Endless Summer Bonfire Inspiration

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This is a long post… but it’s so so good. So read through it all, and be sure to grab the goodies at the end!

There is just something about summer that I love so much. In high school, going to the beach all day and then having a bonfire with friends was my all time favorite thing to do. Besides eating bags of cherries with my bestie while we watched SVU all weekend long, but that’s a whole other story! Anyways, as we we get older and our lives get busier, I began thinking to myself… why don’t we still do that with our friends?! I immediately though of my husband, who would rather not eat cheap hot dogs by a campfire, and my girl friends who are actual chefs/foodies and enjoy eating at nice restaurants with fun cocktails. Me, I could eat cheetos and hot dogs like nobodies business… but ahem, we’re adults now, right?

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In an effort to preserve the last few weeks of this summer weather, (yes, I know it’s already technically Fall – but it’s still in the 90’s over here in SoCal) I brainstormed with my #1 gal and chef extraordinaire, Marlene Bernstein, on how to pull off a fun beach bonfire dinner party, but you know, more adult-ish. When it comes to incredible, inventive recipes – this girl does not disappoint! I just handled the decor… and fun little details. So we gathered our fav friends, made a cozy little spot for ourselves in Huntington Beach, and Marlene whipped us up one of the best meals I’ve ever had – over a bonfire at the beach!

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For our “spread” we brought a small table, and placed a surfboard on top to make more of a buffet table to keep all our apps and dishes out of the sand. It was such a great idea! We had 3 different Queso Dips + avocado salsa as our appetizer. a giant Wild Mushroom Pealle, and S’more Ice Cream Rootbeer Floatsfor dessert. It was the perfect meal huddled around a campfire. Be sure to scroll through to get all the ingredients and recipes for each item so you can try it out yourself! Don’t live near the beach? Don’t worry! All of these would make for a great meal while camping or just in your home enjoying the last few summer nights!

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Queso Dip 3 Ways + Avocado Salsa Appetizer:
#1 Cheddar, Roasted Pasilla Peppers and Grilled Onion
#2 Cheddar – Chickpea, Red Kidney Bean, Cumin, Coriander, Paprika
#3 Cheddar – Ground Beef, Roasted Garlic, Cilantro
Ingredients //
4 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded or in small squares
2 Tbsp of Milk
1Roasted Pasilla Pepper, small chop
½ Red Onion, small chop
4 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded or in small squares
2 Tbsp of Milk
¼ Cup Red Kidney Beans
¼ Cup of Chjckpeas
¼ tsp to ½ tp of Coriander, Cumin and Paprika
4 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded or in small squares
2 Tbsp of Milk
2 oz of Ground Beef
2 Clove of Garlic, small chop
Garnish with Cilantro, rough chop
Serve with Tortilla Chips

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Directions //
1. Saute red onion and set aside. Saute ground beef with garlic, salt and pepper, set aside. Blacken pasilla pepper over open flame, peel once ithas cooled down, small chop and set aside.
2. In the individual cast iron skillets or oven safe containers melt down cheddar cheese with milk until fully incorporated.
3. Layer each individual queso dip with their respective ingredients.
#1(queso, roasted pasilla pepper and sautéed onions) #2 (queso, kidney beans, chickpeas, coriander, cumin and paprika) #3(queso, ground beef +garlic, cilantro)

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Wild Mushroom Paella
4½ Cups Valencia Rice (Paella Rice)
7 Celery, small chop
4 Onion, small chop
3 Red Peppers, small chop
7 Garlic Cloves, fine chop
9-12 Cups of Vegetable Stock (preferably homemade)
1 Cup Oyster Mushrooms, sliced
1 Cup Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
3 Cups Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
½ Cup Red Pepper Paste
¼ Cup of Ground Cumin
Salt
Pepper
Garnish: Roasted Green Onions + Edible Flowers

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Directions //
1.Coat paella pan or large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to medium heat. Saute sofrito: onions, garlic, celery, red peppers and mushrooms until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (note: sofrito is the
Spanish version of mirepoix which in French cuisine is traditionally onions,carrots and celery)
2. Add the rice and stir until coated with the olive oil. Add the red pepper paste and make sure it is fully incorporated into the rice mixture. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Pour vegetable stock over rice and bring to a summer. Then cook over low heat for approximately 20-30 minutes until rice is fluffy, moist and liquid is full absorbed. (Note: make sure to not cook over direct heat, this will result in you burning the paella. However, the bottom of the rice should be toasted.)
4. Garnish with roasted green onions and edible flowers.

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Now for the dessert! These were seriously soooo delicious. I found the mugs (and bowls) at Army Surplus 4 Less, and I got “mini mugs” and made candles in them as “favors” for all our guests to take home with them as a momento of the day. They turned out so cute.

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S’more Ice Cream Root Beer Floats
Ingredients//
1 Container Plain Vanilla Ice Cream
12 Marshmallows
5 Cinnamon Sugar Graham Crackers, smashed

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Directions //
1. Set ice cream outside until it is soft enough to incorporate the other ingredients
2. Roast marshmallows using a blow torch or fire and mix into ice cream with graham cracker crumbles.
3. Place in freezer until ice cream is hard again.
4. When ready to serve, scoop ice cream into mug and pour root beer over ice cream. Enjoy!

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I love looking back at these photos being surrounded by amazing people, eating good food, making memories, and enjoying nature. So much good. Be sure to check out Joe+Kathrina – the brilliant photographers who captured this day so perfectly!

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