A Side Salad Board.

IMG_3199

 It’s a salad bar turned into a board! Side salad style! It is just absolutely perfect for entertaining, to put on your kitchen island as a nice little starter for everyone to dip into while everything else cooks on the grill, or really awesome to serve at a girls night in with your your besties that you haven’t seen in a while to munch on with pizza, and sip on wine. It truly works with so many things, and the reason I call it a “side salad” board is because it isn’t packed with as many things as it would be if I was creating a traditional salad “bar” all along the whole kitchen counter, and there’s no heavy protein either. These boards are very versatile! So versatile it is actually pretty insane. You can take this idea, and change every single thing I have on here, while giving the same idea, and vibe to your guests. Presenting a board in this manner at some sort of party is going to be much more appreciated than just throwing a regular garden salad together. When you do that.. most people end up not taking it because it bores them, and serving it this way is  fabulous, fun, and exciting! I mean a party should be full of fun after all, am I right? 🙂

IMG_3215

As I said you can pick seriously anything that you want to put this gorgeous, colorful board together, so whatever lettuce is your favorite is what you should go for! I chose to chop up beautiful butter lettuce because that is just my favorite lettuce ever. I can’t help it, its too amazing! The flavor, it’s crispiness, and tenderness. This lettuce is so perfect for lettuce wraps, or sandwiches as well.

IMG_3207

Aside from cheeses, pops of olives, and salty bites.. you need a good, fresh nutritional vegetable added in there; whether that would be shredded carrots like I chose, multi colored radishes, broccoli, or cauliflower. Any of these veggies would be the perfect touch that you need for a board such as this. I also thought it was adorable if I presented the shredded carrots in a look-a-like farmers market carton! So, so cute!

IMG_3216

I know everyone loves fresh mozzarella, and once again I used the firmer mozzarella from the block because I think it’s easier for guests to pick up with tongs. If by some crazy chance you don’t like mozzarella.. cheddar, or even just some salty parmesan would be an awesome accompaniment.

I wanted something a little bit even fattier than the cheese to include, and what’s the most iconic salad topping to complete that task other than bacon?! We always say “everything is better with bacon” and for this light salad board, that’s extremely true! Along side of the bacon, I sliced some roasted red peppers for a different texture, and sweetness. As for the little baby toppings.. olives are always all the rage on a salad bar, or board for this matter. 😉 You can use one, or as many different varieties of them as you’d like but I feel like plain black olives are a staple to a salad, salty green mezzetta ones are my favorite so of course they made the cut, and then some oily kalamatas! If you’re creating this board and you do not enjoy olives.. don’t have that mind set that you’re not going to include them onto the board because YOU don’t like them. Sometimes when you are entertaining you have to do what is best for taste, presentation, variety, and most importantly, your guests!

IMG_3213

I for sure do not believe that gravy boats are just for entertaining. Salad dressing looks incredible in them, and it makes for such an easy, steady, clean pour for guests to serve themselves! Plus it just looks stunning being served in something so elegant looking rather than serving it in a bowl with a spoon!

  • Balsamic was the perfect choice for this group of veggies & toppings! Usually I’m a creamy dressing girl, but for this specific board I decided against it considering the flavors of everything are going to pair better with it than a dressing such as ranch.

IMG_3200

I think serving everything in their individual little bowls, and sections on a whole unanomous serving platter makes it look dinner party ready! I love so much that the board itself has handles on it which makes it easy to carry from room to room if you wanted to, or even to take it with you to somewhere that you’ve been invited to!

This side salad board honestly looks so fresh, delicious, and down right ready to dig into!

IMG_3208

      All boards love their close ups! 😉

IMG_3204

It’s nice if you have some kind of table runner, decoration piece, or placemat to put underneath the board, especially when you’re preparing for a party, or a get together because it makes it look that much more put together. It gives it that center piece look as if it’s the star of the show, and everyone who walks into the kitchen will have their eyes immediately drawn to it. Adding special touches like that impresses people, and it definitely shows them how much attention you put into each & every detail.

 

XOXO

Gorgeous Grilled Potatoes. Two Ways!

