Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich

Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich with Basil-Edamame Spread (vegan)

Last week, I was in New York speaking at a Random House event with (one of my favorite bloggers ever), Jenny from Dinner a Love Story. We chatted about our shared love for the simple tomato sandwich and how you shouldn’t complicate things that are as beautiful as summer tomatoes. I forgot that I had this post in the queue – because I absolutely LOVE this slightly fancier tomato-with-other-things sandwich.

This reminds me of a juicy caprese sandwich except, well, there’s no cheese here. Instead, there’s a good slathering of this edamame spread that I’m still obsessed with. This time I made it with basil instead of cilantro which makes it taste completely different and oh-so summery.

The rest of the components are SO simple that the success of this sandwich depends on getting them right. First off, I recommend finding the best baguette you can get your hands on (we get ours from Elizabeth St. Cafe). Next, use in-season tomatoes and fresh basil. Since artichokes are out of season I used good quality jarred roasted artichokes which I’ve recently realized are far superior to canned artichokes.

Tomato, Basil & Artichoke Picnic Sandwich with Basil-Edamame Spread (vegan)

Assemble this early in the day at least a few hours before your picnic (or even the night before) so that the sweet tomato-basil juices do that thing where they mingle together and partially soak into the middle of the bread. I like to assemble this using one large baguette, wrap it up, store it in the fridge, and then slice it into individual portions just before I’m ready to pack them up.

Happy picnicking!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Tell me, who doesn’t love a variety of yummy mix & match toppings on little pieces of grilled bread? Here’s a party idea that you can easily pull off this weekend. All you have to do is chill some rose, gather a bunch of toppings (and a bunch of friends)… grill some bread and voila, you have a fun, casual crostini party!

The combinations you can put together are endless, but my strategy here is pretty simple. I chose ingredients that hit on a variety of flavors and textures – sweet, savory, salty, fruity, herb-y, creamy, crunchy… you get the idea. For this post we’re partnering with Stonewall Kitchen because their delicious jams fit perfectly into this mix (hello, Hot Pepper Peach Jam!). I often reach for their jams, chutneys & crackers (among their other gourmet products) when I’m entertaining and when I don’t want to make everything myself.

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Your guests can, of course, mix and match crostini toppings to their hearts’ desire, but these were some of our favorite combinations:

Strawberry Champagne Jam +  brie +  mint
Hot Pepper Peach Jam + cashew cream + a peach slices + pistachios
– Pesto + Roasted Garlic Onion Jam + cherry tomatoes

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

And because Stonewall Kitchen is celebrating their 25th anniversary, they’re giving away a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Picnic Tote Gift which includes: a nautical recycled tote by Sea Bags, stemless wine glasses, a teak wood spreader, a cutting board, a jar of their delicious Mango Chutney, crackers, a picnic blanket & an insulated Corksicle water bottle. (A $349 value), check it out and enter to win by clicking here!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

If you’re the salad-bringer in your family or circle of friends – this one’s for you. It’s super easy and also really super bright & flavorful. It goes great with whatever you’re grilling and packs up well for picnics. You can make it in advance which, in my opinion, is a key element to summer salad-ing.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

This is not a traditional tabbouleh because, as you see, I’m using dried tart cherries (which are also sometimes called sour cherries) in lieu of tomatoes. I just love the pop of sweet bright flavor they bring here – it contrasts so nicely with the earthy flavors of the herbs and it balances so well with the tang of the lemon juice.

For this post, we’re working with the Cherry Marketing Institute. If you haven’t heard, I’m pretty obsessed with Montmorency tart cherries (see all previous recipes here). As their name suggests, they bring a pop of tart flavor to so many dishes, and I love the challenge of creatively working them into various types of recipes. They also have some great health benefits – they’re known to help with muscle soreness after a workout and studies have shown that they can help with sleep since they’re a natural source of melatonin. Give these superfruits a try if you haven’t already! I find mine in the bulk bins at Whole Foods, some of you have also mentioned that they can be found at Costco.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is traditionally made with bulgur but I used millet here because it’s gluten free and the texture is pretty similar. I’ve included cooking methods for both in the notes of the recipe.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

I mixed the millet with tons of herbs, diced cucumber, red onion, and scallions. It’s simply seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and a touch of white wine vinegar – mix it all in one bowl and serve. As I type this I’m trying to hold myself back from finishing the leftovers in the fridge – this salad is especially good on the 2nd day when the flavors have had the chance to mesh together.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Pumpkin Penne + Australia Book Release!

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta (vegan)

This week in Texas, the summer temps are climbing to a sweltering 102 degrees – but I wanted to post this cozy comfort-food recipe from the cookbook because today’s the day the book comes out in Australia!

This creamy vegan pasta is made with blended pumpkin (you could also use kabocha or butternut squash), roasted garlic, cashews, onion & sage. It’s one of my favorite fall/winter recipes, although I could totally go for a bowl of it right now. (Note to self: writing blog posts before dinner is NOT a good idea).

To all of you Aussie readers: you can now get the book at your local book store or online here at Booktopia.

(and if you’re not in Australia, click here for more online sellers).

The Love & Lemons Cookbook