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

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

You still have tons of zucchini right? Ok, I thought so, just checking. If you don’t (hi, Australia!), you can use this recipe as a template for whatever vegetable you do have (ie. broccoli would be delicious here). It’s a straight-forward simple pasta recipe – perfect for highlighting a special seasonal ingredient.

My zucchini and yellow squash were on the small side, so I sliced them into thin little coins and paired them with orecchiette pasta. I like how the shape of the squash and the shape of the pasta are somewhat similar. It makes for a nice “easy-to-get-it-all-on-your-fork” sort of texture.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

Rosemary isn’t super summery, but it’s what I had (my basil didn’t last through the heat). If you’ve been more successful with your herb-growing, feel free to switch it up. If you use leafy herbs, just be sure to add them closer to the end so they stay fresh and bright.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

Just a few minutes in the pan and you’re done. I folded in some creamy feta near the end – for a vegan option, add pesto instead.

Lemony Summer Squash Orecchiette / @loveandlemons

Parmigiano & Fig Grilled Cheese

parmigiano & fig grilled cheese / loveandlemons.com

A few weeks ago Whole Foods set out to break the Guinness World Record of number of Parmigiano Reggiano wheels cracked simultaneously. Jack and I were the “official” witnesses of Parmageddon at our Austin store. I know what you might be thinking… how does the lactose intolerant girl get herself into these things?

Well, first of all, Jack will not ever turn down an opportunity for free cheese. And second, in recent years I’ve learned that hard cheeses don’t have very much lactose, and that I don’t have as much of a problem with really high quality cheese. (ie. just say no to the processed Kraft green canister).

parmesan fig grilled cheese / loveandlemons.com

But what’s really special about this freshly cracked parm is that it’s so soft, light and buttery you could eat slivers of it all by itself. Or make fancy grilled cheese out of it like I did. I paired mine with sweet fig jam, a drizzle of balsamic, and some peppery arugula.

parmigiano & fig grilled cheese / loveandlemons.com

600 wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano were cracked that day throughout stores in the US, Canada and the UK, so you still have some time to go try it out yourself.

Special thanks to Whole Foods for partnering on this post.

Swiss Chard & Egg Casserole

swiss chard & egg casserole

Eggy casserole… fancy fritatta… I wasn’t sure what to call it but our “eggs for dinner” series continues with this new favorite. I realize this looks like a pile of greens (and it very much is), but there are thin layers of egg baked in between the light and flaky chard leaves.

The trick is to toss the whisked eggs with the chard leaves raw. In the oven, the greens on the bottom wilt down, the ones on top stay a little bit crispy… a perfect mix of textures.

swiss chard & egg casserole

The eggs are mixed with garlic and my favorite part – dijon mustard. I just love how dijon adds richness without having to add tons and tons of cheese. Cremini mushrooms add a meaty bite and the whole thing gets topped with pecorino and panko breadcrumbs.

swiss chard & egg casserole

This would would be great for brunch or, in our case, an easy weeknight meal.

Shells & Brussels Sprouts

shells & brussels sprouts / loveandlemons.com

Growing up, I was made to eat vegetables just as much as the next kid. Broccoli was at the top of my hate list, closely followed by mushy cooked carrots (one of the only veggies I still won’t eat). But I never had to face brussels sprouts. My mom didn’t like them as a child, so she never subjected them to our family. I felt lucky about this… if the adults in my family wouldn’t eat them, they must be that bad.

shells & brussels sprouts / loveandlemons.com

I don’t know what prompted brussels sprouts to go from America’s most hated veggie to darn near the most loved one, but I’m glad they did. Like most things, I’m sure it has everything to do with the preparation. They’re so great roasted until golden, or flash fried until crisp. Here, I coat them with a little balsamic and pan-roast them, then toss with shells, a little cheese and some bright squeezes of lemon.