Well, it’s the middle of August, which for some of you in other parts of the country (hi, anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line) means it’s probably getting close to the end of the summer. But, not for us in Texas.. not even close. We’re still in the heat of summer, which means I don’t want to do the following things: go outside, eat hot things or slave over the stove.
Y’all know what that means? It’s the perfect excuse to be lazy when making dinner, while simultaneously impressing anyone you have over.
My family firmly believes that cheese plates make some of the best dinners, especially during the summer. There’s no reason why eating different cheeses, meats, bread and crackers – and wine – isn’t a perfectly acceptable meal. I’ll mix it up each time, but some combination of a hard, soft/semi-soft, and blue will get the job done. We’ll throw different meats on the plate too – definitely truffle salami when we can find it. (Don’t want to buy a fancy/expensive cheeseboard? Make your own chalkboard cheeseboard like the one below – learn how here.)
What’s a summer, alfresco dinner without bruschetta? Bruschetta is hands-down one of my favorite summer (or all-time) appetizers. Go classic with some good tomatoes, basil + olive oil, or marinate the tomatoes in balsamic and capers for a little while for extra flavor. One of my new favorite ways to serve bruschetta is with whipped goat cheese. The cheese becomes light and airy once you run it through the food processor, and it’s the perfect base for tomatoes (roasted or not) or figs for those with a sweeter tooth.
And finally, take advantage of those ripe + delicious avocados and mangos by making mango guacamole. Our dinner with Negra Modelo and Chef Rick Bayless got us looking to get creative when making guacamole. We swapped the tomatoes out for sweet mangos and were pleasantly surprised (recipe at the bottom!).
What’s even better about all of the above appetizers? Put them all on the table, and you’ve got dinner.
Hope you’re surviving the summer heat better than we are!
xo – kels
- 4 small (or 2 large) Haas avocados
- Salt + pepper
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 - 2/3 C mango, diced, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 C cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish
- 1 jalapeño, seeded + diced
- Scoop out the avocado meat into bowl. Mash the avocados with a potato masher (this is for chunkier guac). Add salt + pepper to taste, lime juice, and minced garlic. Mix to combine.
- Add red onion (if the onion is strong, add less at first), mango (start with 1/2 C, add more if wanted/needed), cilantro + jalapeño. Mix to combine. Garnish with extra mango and cilantro, and serve!