Let’s Party

Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Watermelon Bites

Inspired by this BHG Watermelon Salad, I decided to make an appetizer version perfect for an outdoor summer gathering. Just stack cubes of feta and watermelon on a toothpick with a leaf of fresh mint! Simple, refreshing and delicious. Summer in a bite!

Try to cut the feta and watermelon cubes the same size:

You can mix up the order of the 3 items however you like! However, for thin toothpicks I prefer to put the feta on the bottom as I think it keeps the items from falling off the tooth pick. This could also be served as a salad skewer by putting about 3 watermelon cubes, 3 feta cubes and mint leaves on a longer kebab stick.

I served them at a party recently and they were a hit:

The recipe for these watermelon bites was based on the ingredients in this Watermelon Salad. Happy summer entertaining!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a food blog and cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods in California.

 

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Blueberry Arugula Salad

Nothing reminds me of summer more than berry picking. Most summers, we head to Vermont for a week to stay at my relative’s house and we always go blueberry picking nearby. Usually it’s so hot that I can’t manage to bake a pie when I get home, so instead I love throwing the berries in a fresh salad. The sweet and savory together are divine! Plus, it’s great alongside a BBQ meal.

For this fresh summer salad, I created a vegetarian version of this BHG salad, subbing spicy arugula for lettuce, and adding feta and pecans. However, feel free to include the turkey, or perhaps some chicken if you’ve fired up the grill.

I just used a light vinaigrette I bought at the store, but even olive oil and lemon would be lovely! For the recipe that I adapted, please click here.

Cheers to outdoor summer meals!

Recipe adaptation, illustrations and photos by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a food blog and vegetarian cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Curly Kale and Curly Pasta Salad

I love making pasta salads when entertaining because it’s easy to make a lot, not too pricey, filling, and they are great at room temperature. This pasta salad recipe is nicely balanced with beans and greens, and a store-bought pesto makes it so easy! I adapted BHG’s Italian Pesto Pasta Salad recipe by adding kale and pecans.

I pull the kale off the stalks and shred them into pieces by hand. After boiling the pasta, I throw the kale in that same pot, with a bit of olive oil, and saute´ briefly until wilted and bright green. I then toss the hot pasta with the greens, canned beans and pesto.

Chopped green scallions and toasted pecans can be sprinkled over the top before serving, or mixed in, for an extra crunchy kick.

This dish is great served warm or at room temperature, and is easily made ahead.

For the full recipe, click here. I simply substituted kale and pecans for the suggested arugula and pine nuts. The dish could also be made vegan by leaving out the cheese and using a dairy-free pesto. It could easily be made with gluten-free pasta as well. Enjoy!

Recipe adaptation and photos by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a cookbook and food blog inspired by living in a cabin in the woods. 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Roasted Rosemary Potato Salad

This dish is a great one for entertaining because it can be served hot or at room temperature, and it can easily be made ahead. I love the addition of the balsamic and pine nuts – makes it feel a little different (and a little lighter!) than your average potato salad. I modified the original recipe just a little and didn’t include bell pepper, but it’s a great alternate addition. I also added an extra onion to mine because I love them so much.

 

Just chop everything into cubes and roast:

I picked the rosemary from our bush out back!

It was foggy while I was shooting this dish (perfect for photographing outside!), and I couldn’t resist this shot on the deck:

For the full recipe, click here. Enjoy!

Photos & lettering by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast.


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Two Tomato Carrot Ribbon Pasta

There’s something so satisfying (yet a bit indulgent) about a big plate of pasta, right? But what if you could make it just a little lighter and shave off a little of that guilt? Starting with this recipe, I replaced half the noodles with carrot ribbons, and guess what…JUST as satisfying! It’s a great flavor combo, too- sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, parsley and fresh mozzarella balls. Perfect when entertaining, or for a weeknight dinner.

Click HERE for the BHG recipe that I have adapted. Use any type of pasta you’d like (wheat, gluten-free, etc…they type I used with the curly edges is called Riccia). To lighten things up, substitute about half of the pasta serving per person with carrot ribbons. I have found this to be about 1-2 carrots per serving, depending on how big the carrots are. When boiling the pasta, I just throw the carrot ribbons in the water for the last 1 minute the pasta is cooking, then strain it all together. But be sure not to leave the carrots in too long- they are so thin that they will fall apart quickly when over cooked. One minute or less should do it, just until they start to wilt.

You can also use carrot ribbons to replace all the pasta if you like! For this version, instead of boiling the carrots, try just quickly sauteeing the ribbons over medium heat in a non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil until they wilt (about 3 minutes).

For the Two-Tomato Pasta recipe, click here. For my version substitute carrot ribbons for half (or all!) of the pasta. Enjoy!

Photos and illustration by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a blog and cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Entertaining with Quiche

Whenever I host a brunch party, I love making quiche. It’s a simple way to serve eggs to a crowd and it feels a little special. Plus, it’s easily made ahead and delicious even as it cools.

This BHG Quiche recipe is amazing because it’s so adaptable- you can literally add anything to the egg mixture!

Some filling ideas:

  • sliced or grated zucchini squash
  • big slices of tomato
  • pesto and goat cheese
  • caramelized red onions
  • sausage and fresh herbs
  • scallions (green onions)

The list is endless! And it’s great because you can also just use whatever you have in the fridge. I usually cook the veggies or meat before adding it to the quiche to assure it’s fully cooked when the egg mixture is set. I use a pre-made pie crust, but you could certainly make your own.

For the version above, I added ribbons of yellow zucchini squash to the egg mixture, plus grated jack cheese, and a sprinkling of thyme. I made the ribbons of squash using a potato peeler, running it lengthwise down the squash. You could also use a mandolin. Another idea is to simply add big slices of tomato and grated cheese, like below.

Click here for the recipe. Happy brunching!

Photos and illustration by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a cookbook and blog inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.