Zucchini with Burrata & Garden Herb Gremolata

Fall is quickly approaching and as the weather starts to chill we are trying to use up our abundance of garden veggies! This dish is simple in preparation but complex with fresh flavors thanks to the incorporation of herbs we grew in our summer garden. We have chosen a gremolata as the “dressing” for this dish, which is an Italian condiment similar to a pesto, but with a chopped consistency and less olive oil involved. It is traditionally used to give some punch to meat dishes but we love how it brightens and livens up this combo of zucchini and burrata. We used a variety of parsley, basil, and thyme and encourage you to use what you have growing at your house when you make this dish. Taste and season as necessary and make sure to use less of the “woody” herbs like thyme and rosemary so that the flavors balance. This dish falls into the “side dishes” category, but really is the star of the show in our book.

Zucchini with Burrata & Garden Herb Gremolata

  • Servings: 6
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  A great way to use up those garden veggies as we head into fall weather.

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 medium zucchini and yellow summer squash, ends removed and cut in half, lengthwise
  • 2/3 cup fresh garden herbs, stems removed (we used a mix of parsley, basil, and thyme)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 ball burrata, drained and lightly patted dry
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the sliced zucchini, 1/4 cup olive oil, and salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Lay the zucchini flat side down onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on how large the squash is. Flip the zucchini after ten minutes (halfway through) to make sure the zucchini are evenly browned. Remove from the oven after 15-20 minutes.
  3. While the zucchini are baking, make the gremolata. Finely chop the fresh herbs and garlic (this can be done by hand or with a food processor) and put them into the bowl that the zucchini was seasoned in. Use the remaining olive oil (about 1 tbs) to lightly coat the herbs. Add the zest of one lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. When the zucchini has finished cooking, remove it from the baking sheet and onto a serving platter. Use your hands to break apart the burrata and scatter it amongst the squash. Drizzle with the gremolata and just a touch of olive oil. Serve immediately.


Arugula & Burrata Flatbread

This flatbread is one of our go-to recipes for summer entertaining or a quick weeknight dinner. With just a few simple ingredients, this recipe bursts with flavor from the creamy burrata, citrusy lemon oil, and fresh basil. We top it with lots of peppery arugula (more than pictured) so that we have a salad and pizza in one. We love how fresh this dish feels for being a flatbread! We have made quite a lot of variations of this flatbread over the last two years. This go round we added chicken to this recipe to make this dish a bit more hearty as a main course, but many times we have made it with artichoke hearts for a vegetarian option. The recipe below includes both so that you can have the best of everything on the flatbread, but you can pick one or the other depending on what kind of dish you’re looking to make.

Arugula & Burrata Flatbread

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One of our favorite flatbread recipes for summer. We love the combination of the creamy burrata, fresh basil, and zesty lemon.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of premade pizza dough
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1-2 fresh balls of burrata
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped finely
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. If you are going to bake the pizza in an oven, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and put your pizza pan inside the oven while it pre-heats. If you are using a grill, preheat the grill to high (approximately 500 degrees).
  2. Make the lemon herb oil. Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, and juice from half the lemon in a small mixing bowl. Mix 1/2 of the lemon oil with the ricotta cheese. Set aside.
  3. Cook the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides. Cook on the grill or oven until cooked through (5 minutes per side on the grill and ~20 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees). Shred or chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.
  4. Toss a light coating of flour on your countertop. Using a rolling pin and some of the flour, roll out the dough into a pizza shape. You do not need to use all of the flour. Use it as needed if the dough is getting sticky.
  5. Place the pizza dough on the hot pan (for oven) or directly on the grill for 3-4 minutes to get the pizza dough crispy on one side. Remove the pizza dough and place is cooked side down on a tray.
  6. Add the pizza toppings. Paint the flatbread with the ricotta. Evenly distribute the chicken and artichoke hearts on the flatbread. Place the flatbread back in the oven or on the grill for 5-7 minutes until the dough is completely cooked through and the cheese is melted.
  7. Add the to the top of the pizza. Use the remaining lemon oil to toss with the arugula and basil. Sprinkle the arugula and basil over the top of the flatbread and top with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!


