Buongiorno from a reflective flight home from Italy, where I'm excited to share newfound knowledge and ideas to help in your future Italian cooking or eating endeavors! I made sure to take extra notes on everything I learned and tasted so that this could be one mega-post packed with flavor. (You're welcome!)
In the left column you can view what I have learned from traveling to Italy, the Bel Paese (beautiful country) with an endless supply of pizza, pasta, and gelato. On the right are suggestions should you ever travel to Italy, or of how to eat and/or cook authentically Italian. I hope you enjoy learning about food from a foreign country, and are excited to bring a little slice (see what I did there?) of Italy home with you without having to actually travel there : )
Whether we realize it or not, there really is a separate category for summer food. In the summer we barbecue, cook with summer produce, and lay off the microwave since the weather is nice enough to grill everything. However, the summer food that Americans are into changes year to year, and after doing some research I have determined the top 6 trends that will be seen throughout the summer of 2018. Therefore, by following this advice your next outdoor gathering will have food that is on trend, and popular with your guests. So, get to your grill and start cooking, we've got some trends to uncover!
6. Savory Crepes
Originally from France, crepes have become increasingly more popular, not only as a dessert, but as a main dish. Although maybe not as explored, savory crepes can be a perfect summer guilty pleasure. Roll up vegetables, cheeses, spices, and maybe even meats in these flat pancakes. A good substitute for tortillas, crepes are also low in saturated fat, sugar, and cholesterol. Also, we all want to spend as much time outside biking, swimming, or running as possible in summer, and the high amount of carbs in crepes is sure to provide an energy boost without a sugar crash afterwards! Be sure to check out some of the favorites that I have discovered: shrimp and crab, smoked salmon and cream cheese, or eggs with mushrooms and spinach. To view more ideas, visit here.
5. Unlikely Gazpachos
What is a gazpacho? Well, it is a chilled Spanish soup that is popular during the summertime. While it is traditionally made of tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olive oil, water, and spices, people are getting creative with altering the ingredients. For instance, as can be seen from the picture on the right watermelon cucumber gazpacho (recipe here) is a savory-sweet spin off on the traditional version. Other unique gazpachos include cantaloupe, strawberry-tomato, minty pea, and more. Personally, I'm compelled to try the minty pea one especially. So, if you want to be more risky and fun with your cooking, I strongly suggest whipping up an unlikely gazpacho!
4. Quinoa Salad
Don't be afraid to try quinoa, a healthier rice substitute! While it may taste a little bland (but rice does, too) adding ingredients to it to make a quinoa salad is a healthy dish that is bursting with flavor. Quinoa is fiber-rich, high in protein, can improve blood sugar, and is gluten free which makes it accessible to guests with gluten intolerance, a huge plus! Quinoa salad can include any ingredients, but as an example my mom makes a quinoa salad with quinoa (obviously), pine nuts, dried roasted tomato, feta cheese, and basil. This recipe is fresh, the ingredients are easy to find, and is very popular within my family. In conclusion, quinoa salad has a lot of flexibility and can be consumed by almost any guest, making it a perfect side to a summer meal!
3. Fruit and Vegetable Breads
For the past few years creativity with these is becoming more and more popular. Whether it's zucchini or blueberry chocolate chip, almond cranberry, or even triple-spiced pear bread, it seems that more people are finding ways to spruce up and sweeten loaves of bread. This is the perfect dessert for guests who want to eat a little healthier and pair carbs with vitamins and/or potassium. Plus, like the quinoa salad, there's a lot of flexibility, and many ways to change the ingredients to make this dish your own!
2. Homemade Popsicles
Whether they're popsicles made of natural fruit juice, frozen yogurt, or greek yogurt, there are many different kinds of healthy popsicles that are easy to make right at home! These cool treats are perfect for the hot days of summer, and are refreshingly delicious. Also, to make them even sweeter and create texture variety you can put slices of fruit inside. In fact, homemade popsicles further adds to the theme of the fact that many of the summer dishes that are trending allow for unlimited creativity in order to make a gathering truly yours.
1. Baked Vegetables
It seems to be that topping vegetables with cheese, spices, and sometimes even more vegetables will be popular this season! My favorite base vegetables to do this with are portabella mushrooms and tomatoes, and the best cheeses are parmesan, gouda, and ricotta. This is a great side dish for any cookout because it includes vegetables and protein, plus the savory cheese may mask the less likeable (in the minds of younger guests) flavor of the veggies. Also, these go great as a burger substitute or in between sandwiches!
There are numerous types of cake, and at least one of them can be found at almost any social gathering. Anyone who wants to be a baker at any level practically needs to know a lot about cake, but let's face it, who has the time to become experienced by experimenting for hours on end? Right. So, to help with that, in this lengthy post I have included everything that I have discovered on anything relating to cake.
Building from the cake itself to the decorative finishing touches, these suggestions are the most basic and then some of the more advanced absolutely need-to-knows about cake. Enjoy exploring!
A high schooler with a love of food. See the My Story page to find out more.