Summer food ideas with a bit of a twist

A quick list of summer food ideas with a bit of a twist:

1. Grilled pita breads stuffed with spiced ground lamb

The idea here is that the lamb fat soaks through the pita bread, which then crisps on the grill. I’ve seen references to this dish twice in as many days, but in print (Bon Appetit, and the Wall Street Journal’s restaurant section), not online. It inspired me — but first I’m making the lamb shish kebab in Rachel Hogrogian’s Armenian cookbook.

2. Gazpacho in aspic

gazpachoMy foodie friend Diana Herbst told me she’d been at a party where someone brought a gelled, molded gazpacho. I use the Elena’s Mexican cookbook recipe, so I’d adapt that recipe to a gelatin recipe from

3. Natural ambrosia

I know someone who calls her ambrosia (made with strawberry Jello powder, cottage cheese, canned fruit cocktail, mini-marshmallows, and Cool-Whip) “pink shit.” And with good reason, when you look at all the sugar and corn syrup involved.

I decided to see if I could do a more natural version. It starts with lots of fresh strawberries (raspberries, blueberries, pears, peaches, and grapes would also be good). Whip 1 cup of cream with 1 small package of plain gelatin (softened) then add 16 ounces of small-curd cottage cheese and two tablespoons of sugar. Add the fruit and two cups of mini-marshmallows (which DO have corn syrup). I put in a few drops of a natural red food coloring that I use to make frosting. It was pretty wonderful — though probably not as much of a rush as the genuine stuff.

Another natural approach, complete with homemade marshmallows, comes from Alton Brown.

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