I’m coming at you Diamonds with a little two for one special on this lazy, rainy Tuesday afternoon! I thought it would be super fun to introduce a dish to all of you that you can create really quick, and easy, while being able to construct it in two totally different ways. I often think some of us forget how many side dishes are so versatile, especially during the summer months when the grill is opened for business! 😉 Even though these two potato plates are polar opposites, they’re also similar in some ways. Your choice is to decide if you want more of a straight up ranch vibe going on, or if you want to bump up the flavor with some decadent melty, creamy cheese, oozing right over top of them! These grilled potatoes are perfect to make all year round if you have a grill pan to use on the stove, but they really do hit different during this time when we wonder what else we can pair with our stacked up cheeseburgers, and wonderful hot dog bars.


Ranch Coated Potato Wedges Topped With An Herby Sour Cream:

IMG_3099

These hot and steamy wedges are crunchy, crispy, smooth, fluffy, and creamy! Everything you could ever want from a simple, yet super succulent plate of food!

IMG_3058

The first step to both of these potato recipes are to bake the potatoes as if you were only going to make a plain baked potato! Set the oven to 400 degrees, and bake them for an hour, or until fork tender. Before popping them into the oven, rub them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

  • The ranch seasoning packet that we’re going to be using is garlicky within itself, but the garlic and onion flavors in this dish is truly what it going to make it all so delicious!
  • After they come out of the oven, let them cool for a little, so that you can handle them with care. To get them into the nice wedge shapes that we are longing them to be in.. cut the whole potato in half, and then in half once more.

IMG_3059

Place all of the potato wedges into a bowl, and drizzle them with olive oil.

Depending on the punch of ranch flavor you’re looking for will depend on how much of the seasoning packet you will add. I added a little less than half of the packet because once they come off the grill we’re going to sprinkle some over top for garnish and extra flavoring, as well as adding it into the sour cream mixture for the drizzle at the end.

IMG_3078

    Grab your bowl of potatoes, a pair of tongs, and head out to the grill! 

  • Preheat the grill to medium heat. Set the potatoes on the grill face down. I know usually when you do chicken, fish, or some sort of protein with skin you cook the skin side first, but I don’t normally choose to do that when I make potatoes of any kind!

Once you let the potato wedges cook for three minutes, flip then over to the other side, and cook for another three minutes, or just until it gets to the darkness that you want them to be. I wouldn’t suggest letting them get too many black markings on it though because you definitely don’t want these to give off any type of burnt flavor. No one likes that unless its a hot dog! 😉

This herby dressing we’re going to make to drizzle on top of our gorgeous grilled potatoes is really as easy as pie! Dump half of a container of sour cream into a serving bowl with the rest of the ranch seasoning packet, along with a dash of Worcestershire sauce. It’s going to pretty much remind you of a very, very thick ranch dressing.. just without a few other ingredients that I wouldn’t miss out on if I was making my traditional, famous ranch dressing!

IMG_3088

     So herby, so creamy, and so so good! 

I love presenting these wedges like oversized jenga blocks. 😉 Then for the best and final part.. drizzle the herby ranch sour cream dressing all over the potatoes! Garnish with fresh cracked black pepper, a sprinkling of the ranch seasoning, and chopped parsley. These are going to be your go to “French fries” from now on because let me tell you Diamonds.. once you have these puppies, throwing frozen French fries in the oven definitely will not suffice!!


 

Grilled scallion and cheese halved potatoes! 

IMG_3254

These are very similar to the previous potato wedges, except these are just halved, and loaded with two melty, mouthwatering cheeses, and instead of the ranch filled sour cream, this sour scream is filled with an inviting bite of green onions for that extra snap of flavor!

IMG_3217

After baking the potatoes the same way as the last at 400 degrees for an hour, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut them all in half.

IMG_3241

Even though the goal with this isn’t for them to scream RANCH, we still want that delicious salty garlic, and onion flavor, so we’re going to shake a few shakes of that on to all of the halved potatoes. Then rub them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried parsley to get them ready for the hot grill.

IMG_3242

just like the ranch wedges.. I placed these all face down on to the grill that was set to medium heat. Since these potatoes are already fully cooked all we are searching for is that gorgeous, crispy brown color, along with those great grill lines that everyone loves when they’ve cooked something from the grill.

