Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Sandwiches

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One of my most vivid memories of college in upstate New York had nothing to do with college or upstate New York.  One brutal winter morning, when all I dared dream about was hot chocolate from the library vending machine, a friend from San Diego mentioned missing his family’s avocado orchard.

He may as well have told me he was from Mars.

From that moment on, California became a very real place in this midwesterner’s fantasy life.  It was CandyLand, where all your favorite goodies hang from trees, everywhere in easy reach, year-round. How could life not be wonderful in a place where crocodile-skinned avocados and bright lemons grow heavy in your own backyard?

I think of that cold weather revelation several times a week- while standing in my California kitchen and spooning avocado on toast.  I like my avocado smushed with a squirt of lemon, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and, yes, a drizzle of olive oil.  I know that’s fat on fat, but give it a go and see if you agree that a little liquid gold makes all the difference.

Avocado toast has been popping up everywhere on the blogosphere these days.  I don’t think it’s a comeback or a fad.  If lunchtime at my house is any indication, avocado toast never faded away.  Maybe we thought it was too basic to share?  I’m sorry, pretty green lady.  Shouldn’t have stuck you in that corner.

All this avocado toast got me thinking.  What other seemingly banal vegetable sandwiches do you love?  Here are my favs:

-GOOD cheddar, avocado and sprouts piled high on thickly-sliced multigrain with Dijon

-Herbed cream cheese with avocado, Persian cucumber, radish, fennel and red onion on toasted cranberry loaf or olive bread.

-(Non-traditional) Vegetable Banh Mi. Hard-boiled egg, pickled carrots and daikon, radishes, cucumbers, fresh jalapeno, watercress and fresh mint on a warm baguette slathered in soft butter- salt with sea salt!- and served with sriracha.  Sriracha mayo is the real way to go, but I don’t go mayo.  Ever.

What’s your favorite vegetable sandwich? Let’s discover new loves this Meatless Monday.  There may be a revelation in store.

xx Sarah

Shanti’s Famous Fattoush Salad

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This salad is legendary in our work kitchen. Shanti takes the odds and ends of vegetables in the walk in and dresses them with a bright herb vinaigrette then crumbles feta and crispy shards of pita chips on top. Lunch of the gods is served. We are so in love with this crunchy salad, we served it to our clients and they too fell under its spell. It’s so healthy and yet so satisfying. While these photos show the fattoush in its most raw state (pun intended) it looks and tastes much better with lots of salty feta and crispy fried pita on top. Maybe it would look better on a nice platter and not in a metal mixing bowl and taken with a real camera and not an iphone? Maybe not.

If you want to turn it into a meal you can add cooked quinoa. Thanks for sharing the recipe Shanti!

Shanti’s Famous Fattoush Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 small head cauliflower (colored if possible makes a pretty presentation), broken into bite sized florets
1 large head broccoli, broken into bite sized florets
3-5 radishes, diced small
2-3 small Persian cucumbers, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup cooked quinoa, well chilled (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled pita chips plus more for serving (We like Stacey’s brand)

dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (we like Maille brand)
2 tablespoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley and marjoram)
2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup Grapeseed Oil

Instructions:
To make the dressing, finely mince the garlic, shallot and fresh herbs. Add all the dressing ingredients to the blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dressing will be tart!

Make the quinoa according to the package instructions and allow to cool well (can we done in advance or skipped entirely.) Wash all the vegetables and chop into bite sized pieces. Slice the kalamata olives into quarters the long way. Toss all the vegetables and chilled quinoa in vinaigrette and allow to sit and soak at room temperature for 20 minutes. If not serving immediately then cover and chill in the fridge. Before serving top with feta cheese and crumbled pita chips. Serve with extra pita chips on the side.

xo,

Lydia

National Ice Cream Day

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Berry yogurt popsicles via Gina's Recipes

Did you know yesterday was national ice cream day?  Let’s keep the party going all month long. Here are the recipes I’m dying to try:

Berry yogurt popsicles– your breakfast parfait, frozen. Gorgeous.

“Hot Date” ice cream sundae– banana ice cream, banana bread and caramel date sauce.  Bananas!

Dark chocolate bombe shell– for that perfect DQ-like shell.  The secret is…coconut oil!

Strawberry frozen yogurt– For when you need something a little lighter.

Best Chocolate Ice Cream– this recipe takes 5 days to make.  5 days!  Kind of like those world-famous best-ever chocolate chip cookies.  Delayed gratification at its sweetest.

Plum sorbet– what could be more beautiful than a smooth, plum-colored ice?

