Wednesday, October 28

Kale & Date Salad

A fall salad with raw kale, sweet dates, and salty parmesan cheese

Kale, Date, and Parmesan Salad

Weirdly enough, some of the foods I've been drawn to most often during my pregnancy are leafy greens. There's definitely still a lot of carbs and ice cream going on in my diet, but my body has been craving vegetables and hearty greens like kale are at the top of my favorites list. This is certainly not the first kale salad I've featured on this site but it's special enough to be added into the rotation. We get catered lunch from Lemonade at one of my company's offices, and this is my version of one of the salads they provided. The combination of sweet, caramel-y dates with the salty cheese and crispy capers add lots of flavor to the raw kale. I pair it with a pretty acidic dressing to counterbalance the sweetness, which also makes this a good salad to pair with a rich main course. This would be delicious alongside braised meat or a fall stew but is hearty enough to have for a light lunch with some good bread.

Note: I am lucky enough to buy dates from a vendor at my local farmers market. If you can do the same or buy them from a specialty store, it's worth seeking out really good ones. If not, medjool dates from the grocery store will work fine - just make sure they aren't too soft since you need to slice them and mix them in the salad.

More Kale Salads:
- Kale, Brussels Sprouts, & Hazelnut Salad
- Kale Ribbon Salad with Parmesan & Garlic Vinaigrette
- Delicata Squash, Pepita, & Baby Kale Salad

Kale, Date, & Parmesan Salad:
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, dried, stems removed and thinly sliced into ribbons
- 1/3 lb. dates, pitted and thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, shaved into pieces with a vegetable peeler
- 1/4 c. olive oil + a little more
- 3 tbsp. capers, drained and patted dry
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. honey
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Heat a small pan over high heat. Add in a glug of olive oil and add in the capers.
  • Cook the capers, shaking the pan often, for 2 minutes, or until crispy. Set aside.
  • In a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined.
  • Add in the kale and mix very well with the dressing, working it through the leaves with your hands to massage and tenderize the kale.
  • Add in the dates, parmesan, and capers and mix again. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Serve and enjoy. This salad can sit in the fridge or at room temp for several hours.

Serves four - six (side dish)

Wednesday, October 14

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Celebrate fall with these hearty whole-wheat apple cinnamon pancakes

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

It feels nothing like fall in L.A., but that doesn't mean I'm not trying to fake it with my food. These pancakes are a great way to embrace apple season and are perfect for chilly weekend mornings. The pancakes are made with whole wheat flour, which adds heft and a slightly nutty flavor, and is at an almost 50:50 ratio of grated apples to batter. Because the apples are grated so thinly, they almost melt into the pancakes as they cook so that each bite is full of apples and cinnamon. It's a quick and easy recipe but the fall flavors would make it an ideal breakfast for the holidays. You can easily adjust the recipe to feed a crowd or scale it back for a casual morning for two.

More Pancake Recipes:
- Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- Dutch Baby Pancake with Sautéed Apples
- Classic Fluffy Flapjacks

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Pancakes:
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 1/2 c. milk
- 1 c. whole wheat flour
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- butter, for greasing the pan
- powdered sugar and maple syrup, to serve

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in the apples.
  • Melt some butter in a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Working in batches, drop the batter in large spoonfuls in the pan. Wait for bubbles to appear on the surface of the pancakes and for the bottom to get golden brown, then turn and cook for another couple minutes.*
  • Stack pancakes on a plate or keep warm in a low oven while you cook the rest of them.
  • To serve, dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup.

Serves four
*Do not have the pan too hot or the pancakes will get too dark on the outside and not cook enough on the inside.

Tuesday, October 6

Late Summer Corn Chowder

A rich and creamy soup made with corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers

Food52 Summer Corn Chowder

It seems that fall comes later and later each year, with the warm summer weather lingering well into October and often even November in L.A. This year has been especially hot, so the whole city was thankful for the first cool day of the season over the weekend (and by cool, I mean 70 degrees and scattered showers). We made the most of it with a lazy day spent inside and a big pot of soup simmering on the stove. This corn chowder, which I adapted from Food52, is the perfect soup to take you from summer to fall. It's warm and hearty for cool evenings but it uses the best produce of late summer - sweet corn, ripe tomatoes, and colorful peppers. The soup calls for no broth or stock of any kind but instead gets most of its liquid from the vegetable juices that accumulate as the chowder slowly cooks over a low flame. The result is a thick, deeply flavored chowder that's full of texture. Serve it with crusty bread and you have the ideal one-pot dinner for the season.

Note: To make this vegetarian, omit the bacon and add more oil to sweat the vegetables.

Related Recipes:
- Sweet Corn Bisque
- Lobster, Corn, & Bacon Chowder
- Jalapeño-Corn Soup with Seared Scallops

Late Summer Corn Chowder:
- 7 ears of corn, shucked (6 if large)
- 1 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cored, and diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- 2 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 1/2 c. milk (low-fat is fine)
- olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- pinch of sugar
- fresh chives, minced

  • Cut the kernels off the corn, going about halfway deep on the cob. Then use the back of your knife to scrape the cobs and get as much corn "milk" off as possible. Collect both the kernels and juices in a large bowl.
  • Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Add the bacon and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pot.
  • Add the onion and a little oil if necessary and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened and translucent.
  • Add the poblano and jalapeño and cook for another couple minutes.
  • Add in the corn and juices, tomatoes, potatoes, and thyme and stir to combine. Season with salt and sugar
  • Let the mixture sizzle, then turn the heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, or until potatoes are very tender.
  • Add in the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • Fish out the thyme stems and ladle into bowls. Garnish with the bacon and chives.

