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* 

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thai sweet chili chicken tenders.

Do you ever have recipes that you saw once upon a time ago, told yourself you’d make it in the near future, and then it sat bookmarked for eons? Just me? Well, today’s recipe takes inspiration from that very scenario! I had a recipe for sweet chili chicken bookmarked FOREVER and when I got an invite to a Spring dinner party, I knew it was time to make them. Never mind our Spring theme turned into an icy pajama party theme, as we were dealing with an ice storm warning. In mid April. I love you, upstate NY!

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You guys. I served these as an appetizer, but they would be perfect for a main dish alongside some asian slaw! These are SO yummy. The heat is super subtle and mild here, but you can up the crushed red pepper for more daring palates.

The secret to these is the refrigerator or ‘resting’ period after you bread them! Seriously. Just like in these fish cakes, resting them is essential and non-negotiable. That sounds harsh, but I want you to have successful tenders!

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Once the breaded chicken bakes, they get a quick dunk in the cooled and thickened sauce (basting them with any extra) and a quick final bake to help the sauce cling and get sticky sweet! Top with some sliced almonds and cilantro and serve! These are a great party appetizer, or serve with the aforementioned slaw or even just steamed jasmine rice.

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thai sweet chili chicken.
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats. (<– as a bonus, her recipe is GF!)

ingredients

1.5 chicken breasts, cut into 1/1.5×1.5/2 inch tenders
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
1/2 cup rice flour or all purpose flour
sea salt and pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs (or rice chex, matzo meal)
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

sauce:
1/2 sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, minced

directions
Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (or brush with oil) and set aside.

In a food processor, add the almonds and process until they are a small crumb and pour into a shallow dish. Add the panko and process until small crumb and add to the almonds, seasoning lightly with sea salt and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Set aside. In a third shallow bowl, add the rice flour (or AP flour), smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper.

Using the wet hand/dry hand method (only one hand handles the chicken), dip each chicken piece into the flour, shake off excess, and then dunk into the egg mixture, and then into the panko/almond mixture, pressing to ensure the crumbs stick to the chicken. Place each piece onto the prepared sheet pan and once done breading all the chicken, refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes at minimum.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While chicken is resting, combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucier and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium/medium-low and lightly simmer for 5-7 minutes  until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly.

While the sauce is simmering, spray the tops of the chicken with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken over, spray again with cooking spray and bake for an additional 7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and lightly golden brown.

Pour reduced sauce into a wide bowl and then dunk each piece of baked chicken into the sauce using tongs, ensuring to completely coat the chicken piece, and then place each piece back onto the sheet pan, topping with an extra sauce. Bake for 4-5 minutes longer, taking care to ensure the chicken does not burn.

Serve, topped with cilantro and almonds. Serves 8-10 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted red pepper + cilantro hummus.

Hummus is one of my favorite dips. I love the rich flavor, and I especially love that hummus is such a blank canvas. I’ve already posted my favorite recipe for basic hummus (<– it really is the best. hummus. ever.), but today we’re going to change it up by eliminating the yogurt (to keep it dairy free and vegan friendly) and flavoring it with a roasted red pepper and a handful of fresh cilantro. I had both ingredients in my fridge, so I decided to throw them in and see what happens. Luckily this time, it was a smashing success!

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I am always looking for easy and travel-friendly dishes to bring with me to work, get togethers with friends, or just having ready made healthy snacks at home! I don’t know about you, but appetizers are often the best part of the meal and I often forgo an entree to make a meal out of a few appetizers.

As a bonus, hummus is so versatile! Eat is a dip with sliced vegetables and pita, spread it on a pita or tortilla in place of mayo or mustard for a veggie wrap, use it in place of cheese for an egg breakfast sandwich… the possibilities are endless!

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I really love this: the slight sweetness of the peppers is balanced beautifully with the vegetal bite of the cilantro. If you’re a cilantro hater, I would recommend parsley for a grassy note or even fresh basil – how delicious would that be with the roasted red pepper?!

