cheesy pesto grilled sammie + white peaches & arugula

august 23rd, 2015

home_sweet.mary

I'm all about simplicity in the summer. I want food I can eat with my hands and fresh food that tastes like the season. Farmers markets have been bursting with produce, and I've been having a blast mixing a bunch of colors and textures for every meal. 

This morning I walked on over to the Boston Public Market for the first time, and let me tell you, it will not be my last. It's a year-round, indoor market full of fresh and locally sourced foods from New England, the only of it's kind in the United States :). I bounced from farm stand to flower shop to bakery for the better part of my Sunday morning and could not have been happier. I left with a new tote bag full of hot cider donuts (yum), a big ol' bag of arugula and white peaches from Siena Farms, and a crusty loaf of bread baked right over in Cambridge, MA.

This cheesy grilled sammy is a product of today's market haul. It's simple but feels decadent, and strikes a tasty balance between sweet and savory. It will definitely be one of my go-tos for the rest of peach season. Enjoy this sandwich in good company, bon appetit!

peach_arugula_panini

cheesy pesto grilled sandwich + white peaches & arugula - 

  • 1 organic peach, sliced - local will taste best :)
  • handful of arugula
  • sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced - i'm partial to cabot!
  • 2 large slices of your favorite crusty bread - i love Iggy's Bread Francese loaf

lemony arugula pesto -

  • 2 cups arugula, packed
  • ~ 1 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • fresh ground pepper to taste 
  • salt to taste 

For the pesto - 

Throw the arugula, parmesan cheese, walnuts, lemon juice and garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse, and add olive oil to the mix until it reaches desired consistency, you may not use the full cup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For the sandwich - 

Preheat grill pan to medium-high heat, coat with a thin layer of olive oil.

Spread pesto on both slices of bread, a little goes a long way! Assemble the sandwiches by layering the cheese, peach slices and arugula on one side, topping with fresh ground pepper and then with the remaining piece of bread. 

Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Remove from heat, cut in half and enjoy warm. 

Note - you can easily use a barbecue in place of a grill pan.

 

 

no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas 

august 18th, 2015

Summer days are flying by in a blur and sometimes I just feel like I can't keep up! Work has been busy, weekends packed with roadtrips and friends, and then suddenly you blink and it's mid-August. I recently spent a long weekend on Nantucket with some good friends and absolutely fell in love with the island. We spent our days biking miles and miles, laying on the beach, and enjoying classic New England summertime fare. There were late night BBQ's, outdoor showers, hours spent in the waves, and the best shrimp cocktail I've ever had. Ever. 

My diet mainly consisted of burgers, hot dogs, fish tacos, and daily picks from the raw bar, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. When in Rome right? However, after some long summer days spent in the little slice of heaven that is Nantucket, I felt the need to reboot and re-energize before a long day at work. I wanted to make something quick and satisfying, something flavorful and refreshing. Balance is key in my book, and this kale salad has a crunch and a zing to it that I enjoy any day. It's a snap to whip up and will convert kale skeptics into kale lovers (tolerators at the very least). Dig into a big bowl for lunch or serve as a side for dinner. Be well, and let me know how you enjoy this simple salad :).

no frills kale salad + crispy chickpeas - 

  • 1 bunch curly kale

garlicky green goddess dressing - 

  • 1 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup really good olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • a couple dashes fresh ground pepper
  • a couple dashes red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

crispy chickpeas - 

recipe from the wonderful Minimalist Baker

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Tandoori spice blend* 
    •  Can be found at Whole Foods, or made at home by blending the following ingredients/ratios - 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp paprika, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp coriander, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp cardamom. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add chickpeas to a mixing bowl and cover evenly with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden brown and slightly crispy. Set aside.

Place all dressing ingredients except the parmesan in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Fold in the parmesan cheese. 

Tear kale into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing 30 minutes before serving, allowing the kale to soften and absorb all flavors. Top with spiced chickpeas and a pinch of flaky salt if desired. This salad is best fresh, but will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. 

Serve and enjoy!

