Holiday

Uncle Rob’s Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

I ate a lot of delicious dishes at my family’s beach trip earlier this month, but my new favorite was my Uncle Rob’s tailgate filet sandwiches with whiskey marinade. He wanted to do something for Lemon & Mocha so I told him to come up with his signature dish for me to photograph while we were down at the beach. He did not disappoint with these succulent steak sandwiches.

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

During football season my Uncle is a regular tailgater at his alma mater, Villanova. He makes these regularly and I am sure they go fast. They certainly would if I was there!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

My Uncle Rob and my Aunt Dottie, who hails from the University of Delaware, have a fun football rivalry tradition. Every fall Villanova and the University of Delaware play a big game. The person with the losing school has to place the winning school’s vanity plate on their car for the entirety of the year. My Uncle Rob wanted me to be sure to point out that Villanova has been on quite the winning streak 😉

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

No matter what team you’re rooting for this fall these delicious sandwiches will soften even the fiercest rivalry!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I don’t have steak often as it is usually our splurge meal, but I will definitely be making these sandwiches soon especially since I was already craving them the next morning. Enjoy!

Tailgate Filet Steak Sandwiches  |  Lemon & Mocha

Uncle Rob's Tailgate Filet Sandwiches with Whiskey Marinade
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup dijon mustard
  • ¼ packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup minced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of worcestershire sauce
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 6 1" thick filets
  • 6 pretzel buns
  • Pepper jack cheese, horseradish sauce and lettuce for serving, optional
  • 6 pack of beer for the chef, age permitting
Directions
  1. Combine the whiskey, soy sauce, mustard, brown sugar, onions, salt, worcestershire and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place the filets on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet pound filets until they are ½" thick.
  3. Combine the filets and marinade in a large plastic bag to marinate for 6-8 hours.
  4. Heat grill to high heat. Grill according to desired doneness. For medium-rare, grill for 3 minutes on one side, flip and grill for 2 more minutes before letting rest for 3-5 minutes before eating.
Notes
If you can't find filet, possible substitutions include eye of round steak or hanger steak.

 

Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon & Feta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Can you believe summer is already almost over? Not to remind you or anything, but it’s August! Where does the time go? I don’t have nearly enough time to cook all the dishes I would like to, so it’s very rare when there’s a dish I go back to again and again. This watermelon salad is one of those dishes.

Watermelon & Feta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Simple as it seems, this watermelon salad with feta and a citrus mint vinaigrette was my favorite recipe I discovered all last summer. Everyone I made it for requested the recipe. It is refreshing, healthy and has a surprisingly delightful flavor profile.

Watermelon & Feta Salad  |  Lemon & MochaI remember looking at the list of ingredients on the Food Network website and thinking, “this is going to be interesting…” But it all works and comes together in a seriously tasty way.

Watermelon & Feta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The vinaigrette consists of lemon and orange juices, minced shallots, honey for some sweetness and to brighten the salad some fresh mint. Of course some olive oil, salt and pepper are added to the mix. The little cubes of watermelon soak up just the right amount of the dressing and the feta adds some saltiness to balance the dish.

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Eat this as a snack, appetizer or side dish along with your summer meals.

Watermelon & Feta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Watermelon & Feta Salad
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, about 2 lemons
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ seedless watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 3-4 large fresh mint leaves, julienned
Directions
  1. In a large measuring cup or small bowl whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallot, honey, salt and pepper. While continuing to whisk carefully pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until combined well.
  2. Place the watermelon in a large serving bowl, top with the feta and mint, then top with enough of the vinaigrette to coat the watermelon. Gently toss. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed then serve immediately.
Notes
Do not combine the vinaigrette with the watermelon until right before serving.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Food Network.

Leebreeze

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & MochaWhat wondrous sight do you see before you? Alas! Lemon & Mocha’s first ever drink post! Time to break out the cups, ice and don’t forget the vodka!

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & Mocha

We aren’t just saying “cheers” to this post though, we are wishing my amazing dad a happy birthday. My dad is known for his Leebreezes so there seemed to be no better fitting tribute than this perfect summer cocktail.

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & Mocha

The Leebreeze is a variation of the traditional sea breeze drink, and by variation I mean it’s the same thing with a different name. A sea breeze consists of cranberry juice, grapefruit juice and vodka. Don’t forget the vodka. While you can make little onesies and twosies of this drink it is best prepared in a big pitcher for all party-goers and barbecue attendees to enjoy.

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & Mocha

For those of you that don’t know or haven’t guessed thus far, my dad’s first name is Lee, hence the Leebreeze. The naming was the genius work of one of my cousins a couple years ago. While my dad certainly didn’t invent the sea breeze, nor the Leebreeze for that matter, he brought the sea breeze a certain attitude that only my dad could.