How will you indulge?

xoxosarah

Raw Kale Salad on Of a Kind via Morgan Parish

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Not only a crazy talented handbag designer, my friend Ayeisha of Morgan Parish is an ace gardener and a wiz in the kitchen. In her Boulder, CO garden she is growing lettuces, vegetables and strawberries which she is using in an A&O favorite recipe, Raw Kale Salad with Strawberries. Check out the story and Morgan Parish limited edition Gemini Pouch for Of a Kind.

 

If you haven’t tried this Kale Salad recipe you MUST. My best friend from high school swears this salad turned her whole family (ages 2-100) into kale salad addicts. She uses pine nuts instead of almonds which sounds mighty fine to me.

 

What is growing in your garden?

xo,
Lydia

Memorial Day Veggie Burgers

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For our Memorial Day dinner, we tried to recreate our favorite super savory Umami Burger portobello burger at home.

Look familiar?  We started with slow-roasted tomatoes.

I made umami ketchup and had to cool it quickly in an ice bath so we could eat.

Marinated portobello caps ready for the grill.

Charred corn means summer!

Baked sweet potato “fries” with sea salt and paprika

The classic Umami Burger calls for caramelized onions, roasted tomato, homemade ketchup and a parmesan crisp stacked between a buttered and grilled brioche bun.  We had it all except for the Parmesan crisp- I could not find my silpat!  Any chance I loaned it to someone out there?  We shaved thin slices of Parm onto our mushrooms and, sadly, it was not the same without the nutty, toasted crunch.  Next time!

The best part?  A tie between the ketchup and the tomatoes.  Try both this summer-they work with any barbecue menu.

What did you have yesterday?

xx Sarah

Jam Time

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Some fantastic friends sent us home with homemade jam last week.  That oily fingerprint on the kumquat & strawberry label?  It’s mine, not theirs.  I know this because it matches the one on my keyboard.   Lest you worry about the sanitation of homemade jam.

So I’ve been devouring the strawberry kumquat which is the perfect sweet, not too, with a little sour and the occasional jelly soft kumquat rind surprise.  I love it.  It got me thinking.  How do you like your jam?

Can’t go wrong with good bread and butter.  But I like jam best when paired with something savory, like in an open-faced grilled cheese.  This time last year, Lydia and I prepared a baguette sandwich with grilled pork tenderloin and strawberry chutney, which I think is among our very best recipes.  My favorite, though, is strawberry jam or cranberry sauce (fruit + sugar+ citrus = jam!) on one slice of multigrain bread, Grey poupon on the other and a nice stack of  roasted turkey breast, havarti cheese and watercress in the middle.  That’s my mom’s special order and my sister and I think it’s the you-know-what.

So, tell me please, how do like your jam?

Have a happy, happy Memorial Day weekend, my loves.  We’ll see you Tuesday.

xx Sarah

Meatless Monday: Toast with Almond Butter and Fresh Fruit

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Sarah and I have many things in common but our love of toasted bread spread with nut butter and topped with thin slices of fresh fruit is one worth sharing with y’all. Sarah has a cute story that she would pack such a sandwich as her lunch in Grad school and her fellow students would marvel at the concept of the fresh fruit version of PB&J. When we first met we admitted to eating close to a jar of peanut butter a week in this fashion but in an effort to be healthier I have switched to almond butter (most of the time.)

Toast with Almond Butter and Fruit

 This is my go to healthy breakfast or afternoon snack, in fact  I’m getting almond butter on my computer as I write this post before I rush off to work.

Toast with Almond Butter and Fruit

When fresh fruit can not be procured in the wee hours of the morning, SQIRL Jam is an excellent substitution (Kumquat Marmalade pictured above.) Below is all my favorite brands if you want to try this “recipe”. I use Gluten Free bread because that is the bread we keep in our house and I just don’t miss the gluten in this instance.

Toast with Almond Butter and Fresh Fruit

2 slices whole wheat bread (I like Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread)

2 tablespoons Almond Butter (I like raw, creamy, unsalted almond butters)

Fresh fruit thinly sliced (strawberries, banana, nectarine, peach, plum, apple, pear or just a pile of berries)

 

Hope you love it too!

Lydia

 

 

Meatless Monday: 10 Grain Pancakes

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You know how they claim certain store-bought shortcuts are so good there’s no reason to try from scratch?  They lie.  Exceptions are limited to puff pastry, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (because you want them to taste like Pillsbury crescent rolls, not real rolls) and, now, Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake Mix.

Fluffy and filling with just a hint of satisfying whole-grain grit, these pancakes take 5 minutes to make.  No harder than Bisquick, but way better tasting and much more nutritious.  Follow the “Bob’s Way” recipe on the back for a memorable Sunday morning.