 

summertime tomato salad 

july 20, 2015 

As summer flies by and temps rise my meals have grown increasingly simple. Work days end with picnics and walks on the Charles and weekends are filled with sun-drenched adventures on the beach and on the road. I've been living on big colorful salads, veggie sandwiches, overnight oats, and many other tasty meals with cooling effects. It's hot out, and while I'm wonderfully thawed out after this winter, I'm avoiding my oven and stove every chance I get. Lucky for me, there's a fantastic farmer's market just a quick walk away, and lately I've been enjoying (maybe hoarding) more of these summertime jewels than most may know what to do with. 

I love tomatoes, especially the ones that come straight from the vine and have that earth-meets-summer-meets-woodsy smell about them. It's just the best, and it's a flavor I crave all winter long. While these beauties can be dressed up - I prefer to eat them simply. Fresh is best when it comes to this easy recipe, it won't be nearly as enjoyable and deeelicious once the season has passed, so hop to it! This dish should be enjoyed outside in the sunshine. Enjoy!

summer tomato salad - 

inspired & adapted by The Canal House ladies 

serves 2 generously 

  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced into wedges
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • really good extra-virgin olive oil
  • chives, finely chopped
  • fresh ground pepper
  • flaky salt, Maldon is my go-to
  • spoonful of mayonnaise 

Prep for this simple and seasonal meal is no fuss. Arrange prepared tomatoes on two plates, spoon a bit of mayonnaise on the side, drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil, a sprinkle of chopped chives, fresh ground pepper, and a pinch of Maldon salt on top. Enjoy alfresco in good company :).

 

farro & greens salad + lemony tahini dressing

june 27th, 2015

I've been on a farro kick. It's satisfying, just the right texture, and is so delicious both hot and cold. Weekday meals tend to be a mix of leftovers and fresh veggies with some sort of dressing mixed up quick and drizzled on top. These meals are always enjoyed in a big bowl and filled with greens, especially now that my little herb garden is thriving on my windowsill! I use whichever ingredients I have on hand, letting myself unwind from the work day with some creativity in the kitchen. No two creations are ever quite the same, but I have to say that this farro bowl has been one of my favorites so far.

Farro has a similar texture to brown rice, though a bit chewier and more tender in texture. It's an awesome alternative for those who don't like the nutty flavor of quinoa, and somehow feels a bit more substantial than the latter. I was feelin' the need for lots of green goodness when I whipped this up, and I am very happy with how it turned out. There's a little bit of everything in this bowl - baby kale, charred asparagus, edamame, lemon thyme, and a rich lemony tahini dressing to bring it all together. This farro salad is simple, satisfying, and could easily be adapted to your taste. This morning I heated up some left overs and threw a poached egg on top with a dash of cayenne pepper. So good and so easy. Whip this dish up and let me know how you mix it up! Enjoy :)

farro & greens salad + lemony tahini dressing - 

serves 2

farro salad - 

  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 generous handfuls baby kale
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, pan roasted
  • 6-8 spears asparagus, charred and chopped into bite size pieces 
  • lemon thyme
  • olive oil

tahini dressing - 

  • 1/2 cup tahini 
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste 

Bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup farro to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer until the water has been absorbed, roughly 20 - 25minutes. As your farro is cooking, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Pour a dollop of olive oil into the skillet and coat evenly. Add the asparagus and cook until just blackened. If you prefer your asparagus to have more of a crunch, cook until bright green and remove from heat. Add the edamame to the pan and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, as you want the edamame tender but not overcooked. 

Making the dressing is simple. Throw the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender and pulse until evenly combined. A quick tip - add the olive oil slowly and as needed until you reach your desired consistency. The dressing should have body but be thin enough to easily drizzle over your salad. Once your dressing is ready, combine the farro, asparagus, edamame and baby kale in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of tahini dressing and plate. Sprinkle with lemon thyme leaves and salt and ground pepper to taste. 

roasted tomato soup + cheesy crostini 

june 5th, 2015

IMG_0296.JPG

The other day I found myself with a whole lot of big ruby red tomatoes, and I just could not wait to make a beautiful panzanella salad. It's June! And I planned to celebrate accordingly with a meal featuring some bright, summertime fare. Mother Nature, however, had other plans in mind. I woke up to rain, wind, and gray the next day, 46 degrees and dropping. It's June, I thought to myself. What the heck?!