Serves six, generously

Tuesday, September 29

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel

Tender muffins, bursting with juicy blueberries and sprinkled with a cinnamon crumb topping

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

One of the most common questions people ask me about my pregnancy is "have you had any weird cravings?" and, so far, the answer is no. I am just hitting the 20 week mark, halfway through my pregnancy, and am happy to report that my appetite has significantly improved since the first trimester. I'm certainly hungry, but I wouldn't categorize any of my food cravings as unusual (although they might be a little random). A couple weeks ago, I got it in my mind that I really wanted muffins and found this recipe on Food52 for blueberry muffins with cinnamon streusel topping. Fresh berries are still wildly abundant at my farmers market and we ended up finding some of the sweetest, plumpest blueberries I've ever had to put to use in this recipe. As the muffins bake, the berries melt into jammy, juicy pockets and the cinnamon crumble gets crunchy. The addition of the lemon zest and not-too-much sugar keeps these berries from tasting too sweet or dessert-like. These kept in an air-tight container on the counter for four days, making them a perfect thing to grab for breakfast or snack throughout the week.

Related Recipes:

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping:
- 2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 1/2 c. blueberries
- 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.
  • In another mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 c. brown sugar, sour cream, egg, and canola oil.
  • Stir half the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then half the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients and milk. Mix until just combined, then gently stir in the blueberries.
  • Divide the batter into the muffin tins as evenly as possible.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 c. flour, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon streusel over the muffins and place the pan in the oven.
  • Cook for 20 minutes, rotating the pan 1/2 way through, or until the muffins are lightly golden on top and the fruit is bubbling.
  • Let cool on a rack and enjoy. Cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

Makes one dozen muffins

Tuesday, September 22

Huevos Rancheros Verdes

Tortillas stacked with beans, eggs, and cheese, and smothered with salsa verde

Huevos Rancheros with Salsa Verde

We were in San Diego a few weeks ago to celebrate my birthday and ate a lot of delicious food while we were down there. One meal that stood out was the huevos rancheros I had for brunch at Prepkitchen in La Jolla.  These huevos rancheros were unique for two reasons: they were stacked and layered like a cake, and they had a green tomatillo sauce instead of a red sauce. The layered effect made it so every bite had a bit of beans, eggs, cheese, salsa, tortilla, and avocado - basically every bite was a perfect mouthful. I recreated the dish at home using a few shortcuts (store-bought salsa verde and a fast version of refried black beans) that make this a great recipe for a weeknight dinner or for a casual weekend breakfast. Feel free to customize the toppings and layers at you like - or prep all the ingredients and let each person assemble their own. This is an easy recipe to double or triple.

Related Recipes:
- Chorizo Huevos Rancheros
- Chilaquiles
- Black Bean Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros Verdes:
- 4 corn tortillas
- 14 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed*
- 1 c. salsa verde
- 3/4 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 eggs, scrambled
- splash of milk
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. chile powder
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- canola oil
- salt
- pepper
- sour cream, hot sauce, fresh cilantro (for garnish)

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Brush both sides of the tortillas with canola oil and lay in a single layer (slight overlap is ok) on a baking sheet.
  • Cook the tortillas for 5-7 minutes in the oven, or until crispy. Remove and let cool a bit.
  • Meanwhile, add the beans, 1/4 c. water, cumin, chile powder, and a big pinch of salt to a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then mash with a potato masher to form a spreadable consistency. Continue simmering until it reaches the desired consistency, adding a splash more water if needed.
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
  • Heat a little more canola oil in a skillet and scramble the eggs. Slightly undercook them as they will be going in the oven.
  • To assemble the huevos, add a little bit of salsa verde to the bottom of 2 small baking dishes.
  • Spread the beans on 2 crispy tortillas, then lay them in each baking dish. Top each with another tortilla and divide the eggs and then the cheese on top. Pour the remaining salsa on top.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream, sliced avocado, and cilantro on top of each dish. Serve with hot sauce.

Serves two, generously
*Or cook your own beans, add in some of the bean cooking liquid, and skip the water and additional seasonings.

Wednesday, September 16

Zucchini Ribbon Spaghetti

Thinly shaved zucchini and spaghetti with lots of garlic and crunchy breadcrumbs

This dish is a late summer's take on this romanesco pasta. Super thin slices of zucchini are sautéed in a garlicky aglio olio sauce and tossed with spaghetti. The ratio I like is about half zucchini and half pasta with a good handful of toasted breadcrumbs on top. I don't own a spiralizer and haven't quite jumped on the bandwagon where vegetable "noodles" are an acceptable substitute for real pasta, but this dish is a good compromise between the two. You can use a wide vegetable peeler or mandoline to shave the zucchini into thin slices (or if you do have a spiralizer, this is the time to use it). This is a simple weeknight meal, but the addition of toasted breadcrumbs and fresh basil add texture and flavor to make it feel special. Leftovers manage to taste even better once reheated - just keep the breadcrumbs separate or they will get mushy.

Related Recipes:
- Spaghetti with Asparagus & Poached Egg
- Couscous with Zucchini & Feta
- Whole Wheat Pasta with Grated Zucchini

Zucchini Ribbon Spaghetti with Toasted Breadcrumbs:
- 4 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/8" ribbons, then cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 lb. spaghetti
- 1/2 c. fresh breadcrumbs or panko
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- large handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 5 tbsp. olive oil
- pinch of red chile flakes
- kosher salt

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.
  • Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp. olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat.
  • Add in the breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt to the skillet and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until crunchy and golden. Set aside.
  • Add in the pasta to the water and cook until al dente, about 1 minute before the recommended time on the package.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil with the garlic, anchovies, and red chile flakes in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovies have melted, then add in the zucchini and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 c. pasta cooking liquid and add the pasta and some of the pasta water to the pan with the zucchini.
  • Add the basil and parmesan and toss everything to combine. Check for seasoning.
  • Divide pasta onto plates and top with breadcrumbs.

