It’s here, it’s here! My summer 2019 reading list is here just in time for the unofficial start of summer and I could NOT be more excited.
Give me a good book on a hot summer day and I want nothing else. Except maybe a perfect caprese salad and grilled corn. And a chilled glass of rosé. But you get it!
This is one of my favorite posts to do all year. It’s truly made up of the books I want to read – after a few months of stalking upcoming summer releases and what not, and after compiling a HUGE list in google docs that Lacy and I go over and over and over, these 25 books below are what I’m looking forward to the most.
Also! If you’re new around here, you should know that I’m a crazy unapologetic certified fan of most types of women’s fiction (and yes of course chick-lit!). Light, fun, beachy reads are my fave. I’m not super into anything that resembles a harlequin romance. I read to escape, to get lost in the story, to feel like the characters are my friends. And I actually love the day after I finish a great book and can’t even stand to start a new one because I’m mourning my new (character) friends.
I know some of you get me!
I don’t want to read super sad or scary or depressing books, no matter how great they are. Occasionally there is an exception or two, and when there is I have to read about 45 happy books after it to counteract the one. Some thrillers are okay, just depends on my mood. And if I’m reading at night.
So, these are what I’ve picked down below! This year, I organized the list by release date. Cue all the exclamation points. I get so excited to read a certain book, then hate when I click on it and see it doesn’t come out for another month. This way, you can work your way down the list. I’ll be talking about the books again in Summer Fridays this year, which start in June.
[As a side note, the ONLY book I’ve read on this list so far is Daisy Jones! I love this book so much and my mom just finished it and loved it too. It’s amazing!]
I can’t WAIT to hear your recommendations in the comments, what you’re reading now and what’s on your list!
I’ve come to realize that my heaven might include a hot dog bar.
If I’m being REAL real, I may only have one or two hot dogs per summer. Like a really good one, you know?
I lived in such a hot dog bubble forever – it wasn’t until maybe ten years ago when I watched Lacy order a hot dog with all the toppings from Five Guys (which inspired this one on the blog) that I realized… I could put OTHER THINGS on my hot dog.
Really. I mean, How did I not know this?
Before that, I was strictly a mustard person. Yellow mustard, to be exact. Shocking, right?
Hot dogs have always had such a bad rap but I can’t pass one up at a cookout. And in the last ten years, we’ve been lucky to get a few “better for you” hot dogs, like turkey dogs or even vegetarian dogs or grass fed beef dogs and organic hot dogs and all that jazz. It’s made me feel slightly better about making a big old hot dog bar in the summer at our house!
Now here’s the thing. There are so many amazing ways you can make hot dogs be all fancy and wild and high maintenance. But if you’re going to set up a hot dog BAR, then you have to make sure the toppings are low maintenance on their own. Meaning, they can sit in a bowl and not get gross (I’m looking at you beer cheese sauce) and they don’t need hands on attention.
P.S. This is SO fun.
Load on all the toppings and live it up.
These hot dogs are the business. We spent weeks discussing our favorite hot dogs and toppings along with creating some new flavor combos and generally being obsessed with everything we could put on a hot dog. But also making sure they were things you could make and forget about for a bit.
Scroll down for the complete toppings list and here’s a run down of the top seven hot dogs that made my “obsessed” list!
Lacy has loved Chicago dogs forever. As much as I love pickles, all of these things on my hot dog have never appealed to me! Am I alone here? Maybe I have to go to Chicago to actually EAT one. Then I’ll get it.
The Buffalo Dog
celery leaves/buffalo wing sauce/ranch drizzle/crumbled blue cheese/chives/scallions
Ooooh this one is so good. If you don’t loathe celery, you could also dice that up and sprinkle it on top. Lots of flavor here.
I love this one so much, maybe because of the bed of shredded lettuce? We actually sliced green cabbage into super tiny slices which creates the best crunchy lettuce!
Grilled Mexican Street Corn Dog
guacamole/quick mexican corn salad
I piped some guacamole onto this hot dog than sprinkled it with a quick makeshift elote that I mixed together. Grilled corn, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and crumbled cotija cheese. So good!
Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Dog
white cheddar/caramelized onions/ketchup
This is a seemingly simple hot dog but it has SO much more flavor than you’d anticipate. It was a close favorite for everyone.
The Hawaiian Dog
grilled pineapple/BBQ sauce/diced shallot
The caramely pineapple here is so sweet, the bbq sauce is tangy and the diced shallot is crunchy. This is so good too!
Jalapeño Apple Slaw Dog
jalapeño apple slaw/spicy brown mustard
This slaw is absolutely incredible!! It’s crunchy, sweet and spicy and would be excellent on other sandwiches too. Topped with mustard because I can’t get enough.
A Classic Dog
whatever you love!
What is YOUR classic dog? I threw some ketchup and mustard on this one and I do enjoy both. But everyone’s classic dog is different and I want to hear yours!
I hope this gives you a little inspiration for some fun summer cookouts! Even just serving one or two fancy hot dogs at a cookout can be such a fun twist. Grab all the rosé and the summer beer and you’re set.
How to Make a Hot Dog Bar
How to Make a Hot Dog Bar
Nothing screams summer more than a hot dog bar! Grab your buns and dogs and a whole lot of toppings. This is super fun and delicious!
Grilled hot dogs
Grilled brioche buns
White cheddar cheese
Grilled corn or Mexican corn salad
Pickled green beans
Baked beans ((try it!))
Jalapeno apple slaw
Spicy brown mustard
Buffalo wing sauce
To make the hot dog bar an easy process, make a list of all the toppings you'd like to have out. You can chop, cut and grate all of them the night before, place them in separate bowls or jars, then cover and store them in the fridge until it's go-time!
For cookouts, I like to estimate about 1.5 hot dogs per person. For toppings, they will differ depending on what's popular in your family. I'd say as long as you have 1 cup of most toppings (for instance, you don't need an entire cup of bacon! But you do need a cup of cheese and tomatoes), you're good. Use your judgement!
Don't be afraid to get crazy – baked beans and mac and cheese actually taste amazing on hot dogs. Make it a carb party.
To make the grilled corn salad I mention above: stir together about 1 ½ cups corn kernels with 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt and pepper, a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, juice from ½ lime and 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese. This can be made the night before, but is probably best 2 to 3 hours before.
To make the jalapeno apple slaw I mention above: toss together 2 cups shredded green cabbage with 1 grated apple, 1 thinly sliced jalapeno pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and juice from ½ lime. This can be made the night before. Gets even more flavor in the fridge!
Puhlease create a hot dog bar for all of your summer activities!
1. This past weekend, I totally wiped out in front of a million people at a restaurant. Worse yet, I was carrying Emilia, but managed to magically exhibit freakish mom strength and didn’t let her hit the ground. I was fine but totally mortified and am basically convinced I’ll never get over it.
3. Just started reading Ghosted last night! Lacy told me about it and loved it. Speaking of, the summer reading list is almost here! Do you want it before memorial day? Or after?
4. Is it just me… or, if you have kids, and you’re looking for background TV to put on while you finish something, whether it be work or cleaning, etc, and there is nothing on, do you actually stop for a moment and consider putting on paw patrol as your background noise? Please say yes.
5. Which brings me to: TV things! I don’t have much else to talk about except for the premier of Southern Charm. I thought it was so forced and ridiculous yet so good.
6. As a follow up to last week, the entire internet agrees that the aperol spritz is really good!
7. While writing a blog post the other day I kept typing “srirancha” instead of sriracha. Which got me thinking – shouldn’t we create srirancha? Sriracha plus ranch.
9. I keep having dreams about snakes. It’s TERRIFYING. I’ve researched and answers are all over the board: they are a sign of abundance, a sign of someone in your life being sneaky, a sign of wisdom, a sign of something terrible, etc. I’m really ready for that to end.
[Today we’re making the best crispy baked pickles with green goddess ranch in partnership with So Delicious Dairy Free! Thank you to So Delicious for sponsoring this post]
Where are my pickle lovers at?
Oh my gosh YOU GUYS.
