{SRC} Lamb Souvlaki Pitas

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to get the most that I can out of these last few weeks of summer. Between enjoying the sun, seeing one last drive-in movie, catching one last polo match (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it – it’s way more exciting than the track!), and finishing the impossible task of cleaning/organizing my house from top to bottom (not sure why I started that one but I have to admit it looks a lot better) I haven’t been left with a ton of time or energy to cook.

That’s normally not a problem – I’ve been making tons of quick and easy recipes like the two-minute salmon teriyaki that I posted last week – but then I realized that it was time for Secret Recipe Club again. This month, I was paired with La Belle Aurore, a Canadian expat currently living in China. Her blog is full of beautiful travel photographs and amazing stories, but I was a little overwhelmed when it came to choosing a recipe to make. She has tons of delicious breads that I just wasn’t feeling up to making. She also has lots of recipes for homemade soaps, which are gorgeous and really fun – if only I had given myself more time to complete this month’s post I would have veered off my path and made one of those. Ultimately, I settled on her “gyro souvlaki kebabs.”

When it’s too hot to cook…

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The thermostat says says its currently 86 degrees in our house. I swear that the kitchen is a good 10 degrees more than that. I attempted to make risotto and salmon tonight, but standing over the stove made me feel like my face was going to melt off. I gave up and had a grilled chicken wrap instead.

If you’re in the same boat, here are a few meals that I’ve enjoyed in the past few days that didn’t require much time or effort in the kitchen. (In short, meals that tasted awesome but didn’t make me want to die.)

Clockwise, from top left:

Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Fiery Chili Sauce

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Uh, so I’m a little embarrassed. The whole point of this post was supposed to be to let you know about a photo contest that Superior Farms was hosting. In fact, that was the whole reason I made this dinner. The problem is, I lost track of time; the contest closed on Monday. Oops!

It was worth it though – you should run to the store and buy some lamb tonight so you can make this meal the very next chance that you get. It’s absolutely divine, we kept moaning about how great it was as we ate. We sat at the table for at least a half hour after we had finished our plates, picking at the lamb that was left on the platter – we just couldn’t bring ourselves to pack it away!

Olive and Goat Cheese Croustades & My Photography Process

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Over the past year or so, a lot of people have asked me to post about my photography “process.” I usually laugh them off. I love food photography, but I’m by no means a photographer. I’ve never taken a photography class and most of the time I feel like when I get a good shot, it’s because of nothing but luck. Still, when you compare the photos that I take now to the ones that I took when I first started the blog, even I have to admit that there’s been a dramatic improvement. (For reference, this is the first photo I posted. Yikes!)

Warm Couscous Salad with Feta and Mint

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No time like the present to get back to eating healthily! Seriously, who says you have to wait until the New Year to start eating right? Especially if it means eating this flavorful couscous salad. I served the salad with some seared tuna that I dusted with za’atar seasoning for a perfectly delicious post-holiday meal. As an added bonus, it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish – perfect for easing out of holiday/vacation mode and back into normalcy.

{Ridiculously Delicious} Saffron Game Hen; Wild Rice Dressing with Cherries and Pistachios

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Are you ready for something ridiculously delicious? That’s right, I made it to the second round of the Marx Foods Ridiculously Delicious Challenge! In this round, each contestant was asked to create a recipe using two of eight ingredient samples that we received. With ingredients ranging from coconut sugar to grains of paradise, it wasn’t an easy task!

I originally hoped to make a duck dish utilizing the dried tart cherries and tepin chilis, but had to change gears when I wasn’t able to find duck breasts. Despite having to rethink my entry in the middle of the grocery store (something I admittedly am not good at – I can’t shop without a list!), I couldn’t be happier with the meal that I came up with: a Moroccan-themed feast of Cornish game hens seasoned with saffron and lemon along with wild rice dressing with tart cherries and pistachios.

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Slathered with a combination of butter, saffron, and lemon, these brightly flavored hens boast a beautifully golden skin that crackles under your fork and gives way to succulent, juicy meat. The wild rice dressing is the perfect side dish — the rice itself is fabulously nutty and moist, while the pistachios and tart cherries contribute unexpected texture, flavor, and color. Make sure to buy dried tart cherries for this recipe — check the package closely! It’s very easy to accidentally buy dried cranberries that are only flavored like cherries, but those are much sweeter and I don’t think they would work nearly as well.

Served with a glass of wine and a side of cajun-blackened green beans, this meal was a real weeknight treat — and every bit worth the slightly longer than normal cooking time. After all, while it takes a little over an hour to prepare, it only requires you to be in the kitchen for about 15 minutes.

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