grapefruit gimlet.

I know, I know. It’s Labor Day, it was 91 degrees outside today, and the markets and farm stands are positively overflowing with bumper crops of squash, tomatoes, peppers, corn, peaches, plums – the list goes on! So, it makes perfect sense that I am sharing a recipe with you that highlights a winter citrus fruit!

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Regardless of the exact wrong time of year to post this, I couldn’t resist the urge! I had a half of a grapefruit hanging out and got a hankering for a gimlet that I could not refuse! I used grapefruit juice supplemented lime juice, but you can use all six ounces of grapefruit juice if you’d like. I supplemented because my grapefruit only made about 4 ounces of juice.

I garnished with fresh mint because I had it laying around and I’m of the firm belief that most everything (especially cocktails!) can be improved with a sprig of fresh mint. Shake these up, strain and pour over ice. Enjoy with some friends; the ideal way to cool off during these last days of summer! Oh, and they’re pretty good during winter, too!

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grapefruit gimlet.

ingredients
10 ounces gin
4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
fresh mint springs, to garnish

directions
Combine all ingredients except for mint in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and pour into rocks glasses filled with ice. Garnish with mint.

Makes 6 cocktails.

 

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zucchini with tomatoes + mozzarella.

Could there be a recipe that is more summery than one that consists of zucchini, grilled ever so simply, tossed with fresh, locally grown tomatoes, baby balls of fresh mozzarella, dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garnished with basil? I don’t think so. This ‘recipe’ (can it even be called one due to its simplicity?) is everything I want in my late summer produce.

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I dub summer 2018 as the summer I fell head over heels in love. In love with caprese salad, that is. 😉 I’ve always enjoyed it just fine, but over the past few months, I’ve become borderline obsessed. Now that it’s August, and the markets are just bursting with bumper crops of tomatoes of all kinds, it’s caprese time 24/7. No lie, I ate it for breakfast last weekend.

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To keep my seemingly endless salad obsession fresh, I got slightly creative and paired it with some zucchini and yellow summer squash I had that I quickly roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of sea salt. You could easily toss the oiled rounds of sliced squash on the grill for 6-8 minutes, but for some reason, tossing them in the oven for a quick roast seemed easier than heating up my grill pan (although the directions below are for grilling). Grilling them would be peak summertime, and something I would absolutely do if I had an actual outdoor grill. Maybe next summer!

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Grilled squash is wonderful at room temperature, so I would allow them to cool just slightly before you top them with the sliced tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Give the whole platter a drizzle of oil, some balsamic glaze (homemade by reducing the vinegar in a pot for 10-15 minutes until thick and sticky), and some extra salt and pepper. I promise, you won’t be sorry!

zucchini, fresh tomatoes + mozzarella.
adapted from NYT Cooking. 

ingredients
1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1 pound tomatoes (roma, campari, anything that looks good)
1/2 pound baby mozzarella balls, halved
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
balsamic glaze
drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt + black pepper

directions

Heat a grill. Brush zucchini rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until tender and can be pierced with a fork. Alternatively, heat the oven to 450 degrees and roast the zucchini rounds for 10-15 minutes, flipping over once during cooking. Remove from grill or oven and let cool.

On a serving platter, arrange the zucchini. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella, and basil leaves. Season with sea salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

ginger chicken lettuce cups.

These are the perfect thing for late summer dinners: minimal effort, fresh, filling, and full of refreshing ingredients! These lettuce cups are ideal.

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This recipe is so simple, but I warn that it is best eaten in one sitting. If you’ve been around here at all, you know I usually make dishes with the knowledge/intention that I will have leftovers. In fact, I try to find recipes that will get better the second and third day. Due to the fresh herbs and cucumber, this is best served immediately after making.

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The flavor is delicate and light — perfect for end of the summer (<– how?!) entertaining!

ginger lettuce cups.
adapted from Tasty. 

ingredients
16 ounces ground chicken breast
4 teaspoons olive or grapeseed oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1/2 cup pickled red onions
1 english cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped
boston lettuce, leaves separated for cups (about 20 leaves)
crushed peanuts, for serving

directions
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and saute, until everything is fragrant and the garlic is starting to turn golden brown, about a minute. Add the chicken, season with a touch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked through and broken up into small pieces, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the fish sauce, rice vinegar, and pickled red onions and stir to combine. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cucumber, parsley, and mint and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving platter.