We’re making the crispiest baked pickles with a green goddess ranch and I think I have died and gone to heaven. These are as crunchy as (if not crunchier than) fried pickles. The dip is a dream come true AND it has vegetables in it, so we’re set for summer.
With Memorial Day approaching, I want to get all of my ducks in a row and have great snacks for the long weekend. Snacks for us at home, snacks for us after working outside, snacks for the pool and a whole meal for us to have people over. This totally works for all of those!
I’m so excited to be partnering with So Delicious Dairy Free again to bring you the best snack ever. Really. I don’t think I can name a better homemade snack at the moment.
I am in LOVE with this yogurt. Like crazy for it. It’s an excellent sub for sour cream or plain greek yogurt in a savory recipe. And it’s so smooth and creamy and does not have an overwhelming taste of coconut, making it awesome to cook with.
It’s no secret that I’m a pickle freak! I’ve been one since I was a toddler. And while I do enjoy pickles ON things (like on a burger or sandwich, etc), the truth is that I really just love pickles on their own. Straight from the jar! Every single day.
I can’t get enough.
When fried pickles came on the scene, I just about died. Even Eddie, who doesn’t like pickles, likes fried pickles. There is something about that crispy, crunchy outside and the soft but brine-y inside. That dill flavor… ahhhh. It’s SO good.
I’ve even come around to sweeter pickle varieties lately, and that is huge! So you can make these pickles as you wish, with whatever pickle chips you have on hand. They are so great for dipping, whether you’re having a party or making yourself dinner.
And yes. I’d totally eat these for dinner!
Okay, now the best part about these crispy baked pickles? Guys. They hold up.
Like they actually hold up for a few hours so you can take them to a pickle or a party. I don’t know if it’s because the pickle is rather sturdy to begin with, but these stay delicious and super CRUNCHY for up to four-ish hours after making them.
That makes you can definitely make them ahead of time. Or prep them right before taking them to a party!
And since dill pickle chips are so tiny, you can make a really large tray of these!
Hmmmm how wrong would it be to eat a try of them for dinner?
Let’s discuss this green goddess ranch.
It’s drinkable. I mean, straight up, hand-me-a-spoon, fantastic. You can use it as a dip or even as a dressing.
P.S. if you want to make it even creamier, you can add half of an avocado to the mix.
Memorial Day weekend is one of my favorites of the entire year. It unofficially kicks off summer for us. For over 30 years, my family has been going to the same Memorial Day parade to honor those who served our country, taking a walk through the cemetery where our family members are buried (sounds morbid but it’s really not), then getting together and eating alllll the foods.
You can bet I am making these!!
Crispy Baked Pickles with Green Goddess Ranch
Crispy Baked Pickles with Green Goddess Ranch
Oven fried crispy pickles are super crunchy and delicious! Served with a dairy free green goddess ranch dip, they are the best snack ever.
2 cups dill pickle chips
½ cup flour (any works! All-purpose, GF, etc)
2 eggs (lightly beaten (you could totally do a flax egg here!) )
1 cup seasoned fine bread crumbs
2/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs
avocado oil spray for spritzing
green goddess ranch
1 cup So Delicious Dairy Free Unsweetened Coconutmilk Yogurt alternative
3 tablespoons avocado mayonnaise
1/3 cup arugula greens
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill (plus more for topping)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
crispy baked pickles
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray.
Place the pickle slices on a paper towel so it soaks up any extra liquid. Make an assembly line of 3 bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour. In the second bowl, add the beaten eggs. In the third bowl, stir together the fine and panko bread crumbs.
Take each pickle slice and dredge it in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the slice in the egg mixture so it’s fully coated, then dip it in the bread crumbs, pressing gently to adhere. You want all of the pickle covered. Place the pickle on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining pickles!
Once all of the pickles are on the sheet, spray them with your avocado oil (or olive oil, etspray. This really helps them crisp up and get golden and crunchy.
Bake the pickles for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are deeply golden. Since they are on the wire rack, they shouldn’t need to be flipped. If you don’t use the rack, bake them for 15 minutes, then gently flip and bake for 10 more.