Serves four

Wednesday, September 9

Eating for Two

A food diary of my first trimester

The last time I took a long break from this blog was over two years ago. I got married, went on the most amazing long honeymoon in Europe, and started a new job. This time, I've been absent due to another major life event - I'm pregnant! We are expecting a baby girl due mid-February. I've wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember and my husband and I are thrilled about the news, but it doesn't mean that pregnancy has been easy. Cooking and eating are a daily struggle from a lack of appetite, dietary restrictions, and barely having the energy to cook a quick meal. Here's a look at what I have and haven't been eating the past three and a half months:


  • Alcohol - This goes without saying, and to be honest, I haven't been feeling well enough to miss it. The hardest thing about being pregnant and not drinking was how suspicious it was to our friends and family. I spent many nights fake sipping cocktails, which my husband would chug as soon as no one else was looking.
  • Raw Stuff - Sushi was the last meal I ate before I found out that I was pregnant. But it's not just the obvious raw stuff that I have to avoid. The biggest let down has been avoiding soft eggs, which I love.
  • All The Good Dairy - Non-pasteurized dairy and juices are the most difficult foods to avoid. Pretty much all of my favorites cheeses (brie, goat, queso fresco) are off-limits until after giving birth.
  • Cured Meats - Considering my ideal meal is a cheese and charcuterie plate with a fresh baguette, this is another disappointment. Anything with nitrates (most bacon, sausage, salami, etc.) need to be avoided, although I have had luck finding nitrate-free bacon at Whole Foods.
  • Chicken - I developed a strong distaste for chicken shortly after I found out that I was pregnant. We joke that it's definitely my husband's child in me because he likes to talk smack on all my chicken recipes in favor of red meat and now I do the same. I haven't eaten a chicken breast since I got pregnant and at this rate it doesn't seem like I ever will again.

Wednesday, July 22

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage & Cherry Tomatoes

A quick weeknight pasta with crumbled sausage and fresh tomatoes

Pasta with Sausage and Tomatoes

One of my favorite simple meals to make in the summer is pasta tossed with fresh cherry or grape tomatoes. It's so easy, but when the pasta is cooked perfectly al dente and the tomatoes are sweet and juicy, it tastes just like you're sitting down for dinner in Italy. I've been subjecting my husband to a lot of vegetarian meals lately, so I added in some crumbled Italian sausage to this recipe to give him some meat. Combined with lightly-cooked tomatoes and garlic, this forms the entire "sauce" for the pasta. One important tip is that for a pasta with so few ingredients, make sure that you are really salting your boiling water before cooking pasta. If in doubt, taste a spoonful of water before adding the orecchiette - it should taste salty. Most people don't add enough salt and then the pasta doesn't have any flavor to it.

Related Recipes:
- Sausage & Cherry Tomato Bake
- Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes, Burrata, & Breadcrumbs
- Spaghetti with Chunky Cherry Tomato Sauce

Orecchiette with Italian Sausage & Cherry Tomatoes:
- 1 lb. orecchiette or similar shaped pasta
- 3/4 lb. fresh Italian sausage, casings removed
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- handful of fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
- pinch of red chile flakes
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Let the sausage brown and cook through, breaking up the sausage with the back of a spoon as it cooks.
  • Once the water is boiling, add a few large pinches of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions for al dente.
  • Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the tomatoes, chile flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally and lightly pressing on the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to break them up a bit. The tomatoes should be soft but should still hold most of their shape.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 c. pasta cooking water.
  • Add the sausage back to the pot with the tomatoes, along with the pasta, pasta water, and parmesan.
  • Stir everything together until well mixed and check for seasoning. Just before serving, sprinkle with basil.

Serves four-six

Tuesday, July 14

Grilled Scallops with Bacon-Scallion Relish

Sweet, meaty grilled scallops with smokey bacon relish

Bobby Flay's Grilled Sea Scallops with Green Onion Relish and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Like shrimp, scallops are a relatively easy and quick-cooking seafood to make on the grill. This recipe from Bobby Flay calls for simply grilling scallops with a little oil, salt, and pepper, and then topping them with a tasty sauce and relish made from bacon and scallions. The combination of sweet, succulent scallops and salty, fatty bacon are a perfect pairing. The addition of vinegar and raw scallions cuts through the richness and keep it from feeling too heavy. This is one of those dishes that only takes about twenty minutes but is fancy enough for a special occasion.

Related Recipes:
- Sticky Asian Scallops
Jalapeño Corn Soup with Seared Scallops
- Lobster, Corn, & Bacon Chowder

Grilled Scallops with Bacon-Scallion Relish:
- 1/2 lb. large sea scallops, preferably dry-packed, side muscle removed
- 1/4 lb. bacon, diced
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- canola oil, for brushing scallops
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Add the bacon to a skillet over medium heat and cook for 6-10 minutes, or until crisp and brown.
  • Remove the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the scallion to the bacon and stir to combine.
  • Brush the scallops with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the scallops for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping once, then transfer to a plate or platter.
  • Add the shallots to the pan with bacon fat and cook for 1-2 minutes, until soft. Add the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil and cook until the sugar dissolves.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the mustard, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the scallops and sprinkle with the bacon and scallions.

Serves two

Thursday, July 9

Peach & Almond Clafoutis

A fluffy, custardy baked pancake with fresh peaches and slivered almonds

Peach Almond Clafoutis

Clafoutis (pronounced claw-foo-tee) is a French dessert that's a cross between a baked custard and a pancake. Typically made with cherries, this peach version from Mimi Thorisson is the perfect recipe to make right now when the fruit is at its peak. As the clafoutis bake, the peaches soften and their juices mix with the custard to form a rich and sweet batter. The crunch of buttery toasted almonds add great texture to the top of the dish. I love to serve this as a rustic dessert by putting it in the middle of the table and letting everyone serve themselves with a big spoon. Any leftovers are fair game for breakfast.

More Peach Recipes:
- White Peach Upside-Down Pancakes
- Peach Tart with Olive Oil Crust
- Grilled Peach & Honey Mascarpone Tarts

Peach & Almond Clafoutis:
- 4 peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. whole milk
- 2/3 c. all-purpose flour, sifted or stirred to remove lumps
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. slivered almonds
- 3 tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for greasing dish
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated

  • Grease a 9" round cake pan, baking dish, or skillet and arrange the peaches in a single layer in the dish.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for a couple minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the flour, salt, nutmeg, milk, and melted butter and stir until smooth and lump-free. Don't overmix.
  • Pour the batter over the peaches and sprinkle with the almonds.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
  • Let cool slightly before serving. This is great with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Serves four-six

Tuesday, July 7

Grilled Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Fresh summer vegetables layered with noodles and lots of cheese

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna

We've been grilling a ton of vegetables this summer to use in tacos, grain bowls, and as simple side dishes. I love the variety of fresh produce available at our market this time of year when everything is in season and at its peak. This lasagna showcases some of my favorite summer vegetables - eggplant, squash, greens, and carrots - and layers them between tender noodles and lots of cheese. The recipe, which I adapted from Food52, calls for a few steps: grilling the vegetables, making a homemade tomato sauce, creating the ricotta filling, and soaking the noodles before assembly, which makes it a project to dedicate a couple of hours to on a weekend. That said, the results are worth the effort and the lasagna will feed a boatload of hungry people. My husband and I ate this for almost a week straight before it was finished and the leftovers taste even better than the original!

