Tomato, Mozzarella, & Farro Salad + Basil

farro_salad_1

farro_salad_2

farro_salad_3

farro_salad_4

farro_salad_5

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.

Advertisements

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint

asparagus_1

asparagus_2

asparagus_3

asparagus_4

asparagus_5

asparagus_6

~ Recipe Below ~

asparagus_7

asparagus_8

asparagus_9

asparagus_10

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.

Strawberry, Apple + Almond Breakfast Muffins

muffin_6

muffin_7

muffin1

muffin_2

muffin_4

muffin-3

* My only advice for these is serve warm and ENJOY!

Strawberry, Apple + Almond Breakfast Muffins ~ Adapted from the What Katie Ate Cookbook

1 1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup superfine sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon (I used a whole, you can’t ever have enough!)

Large pinch of fine sea salt

2 tsp natural vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small cubes

6 large strawberries, hulled and quartered

Handful of sliced blanched almonds

1-2 tbsp light brown sugar

Warm water (see below)

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper baking cups or rounds of parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the flour, almond meal, superfine sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon zest, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the vanilla extract, melted butter, eggs, and 3/4 cup warm water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well, then add the apple cubes and gently stir to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup to about three quarters full. Place two strawberry quarters on top of each muffin, then sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

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.

~

Image

Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil

Is there a better name for a vegetable? For me, no. For others, probably. But when I saw fairy tale eggplant for the first time last weekend at the farmers market I immediately felt enchantment in the air. I waited for a moment to see if a unicorn would poke its head around the corner of the tent…..just a moment… Apart from their adorable miniature size fairy tale eggplant do not differ too much from your average eggplant. Wanting a refreshing summer dish, I found pasta the best way to go. Sautéing the eggplants with garlic and lots of spring onions. A touch of lemon zest over thin pasta noodles with lots of fresh arugula and basil and finished with a drizzle of cool olive oil.

Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil:
10-15 fairy tale eggplant
2-4 servings of pasta (I used pasta made with corn flour, any variety will work)
coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
chopped spring (green) onion, enough to equal 2 large handfuls
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
a pinch of chili flakes
fresh arugula
fresh basil
1 large tomato
olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Coat a medium-large skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the spring onions and chopped fairy tale eggplant and cook until the eggplants are soft and tender. Roughly 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally, they will loose their bright purple color. Stir in the lemon zest and pinch of chili flakes while the eggplants are cooking. While this is going on cook your pasta. When both are done turn off the heat. Toss the arugula in with the eggplant for a minute until wilted, add the pasta and toss everything together lightly. Transfer to a large bowl. Top with lots of fresh basil, chopped tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice to taste. Serve with a light salad and a lemon wedge. 

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Summer. Summer and Squash Blossoms. They go hand and hand, you can’t look at these bright flowers and not think of warmth and sunshine. I am trying to make the farmers market a Saturday morning ritual…but you have to get there before 10 am or it isn’t worth going (I don’t like having to hurt someone for that last bunch of radishes). With the 4th and traveling I haven’t been since May, crazy, and upon seeing another blogger posting photographs from the union square market I declared my farmers market-free days over. The seasons produce is in full swing. I came home with fresh arugula, basil, sunflower greens, summer onions, blueberries, yellow beets, rattlesnake beans, red currants, carrots, peppers, and on and on and on. AND squash blossoms.

I wanted to keep this simple. I have never cooked with flowers before and first timer ingredients are always a bit scary.

I only purchased 4 large blossoms and had a decent amount of filling leftover. Make a large batch of  filling and either make more stuffed blossoms or save it and spread on bread, sandwiches, or top off salads.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Summer Greens

For the blossoms:
4-10 squash blossoms
1 large clove of garlic, minced
*a few large spoonfuls of soft goat cheese (3-6 tbsp)
6-12 green onions, chopped
pinch of chili flakes
fresh lemon juice
coconut oil, for sautéing 
 
*I used goat cheese with pieces of kalamata olives mixed in. I loved the taste and flavor this particular cheese added. If you cannot find olive goat cheese or do not like olives just use plain goat cheese. Your blossoms will still turn out spectacular and tasty. 
 
Summer Greens Salad
Large handfuls of fresh:
spinach
arugala
sunflower greens
and a little basil if you have it.
 
A Light vinaigrette:
amount will change depending on how many people you are serving. 
roasted walnut oil
white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
 
In a medium sized bowl, mix together goat cheese, green onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice, and a pinch of chili flakes. Taste and add more if needed. To prepare the squash blossoms, removed the stem, or baby squash from the end. Carefully remove the stamen or any seeds from the inside of the blossom. Try not to tear the petals though I found it to be inevitable at times. Rinse the blossoms delicatley in cool water and pat dry with a paper towl. with a knife or your fingers, stuff about a tsp of the goat cheese mixture into the bottom of the blossom and twist the top. Once all the blossoms are stuffed heat about 2-tsp to a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan (adjust your oil to the amount of blossoms you are cooking, you just want the bottom of the pan to be evenly coated). When the oil is hot lay the blossoms in the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side. The tips of the blossoms will begin to brown when they are ready to come out. Pat dry with a paper towel if you wish. 
 
Wash and toss salad greens in large bowl. Whisk equal parts roasted walnut oil (any light oil or olive oil will also work) and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss the greens in the vinaigrette and top with cooked squash blossoms. 

This made a magnificent summer meal. As lunch or a light dinner.

I paired mine with smoked salmon and despite all of this New York City heat I was fully enjoying the fact that it’s Summer.