The color and texture of these are exactly what you want them to be! No less, no more. As I said before you really want to make sure you’re not letting them get a burnt after taste to them when everyone is going to try to be enjoying them. As soon as you flip them onto their skin.. pile each one with a slice of American cheese. This cheese is what is going to give them that luxurious taste that we’re looking for when it comes to this particular dish.

IMG_3245

After you’ve placed the American cheese on each one, pile a small handful of sharp shredded cheddar cheese so that it could get melty, stringy, and ooze off the sides of each potato as it finishes its process on the grill.

IMG_3247

When they start looking like they are almost fully melted, you may shut the grill off, close the lid, and leave them sit for another final minute.

IMG_3250

Have a serving tray, or platter sitting on the side of the grill so that you can easily take them off; having somewhere to place them to carry them back inside!

You don’t have to make as many of these as I’m showing here, but we were having my family over the house, so we doubled up on these bad boys because I knew people would be going up for seconds. Without a doubt these will be the life of your party! It’s like a baked potato times 100!! For the sour scream on top as I said, just chop up a bunch of scallions and mix them in with it, along with salt and pepper. Lastly, garnish with the rest of the chopped scallions, and voila! 🙂 The most marvelous, melty, grilled topped potato you will ever have in your life! 

IMG_3257

Now that you Diamonds know how easy these are to whip up, and how delicious they look.. you’ll want to continue to make them for your side every single night once you find out that they taste as delicious as they appear to be!


ENJOY DIAMONDS, XOXO

Marinated Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper & Kalamata Olive Salad.

This salad truly couldn’t be more simple, fresh, and wonderfully delicious! I love salads where you put together a few wholesome ingredients that compliment each other to a T, and then just gently lay it all over a bed of beautiful greens. You could use any fluffy, leafy, crisp green that’s going to hold up to all of the the oil & vinegar that is going to get poured over top of everything, but I chose green leaf lettuce that I got straight from my local farmers market. Now, if you are like me and have become obsessed with getting all of your produce from the farm.. just be aware that if you purchase any kind of lettuce there to wash it extremely well when you get back home. I wouldn’t even recommend washing it only when it’s whole either. Wash it before and after you cut it because it could have an insane amount of dirt on it, and we definitely don’t want that anywhere near our delicate dish, along with having tiny little bugs crawling along the crinkles of the leaves, so we want to be certain it is free from all of that nonsense!

To kick off our salty, creamy, and yet a little sweet salad.. cube a whole block of mozzarella cheese, medium dice a small jar of roasted red peppers, and half a nice handful of briny kalamata olives.

  • When you empty out the jar of roasted red peppers, do not get rid of the liquid inside!! We will use some of that later! 
  • Let’s talk mozzarella cheese for a second: I did mention a “block”, and you might be wondering what that means because you’ve only ever seen it shredded in bags, or fresh in a ball. Those assumptions are both very true, although there are brands that create mozzarella cheese in a square block form, and on the package it says “firm”. I want you to use the more firm mozzarella as I did if you’s can; being that the dressing will hold up on it much better, and if there are left overs the cheese will not get soft, and soggy as quickly as it would if you used it from the softer “ball”.
  • Now.. for some kalamata olive talk: If you don’t love olives, or you think you dont.. still give this a try, and do not skip on the olives! The salty punch you get from olives when you take a bite mixing with the sweet, and smokiness from the pepper, along with the creaminess of the cheese is just phenomenal!

IMG_3062

As I already mentioned earlier.. make sure your bright, leafy green lettuce is washed well! That is super super important, especially if you’re making this dish for your whole family, or even more importantly.. you’re having guests over! You surely wouldn’t want anyone running into anything they don’t want to be running into. Lol. If you don’t have the lettuce fully chopped how you wanted when you washed it, you can go back in, and make those cuts, or rips. With an incredibly leafy green like this, it’s easiest to just tear pieces from each other unless you were making a “chopped” salad, but that isn’t the look we’re going for with this. I like an Italian inspired plate such as this one, to look rustic.. which is why I chose to put it in a textured wooden bowl. You Diamonds know how I feel about gorgeous presentation, and the contrasting of colors!

IMG_3052

After you have chopped up our three super stars for this salad, you can add our vinegary bites to the bowl of the mozzarella cheese.

