Favorite Summer Salads

Summer Salads / loveandlemons.com

If I had to pick only one season and one category of food to blog about until the end of time, it would be this one. I’m pretty obsessed with salads all year round, but I just can’t get enough when tomatoes, peaches and zucchini are all at their best. It’s hard to go wrong with a salad by tossing peak-season summer veggies into a bowl with a simple, tasty dressing (that’s how many of these salads came to be). If you’d like some inspiration, though, here are some of my all time faves:

pictured from left to right, top to bottom:

Heirloom Caprese with Mint Pesto / Peach Salad with Mint & Pistachios

Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad

Fete Harissa Fattoush Salad / Sweet Pepper Panzanella

Zucchini & Grilled Corn Salad / Spicy Watermelon & Avocado Salad

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas / loveandlemons.com

If you’ve been following for long, you know that I have a slight obsession for all things that are mini. Mini skillets, mini pies, mini tacos – but my absolute favorite small food has to be mini pizzas. They’re quick and easy to make and a fun way to try lots of different toppings. These would be great for a summer party – you could even toss these little guys on the grill if you don’t want to heat up your house.

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas / loveandlemons.com

The first step to your mini pizza party is mini naan – I buy Stonefire Mini Naan all the time – they’re easy to keep on hand in the freezer, especially for last-minute pizza cravings. Bake them, toast them, grill ‘em… you get the idea.

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas / loveandlemons.com

Choose a bunch of toppings: I went with a mix of classic pizza toppings (mozzarella, tomatoes, pesto), and few that are a little unexpected (blackberries, poblanos, pepitas and grilled corn). I mixed a little smoked paprika with the tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic with the blackberries… my basic rule of thumb is to pair flavors that contrast each other – balancing ingredients that are sweet, salty, smoky, tangy, etc.

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas / loveandlemons.com

Whenever I do a post with multiple options, I hate to pick favorites. These were all quite tasty but Jack and I decided that there was one clear winner: the grilled poblano, corn and pepita pizza, dolloped with a little bit of kale pepita pesto. It’s a little spicy, but not too spicy… a little sweet because of the corn, a little smoky from the grill flavor. I’m starving just talking about it again!

Mix & Match Mini Pizzas / loveandlemons.com

travel tips for Rome & Amalfi?

Capri, Italy

Later this week, we’re taking a little trip and would love to hear your travel recs… especially those that involve food (of course)! If you have favorite restaurants, markets, or gelato shops please let me know!

Jack and I are heading to Rome, and the Amalfi coast so we’d love suggestions for Positano, Amalfi, Capri, and Sorrento. We’ve been to Rome (and Capri, pictured) before, so we’ll probably skip some of the main tourist attractions but would love other ideas – cool neighborhoods to check out – that sort of thing.

Grazie!!

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

The other day, I had this intense craving for cheesecake. The timing was a little out of the blue since I eat cheesecake exactly once a year when my mom makes it at christmas time. She makes a family recipe – my Grandma Kissel’s infamous recipe – and no one but her and my Aunt Kathy have it. It’s amazingly creamy and light and perfect and it won’t be getting passed down to me anytime soon.

I wasn’t going to attempt to make sub-par cheesecake to satisfy my craving, so I made a lighter and altogether easier no-bake version.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

I’m not going to exactly call this healthy – but as far as cheesecake goes, it’s definitely a skinnier cousin. It has less overall cheese and less sugar (just a few tablespoons of maple syrup actually). It’s topped with my favorite dessert fruit – tart cherries – which have some major superfood properties. They’re a natural anti-inflammatory as well as a source of melatonin which helps regulate sleep. While this is not a famous family recipe, it’s creamy and delicious. The bright pop of tart cherries are really, well, the cherry on top.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

I use coconut cream along with mascarpone cheese, which makes for a light and smooth creamy filling. If you’re vegan, you can double the coconut cream. If you love cheese and want to make this thick and decedent, skip the coconut cream and double the mascarpone cheese.

If you live in an area where you can get Montmorency tart cherries, seek them out – or look for them frozen in your local retailer nationwide. I personally love them frozen because as they thaw their natural juices become a sweet tangy sauce.

Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits / loveandlemons.com

Peach & Tomato Crostini

peach & tomato crostini / @loveandlemons

Lately I’ve been reading all kinds of summer bucket lists that are floating around the internet. I enjoy them – they inspire me to get away from the computer and do fun things like hang out at pools with popsicles. (which I haven’t actually done, but the idea still lifts my spirit).

For me, summer + list-making don’t go hand-in-hand, so I’ll just make one goal and that is to eat ALL of the peaches. I freaking love peaches. Their season is happening here and now in Texas so I’m I making the most of it with things like peach salads, peach salsa, and peach pops, just to name a few…

herb garden pine nut spread/ @loveandlemons

The other day, with my Farmhouse bounty, I made crostini with the sweetest peaches and cherry tomatoes. The basil in my herb garden isn’t doing so well, so traditional pesto wasn’t going to be an option. Instead, I picked some pretty purple sage, oregano, chives (and a couple of sorta-bruised basil leaves) and pulsed them together with pine nuts. It’s almost pesto – I stopped short of adding the olive oil because I liked the taste of it as a chunkier spread.

Assemble the toasts with sliced peaches and cherry tomatoes and serve on a patio with Peach Sangria!

peach & tomato crostini / @loveandlemons