Semi-Homemade Hot Dog Bar

Entertaining does not have to be fancy to be delicious and delightful to your guests. We love having friends over in the summer for a backyard barbecue, and instead of spending hours prepping for a fancy feast, we like to have a really fun menu like this Semi-Homemade Hot Dog Bar. We love that we can cook hot dogs to order and let everyone fend for themselves with the hot dog bar ingredients to make their own meal. We have included suggestions for some of our favorite summer hot dogs below, and also encourage our guests to create their own flavors! If you are really in host and hostess mode, you can write out our ideas below (and some of your own!) to help guide your guests through the hot dog bar. The key to success with a menu like this is to think smart, not hard. You’ll notice that there are some repetitive ingredients amongst the list. We have also “semi-homemade” some of the ingredients, including the bbq pulled pork and chili, which have come from the prepared food section at the grocery store. If you want to make all of the bar toppings from scratch, by all means have at it. But if you don’t have time, you can still pull this off pretty easily. Having repeat and pre-made ingredients helps eliminate a ton of prep time in the kitchen, but doesn’t take away from the fun of the presentation. For reference, we like to plan for 2-3 hot dogs per person when making our ingredient list.

The Hot Dog Lineup:

  1. Asian Slaw Dog: Asian slaw, cilantro, sesame seeds, sriracha ketchup.
  2. The Cincinnati Dog: chili, onion, mustard, cheese.
  3. BLAT Dog: bacon wrapped dog, tomato, arugula, avocado, mayo.
  4. BBQ Pulled Pork Dog: pulled pork, barbecue sauce, everything bagel coleslaw.
  5. Chicago Dog: tomato, mustard, giardinara, sliced dill pickle.
  6. Mexican Dog: avocado (or guacamole), pickled jalapeños, cilantro,

Alaskan King Crab Rolls

Every year for Calli’s birthday, we have a seafood birthday celebration with our best family friend, Leslie. We order a box of Alaskan king crab legs from Costco, steam the legs and serve them with lemon and hot butter. It is one of our favorite summer traditions and something we look forward to every year. The dinner is simple and the crab legs are just SO good. We had a few left over this year and didn’t want to waste one bite, so we decided to repurpose the crab into crab rolls. This recipe is intentionally simple as we want the crab to shine. If you don’t typically find yourself rolling around in leftover crab legs, you can typically purchase them by the leg at your regular supermarket.

Alaskan King Crab Roll

  • Servings: 4
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Our take on a classic lobster roll using Alaskan king crab legs.

Ingredients

  • 4 king crab legs (cooked, cooled and shells removed)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 brioche buns (or hot dog buns of your choice)
  • fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Combine the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt, dill, pepper and hot sauce in a bowl and thoroughly mix together.
  2. Gently break the crab meat into large, bite-sized pieces. Add the crab to the bowl and fold the crab in gently so that the dressing covers all crab pieces.
  3. Toast the buns (add butter if you would like). Add a generous portion of the crab mix to the bun and top with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with a slice or two of lemon.


Pea, Prosciutto, & Burrata Salad

In an effort to keep fresh peas from spring into our summer menu planning, we set out to create a recipe with peas and some decadent ingredients to make a recipe that would be rich and satisfying, but also healthy. We love a hearty salad in the summer as an entrée, but to feel like a main dish it needs to have some umph to it. Insert burrata and prosciutto, which we are convinced make every recipe better than it started. We love this salad because is has something for everyone. It is peppery from the arugula, salty and smoky from the prosciutto, has that creamy deliciousness from the burrata, and the snappy crunch of fresh peas. We are still obsessed with the light lemon vinaigrette that we used for our Watermelon & Halloumi Kabobs, and we have made a variation of that again for this recipe. The citrus from the lemon helps break up all of the rich ingredients in the salad and the mint is an unexpected fresh surprise we cannot get enough of.

Pea, Prosciutto, & Burrata Salad

  • Servings: 2 entrée servings
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A summer entrée salad with a little something for everyone. We love the unexpected flavor combination of the peas, mint, and prosciutto. Your dinner guests will be begging for more!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups lightly packed arugula
  • 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 ball fresh burrata cheese
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • small pinch of red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chili flakes together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Cook the peas. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the 1 tsp olive oil and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the fresh peas and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Assemble the salad. Lay the arugula on a medium serving platter. Divide the peas into small piles over the arugula. Tear the prosciutto into large, bite-sized pieces and put on the arugula as well. Drain the burrata from its packaging and gently pat dry with a kitchen towel. Break the burrata into large segments and place on the salad. Add the fresh mint leaves to the salad and drizzle with the dressing over top. Season with salt and pepper (the burrata in particular!) and serve immediately.