Once everything is all mixed up together in the bowl, go ahead and pour really good olive oil over top of everything, so that it nicely coated, and shiny! Along with the olive oil, drop in a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar, or even the glaze if you have that on hand. If you didn’t add the glaze and just used the vinegar, drizzle in some honey. You Diamonds might have figured it out already if you’ve been coming on the blog for a while now, but if you haven’t.. I love, love, love including honey in a majority of dishes that I create! We definitely can’t forget about seasonings since that is what I believe takes things to a whole other dimension! Sprinkle in salt, pepper, parsley, Italian seasoning, dried basil, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste. I never measure seasonings, or want to almost demand all of you how much you have to put in because everyone is different, and we all love different tastes. What tastes strong to you, may not taste strong to me, and vise versa!

  • We are going to use that roasted red pepper juice that I told you to save earlier, as well as the same amount of liquid from the jar of kalamata olives. These two ingredients are going to have a lot of flavor impact in this dressing.. which is going to allow it marinate so stunningly.

IMG_3065

After letting the trifecta sit in the cold fridge letting the dressing soak in, marinating everything together marvelously.. now is the time to spoon it all on top of the lettuce. Leave the marinated salad on TOP of our lettuce instead of mixing it in because we want this to look dressed with so many delectable goodies to make it look like all of these yummy things are actually garnishing our lettuce leaves!

IMG_3071

You know whats next Diamonds! Garnish, garnish, garnish! Even though this plate already looks really radiant, these few little steps to make it even more pretty will just heighten it’s presentation game!

  • Drizzle the top with more olive oil, fresh cracked black pepper, chopped parsley, and grated parmesan cheese. 
  • Parmesan cheese on a salad like this with a ton of oil & vinegar flavors is just pure magic!

This marinated mozzarella, roasted red pepper, and kalamata olive salad is exceptional, and everyone that comes over will adore it! This is a dish that can be brought to any party, any cookout, and paired with anything. I can assure you that it’s going to taste as incredible as it looks! I made this with sticky honey mustard grilled chicken thighs, and loaded baked potatoes, and let me tell you Diamonds.. it was the most perfect compliment to the meal. My parents were in awe over how flavorful it was because there honestly isn’t much to it at all! As I have said many of times before.. you don’t need an over amount of ingredients to make something unique, delicious, and popular for that matter!

IMG_3072

We have one more month of sensational summer eats here on Deep Fried Diamonds until I switch over to some warm, and fabulous fall food that I know you all will adore so much, so get excited for the next season to come, as you still continue to enjoy the rest of what summer on the blog has to offer! I’ll be back with more simple, yet succulent dishes next week Diamonds! 🙂


XOXO

Candles & Coffee.

The two best c words in the world! Candles and coffee… There’s nothing I love more than making a wonderful cup of warm, cozy coffee, and lighting the candles in the morning, or any time of day, if I’m truly being honest. 😉 If you need a rest, some time to yourself, or you just need to get your creative juices flowing this is the best recipe for that! I’ve always felt it so calming, and peaceful to be able to begin the day off slow with a light snack, or breakfast,  some delicious, strong coffee brewing into a gorgeous mug, and the most incredible candles burning on the coffee table besides you while you relax on the loveseat. It’s timeless, and treasuring.

IMG_3688

For some of us coffee isn’t even just a hobby so much as it is a necessity. Coffee helps us to get the day started after we enjoy that very last sip. It helps to enhance productivity, our way of thinking, boots metabolism, and is found to make people happier so they can get out of depressions more easily. Coffee surprisingly also has a great amount of health benefits that many of you Diamonds may have never even heard of before. The fact that you can drink something every single day knowing that you very well may be helping yourself mentally, and physically is just everything that everyone wants.. especially it’s something you’re pretty much addicted to! I mean lets be honest Diamonds.. I know most of us can’t function without our first cup of coffee in the morning.


    A few positive health benefits of drinking coffee: 

  •      Coffee helps lower your risk of getting many different types of cancers.
  •      Coffee helps protects you against Parkinson’s disease.
  •      Coffee helps lower your risk of getting heart disease.
  •      Coffee lowers your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
  •      Coffee lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Not only does coffee help with preventing these diseases, but also SO many more.

