Thursday, September 25

Spiced Herbed Lamb Chops

Quick-cooking lamb chops flavored with a Middle Eastern spice rub

Grilled Cumin Mint Lamb Chops

It's been way too long since I featured a lamb recipe on this site. These chops, adapted from a recipe on Bon Appetit, are my new favorite way to cook my favorite protein. The lamb marinates for a couple hours in a powerful spicy herb paste made from blending together a bunch of green herbs, dried spices, and onion, before hitting a hot grill. Because the chops are thin and shouldn't be overcooked, it takes less than ten minutes to throw them on the grill, let them rest, and serve them up. They make a great meal alongside couscous and vegetables, and their built-in handle makes them a perfect appetizer at a cocktail party. If lamb isn't your thing, this rub would be great on chicken or fish, too.

Related Recipes:
- Braised Leg of Lamb
- Lemon Garlic Lamb Chops
- Lamb Beef Kofta

Spiced Herbed Lamb Chops:
  • Combine 1/4 red onion, 1 handful fresh cilantro, 1 handful fresh mint, 1 handful fresh parsley, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. garam masala, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of red chile flakes.
  • Rub the paste into 6 lamb rib chops and refrigerate them for at least two hours.
  • Preheat a grill to high and let them lamb sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, them rest for 5 minutes.

Serves two, easily doubled

Tuesday, September 23

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins

These easy banana muffins will become a breakfast staple at your house

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins

I'm traveling most of the week, so I wanted to make something that I could bring with me to the airport and that my husband could eat for breakfast and snacks when he is home alone. These banana poppy seed muffins (from the Huckleberry cookbook) are a great option because they're quick, portable, and healthy enough to eat all week long. As far as muffins go, these aren't too sweet and are full of wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, protein-rich poppy seeds, and lots of fresh fruit. Try serving them warm with a smear of cream cheese or as part of a larger breakfast or brunch spread during the weekend. Leftover muffins make a quick breakfast or snack on-the-go and will keep, tightly-wrapped, at room temperature for three days.

Note: If you don't have time to wait for a bunch of bananas to ripen, put them in a 350F oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the skins are mostly black.

Related Recipes:
- Banana Walnut Bread
- Loaded Cornbread Muffins
- Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Poppy Seed Muffins:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners.*
  • Cream together 1 stick room temperature butter, 1/2 c. plus 3 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add in 2 eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine.
  • Mash together 5 very ripe bananas with a potato masher until smooth and liquidy. Beat the mashed bananas into the batter.
  • Stir in 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tbsp. poppy seeds, 1/2 c. plain yogurt, 3/4 c. buttermilk, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract until just combined.
  • Fill the muffin tins completely full with batter, then top each muffin with 2-3 thin slices of banana. Sprinkle the top of the muffins with sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until golden brown.
  • Let cool for a bit, then serve with cream cheese.*

Makes 16 muffins
*Divide the liners/muffins evenly among two tins. I only had one muffin tin so I just baked the muffins in two batches.

Huckleberry Banana Poppy Seed Muffins

Monday, September 22

Zucchini, Poblano, & Corn Enchiladas

Quick and easy vegetarian enchiladas with zucchini, corn, and poblano peppers

Zucchini, Poblano Pepper, and Corn Enchiladas Verdes

I've made a version of this recipe with shredded, cooked chicken for years, but this vegetable version might be even better than the original. The combination of sweet corn, mild poblano peppers, and zucchini is a great pairing with the Mexican flavors in the dish, but you could easily make this with whatever vegetables you have on hand. There are some great store-bought green salsas (I like Herdez and Trader Joe's) that make throwing together this dish so quick and easy. Serve with beans and/or rice for a fast weeknight meal or impromptu dinner party. Leftovers taste even better the next day.