Serve the chicken mixture with lettuce and crushed peanuts. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

whole wheat fresh cherry almond muffins.

When faced with more fresh cherries than a girl can consume before they go … sub-optimal, what is there to do? Why, make fresh cherry muffins, of course!

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These are heavenly. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised at how lovely they came out, especially when I made them on such a whim. I had purchased a healthy amount of the cherries at my public market the previous weekend, and realized at the end of the week I needed to figure out how to use them up. So… I first thought about a yogurt cake flecked with cherries, but that quickly morphed into muffins. I was out of vanilla (despite JUST going to the store), so I swapped in almond extract. Luckily for me (and you!) the flavor of almonds go beautifully with cherries. The flavor here is just so complex yet light.

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Now, I used white whole wheat flour — this is my standard flour and it always works out. The flavor is slightly nuttier than bleached white flour; which I consider a plus! I used about 3/4 cup of sliced/pitted cherries and I think anywhere from 1/2 to a full cup would work. I used nondairy milk as per usual, but you could swap in regular milk (I would say anything but skim) with success. Enjoy these, and I dare you to eat just one!

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whole wheat fresh cherry almond muffins.

ingredients
1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cups coconut palm or raw turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup non dairy milk (I use unsweetened coconut milk)
3/4 cup fresh cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon sugar

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with muffin liners. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and sea salt.

Whisk together the egg, almond extract, milk in a small bowl and add to the mixer on medium low, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed to ensure the dry ingredients are properly incorporated. Add the cherries and mix slowly, until just incorporated. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups until two-third’s of the way full and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of sugar over each muffin.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing. Makes 12 muffins.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

mediterranean pasta salad with red wine vinaigrette.

So, I know I JUST posted a pasta salad recipe, with feta no less, and here we are again! But I promise, this one is completely different in flavor, super simple, makes good use of the farmer markets’ abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers, and is a total crowd pleaser! Promise you’ll make it with me? Because I’ll be eating this allllll late summer long.

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Now, I don’t love olives, but I added them in as they are a classic ingredient in Greek salads, and lots of people enjoy them – just not me! 🙂 I made this for a party on the 4th of July, and it was a hit! The real star is the red wine-oregano vinaigrette – so so tasty! It’s my spin on a Greek-inspired vinaigrette, but it’s so versatile! It’s great for pasta salads like this, lettuce based salads, or even as a marinade for chicken or fish!

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This is great for summer parties — the vegetables are hardy enough for the buffet table!

mediterranean pasta salad with red wine vinaigrette.

ingredients
16 ounces short pasta such as rotini, gemelli, ziti
8 ounce block of feta (in brine), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8 inch slices, halved
2.25 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1/4 bell pepper, diced (optional)

red wine/greek vinaigrette:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
scant 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (or leave whole for blender)
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

directions
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Drain, and rinse under cool water. Set aside.

In a blender or a mason jar, add the ingredients for the vinaigrette: the oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend (or shake vigorously) until completely emulsified.

In a large bowl, add the cooled pasta, the drained sliced olives, sliced cucumber, halved tomatoes and cubed feta. Add 3/4s of the dressing and toss gently until well combined. Taste, and add salt, pepper or more dressing if desired (I used all the dressing). Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 8-10. *Please use all organic ingredients* 

 

peanut cabbage slaw with herbs + chicken.

Last post, we made chicken with braised cabbage. As cabbage heads are normally HUGE, there is typically always some leftover. With that leftover cabbage, and two of the chicken breasts AND the onions (that I quick pickled!), we have this recipe, which is perfect for lunches! A cabbage slaw tossed in a quick peanut dressing, highlighted with some herbs, and topped with that leftover chicken. So easy and so delicious!

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The dressing uses some of the vinegary pickling liquid, but if you choose to not pickle the red onion, use unseasoned rice vinegar. Here is a great tutorial on pickling red onions – they keep for weeks, and are a great way add a pop of tart flavor to your dishes! The base of this slaw is cabbage and red bell pepper, but I added some sliced cucumber, as I was positively swimming in it! Feel free to add any veggies you have on hand — carrots would be a lovely addition!

