Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mint and Lemon Pepper Sea Salt

SAM_4940Halloumi cheese is perfect for summer cookouts and BBQ’s because of it’s high melting point, making it the perfect cheese to throw on the grill. Halloumi is a very salty cheese that pairs perfectly with watermelon and mint. Rosemary and basil are also great herbs to use with this salad. Throw in a couple twists from the lemon pepper sea salt grinder and you have the perfect side for your cookout. Enjoy!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

IMG_6589Fresh rosemary, basil, and parsley along with fresh stalks of celery, onion, and garlic make this bisque one of the freshest, most fragrant tomato bisque’s you’ll ever eat. No broth is used in this recipe, just fresh ingredients, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese. This bisque is best when made with local tomatoes that are in season. If possible, buy your tomatoes from a local farmers market, but if that isn’t an option, vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store will give you the best flavor when tomatoes are out of season. Makes 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
butter (optional)
9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
a handful of parsley
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon pepper sea salt grinder
1 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c mozzarella

Turn a large pot on low heat and start to melt the butter (you can leave the butter out if you want, but still turn the burner on to warm up the pot). In a food processor, combine 5-6 tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley, and fresh rosemary leaves and blend until smooth. Add to the pot. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot along with the Italian seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Then, add the fresh chopped basil, heavy whipping cream and mozzarella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh scallions, croutons, or more cheese and serve.

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Smoked Fresh Mozzarella Caprese Salad The use of fresh herbs, locally grown tomatoes and smokey fresh mozzarella make this salad simple yet very flavorful. Using smoked mozzarella adds a little bit of a twist to this classic salad.

What you will need:

2 locally grown beef steak tomatoes

1 1/2 oz fresh basil leaves

3/4 lb. smoked mozzarella

1/4 red onion

1/2 cucumber

2 garlic cloves

1/2 can garbanzo beans (left over from my last blog post)

fresh dill

fresh parsley

1 part extra virgin olive oil

2 parts balsamic vinegar

Slice tomatoes and smoked mozzarella into large chunks. Cut the cucumber into slices, then into fourths, then slice the red onion into very thin ribbons. You can rip some of the larger basil leaves in half, but you’ll want to keep them mostly whole. Throw all ingredients into a serving bowl with chopped parsley, garlic and dill and add the garbanzo beans as well.  Drizzle with one part extra virgin olive oil to two parts balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea, Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

Goat Cheese, Chick Pea,  Basil and Mixed Baby Greens Salad

This salad packs a whole lot of flavor with hummus and balsamic vinegar as the dressing. I used mostly organic, locally grown veggies for this salad for the best flavor (and the least amount of chemical pesticides!)

What you will need:

Tomato
Cucumber
Chick peas (canned is fine)
Goat cheese
Hummus (i used red pepper hummus)
Whole, fresh basil leaves
Mixed baby greens (i went with kale, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach)
Olive oil (optional, but not necessary. the hummus will have a lot of oil in it)

Start by slicing your cucumber and tomato, then layering your plate with baby mixed greens and basil. Add your cucumber, tomato, chick peas and goat cheese. Then add hummus and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and you’re done!

This salad is also great with red onion and all sorts of other fresh herbs mixed in. I used what I had on hand today and it turned out great.