Related Recipes:
- Turkey & Cheese Enchiladas
- Corn, Zucchini, & Poblano Lasagna
- Shrimp Enchiladas Verdes

Zucchini, Poblano, & Corn Enchiladas:
  • Heat the oven to 375F.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add in 1/2 diced onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until starting to soften.
  • Add in 1 diced large zucchini, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. chile powder, and a large pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add in the kernels from 2 ears of corn and cook for another minute. Let cool slightly.
  • Pour 1/2 c. salsa verde* into the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Grate 1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese.
  • Spoon some of the vegetable mixture and a small handful of cheese into a flour tortilla and roll it up. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish.
  • Repeat until all the vegetables and most of the cheese are gone, which should make 10-12 enchiladas.
  • Pour another 1-1 1/2 c. salsa verde on top of the enchiladas and then top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  • Let cool slightly, then garnish with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado and serve.

Serves four-six
*Or whatever enchilada sauce you like.

Friday, September 19

Corn, Bacon, & Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

This hearty vegetable and bacon hash also makes a satisfying dinner

Corn, Potato, and Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs

As fall approaches, I'm trying to make the most out of the remaining summer produce at our farmers' market. I'm determined to buy corn, tomatoes, berries, and stone fruits every week until they get replaced completely by winter squash and hearty greens. This recipe is a summery take on the potato hash I make year round for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at our house. The corn adds a sweet pop of flavor and color against the starchy potato and salty bacon bits. Adding a fried egg on top makes it a full meal, and I love how the runny yolk mixes into the hash to form a sauce. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the last of this season's corn before it's too late.

More Hash Recipes:
- Bacon & Brussels Sprout Hash
- Chorizo, Potato, & Pepper Hash
- Five-Ingredient Bacon Hash

Corn, Potato, & Bacon Hash with Fried Eggs:
  • Cut 1 large russet potato in half, cover with cold water, and bring the pot to a boil.
  • Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, or until almost fork-tender.
  • Drain the potato, let cool slightly, rub off the outer skin, and dice into small pieces.
  • Meanwhile, dice 4 pieces of thick-cut bacon and add to a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Cook the bacon for 5 minutes, or until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the diced potato and a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet and cook for 6 minutes, turning once, or until the potatoes have started to get brown and crispy.
  • Add in 3 thinly-sliced scallions and the kernels from 2 ears of corn and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Top with a handful of fresh parsley.
  • Melt a pat of butter in another skillet and crack in 4 eggs. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked to desired doneness.
  • To serve, divide the hash onto plates and top each with a fried egg.

Serve three-four

Wednesday, September 17

Grilled Sicilian Swordfish

A light and fresh meal of grilled swordfish topped with a lemon-herb citronette and arugula

Grilled Sicilian Swordfish

This is the perfect quick meal to make when you feel like eating something light and clean. The recipe, which is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, features an unusually thin swordfish fillet that takes less than five minutes to cook. A lemon-thyme-olive oil sauce is spooned over the cooked fish while it rests,   and it's pricked with a fork to allow the sauce's flavor to really penetrate the meat. The finished dish is topped with a handful of arugula for more freshness. It's a healthy meal that's still full of flavor, and it's ideal for hot late summer nights when you still want to eat outdoors.

More Swordfish Recipes:
- Swordfish & Zucchini Skewers
- Grilled Swordfish with Eggplant-Pepper Salad

Grilled Sicilian Swordfish:
  • Heat a grill to high heat.
  • Lightly brush two 1/2" thick swordfish fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice, the leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme, a large pinch of red chile flakes, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.
  • Grill the fish for 2 minutes per side, or until just cooked through.
  • Prick the fish all over with a fork and immediately pour the sauce over the fish and cover the dish with foil. 
  • Let the fish rest for 5 minutes, then uncover and transfer to plates. Top each plate with a handful of arugula and serve immediately.