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & Mocha

My dad is often the life of the party with his laugh heard from three rooms over and he wants everyone to have a great time. The Leebreeze isn’t just a relaxing fruity cocktail; it’s a let’s-get-this-party-started-go-to. So when your barbecue needs a little perk this summer, break out a pitcher of Leebreezes and turn it up a notch.

Leebreeze  |  Lemon & Mocha

Leebreeze
 
Yield: 8 servings or 1 drink
Ingredients
for a pitcher
  • 12 ounces vodka, room temperature
  • 30 ounces cranberry juice
  • 16 ounces grapefruit juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Grapefruit slices for garnish
for a single drink
  • 1.5 ounces vodka, room temperature
  • Cranberry juice
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Grapefruit slice for garnish
Directions
for a pitcher
  1. Fill a standard gallon pitcher half to three quarters full with ice. Pour the vodka, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice over top then stir. Taste and adjust amounts of ingredients if needed. Pour into glasses and garnish with grapefruit slices.
for a single drink
  1. Fill a glass with ice. Pour the vodka over top. Pour in cranberry juice until the glass is three quarters full. Top off the remaining quarter with grapefruit juice. Stir, taste and adjust amounts of ingredients if needed. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.

 

Bruschetta Hot Dogs

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Something about summertime makes me want hot dogs. I won’t eat a hot dog all fall and all winter, but the minute it gets warm outside I buy a package at the grocery store.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If I’m at a barbecue and the hosts went all out for some delicious steak and chicken, deep down I’m disappointed I couldn’t have just a couple bites of a classic hot dog.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

As perfect as that classic hot dog is smothered in ketchup, mustard and onions, there are too many amazing hot dog variations out there that have been ignored for far too long. It’s time to elevate our barbecue hot dogs so they can stand there proud with the steak and chicken!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

These bruschetta hot dogs do just the trick. Hot dogs are grilled, placed in a toasted Italian bun, then topped with tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Dang-nabbit, these hot dogs are good!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

The bruschetta ingredients bring freshness, acidity and complexity to the hot dog, while the crusty bun envelopes the dog with enough room to hold the flavorful topping in place.

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’re someone who can’t imagine a hot dog without ketchup or mustard trust me when I say the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil provide no need for condiments. Elevate your barbecue hot dogs this summer and make some fancy bruschetta hot dogs!

Bruschetta Hot Dogs  |  Lemon & Mocha

Bruschetta Hot Dogs
 
Yield: 4 hot dogs
Ingredients
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 large leaves fresh basil, torn
  • Salt
  • 4 hot dogs, grilled
  • 4 Italian buns, toasted
Directions
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine the diced tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and salt to taste.
  2. Place the grilled hot dogs in the toasted buns then top with the tomato mixture. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Recipe from July/August 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Pasta Tuna Salad

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t have some great tale associated with this recipe. It doesn’t come from some heartfelt childhood memory. Nor did I stumble upon it in a cookbook with excitement and rush to make it. And it’s definitely not a copycat recipe from my favorite meal at my favorite restaurant.

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

The story is quite simple. One day I was deciding what to have for lunch. I had leftover noodles and tuna fish so I mixed them together with some raw veggies. It was yummy so I kept making it. The end. Sometimes the best recipes are the most simple ones.

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Many years ago this was my most requested dish from my friends for all our summer barbecues. This was before I ditched the boxed cake mixes and started baking these Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes of course.

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t make it as often now since Matt is a tunafish-hater. Do you have anyone like that in your house? I rinse the can, toss it in the enclosed trash, run the disposal and eat the evidence, yet as soon as Matt walks in the kitchen the first words out of his mouth are, “Did you make tunafish?” Insert scrunched up grossed out face here. Is he a secret detective or do all tunafish-haters have such a ridiculous tunafish radar?

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, back to this delicious pasta tuna salad. The creaminess of the mayonnaise mixed with the pasta and delightful tunafish make this a perfect barbecue side dish, but the best part comes from the crunchy sweetness of the peas, bell peppers and grape tomatoes. I keep mine pretty basic, but feel free to jazz yours up with different veggies, different seasonings or even sun-dried tomato mayo.

Pasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pasta Tuna Salad
 
Yield: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound tri-color short pasta, cooked al dente
  • 12 ounces tunafish, drained and flaked
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise, more if desired
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounces frozen green peas, cooked and cooled
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Combine the pasta, tunafish, bell pepper and mayonnaise in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Carefully stir in the tomatoes and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
If serving after being refrigerated stir then add more mayonnaise if desired to renew it’s creamy texture.