Serve the pickles immediately with the green goddess ranch. YUM.
Note: if you need an idea for all the pickle juice you have left, I made a fabulous egg salad that uses pickle juice!
green goddess ranch
Add all ingredients together in a food processor or blender and blend until combined and smooth. Garnish with some fresh dill. This stays great stored in the fridge for a few days.
The crunchiest, smokiest, most flavorful broccoli salad is here!
It’s a new day and I am here for this broccoli crunch salad like I’ve never been before.
Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water, because it’s once of those salads that you can stop eating! You can’t stop going back to the bowl for all the crunchy little bites. The flavor crumbs, if you will.
Guys. This broccoli salad really doesn’t look like much but I promise that it is… much. It’s simple but insanely flavorful. It’s definitely going to be one of my salads of the summer!
I think it’s safe to say that I have almost turned the corner on vegetables. There are times when I actually crave roasted or grilled vegetables. If you had told me this 10 (even 5?) years ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. But frankly, forcing myself (I have no other word?) to eat vegetables daily for the last few years has been a game changer.
Now, don’t get me completely wrong. I never want to eat vegetables over pizza. Or brownies. Or a grilled cheese. Never. At least not at this point.
But I have conditioned myself enough to know that during the week, I want to try to get in as many veggies as I can. I make all sorts of delicious meals for weeknights but I always make sure they are accompanied by vegetables.
Some weeks, this means that I make the same roasted vegetable multiple times in a row. You won’t find me near raw vegetables yet. But I do enjoy eating roasted or grilled broccoli, asparagus, kale, brussels sprouts, peppers and so on.
I still can’t believe it.
This is a HUGE leap from when I first started the blog, because I just straight up HATED veggies.
I can attribute a lot of this fairly newfound love to blogging, and creating lots of different recipes. Using trial and error to find things I love (can’t imagine ever loving celery… EVER) and cook foods in new and exciting ways.
For years, I’ve seen that raw broccoli, mayo-based salad at parties and cookouts in the summer. I have no idea what goes into it (except maybe cheese?) because I couldn’t imagine ever taking a scoop for myself. But when I started to enjoy broccoli, I thought that MAYBE I would like a broccoli salad that isn’t full of those exact components.
Of course, the florets would have to be roasted (or in this case, grilled, hello!), the dressing would have to be more of a vinaigrette, I’d love to do bacon and maybe even cheese.
As it turns out, I even had some grated white cheddar to go in here but once I had the other ingredients mixed, I felt like it didn’t need the cheese. In fact, I thought the cheese might change the flavor too much.
Really, where has the real Jessica gone?
I love how crunchy this is. How flavorful. It’s smoky, a little bit sweet and tangy from the honey mustard vinaigrette.
The broccoli salad holds up well. You can stick it in the fridge and eat it the next day (I’ve done this approximately 15 times now, you know). You can assemble it ahead of time when serving to guests – but I would wait to dress it until right before.
If you don’t want to grill the broccoli, you can roast it. If you love raw broccoli, use raw florets! There are so many ways that you can make this salad your own. You can add some dried fruit, like cherries or cranberries. Or you can add cheddar or feta or another cheese you love. You can just eat a big bowl of broccoli and bacon!
Really. It’s perfection.
Grilled Broccoli Salad
Broccoli Crunch Salad
My favorite broccoli salad is here! This broccoli crunch salad is full of grilled broccoli, sliced almonds, diced scallions and crunchy bacon. It’s so good!
4 slices bacon, (chopped)
1 to 2 heads of broccoli, (you want 4 to 5 cups broccoli florets)
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 large shallot, (diced (about ¼ to 1/3 cup, or add as much as you like!))
½ cup toasted, sliced almonds
honey mustard vinaigrette
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, (finely minced or pressed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and add the chopped bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is golden and crunchy and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
To grill the broccoli, slice it top down into thick pieces. I spray mine with an olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the grill has been hot for 10 to 15 minutes, place the broccoli pieces on the grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until it’s charred and golden. Remove the broccoli and let it cool slightly, then chop it into pieces.