Serves two

Tuesday, September 16

Corn, Cherry Tomato, & Spinach Quiche

Make use of late summer produce with this delightful quiche with savory parmesan crust

Huckleberry Corn, Cherry Tomato, & Spinach Quiche

It's been really hot in LA. We live in Santa Monica, which is almost always fair due to the ocean breeze, but this weekend was unbearable. And, foolishly, this was the time that I decided to make a pretty involved vegetable quiche with homemade savory pie crust, leaving my oven on high heat while it baked for over an hour. The kitchen was stifling and the pastry kept getting too warm and needed to be popped back in the fridge to cool down so that the butter wouldn't melt, but as soon as it was done and we dug into a big wedge of this corn, tomato, and spinach quiche with a scoop of green salad on the side, nothing mattered. The quiche, adapted from Huckleberry, is the best I've ever had. The dough is buttery and flaky, the filling is rich and smooth, and the vegetables are sweet and abundant. It definitely took some effort, so I'd suggest making the crust in advance (or if you must, use store-bought pie dough) to break up the steps. Once summer produce clears out from the farmers market, you can sub in whatever other vegetables you like that are in season.

Note: Have leftover scraps of pie dough? Make them into parmesan black pepper crackers.

Related Recipes:
- Green Vegetable & Cheese Quiche
- Swiss Chard, Potato, & Aged Cheddar Frittata
- Kale, Onion, & Potato Pot Pies

Corn, Cherry Tomato, & Spinach Quiche:
For Crust
  • In a food processor, combine 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour, 2 1/2 tbsp. rye flour, 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. grated gruyere cheese, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.
  • Pulse a couple times, then add in 4 oz. cubed, cold, unsalted European butter and pulse 3-5 times to break up the butter into large pea-sized pieces.
  • Add in 2 tbsp. very cold water and pulse another 4-5 times.
  • Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface and press together to form a ball.
  • Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Roll the dough out onto a floured surface into a large, thin square, and press into a tart shell.
  • Trim excess dough off the sides and press up on the edges so that the dough pushes past the sides of the tart pan.
  • Freeze the tart shell for at least and hour, or cover and refrigerate for up to a month.
  • Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with dried bean or pie weights.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges turn golden, then carefully remove the weights and parchment and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
For Quiche
  • Heat the oven to 450F.
  • Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium skillet over hight heat.
  • Add in the kernels from 2 ears of corn, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, then scrape the corn onto a plate and return the pan to the stove.
  • Add in another 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 pint cherry tomatoes, a pinch of red chile flakes, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook the tomatoes for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the corn into the bottom of the baked tart shell, then add in the tomatoes and a handful of baby spinach.
  • In a bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 3/4 c. creme fraiche, 1/2 c. heavy cream, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Pour the custard over the vegetables, making sure it doesn't overflow.
  • Top with 2-3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the custard is set and golden.
  • Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.

Serves six-eight

Monday, September 15

Parmesan Black Pepper Crackers

These homemade buttery cheese crackers are the perfect compliment to a cold cocktail

Parmesan Black Pepper Crackers

I got the new Huckleberry cookbook over the weekend, which features recipes served at one of our favorite local restaurants, Huckleberry. I've already tried to recreate some of their dishes on this blog before (like this and this), but I'm thrilled that I can recreate the real deal now. I already tried my hand on an amazing summer quiche and used leftover crust to make these parmesan black pepper crackers. They're buttery and a little crumbly, like a savory shortbread cookie. Because they already have so much rich cheesy flavor, I'd recommend serving them as-is, without any toppings or dips.

Note: Feel free to adjust this recipe to include different cheeses, herbs, chile flakes, etc. The logs of dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen for up to a month, so you can slice and bake these crackers anytime you have guests stop by.

More Appetizer Recipes:
- Great Grandmother's Cheeseball
- Crab Dip
- Parmesan-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Parmesan Black Pepper Crackers
  • In a food processor, combine 3/4 c. all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour, 2 1/2 tbsp. rye flour, 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. grated gruyere cheese, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper.
  • Pulse a couple times, then add in 4 oz. cubed, cold, unsalted European butter and pulse 3-5 times to break up the butter into large pea-sized pieces.
  • Add in 2 tbsp. very cold water and pulse another 4-5 times.
  • Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface and press together to form a ball.
  • Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Roll the dough into a 2" wide log and flatten on all four sides to form a squared-off log.
  • Cut the log into 1/4" slices and arrange the crackers into a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with a splash of water.
  • Lightly brush the egg wash onto the crackers, then immediately sprinkle them with flaked sea salt, ground black pepper, and finely grated parmesan cheese.
  • Bake the crackers for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Let cool, then transfer onto a plate and serve.

