter Crust Pastry:
2 cups / 250 g flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup / 65 g butter, cold + chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup / 125-175 ml milk
Mix flour, salt, and sugar together and blend in cold butter pieces until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add enough milk, slowly, until dough mixture forms a ball when stirred with a fork. Knead briefly until dough is smooth, adding more flour or milk as needed, and refrigerate while you make the filling.
Nectarine + Blueberry Filling:
9-10 nectarines, peeled and sliced (about 1 kilo/2 pounds whole + peaches work well too)
1 cup blueberries (or your other favorite summer berries)
3 Tbsp. sugar (I like to use fine raw or brown sugar)
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
Combine fruits gently with sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Set aside.
To assemble: roll out dough thinly into a very large circle (a good bit larger than your pie/quiche baking form). Carefully place rolled pastry dough in large tart or quiche form, letting the extra dough hang over the sides.
Place fruit mixture in the middle of the pastry crust, and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter in small pieces. Fold over the extra pastry on the sides - and if desired, brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar (this helps the pastry brown nicely).
Bake at 375ºF/190ºC for 45-50 minutes or until pastry is golden and fruit filling is bubbly.
This fruit tart is amazing when served warm from the oven with a generous scoop of whipped cream or ice cream - but it is also very nice at room temperature for a picnic or outdoor party. The last time I served this, my friends were actually fighting over the one remaining piece of this tart - until finally the last tiny piece was divided into thirds... I hope you'll love it too :)
I wish you many happy summer parties and picnics with great weather and good friends!
I've also been working hard on updating our 100+ guest interviews and 100 daily creative prompts for my new 100 Days of Creative Courage e-course.
It has been a labor of love to organize this incredible collection of interviews with talented women from around the world. These 100+ wise, creative women will make you laugh, make you smile, and offer you loads of practical tips and inspiration!
I'm also enjoying improving and adding new daily posts and prompts to our 100+ collection that will give you a special boost every day for 100 days.
I honestly don't want you to miss out on this unique adventure!
To "sweeten the pot" today I'm offering you a special gift when you sign up now for 100 Days of Creative Courage.
The choice is yours (and you can even share your gift with a friend!)
Both classes feature more fantastic interviews and tutorials for many creative projects - and Creative Courageous Summer is packed with yummy seasonal recipes too!
I'm sending you delicious summertime greetings from Berlin,