Photo Credit: Eating Well

It’s summertime, and part of why it’s my favorite time of the year is the abundant choices of fruits and vegetables.  This summertime menu features much of what’s available in the warm weather months.  We are having our great friends Robert and Claudia over for the weekend and are excited to enjoy some great summer food!

CAMPECHANA (Mexican Seafood Cocktail)

I’m testing a menu suggestion from Saveur magazine.  It sounds so enticing, that I might not change a thing!  Perfect for summertime parties….

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
Warm Red Potato Salad
Grilled Corn with Pesto
Mixed Green Salad
Frozen Peach Margaritas
Blackberry Slump OR S’Mores

CAMPECHANA (or Mexican Seafood Cocktail)
(Adapted from Saveur)

Photo Credit: Saveur 

I had this Mexican Seafood Cocktail while visiting friends in Houston, TX.  It was served at the Armidillo Palace, one of the restaurants in the Goode Company Seafood group.  It took some research, but I finally ascertained the recipe, when I found that Saveur magazine featured it back in 2009.  It’s just so so so good!

1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
1⁄3 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup chili sauce, such as Heinz
1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1⁄4 cup chopped green olives
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup finely chopped white onion
1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1⁄4 cup tomato–clam cocktail, such as Clamato
1⁄4 cup seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes
1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp Tabasco
2 anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded,
and chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1⁄2 lb. cooked and peeled medium shrimp
1⁄2 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked and cleaned
1 avocado, cut into 1⁄4″ cubes

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Combine the first 15 ingredients in a large bowl and season with salt; toss to mix.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Fold in shrimp, crab, and avocado.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Serve with tortilla chips.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Ina Gartner’s Tuna and Hummus on Sourdough

Photo Credit: the culinary enthusiast
So, I’m on the treadmill one morning and was watching the Food Network and Ina Garten came on.  She was taking a picnic to a friend, and this tuna was one of the items she was preparing.  I grew up eating exclusively Bumble Bee brand white flake tuna, so this revelation that Italian tuna in olive oil was good was exciting.  I rushed to my nearest Fresh Market and immediately prepared the dish.  It is simply devine and has become a staple in my food repertoire!

14 ounces jarred or canned Italian tuna in olive oil
1/4 cup minced celery
2 TBSP minced yellow onion
2 TBSP minced cornichons
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 TBSP Hellman’s or Duke’s mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Sourdough bread, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
Hummus, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
Fresh radishes, sliced
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved (15.5-ounce can)
1/3 cup tahini or sesame paste
4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
6 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
8 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
2 tsp kosher salt

Drain the oil from the tuna, reserving the oil. Place the tuna in a mixing bowl and flake it with a fork. OR you can empty the tuna into a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency.  I like mine pureed pretty good.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Then place in a bowl.  Add the celery, onion, cornichons, lemon juice, mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil, the mustard, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or a day or two to allow the flavors to blend.

Toast the bread and spread each slice with a layer of hummus. Spread the tuna salad on each piece of bread, garnish with slices of radish, and serve immediately.

For the Hummus:
Place the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of the reserved liquid, the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until coarsely pureed. The hummus should be moist and thick; add more lemon juice or reserved chickpea liquid to thin, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for several hours for the flavors to blend. Taste for seasonings.

*A note on the tuna – I should be getting residuals from Bumble Bee, as I am THAT devoted to their white albacore tuna, and usually I’ll forego tuna altogether if I can’t have that brand.  BUT the Italian canned tuna is to die for!  Try it prepared like this recipe, and I promise, you’ll love it!


Photo Credit: Saveur

6 oz. baby bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, plus 1 tbsp.
2 lb. ground beef
4 oz. blue cheese
2 tbsp. dehydrated garlic flakes
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
½ tbsp. dill seed
½ tbsp. crushed red chile flakes
½ tbsp. dried onion flakes
4 hamburger buns, toasted
Dijon mustard, for serving

Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl. Bring vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan; pour over mushrooms and onions. Let cool; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Season beef with salt; divide into 4 flat patties about ⅓” thick. Place 1 oz. blue cheese into the center of each patty; fold sides of meat up and over cheese. In a spice grinder, grind 1 tbsp. black pepper, garlic flakes, coriander, dill, chile flakes, and onion flakes into a coarse powder. Rub spice mixture over each burger, coating it completely. Grill the burgers to your choice of doneness, and top with the mushroom mix.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Saveur

3 lb. medium waxy red potatoes
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup roughly chopped parsley
¼ cup roughly chopped oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side. Using a fork, prick potatoes all over and wrap individually in foil; grill on the cooler section of grill, turning as needed, until tender, about 45 minutes.


Simply boil for about 15-20 minutes, until tender but not mushy.

Cool slightly and slice about ½” thick; transfer to a serving platter. Whisk onions, oil, vinegar, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl; pour over potatoes.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Serve warm or refrigerate and bring to room temperature when ready to serve.


Photo Credit: Saveur

6 ears corn, husks and silks removed (I only use Silver Queen)
½ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 cups basil leaves
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
5 oz. grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Note: You can also use store bought pesto if pressed for time.  It’ll still be delicious!
Purée ½ cup oil with basil, nuts, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor.

Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side. Brush corn with pesto and grill until kernels are slightly charred and tender, 8-10 minutes.

 Serve and enjoy!

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

(Adapted from Food Network)

Photo Credit: The Food Network

1/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup peach nectar
3/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup sweetened lime juice, such as Rose’s Lime Juice
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau
Juice of 1 lime
One 16-ounce bag frozen peaches

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the salt to a small-rimmed plate and 1/4 cup water to another plate. Dip the rims of the glasses into the water then the salt. Set aside.

Add the nectar, tequila, sweetened lime juice, liqueur, fresh lime juice and peaches to a blender. Puree until smooth and serve immediately in the salt-rimmed glasses.

Photo Credit: Saveur

2¼ cups flour
1½ cups sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes, chilled, plus 8 tbsp. melted and more for greasing
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup dry white wine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 lb. fresh or frozen thawed blackberries
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

To make crumb topping, combine ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup sugar, and the 2 tbsp. of chilled cubed butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until mixture takes on texture of coarse bread crumbs, about 10 seconds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°. Grease eight 6 oz. ramekins with butter and dust with flour; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk remaining flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large measuring cup, whisk together melted butter and wine; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, vanilla, and eggs until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Add wine mixture to eggs and whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide batter between ramekins and top each with berries. Sprinkle reserved crumb topping evenly over berries. Put ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 20 minutes; serve with scoops of ice cream on top.

***Our friends brought a cold cucumber soup and a fabulous salad to round out the meal!
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

6 pounds cucumbers (about 6 cucumbers), peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (12 cups)
2 yellow bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
3 to 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups plain yogurt
3 cups sour cream, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Combine the cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions, jalapenos, cilantro, mint, dill, garlic, Essence, salt, cayenne, yogurt, 2 cups sour cream, olive oil, and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Working in batches, puree the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Transfer the soup to the refrigerator until well chilled, at least 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup, with each bowl garnished with a dollop of the remaining sour cream and some of the minced chives.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

The salad was mixed greens, sugared almond pieces, dried pears, gorgonzola cheese, yellow grape tomatoes and bacon with a simple vinaigrette. Wonderful!

Thank you Claudia!  For more recipes and gardening tips go to:

(or maybe it should be CHEERS TO SUMMER?!)