Serves ten-twelve

Thursday, September 11

BBQ Tri Tip Sandwiches

Thinly sliced BBQ beef, caramelized onions, and cheese, piled high on a soft roll

BBQ Tri Tip Beef Sandwiches

We had a barbecue at our house over Labor Day weekend and we grilled a few huge pieces of tri tip to serve with homemade BBQ sauce. We lucked out and had some leftovers (which is rare since we all have big appetites), which is how these sandwiches came about. In the recipe, I provide instructions for how to grill the tri tip, but you can make the sandwiches with any leftover cut of beef or even buy store-made roast beef for this dish. Using rare leftover beef is best because it won't dry out when you reheat it. The beef reheats with lots of BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and provolone cheese for a messy, drippy, hearty sandwich that's filling enough for dinner. Serve it high on a soft roll and dig in - just make sure you have plenty of napkins around.

Related Recipes:
- BBQ Ribs & Homemade BBQ Sauce
- BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders
- Steak & Creamy Horseradish Sandwich

BBQ Beef Tri Tip Sandwiches:
For Tri Tip

  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Combine 1 tbsp. garlic salt, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. ground pepper in a small bowl.
  • Rub the seasoning onto 1-1 1/4 lb. beef tri tip.
  • Grill the beef for 15 minutes, turning to hit all four sides, for medium rare.
  • Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice.
For Sandwiches
  • Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add in 1 thinly sliced onion.
  • Cook the onion over medium low heat for 15 minutes, or until caramelized.
  • Add in the thinly sliced beef and 1/2 c. BBQ sauce and stir to combine.
  • Cook for a few minutes, or until warm, then arrange 4 slices of provolone cheese over the meat.
  • Place a lid on the pan and cook for another minute, or until cheese melts.
  • Halve and toast 4 sandwich rolls, then divide the meat and cheese onto the sandwiches.
Serves four

Tuesday, September 9

Chorizo, Egg, & Potato Breakfast Burritos

Scrambled eggs, sausage, home fries, and avocado all wrapped in a flour tortilla

Chorizo, Egg, & Potato Breakfast Burritos

When you live on the west coast but your football team is in the midwest, Sunday games generally start on TV at 10 am. It's become the norm to roll out of bed, open a beer (or a mimosa for me) and post up on the couch for three hours before the day even starts. I like to make something hearty for brunch to try and stifle the effects of the early morning cocktails. These burritos do the trick and are loaded with all my favorite breakfast ingredients: spicy chorizo sausage, fluffy scrambled eggs, home fry potatoes with onion and bell pepper, avocado, and pepperjack cheese. They're handheld, which makes them easy to eat in front of the TV or to even bring on the go. Leftover filling can be microwaved and wrapped into tortillas for more breakfast burritos during the week.

Related Recipes:
- Chorizo & Potato Hash with Poached Eggs
- Breakfast Tacos
- Chorizo Huevos Rancheros

Chorizo, Egg, & Potato Breakfast Burritos:
  • Cut 1 large russet potato in half, place in a pot, and cover with cold water. Boil the potato on high heat for 15 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain off the water, cool slightly, and dice.
  • Meanwhile, add 1/2 lb. chorizo sausage (remove casings) to a skillet over medium high heat.
  • Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and cook until the fat has rendered and the sausage is cooked through.
  • Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. You may need to add a little oil if you don't have at least 1 tbsp. of fat.
  • Add in 1/2 diced onion, 1 diced green bell pepper, the diced potato, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and browned in some areas. Stir the chorizo back in and check for seasoning. Keep warm over very low heat.
  • Whisk together 6 eggs and a big pinch of salt and pepper until pale yellow in color.
  • Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a small skillet and cook the eggs, stirring occasionally, until scrambled and cooked.
  • To assemble burritos, divide the eggs, chorizo mixture, 1/4 lb. grated pepperjack cheese, and 1 sliced avocado among 6 burrito-size flour tortillas.
  • Roll up into 6 burritos and serve.