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roasted red pepper + cilantro hummus. 

ingredients
15 ounces chickpeas, drained
2.5 tablespoons tahini
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
juice of one lemon
1 roasted red pepper (jarred, packed in water or oil)
1 handful of cilantro, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
sea salt and black pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon-ish)

directions
Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a food processor add the chickpeas and roasted red pepper. Pulse a few times and then add the garlic, tahini, olive oil, water, lemon, cilantro, and sea salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth and transfer to a serving bowl.

Let chill for an hour before serving. Keeps for 3-4 days in a container with a tight fitting lid.

Serves 4-6.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

savory cabbage pancakes (okonomiyaki).

These savory cabbage pancakes are a fantastic way to use up leftover cabbage!

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These are called okonomiyaki in Japanese, and  they are such a great way to use up that huge head of cabbage you probably have leftover from another recipe. Perhaps this soup? Even when I ask for the clerk to cut the cabbage in half or me, I still seem to always end up with so much leftover. Never fear though, because cabbage lasts FOREVER.

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To make these, we are simply shredding the cabbage, carrot and adding them to a quick batter. To make quick work of this, you can use the grating blade of a food processor like me, or simply grate over a big box hole grater. In a method similar to these fish cakes, I really like to form the patties and let them set up for a few minutes before cooking; it’s paramount to the success of them holding their shape. Carefully flatten the cakes while in the pan, and they’ll achieve a nice, even browning and cook faster, due to them being flatter.

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I enjoyed these simply with some sriracha drizzled over them, but some toasted sesame seeds would be equally divine!

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okonomiyaki.
adapted from budget bytes.

ingredients
2 eggs
1/2 cup tepid water
3/4 cup white rice flour (up to 1 cup)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1.5 tablespoon tamari or GF soy sauce
4-5 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grapeseed oil, divided into 1 tablespoon portions
1 teaspoon sriracha, for topping

directions
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, sesame oil and tamari. Add flour by the 1/4 cup to prevent lumps. Add the cabbage, carrot and scallions and mix well to combine.

Form into 10 patties, about 1/4 cup mix for each patty. Set them on a platter and refrigerate them for 10-20 minutes.

Heat one tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Cook patties in batches for 2-3 minutes per side, slightly flattening the patty to ensure an even cook on each side. Using a fish spatula or other thin spatula, flip over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until golden brown on each side.

Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm (alternatively keep warm in a 250 degree oven). Serve drizzled with sriracha.

Makes 10 cakes.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

butternut squash + caramelized onion cheese dip.

There is a crisp chill in the air that says the holidays are right around the corner, and you need this addicting, nuanced, insanely flavorful dip for all of your upcoming events! Roasted butternut squash gets mixed with sweet caramelized onions, sage (sensing a theme here at PTL?) cream cheese and cheddar to make one ridiculous dip. Bonus? It’s even better the second day.

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I found this recipe over on Serious Eats, and had it bookmarked for eons. I finally made it a few weeks ago for a party, and while absolutely delicious, it was almost too rich. Say what? It may sound sacrilegious, but I found the combination of butter, cream cheese, cheese, AND sour cream (omitted for my version below) was so incredibly rich that is overpowered the sweetness of the squash and onions. In my adaptation, we’re using neufchâtel cheese, or the 1/3 less fat cream cheese, skipping over the sour cream completely, and upping the flavor by using half sharp cheddar and half fontina.

I made it this way for a Friendsgiving, and it was a total rave. I was able to snap a few photos quickly before I left my house, but I didn’t take any of the dip at the dinner — I was too entranced by wonderful friends and a sensational table setting!  P.S. – I am so, so thankful for wonderful friends! They are absolutely the family I got to choose. ❤

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Now, I’m not going to lie. This is dip is time intensive, although the steps are simple enough, this is not something you can whip together in 20 minutes. I suggest you roast the roast while you fry the sage and then caramelize the onions. Once that’s done, you toss the vegetables in a food processor, give it a whirl, and then add in the cream cheese, cheddar, fontina, and season it up. You can store it this way in the fridge for up to 3 days before you bake it off – amazing for entertaining!

