End of Summer Appetizers

I grew up in a family of appetizer loving people and appreciate a good appetizer spread. As you grow older, appetizers usually consist of fancy cheese plates which is a bummer for me since I am still learning to like fancy cheeses. These two toast or cracker toppings are an excellent addition to your end of summer cheese plates! And they are perfect for the non cheese lovers in your life. Plus, the sautéed olives are vegan!

cheese plate

For the cheese plate pictured below there are quite a few elements. Cheese: Manchego, a salty hard cheese that is a total crowd pleaser. Toppings: Rustic Bakery sourdough crackers, sliced and toasted french bread crostini, and homemade rosemary sea salt bread. Toppings: bruschetta, sautéed olives, and oil and balsamic vinegar. Served with some light white wine or crisp rose and you are off to a great start!

Bruschetta is garlicy, acidic, and so flavorful! The best thing is that it is hard to mess up and easy to fix! Taste and adjust after you let it refrigerate because the flavors will change as they sit. 

cheese plate
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Bruschetta
Tomatoes, basil, garlic, and balsamic make the perfect mixture to top crusty toasted bread with.
Ingredients
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, 1/4" dice
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 t balsamic vinegar
  • 7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 grinds fresh black pepper
  • pinch of salt, to taste
Instructions
1. In a small bowl combine all ingredients. 2. Stir until mixed through. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour (preferably overnight). 3. Before serving, drizzle with one teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of balsamic. Taste for addition of salt. 4. Serve with toasted bread.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 appetizers servings

The first time I had a castelvetrano olive was in Tahoe last year. We tried to recreate an appetizer served at a restaurant in the area and this is what we came up with! I have seen a lot more of these olives since then and am so glad they are gaining in popularity because they are so good! Apparently they are quite popular in Italy as a snacking olive. They are hard to find pitted though so you have to go through that extra step but it is worth it. I also used them while making this chicken dish from Food and Wine and highly recommend it. 

olives
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Sautéed Olives
A unique addition to a cheese plate
Ingredients
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1/2 C castelvetrano olives, pitted, roughly chopped (approximately 13-15 olives)
  • 1 t lemon zest (heaping teaspoon)
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 t brine from olives
Instructions
1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. 2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until olives are heated through, approximately two minutes. 3. Serve warm with crackers or toasted bread.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 appetizers servings

Listening to: Leon Bridges 

Summer Corn Salad

Need a quick, easy, but satisfying side for your summer dinner? Look no further than this corn salad. The sweet corn is perfect with red onions, basil, and ripe cherry tomatoes! Summer is the perfect time to make this since all of the main ingredients are in season, RIGHT NOW!

It is great served immediately but the flavors intensify if left in the fridge overnight. This side is great for lunch or along side hearty meal. My mom and I enjoyed it with a simple green salad and tri tip we picked up from the market. Every Sunday the local market near my mom's house does a tri tip barbecue outside and it is so easy and tasty! I highly recommend seeking something like that out because it makes for a stress free Sunday evening.

The salad alone is gluten free and vegan so it is perfect for potlucks or dinners with certain friends! (Scaling up the recipe is probably necessary though!)

summer corn salad
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Summer Corn Salad
Enjoy the seasonal produce of summer in this easy salad.
Ingredients
  • 4 ears white corn, leave in husks
Instructions
1. Dampen a paper towel and place the four ears of corn on the damp towel in the microwave. Microwave 7-8 minutes*, turning over corn half way through**. Take corn out to cool.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Serves 2-4 as a side
summer corn salad