You can also use florets and a grill pan or basket, follow the same steps above. Grill it for 6 to 8 minutes, shaking the pan and tossing the broccoli occasionally. Let it cool slightly before using.
As a third option, you can roast the broccoli at 400 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Or you can use the broccoli raw!
Once the broccoli has been chopped (I prefer smaller pieces, but chop it into a size you enjoy), place it in a large bowl. Add in the bacon, diced shallot and almonds. Toss the mixture together.
Drizzle on half of the dressing and toss the salad well. At this point, you can determine how much more dressing you want to add. You can also add a sprinkle of salt and pepper here if the salad needs that.
Serve immediately! Leftovers store pretty well in the fridge (I love them myself, but wouldn’t necessarily serve it this way to friends), but I would not make this a day or night ahead for a party. I would assemble the ingredients the morning of and add the dressing on right before serving.
honey mustard vinaigrette
In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil. This dressing stays great in the fridge in a sealed container for a week or so.
If you haven’t made crispy smashed potatoes before, WHAT are you waiting for?
Say hello to our most made side dish!
This isn’t the first time I’ve shared smashed potatoes here on the blog, but this is a much more classic version.
A few years ago I made these buttered rosemary smashed potatoes with burrata and they are SO delicious and such a great way to fancy these up. But that’s when I make them most – for dinner parties or even for Thanksgiving – and they aren’t something I tend to make on a busy weeknight.
But this traditional version is! I’ve probably made these once or twice a week since last fall because Eddie loves them so much. He even had a stint of making them for his work lunches (which, you know, infuriates me, because it means I can’t really make them for dinner then!) and everyone always flips over them.
We’re taking the kind of “flip” where they taste so good that people crowd around the crumbs on the baking sheet and fight over them. Uh huh.
The flavor and the texture are what get everyone. They are so salty and crunchy. Fabulous on their own, but even better if you want to dip them in something. I have SO many dips. You could do a green goddess, a sriracha yogurt (which is what I show here!), a homemade ranch, the options are endless.
And bonus tip! I have prepped these ahead of time countless times. What that means is that you parboil your potatoes then once they cool, stick then in the fridge. The day you make these, just smash and roast. It’s a huge time saver and I can’t recommend it more!
This are a few things we love to eat with crispy smashed potatoes:
Eddie of course loves these as a side to chicken or steak, but I love to do big veggie bowls (I know! WHO AM I?!) or other roasted veggies along with these. So good!
This is our favorite side dish ever! Crispy smashed potatoes roasted in the oven to perfection. Serve them with a dipping sauce or as a side dish!
2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill it with cold water. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer the potatoes until they are just barely fork tender. Strain the potatoes and let them cool slightly.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Brush a baking sheet with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the potatoes on the sheet. Use your hand or the bottom of a glass to smash them once, trying to keep them in one piece. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Place the sheet in the oven and roast the potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden and crispy. Remove and serve immediately. If desired, you can serve them with sriracha yogurt dip.
I’m capping off this rather carb heavy week with a grilled focaccia bread that will make your heart sing!
It really just might. It’s THAT good.
May not be much to look at but this bread baby is deceiving. The flavor level is off the charts.
Okay so you know how sometimes, you make a classic or rather traditional recipe, and it’s so easy and so… REGULAR, but just tastes incredible? Sort of like when you make a tomato basil salad in the summer and it’s seasoned to perfection, with excellent olive oil and a great balsamic and it tastes SO good? But it’s really only five or so ingredients?
That’s what this recipe is like. That’s what it reminds me of.
It’s easy. Fairly classic. Common. Kind of even boring if you ask me.
BUT TASTES LIKE HEAVEN.
The key is allowing the onions to caramelize forever. Really, FOR-EV-ERRR, sandlot style.
Like for at least an hour, but more like two or three if you can. And not adding any additional sugar – let them do their thing and get super caramely and golden.
Throwing the focaccia on the grill makes it a little more pizza-like than usual. One of the reasons I love focaccia is because of the crunchy edges (you know what I mean, right?) from all of that olive oil. You do lose a little bit of that with this method, obviously, since we’re grilling it free-form.