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butternut squash cheese dip.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
3.5 pound butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, separated but not peeled
4 tablespoons butter
20 sage leaves
1 block neufchâtel cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup fontina cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Nestle garlic cloves in between the squash. Roast on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or additional oil for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Once tender, remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash is cooking, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the sage leaves. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the butter is melted and the sage leaves are crispy. Remove the sage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower the heat to low and add the sliced onions. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently for 35-40 minutes, until the onions are tender, golden brown and caramelized but not crisp, and are very fragrant. If they start to stick to the pan, add a splash of water. Once they are finished, remove from heat and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the mixing blade, add the squash, garlic (squeeze the cloves out of their paper ‘jackets’ once cool enough to handle), onions and about 2/3 of the crispy sage leaves and process until well combined. Next add in the cream cheese and process again until well combined. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Transfer the dip mixture into a small baking dish (I used an 8×8 pan here) that was sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and mix in half the fontina and cheddar into the dip and sprinkle the rest of the cheeses on top. *The dip can be stored for up to 3 days at this point*

To serve: bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes until the dip is warmed through and bubbly on top. Serve warm with wheat crackers, tortilla or pita chips.

Serves 8-10.

sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving sides. I mean, the holiday is less than two weeks away (what??), and aren’t we all hyped about the dinner for the sides? Don’t get me wrong, I love the turkey, smattered with cranberry sauce, but the sides always to tend to steal the show. If you serve this dressed-up-in-its-Sunday-best cornbread, you’ll steal the show, too!

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Cornbread is one of my favorite side dishes to make, and it’s so easy! It saddens me that it’s often regulated to buffets and as a throwaway to chili. Not so! There are so many ways to make it; Northern recipes often call for a bit of sugar, where Southerns would balk at such a thing. Or so I hear… you can find recipes with the inclusion of creamed corn, fresh corn kernels, jalapeños, peppers, you name it! And cheese. Mm. You do not need to ever reach for the boxed mix AGAIN.

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I took a decidedly autumn twist by the inclusion of sage butter (<– when is this ever a bad thing?), and cheddar cheese. Don’t like or have cheddar? Use anything you like! Parmesan? Fontina? Monterey Jack? Sure! I use a coarse ground cornmeal, I love the texture in the finished bread. If you prefer a smoother texture, use a fine ground cornmeal. Make sure to preheat your cast iron skillet – the sizzle and toasty/golden brown edges are not to be missed.

Serve this anytime you’d serve bread, and enjoy!

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sage brown butter + cheddar skillet cornbread.
adapted from Bobby Flay. 

ingredients
1.25 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup non-dairy milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 sage leaves
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated

directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

In a different skillet, combine the butter and sage leaves over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and begins to darken, and the sage leaves are dark and crinkly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, removing the sage leaves.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and melted and cooled sage butter. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Do not over mix.

Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (carefully!), and spray with nonstick cooking spray or brush with additional butter. Scrape the batter into the hot pan (it will sizzle) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve.

gluten free yukon gold potato latkes.

I know I am posting this way in advance of Hanukkah (the holiday in which latkes are served), but when faced with an oversupply of potatoes and leftover applesauce and sour cream, I knew I just HAD to make them. As a bonus, these are gluten free, too!

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I LOVE latkes. These are insanely simple, thanks to ingredients of just potatoes, a small onion, eggs, salt, pepper, and some rice flour. The most important part of making latkes is to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the shredded potatoes. I like to rinse them in cold water while I whisk the eggs, flour, salt and pepper together. Then I pile all of the grated potatoes into a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and squeeze, adding the dried potatoes to the egg mixture and proceeding with the recipe.

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In a method similar to these fish cakes, I form the latkes and then pop the tray into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, while the oil heats up. I find this, along with using a metal fish spatula, really makes a difference in the latkes holding their shape.

Latkes can be served in any way your heart desires, but I like to serve them traditionally, with some applesauce and sour cream. Smoked salmon is divine also, if you’re feeling extra fancy!

