The yummy meal pictured here takes about 30 minutes to make, start to finish. 25 minutes once you’ve done it a few times and have it down pat.
Recipe #1: Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, Sage and Thyme requires nothing more than toasting slices of artisan bread and doing some minor prep-work while the slices are turning golden brown. Mince a few cloves of garlic, throw minced thyme & sage into the mix, then add it all to fresh goat cheese and begin assembling. Though I’m a big fan of home baking, during the week I usually opt for a loaf of bread from our local market to cut down on prep time.
Recipe #2 is for a refreshing Strawberry Melonade, which really pulls this meal together. Made with honeydew melon, strawberries, fresh mint, and Midori it takes mere moments to put together and I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face. Simply juice two lemons, then add the liquid to a blender with your strawberries and melon, plus a handful of mint leaves and some sugar water. In order to make this recipe as quick as possible you can make the “simple syrup” (which is the technical term for the H2O + sugar mixture you’ll be making, see below) the night before, or even in larger batches if you plan on making this drink more than once. I also recommend carving up your melon on the weekend. It will keep in your fridge for about five days and significantly cuts down on mid-week prep-time. Sharing this drink with children is a cinch – all you need to do is skip the last step in the recipe, where the Midori is added directly to each glass.
- 9 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 3 large, fresh sage leaves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- Coarse river or sea salt (kosher salt works too), black pepper
- 6 large slices of good quality artisan bread (I prefer whole wheat ciabatta), about 1-inch thick
- 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and sliced
- About 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
- About 4 tablespoons pine nuts
- Balsamic vinegar to taste (Use the best quality vinegar you can find. I prefer one that has been aged at least 6 years – available at Whole Foods)
- Toast your bread slices until golden, set aside. Combine the minced thyme and sage in a small bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of your thyme-sage mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the toasted slices of bread on a rimmed baking sheet. I prefer to arrange them side by side, so that they’re touching and the goat cheese mixture is less likely to fall onto the baking sheet. Spread the goat cheese mixture onto each slice, using a tablespoon and your fingers to gently pat it onto each piece.
- Top with the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the thyme-sage mixture. Place under the broiler until the tomatoes have softened a bit, about 4 minutes. Keep an eye on your bruschetta when it’s in the oven – your broiler may be hotter than mine.
- Top each bruschetta with baby spinach. I generally grab a handful and roughly tear the leaves with my fingers before placing it on top. Sprinkle with ½ to 1 tablespoon of pine nuts per slice. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste.
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 cups peeled honeydew melon, cut into a 1-inch dice
- 1¼ cups strawberries, stems chopped off
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons + 1 lemon for garnish
- ¼ cup tightly packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- Ice cubes
- Seltzer water
- Midori Melon Liqueur, about 1-2 tablespoons per glass (Optional)
- In a small saucepan, combine the water with the sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Let cool completely.
- In a blender, puree the melon and strawberries with the lemon juice, mint and sugar syrup. Fill 4 large glasses with ice and pour in the melon puree. Top with seltzer, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Midori to the glass. Garnish with mint and lemon slices and serve.