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Cheesy Zucchini and Corn Fritters with Herb Sour Cream

If you grow your own summer squash, or belong to a CSA, the weekly glut of produce can be overwhelming. Our solution? Shred it, squeeze it, mix into a cheesy batter and fritter it away. Literally. 

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Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

We take what we love about most about nachos (crunchy chips and an unapologetic amount of cheese) and loaded them up with the best flavors of summer. Grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, avocado, pickled radishes and shredded chicken with bourbon-brown sugar BBQ sauce. 

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Crostini with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Burrata and Chive Oil

The building blocks of a classic Caprese salad are re-imagined in these summery toasts. First, cherry tomatoes are blistered in a skillet until bursting with juice. Then creamier burrata takes the place of the more standard mozzarella. And in place of basil leaves, a quick and easy chive oil adds an herbal accent. The result makes for a great snack or light meal.

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Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken ThighsSome things are just difficult to explain.

For example, how can one man be so attractive yet so clearly resemble an otter? (Yes, I am referring to Benedict Cumberbatch. Click the second link if you want to laugh for 45 minutes).

Also, how can I be so excited about Outlander, when GAME OF THRONES is back on Sunday! (Hey, I can see you making a face but the blog is called NERDS with Knives so it’s not like you were misled.)

And finally, how can the easiest dish to cook also be the most delicious thing ever? This sounds like hyperbole, which granted, I am guilty of a million times per day but I’m not yanking your chain here. This seriously might be the best weeknight dinner we’ve ever made.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Crostini with Blue Cheese and Roasted Grapes

Crostini with Blue Cheese and Roasted Grapes

Crostini with Cambozola Cheese and Roasted Grapes

Crostini is just a fancy word for a a tiny toasty with delicious toppings. They’re an easy, versatile and crowd-pleasing party snack. And shouting “Crostini!” makes you sound like a Jawa from Star Wars.

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve discovered something about myself. I have tunnel vision. I get an idea in my head and I become obsessed with it (for example; that fun little blog that we were supposed to update every once in a while only when something interesting happened). Sometimes it’s a television show, sometimes a book, or a place.

When we’re going to throw a dinner party, it’s usually one particular dish that hooks me. In one sense it’s great because I love researching recipes and techniques, figuring out flavor combinations and the best ways to prepare a specific thing. The problem is that I can get so obsessed with that one thing, that everything else falls by the wayside and becomes an afterthought (or on more than one occasion, a never-thought). Oh, you wanted something other than just a huge slab of ribs at the party? 

This is especially true for me when it comes to appetizers (or ‘starters’, as Matt calls them in an oh-so-adorably-English way). I usually forget all about them and then, once hungry people are already in my house, I rummage to see if there are any non-moldy cheeses in the fridge I can pull out.

So recently, being a much better host than I, Matt politely suggested that we think about and actually prepare a “first course” for the dinner we were planning with our wonderful friends, Larry and Catherine. I know, he’s so weird. 

Lemongrass Collins

Lemongrass Collins

A lemongrass collins takes a little time, but you will end up with a delicious, refreshing cocktail that will also knock you on your arse.

Lemongrass CollinsThis unbelievably delicious Lemongrass Collins recipe comes from Barnum Cafe in Rome. Have Matt and I ever been to this darling-looking place? Um…no. But we know people.

Important people.

Our dear friends, Rickey and Barbara, went to Italy and, being the most fun people that ever lived, managed to convince the bartender from Barnum Cafe to give them the recipe. I then harassed them into giving it to me. And I am now giving it to you, the internet.

Quick aside: Matt and I recently spent the weekend with them, drinking these cocktails and watching a marathon of the first season of The Knick. For me, one of life’s greatest pleasures is spending time with people who make me laugh, cooking great food, drinking delicious drinks, and watching Clive Owen do creepy things to Bono’s daughter.

Lemongrass Collins

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Did you know that if you put tasty things into vodka (or gin) and let it steep for a while in a cool, dark place you wind up with vodka (or gin) that tastes like whatever delicious thing you put in it?

I can’t believe I’ve never done this before and, to be honest, I’m a little mad that you guys didn’t tell me about this sooner. Has everyone been drinking delicious infused cocktails for years and hiding it from me? I’m shocked and appalled and I demand you send me your favorite infusion combinations this instant so I can make them, photograph them and put them all over the internet.

Anyway, this one was inspired by our dear friend’s son who just twenty minutes ago was an adorable little baby and is now about to graduate from college. This handsome former-baby (Hi Jesse, don’t kill me!) is clearly an entrepreneur because he makes delicious lemongrass-infused vodka in his dorm room closet. 

[Leans on walker and adjusts ear-trumpet] Ha, kids these days! When I was in college, we thought it was très classy to remove the paper bag from the bottle of Jaegermeister before chugging it. So fancy!

Lemongrass and Lemon-Peel Infused Vodka

Peel the lemongrass until you reach the pale green, almost-white layers.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Parmesan

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Parmesan

This farro salad with butternut squash and hardy kale lets you imagine it’s actually spring while using up the last of your winter produce. 

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and ParmesanYay, it’s officially Spring! Also boo, it’s officially snowing.

Here in the Hudson Valley we had one fleeting afternoon of warmth but then, like a high school bully who tells you your sneakers are cool so you’ll look down and then flicks you on the forehead, we got sucker punched.  Even the chickens were like, “Seriously? We are so over this,” when I went to the coop this morning.

Every year I forget that Spring vegetables like ramps and asparagus don’t start to show up at the Farmer’s Market until mid-April at the earliest so right now, it’s mostly the same selection you find in Fall. Which is not a terrible thing when you can get great stuff like butternut squash, apple cider and baby kale.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Parmesan

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