Related Recipes:
- Grilled Eggplant & Ricotta Roll-Ups
- Mushroom & Lamb Bolognese Lasagna
- Homemade Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli

Grilled Summer Vegetable Lasagna:
- 3/4 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 28 oz. crushed canned tomatoes
- 14 oz. canned tomato puree
- 1 egg
- 3 large or 4 medium zucchini or summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1-2 large Japanese eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 c. baby spinach or arugula or other similar green
- 1 onion, diced
- 1/2 bunch medium carrots, cut into coins
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c. white wine
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- kosher salt
- black pepper

Tomato Sauce
  • In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and add in the onion and carrots. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until starting to soften and brown.
  • Add in the white wine and let it reduce by half, then add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, 1/2 tbsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
Ricotta Filling
  • Add the greens and a splash of water to a microwaveable container and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted. Wrap in a kitchen towel to squeeze out as much water as you can and roughly chop.
  • Combine the greens with the ricotta, parmesan, egg, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
Grill Vegetables
  • Heat a grill or grill pan to high.
  • Brush the squash and eggplant with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill for 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then dice.
Assemble Lasagna
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Fill a large bowl with hot water and add in some of the lasagna noodles (don't add too many at a time or they will stick together).
  • Add a layer of tomato sauce to the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Add a layer of noodles that have soaked for a minute in the hot water, overlapping them slightly in the pan and adding more noodles to soak in the water as you go.
  • Add 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then half of the grilled zucchini. 
  • Add another layer of sauce, noodles, and ricotta and then all of the eggplant.
  • Repeat with another layer of sauce, noodles, ricotta, and zucchini.
  • For your final layer, add more sauce, noodles, sauce, and then cover the entire top with the mozzarella. Sprinkle with parmesan.
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Serves ten-fourteen

Tuesday, June 30

Recipes for Fourth of July

Celebrate our country with classic American comfort food and fresh summer recipes

Recipes for 4th of July

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays of the year. We always go up to Lake Sylvan, Minnesota, to spend time with my husband's side of the family. It's a trip that we look forward to every year and one of our favorite places to visit. Our days are spent boating, swimming, eating, drinking, and relaxing. I love coming in from a long day in the sun to sit around the table with the family for a good meal, followed by a friendly game of cards or dice. My husband and I are in charge of dinner one night and are going to grill up a bunch of steaks with homemade steak sauce and a big dish of mac and cheese. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate America and have suggested some additional recipes below to make your celebration just as special.

P.S. Follow my Pinterest board for even more ideas!

Fourth of July Recipes:
  • Grilled Beer Brats - Classic beer-braised brats are finished on a hot grill and served on toasted buns with sautéed peppers and onions and the condiments of your choice.
  • Herbed Potato Salad - This mayo-free version is light and tangy with a ton of fresh greens herbs.
  • BBQ Tri Tip Sandwiches - Grill up a big piece of tri tip over the weekend and turn leftovers into delicious BBQ sandwiches the next day.
  • Homemade Lemonade - The perfect drink to quench your thirst from a hot day in the sun. Kids will love it, and adults will love it if you put booze in it.
  • Nectarine & Blackberry Pie - A free-form galette that showcases all the best summer fruits. Serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, June 22

Pineapple Margaritas

A sweet and tropical spin on a margarita cocktail

Pineapple Margaritas

I've gotten to be much more of a wine drinker in recent years, a big departure from my cocktail-loving early twenties where a night out wasn't complete without vodka. I still love to try specialty drinks at fancy bars and restaurants, but when I entertain at home it's usually wine, beer, and spontaneous Fireball shots. The exception is margaritas - they are so easy to make and I like the fresh homemade versions much better than the sweet-and-sour mix ones you find at most Mexican restaurants. I've been tweaking this pineapple margarita recipe since Cinco de Mayo and have settled on my ideal balance of sweet, sour, and boozy. This margarita is sweeter than the classic due to the pineapple juice, but still has some sour thanks to the fresh lime. I like to serve it with a salt and sugar rim, which looks impressive but couldn't be easier to do. Make a pitcher for your next party and your guests will go crazy!

More Cocktail Recipes:
- Grapefruit Tequila Palomas
- Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas
- Pineapple Mango Rum Slushie

Pineapple Margaritas:
  • Combine 1 c. freshly-squeezed lime juice, 2 c. pineapple juice, 1 c. tequila blanco, and 1 c. triple sec in a pitcher.
  • Refrigerate until cold.
  • Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp. white sugar with 2 tbsp. kosher salt in a shallow bowl or plate.
  • Wipe a wedge of lime on the rim of 4 glasses and immediately dip the wet rims in the sugar-salt mixture.
  • Fill the glasses with ice and carefully pour in the margaritas. Garnish each glass with a wedge of pineapple if desired. Serve immediately.

Serves four

Thursday, June 18

Tacuba Style Chicken Enchiladas

Decadent chicken enchiladas in a luscious poblano cream sauce

Rick Bayless Enchildas Especiales Tacuba Style

I usually make enchiladas out of store-bought salsa verde and leftover rotisserie chicken for weeknight-friendly entertaining, but these tacuba style enchiladas from Rick Bayless are worthy of a Sunday night dinner or special occasion. The star of the dish is the poblano cream sauce, which is basically a rich bechamel that's blended with spinach, garlic, and roasted poblano peppers. Some of the sauce gets tossed with shredded chicken to form the filling and the remaining amount gets poured on top of the enchiladas. If that's not decadent enough, the top is sprinkled with grated cheese before baking in the oven until bubbling. These are the best enchiladas I've ever eaten and my husband can't stop talking about them!

