red & white summer wines

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Happy almost 4th of July!

Jack and I just got back from a long week in Chicago so didn’t have time to get my flag-cake on… (not that I’ve ever made a flag cake, but there’s always next year). Since the internet seems to be blowing up with food coloring, I thought I’d take a different approach to “red and white” and share a few of my favorite summer wines.

These are all very food-friendly. I’ve made some pairing suggestions but, really, they’re very versatile – perfect for any weekend picnic or cookout. (Also, they’re all under $20). Available at (wine-carrying) Whole Foods stores, now through mid-July:

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Innovac!ón Chenin-Chardonnay 2013, Argentina $9.99
I’ve been a fan of Innovac!ón wines for a long time. This 70% chenin/30% chardonnay has notes of white flowers, apple, pears and tropical fruits. The flavor is fresh and soft with well-balanced acidity. (It’s also 1 liter bottle so it’s a super bargain).

pair with:
Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad
Grilled Veggie Skewers
Edamame & Corn Succotash

Frey Agriculturist Organic Blanc 2013, California $11.99
This one wins my award for “prettiest bottle.” Frey Vineyards is America’s first maker of certified Biodynamic® wines. This organic white is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling. It has notes of honeysuckle, tropical fruits and orange blossom.

pair with:
Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps
Grilled Peach Salad w/ Mint Pesto
Strawberry Quinoa & Feta Salad

Les Hauts de Bel Air Bordeaux Blanc 2013, France $10.99
A beautiful pale yellow Bordeaux Blanc… This white has delicate aromas of sandstone, rosemary and thyme backed up by pepper, fresh peaches, and grapefruit zest.

pair with:
Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad
Anna’s Tomato Gazpacho with Mango
Chickpea Niçoise Salad with Roasted Potatoes

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Soleil des Garrigues Ventoux 2012, France $10.99
This one is our favorite red lately – it’s made up of 70% grenache, 15% syrah, 10% carignan, and 5% cinsault. Its aromatic bouquet features red licorice, white pepper, raspberry and sweet cherry fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Polenta with Zucchini Salsa
Rosemary Lemon Pasta
Feta & Harissa Fattoush Salad

Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana 2011, Italy $19.99
A blend of 50% sangiovese, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot, this smooth super Tuscan blend is vegan, spicy and full of juicy black fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Potato & Arugula Salad
Grilled Herb Garden Pizza
Grilled Panzanella with Poached Eggs

Sanford Flor de Campo Pinot Noir 2012, California $19.99
This medium bodied balanced wine delivers bursts of bright red raspberries and cherries with an earthy hint of pepper.

pair with:
Tomato, Feta, & Honey Toasts
Kale & White Bean Crostini
Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

This post is created in partnership with Whole Foods.

feta & harissa fattoush salad

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

I have a confession to make: I’m obsessed with feta cheese. Growing up, my mom used to make spanakopita, (carefully wrapped phillo dough triangles stuffed with spinach and feta), every year for my birthday – it was my favorite thing and that tangy creamy flavor is still one of my fondest food memories.

Of course, that’s a lot of work to do for every day meals, so nowadays I get my feta fix on salads. That tangy salty bite has a way of turning on-hand ingredients into tasty cohesive meals. Sweet potato and pomegranate, watermelon and avocado, strawberries and quinoa, check check check.

One ingredient we happened to have on-hand recently was stale pita bread. I’ve made plenty of panzanella salads with stale bread, but I just love fattoush and all of its crispy flatbread goodness. Fattoush is a middle eastern bread salad made with toasted day-old pita, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta and sumac. Sumac turned out to be a difficult ingredient to source so I subbed in some spicy & smoky (dried) harissa instead. So here we have: fattoush-ish.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

In a small bowl drizzle sliced sweet cherry tomatoes with a little bit of sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. (This becomes so flavorful and juicy that making a separate salad dressing isn’t necessary).

Cut up the stale pita into small chips, drizzle it with olive oil, harissa spice and salt, and toss it in the oven until it’s golden brown and toasty. Set them aside and try not to eat them all as you assemble the rest of the salad. (or if you have snack-y family members like I do – toast some extra pita so you’ll have plenty left for the salad).