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yukon gold potato latkes.

ingredients
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, grated
1 small onion, grated
2 eggs
2 tablespoons white rice flour (or AP if not gluten free)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black or white pepper
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
applesauce, to serve
sour cream or creme fraiche, to serve

directions
Using a food processor fitted with the grating blade or a box grater, shred the potatoes and the onion. Add these to a strainer lined with cheesecloth and rinse with cold water (this will help remove some of the starch). Using your clean hands, press the potato mixture to release the moisture, and then twist the cheesecloth and squeeze, pulling out as much moisture as you can.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, rice flour, salt and pepper. Add the squeezed potatoes to the bowl, and mix together until well combined. Form into tablespoon sized balls, and then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand, setting them on a cutting board or tray. Put the tray in the freezer while you heat the oil.

Heat 1/3 cup oil into a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees, add the latkes 3-4 at a time, depending on the size of your skillet (make sure not to crowd the pan). If you do not have a thermometer, use a toothpick or a cube of bread to gauge the heat of your oil — if bubbles form around the toothpick or the bread cube sizzles, it’s ready.

Cook the latkes for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly golden brown, flattening slightly with the spatula as they cook. Remove to a platter lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Serve immediately with applesauce and sour cream.

Makes 15-18 latkes. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

NOTES: Although these are best served immediately after cooking, you can make ahead. To reheat, preheat an oven to 425 degrees and cook the latkes in the oven for 5-10 minutes. They will be darker from the oven, but they also become nice and crispy.

dijon tilapia fish cakes with baby arugula.

Today we’re having fish cakes! Tilapia cakes, to be exact. Why should crab cakes have all the fun??

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This recipe is lovely because it can do triple duty: a fresh first course? An elegant yet simple lunch? A light dinner? Check, check, and CHECK.

The key to successful fish cakes is to chill the cakes for thirty minutes minimum after shaping the patties. You may find that the patties are a little wet when you form them, but you’ll be amazed once you’ve let them hang out in the fridge. They really set up nicely, and will not fall apart during the cooking process; which I think is the biggest issue people (myself included, countless times) have when they try to make any type of fritter or cake. Letting them chill for 30-60 minutes is absolutely essential to the success of this recipe. When cooking them, you can press down gently with your spatula to ensure an even browning; I did not do this on my first two cakes, as I was curious about them holding their shape but once they did, I lightly flattened the subsequent patties, as it makes for a prettier presentation.

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See how the bottom cake is unevenly browned? That was my test cake. 🙂

I used 2% greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise, and whole wheat panko instead of white. Both of these swaps up the nutrition and lower the calorie count, so you can feel even better knowing how healthy these are.

I served these with baby arugula tossed with a quick french vinaigrette (recipe below) and a squeeze of lemon: easy and elegant!

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dijon tilapia cakes with arugula. 

ingredients
1.25 pounds tilapia filets
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 eggs
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup whole wheat panko
6 ounces baby arugula
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I tend to use 4, but go up depending on how acidic you like your dressings)

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, place each tilapia filet on the sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through (opaque all the way through). Let cool and using a fork, break into medium flakes. 

In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, dijon mustard and eggs and whisk to beat the eggs and combine the mixture. Add the sliced chives and stir to incorporate. Add the flaked fish, panko, remaining salt and pepper and lemon zest and fold in to incorporate.

With a cutting board near you, form the mixture into eight cakes (about 1/4 cup each). Do not overwork; the mixture will feel wet. Place the cakes on the cutting board and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and add half of the cakes (this will depend on the size of your skillet; I was able to cook 4 at a time in 2 batches). Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, pressing gently to slightly flatten. When the cake is ready to flip, it will easily move. Once golden brown on each side, remove to a plate and continue with the next batch, adding the remaining oil.

While the cakes are cooking, make the salad dressing. In a jar or small bowl, whisk the dijon mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Toss with the arugula.

Divide the arugula amongst four plates and top each with two cakes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer.

*Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible* 

potato crusted kale + bell pepper mini quiches.

I love savory egg dishes. I also love recipes that can serve as the starting point for a wide variety of ingredients. This aptly named stir fry, anyone? As someone who lives alone, I often end up with odds and ends of ingredients, and I always have produce that is hanging out in my crisper. As a die hard vegetable lover, I can sometimes get overzealous and purchase more than I can consume at peak freshness. Quiches and frittatas to the rescue! And in my way, I’m lightening up the quiche by replacing the pastry crust with a potato one. Instantly lighter, healthier, and now it’s gluten free… hooray!

