This time of year just begs for casual outdoor dining, where you can relax, get cozy, eat with your fingers, and, if you're feeling sappy, feed each other little bites. Check out this meal from Cosmo columnist and celeb chef Katie Lee Joel:
Meze Platter with Herbed Pita Crisps
Meze is traditional in Greece and Turkey and is the equivalent of tapas or finger food. Make these homemade pita crisps, and buy the rest in the deli at your grocery store. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice brighten up all the flavors.2 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T minced fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc.)
2 pitas, split in half, and each half cut into fourths (use whole wheat for a healthy alternative)
Baba ghanoush (eggplant dip)
Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
Extra-virgin olive oil
For the pita crisps: Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a fork to mix butter and herbs in a bowl, then spread onto the pita slices. Sprinkle with salt, and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
For the meze platter: Arrange hummus, baba ghanoush, dolmades, olives, tabbouleh, feta, and lemon on a platter. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and serve with the pita crisps.
Couscous Salad with Shrimp
Couscous is a staple throughout the Middle East. The traditional stuff takes some time to prepare, but quick-cooking couscous, like in this recipe, is still very tasty. Couscous is usually served with a stew, but I like it as a salad for a lighter alternative that's easy to transport.1 6-oz. box herb-flavored couscous
10 medium shrimp, cooked, tails removed
1/2 c. chopped cucumber
1/2 c. sliced grape tomatoes
2 T chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Prepare couscous according to the package instructions. Let cool. In a large bowl, combine the couscous with shrimp, cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Chill until serving time.Find out what sexy sip and yummy dessert to serve with the meal.
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