Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil

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This salad is a perfect dish to whip up right now as farmers markets and grocery stores alike are overflowing with tomatoes. It shows off the tomatoes fresh taste with the tried and true compliments of mozzarella and basil. Combined with the chewy farro this is a healthy dish fit for any lunch + dinner + or picnic table! Serve on top of salad, or with grilled chicken. I ended up doubling the amount of basil, olives, and tomatoes shown below, I would definitely recommend doing so as well.

Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil ~ from Extra Virgin

1 pound farro

10 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

large handful of fresh basil leaves

1 (5-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks

2 ounces pitted kalamata olives

extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cook farro according to package directions, you want your farro to be cooked but still have a nice chew (usually just under 20 minutes). Drain and rinse the farro in cold water. In a large bowl mix the farro with the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and olives. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away or keep in the fridge.

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint

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~ Recipe Below ~

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Asparagus is here. Flooding local markets everywhere. It looks so fresh, bright, green and crisp that you can hardly look away! So when thinking of how to prepare mine I thought this recipe would be perfect. Half way through cooking I realized a grill pan was needed, If only I could read the recipe through before diving in. Being grill pan-less I roasted mine in the oven instead. It was still delicious and I may even dare say a bit too lemony. If you are in possession of a grill pan you should definitely give it a go. Grilling always ads a nice flavor to vegetables and I have a feeling mellows out the tartness of the lemon a bit.

Once you have finished eating a lunch solely consisting of spicy, lemony asparagus keep the leftovers in the fridge. I chopped up the rest later on for a fabulous pasta dinner. Mix the chopped asparagus with a cooked pasta of choice and add in a splash of olive oil and grated parmesan. Grill, or roast, and enjoy! ~

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint ~ Adapted from the What Katie Ate cookbook

Fine salt

10 oz Asparagus spears, ends trimmed

Small bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon, recommended in thin strips (I did a few then used a grater on the rest)

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Grated parmesan and lemon wedges to serve

Half fill a pot with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add in the asparagus and cook for two minutes. Remove and drain, then place the asparagus to a bowl of ice cold water for five minutes. Drain again and pat dry. In a small bowl mix the mint, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes and a little salt and freshly grated black pepper. Remember that the parmesan is salty so you will only need a very small pinch of salt.

For the grill pan-less:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the asparagus in an oven safe dish and pour the mint mixture over. Toss to coat. Then roast in the oven for 12 to 18 minutes. Maybe less time depending on your oven. Until the asparagus is warm. I’m sure placing them on a lined baking sheet would also work well.

For the grill pan-ers:

Heat your grill pan over high heat until smoking. Spray with a little oil then add the asparagus. Turn the heat down to medium and add half of the mint mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the asparagus is lightly charred, then turn over the asparagus and add the remaining mint mixture. Once the other side is cooked transfer the asparagus to a serving dish and add any mint mixture left on the grill pan.

Broccoli Pomegranate Yogurt Salad

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I’m back! And hopefully I will remain so. Life has been busy but I have missed being on here. This side dish is the perfect healthy accompaniment to all the holiday food surrounding you. Its vibrant colors of red and green make it a festive, crunchy, sweet, tasty treat!

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I am still trying to master the art of removing the seeds from a pomegranate. Do you have any tried and true tricks up your sleeve? The hitting with a wooden spoon method hasn’t been very successful yet. I still tear into it in chunks and remove all the seeds with my fingers…

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Broccoli Pomegranate Yogurt Salad – from Vegetarian Everyday

2 heads of broccoli

1 small red onion (or 1/2 of a large onion) finely minced

seeds of one pomegranate

1 and 1/4 cup of raisins

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1 cup plain yogurt

sea salt and pepper

Wash your broccoli and chop into small, bite-sized, pieces. Finley slice the stalk pieces as well. Place in a large bowl along with the finely minced red onion, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine (I used my hands to mix this, even with the yogurt) add the yogurt and toss again. Mix in the pomegranate seeds last to prevent any from bursting. Finish with salt and pepper to taste and serve! Yum!

Oven-Roasted Quinoa + Spiced Apples, Carrots, & Red Onions

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Warm and nutty quinoa mixed with fresh lemon and parsley paired with roasted spiced vegetables. A lovely combination of unusual flavors, the bite of the red onion with the sweetness of the apple all tied together with a hint of cardamom. Serve as a side dish with chicken or fish.