BBQ Chicken Pizza

One of our favorite items to make in the summer is grilled pizza. We love how easy it is to buy a pre-made dough at the store and get creative with toppings of our choice. This week, we were craving BBQ chicken and decided to make a BBQ chicken pizza. This pizza turned out to be hearty, flavorful and the perfect dish to serve with a fresh salad. If you don’t have a grill, no problem. We have included instructions for making this pizza in the oven. We can’t wait to share all of the pizza recipes that we come up with the summer and hope to hear from you with your favorite topping ideas as well.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

  • Servings: 1 medium pizza
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A bold, flavorful pizza that is a perfect appetizer or entrée on a warm summer night.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb package pre-made pizza dough
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts diced into cubes
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, divided
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. If you are going to bake the pizza in an oven, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and put your pizza pan inside the oven while it pre-heats.
  2. In a medium sized pan, heat 2 tbs of the olive oil over low heat. Add the white onion. The goal is to caramelize the onions so you want to make sure that you are cooking these low and slow. Stir frequently but the let the onions slowly caramelize for at least 20 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and set aside.
  3. Using the same pan (no need to clean in out) add the remaining olive oil – approx. 1 tbs – over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and sauté for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the BBQ sauce and stir until the chicken is completely coated. Continue sautéing the chicken for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the chicken breast pieces are completely cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. If you are using a grill, preheat the grill to high (approximately 500 degrees).
  5. Toss a light coating of flour on your countertop. Using a rolling pin and some of the flour, roll out the dough into a pizza shape. You do not need to use all of the flour. Use it as needed if the dough is getting sticky.
  6. Place the pizza dough on the hot pan (for oven) or directly on the grill for 3-4 minutes to get the pizza dough crispy on one side. Remove the pizza dough and place is cooked side down on a tray.
  7. Add the pizza toppings. Paint the pizza with the remaining BBQ sauce. Evenly distribute the caramelized onions, BBQ chicken and mozzarella cheese on the pizza. Place the pizza back in the oven or on the grill for 5-7 minutes until the dough is completely cooked through and the cheese is melted.
  8. Sprinkle the cilantro, red onion and red chili flakes (if using) on top of the pizza. Serve immediately.


Clams with Fennel & Chorizo

For as much as we love to cook, seafood is one of the types of food that we don’t cook a lot of at home. It’s sort of an odd observation because we LOVE seafood. Calli will host an annual lobster dinner every summer for her birthday, but if we aren’t splurging on lobsters and want something special, we usually go with clams. We love a good clams and linguini situation, but to mix things up and add a little something unexpected we have chosen to make this recipe for clams with fennel and chorizo. What we love about this dish is the mix of flavors- you get some smoke and spice from the chorizo, that sort of indescribable fresh licorice (ish) taste from the fennel, and of course the briny salty flavor from the clams. We have used littleneck clams for this recipe, but your favorite variety will work great in this dish.

Clams with Fennel & Chorizo

  • Servings: 2
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  We love the mix of flavors the chorizo and fennel add to fresh clams. We love this recipe for a nice summer dinner with lots of crusty bread to soak up all the sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

Ingredients

  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed clean with a brush and rinsed under water
  • 8 oz chorizo
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large bulb fennel, stem removed and thinly sliced (reserve the fronds for garnish)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup seafood or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put the clams into a large bowl with ice water. Let the clams sit in the ice water for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  2. Half way into the clams soaking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and chorizo to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the chorizo is starting to crisp up and the oil in the pan is starting to turn the color of the chorizo. Add the fennel and onion to the pan, cooking for another 3-4 minutes, or until they both have started to soften. Add the garlic and red chili flakes, cooking another 2 minutes or so, or until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the white wine and stock to the pan. Stir everything well to combine. Drain the clams from the ice water (rinsing again if necessary to make sure they are free from dirt) and add the clams to the pan. Cover the clams and cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, or until the clams have opened up. Toss everything gently with a ladle so that the clams get some of the fennel and chorizo broth in the shells.
  4. Divide the clams and broth amongst two large bowls. Top with fennel fronds if desired and serve with crusty bread for dipping.


Elote Pasta Salad

Elote (Mexican street corn) is one of our absolute favorite side dishes to have during the summer. We have yet to find anyone that doesn’t like it and will find an excuse to squeeze it into any dinner menu that we plan. To change things up for our Memorial Day menu, we wanted to take everything that we love about elote and transform those flavors into a pasta salad to serve a bigger crowd. This recipe is the real deal. It’s cheesy, spicy, and has that hint of lime that makes it taste refreshing as well. We are obsessed with this recipe and hope it finds a way to your picnic tables this summer. If you’re already cooking on the grill, we encourage you the char the corn on there while you cook for a smoky flavor that can’t be beat.

Elote Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 8-10
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Everything we love about Mexican street corn folded into a warm delicious pasta salad. Bring on the summer barbecues!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spiral pasta (we used fusili)
  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 8 oz package queso fresco
  • juice from 2 limes
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Tajin
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately put it back into the pot it was cooked in.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, heat your oven broiler to high (if you are already cooking on the grill, feel free to do this step on the grill). Brush the ears of corn with the olive oil and be sure to coat on all sides. Put the corn onto a cookie sheet and broil until lightly charred. Rotate the corn as necessary so that most of the sides have a light char. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Once the pasta has finished cooking and it back in the pot, immediately crumble the queso fresco into the hot pasta and toss everything well to coat. The cheese will start to melt and make a light sauce for the pasta. Use a knife to remove the corn from the cobs and add the corn, lime juice, paprika, Tajin, and cilantro into the pot. Toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately. This dish is best served warm to room temperature.