Serves six

Monday, September 8

Green Gazpacho with Spice-Rubbed Shrimp

Cold gazpacho with spicy grilled shrimp makes a great appetizer or light lunch

Green Gazpacho with Grilled Spiced Shrimp

Most people say that Labor Day marks the end of summer, but in L.A. the weather doesn't cool down until well into October. The past few weeks have been super hot, almost unbearable since we don't have air conditioning at our house. The last thing I want to do is turn on the oven, so cold, easy-to-make meals are the way to go. This green gazpacho with spice-grilled shrimp was a recipe I tested for Food52's "Best Warm Weather Soup" recipe contest the other week. The soup is a twist on classic gazpacho and replaces ripe red tomatoes with green tomatoes and avocado. The contrast of the cold soup and the spice-grilled shrimp is super refreshing, fresh, and healthy. Serve the gazpacho in shot glasses with shrimp dangling over the side for a fun party appetizer or spoon into bowls and serve a skewer of shrimp on the side for a light lunch. The gazpacho would also be great on its own if you want to keep it vegetarian. Try serving with grilled baguette smeared with goat cheese.

Related Recipes:

Green Gazpacho with Spice-Rubbed Shrimp:
For Shrimp
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. garlic salt.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture and 1 tsp. canola oil over 1/2 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp.
  • Divide the shrimp onto skewers.
  • Grill the shrimp for 4 minutes, turning halfway through.
  • Let the shrimp cool to room temperature before serving with the soup.
For Gazpacho
  • In a food processor, combine 1 c. chopped green tomatoes,* 1 c. chopped persian cucumbers, 2 tbsp. chopped yellow onion, 1/2 peeled ripe avocado, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 peeled garlic clove, 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp. fresh mint, 1 tbsp. fresh basil, and 1/2 tbsp. diced jalapeño.
  • Season with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 2 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar.
  • Blend until smooth, then check for seasoning.
  • Refrigerate the soup for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  • Check for seasoning again before serving and adjust if necessary.

Serves two-three (light meal)
Serves six (appetizer)
*Or tomatillos.

Friday, September 5

Sausage & Cherry Tomato Bake

A simple one-pot meal that's great for leftovers

Jamie Oliver Sausage and Cherry Tomato Bake

Our friend has been raving about Jamie Oliver's sausage and tomato bake for years, and after finally trying it out, I can see why. The cherry tomatoes, Italian sausages, and herbs all roast together in the oven in a single dish. The tomatoes' flavor concentrates and becomes infused with the flavor of the meat, the sausage casings crisp up and brown, and a richly flavored sauce forms at the bottom of the pan. It's a great way to use late summer tomatoes, even soft and bruised ones, which you can often get a discount on at the farmers' market. You can spoon the roast onto plates and serve with crusty bread or over pasta or polenta. I purposely made a double batch so that we could enjoy it as is the first night and then chop up the leftovers to stir into spaghetti the next night.

Related Recipes:
- Polenta & Roasted Sausages
- One Pot Tomato Farro with Sausage
- French Lentils & Sausages

Roasted Sausage & Cherry Tomato Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • In a large baking dish, add 1 1/2 lb. large cherry tomatoes, 4-5 Italian sausages, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 bay leaves, 3 whole garlic cloves, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.
  • Season with a large pinch of salt and pepper and toss everything.
  • Make sure the sausages are sitting on top of the tomatoes, then put in the oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then stir the tomatoes and flip the sausages.
  • Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly, then serve.