More Enchilada Recipes:
- Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
- Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Enchiladas
- Shrimp Enchiladas

Tacuba Style Chicken Enchiladas with Poblano Cream Sauce:
- 12 corn tortillas
- 3 c. cooked, shredded chicken (about 3 cooked chicken breasts or a small rotisserie chicken)
- 2 c. milk
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 c. grated cheese, such as Monterey Jack
- 1 c. baby spinach
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 2 poblano peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- canola oil, for brushing tortillas
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Roast the poblano peppers on a gas flame, under the broiler, or on the grill for 5-10 minutes, or until skin are blackened all over. Seal in a plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes, then rub off the skin, discard the stems and seeds, and rough chop.
  • Place the peppers in a blender or food processor with the spinach and quickly puree.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauce pot over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then whisk in the flour, stirring constantly so there are no lumps, for a minute or two.
  • Combine the milk and chicken broth and microwave until warm. Slowly add the mixture to the sauce pot, stirring so there are no lumps.
  • Add 1 1/2 tbsp. salt and a pinch of pepper and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Pour the sauce into the blender with the poblano mixture and puree until smooth. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • Combine 1 c. sauce with the the chicken in a bowl and set aside. Pour 1 c. sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Brush the tortillas with oil and lay on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 2 minutes, or until warm.
  • Working one at a time, fill a tortilla with some of the chicken and roll up tightly. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Pour the rest of the sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is starting to brown.
  • Let cool slightly, then divide onto plates and eat.

Serves four-six

Wednesday, June 17

Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche

The secret to flavorful fish is marinating it after it's cooked

Bon Appetit Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche

Fish doesn't need to be something you eat only on special occasions and can be an inexpensive, simple, and healthy weeknight meal. This recipe for grilled snapper with onion escabeche comes from the latest issue of Bon Appetit and calls for grilling quick-cooking, easy-to-find snapper fillets and then marinating them in oil, vinegar, and onions. By marinating the fish after it's cooked, the fish absorbs all the flavor without changing its delicate texture. With the exception of the snapper, I almost always have the rest of the ingredients on hand in the fridge and pantry. We liked this so much for a weeknight meal that we've already eaten it a couple times in the last few weeks. The fish is very mild and not "fishy" at all, which makes it a great option for the whole family.

Note: Snapper is often called rockfish at many grocery stores and fish markets. Using skin-on fillets will make it easier to grill but either will work. If you don't have an outdoor grill or don't want to use it, you can cook the fish on a grill pan or even in a hot skillet.

More Grilled Fish Recipes:
- Grilled Sicilian Swordfish
- Whole Grilled Snapper with Lemon-Garlic Sauce
- Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Grilled Snapper with Onion Escabeche:
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Brush 2 boneless snapper fillets (preferably skin-on) with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl, combine 1/4 thinly sliced red onion, 2 tbsp. rice vinegar, and 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and let sit.
  • Grill the fish for 3-4 minutes (skin side down), then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the fish to a plate and pour the onion mixture on top. Let side, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with a handful of fresh parsley leaves and serve.

Serves two

Tuesday, June 16

Italian Frittata Sandwiches

How Europeans do an egg sandwich

Giada DeLaurentiis Italian Frittata

Almost every country in Europe seems to have their own take on a frittata, which is basically a baked dish of eggs with various other ingredients mixed in. I've featured many frittata recipes on KSD over the years but love how this recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis takes things a step further by putting it on a sandwich. The frittata has two of my favorite Italian ingredients, prosciutto and parmesan, along with potatoes, onion, basil, and garlic. It cooks until set and then is cut into squares and sandwiched between buttery garlic bread with some peppery greens. It can be served room temperature or warm and is one of those recipes that works equally well for breakfast as it does for lunch or dinner.

Note: As previously mentioned, I hate do not like mayonnaise. However, both my husband and I agreed that this sandwich might be great with some mayo or aioli in place of butter on the bread. Do as you wish.

Related Recipes:
- Swiss Chard, Potato, & Aged Cheddar Frittatas
- Egg, Bacon, & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
- Chorizo, Egg, & Potato Breakfast Burritos

Italian Prosciutto & Potato Frittata Sandwiches:
- 1 baguette, cut in 8 and halved lengthwise
- 1 large russet potato (7 oz.)
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. prosciutto, chopped
- 1 1/2 c. baby arugula, loosely packed
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 3-4 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. basil, sliced or torn
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Poke holes all over the potato with a fork and microwave for 3 minutes, or until partially cooked. Let cool until you can handle it, then peel off the skin and dice into bite-size pieces.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cream, parmesan, prosciutto, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until starting to soften, then add in the potatoes and minced garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and brown in some places. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the broiler to high.
  • Add the eggs to the skillet with the potato mixture and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for a few minutes, or until the edges are starting to set but the top and center are still jiggly.
  • Transfer to skillet to the broiler and broil until the top is golden and the center is set, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Let the frittata cool slightly and toast the bread.
  • Rub the toasted bread with the whole garlic clove and spread with butter.
  • Loosen the frittata with a spatula and cut into squares. Place the frittata slices and a bit of arugula between the bread and serve.

Serves six-eight

Monday, June 15

Individual Strawberry Tartlets

Buttery, flakey dough filled with jammy roasted strawberries

Huckleberry Individual Strawberry Tarts

I made these strawberry tarts for my friend who is obsessed with mini-everything. She is a talented baker and loves sweets, so I knew that these individual-size desserts would be a hit. The recipe comes from the Huckleberry cookbook and calls for rolling out squares of buttery homemade dough and filling them with a mixture of fresh strawberries, melted butter, and brown sugar. The tarts bake in a hot oven, which roasts the berries and causes a thick puddle of sweet strawberry jam to pool in the middle. The house smelled incredible while these cooked, filling the air with the scent of caramelized sugar, butter, and fruit. Serve these warm or at room temperature with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream.