~

A Rhubarb Fool

I have been away for a bit longer then favorable. Summer can do that to a person. IF you can call the weather in NYC summer, I think we had a few days of it….somewhere….lost amongst the rain, lightening storms, fog, and chilly winds most likely. Not letting this get in the way, however, I am still very much in a sunny mood. Promise. So lets get down and dirty and shall I say ‘foolish‘ with this lovely summer treat.

This recipe is from Laura at thefirstmess. I love every single one of her recipes and her photography is all sorts of crazy awesome. I might even go as far as to say I have a bit of food-blog-crush going on. Yes food-obbsessed people should know what I am talking about…when good recipes and pictures combine I hear angels sing….

…..But Back to the Fool. This is basicly a very tart rhubarb compote. Can you believe this was my first time ever trying rhubarb? It will not be the last. I layered mine with yogurt and paired it with banana coconut bread in the morning. It would be great on ice cream and probably a million other tasty combinations.

Click here for the original link.

Combine the chopped rhubarb (only the pink pieces), orange juice, cardamon, and ginger in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for around fifteen minutes until the rhubarb has broken down and the fool will resembles a compote. Use more/less honey or other liquid sweetener depending on your own level for sweetness. The link above goes into detail on why this dish is called a fool.

Go let yourself loose in these summer days. Be Foolish.

A Day for Strawberry Cake

Summer has Come

It is not officially summer yet but don’t tell the farmers markets, almost every table is overflowing with fresh strawberries. The air is filled with their sweet scent before you have even reached the stand. And what better way to enjoy an overload of summer berries then in a cake.

Sweet Strawberry Cake adapted from La Tartine Gourmande

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup millet flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of sea salt

4 tbsp ghee

1/4 cup honey

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scrapped out

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

6 ounces strawberries, sliced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flours, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl combine ghee, honey and vanilla seeds until whipped and mixed through. Then stir in eggs followed by the coconut milk. Add the wet to dry, stir till a batter forms, then fold in the strawberries. Pour into a greased 9-inch dish and  bake for 30 mins and/or until golden brown on top.

I highly recommend looking at how La Tartine makes the cake 😉 I made substitutions with what I had on hand and added in a bit more strawberries then I should have. Resulting in a cake that was absolutely delicious though leaning a bit to heavily on the moist side.

Enjoy ~

A Lemon Chutney with Red Radish

Lemons have been my latest obsession. lemonslemonslemons. I LOVE LEMONS. They are amazing in savory to sweet food, a little sprinkle of zest or squeeze of fresh juice and your dish is transformed from average to extraordinary.

With this chutney you can throw a dollop on top of rice, or vegetables, BUT it is best over some goat cheese on toast.

Lemon Chutney with Red Radishadapted from 101 cookbooks

1/4 cup finely chopped white onion (or shallot)

3 small lemons, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil + more for brushing

1 tbsp honey (to taste)

1/4 cup finely chopped radishes

sea salt and black pepper to taste

fresh herbs – I used sage, but basil and/or mint would be great if you have

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice 2 of the lemons about half an inch thick, remove seeds with the tip of a knife. Discard the thick white parts at either end of the lemons. Brush both sides with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning every ten minutes or so until they get tender. You don’t want them to begin to brown. Set these aside to cool. If you want less of an oniony taste you can soak the onion or shallot in a bowl of cool water for a few minutes. Add the cooked lemons to the bowl of a food processor with the onions (drained if in water), and honey. Pulse till coarsely chopped and then add half of the juice from the remaining lemon. Continue pulsing until you have your desired chutney consistency. Season with salt and pepper and add more honey or lemon juice to taste as needed. At the end you can pulse in the radish, I didn’t blend these in too thoroughly to add a bit of a crunch. Let sit or refrigerate for a couple hours. Add some herbs right before serving.

Blood Orange Upside-down Cakes with Sage

It is the end of April. And with that comes.. May, a month full of excitement and anticipation of a good summer season. The weather here in NY has warmed up and though it is predicted to drop again on Monday with May around the corner my spirits remain high.

To me blood oranges scream summer. They come out and shout it with their tart, juicy, deep red goodness. Paired with a moist almond cake with just the right crumb and fragrant sage we have a treat fit for any pre-summer celebration. I ate these for breakfast with a large cup of mint tea. They would go great accompanying a picnic or eaten after dinner…preferably on a porch, in a rocking chair and listening to crickets.

Blood Orange Upside-down Cakes with Sage

1 orange

3 tiny blood oranges or 1 large blood orange

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1 tbsp dark muscavado sugar (this requires a bit of work to keep from clumping together, I love the stronger molasses taste but light or brown sugar would also work)

1 tbsp honey + more for drizzle

2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp fresh orange zest

1 egg

1 tbsp ground flax

1/4 cup millet flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour

2 tbsp + 2 tsp almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp of juice (I used the juice made from segmenting the oranges)

pinch of sea salt

fresh sage leaves

1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Segment the oranges and set aside. In a large bowl mix the flours, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon – set aside. In a separate bowl combine the flax, honey, olive oil, vanilla extract, sugar, zest, and juice. Then stir in the egg and yogurt. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. In a muffin pan (grease if necessary) criss-cross leaves of sage in the bottom of nine compartments. Spoon a little of the orange segments on top, then a drizzle honey. Add a spoonful of batter next, I had just enough batter for this so start with a small spoonful in each until it is all used up. Bake for around 30 minutes or until cooked though and golden brown on the edges. Remove from oven and carefully use a dull knife to flip them out of the pan. Cool and enjoy. Keep leftovers in the fridge.