Just like drinking coffee, lighting candles also has many health benefits to help your mind, body, and soul. The reason why I love lighting candles so much in the morning is because it lights up your space with a beautiful aroma, along with a positive outlook for a fresh start to your day, even if you’re just having a lounge day at home. You still always, always, always want to be put in an awesome, positive headspace!! Aside from lighting them in the morning; I love to light them while I am cooking, creating blog content, having myself a fun little spa day, or at night to help myself unwind before bed.


Benefits of lighting scented candles in your space/home: 

  • Candles that are infused with essential oils can give you the most sensational aroma therapy experience, especially if you get a certain type of candle for your specific needs. Essential oils in candles help reduce stress and anxiety, along with inducing sleep if that is what you are hoping for when you light them during the evening/nighttime!
  • Along with the smell, scent, and aroma of the candle helping your mental headspace heal.. the sight of the candle is also just as helpful! Watching the flicker of the flame move every which way as the candle continues to burn helps creates an exceptional ambiance of pure relaxation. If you light candles in a room that is dark, that is when you will encounter the most intense sense of calmness. It might also really help as well if the room is quiet, calm, and there aren’t kids running around. I know that may be hard to accomplish, even more so now in the times we are in today, but if you are able to get even fifteen minutes to yourself, definitely do so! Letting your mind disconnect for even just a short amount of time can be super healthful for mental health.

IMG_3686

I have been drinking coffee while I sit next to the candles for so many years to either enjoy my peaceful time to take myself away from everyday life, or to brainstorm how I want my future to be, and what I want to do next. As I would sit on Pinterest many years ago browsing everything I loved from cooking to party planning, along with decorating; I would scheme motives in my head for a career for myself that had all of these joyful things combined into one. A platform where I could do something different every single day to share with people the amazing ideas I had from recipes, lifestyle posts, and what I adore more than anything. After hours of researching, and tall glasses of coffees disappearing, I finally had an idea in one of my “candle & coffee” moments for the proposal of developing Deep Fried Diamonds. I do advise you Diamonds to light a candle, make a luscious latte, and take a moment to think about if you have done everything you wanted in your life, and if you haven’t.. do it! Plan your peace as you sip on your hot coffee, and watch your candle burn. 


 

XOXO

Briny & Sweet Basil Avocado Toast, Topped With An Over Medium Egg!

IMG_3773

Avocado toast should get the gold medal for being the absolute best toast in the world! Am I right Diamonds?! 🙂 The reason why it is just the BEST besides being so simply succulent, is the fact that there are a million different ways you can spice it up, and top them off!! They are incredibly fun to make, and even more fun to eat! Avocado toast is probably one of my most favorite things to eat of all time whether that would be for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or a snack no matter where the sun, or moon may be. Although I do have so many foods that I adore more than anything, this plate will always be on my to die for list!

IMG_3771

I’m pretty certain you have never had avocado toast in this fashion, but Diamonds let me tell you, once you do.. you will never go back to having plain avocado toast with a squeeze of lime juice over top of it again. Okay, okay you might, but not very often! Not that that isn’t super delicious on it’s own, but once you kick things up in your life, you usually don’t end up going back to what you were once used to! The flavors of this toast are truly so so impeccable! Every time I make food I make sure every single thing you’re going to taste off of it is contrasting to each other. I don’t enjoy when I’m eating something and all I am tasting is too sweet, or too tangy, and so on! It has to connect with on another, and everything must marry beautifully!

Since the hardest part about making these little pieces of toasts are cooking the eggs, let’s start with that! While you have your toast in the toaster, crack two large eggs into a small frying pan that’s sprayed with butter spray! You could also choose to use a pad of butter instead, but the spray works just as well, and still gives off great flavor. Just make sure the spray you are using is butter flavored! Fry these babies on medium-low heat for about two minutes, and then flip them over. Once you’ve flipped the eggs over, put a slit straight down the middle of the eggs, so that they can become separated for each piece of toast. Now.. if you wanted two eggs per slice, that’s totally up to you!

While you are waiting for your toast and eggs, break apart four kalamata olives opened from it’s pit, then chiffonade ( long, thin strips of leafy greens) three basil leaves.

If your avocado is small than you may use a whole one, but mine was big enough that I was able to use only one half of an avocado to make two pieces of toast. Add salt & pepper to taste! Avocado loves loves loves salt & pepper!