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Oven-Roasted Quinoa + Spiced Apples, Carrots, & Red Onion

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 medium carrots

1 medium apple

1 medium red onion

1 1/2 tbsp EVOO

i cup quinoa, rinsed

zest of 1/2 a lemon + 2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl stir together the cardamom, coriander, pepper, and 3/4 tsp of the salt. Peel the carrots, slice in half length wise then into one inch pieces. Half and core the apple and slice into one-inch cubes. Half and thinly slice the red onion. In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, add the carrots, apples, red onion and EVOO. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine.

In a 8 or 9 inch baking dish add the rinsed quinoa and spread into an even layer. Place the quinoa and the vegetables in the oven. Toast the quinoa until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes, then pour 2 cups of water over the quinoa and loosely cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil. Cook the quinoa until it looks fluffy, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, re-cover with the foil and set aside.

Meanwhile continue to roast the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until onions start to blacken around the edges and the carrots are tender. About 30 minutes total.

Transfer quinoa to a serving dish, stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt, the lemon zest and juice, then parsley. Serve with vegetables.

* I wrote this recipe down at some point in the last two years and can’t remember where it came from.

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Tri-Color Carrot Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Hot hot hot. And brutally hot. Not to mention humid. August in Manhattan…..Don’t ever come to Manhattan in August, unless you find enjoyment in slowly melting into a puddle. As I live here I can’t escape, my window unit can though. It picked the hottest day last week to say adios, the battery went bonkers and I am writing this to you with an ice-pack on my shoulders and a little black fan at my feet. Apart from the fact that every night I mentally tick another day off the ‘almost fall countdown’ this salad should bring some summer fun to your table. Light, crisp and bursting with flavor it will accompany any simple dinner with grace and be all the rage at a picnic. And did I mention no oven is needed?

Tri-Color Carrot Salad with Asian Vinaigrette

Large bunch of carrots (any color will work, I used purple, orange, yellow and white)
chopped spring (green) onion
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tsp white wine vinegar
ground ginger, salt, & pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
splash of ginger juice (optional) 
1 tsp dijon mustard

Using a vegetable peeler, peel off outer carrot skins (purple carrots are orange once peeled). Peel or ribbon enough carrots to fill a medium sized bowl. Do this by holding the thick end of the carrot and carefully make long strips with your vegetable peeler. Add chopped green onions to the bowl and set aside. Whisk all other ingredients together for the asian vinaigrette. Adjust seasonings if needed, I added a bit more vinegar to mine some may like a bit more mustard so customize as you like. You will have extra dressing left over. Toss the ribboned carrots with the vinaigrette right before serving.

Would be wonderful topped with sprinkles of toasted sesame seeds if you can muster the courage to turn on your toaster oven.

A cool and lovely summer side dish.

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Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes

A lovely reason to buy more summer vegetables.

A quick and easy summer side dish that welcomes creative spice pairing.

Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes
 
1 medium eggplant, chopped into strips
8-12 radishes, washed and quartered
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
coconut oil
honey
coriander
salt & pepper
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and spread out the chopped eggplant, garlic and radishes evenly. Drizzle with coconut oil (you won’t need very much) then follow with a drizzle of honey. Season generously with coriander then salt and pepper. Toss to coat then arrange evenly on the baking sheet again. Roast in the oven for around 30 mins, times will vary. When the eggplant is cooked through with crispy edges everything is done, the radishes will remain a bit crunchy. Serve as a side dish with fish or roasted chicken and a small salad.  

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Baby Bok Choy with Lemon & Garlic

Bok choy is amazing…but baby bok choy….that is a whole new level of vegetable. They are tender, light and crisp. Pairing beautifully with lemon and roasted to perfection they make a great side dish. Eat over rice, top with a fried egg, I even threw them in a salad the next day.

Lemon Roasted Baby Bok Choy

around 6 baby bok choy

juice of one lemon

coconut oil

1 garlic clove, minced

ground ginger

chili flakes

salt and ground pepper

I did not measure exact amounts for this dish, so feel free to use as many baby bok choy as you like. Trim the ends off of the bok choy, peel the leaves apart and rinse (don’t trim off the inner stalk). Put the bok choy in a baking dish. Pour in the lemon juice, drizzle with coconut oil, add a few good dashes of ground ginger, the minced garlic, a small pinch of chile flakes and salt & pepper. Toss until everything is evenly coated.

Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can turn the bok choy over once or twice while cooking. You just want to make sure the leaves don’t turn crispy.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

Have you had enough squash yet? I admit I’m about ready to give it a rest for a while..BUT this, this is something differnt. A fresh look on squash with a citrus zing. Butternut squash is the new soup staple, from spicy purees to stuffed ravioli it’s everywhere. However there are many other varieties out there just waiting for your love and care! Welcome acorn squash.