Serves four

Thursday, September 4

Favorite Game Day Foods

Celebrate football season with these game-worthy foods

Football Game Day Recipes

Football season is officially back tonight, meaning that I have to share my husband with three fantasy leagues and the Minnesota Vikings until February. On the upside, it gives me ample opportunity to come up with new recipes for us to enjoy while watching the games. We already are planning on making some breakfast burritos for us to eat on Sunday morning for the first Vikings game (more on that coming next week), but there are plenty of favorite dishes that we'll be revisiting in the coming months. Here are four of our favorite football game day dishes that are perfect for parties, tailgates, or just watching the games at home.

Four Football Game Day Recipes:

Wednesday, September 3

Strawberry Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Braid

Buttery puff pastry filled with sweetened cream cheese and fresh strawberries

Strawberry Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Braid

We've been having weekend brunch with our friends and alternating hosting the meal and bringing dessert and drinks. I was in charge of a breakfast-y dessert one week and threw together this puff pastry braid, which is really like a giant danish that will feed a crowd. Store-bought puff pastry gets smeared with brown sugar cream cheese and sliced strawberries and then folded into the braided pattern. It's a beautiful dish, but it's surprisingly quick and easy to make. It's perfect for breakfast because you can defrost the pastry overnight and then bake the whole thing in under an hour in the morning. Serve it alongside some coffee for a light breakfast or add it to the buffet as part of a larger meal. Either way, it's sure to be a hit.

Related Recipes:
- Strawberry Ricotta Scones
- Chocolate Turnovers
- Strawberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

Strawberry Cream Cheese Puff Pastry Braid:

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • In a mixer, whip together 6 oz. softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp. sour cream, and 1/2 c. brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Thinly slice 10 strawberries and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tbsp. water.
  • Unfold one sheet of defrosted puff pastry. It should have been folded into thirds originally.
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture down the center third of the puff pastry,* then scatter the strawberries over the cream cheese.
  • Make 1" wide diagonal cuts down the outer thirds of the puff pastry, then alternate folding them over to the center to cover the strawberry cream cheese mixture. This will create the braid.
  • Brush the puff pastry with the beaten egg, then immediately sprinkle with 1 tbsp. demerara sugar.**
  • Bake the braid on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
  • Let cool slightly, the cut into pieces and serve.

Serves four-six
*You might not use all the cream cheese mixture. Don't fill it too full or all the filling will ooze out.
**Also called raw sugar.

Tuesday, September 2

Eggplant & Ricotta Roll-ups with Tomato Sauce

A warm-weather spin on eggplant parmesan, with grilled Japanese eggplant and creamy herbed ricotta

Grilled Eggplant and Herbed Ricotta Roll Ups

This recipe is a cross between eggplant parmesan and lasagna but is lighter and healthier than both. Thinly-sliced grilled eggplant becomes the foundation for these roll-ups, which get stuffed with a creamy herbed ricotta cheese and then smothered in warm tomato sauce. The raw herbs in the filling and the acid in the tomato sauce add a lot of freshness to the dish. It's a quick meal, and the only step that takes any time (assembling the roll-ups) is fun for guests and kids to help out with. It's a nice meal to enjoy on a late summer evening, when the days are still warm and the nights start to cool down in anticipation for autumn.

Related Recipes:
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Grilled Eggplant with Burrata & Romesco

Grilled Eggplant & Herbed Ricotta Roll-ups with Tomato Sauce:
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Slice 3 Japanese or Chinese eggplants lengthwise into 1/4" strips.
  • Brush the eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the eggplant for 2-3 minutes per side, or until soft and lightly charred in some areas.
  • Meanwhile, stir together 1 c. fresh ricotta cheese, 1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil, 1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Drop a tbsp. of the ricotta at the end of a slice of grilled eggplant, then roll the eggplant up into a pinwheel. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
  • To serve, divide the eggplant roll-ups onto plates and spoon warm tomato sauce on top. Garnish with fresh basil.

Serves two-three