10 grain pancake recipe

The trick to making any pancake extra fluffy is separating your eggs and beating the whites into stiff peaks.  A hand mixer gets it done in 2 minutes.

Folding egg whites into batter

Combine the egg yolks, oil, milk and pancake mix then gently fold in the whites. Looks gross but this is always a fun step when you’re the one doing it.  Stop folding before the batter become homogenous.  You want to see pillows of foamy whites throughout.

That’s the layman’s poetic way of saying it.  It really looks like lumps of curdled cheese.  But it feels light and pillowy.  You’ll have to trust me until you make them yourself.

10-grain pancake recipe

Hello there, puffy pufferton.  Can’t wait to eat you with warm maple syrup.

Here’s the recipe straight from the bag.

Xx Sarah

Bob’s Way 10 Grain Pancakes

Makes about 8 medium pancakes

2 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Pancake Mix

Scant 1 cup milk

Butter for browning

Beat egg whites until stiff.  In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until just combined.  Gently fold in the egg whites.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add butter then, when it foams, gently drop in your pancake batter.  Cook until bubbly then flip and cook until done.  Enjoy with more butter and warm maple syrup.

Chesapeake Blondies

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blondie recipe

Pepperidge Farms is the OPI of cookie companies.  Just like a certain raspberry shade tells you a girl is Berry Daring, certain flavor combos familiarize you with the residents of Sausalito, Montauk, Captiva and Santa Cruz.   It makes total sense that they everyone in each respective town likes milk chocolate with macademia nut, milk chocolate chunks, dark chocolate brownie, and oatmeal raisin cookies, right?

I made blondies for the first time ever on Monday, using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. Inspired by the Chesapeake Pepperidge Farm cookies I stare at daily while waiting for my morning coffee at the campus cafe, I added dark chocolate and toasted pecans.

butter and brown sugar blondie recipe

All it takes is one bowl, one baking dish, one measuring cup and one measuring spoon.  Practically no mess!  Use your microwave to melt two sticks of butter then add two cups of brown sugar.

Beat until combined.  It will look greasy and gross at first but don’t worry, it comes together.  Beat in two eggs and two teaspoons vanilla extract plus a generous pinch of salt.

Add flour to make your batter blonde.  Two cups, of course.

It would be hard not to memorize this recipe.

Two cups chocolate followed by your pecans, already toasted then cooled.  I used all the pecans I had left, about a cup and a half. An even two cups would be just fine.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees until almost done in the center.

blondies

While they cook the kitchen smells like warm vanilla. Not butter, not chocolate, not cookie dough, just pure, unadulterated, amazing vanilla. Consider me converted.

After 35 minutes mine were set along the edges and gooey with warm chocolate.  Not bad for one bowl and five minutes work time.

You can add whatever flavors you want to the basic blondie blueprint- espresso, white chocolate, dried cranberries, bourbon, etc.  The Chesapeake blend was crunchy and a little too sugary.  I should have know those imaginary Southerners would have a sweet tooth!

What would you put in your blondies?

xxSarah

Lemongrass Pickled Shrimp

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Banh Mi

Remember last year when I co-hosted a wedding shower for Anjali and we had a Banh Mi Sandwich Buffet for lunch? I never shared the recipe for the one thing I actually cooked for the shower which was the YUMMY Lemongrass Pickled Shrimp that gave the sandwiches so much personality.

 

Pickled Shrimp Bahn Mi

Inspired by a Southern Pickled Shrimp recipe my mother-in-law makes for classy cocktail parties. Plump, pink poached shrimp spend the night in a briny bath of lemongrass, lime juice and celery seeds until they are bursting with flavor. Serve alone with tooth picks or as the star of a Banh Mi Buffet.

 

Lemongrass Pickled Shrimp (adapted from the Southern Pickled Shrimp recipe in True Grits)

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the marinade:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Sriracha chili sauce to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other light oil)

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

3/4 cup water

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds

8″ stalk of lemon grass, cut into 2-inch sections and smashed

For the shrimp mixture:

2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp (tails removed)

2 cups white onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed. Lightly poach the shrimp in salted water until JUST pink. Do not over cook. (You can use frozen defrosted cooked shrimp instead, I won’t tell). Toss the shrimp with the sliced white onions and cover in the marinade. Let sit, covered, in the fridge at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Before serving drain the shrimp from the marinade and remove the bay leaves and chunks of lemon grass. Season with salt and more lime juice just before serving if needed. Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or set out on a Banh Mi Sandwich Bar.

 

xo,

Lydia

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