I went for a sweet take with hints of citrus and ginger topped with a soft honeyed goat cheese. Now don’t be scared, but you can eat the skin. When cooked long enough it becomes soft and gives the dish an earthy flare.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

One acorn squash, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzle

1/2 tsp ground ginger

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

ground sea salt

1 tsp dark muscavado sugar

sesame seeds

8 ounces of honeyed goat cheese (regular is fine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, then slice and set aside. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients except sesame seeds, salt, and goat cheese. Lay the squash out in a pan or baking dish (grease if necessary) Pour sauce over the squash, grind a little sea salt on top and bake for around 30 mins or longer. When the squash is cooked through and the edges are beginning to brown they should be done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the honeyed goat cheese.

I was able to find honeyed goat cheese at my local grocer, to make it yourself simply stir honey to taste into a soft goat cheese.

I ate this simply with a salad but it would make a wonderful side dish.

Here’s to the Squash

Here’s to the Squash…

The yellow squash. Not as decadent as its fellow butternut, acorn, or spaghetti variety but still perfect for a winters night.

For the first time in a long time I have only a mere three days as opposed to three months in-between my posts. An outstanding accomplishment I feel and hopefully will be the first of many future kitchen adventures now that I am a bit more settled.

Next week I embark on a journey back home for the holidays! A phrase I am using for the first time, ‘home for the holidays.’ I can’t wan’t to be worry and fancy free with good food and family.

With a longing for all I have been missing at home lately I decided to make one of my moms dish’s for squash caserole. Strolling over to the nearest market I bought all needed ingredients … then when looking for the yellow squash was pointed to a shelf where one package lay left. YES – package, of yellow squash. There is no way I will ever eat vegetables out of a plastic wrapped container of my own free will. They just look so sad in there……So after stopping by TWO more markets I finally found some yellow squash that looked quite happy to jump into my bag and come home with me.

So here we go: Yellow Squash Casserole {for 2}

Wash and thickly chop two large yellow squash, half a red onion, and 10-15 small carrots (or one large).

Fill a large pot with all of the chopped vegetables and water then bring to a boil.

Boil vegetables until the are just tender enough to mash up. The squash skins will still be a little tough which is alright.

I used a small casserole dish, close to the shape of a bread pan. Drain the all the water then transfer the veggies into your dish. Since a masher was not on hand I used a large fork.

Once you have a good mash going, you may be able to drain a bit more excess water out.

The next part is up to your liking….I added around 1/4 cup cottage cheese a decent handful of bread crumbs and a little seasoning.

Then came the cheese……

I had picked up a block of white chedder from trader joes labeled: The Unexpected White Chedder. Deliciously sharp and with hints of parmesan this cheese gets two thumbs up. Hands down Amazing. Any cheese will do, but the salty nutty flavor of the ‘Unexpected’ rendered all other seasonings useless.

With cheese, cottage cheese, bread crumbs, and desired seasonings added, mix then top casserole with a bit of extra shredded cheese and bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for around 25-30 minutes or until bubbling hot on top.

Once given a moment to cool serve with a spinach salad and crusty baguette….. Or however you please…

Especially as a meal for two, or one, on a cold winters night there is nothing more pleasing then a hot plate of squash.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes for Two

A taste of heaven.  The Potato.

In all of its creamy goodness.

I made a quick stop into a local health grocery earlier this week and left with one large bag full of red and baby sweet potatoes.  Normally sweet potatoes are huge but they had a wide selection of tiny sweet potatoes, great for when your cooking for one. {!}

And so I welcome you to the –

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes for Two

Or if you really like potatoes, like myself, this is easily a recipe just for one…

Taking one small sweet potato and three reds, chop them, any which way, shape, and thickness that your heart desires.

In a bowl toss with 1-2 tbsp of oil, you may need more  just enough to get an even coating over everything, any oil will work fine ~ I used grapeseed.  Add a dash of salt and a few shakes of pepper, toss again.  Fresh rosemary is always amazing but dried will work just as good, roughly a tbsp.  put in a bake safe dish and into the oven at 400 degrees until tender, 25-35 mins.

When your kitchen is filled with the tantalizing essence of baked rosemary you know your potatoes are almost done and that it’ll be a good night.  One day I will invent an herbed tomato based dipping sauce to accompany this side dish but until then ketchup does the trick.

~ Happy Potato Eating ~