spicy cilantro lime lemonade.

If you’re a cilantro hater, you may want to look away. I’m so sorry, but today’s recipe is decidedly cilantro-centric. This herbaceous lemonade is refreshing, citrusy and gives a little kick to the back of your throat. That’s pretty much all I want in a summer beverage, how about you?

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If you do not have a mortar and pestle, fret not! You can simply combine the sugar and the cilantro in a mixing bowl and stir with a spatula, occasionally pressing the mixture against the sides of the bowl to get a similar effect before adding to the pitcher.

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I was discussing this recipe with my co-worker who immediately said “that needs tequila!”. Ha… well, of course this lemonade is easily made boozy, and I agree that tequila would be divine. You could even make two batches for a summer party — one recipe to satisfy all! All the spice and cilantro lovers, that it is! ūüôā

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spicy cilantro lime lemonade.
adapted from Cooking Light.

ingredients
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and halved, thinly sliced
4 cups filtered water

directions
In a motar and pestle, add the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and using the pestle, grind for a minute or two until the mixture starts to combine but the leaves are still roughly in tact.

In a pitcher, add the lemon juice, cilantro sugar and four cups of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the sliced limes and jalape√Īo. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and then serve chilled.

Can be made up to one day in advance. Makes four servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

cucumber, tomato + pineapple salad with chili lime dressing.

I love the flexibility of salads. Vegetables, fruit, grain, rice… the possibilities are endless and you can really let your creativity run wild. Today I have a light, bright and utterly refreshing option that will cool you down on even the hottest of summer days.

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Pineapple and cucumber make a beautiful pair, as evidenced in this agua fresca. We are adding in fresh mint and cilantro, which gently perfume the salad, and accent the slight citrusy heat of the dressing. This is an absolute cinch to put together, making it great for last minute entertaining. You can also make this ahead of time, but do not dress until ready to serve, as the garlic and lime can muddy the flavors of the fruit (yes! All three main ingredients are technically fruits!) and alter the texture.

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This was a hit at my dinner party the other evening, and I know you’ll love it, too!

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cucumber, tomato, + pineapple salad with chili-lime dressing.
adapted from epicurious.com 

ingredients
1/2 English seedless cucumber, sliced lengthwise and seeds scooped out
2 cups pineapple, quartered, sliced again lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 roma tomato, seeds scooped out, sliced into strips, and diced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint

dressing
2.5 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

directions
Dressing: mince the garlic clove and then add the salt to the minced garlic. Smash back and forth with the flat side of a heavy chefs knife, mixing together to create a garlic paste (will not be smooth). Work with for a few minutes until the salt and garlic begin to combine. Add this to a small mason jar, and add the jalape√Īo, starting with one tablespoon (work your way up according to your heat preferences), sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and oil. Seal jar and shake vigorously to combine. Alternatively, add all to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Refrigerate if making ahead of time.

Add cucumber, tomato, pineapple, cilantro and mint to a large bowl and pour dressing over (start with half and work up if you like a wetter salad). Stir gently, transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3 as a starter/salad.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

heirloom tomato + caramelized onion puff pastry tart.

As promised, I’m back! With the sunniest, freshest, and most delicious recipe that is almost absurdly simple. It’s savory tart time.

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After my return home from Hawaii (boo), I was excited to get back into my kitchen. I ate the most delicious food while away, but I do miss cooking while traveling. I hit up my local public market over the weekend, and found these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes. Coupled with fresh basil, I knew I wanted more than the obvious caprese salad, as enticing as those are. I wrestled with the idea of making a galette, but the notion of rolling out pie dough was too much to handle on this lazy Sunday. I decided on prepared puff pastry – so simple to use, elegant, and deceptively light (hint: it’s not! We have to live).

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I thaw my puff pastry for about 30-40 minutes on a cutting board at room temperature before I plan to use. This allows for just enough time to thaw, but the pastry needs to still be chilled. Too warm and it gets gluey. Yuck.

Simply unroll when it’s ready (don’t force it!) and lightly brush with a touch of olive oil. We are then going to add a light coat of shredded fontina (any mix of good melting cheeses will do – gruyere would be a great option, as well as shredded mozzarella or an Italian blend), then the lightly caramelized onions (so much yummy sweetness!), and then the halved tomatoes. A quick bake for 20-25 minutes, and then top with fresh basil. The tomatoes will retain their juicy freshness, and the sweetness of the onions and basil are the perfect compliments.