Related Recipes:

Mini Strawberry Tartlets:
For Dough
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/4 c. white sugar
- 1/4 c. cold water
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder

For Filling and Assembly
- 3 c. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. white sugar, plus more for sprinkling dough
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 egg, beaten, with a splash of water or milk (this is egg wash)
- powdered sugar, whipped cream, or ice cream to serve

  • To make dough, pulse flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a food processor or mix by hand.
  • Add in the butter and pulse or use a pastry cutter until pea-size pieces form. Pour in the water and pulse or mix a few times until dough starts to come together.
  • Dump the dough onto a clean surface and press together with your hands until it holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to a few days.
  • Take the dough out of the fridge and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss the strawberries in a bowl with the melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt. Set aside.
  • Roll out the dough to a large square that's 1/8" thick. Trim edges until you get about 14" square.
  • Cut the square in thirds in both directions to get 9 even squares. Combine the scraps of dough and roll out a few more squares if possible.
  • Divide the strawberries in the middle of each square of dough, leaving a 1" border around the dough edges. Brush the edges with egg wash and fold over to form a little picture frame.
  • Arrange the tarts on a parchment or nonstick mat-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 356F.
  • Take the tarts out of the freezer and brush the edges of dough with more egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake immediately for 30-35 minutes, or until the dough is darkly golden brown. Let cool on a rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves ten-twelve

Mini Strawberry Galettes

Wednesday, June 10

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Show-stopping twice-baked sweet potatoes with creamy taleggio cheese

Barefoot Contessa Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Baked sweet potatoes have been on permanent rotation as a weekly side dish at our house. I love the way they taste and they have more fiber and vitamins than regular potatoes. While delicious on their own, this twice-baked sweet potato recipe is on a whole other level. The recipe comes from the latest Barefoot Contessa cookbook (I'm a huge fangirl and love every single one of her cookbooks) and calls for mashing the cooked sweet potatoes with buttery sautéed shallots, creamy taleggio cheese, and thyme before baking them a second time until puffed and golden. The potatoes are the perfect mix of salty and sweet with creamy pockets of melty cheese running throughout. These make a great side dish to a simple roasted chicken, grilled meat, or even a sturdy fish like salmon. Or pair this with a green salad for a satisfying vegetarian meal.

Related Recipes:
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Chicken & Broccoli Stuffed Potatoes
- Molasses-Chile Butter Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Taleggio Cheese:
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork a few times
- 3 oz. taleggio cheese, rind removed and diced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and add the sweet potatoes. Bake for an hour, or until tender and cooked through.
  • Remove and let cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving a 1/2" border around the edge of each potato half. Season the potato shells with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small pan and add in the shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until softened. Add the thyme and cook for another minute.
  • Add the shallot mixture and a big pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl with the sweet potatoes and mash with a fork. Stir in the egg and cheese until incorporated.
  • Scoop the sweet potato mixture back into the potato skins and lay a sprig of thyme on top of each half as a garnish (optional).
  • Bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.
  • Cool slightly and serve.

Serves four

Tuesday, June 9

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce

Don't be afraid to throw fish on the grill this summer

Bobby Flay grilled salmon recipe

My husband and I eat seafood pretty often, but there's something about living near the beach in the summer that makes fish even more appealing. June means that it's Copper River salmon season and we can buy gorgeous Alaskan salmon fillets at our supermarket and local fishmonger. Salmon is one of the most grill-friendly fishes out there because the flesh is firm and meaty and the skin protects the fish from the hot flames (while getting crispy as a cracker while it cooks). My husband has been really into grilling for every meal and he's gotten good at making pretty much every recipe in Bobby Flay's Grill It cookbook. This meal calls for simply grilling salmon and then serving it with a no-cook mustard sauce and a little salad of arugula and red onion. The tangy, spicy sauce and fresh greens make a nice contrast to the rich salmon fillet and the whole dish comes together in no time. This works just as well for a summer barbecue as it does for a weeknight meal.

More Salmon Recipes:
- Grilled Salmon Burgers
- Copper River Salmon with Tomato-Avocado Salsa
- Sweet Miso-Glazed Salmon

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mustard Sauce:
- 2 (8 oz.) skin-on boneless salmon fillets, preferably fresh and wild-caught
- handful of arugula or similar green
- 1/4 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. minced parlsey
- 1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
- 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat a grill to high.
  • Meanwhile, combine the mustards, honey, parsley, horseradish, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Brush both sides of the salmon fillets with 1 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the salmon, skin-side down, for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes, depending on how done you want it.
  • Remove the salmon from the grill and let it rest skin side up (to preserve crispiness).
  • In a bowl, combine the arugula and onion and drizzle with vinegar and 1 tbsp. olive oil.
  • Divide the salad onto plates and top with the salmon fillets. Spoon sauce on top.

Serves two, easily doubled or tripled

Monday, June 8

"Lazy" Everyday Salsa

Make this fresh everyday salsa and never buy it from the store again

Rick Bayless Lazy Salsa

Whenever I get free chips and salsa from a good Mexican restaurant, I always end up devouring the whole bowl and getting full before the rest of my food comes out. But when it comes to snacking at home, chips and salsa never have the same appeal. Store-bought salsa just doesn't have the same freshness and flavor that homemade salsa does. This everyday salsa recipe comes from Rick Bayless and is so easy to put together. First, a mixture of tomatoes, onions, chiles, and garlic get grilled over a hot flame and then pureed in a food processor until smooth. The heat of the grill creates a nice charred flavor and helps to bring out a bit of sweetness in the tomatoes and chiles but it still tastes really fresh. This recipe will make a big batch of salsa which will keep for several days and is perfect for snacking or spooning over tacos or enchiladas.

Pro Tip: Place store-bought chips in a 350F oven for 5 minutes to warm them up and give them a homemade feel.

Related Recipes:
- Charred Tomatillo Salsa
- Mango Guacamole
- Queso Fundido Dip

"Lazy" Everyday Salsa:
- 4 medium-small tomatoes (roughly 1 1/2 lbs.)
- 1 white onion, halved
- 2-3 serrano chiles*
- 3 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- kosher salt

  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Using a grill basket if needed, grill the tomatoes, onion, chiles, and garlic.
  • Cook the garlic and chiles for 10 minutes and the tomatoes and onion for 20 minutes.
  • Let the vegetables cool slightly, then peel the garlic, stem the chiles, remove the core from the tomatoes, and dice the onion.
  • In a food processor, puree the garlic and chiles, then add in the tomatoes and any accumulated juices and puree until smooth.
  • Stir in the diced onion and season with 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt. Add in a splash of water if needed to thin the consistency.
  • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few days.

