Summer with Friends…

Time definitely has a way of getting away from me lately. April and May have been a non-stop race. I am looking forward to the summer days. I am planning to tackle several things I have not done before like Ciabatta, jams and pickling. I want to revisit my favorites and tweak them with new flavor combinations. And summer is the perfect time to try different drink recipes!

To get myself motivated, I visited some of my favorite blogs and picked several recipes to try in the coming months. I wanted to share these with you. I am sure you will lose yourself in their great blogs as I have been!

One of the fun blogs I follow, The Deep Dish, is full of sunny pictures from Cayman Islands. I really would like to visit her in person sometime, to sip one of these with her , preferably with rum! Until then, I will make it and sip it in my backyard. Just for this drink, I am thinking about buying a hammock.

Picture from The Deep Dish

Pickling sounds very intimidating, at least to me. I think I will start with Susan’s recipe, just to warm up. She is quite the baker and the cook by the way and has many great recipes on her blog, Savoring Time in The Kitchen. She has this lemon tart with chocolate crust that I want to try as well.

Picture from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

This summer, I want to add more cold soup recipes to the menu. I have only been making the cucumber-dill one I posted several weeks back and I am looking forward to the new recipes, like this Cold Corn Soup from Robin’s site, A Chow Life. I bet this will go well before we serve some grilled meat. Finding good corn in this Southern corner is so easy! So I am sure this recipe will be here to stay!

Picture from A Chow Life

Talking about soups, Vietnamese Pho Soup is one of our favorites. Never made it at home. However, last time I had it at a restaurant, the broth was a tad(!) bit more saltier than I would have liked. I knew I could find a better version of it in the blogosphere! Jeannette’s site never fails me with her healthy recipes. I met her last year at the BlogHer Conference and have been a dedicated follower since. She had the recipe of Pho soup just as I would have thought.

Picture from Jeannette’s Healthy Living

Cold or hot, all soups require good bread in my book. I got comfortable with my lean dough recipe but I want to venture into the sticky, runny dough world. I would like to stop paying for the expensive Ciabatta bread at the grocery store and make my own. Jenni of Pastry Chef Online made me jealous when she posted her recipe and pictures. Then Terra of Cafe Terra made the same recipe and her pictures made me more jealous and determined to make my own! In hindsight, Terra lives very close to me, I should have just gone to her place as soon as the picture was posted! Since this recipe was tested twice, definitely going to be baked before the heat wave hits the South.

Picture from Cafe Terra

For the main course, there is always something grilling in our house during summer. It checks one thing off my list and transfers onto Jay’s list! YAY for delegation! :) I am normally marinading with my usual spice combination of thyme, salt and pepper but this year would like to try some different flavors. When I am trying to find different flavors, I go to one of my favorite Indian food blogs. Tanvi of Sinfully Spicy had this lamb rack  and I have had my eye on the marinade for a while. The mysterious garam masala, lime juice, red pepper flakes and more! I will try this roasted lamb recipe on the grill – or should I say Jay will try it?!

Picture from Sinfully Spicy

Another thing that is on my agenda for summer is tomatoes. Soon the market stalls will be loaded with heirloom tomatoes or just any tomato and they will be so flavorful. I want to make more of this healthy version of the tomato tart with whole wheat-olive oil crust. Lisa of Tarte Du Jour has been my reliable source for tart recipes. I have made this goat cheese tart several times now, chocolate tart and strawberry tart. I made the tomato tart last year for a get-together but ended up eating only a small piece before it was all gone. So more of this will be on the menu!

Picture from Tarte Du Jour

So after eating all these courses, if you think we will not have room for dessert, you are dead wrong! There are certain techniques I want to learn such as pate a choux. Thankfully, Jenni of Pastry Chef Online not only has a detailed website focusing on teaching the pastry techniques, she also has videos! So, I will be trying some recipes from her site and bugging her with my questions all summer long.

Picture from Pastry Chef Online

Nutella might be the only weakness my whole group of friends share. Lora of Cake Duchess has a way with the desserts as well, makes them so approachable and look easy. This recipe of hers, Nutella Crostata, actually was the reason I joined Daring Bakers. I have not made it still but on my list for summer. She has “Nutella” category in her recipe index page. My kinda girl!

