Rebecca Lynn Nichols-Driggs https://t.co/TUG2Y0foHT
I Brought My Inside Outside. Now What?
Did you check out the latest issue of Circa magazine?
If so, I’m sure you honed right in on the Driggs Designs article, “Bringing the Inside Outside.”
Now that you have your screened porch or patio all squared away and are ready to entertain the masses or just a few close friends, we want to share a few of our favorite summertime food and drink recipes with you!
I’ll go first.
My favorite summertime drink is called Summer Ale, and I credit my friend Heidi Potter with turning us on to this refreshing crowd pleaser. We mix it up frequently and relax on our back porch with a few tall glasses and a little Kenny Chesney. I always pour an extra glass for Kenny, but he never shows. Still, I think he would approve. This is also a drink you can easily prepare in large batches for parties, tailgates, and treating your friends to a fun day on your boat out on Falls Lake. (Do you have a boat? Yes? Let’s be friends.)
Here’s an insider tip about Summer Ale: if it isn’t summer, doesn’t matter. It’s also known as Autumn Ale, Winter Ale, Birthday Ale, Must Be Thursday Ale… You get the picture. Anyway, here you go. You’re so welcome!
3 bottles of Corona (or Corona Light)
1 can frozen Limeade
8 -10 oz. vodka (I usually just pour into the Limeade can until it is ¾ full – or all the way full, depending on how many times I’ve cleaned something off the floor/wall/car/child that day. Also, you don’t have to use top shelf vodka.)
Pour into a large pitcher in the order listed and mix together until limeade is mostly melted. Serve ice cold! Garnish with a lime wedge if you’re fancy. Note: Yes, I’m fully aware that some people like to make a similar concoction using tequila as opposed to vodka, but tequila and I do not get along well. Vodka it is!
As far as cooking during summer, I like to avoid heating up my kitchen if I can. My internal thermometer is set year round on too darn hot, and let’s face it – Raleigh is what I like to call a three shower (per day) town. In that light, this recipe involves minimal heat and no oven whatsoever. Also please keep in mind that I am incapable of telling you how much of the vegetables you should measure. I honestly throw in as much as I want until it looks colorful enough to me, and that’s how I know I will like it. Eat your colors, people!
I Made This Up Tuna Salad
2-3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar & Olive Oil Dressing
2-3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ package (1 cup dry) Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains (substitute: orzo, quinoa, couscous, or any combination of those)
½ C chicken broth or water (I use broth)
2 cans tuna
Any combination of the following:
asparagus, lightly steamed and cut into 1″ pieces
grape tomatoes, halved
black beans, rinsed
Whisk together dressing and mustard. Stir in tuna; allow it to marinate while you prepare Harvest Grains using the broth or water. If frozen, boil corn and peas for just a few minutes. (I like them hot but still crisp.) Drain. Mix Harvest Grains, corn, and peas with tuna mixture, then add all remaining ingredients. It tastes good hot, cold, with more leftover veggies added, or with a sprinkle of parmesan. You really can’t go wrong here!
Need a refresher after a long day? Is your porch calling out to you, “Come, sit, relax?” Mix up one of Kerri’s favorite cocktails and obey your porch.
St. Germaine Cocktail
2 parts white wine, Champagne, or dry sparkling wine
1 ½ parts St. Germain
2 parts Club Soda
Over ice, stir all ingredients and garnish with lemon or mint sprig. Ahhhhhh…
Do you have a thriving herb and vegetable garden like Kerri does? You do? Pssh. Well, I’m not jealous. You should see my pot of mint, my other pot of not-pinched-back-enough-basil, and the rosemary growing over on the sunny side of the house (not near the kitchen – who planned this?). Anyway, I will just assume you are a more skilled/involved gardener than I am or that you know exactly where to find the herbs in the produce section. Either way, make like Kerri and go harvest that herb and summer vegetable bounty, because this is the perfect dish to use several in harmony! And hey, Kerri? If you see someone sneaking around your garden with a pair of kitchen shears and a basket, that will just be me.
Stuffed Zucchini with Shrimp and Herbs
2 large zucchinis, halved lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red pepper
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoons red cayenne pepper
1 pound chopped cooked shrimp
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup chopped fresh basil
Splash of white wine
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop out the flesh of the zucchini, chop, and reserve. Coat shells with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; bake for 10 – 15 minutes to soften, then set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute garlic, scallions, celery, and peppers until soft (not brown). Add shrimp and wine. Cook for one minute to heat shrimp. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients except for bread crumbs, cheese, and eggs. Season to taste.
Add bread crumbs, ½ of the cheese, and eggs. Stuff mixture into zucchini shells and sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Garnish with some of the fresh parsley and enjoy!
When I asked Becky about her favorite cocktail, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I learned it was the Cosmopolitan. Always clean and classic, just like my sweet friend!
1.5 oz. Stirrings Simple Cosmopolitan Mixer (you can find at World Market)
1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka
Shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime.
Note: If you don’t have a World Market nearby, you only need to know that in addition to the vodka, you should use cranberry juice, lime juice, and triple sec. Measurements, you ask? Yes, well, if you will recall from my tuna salad recipe, I’m more of a Keep-Adding-Stuff-Until-It-Looks-Good kind of girl, so just try to make it look like this:
Heading over to your neighbor’s swanky outdoor party and want to show up with an appetizer sure to impress? Look no further. We don’t have a name for it, so I’ll take your suggestions. The committee will decide and let you know if you’ve won*.
*You will win absolutely nothing, but thanks for helping us out anyway!
Here’s The Recipe…
Toasted bread slices (I like Nonni’s Panetini Oven Baked Italian Toast)
Mesquite smoked turkey (sliced thin at deli counter)
Red pear, sliced thin
Combozola cheese (find it in the gourmet cheese section at most groceries)
Layer the above items in the following order: bread, turkey, pear, cheese (amount the size of a grape). Push one walnut into the cheese. Place in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese melts.
We didn’t have a picture, but this sounded so tempting that I wanted to try it. Problem? I had a napping baby and no turkey. Also, I had goat’s milk cheese instead of this exotic-sounding Combozola. Solution? Bacon. (Really, bacon solves a lot of problems as far as I’m concerned.) So while I’m sure that this easy and delicious appetizer is far lovelier to behold and even more pleasing to the palette when made according to the directions, I have to say that we gobbled these right up! Next time, however, I’m going in search of the correct ingredients. Anyway, we had a little photo session, and here is the result…
There you have it. You’re ready to eat, drink, and be merry on those spiffed-up porches and patios! Before you run off, though, we would love it if you’d share some of your favorite summer cocktail or dishes with us, too. And if you care to describe to us what you like best about your outdoor space, we would be even more delighted!