Serves six-eight
*Or more or less, depending on how spicy you like your salsa and how spicy your peppers are. I used 2 serranos and the salsa was medium-hot.

Friday, June 5

Veggie "Eggs Benedict"

Looks like eggs benedict, tastes like nothing you've had before

Sprouted Kitchen Vegetable Eggs Benedict

I'm going to start by saying that although this recipe looks a whole lot like eggs benedict, it tastes nothing like it. And if you're craving eggs benedict, this is probably not going to satisfy that craving. However, if you're looking for a veggie-packed breakfast with soft poached eggs and a tangy sauce, this is the recipe for you. Taken from Sprouted Kitchen, this dish swaps the uber rich and difficult-to-make hollandaise sauce with a tangy-sweet mix of roasted peppers (using yellow ones will yield the color you see above), goat cheese, and lemon. The meat is substituted for lemony sautéed spinach and tender asparagus. The only remains of a traditional egg benedict is the well-toasted English muffin base and the poached eggs with warm, runny yolks. It's a lighter way to enjoy breakfast or brunch and it makes a beautiful main course that will wow your friends and family.

Note: Scared to poach eggs? See my favorite, fool-proof method for making them here.

Related Recipes:
- Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto & Hollandaise
- Kale & Smoked Salmon Baked Eggs
- Scrambled Eggs Florentine

Vegetable "Eggs Benedict" with Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Sauce:
For Sauce
- 3/4 c. (scant) roasted bell peppers (from a jar is fine)
- 2 oz. fresh chèvre goat cheese
- 2 tbsp. milk, warmed in the microwave
- 1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- dash of hot sauce
- pinch of kosher salt
- pinch of black pepper

For Eggs Benedict
- 2 English muffins, toasted well
- 4 eggs
- 3 c. loosely-packed baby spinach leaves
- small bunch of asparagus
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- splash of vinegar (white, rice, or apple cider)
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 500F.
  • Toss the asparagus with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan for 5-8 minutes, depending on thickness, or until tender but not limp.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients of the sauce and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning.
  • Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to a small pan over medium heat and add in the spinach, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for a couple minutes, or until wilted.
  • In another pan, bring 3"- 4" water to a simmer and add the vinegar.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl, then slip in to the water and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the whites are set. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining eggs.
  • To assemble, place muffin halves on plates and top each with some spinach, asparagus, a poached egg, and a spoonful of sauce.

Serves two, easily doubled

Thursday, June 4

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes, Burrata, & Breadcrumbs

Pasta tossed with fresh pesto, grape tomatoes, burrata cheese, and homemade breadcrumbs

Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes, Burrata, & Breadcrumbs

This is a fabulous pasta for early summer when tomatoes are just coming in season and fresh herbs are in abundance. The combination of earthy pesto, sweet tomatoes, and creamy burrata mozzarella are reminiscent of a caprese salad but in pasta form. I'm currently obsessed with homemade breadcrumbs and love the salty, toasty crunch that they add to this dish. I add the burrata cheese at the end in big dollops so that it doesn't melt too much and keeps its rich and thick texture. It's almost better if it's not served piping hot and you could even serve it at room temperature as a pasta salad. It's a fast, fresh, and easy meal that you can enjoy all summer long.

Note: I used cappelini in this recipe because I had half a box on hand that I wanted to use up, but I think it would be even better with a thicker noodle like spaghetti or something like penne or orecchiette.  There are some great fresh pesto options at the grocery store nowadays (look for them in the refrigerated section), but I prefer my homemade pesto recipe.

Related Recipes:
- Grilled Pesto Shrimp Pizza
- Angel Hair with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Grilled Asparagus with Burrata and Lemony Breadcrumbs

Pesto Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese, and Homemade Breadcrumbs:
- 1/2 lb. pasta
- 8 oz. burrata cheese
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 slices of stale bread
- 1/4 c. pesto
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt.
  • Meanwhile, place the bread in a food processor and pulse to form large crumbs. Do not grind to a very fine powder.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat. Add in the crumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the crumbs are crispy and golden brown.
  • Transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate, wipe out the skillet, and add in the remaining tbsp. of olive oil.
  • Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low, and cook a few minutes until softened but still holding most of their shape.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. 
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 c. cooking water, and add both to the skillet with the tomatoes.
  • Add in the pesto and stir well until the pasta is coated with pesto. Dollop the burrata all over the pasta and turn off the heat.
  • Transfer the pasta to plates and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Serves three-four

Tuesday, June 2

Nectarine Blackberry Galette

A rustic fruit tart using summer berries and stone fruit

Nectarine Blackberry Galette

It's officially June and summer produce is all but here. One of my favorite things to do with sweet summer fruit is make a simple tart or crumble. This galette was made on a whim using homemade pie dough that I had in my freezer (you can use a good store-bought dough to save time) and ripe nectarines and blackberries I picked up at the farmers market. The combination of slightly tart berries and juicy nectarines yields a delicious flavor and gorgeous color contrast. I like to sprinkle the edges of the dough with turbinado sugar to give it some sparkle and a sweet crunch. It's a rustic and elegant dessert that is impressive enough to serve at a dinner party or bring to a friend's barbecue.

Note: The photograph above is a small two-person galette that I made for my husband and I to share, but the recipe below is adjusted to serve a group of six to eight.

Related Recipes:
- Peach Tart with Olive Oil Crust
- Mixed Berry Almond-Oat Crumble
- Strawberry Crostada

Nectarine Blackberry Galette:
- 1 round of pie dough, defrosted if frozen
- 3 nectarines, pitted and sliced
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 3 tbsp. white sugar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. cold butter, diced
- 2 tbsp. heavy cream
- turbinado sugar, for sprinkling*
- all-purpose flour, for rolling out dough

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the nectarines, blackberries, white sugar, and lemon juice and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle some flour onto a board and roll out the pie dough into a circle that's 1/4" thick.
  • Mound the fruit in the middle of the dough, leaving a 1" border around the edge.
  • Fold the edges of the dough inwards, crimping as needed, to form a crust.
  • Tuck the butter pieces into and on top of the fruit.
  • Freeze the tart for 15-20 minutes. This will cool down the butter in the dough and help the galette hold its shape.
  • Remove the galette from the freezer and brush the crust with cream. Sprinkle the crust immediately with turbinado sugar and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating once, or until the crust is a dark golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.
  • Let cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve.

Serves six-eight
*Also known as raw sugar or demerara sugar.

Monday, June 1

Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa

Turn fresh cherries into a sweet-savory salsa for grilled or roasted meat

Fresh cherries are everywhere at our markets in L.A. I can buy a big bag of them, set them out on the table with a small bowl next to it for pits and stems, and they'll be gone before the afternoon is over. But when it comes to cooking with them, my favorite thing to do is use them in savory dishes. The fruit is so sweet on its own that it makes a really nice contrast to rich and fatty meats like duck. In this recipe, a simple pan-roasted duck breast is topped with a sweet and spicy salsa made from cherries, jalapeño, red onion, and cilantro. It's a quick meal and the only step that takes any time is pitting the cherries, but luckily you only need to pit a cupful. The salsa idea comes from a Raley's newsletter that my aunt sent me, and while the combination of cherries with raw onion and cilantro might sound odd, it really works together and tastes delicious. If you're not a fan of duck or have trouble finding it at the market, the salsa would also pair well with pork or lamb.

Related Recipes:
- Duck Breasts with Fig Sauce
- Poached Cherries with Goat Cheese
- Duck with Cherry Port Sauce

Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa:
- 2 large duck breasts, skin on and boneless
- 1 c. fresh cherries, pitted and diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and minced
- 2 tbsp. red onion, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
- 1/2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Combine the cherries, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Check for seasoning and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
  • Score the fat on the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a pairing knife and season both side of the duck with salt and pepper.
  • Add the duck to the pan, fat side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the fat has rendered and the skin is brown and crispy.
  • Flip the duck over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. The duck should be pink in the center still.
  • Let the duck rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve with the cherry salsa.

Serves two, with some salsa left over

Thursday, May 21

Cappelini with Lobster, Lemon, & Chives

Angel hair pasta tossed with buttery lobster, fresh lemon, and chives

Canal House Cooks Everyday Lobster Cappelini

My husband and I had our second wedding anniversary on Monday. To celebrate, we went back to our wedding site, the Beverly Wilshire hotel, over the weekend and had a very memorable dinner at Wolfgang Puck's CUT Steakhouse. But because one celebration just wasn't enough, we also made a lobster dinner at home and popped some champagne the next night. This pasta, adapted slightly from Canal House Cooks Everyday, is elegant in its simplicity - just pasta and lobster with a buttery sauce to bring it all together. You can certainly steam and crack your own lobster, but buying lobster meat directly from the a seafood or nice grocery store will save you a ton of time, enough to make this a weeknight-friendly meal. It's a special meal that is worthy of a big celebration.

More Lobster Recipes:
- Lobster & Truffle Pasta
- Steamed Lobster
- Lobster Risotto

Cappelini with Lobster, Lemon, & Chives:
- 1 3/4 lb. lobster, cooked and meat removed from shells
- 1/3 lb. dried cappelini (angel hair) pasta
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- small bunch of chives, minced
- pinch of red chile flakes
- kosher salt

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Taste it if necessary, it should taste salty.
  • In a large skillet, melt 3 tbsp. butter with the red chile flakes over medium low heat.
  • Add the lobster meat and about 2 tbsp. lemon juice to the skillet. Season with salt.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 c. cooking liquid.
  • Immediately transfer the pasta to the pan with the lobster and add in 2 more tbsp. butter.
  • Toss the pasta to combine, adding pasta water as needed to moisten (I used almost all of it).
  • Check for seasoning and add more salt or lemon if needed. Sprinkle in the chives and toss once more.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

Serves two

Wednesday, May 20

Bacon, Egg, & Spring Veggie Fried Rice

Use up leftover rice in this quick and easy one-pot meal

Spring Vegetable, Bacon, and Egg Fried Rice

I shared my go-to fried rice recipe as one of my first posts on this blog and still make it often, sometimes tweaking it based on whatever leftovers I have around the house. This version comes from a recipe I saw in Food52 and includes a medley of vegetables, lots of egg, and - most importantly - bacon. The salty bits of pork with the soft scrambled egg and fresh vegetables are a delicious combination, but it's the addition of one non-traditional ingredient, honey, that really sets it over the top. The honey adds a touch of sweetness that helps to enhance the savory flavors of the dish, but it also sticks the rice to the pot to form some nice caramelized bites. I use brown rice because I figure it's an easy way to make the dish a little healthier, but any leftover rice will do. This holds up well in the fridge for a day or two and can be reheated for leftovers.

Note: As with any stir-fry, the cooking time goes by fast and it's essential to have all your ingredients prepped before you turn on the stove.

More Fried Rice Recipes:
- Chicken & Broccoli Fried Rice
- Fried Brown Rice with Broccoli & Egg
- Chicken & Mushroom Fried Rice

Bacon, Egg, & Spring Veggie Fried Rice:
- 4 c. cooked brown rice
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 c. baby kale, spinach, or other sturdy green
- 1 c. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3/4 c. peas, fresh or defrosted
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tbsp. honey

  • Add the bacon to a wok or large skillet over high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Transfer bacon to plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Add in the beaten eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two, until lightly scrambled. Do not overcook.
  • Scrape the egg on to a plate and return the wok to the heat. 
  • Add in the canola oil and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened, then add in garlic and ginger.
  • Cook for a minute, then add in the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  • Add in the kale and cook for 30 seconds, or until wilted.
  • Add in the rice, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil and toss together, making sure to break up any big clumps of rice.
  • Add in the peas and cook for another minute, then add in the bacon and egg.
  • Drizzle with honey and check for seasoning.

Serves four