Watermelon & Halloumi Kabobs

We are approaching Memorial Day Weekend, which means that it is officially #WatermelonSeason. We love watermelon in the summer, and are particularly into mixing the sweet fruit with savory toppings for something unexpected. To prepare for this weekend’s barbecue festivities, we are making loads of these kabobs with watermelon, mint, and halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a firm, salty cheese found in Greek recipes, and often times it is fried to create a crispy exterior and soft, melty interior. The combination of the crispy salty cheese, sweet and juicy watermelon, and fresh mint doesn’t sound like it works together, but trust us… it is seriously delicious. To tie it all together we drizzle it with a spicy lemon olive oil for a perfect barbecue appetizer or side dish.

Watermelon & Halloumi Kabobs

  • Servings: 14 kabobs
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A little sweet, a little salty… these kabobs have a bit of everything for a simple yet insanely tasty summer side dish.

Ingredients

  • 14, 5 inch kabob skewers
  • 1 8 oz package halloumi cheese, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 of a large watermelon, rind cut away and cut into bite sized, square pieces
  • 1 package fresh mint leaves, left whole
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbs olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • pinch of chili flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk the 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and chili flakes together in a small bowl. We like to be generous with the chili flakes for this dish, but use your best judgement based on who is eating the kabobs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a large saute pan with 1 tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the halloumi into the pan in an even layer. Cook the halloumi for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping the halloumi as necessary so that most of the sides are browned and the cheese is starting to melt. Remove the cheese from the pan onto a dry surface to assemble the kabobs.
  3. Assemble the kabobs by alternating the watermelon, mint leaves, and halloumi onto each of the kabobs. We like to layer mint between the watermelon and the cheese so that the watermelon doesn’t make the cheese soggy. This helps keep the kabobs fresher, longer. When each of the kabobs is filled, lay onto a serving platter. Drizzle with the lemon and chili oil and serve immediately.


S’mores Ice Box Pie

If you have been around the Neistat family for at least one summer, you have likely experienced the famous ice box éclair cake that our dad makes. If you haven’t been lucky enough to eat it, we know you’ve heard about it. The gist of the ice box eclair cake is layers of graham crackers and thick vanilla pudding topped with a rich layer of chocolate ganache. He claims his recipe is a secret (we are pretty sure it can be found on the back of a pudding box somewhere) and that he won’t share it with us, or you. In lieu of sharing his recipe, we have done our best to reimagine this dessert into something of our own. Introducing our S’mores Ice Box Pie: everything we love about Rick’s ice box eclair cake, in pie form, with a gooey torched marshmallow twist for summer.

S'mores Ice Box Pie

  • Servings: 8 - 10
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The perfect chilled summer dessert that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While you can make this pie with about 60 minutes of refrigeration time, it can also be prepared the night before if you want to get some of your cooking done in advance.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of graham cracker (about 10 crackers)
  • 1/2 stick of melted unsalted butter
  • 1 packet of French vanilla pudding
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 8 oz. cool whip
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • marshmallows

Directions

  1. Prepare the crust. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a Cuisinart, pulse the graham crackers until they are all broken down into crumbs. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Place the graham cracker mix in a pie dish going up 1/2 inch on the side of the pie. Gently press the crackers into the pan to form a crust. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and set aside to cool.
  2. While the pie is cooking, prepare the pudding. Combine the vanilla pudding packet and 2 cups of milk and whisk until a thick pudding forms. Lightly fold in the cool whip. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled.
  3. After the pudding has chilled for at least 30 minutes, prepare the chocolate sauce. In a microwave safe cup, combine the chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup milk. Microwave for 1 minute, and then 30 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is fully melted. Stir to combine with the milk to form a sauce.
  4. Assemble the pie. Layer the pudding/cool whip mix over the graham cracker crust. Pour the chocolate sauce over the pie and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours, until the chocolate sauce has hardened. If you are refrigerating overnight, insert a few toothpicks to the outside of the pie and gently tent with saran wrap.
  5. Before serving, add a layer of marshmallows to the top of the pie. We love to torch the marshmallows to make them extra gooey. There are two options for this, a kitchen torch or broiling quickly in the oven. If using a torch, lightly toast the marshmallows to your desired level and serve immediately. If broiling, set the oven to high and put the pie in the oven for no more than one minute. Serve immediately.