This is a beautiful appetizer or light lunch that is wonderful warm, at room temperature, and cold! In fact, I’m eating it out of the fridge right now. Enjoy!

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heirloom tomato tart with caramelized onions.
adapted from Martha Stewart. 

ingredients
1 square sheet prepared puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
8 ounces cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved (can also use regular cherry tomatoes)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (can use a mix of fontina, mild white cheddar, gruyere)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
1.5 teaspoons sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon reserved
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

directions

Halve the cherry tomatoes and place in a colander/fine mesh strainer that is situated over a bowl. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of sea salt, and gently stir. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Discard any liquid that collects in the bowl (this helps keep the tart crisp and not too wet).

While tomatoes are sitting, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet, add the sliced onions, and cook over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 25-30 minutes, until onions are golden and soft and fragrant. Turn the heat down to ensure no browning.

Once puff pastry is defrosted, brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with 1/2 cup cheese, caramelized onions, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, drizzle a little of olive oil, and top with remaining salt and pepper.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, checking after 15. Remove once golden brown and top with basil. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Serves 4 for lunch, 8 for appetizer.

**Please use organic ingredients**

 

 

vegan chocolate mint milkshake.

I have a treat for us today! As you may know, I’m not a sweets person. Give me chips¬†over cake any day of the week. There are exceptions. Growing up, before I learned of my dairy allergy, I LOVED milkshakes. I have fond memories of my younger brother and I making milkshakes in my mom’s house with her blender that was from 1972. Vanilla low-fat ice cream¬†(hey, it was the 90s), skim milk, chocolate syrup… YUM. I’ve always been a super thick milkshake girl.

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The other day, I caught the milkshake craving. Since regular milk and ice cream haven’t graced my lips in over a decade, but I suddenly remembered that I had a vegan “ice cream” hanging out in my freezer from about a month ago when my friend brought it over. Any vegan and/or non-dairy frozen “ice cream” dessert will work for this, but the brand I used is here. I find that it has the best consistency; soy or coconut-based is fine. I used a 2:1 ratio of the frozen treat and cashew milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and a few springs of fresh mint, and gave it a whirl. The fresh mint is essential, as it provides such freshness. Don’t like mint? Try almond extract and a scoop of almond butter, or even peanut butter!

Even though non-dairy ice cream can be icy/not as lusciously creamy as traditional ice cream, adding in the nut milk yields an incredibly thick, creamy shake. Good news? One 8 ounce glass is under 200 calories! Now THAT is a dessert I can totally get behind.

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vegan chocolate mint shake.
a ‘PTL’ original.¬†

ingredients
1 pint of coconut or soy-based chocolate ice “cream”/frozen dessert
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 fresh mint leaves, plus 4 for garnish

directions
Add all ingredients except for reserved mint leaves to a high speed blender. Blend, starting on medium speed, increasing to high. Blend for 1 minute, adding up to 1/4 cup additional cashew milk if needed/desired.

Divide between four glasses. Garnish each with a mint leaf. Serve immediately.

 

 

beef noodle bowls with sesame ginger dressing.

I’ve been trying to get more iron into my diet. I recently had some blood work, and it was revealed that I’m pretty deficient in my iron stores. I’ll soon be starting on some iron supplements, but I truly believe that the best way to get essential vitamins and minerals is through food. Since beef is one of the most well-known sources of iron, I figured it was the perfect starting point. I had a beautiful, lean top round steak in my freezer, and one Friday evening I decided to grill it up. It was nearly 1.25 pounds, so I had a lot leftover. Regular leftover steak sounded boring, so I made the leftover meat a focal point into a brand new, remade dish: asian beef noodle bowls.
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What a hit. Delicious cold, room temperature or hot, this is the ideal lunchtime food. I ate it cold on day one, and heated up the next day at work and both were equally delicious. You can bulk out the noodles with extra vegetables, and a delicious, luscious sesame ginger dressing. The dressing is thin, but coats the noodles, vegetables, and meat in the more delicate way. Give this a garnish with some sesame seeds and additional scallions, and you have a takeout-worthy dish that will simultaneously help you repurpose leftovers and clean out your vegetable crisper. Win-win!

