Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Greek Salad

It’s starting to get really hot over here in Los Angeles. Well in all honesty it’s been hot for a while now, but I’m just barely starting to notice it. The last thing anyone should be doing during this time of year is cooking in a hot kitchen for hours and hours. That sounds like torture. So to make things a little bit easier for us, I’m throwing this refreshing summer salad right at your face. Minus the standing over a hot grill/grill pan part, this is actually a quick and easy recipe that you can have ready in no time at all. The kind of recipe we need during the week. Sure, I have you grilling a few things along the way, so okay maybe we’re not avoiding the heat like I mentioned earlier BUT in my defense, the grilling part is super quick and the flavor you get from it is incredible, so it’s totally worth it. We can suffer for a few minutes all for the sake of food, right? Right. 

Have you ever had watermelon, mint and feta together? The combination is out of this world delicious. The kind of thing that upon first hearing about, you’re skeptical, because it sounds super suspicious so you eat it with caution, but three bites in and you’re hooked. It’ll be the best thing you’ll taste all summer trust me. When you throw grilled shrimp into the mix, all bets are off. Go home because this salad has just won at life. It was inspired by a salad I just recently tried at a restaurant. I won’t mention the name of it because it’s the type of establishment you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve eaten at. We don’t need to dwell on that piece of information though, let’s move on. Anyhow, the salad had mixed baby greens, watermelon, feta and a mint honey vinaigrette and it was everything I never knew I wanted. The watermelon was really refreshing because it was super cold and added a great texture to the salad, along with the salty bits of feta throughout. I know I’m going on and on about this salad (we get it Jonathan), but I was pleasantly surprised. So I decided to go home and give it a go and try to make it myself like the restaurant’s version, but completely different and nothing like the original.

Changing topics now, Julian and I are going to an event at La Brea Bakery tomorrow at their flagship store here in Los Angeles, which is La Brea Bakery’s hometown and it just so happens to be Julian and I’s hometown so it’s kind of meant to be. In honor of their Breaking Bread Tour (a bread truck going across country handing out free bread to people, dreams people dreams) which launches on Wednesday at the store, and in honor of summer I thought it would be the best idea I’ve ever had to come up with a recipe that goes well with grilled bread. Plus something about bread and salad together just makes me really happy. I can’t do fully healthy because then I feel like I’m not living my life to it’s fullest so I find myself getting a salad with a side of fries or salad with lots of croutons. That kind of thing because it just feels like the perfect balance. In this case, I’m using their organic wheat loaf which is the bee’s knees, if bees had knees. This isn’t a sponsored post or anything, I just really happen to love La Brea Bakery. I didn’t think it was possible but Julian probably loves it even more than I do, so I guess it’s a match made in heaven. The two of us around all of that bread, getting to learn about all of the behind the scenes and history of the Bakery, sounds pretty dangerous. We’ll probably clean out the place, watch out. To find out more about the Breaking Bread Tour and to follow the truck around to see if it’ll reach your city, check the site out here. (Again, not a sponsorship, just love bread. Can you blame me?!)

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Mediterranean Gyro Fries

The only thing better than crispy french fries is french fries topped with all of the things. You already know about my fascination and love for carne asada fries. Fries topped with cheese, grilled steak guacamole, tomato, sour cream and salsa verde. It’s a big thing here in Southern California, so if you haven’t tried them for yourself yet, I highly recommend it. If you have and you’ve fallen in love, just like I have, then I suggest you join me on my next french fry adventure. I’m now bringing you Mediterranean Gyro Fries. It’s all the things we love in gyros and Greek salad, piled on top of homemade crispy french fries. We can feel good about it because most of the ingredients are healthy. Most. I mean sure, there are fried potatoes at the base of this recipe and sure garlic aioli and feta cheese probably aren’t the healthiest BUT everything else is good for you and those definitely outweigh the irresistible ingredients. In my humble opinion. 

It’s Friday, we should be living life and not be worrying about anything for the next two days. We only live once. The weekend is for letting loose and having fun, but still being adults and making responsible decision. (That’s just in case my mamma is reading this, wink wink). I don’t know about you, but making and eating french fries all day long most definitely counts as having fun. I have to admit, homemade fries can be a little more work than we want to be doing on the weekend, but whenever crispy potatoes are the end result of anything, it instantly becomes worth all of the effort. There is no greater payoff. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth necessarily. I’d much rather skip dessert if it meant having a second helping of something savory, preferably something savory and deep fried. Cakes and cookies can come and go and I won’t budge, but as soon as fries (or potatoes in general) and cheese and bread come into the picture, I lose all self control. It’s a real problem. Send help. 

