Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summertime ANYTIME

I was in a quaint gift shop in one of my favorite Santa Monica hotels—Shutters on the Beach—browsing the cookbook selection. Just as I was about to pay for my purchase, a super-chic woman in a hat next to me said 'The Summertime Anytime Cookbook is much better.' That woman just happened to be the accomplished actress, Diane Keaton. (!!!) As it turns out she was exactly right, I refer to the pages of this cookbook so often.

This book is always on top of the food magazines on my coffee table. Usually, tagged with post it notes.

With side dishes, it is easy to get into trouble on calorie count. But, this recipe provides an out because it's as delicious as it is healthy. Skip the fries or pasta—these Kale chips are full of flavor and add a burst of color and vitamins to every plate. These are so easy to make, I suggest making extra and bagging them up as snacks for the week!

One large bunch of kale
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Cut the stems and centers out of fresh kale after washing and drying completely. Tear leaves into bite sizes. Toss in a large bowl with the salt and oil. Place on a baking sheet (or two) at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy the crisp chips.

Turkey Burgers with Kale Chips and heirloom tomato and cucumbers
I've never been a huge fan of ground turkey on the grill. Usually it seems dry and well...drab. But with this recipe I've become a die-hard devotee. It's easy, despite the extra step of sautéing the veggies, and well worth the end result. This method is now a staple in my house.

1.5 lbs ground turkey (organic)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 large yellow onion, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the red pepper and onion in the oil in a small pan for about 5 minutes to soften. Remove from heat and let rest until room temperature. Combine turkey with this mixture and salt/pepper. Mix thoroughly. Shape into patties and cook on a medium high grill 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve on whole grain buns with caramelized balsamic onions (you will have to order the book to get that recipe!).

For the salad I used chopped tomatoes, one cucumber, a red onion and a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil with a shake of garlic salt to finish.

A Day At the Beach cocktail

One thing that the Summertime Anytime cookbook takes seriously is the art of the cocktail. On the pages, there are inventive versions of classics and fresh takes on tried and true recipes. One I love to serve is A Day at The Beach. After one sip, I'm instantly transported to my favorite island.

1 oz coconut rum
1/2 oz Amaretto liqueur
4 oz orange juice
1 oz grenadine

What I also love about The Summertime Anytime Cookbook are the playlist suggestions, the tips on hurricane lantern uses and, above all, ways to create a vacation atmosphere at home. Yes, the food and recipes are excellent, but there is so much more to this Shutter's original by Dana Slatkin— the topics outside of food are the most enticing. If you don't have a copy, I highly recommend it! You can buy one online, but my wish is that you will visit this quaint hotel and browse the gift shop just as I did. You never know who you'll meet...

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