And yes, I will jump into the jams, compotes, marmalade world at least with two or three fruits. Lana of Bibberche made this plum jam, and her simple recipe is worth trying. She is like my lost soulmate in this expat world in the US. When she talks about her days in Serbia, and talks about the food she grew up with, I feel like she might as well be talking about my family…Her stories remind me of my own home.

Picture from Bibberche

Now I want to be done with May! June can not come fast enough!




  1. by Lana
    1:56 pm
    May 21, 2012

    Awww, Ilke, thanks so much for your words! I feel the same about you:) I am planning on making lots of jams and pickles this season (hoping to go to Serbia in July:)
    Your summer is going to be busy, but in a good way!
    Thanks for letting me get to know some of the blogs you like!

  2. by Jenni
    5:00 pm
    May 21, 2012

    Ilke, it looks like you’re going to be Very busy this summer! I think your whole run-down sounds very good!

    I know a lot of your other references, but not all of them. I shall have to go visit now and say hi! And if you have any questions about the pate a choux, ask away–I’m happy to help:)

  3. by Terra
    11:09 pm
    May 21, 2012

    Okay Ilke we need to bake/cook together this summer, that is my goal! Your treats you plan to make sound soooooo good, that tomato tart has me excited, I need to make it too!!! I stopped by all the lovely blogs, it was fun enjoying their blogs, they are all so wonderful! You are fantastic, sending hugs your way, Terra

  4. by Parsley Sage
    9:38 am
    May 22, 2012

    That Ciabatta looks amazing! You know that my baking skills are pretty much non-existent…I’m always so envious of people that can bake bread. I’m sure you’ll rock that like a hurricane :) Make sure to post. Along with whatever you do from Tart du Jour. Her stuff always looks so delicious :)

    Thanks so much for featuring me!!!

  5. by achowlife
    11:54 am
    May 22, 2012

    Thanks for including me on this amazing list. Lots of great choices for summer! xo

  6. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    6:17 pm
    May 22, 2012

    Thanks so much for the shout out my friend. I hope you get around to trying the lamb. Do let me know :)

  7. by Susan
    9:38 pm
    May 22, 2012

    Thank you, Ilke, for including my pickle recipe in your summer recipes to try! I just planted my cucumber seeds yesterday so I’m hoping for more home-grown refrigerator pickles later this summer.

    I would love to try all of the recipes you’ve featured here. They all look delicious! Ciabatta is a bread I haven’t been able to duplicate successfully at home. How I would love to be able to bake a good ciabatta!

  8. by Shelley
    10:15 am
    May 24, 2012

    Looks like you have some great projects lined up. I’m loving the looks and sound of that tomato tart- I’ve been thinking about tweaking the Rose Bakery tomato tart I always make. Here’s hoping life slows down a little and you have a chance to get in the kitchen and tackle all these fabulous looking recipes!

  9. by Lisa @ Tarte du Jour
    3:28 pm
    May 24, 2012

    Ilke, I have thoroughly enjoyed clicking through some of your favorite blogs and discovering some new ones to me! Thank you for including me on the summer to do list! I too love the slower pace of summer and look forward to more relaxing cooking.

  10. by thyme (Sarah)
    12:08 pm
    May 28, 2012

    These all look so delicious. Do you know I don’t think I have ever had a cold soup? I don’t want to sound like I am pushing you to my recipe….but I do have what I consider a ‘no fail’ ciabatta. I don’t have it on my recipe page because the photos weren’t really good. But, I will point out where I got the recipe. It was from “White on Rice” blog (which is an amazing blog). We were so impressed with the bread, how easy it was to make, and how delicious it tasted. BTW: Istanbul: My son had to create a brochure for English class so he and I put one together on…you guessed it….Istanbul. He is so intrigued by The Blue Mosque.

  11. by Mrs Ergül
    10:28 pm
    May 30, 2012

    I suck at making runny bread dough. They always turn out wrong! I also want to try my hands at lamb shank soon! Now, let me go clean up the burnt grill pan first!

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