I tend to hit a cooking slump during this time of the summer. It has been terribly hot the past few days and I glance over to look at the stove like it’s going to bite me if I turn it on. Instead of phoning it in though (literally, I considered phoning in a pizza), I’ve been trying to take this heat wave as a cooking challenge — can I create tasty treats that also keep me cool? That’s where this idea came in! I¬†took the elements of a nice chilled antipasto plate and made them into dippable skewers, laced with some chilled provolone, tortellini, tomatoes and olives. I made my own pesto for the dipping sauce (I just throw in garlic, basil, pine nuts and olive oil and keep adding until the consistency looks right) — try Ina Garten’s recipe if you like to be exact with proportions! They chilled down in the fridge for a bit until they were ready to bring to a friend’s pool party and proved to be the perfect cool snack.IMG_3985 read more

I am absolutely terrible at packing my lunch for work — I try to bring leftovers every once in a while, but I tend to prefer heading out for lunch to get something fresh. When a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More showed up in my mailbox though, I figured it was good motivation to make something tasty to bring along with me to work this week. The book has lots of good tips for layering salads and meal ingredients in mason jars to keep them fresh and crisp (dressing on the bottom, and pack down ingredients over it to keep other ingredients from getting soggy!). I took inspiration from the book’s caprese pasta recipe and made my own version: spinach tortellini with pesto, mozzarella, grape tomatoes, red onions, grilled corn, and more tortellini on top — the flavors melded together great!

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This weekend I had major order envy when one of my girlfriends had an amazing eggplant caprese sandwich while we were out to lunch on Newbury Street. I was still thinking about yesterday afternoon and decided to make a salad version for dinner with my own twist. Breaded eggplant with some tomatoes and mozzarella, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto — it was such a nice combination of fresh summer flavors!