I really shouldn't be surprised by the crazy weather patterns of the Northeast at this point. I've experienced April in Vermont, sunny and 65 one day with a snow squall the next. But, true to my roots, the San Diegan in me is consistently surprised by anything other than sunshine. While I'll never turn my nose up at a nice day, there's always been something about a chilly and gray day that I've loved. They're so rare back home, and my mom would sometimes fill them with homemade chicken soup, my dad baking up his sourdough bread to enjoy as well. So, with a bunch of big, beautiful tomatoes and a fresh loaf of grainy bread on my kitchen counter, the answer felt obvious. I was craving some coziness, and wanted to make something simple and satisfying, something that would warm me up from the inside out. This soup is all of those things and much more. It's got just the right amount of acidity and texture, and can easily be made even richer with a splash of cream. Within minutes I felt warmed up and happy as a clam, enjoying this roasted tomato soup with one of my favorite humans. 

Enjoy :)

roasted tomato soup - 

serves 2 generously 

  • 1.25 lbs ripe tomatoes (~4 large tomatoes), quartered - *use local tomatoes if possible, I promise they're tastier!
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • fresh basil for garnish
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • fresh multigrain or french bread, thickly sliced
  • sharp cheddar or mozzarella cheese, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tomatoes and onion into wedges. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, lots of pepper, and chopped sage. Gently toss the tomatoes and onion with your hands to coat evenly. A trick I recently learned - tuck the garlic cloves into the tomato wedges so they soften but don't burn (thanks Sprouted Kitchen!) Roast for roughly 30 minutes or until the tomatoes have blistered, broken down, and reduced to about half their size. Remove and let cool for just a few minutes. 

Warm the broth in a large pot, stirring in the tomato paste until dissolved. Add your roasted ingredients to the pot and let simmer for 5 - 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or blend in batches using a food processor or blender. The soup should be smooth but textured. Return it back to the pot, and if desired, add the cream to taste. To be honest, I didn't use any cream in this batch and it tasted plenty rich and satisfying. The cheesy crostini felt decadent and delicious in it's place. Add salt and/or pepper to taste. 

Enjoy with a crispy grilled cheese sandwich, some toasted bread, or broil a few slices with a piece of sharp cheddar or mozzarella on top. Finish with fresh chopped basil and be well :).

 

first of summer strawberry & rhubarb galette

may 27, 2015

I always find myself feeling a tad nostalgic around this time of year. In the past, this month has always brought about some sort of marked change in my life. It never failed to bring adventure, launching me into motion and transition whether I was ready for it or not. May closed out school years, marked the beginnings of adventures abroad, welcomed me home to California, and gave way to new jobs and opportunities. May felt reliable, in an exhilarating and stomach churning sort of way. The months that would follow would sometimes be relaxing and at other times challenging. But, no matter where in the world my summer plans took me, I always found comfort in knowing I'd be going home in the fall to the start of a new school year, to family and friends. I took comfort in knowing I'd return to the familiar. 

Two years ago I was packing my bags for a summer in Copenhagen. One year ago I was graduating from the University of Vermont, saying sayonara to the home I'd made there, and heading for Maine to live and work on a farm by the sea. Though excited, I was equally anxious about this new phase, fully aware that I wouldn't necessarily be returning to old friends and family at the close of the experience. It was in Maine I met Lizzy, one of the most lovely, free-spirited and kind women I have ever known. She had just moved north from New York City, looking to disconnect and get her hands dirty. She and I became fast friends and spent our days weeding, chasing chickens, hiking in the hills, and harvesting the summer produce and fruits grown on the farm. It was both hard work and dream like, and sometimes it's hard to believe the experience has already come and gone. Time flies. 

It didn't take long for me to notice that Lizzy took whole cooking and eating to another level. She'd walk barefoot through the soil and crunch on kohlrabi leaves and raw rhubarb, sometimes popping a strawberry or two into her mouth, leaves n' all. She taught me to appreciate food in it's natural state, and that more often than not it tastes best that way. This strawberry rhubarb galette is both tart and sweet, just as strawberries taste early in the season. They're perfect for a picnic with friends, a breezy birthday celebration, or simply for a "just because" treat. Whip these up and let me know how you enjoy them. Happy baking!

strawberry rhubarb galettes - 

makes 8-10 small treats 

pastry - 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp flaxmeal 
  • 10 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup ice water

fruit filling - 

  • 2 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 cup rhubarb, sliced 
  • 1 Tbsp refined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling 

Preheat the oven to 375.  

