Thai-Spiced Chicken Meatballs with Red Pepper Curry Sauce

Thai-Spiced Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Curry Sauce | Fork Knife Swoon

The Honey and I make time every week for date night; one night a week carved out for just the two of us to explore new local restaurants. The tradition started when I first moved to the South and has become our weekly ritual – even when things get busy or stressful with work, it’s our night to decompress and spend quality time together. We’ve discovered some gems along the way, and keep a running list of new places to try.

One of the restaurants that has been on the list for months is a little – and highly elusive – Thai restaurant in the town just next to ours, that was recommended to us shortly after we moved in. On our first attempt we discovered that they only serve lunch. The next time we got rained out. Then over-an-hour-waited out. This week we tried for a lunch date, on Monday, when it turns out they are closed. The stars just haven’t aligned.

Instead, I came home and whipped up these scrumptious Thai-spiced chicken meatballs; my way of making up for our latest strike-out. But don’t think these flavor-packed nibbles are some mere consolation prize. Packed with fresh herbs and spices and dipped in a bold roasted red pepper curry sauce, these Thai-inspired meatballs are full of flavor and won’t last long as either a tasty appetizer or easy dinner.

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Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa | Fork Knife Swoon

Every year since we first moved into my childhood home, my parents have hosted a pot-luck barbecue over Memorial Day weekend for friends and neighbors. When we were little, the neighborhood was bustling with dozens of other kids around the same age, and we spent the afternoon running around the yard and munching on classic burgers and hot dogs. Now, with most of us well out of college, it remains an annual tradition.

This year however, for the first time since it began, the festivities are being postponed. My cousin is getting married, and the family is converging on my Aunt and Uncle’s lovely home in Santa Rosa for the wedding this weekend.

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa | Fork Knife Swoon

I’ll be flying back to California tomorrow for a few days of R&R before the family celebrations begin, and soaking up some sun in my old coastal stomping grounds. It just wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without some great barbecue dishes though, so while I’m gone I’m leaving you with some easy and delicious grilling ideas and recipes for outdoor gatherings.

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Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers | Fork Knife Swoon

I have a fondness for goat cheese. That’s a polite way of saying I have an obsession that borders on madness. We always have goat cheese on hand, often more than one variety, and I start to get nervous when my supply runs low. I toss it in salads, top burgers and sandwiches with it, and often sneak it into pasta dishes. My orders at restaurants are entirely predictable if goat cheese is featured prominently on the menu.

As I began planning some south-of-the-border-inspired dishes for Cinco de Mayo, I had in mind a quick, flavorful little stuffed pepper appetizer to nibble on while sipping margaritas. Naturally, I reached for the goat cheese. Spicy, red cherry peppers stuffed with ever-so-sweet, creamy goat cheese combine to create little bites of bright flavor, and are a delicious way to kick off your next fiesta.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers | Fork Knife Swoon… 

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Chile Spiced Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tostadas

Chile Spiced Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tostadas | Fork Knife Swoon

Do you have plans for Cinco de Mayo? With the Honey still out of town, it’s looking like a fiesta for one at the Swoon homestead this year. Perhaps I’ll dress the pup in a sombrero and make it a date!

As a native of Southern California, I grew up eating a lot of authentic Mexican food. Those dishes remain a big inspiration in the Swoon Kitchen, and I almost never need an excuse to whip up a spicy south-of-the-border-inspired recipe. I kicked off the Cinco de Mayo festivities early with these little veggie tostadas. Smokey, chile-spiced sweet potatoes combine with black beans and fresh chilies atop a crispy corn tortilla for a delicious vegetarian dish that’s perfect for one – or a party.

Check back this week for more Cinco de Mayo recipes and inspiration!

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Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos

Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Tacos | Fork Knife Swoon

The Honey is away and off the grid for the next six weeks for work, and the house already feels too big. We spent the last week before he left quietly savoring our time together, just the two of us and the pup. We snuck in some summer vegetable planting, a few simple celebrations for his birthday and our anniversary, and several of my Honey’s favorite home-cooked meals, before his departure date came rushing in yesterday in the early, early morning.

With our weather patterns ever-fluctuating, we took advantage of a brief warm-spell over the weekend to cook up some grilled shrimp and pineapple tacos before a thunderstorm swooped in. These tacos are sweet and spicy, and packed with bold flavor. We like to pair them with fresh slices of jalapeno, red cabbage, fresh cilantro and a sprinkling of cotija cheese. The shrimp and pineapple can easily be grilled indoors as well with a cast-iron grill pan, making these an easy, and delicious weeknight dinner.

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Spicy Corn and Pepper Bisque

Spicy Corn and Pepper Bisque

We try our best to cook and eat seasonally in the Swoon Kitchen. We search out local produce and artisan products, and love wandering through the stalls of farmer’s markets, but there are times when I cheat. For weeks now I’ve been thinking about a creamy soup with sweet corn and spicy peppers; something warm and bright to distract from the dreary, cold winter days we’ve been having lately. Woefully months away from fresh corn season, I turned to a big bag of frozen, sweet white and yellow kernels, stashed away in the freezer for just such emergencies.

The spicy, flavorful Corn and Pepper Bisque that resulted was exactly what I was looking for. A creamy, satisfying recipe that embodies the long, hot days of late summer, this soup also comes together in less than half an hour, making it a great weeknight dinner dish.

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