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.


Cabra Inspired Solterito Summer Salad

We posted on Instagram last week about going to Stephanie Izard’s restaurant Cabra for dinner in downtown Chicago. We had such great food and couldn’t wait to go back to our kitchens and use those flavors as inspiration for our next recipe. One of the dishes that we had was called Solterito, which is a Peruvian chopped salad. The version at Cabra was filled with a mix of savory and sweet ingredients, crunchy quinoa and an herby vinaigrette. With that dish as our inspiration, we set out to our local grocery store to find seasonal ingredients that we could incorporate in a similar manner. This salad was a big hit when we had some friends and family over for dinner this past weekend. We chose to serve this salad as a side dish with grilled chicken but could easily serve this as a main course for a weekday lunch.

Cabra Inspired Solterito - Summer Salad

  • Servings: 8 side dish portions
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Ingredients for the Salad

  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 lb green beans
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 pint strawberries
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 tbs canola oli
  • 16 oz halloumi cheese, cut into bite sized pieces

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh savory
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the salad ingredients. Chop the green beans, cherry tomatoes, mango and strawberries into bite sized pieces. Remove the corn from the husk and combine into a large bowl the other salad ingredients.
  4. Make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  5. When the quinoa has finished cooking, place is on a sheet pan in an even, single layer. Bake the quinoa in the oven for 10-15 minutes checking every 5 minutes. You want the quinoa to get crunchy and crispy but not burn. Once cooked, removed from the oven and set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium skillet, add the canola oil and wait a minute or two so that it is very hot. Add the halloumi cheese and cook until all sides are browned (about 10 minutes).
  7. Combine the salad ingredients, halloumi, quinoa and salad dressing into a large bowl. Toss the salad so that that dressing evenly coats the salad. Serve at room temperature.


Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

The weather is getting warmer by the day, which means that it is almost grill season in the Lavarnway and Cardillo houses. We love cooking on the grill as an easy way to get outside and add a little smoky char to whatever we are cooking. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that one of our signature dishes is our steak with chimichurri. In that recipe, we blended the ingredients of a traditional chimichurri into a smooth and delightfully zingy sauce. For today’s recipe, we have stuck to a more traditional variation. 

Chimichurri is a loose, herb based sauce that is held together by olive oil and red wine vinegar. It has a ton of flavor thanks to the additional of garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, and some shallot. For this recipe, we like to marinate the chicken thighs in the chimichurri for a few hours to help break down the meat – making it incredibly tender after cooking. To make sure that the chicken has the ultimate punch of flavor, we reserve 1/3 of the chimichurri before we marinate and drizzle it over top after cooking. 

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

  • Servings: 4
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Char grilled chicken thighs with a zesty chimichurri. We can’t imagine a more perfect and quick summer entrée.

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 small red chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put the dry chimichurri ingredients (parsley through red chili) in a food processor. Pulse the food processor to break down the ingredients. The ingredients should be finely chopped but not pulverized. Remove the ingredients and place into a large bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar to the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the chimichurri into a large ziplock bag and leave 1/3 of the chimichurri (about 1/2 cup) in the bowl. Cover the 1/3 with saran wrap and set aside.
  3. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Submerge the chicken into the chimichurri in the ziplock bag. Make sure that all of the chicken is coated in the sauce and that the air is removed from the bag before sealing it. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to overnight, before grilling.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook it. Preheat the grill to 500 degrees. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until the juices of the chicken run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 chimichurri and serve immediately.


Ratatouille Tart

As you may have seen yesterday on our Instagram, we harvested our garden veggies before the snow came in Colorado and wanted a dish that we could really use up a good bulk of our produce. This Ratatouille Tart is gorgeous, garden veggie heaven. It comes together by slicing zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant and layering them in a pie shell. If you want this dish to be a visual stunner, spend the time to alternate all of the vegetables as you layer them into the pie crust. Don’t make this for dinner on a weeknight when everyone is already starving. We have saved some time by purchasing a pre-made pie crust and marinara sauce, but if you really want to over-achieve, go ahead either from scratch, as well! 

Ratatouille Tart 
Makes: 1 pie; 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes        Total Time: 3 hours 

Ingredients for the Tart: 

  • 1- whole wheat pie shell, thawed if frozen (we love the Whole Foods frozen version!) 
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 cup marinara sauce 
  • 2 zucchini 
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1/2 of 1 large eggplant 
  • salt 

Ingredients for the Herb Oil: 

  • 2/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes 
  • 1 large clove garlic, mined 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Directions: 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Thinly slice the zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant. You want the eggplant to be roughly the same size as the squashes, so depending on the size, you may want to cut it into quarters lengthwise before slicing. Lay all of the sliced vegetables onto kitchen towels. Season well on both sides with salt and let the vegetables sit for 30 minutes to purge most of their liquid. You will be rinsing the vegetables later, so really season them well to make sure enough liquid gets removed during this stage. 
  3. While the vegetables are purging, par-bake the crust. Use a fork to poke the bottom layer of the pie crust. Layer with the 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Par-baking the crust and using a layer of Parmesan helps keep the pie bottom from becoming soggy later on. After 10 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside until it is back to room temperature. 
  4. While the pie crust is in the oven, reduce the marinara sauce. Heat a small sauce pot over medium-high heat. Add the marinara sauce to the pot and let it simmer and reduce. You want to reduce it by about 25%, so that it is thicker and more of a tomato paste than a tomato sauce. When it has reduced accordingly, remove from the heat. 
  5. The final step before assembling the tart is to make the herb oil. Combine the herb oil ingredients (olive oil – salt) in a small mixing bowl. Set aside until you are ready to use. 
  6. We are finally ready to assemble the tart! Put all of the vegetables into a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of the excess salt. Pat the vegetables dry with a kitchen towel. 
  7. Add the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer. 
  8. Starting with the outside edge, layer the eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash in alternating patterns around the outside of the pie crust. To give the tart a nice visual texture, try to layer the vegetables as vertically as possible. Continue to layer the vegetables in the tart shell until it is completely full to the center. 
  9. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the vegetables with the herb oil. Be generous with this, but you might have some oil leftover. 
  10. Use thin strips of foil to cover the outside edges of the pie crust. You want to make sure you take the time to do this well before the tart goes in the oven so that the crust does not burn. Put the tart in the oven and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. The tart is done with the vegetables are cooked through and fork-tender. 
  11. Remove the tart from the oven and finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Let it sit and rest for about 10 minutes (you can lightly cover with foil) before slicing. 

15 Recipes For Your Labor Day Cookout

The unofficial “end of summer” is approaching and we are using Labor Day as an excuse to cook on the barbecue and celebrate. In honor of Labor Day, we have compiled some of our favorite recipes to create the ultimate summer sendoff. We have a little bit of everything, most of which can be prepped ahead of time, so that you can spend your holiday in the backyard enjoying the weather. 

  1. Strawberry Lemon Rose Sangria 
  2. Cucumber Lemonade Gin Fizz
  3. Classic Guacamole 
  4. Kale & Artichoke Dip 
  5. Spicy Turkey Burgers 
  6. Juicy Lucy Burgers 
  7. Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork 
  8. Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri 
  9. Summer Pesto Pasta Salad
  10. Spicy Watermelon Salad
  11. Hatch Chili Mac 
  12. Elote (Grilled Street Corn)  
  13. Farmers’ Market Brown Butter Orzo 
  14. Everything Bagel Coleslaw
  15. Summer Berry Trifle