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The potato crust is very simple to make, but it is essential that you squeeze out as much moisture as you can prior to adding to the muffin tins, which have been well-coated with cooking spray. This is also incredibly flexible. Don’t like kale? Use spinach! Have asparagus or broccoli to use up? Toss it in! Prefer goat cheese or cheddar to parmesan? Go for it! The possibilities are endless.

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I love using the muffin tins; automatic portion control and it makes them so portable which is great for grabbing on the way to work or school in the morning. These can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, making them ideal when you’re on the go!

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mini potato-crusted kale + red pepper quiches.

ingredients
1 large russet/baking potato, shredded/grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
3 whole eggs plus 2 egg whites
scant one cup of nondairy milk
1 ounce parmesan cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups curly kale, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper* optional

directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a food processor or large hole box grater, grate a large russet potato that has been washed but not peeled. Add the potatoes to a clean, dry kitchen towel and squeeze as much water/moisture as possible from them. Season with a pinch of sea salt or pepper. Spray 9 cups of a muffin tin well with nonstick cooking spray and add about two spoonfuls of the potatoes to each tin, making sure to have the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the tin covered with potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and saute for a minute or two and then add the kale. Reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally, until kale has wilted slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the custard: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper, if using. Once the vegetables have cooled slightly, add them and mix well.

Divide the mixture evenly amongst the muffin tins, being careful to not fill over 3/4 of the way (you may have a touch leftover). Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are set. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Run a kitchen knife around the edges of the cups to pop them out of the tin. Makes 9 quiches.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

easy refrigerator dill pickles.

These are the fastest, easiest dill pickles EVER. E.V.E.R. Are you hearing me? As in, I didn’t have regular vinegar and went out at 9:30pm on a Sunday and still came home and made them-fast and easy. Are you with me? Good.

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I was at a farmer’s market over the weekend, and kept seeing those little wrinkly pickling cucumbers that were calling out to me. “Make dill pickles” they said. “You’ve been craving pickles”. So I picked up a basket before I left deciding that I would make refrigerator pickles. Sanitizing jars and boiling brine and processing in a water bath was just not on my agenda. Ah, laziness.

I love pickles of all kinds: beets, cauliflower, cucumbers, beans, fish… all very good in my book. A few years ago my dad and I got really into canning and spent several Sundays in a row making all kinds of yummy things, and the whole process was demystified for us both. Growing up, late summer was synonymous with my mom standing over the kitchen counter preserving her garden’s bounty. As I child and teenager this seemed odd to me (why can tomatoes when I can just go the store and buy them?). Now I know how amazing it is to taste a farm fresh tomato or peach in the dead of winter.

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Anyway, back to these easy peasy refrigerator pickles. As awesome as shelf stable canning is, it’s a day long endeavor. Enter this simple, alternative method. All you need is vinegar, sea or kosher salt for a simple brine (no heating required!), cucumbers, some fresh dill and boom! Pickles. Sounds too good to be true, but the hardest part is waiting 2 days before you crack open a jar. Waiting a week is best, but patience is not my strong suit. These keep well in the fridge for several weeks, but if you’re anything like me, they’ll be gone shortly after they’re opened. The level of vinegar will worry you, as it did me, but trust me, this works. The salt and vinegar will draw out moisture from the cucumbers, and voila! Just give the jar or jars a shake or two every time you open the fridge door. Magic will happen in that refrigerator. Trust me.

easiest refrigerator dill pickles.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
10-12 kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thin
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, torn or roughly chopped

directions
Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the washed and dried cucumbers into 1/8 inch thick slices.

In a large jar, add all the cucumber slices. Pour in the vinegar, salt and tuck in the dill. If your jar is too small to fit all the cucumbers (as mine was), I suggest mixing the salt/vinegar/dill separately, and then adding appropriate amounts to the jars (half as much to a jar that is approximately half the size, for example).

Place the jars in the refrigerator, and give them a shake every time you remember/open the fridge door/every hour or so. They will be ready in about 8 hours, but try and let them hang out for 48-72 hours. Please? And then? Devour. Now, or three weeks for now.