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

Toss the whole thing with peppery arugula, crispy chopped cucumbers and then – the special part - two types of cheese – Président Feta Crumbles which are tart and salty, and Valbreso Sheeps Milk Feta, which is creamy and rich, yet delicate.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

Toss it all together so the juices of the tomato soak into the toasty pita. Sprinkle on more harissa, a few mint leaves, and – of course – serve with extra feta.

feta and harissa fattoush salad @loveandlemons

Win $50 worth of Président cheese. Visit ArtOfCheese.com to download a coupon and enter the Pinterest sweepstakes.

anna’s gazpacho

Anna's tomato gazpacho with mango and cucumber

You didn’t think I’d talk about all of the food from our Yellow Table dinner party without sharing a recipe did you?

We don’t do many guest posts on this site, so today I’m excited to share this (literal!) guest recipe. We had so much fun hosting Anna for the weekend, we couldn’t help but snap some photos in our kitchen while she prepped for dinner. This gazpacho was SO delicious (and also super easy) – I absolutely needed the recipe.

It was the perfect cold soup for a hot Texas evening. Trust me, you’re going to want to make this one all summer long…

Anna's tomato gazpacho with mango and cucumber Anna's tomato gazpacho with mango and cucumber

It starts with some gorgeous peak-season tomatoes that we picked up that morning at the farmers market. She added them to the blender with cucumbers, cilantro, red onion, and olive oil (among other things). I was surprised how few ingredients she used to create such a rich creamy flavor. (It actually brought me back to this one that I had a few years ago on a beach in Spain).

Anna's tomato gazpacho with mango and cucumber

Her special twist? Garnishes of sweet cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber and diced mango – yum!

This recipe, (and the others from the party), are all in The Yellow Table Cookbook. You’re going to want a copy of your own, but you’ll need to pre-order it on her Kickstarter page to help make it happen! Click over now to help a fellow food blogger out…

And special thanks to Anna for the recipe!

dinner party w/ the yellow table

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com Untitled-1

When someone asks you if they can come over and throw a dinner party for you and your friends, you say yes. Resoundingly, yes. To be honest, I struggle with throwing dinner parties – they’re a LOT of work and at the end of each one I always say to Jack “let’s just meet friends at a restaurant next time.” My friend Anna – from The Yellow Table – however, is a pro. She’s on a mission to make this year “the year of the dinner party.” She just spent a month driving from NYC to LA throwing 8 (EIGHT!) dinner parties along the way, including a stop at our place last weekend.

Why would someone put themselves through something so crazy as a Cookbook Roadtrip? “Something magical happens when people gather around table,” she told me… “I just love that sense of connection.” Her passion for bringing people together over delicious food was the inspiration behind the cookbook that she created (and blogged about for 100 days in a row). I can tell you first hand that her recipes are beyond delicious… but here’s the thing:

We have to kickstart that cookbook! CLICK HERE, to preorder your copy of The Yellow Table Cookbook, which will fund the first round of printing. Your copy will arrive this fall, just in time to lend some inspiration to your holiday gatherings.

And now, some pics from our party!!

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Anna created her menu using tons of local ingredients: Heirloom cherry tomatoes garnished her creamy gazpacho. Beautiful shaved carrots got tossed into a huge lemony kale salad. Juicy peaches and blackberries became a (make-ahead!) crumble with a crispy oat topping. (All of the recipes are in the book, btw).

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

I set the table with mismatched chairs, vintage dishes and assorted patterned napkins. (Being a food blogger, I don’t own “sets” of anything). I designed little menu cards to tie the look together. Anna plated soups just before guests arrived – icy cold gazpacho was perfect for this hot summer night.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

The night was filled with good friends, (and new friends!), and of course great food. The main course (not pictured b/c Jack was too busy eating it), was grilled skirt steak and fish topped with roasted red pepper chimichurri – a delicious twist on a classic.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Everyone sat around the table and enjoyed wine late into the night…

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Special thanks to Anna for coming to our house and creating such a magical evening! And thanks to Whole Foods who provided all of the groceries and wine!

food by: Anna / photography by: Jack / tables & graphics by: yours truly

tomato, peach & avocado bruschetta

tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta

It’s peach season over here! (I know, it comes early here in Texas). But when it’s peach season I have just one objective: Eat as many peaches as possible until it’s not peach season anymore.

tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta

On Saturday, I came home from the farmers market with these beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes, sweet peaches, and my favorite nine grain (Easy Tiger) bread. I truly believe summer food should be simple, so I made this easy bruschetta for dinner along with a huge salad. It was perfect for a hot summer evening along with ice cold white wine.

I used creamy avocado this time instead of any sort of cheese, but it would also be nice with a little burrata or even a slather of goat cheese.