Lucky for us, it’s the weekend and I’m here to make sure we all lose our self control together. I’ve decided that my sole purpose in life is to tempt you with guilty food. I’ve been practicing my “Oooh ahhh, look at this. You know you want it. Come on, everyone else is eating it,” lines to throw at you. It helps to be prepared. It’s also a lot more fun when you have someone else being gluttonous alongside you, isn’t it? Gorging on a big pile of fries all by yourself is just sad, although not the worst thing that can happen I must admit. I’m sure there are worse punishments in life. This recipe is definitely worth sharing, so grab your friends, your family, your pets and eat like the kings and queens you are. 

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Strawberry Rhubarb BBQ Wings

I don’t know about your mothers, but my mamma would much rather have a barbecue feast instead of a fancy brunch for Mother’s Day. She’s a boss like that. Don’t give her pancakes or waffles, or even eggs, on her special day. She’d probably flip a table over and demand smoked ribs with coleslaw and cornbread on the side. I’m totally kidding, she’s not really a tyrant like that. She’s actually the complete opposite, but for dramatic effect let’s say I’m not kidding. (Sorry mamma). Give her a big plate of chicken wings though—not just on Mother’s Day but any day of the week—and she’ll be happy as a clam. A clam, I tell you. Take these Strawberry Rhubarb BBQ Wings for instance, they would probably bring tears of joy to her eyes. More so than any flower or chocolate or card ever possibly could. I think it’s safe to say that grilled chicken wings are the new way to our mothers’ hearts. It’s so 2015 of us. We shouldn’t be fighting it, but rather we should be making and eating all of the wings. Don’t fight it. Just make the wings.

Forget about all of the traditional, normal, everyday gifts that most moms get year after year. They don’t want that! They’re tired of those presents. Take it from me, they want something much tastier. Something new and exciting. Something they can’t get enough of. Something they can get their hands and faces dirty with, and are forced to lick their fingers clean because they don’t want to waste one drop of this delicious sauce. Don’t let the idea of making homemade BBQ sauce scare you though. It can be intimidating, but it’s actually incredibly easy to whip up. The hardest part is letting it simmer away for half an hour without sneaking a taste or two. So that’s definitely saying something. But let’s face it, at time’s I’m super lazy aren’t you? So I’m all for a homemade sauce that I can just dump everything into a pot, and forget about it while it simmer’s on low developing its incredible flavor, without me having to do anything major to it, other than just stirring it every now and then.

I’m definitely my mother’s son because I can never resist using my charcoal grill for everything. To me, nothing beats that flavor you get from burning coals. Definitely not as good as a propane grill, and sure it’s probably not the safest for the environment but I couldn’t grill any other way. It’s what I grew up with. My childhood during warm summer days, eating hamburgers and hot dogs by the pool. With that being said I of course, had to fire up my grill for this recipe. Rest assured though, I have those of you who don’t have an outdoor grill covered. I’ve given you a few alternative options to be able to make these sweet and spicy wings yourself. I’m just thinking of you and your mother’s because you should totally make these wings for them. They’ll be happy you did. 

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Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

I used to frown upon salads with fruit on them. It always seemed so weird to me. “Why are there strawberry slices in my salad?” Then I’d proceed to flip the table over and throw the salad across the room. I’m not one for mixing sweet and savory into one dish. With a few exceptions of course, like fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup and honey drizzled all up on it. I’ll never say no to that. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would. I’m not (that) crazy. For the most part, though, I like to keep certain things separate on my plate. My pancakes have to be on another dish completely, far away from my eggs and potatoes and bacon. I’ve recently had a change of heart on the entire matter, and I now have a new found appreciation for sweet fruit on a savory salad. I can’t get enough of it, actually. I guess it helps to keep an open mind to new things we’re not completely used to. Now I’m trying to get you all hooked on it. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot from the error of my ways and I’m ready to eat all of the fruit studded salad in the world. The world I tell you. THE WORLD. 

This is the second recipe in our mega Easter Brunch Bonanza celebration. It’s the perfect side dish for our Spring time meal to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Just in case you’ve missed yesterday’s post, here’s a link to the Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Croissants. It’s another easy dish that you can whip up with no effort at all, taking some help from the store. I’m also going to remind you to come back each day for the rest of the week for the remaining recipes, there are three left and they’re only going to get better and better. I promise. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow. Just as a hint between you and I, Friday’s recipe is my absolute favorite. Oh, I’ve also been updating the main Easter Brunch post on the home page with the links to each individual recipe so that you guys can have one central location for the entire brunch menu. I think it makes it easier on us all. That one post will continue to live on the home page, front and center, so we can find all the recipes without hassle. Enough about all this business talk though. Let’s get to salad making and eating.