SMOTHER THAT GOODNESS AROUND!  😉 

After the avocado is nicely spread to a thick layer on the toast, go ahead and sprinkle as much mozzarella cheese as you would like. You might think you don’t need any more creaminess because of the avocado, but we’re not necessarily looking for creaminess as much as we are stringiness! The cheese pull you’ll get when you bite down, mixed with the velvety texture of the avocado, along with the buttery drip coming down from the egg is seriously superb! 

IMG_3770

  • This briny and sweet basil avocado toast comes from delicious Greek kalamata olives getting cozied up with some sweet sweet drizzles of sticky honey. These two ingredients take the silky avocado to another dimension. It is just down right incredible.
  • To top off this tasty toast, I tossed on a chiffonade of bright, fresh basil leaves. The basil really rounded this dish out! Besides the herb, I finished everything off with how I usually always finish every piece of toast off that I consume, and that’s with a sprinkling of black pepper, and everything but the bagel seasoning!

    Get toasting Diamonds! 


XOXO

 

The classic Antipasto Salad, done right!

IMG_1690

 I can make a bet that we are all familiar with the traditional antipasto salad that we order at bistros, our favorite Italian restaurants, or fill up our bowls with at big Sunday family dinners. This salad is the first salad that comes to my mind when I’m preparing food for a party, or menu planning for a gorgeous get together. It just screams family eats to me! I feel like every event I’ve ever attended have always had an antipasto sitting pretty on the buffet waiting to be devoured. For some reason this is always the go to salad for guests as their number one choice to pile on their plates out of all the rests since it’s full of delicious meats, cheeses, and garlicky acidic flavorings!

You certainly don’t need to create this salad in any strict order, but there are two choices you have. You can mix all of the ingredients together along with the lettuce, or choose the Diamond way 😉 which I think is better for party purposes, especially! When you pile all the meats, cheeses, and little vinegary bites into different sections that gives people the opportunity to easily pick, and choose what they want in their salad instead of  all of the ingredients already being mixed throughout on top of one another. People adore options! They love to be able to see something beautifully put together when searching for their food selections, while also being able to personalize something from that. Personalizing food is a fun activity for literally everyone to get involved with at a get together! Thats really the point of a party is to have fun, and having fun doesn’t get any better than doing it with food! Food is life, and it brings all of us together to create happiness, along with good memories!!

     All antipastos need great flavored ham, salty salami, spicy pepperoni, and a creamy, and sharp cheese! I fully believe that the more cheese thats involved in something the better it will be, so I always like to include two different types of cheeses in my antipasto. My first choice will always be American cheese. It is a classic, delicious creamy taste that’s absolutely needed to counteract all of the tanginess from the peppers, and olives. Sharp cheese enthusiasts will usually always choose aged provolone. I do agree with that considering so many people are a fan of the sharpness despite the way it smells, but this is the one food in the world I just totally am not crazy about. I hate saying that due to my Italian background, but it’s true, so I just decide to embrace it, and add in some grated parmesan cheese instead. It does that salty, sharp bite trick just as well, if not a little better in my opinion! Parmesan is another thing that I love garnishing with! You Diamonds will begin to get very familiar with that! 🙂 

IMG_1694

You are welcome to get creative with this type of salad, and add different colored tomatoes in, along with hot, or sweet peppers, but I chose to do roasted red peppers being that it adds such a smokey, yet sweet flavor to the salad. Besides the tomatoes, and peppers, I added two more little green goodies that I feel are very necessary. Green olives are a staple to me in an antipasto, along with marinated artichoke hearts. I absolutely love to add marinated goods to a salad. It definitely gives it a unique, garlic flavor that sometimes is missing otherwise!

I’m usually a huge seasonal person, but with this salad, it’s perfect because it adorns any season in the most perfect way possible. You can even deck your brunch buffet out with this plate, or enjoy it as a extremely late night meal when you want something incredible, but don’t want to feel insanely guilty for indulging! This is THE salad to remember when you Diamonds are in a pinch for a last minute party time side! It will for sure exceed expectations, and the best part is..it’s great for left overs which usually are never the case for cold foods such as this! All you have to do is serve the oil & vinegar on the side, and you are good to go! 🙂


 

XOXO