Summer is right around the corner!
I can't believe it. I am so excited to enjoy my son's first summer! He is almost 7 months old. He just got his first little swimsuit and we have already been spending much more time outdoors. So far he is loving the warmer weather.
We just moved into a different house and the backyard could use a lot of help. But I have so many dreams of enjoying BBQ, warm evenings with friends, and twinkle lights in that backyard. I am taking it one step at a time. I have been feeding my dreams by browsing all the neat summer items in stores right now. Even my local Raley's grocery store is carrying cute little paper straws with polka dots on them. Cute stuff is everywhere.
To inspire you with your own backyard parties, lazy evenings, and sunny sieastas, I am sharing some of the summer items and recipes I have found.
The West Elm in my neighborhood, Roseville, CA. has been hosting some fun teaching events where they feature some of their products, recipes, and more. I recently went and saw some awesome stuff. I wish i could buy it all.
They have these great bright colored dishes that would make any get-to-gether festive:
I am also loving their white outdoor metal line
Williams and Sonoma has some fun tools that I want to add to my kitchen:
They have these new quick pop makers. You can make all sorts of fun frozen treats with them.
I also would love their soda stream maker. You can make anything from sparkling water to a tasty base for alcoholic beverages. Its so quick and easy.
Here are some fun recipes you can try as well:
With the Soda Stream you could make these herb- infused cocktails (or you can do them without it).
- 3 slices fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- 5 mint sprigs
- 4 ounces vodka
- Muddle ginger with sugar in a glass. Add mint sprigs. Muddle until fragrant. Add vodka and ice. Garnish with mint. Stir.
Basil French 75
- 5 basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 4 ounces Champagne
- Muddle basil leaves with sugar in a shaker. Add gin, lemon juice, and ice. Shake, and strain. Add ice and Champagne.
Here are some delish dishes to grill:
Orange Mojo Pork Tenderloin
For the Latin spice rub:
- 1/4 cup ground cumin
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 Tbs. freshly ground pepper
For the orange mojo:
- 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 jalapeño chilies, seeded and finely chopped
- 12 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
To make the Latin spice rub, in a small container with a tight-fitting lid, stir together the cumin, sugar, coriander, salt and pepper. Cover and shake vigorously to mix. Use immediately, or store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month. You will need 2 Tbs. of the spice rub for this recipe.
To make the mojo, in a fry pan over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds, shaking the pan often, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and heat until warm. Add the jalapeños, garlic, salt and pepper and heat for 3 to 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat.
In a blender, combine the orange juice, cilantro, oregano and sherry. Pour in the warm oil mixture and blend until smooth. You should have about 2 3/4 cups. Divide the mixture in half and let cool. The mojo can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Rub the pork tenderloins evenly with the Latin spice rub. Place the pork in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in half of the mojo. Seal the bag, squish the marinade around the tenderloins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight is better.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to begin grilling, remove the pork from the refrigerator. Discard the marinade and lightly pat the pork dry with paper towels.
Prepare a medium fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Place the pork on the grill directly over the heat and cook until nicely grill-marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Roll the tenderloins about one-quarter turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Continue to roll and cook in this manner for a total of about 15 minutes for medium. The pork is ready when it feels fairly firm to the touch, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145ºF.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut the pork on the diagonal against the grain and arrange the slices on a platter. Serve immediately with the remaining mojo. Serves 4 to 6.
Grilled Steak Tacos
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
- 12 small corn tortillas
- 2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced Salsa for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, onion, garlic, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, tequila and salt. Using a sharp knife, score the steak a few times across the grain. Place in a baking dish and pour the marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate, turning the steak occasionally, for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.
Prepare a hot fire in a grill and generously oil the grill rack. Preheat an oven to 300°F. Divide the tortillas into 2 equal stacks and wrap each one tightly in aluminum foil. Place the tortillas in the oven and warm until ready to serve. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Grill the steak directly over high heat, turning once, until well browned on both sides, 9 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. Move the steak to a cooler part of the grill if flare-ups occur. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Slice the steak thinly against the grain.Remove the tortillas from the oven. To assemble the tacos, place the meat on one side of a tortilla, spoon a little avocado and salsa on top and fold. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Okay, I hope you got some great ideas. What are your summer plans? Start planning your own summer entertaining and let us know how it goes. And if you are really lost, just hire us and we can plan it for you! :)