For the dough - mix the flour, flaxmeal and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the cubed butter and work into the flour mixture with your hands until it looks like coarse meal. Slowly drip in the ice water, working the dough into an imperfect ball. It should be flakey and just barely holding it's shape. You may not need a full cup on ice water, so simply add as needed. Once the dough comes together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. 

For the filling - Place coconut oil in a heated pan. Once melted, add the rhubarb and cook until softened, roughly 5 minutes. Combine the sliced strawberries and rhubarb in a medium bowl. Toss evenly with sugar and set aside.

Roll out chilled dough between two pieces of parchment paper. It prevents sticking! Place the dough on a cookie sheet and cut into circles roughly 6 inches in diameter. This should yield somewhere between 8-10 galettes. You can get creative with this step, making one big galette if you prefer, etc. Spoon the strawberry mixture in the middle of each circle, leaving about an inch wide border all around. Fold and pinch the crust over the strawberry rhubarb filling. Beat one egg with a fork, brush the crusts with it, and then sprinkle the galettes with raw sugar. 

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown and flakey. Enjoy as is, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

chili lime fish tacos + grilled mangos and red cabbage slaw

may 2, 2015 

April absolutely flew by. I cannot believe it's nearly been a month since I've shared on this space, and although a part of me feels a bit guilty about this, it was nice to disconnect a bit and spend my free time offline. I spent a wonderful weekend in Vermont with my girls from my college days, and then jet to my home state of California to celebrate a beautiful friend tying the knot, spending some much needed time with family in the sunshine. 

While home, I took total advantage of the southern Californian cuisine, filling my plate with vibrant fruits and veggies, enjoying spicy mexican dishes daily, and consuming a nearly unbelievable number of tacos.  Though it is quite impossible for me to pick a favorite, this trip I had some downright incredible Ono fish tacos from Point Loma Seafood, one of the best fish markets in all of San Diego in my opinion. Their fish is fresh and their staff is extremely knowledgable, always willing to chat with you more about the catch brought in that day. 

After a week of sunshine, salt water swims, family, and tacos (of course) it was time to head back to the east coast, and I must say, it was hard to leave. Once back in Boston, I felt homesick for the familiar, and found myself looking for ways to bring some of my hometown into my little apartment. While most might have felt totally taco'd out, I felt just the opposite. Saturday afternoon was spent making these flavorful and bright fish tacos, bursting with grilled mango, red cabbage slaw, and avocado slices. These simple and tasty tacos are topped with a chili lime greek yogurt sauce and cilantro, giving your taste buds a zing. Enjoy these in the sunshine with a beverage in hand :).

Happy eating and happy spring!

grilled fish tacos -

makes 4 tacos

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 12 oz Hake, use what is fresh/local for you
  • salt, pepper, and chili powder
  • 1 lime, zest and juice 
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 small red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 honey mango, sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro 

chili lime yogurt sauce - 

  • 1 cup greek yogurt, I use 2% Fage
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • juice of 1 lime 
  • pinch of salt 

Heat your grill or stove top grill to medium/high.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, and chili powder on both sides of the fish. Rub the zest and juice of one lime into the fish, and place in a bowl to marinate. 

Slice up your red cabbage and place in a bowl, cover with the juice of 1 lime and a pinch of salt and toss. Set aside. Slice up the avocado and mango. 

Grill the fish (on an extra clean grill grate to keep from sticking) or oiled grill pan. Place your mango slices on your grill top as well and leave for about 6 minutes. Flip the fish and mangos and grill for about another 4 minutes (time can vary depending on thickness of fish). While your fish and mango slices are grilling you can make your yogurt sauce. Simply combine the greek yogurt, chili powder, lime juice and salt and then set aside.

Warm up your tortillas on your grill or on a stove top, and you're ready to assemble your tacos: fish, mango, red cabbage slaw, sauce and a generous amount of cilantro. 

Find some sunshine and enjoy!