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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

I’ve never been the biggest fan of shrimp cocktail, but before you start coming after me with pitch forks and start doing voo doo on me, you should hear me out. I’ve got some good explanations for my line of reasoning. The main reason why I don’t care for shrimp cocktail is because I don’t like cold shrimp. In fact I hate cold shrimp. There’s something so weird to me about eating cold shrimp served over ice. Maybe I’m the weirdo. I know I know, that’s the way it’s supposed to be served and many people (like the entire world) really love shrimp cocktail no matter if it’s cold or not. More power to them. I just can’t handle it. Sorry mom. Don’t get me wrong though, if there’s cold shrimp at a buffet or at a party, I’ll be the first in line stuffing it into my pockets.

Since I love the idea of shrimp cocktail and have always wanted to really enjoy it, I thought the best way to achieve such a feat (and overcome my fear of cold shrimp), would be to cook the shrimp and eat it warm. Roasted Shrimp Cocktail has since been my newest obsession and brings me the best of all the shrimp cocktail world. I like to serve it with not one but two sauces for dipping because to me, shrimp cocktail is all about the sauce. Cocktail sauce is very near and dear to my heart as a child because I used to eat it all the time with all of the breaded and fried shrimp. All of it. I was addicted to fried shrimp, still am, but because it’s not the healthiest of ways to eat it, I’ve settled for roasted shrimp cocktail instead. I’m sure my doctor is thankful for that decision.

Continuing with our Seafood Week on the blog, I thought this recipe would be a great follow up to the Crunchy Fish Sticks from earlier in the week. Just as a recap, I wanted to do a Seafood Week because there’s a serious lack of fish dishes in my blog. My mamma wanted me to up my “under the sea” recipes and because my mamma always knows best, I thought it best to listen to her and get right on it. So here we are, two recipes into our awesome Seafood Week. I’m saving the best for last so stay tuned for the third and final installment on Friday. You won’t want to miss it. In the meantime let’s refocus on this roasted shrimp cocktail your new favorite recipe. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow.

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Idaho Potato Carne Asada Fries

In case you weren’t well aware of it already, I’m addicted to potatoes. I think I’ve mentioned it a few times here and there (okay, so maybe more than just a few times) how deep my love affair with potatoes goes. It’s pretty deep. As deep as any love. I’d climb the highest mountain for them. I’d swim the deepest ocean for them. But not in a weird creepy kind of way. It’s been this way ever since I was a young kid, though. I’m pretty sure that when I was born, my mamma didn’t give me that puréed baby food stuff in those tiny jars that all the other babies got (I was too cool for that), instead she gave me french fries by the bucket full. I ate them all up too with lots of ketchup. That’s when my love of potatoes started. If anything, I have my mom to blame for it. I’m not complaining about it though. 

Anyhow, I’m digressing from the real situation and which is that it’s time for the next installment of my collaboration with Idaho Potato! Ring the bells and go through the town and city and scream out from the top of your lungs THE FRENCH FRIES ARE HERE!! THE FRENCH FRIES ARE HERE! Because they are finally here! But they’re not just normal plain old boring fries (I’m kidding fries are never boring at all), no these are the ultimate fry situation. The kind of fries you write back home to your family to. The kind of fries you fall madly deeply in love with. The kind of fries you lose sleep over and can’t stop thinking about. The kind of fries, that even with your closest friends and family you do not share. No, not even a bite. Don’t even smell them. I’m talking about fries topped with melted cheese, friends, chopped carne asada, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, sour cream, guacamole and salsa verde. These are the fries you’re going to eat for the rest of your life. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

These also happen to be the second recipe of my collaboration with Idaho Potato! My dream partnership and I’m excited to finally get to share it with you. In case you missed the first recipe, Baked Idaho Potato Sliders, you can catch up and read all about them here. They’re my favorite sliders. Also, don’t forget to stay tuned every Monday for the rest of the month to get the scoop on the other recipes I dreamed up for Idaho potato. You’re gonna love them. But listen to me going on and on about recipes that don’t even matter at this very moment. Right now, all that matters are these fries topped with carne asada and the ridiculous amount we’re going to eat. 

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