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beef noodle bowls.
dressing adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

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ingredients
6-8 ounces leftover steak, thinly sliced (top sirloin, hanger, skirt, flank)*
4 ounces brown rice noodles or whole wheat thin spaghetti
1/2 cup white mushrooms, thinly sliced
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil

salad dressing:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or 1/4 cup tamari)
1.5 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil (can use olive or grapeseed)
1.5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar OR coconut palm sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

directions
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Meanwhile, take the leftover steak out of the fridge to pull the chill off of it.

Make the dressing: Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Heat a non stick skillet over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Once the oil is heated, add the mushrooms, carrots and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until just slightly tender. Remove vegetables and add to the noodles. Add the scallions and beef and 1/2 of the dressing and toss to combine, adding more to your taste.

Divide amongst two bowls and top with sesame seeds. Eat cold or warm.

Serves 2.

**Please use grass fed beef and organic ingredients wherever possible**

Note: If you do not have leftover steak, you can simply sprinkle your choice of steak with sea salt and pepper and grill for 4-5 minutes per side, until medium rare. Let rest and slice, proceeding with the recipe.

 

 

 

zucchini lemon cookies.

Two dessert recipes in a row! I’m not sure what has gotten into me, but I kinda like it. Granted, desserts tend to be a touch more time consuming then putting together a salad or pizza, but I assure you this cookie recipe is easy, can be done without an electric mixer, and comes together in under 30 minutes, prep and baking time included!

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These are cake like in texture — a soft and buttery base and a pillowy texture. They reminded me of a yeast free British tea cake. The addition of lemon zest and juice make them undeniably bright and fresh with a slight vegetal undertone of the zucchini. These are great for your garden’s surplus of this super versatile vegetable! Serve with a latte or tea for an afternoon snack, or even breakfast. I won’t tell!

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zucchini lemon cookies.
adapted from Food52 cookbook.

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ingredients
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup of shredded/grated zucchini

directions
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and whisk. Add the zucchini and lemon zest and juice until well combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix or over beat if using an electric mixer.

Spoon rounded tablespoons on to the baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Let cool for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Keep in an airtight container. Makes 24 cookies.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible** 

raw corn + grilled zucchini quinoa with smoky lime vinaigrette.

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This salad is so simple and perfect for hot late summer days. It makes an amazingly simple dinner, and is even better the next day for lunch. I like this both warm and at room temperature. The salad is both gluten free and vegan, but if you wanted to add some additional protein, I think grilled shrimp would be divine.

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I didn’t even cook the corn for this, I simply cut it off the cob and added it to the bowl. If you prefer, you can cook the corn, but I love the simplicity of sweet, raw corn. I also thought the juxtaposition of the grilled zucchini and raw corn was just lovely.

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The vinaigrette really takes this over the top though. The dressing gets some smokiness from the cumin, but we’re going to up the ante by grilling the limes. Yes! The squeezed juice will retain some of that smoky, caramelized flavor and will punctuate the finished dressing. Only a minute or two is needed on the grill (or grill pan!).

raw corn and grilled zucchini quinoa salad with smoky lime vinaigrette. 

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ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
3 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

dressing:
1-2 limes, grilled (see note below); 3 tablespoons of juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

directions
Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush olive oil onto zucchini slices. Grill 2 minutes per side, oiled side down first. Oil the other side. Once barely tender, remove from heat. Slice down the middle vertically, and then rotate, cutting the slices into 1/2 inch pieces.

While the zucchini is grilling, cut the lime(s) in half. Grill the lime, cut side down, for 1 minute per side. Remove and juice the grilled lime halves. (*I had a very juicy lime, so one lime yielded more than enough juice).

Once you’ve juiced the limes,¬†make the dressing. In a blender, add the lime juice, red wine vinegar, garlic, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Turn the blender on, and stream in olive oil until well combined.

In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa, raw corn, grilled zucchini, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Taste, and add the rest of the dressing if needed. Serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Serves 4 as a side.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**