But the copious amounts of garlic butter and fresh herbs more than make up for it. Of course, you could stop there and just do all garlic butter, a sprinkle of herbs and a toss of flaked salt.
Speaking of, if you haven’t grilled pizza (or other dough) before, it might take a few times to really get the hang of this. You have to work quickly in transferring your dough from a floured pizza peel to the grill before it starts to stick. Practice (aka, making this a bunch of times, yum) makes perfect.
Adding on the caramelized onions on top of the grilled focaccia takes it to another level.
Truly another level.
I like to serve this as a side dish – it’s perfect with a big spring or summer meal. A hearty salad, maybe some roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp or chicken, making a bean salad too. But if I’m being real… I want to eat this and only this. Only! With a chilled glass of rosé. Maybe some Southern Charm on in the background.
It’s seriously everything.
Caramelized Onion Grilled Focaccia Bread
Caramelized Onion and Garlic Butter Focaccia
Grilled focaccia bread is such a treat! Topped with puddles of garlic butter, fresh chopped herbs and golden, caramelized onions, it’s a slice of heaven.
2 sweet onions, (thinly sliced)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
5 cups all-purpose flour, ( plus more for your workspace)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, (melted)
3 garlic cloves, (minced)
¼ cup your favorite chopped fresh herbs, (like chives, dill, basil, oregano, thyme)
1/2 tablespoon flaked sea salt
Heat a large skillet or pot over low heat and add the 4 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once melted, stir in the sliced onions and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the onions deeply caramelize, about 1 to 2 hours. Be sure to consistently check them and stir! While the onions are caramelizing, work on the dough.
In a bowl, stir together the water, yeast and honey. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes until foamy.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/2 cup of olive oil and the yeast mixture. Stir, using the dough hook, until the mixture comes together. Knead it on medium-low speed for 5 to 6 minutes. If it’s super sticky, sprinkle in a bit of extra flour. You want it to be silky!
Put the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it. Place it in a warm spot and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and divide it into 4 equal pieces. Roll and press the dough out until it’s about 6 to 8 inches in length and 4 or so inches in width. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle the parchment paper liberally with flour so the dough doesn’t stick too much. Place the dough pieces on the baking sheets. Press the dough to make finger marks so it looks like traditional focaccia. Place the sheets in a warm spot and to rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, heat your grill over medium heat – around 450 degrees F. Melt your remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and stir in the garlic cloves. Chop your favorite fresh herbs.
Flour a pizza peel or cutting board very well (or something where you can easily slide the dough from the peel to the grill). Transfer the dough pieces one at a time to the floured peel, moving quickly so they don’t stick. Press to make more finger marks and brush with olive oil.
Quickly transfer the dough by sliding it from the floured peel to the hot grill. Once it hits the grill, you can’t really move it without tearing the dough. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough begins to bubble up and char. The dough can be flipped once it easily lifts from the grill. Flip the dough and grill for 1 to 2 minutes more, or again, until golden and puffed and brown. Remove the dough and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining focaccia.
Brush the hot focaccia with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with the herbs. Sprinkle with the flaked sea salt. Cover with the caramelized onions. Slice and serve!
Calling all cheese lovers! You need a cacio e pepe pie in your life.
Why yes. I did say cacio e pepe PIE. A pie made of pasta and cheese.
This could be the only pie I want to eat.
Swear to me that before it gets too hot outside, like too-hot-to-turn-the-oven-on hot, that you will make a cacio e pepe pie for dinner!
Or brunch. Your call.
I’m a pasta convert. I’ve rambled for a million years on this blog about how I hated pasta when I was growing up. How every Thursday night was spaghetti night at our house and I would pout and eat scrambled eggs or something like it (for, like, 12 years? Maybe?) because I disliked pasta that much.
That has all changed (thank goodness!) but it’s still not a dish I gravitate towards. Or one that I order on a menu. It’s rare!
Unless… unless it’s cacio e pepe. Or something similar covered in tons of cheese and very much minus the tomato sauce.