If packing for lunches, mix the dressing, add to the bottom of a jar/container, layer with the chicken and then the cabbage slaw. Enjoy!

cabbage slaw with herbs + chicken.
from Buzzfeed Food.

ingredients
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon liquid from pickled onions or rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup pickled red onions
1/2 small head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
8 ounces cooked chicken breasts, sliced

directions
In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, fish sauce, pickling liquid/fish sauce and olive oil until smooth and well combined. Add cabbage, bell pepper, pickled onions and toss with the dressing until the slaw is well coated.

Divide between two plates and top with chicken. Serves 2.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible** 

 

pan roasted chicken with braised cabbage.

I’m not sure if it is due to my strong Polish heritage or what, but I LOVE cabbage. It is so versatile, it lasts forever, and it’s a bit of an unsung food hero, in my humble opinion. I also feel like it gets brushed aside in favor for its more trendy cousins, cauliflower, kale and brussels sprouts, and I love an underdog. Ergo, here we are — where I’ll be showcasing cabbage in two different preparations over the next few days. First up – a braising recipe so easy and quick, it’s perfect for weeknights, or for meal prepping! Pan-roasted chicken with braised cabbage.

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Cabbage lends itself easily to being cooked, where it becomes tender and sweet with minimal effort. Here, we will briefly saute it with some red onion and the leftover marinating liquid, and it gets roasted in the oven with the chicken. The result? Soft, tender leaves punctuated with with the sweet-tangy flavor of the onions, cooked down in the vinegar and fish sauce (<– don’t be afraid… fish sauce is ALL about the savory, umami flavor!). I used chicken breasts that I sliced in half as I prefer their flavor, texture, and lower calorie count. If you prefer, use chicken thighs – if using skin-on, make sure to saute long enough to render out the fat and create a crispy skin.

This is a simple dish with loads of flavor – what could be better?

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pan-roasted chicken with braised cabbage.
from Buzzfeed Food. 

ingredients
4 chicken breasts or breast halves (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 small head of green cabbage, cored and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
sea salt
black pepper

directions
To marinate the chicken, combine the garlic, ginger, vinegar, fish sauce, and olive oil in an air-tight container. Add the chicken and shake everything together. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour, and up to 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from the marinade; reserve the marinating liquid. Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry and season with sea salt and pepper.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat with a teaspoon of oil. Add the chicken and cook, 4-5 minutes per side, until lightly golden brown. Remove chicken from skillet and set them aside. Turn the heat down to medium, add the red onion and saute for about one minute, until the onions begin to soften, about a minute. Add the cabbage, and marinating liquid and stir to ensure the cabbage is coated. Bring to a boil, add the chicken atop the cabbage and place the skillet into the oven to roast for 15-18 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked and the edges of the cabbage are lightly browned.

Divide the cabbage mixture amongst to plates and top with a chicken breast for each. Serves 2, with 2 chicken breast halves leftover.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

 

 

white wine + shallot vinaigrette.

This dressing. I want it on everything. I think it may be my favorite homemade dressing to date. It is SO. GOOD.

I’ve been eating this so simply — spooned over sliced half moons of cucumber; cucumber that I had left over from last week’s pasta salad. I enjoyed that combination so much, I actually went out and bought more cucumbers just for the dressing! YUM.

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This is absurdly simple to make – especially if you have a blender! I tend to mix up my dressings in the blender — usually due to laziness. I don’t have to worry about a perfect mince of the garlic and shallot, and the mustard and honey emulsify beautifully with the whizz of the blender; yielding a thick, almost creamy dressing. If you don’t have a blender or don’t want to dirty it, never fear! Simply toss all the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid, and shake vigorously until all the ingredients are combined.

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This is tangy, light, yet super flavorful. It is Italian dressing-esque, but a more delicate flavor, thanks to the white wine vinegar. Feel free to use champagne vinegar in place of the white wine, and red wine in place of the apple cider if that’s what you have on hand. I recommend using a neutral oil; olive will overpower the other flavors. You can also use dijon in place of the whole grain mustard, but I love the bite of the whole grain. Enjoy this tossed with fresh, crisp romaine, in a pasta salad, or, over chopped cucumbers like me!

white wine + shallot vinaigrette.

ingredients
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
scant 1 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado

directions
In a blender, add all ingredients except the oil. Turn the blender on medium-low, and stream in the oil, increasing the blender speed for 30-45 seconds, allowing the dressing to come together.

Makes about one cup. Keeps for 2 weeks refrigerated.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible** 

lemon + herb cucumber pasta salad.

