I’m not sure whether licking the cow’s salt block was a daring or a stupid thing to do, but my cousin always did it. Between that and the maze of hay bales in the attic of my Grandpa’s barn we were easily entertained when we visited North Dakota every summer. It’s been five years since my last visit when we celebrated my Grandma’s 100th birthday and I am not sure when I will visit again, but the sight of bales of hay will forever signal summer to me, my Grandpa’s farm and the relaxed feeling that comes with this time of year.
I’m taking you back to visit three of my past posted favorite summer recipes: Dungeness Crab Angel Hair Pasta, Greek Chicken Skewers and Fresh Basil Mozzarella Tomato Sandwich. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll enjoy them.
Dungeness Crab Angel Hair Pasta (first posted July 2012)
I think this is the simplest recipe I’ve posted. Dungeness crab inspires this. So good on its own, it needs very little to enhance its sweet flavor and delicate texture. Just a little garlic carefully cooked over low heat to release its flavor then marinated briefly with ripe sweet tomatoes and fragrant basil. All tossed together in a web of fine strands of angel hair pasta this is summer cooking at its finest.
Dungeness Crab Angel Hair Pasta
Makes 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes (about 3 medium)
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 12 ounces Dungeness crab
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 12 ounces angel hair pasta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat butter and olive oil over low heat in a large skillet; add garlic and cook just long enough to soften and release flavor (do not brown) about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add tomatoes and basil; allow sitting 30 minutes to blend flavors.
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
While pasta is cooking, heat the tomato mixture over low to medium heat; add crab and cook just to heat through, about 2-3 minutes then remove from heat. Add cooked pasta to tomato and crab mixture and toss to evenly mix; season with salt and pepper. Toss with Parmesan cheese.
These easy skewers feature the savory flavor combination of lemon, oregano and garlic that is so prevalent in Greek cooking. I love them for summer dinners as you can marinate the chicken the night before and throw them on the grill just before you want to eat dinner.
The classic Tzatziki sauce with creamy Greek-style yogurt and the cool flavors of mint and cucumber compliments the lemony oregano flavor of the chicken perfectly.
For a summer cocktail party, double the recipe and thread the chicken on smaller skewers for an appetizer.
Greek Chicken Skewers
Makes 8 skewers
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (1-1/2 teaspoons dried can be substituted)
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
- Kosher salt
- Tzatziki sauce:
- 2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, mint or cilantro or a combination of all three
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Kosher salt
- Cayenne pepper
Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest, oregano and pepper; pour over chicken, cover and marinate in the refrigerator 2-4 hours or overnight, turning once during marinating.
For the Tzatziki sauce, stir together yogurt, cucumber, honey, parsley and lemon zest; season with salt and cayenne pepper; refrigerate until using.
Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
Remove chicken from the marinade; skewer on 8 soaked skewers. Grill until chicken is cooked through, turning once during grilling, about 10 minutes.
Serve with Tzatziki sauce.
Fresh Basil Mozzarella Tomato Sandwich (first posted August 2011)
This warm summer dinner sandwich goes together quickly, can be doubled for a large group of people and is the perfect way to enjoy fresh fragrant basil, juicy ripe tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Fresh Basil Mozzarella Tomato Sandwich
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 loaf Ciabatta bread
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch wide slices
- 2 medium size tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
With a long serrated knife, slice bread in half, widthwise, the entire length to make two pieces.
Brush the outside of both halves of the bread with olive oil and cook under the broiler until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Turn bread over; brush one bread half with olive oil and put a single layer of mozzarella slices on the other. Put both bread halves back under the broiler and heat until cheese is melted and the olive oil brushed side of the bread is light brown and toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from broiler; put a layer of basil leaves over the melted mozzarella, then cover with the sliced tomatoes. Top with the toasted olive oil half of bread.
Cut into 4-6 pieces.