The weird thing about my conversion is that this is not the first pasta pie I’ve shared on the blog! Remember when I made a bucatini pie with mini meatballs? Ooooh it’s such a fun and slightly high maintenance but delicious meal. I love how it looks so I love to serve it!
And I used bucatini here again because it’s easily my favorite cut of pasta. Those fat noodles are just to die for.
Perhaps the best part about the cacio e pepe pie? Those crispy edges.
Just LOOK at those edges down there.
The crispy, crunchy, almost-burnt cheese and pasta. The edges add so much texture to this and are the BEST part. Like the crunchy chips on top of a potato casserole or a cinnamon streusel on top of a muffin. I definitely either save it for last, or eat it all first. It’s SO GOOD.
Also! This is a meal that can be stretched. It serves about six or eight people (and is SO satisfying) but I like to make it for us too (a family of four) because it lasts and reheats well. And it’s amazing served with different veggies. A salad, roasted broccoli or asparagus, whatever you have in the fridge!
Oh and a big secret?
Eddie actually covered the leftovers with tomato sauce. So that’s a thing.
Even though I told him he RUINED IT.
And let’s be real. If you pair this with a HUGE kale salad, it cancels out all the pasta and cheese.
Cacio e Pepe Pie
Cacio e Pepe Pie
Hello lover! Cacio e pepe pie is made with parmigiano-reggiano cheese, black pepper and bucatini pasta. Baked until cheese and bubbly, it’s to die for.
1 pound bucatini pasta
1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, (plus extra for sprinkling)
3 large eggs, (lightly beaten)
2 garlic cloves, (minced)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces provolone cheese, (freshly grated)
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, (freshly grated)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with nonstick spray. I also like to wrap the bottom edges in foil, just so nothing leaks out!
Cook the bucatini according to the pasta directions, shaving 1 to 2 minutes off the cook time so the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and let it cool slightly. You can give it a quick spritz of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together, if necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk with the parmigiana, eggs, garlic, pepper, salt, 1 cup of the provolone and half of the mozzarella. Stir until combined. Add the cooked pasta to the bowl and toss well, until all the pieces of pasta are covered with the mixture. Transfer the pasta and cheese mixture to the spring form pan. Sprinkle the remaining provolone and mozzarella on top.
Bake the pie for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly and the center is set. Remove the pie and let it cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Gently release the spring form pan (use a sharp knife to cut down through any pieces stuck to the sides). Slice the pie into 6 or 8 wedges and serve immediately with more cheese for sprinkling.
1. When I was a kid we spent what felt like hours in greenhouses with my mom in the spring while she picked out flowers to plant. I’m pretty sure she just let us loose for an hour or two and we ran through the aisles and kicked the stones around. Now here’s me trying to hold both kids and pick out baskets and dragging my mom with me.
2. And! I was so excited to see my chives from last year pop back up and have the prettiest blossoms on them. This is my new obsession – I’ve used the purple blossoms in multiple recipes and I love them more than other edible flowers. I planted the rest of my herbs this weekend too! Tons of basil, TONS of mint, three big lavender pots – lots of stuff!
4. Guys, please tell me how you eat cacao nibs. Every time I get them on a smoothie bowl they are so hard then I feel like they will break my teeth. I’ve never experience it before! And I don’t totally LOATHE the taste of them, I do think they taste slightly like chocolate and coffee. But they are like biting stones. Then other times I buy them and they are fine?
6. So for our TV talk, who is soooo excited that Southern Charm is coming back this week? I cannot wait. I liked Billions, watched GoT last night with Eddie but am still not into it (like still have no desire to watch from the start), am dying over the ending of Grey’s Anatomy last week and kind of want to start Dead to Me on netflix too.
7. The aperol spritz is not a good drink? Lacy sent me this last week and we were in disbelief… I actually LOVE the aperol spritz. I love the taste and how light it is. Can’t get on board with that.
8. Yesterday before 7 am, Max and Emilia had emptied the contents of two of my kitchen drawers along with everything under the kitchen sink. The floor was COVERED and as I looked around, Max stare right at me and says “mama… are you having a hard time?” Maybe never laughed so hard in my liiiife.