Remember last post we talked about potato salad? Today, let’s talk about another summer staple: pasta salad! Now, I typically love pasta salad. Even bad ones. You know the kind: overdressed, with sad scraps of vegetables (hi, canned black olives and reconstituted bell pepper!), from the box. Pasta salad has infinite renditions, which just means infinite opportunities for it to go awry. Not today! I was flipping through my newest issue of Real Simple, and found this pasta salad loaded with crisp, bright cucumber, a lemony mustard vinaigrette, and topped with fresh herbs. If ever a pasta salad was calling my name, this was it!

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I made this for a garden party I went to, and it was so delicious! I normally don’t care for feta (or cheese at all, really) in salads, but the feta really works here (I tried both with and without). The salty quality and soft oh so slightly creamy texture really coats the pasta in the perfect way. If you do not like cilantro as so many do not, I would swap for parsley — the grassy notes would really work here! For a vegan/dairy free option, use cashew cheese or simply omit! It is still really yummy sans cheese. Promise!

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The cucumber is super refreshing, especially on a hot summer day – perfect for summer parties! Enjoy this twist on a classic!

lemon + herb cucumber pasta salad.
adapted from Real Simple.

ingredients
1 pound dried, short cut pasta, cooked to package directions
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved
1 pound English cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thick, cut into half moons
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea or pink himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lemon half

directions

Heat a pot of water to boiling and add a teaspoon of sea salt. Add pasta to the pot and cook to package directions to al dente. Remove, drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil; toss to coat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk mustard, lemon juice, zest, garlic, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Whisk in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and emulsify to combine. Add cucumbers and feta to the bowl and toss gently to coat.

Once cooled, add pasta to cucumber mixture and toss to combine. This mixture can be made up to this point up to 2 days in advance. Just before serving, add cilantro and mint, drizzle with oil, add last bit of sea salt, pepper and juice of lemon half, toss and serve immediately.

Serves 12 as a side/appetizer; 4 as a main dish.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted sweet potato salad.

People feel really seriously about potato salad. Mayo, or no mayo? (<– NO. Never. Yuck.). Eggs? Chopped pickles? Celery? It can be made a plethora of ways, but for me, the idea of potato salad is almost always better than the reality. I too often find them bland and unappealingly gloppy. Aside from the warm, vinegary German potato salad I grew up on and LOVE, I always tend to be disappointed. HOWEVER. I stumbled upon the idea of a sweet potato salad and was immediately intrigued. You guys. I have your new summer staple picnic salad!

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Yes. This salad combines roasted sweet potatoes with crunch red bell peppers, scallions, roasted frozen(!) corn, dressed in a bright yet lightly sweet honey dijon lime dressing (<– use agave for a vegan dish)! The original recipe I used for inspiration included black beans and cilantro, but I decided to keep it simple and omitted the cilantro simply because it didn’t look good at my grocery store the day I was there. I would also probably skip the cilantro for parties, as many people have a vehement dislike for it. There is so much going on here, you won’t miss it. Promise. 🙂

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As a bonus, this is better the longer it sits as the flavors will be allowed to mingle and marry. Letting it rest for 30 minutes is necessary, but you could make this a day ahead – so convenient for busy schedules! I served this with chicken enchilada meatballs and tortillas, but this would be amazing inside the tortillas for vegan tacos or enchiladas! Enjoy this new warm weather favorite.

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roasted sweet potato salad.
adapted from Averie Cooks.

ingredients
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.25 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper (1/2 teaspoon each)
1 cup frozen roasted corn (thawed)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch strips
3-4 scallions (green parts), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon raw honey (agave if vegan)
1/4 teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the cubed sweet potatoes with the 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. On a baking sheet lined with foil and nonstick cooking spray, add the sweet potato. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes, tossing about halfway through, to ensure even browning. Check potatoes for doneness around the 30 minute mark; they are done when they can be pierced easily with a fork but are not falling apart.

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the red peppers and scallions and add them to a large bowl along with the thawed corn. In a small bowl, whisk together the tablespoon of olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, lime, salt, pepper and cayenne until emulsified.

Once the potatoes are done cooking and at room temperature or slightly warm, add to the bowl with the vegetables, pour the dressing over top and toss gently to combine.

Let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Keeps well for up to 5 days. Serves 4 as a side.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible*