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Spring Market Salad



I think my favorite thing to make on the planet is a big beautiful salad. I’m pretty much in a constant state of awe when it comes to the beauty and variation found in fruits and vegetables. I love that they can satisfy hunger, look like works of art with doing pretty much nothing and taste incredible. This Spring Market Salad is a celebration of spring. I would pair this with thick slices of fresh crusty bread slathered with salted butter.

Ingredients
6 c. baby greens (kale, spinach, arugula, etc.)
1 seedless cucumber
6 radishes
5 spring onions
1 c. peas (snap or snow peas would work also)
5 asparagus
¼ c. mint leaves, thyme, leaves pulled off the stems and torn.

for the vinaigrette:
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. herbes de provence
1 T. dijon mustard
2 t. honey
salt and pepper, to taste
parmesan (for garnishing)

Method

  1. Prep the veggies by washing the greens.
  2. Thinly slice the cucumber and radishes.
  3. Slice the spring onions on a bias.
  4. Thaw the peas in hot water then drain if using frozen.
  5. Cut off the woody bottom part of the spear and discard. Slice the tips of the asparagus and then use a vegetable peeler to peel strips from the spear. all will be used for the salad.
  6. Make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, oil, herbes de provence, dijon, honey and salt and pepper.
  7. Make the salad: toss the baby greens with some of the dressing, just enough to lightly coat and taste great. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Build greens on a large platter and arrange the vegetables over the top.
  9. Using a spoon, drizzle more dressing over the top.
  10. Using a vegetable peeler, peel curls of parmesan and sprinkle on top. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-pair with grilled chicken, lamb or fish

no-cook pizza sauce


I’ve made homemade pizza many times before. For the sauce I usually make everyday tomato sauce and have never second guessed it. But on one Friday night we had been planning a Star Wars pizza night with my five year old son River. We had been talking about it and thinking about it all week, which really means he had been talking about it and thinking about it all week haha.

On this particular day his little brother Fox would not let me put him down for a second. Like I couldn’t even wash a dish without his little cute hands pulling on my legs to pick him up. Tight for time, I lazily dumped all the ingredients into a blender and buzzed them for maybe 15 seconds. This is the best pizza sauce I have ever made or had for that matter. It’s not thick. This no-cook pizza sauce is light and bright and fresh tasting. The basil and garlic don’t get hidden in a thick tomato sauce.  I suggest scheduling your pizza parties now!

Ingredients
14.5 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. buzz all ingredients into a blender. boom you’re done.

Component in Action
-use as a fresh pasta sauce
-use as a dip for crusty garlic bread

The best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl

I have always thought I would never do a “best” post. Until now. At the last restaurant I worked, this was one of the few dishes I didn’t dare to take off the menu…ever. It was a guest and staff favorite. It has been six years since then and this year I received multiple emails asking for the recipe. This recipe for the best brussel sprouts & cauliflower bowl is a keeper. It’s awesome as a side but perfectly amazing on it’s own as an entire meal.

The key to the absolute best flavor? Don’t fear the caramelization. Let the brussel sprout leaves fall off as you cut them and don’t throw them away. They are going to turn into crispy leaves with just a little bit of char. This is the gold!

Ingredients
2# brussel sprouts, washed, outer leaves removed if dirty and halved or quartered depending on how big they are
1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
salt and pepper
1/4 lb. bacon, diced (optional)
¼ c. golden raisins
¼ c. raw almonds, sliced or chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. honey
1 T. dijon
1/4 c. fresh herbs, finely chopped (a mix of parsley and thyme is my favorite)
red pepper flake, optional

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
2. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Put brussels on one and cauliflower on the other. Drizzle both with olive oil and gently toss with your hands. season both with salt and pepper. Roast until they caramelize and are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30-45 minutes.
3. While the veggies are roasting make the vinaigrette. Put the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until crispy.
4. Take the pan off the heat. In a large bowl transfer the bacon and about 2 T. of bacon fat. (you can freeze the rest for use later). Whisk in olive oil, dijon, lemon juice, honey, golden raisins, almonds and fresh herbs.
5. When the veggies are done cooking add them to the bowl. Give them a good stir and check seasoning adjusting as needed.
6. Serve immediately.

Component in Action
-use as a filling for tacos.
-serve as a side for a big dinner like Thanksgiving or alongside a roasted chicken.
-top over a cooked grain like rice or quinoa

Caponata

In this story, the hero is my Aunt Jessie, Grandma, Great Grandma and all my other aunts spread across New York’s boroughs back in the day. This is the cold eggplant dish that was a staple for any special family gathering. This is the exact recipe that has been in my family for years. I have been trying to replicate it but just recently my mom found a photocopy of the actual handwritten recipe and it puts my other versions to shame.

I love that this recipe is completely opposite of how I would typically go about making it if left to my own devices, cooking in aromatic layers of flavor taking into consideration each ingredient. I LOVE how this recipe is like “Oh, you’re a chef? That’s nice. Take a seat and let me show you how an Italian grandma gets it done.” Sometimes it really is as simple as throwing everything in a pot and letting the ingredients and fire do the work.

Caponata is the Sicilian version of ratatouille. You can fill lettuce cups, spread it on garlic toast (my favorite), on sandwiches, etc. You could also go wild and eat warmed up with some pasta. shhh..don’t tell my mom:)

Ingredients
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 c. mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
⅓ c. olive oil
1 can tomato paste
½ c. water
2 T. red wine vinegar
½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced
1 T. granulated sugar
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Method
1. In a large pot over medium heat combine eggplant, green bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil. cook for around ten minutes, stirring occasionally. season with salt and pepper.
2. Add tomato paste, water, red wine vinegar, olives, sugar and oregano and cook over low heat covered for around 30 minutes, or until eggplant is tender.
3. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
4. Let cool.

Component in Action
-serve as an appetizer on toast, crackers, along side cheese and/or sliced meats
-make it a salad with fresh greens and a lemon vinaigrette
-caponata sandwich anyone?! yes please. with some fresh mozzarella and bread like toasted ciabatta

Pickled Onions & Peppers

Today is one of those days in Santa Fe where it’s sweater and sunglass weather which might be my favorite weather of all time. So of course I have summer taco nights (and margaritas) on my mind. Oh, and I think this weekend we can take the cover off the grill which means it’s really happening. Summer is on the way. I love four season climates for this very reason. Every couple of months the home kitchen just naturally turns over into a new menu based on what’s growing and available around us, but also because what we want to eat changes.

This is a recipe for quick pickles, sometimes also called refrigerator pickles, meaning you don’t have to worry about canning it. Just store in an airtight container in the fridge and they will stay good for a month or two. This particular recipe is a tasty combo of red onion, jalapeno peppers and garlic pickled in a brine that is sweet and bright and pairs wonderfully as a taco, burger, salad, omelette, quinoa or rice bowl, sandwich topper. My advice? Bring a jar of these next time your invited to a BBQ.

Ingredients
2 c. boiling water
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¾ c. red wine vinegar
½ c. water (plus extra for boiling and soaking)
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. salt

Method
1. Pour boiling water over red onion, jalapeno and garlic slices and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain.
2. Bring red wine vinegar, ½ cup of water, brown sugar and salt to a boil. Pour over onion and pepper mix.
3. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to use.

Component in Action
-add other kinds of veggies like carrots, cauliflower, scallions
-add other kinds of spices like coriander, cumin, peppercorns, red chili flakes
-add other aromatics like ginger, rosemary or thyme.

Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale

This is a soup that’s perfect for late winter and early spring. It’s warm, hearty, and full of spring flavor. If you have access to ramps, lucky you. Use them instead of scallions.  The crunchy kale adds texture and a slight bitterness. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and butter if you like.  If you have a piece of Parmesan, you could pass it around and let people grate the cheese over the top. If you want to make a vegan version, just skip the eggs. This recipe for Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale is a new favorite of ours. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for the crunchy kale:
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried and cut into 2” pieces
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

for the soup:
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling over kale)
1 head of garlic, cloves thinly sliced
6 scallions, sliced
2 t. smoked paprika
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, spread out kale and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook kale until crunchy, around 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  5. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and scallions to the pot, stirring frequently for around five minutes until golden brown.
  7. Add paprika and cook another couple minutes.
  8. Add stock and bring to a simmer for around a half hour.
  9. Check seasoning.
  10. Right before serving, whisk eggs in a small bowl and whisk eggs into soup.
  11. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crunchy kale.

Component in Action
-begin making the soup with caramelized onion and rendered bacon.
-add other greens like spinach, kale, arugula or chard towards the end of cooking.

Corn Tortillas

It’s true. Corn tortillas are one of the easiest things to just pick up in the grocery store. They are cheap, you can find them pretty much anywhere, and they all taste pretty good when filled with your favorite taco fillings. But here’s the thing. Tortillas hot off the pan, made in your own kitchen are SO GOOD. And you don’t need anything special to make them except maybe a margarita to sip on and some good music to dance to.

Certain recipes just lend themselves well to including the kids and this is one of them. The actual cooking of the tortillas takes just a few minutes total. The bulk of this simple recipe is stirring the masa, salt and water, rolling little balls of dough, then pressing and rolling the tortillas with a rolling pin. These are all tasks that keep little minds engaged and little hands busy. So sure, it might be just easier to pick up a pack of tortillas at the store, but why not turn regular Taco Tuesday into a party? This is an easy way to do just that.

Ingredients
2 c. masa harina (finely ground yellow cornmeal)
generous pinch of salt
1.5-2 c. hot water

Method

  1. In a bowl combine masa harina and salt.
  2. Slowly stir in the water until the dough is firm and springy when touched (not dry or sticky).
  3. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat griddle or cast iron skillet to medium high heat.
  5. Divide dough into 2” balls.
  6. One at a time, press dough between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll into 6” circles.
  7. Place flattened dough on a hot griddle and cook until the top of tortilla starts to look cooked, about a minute.
  8. Flip and cook the other side for another minute.
  9. Makes 24 tortillas.
  10. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later use.
  11. When you’re ready to eat them just warm them in the oven or on the grill.

Component in Action
-fill with your favorite taco ingredients
-make breakfast tacos!
-cut cooked tortillas into wedges, brush with oil and bake in the oven until crispy to make your own chips

Masa Corn Cakes

Masa Corn Cakes are perfect for breakfast, but also a great addition to any meal time. They’re lighter and crunchier compared to a regular pancake which makes them taste even better paired with maple syrup, jam or dunking into a warm bowl of soup. Yes, that’s right! They are just as good paired with savory foods like stewed meats, beans, avocado. They are naturally gluten free by being their awesome selves so this is a perfect excuse to call all your gluten free folks and invite them over for a breakfast party. 

I would recommend pouring yourself a cup of coffee and serving these Masa Corn Cakes as soon as they come off the griddle. This is the one time in my house where it feels like a line forms in the kitchen, and for good reason.

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
2 c. whole milk
4 T. unsalted butter (plus more for cooking)
pinch of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. white or yellow cornmeal (finely ground)

maple syrup (for serving)

Method

  1. Preheat griddle or heavy bottomed pan (like cast iron) over medium heat.
  2. Bring butter, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat.
  3. Put cornmeal in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon continuously until batter is combined.
  5. Flick a drop of water on the surface of your pre-heated griddle. You’ll know it’s ready when the water skips along the surface.
  6. Melt a bit of butter in the pan and pour a bit of batter at a time for each pancake. Let sit for around five minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip until both sides are golden (you can make these whatever size you want)
  7. Repeat with butter in pan and batter until all cakes are cooked.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast
-serve on the side with spicy soups and stews

Avocado Feta Dip

This avocado feta dip is good with so many things: raw veggies, pita, tortillas, chips, on tacos, sandwiches, in lettuce cups, grilled chicken, fish, etc. You can dip, spread, dunk, smear. Speaking of smearing, I almost forgot bagels! It would be so good on a bagel with turkey breast and sprouts. Wow. It’s almost midnight and I’m making myself hungry. Happy lunching folks!

Ingredients
1 avocado
2 scallions, sliced
½ c. feta, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. fresh mint leaves
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

romaine cups, veggies and/or fresh bread (for dipping)

Method

  1. combine all ingredients in a food processor. blend until as chunky or smooth as you like.
  2. if you don’t have a food processor no worries! Just use a fork to smash the avocado and feta, fold in sliced mint and scallions and fold in the rest of the ingredients with a rubber spatula. It might not look as smooth but I can guarantee it will taste just as good!

Component in Action
-use as a dip for raw veggies (aka crudites)
-spread on toasted pita
-use as a filling in tacos
-move over mayo. spread on sandwiches
-spread on romaine cups. crunch crunch yum.
-pair as a “sauce” with grilled veggies, chicken or fish

Citrus & Arugula Salad

I made this citrus & arugula salad for dinner last night. This winter in particular I have become just slightly obsessed with red grapefruit and wholeheartedly consider it my favorite food right now.  I have always like all the foods, so don’t really know how or why this came about, but every time I taste red grapefruit lately I hear myself saying aloud “this is the best thing I have ever tasted”.  Maybe I’m vitamin C deficient and my body is taking over my taste buds?? Either way, I’m so happy to share this easy and wildly delicious recipe with you for Citrus & Arugula Salad.

I just made one big platter of this and we ate this for our entire dinner. I added prosciutto de parma and with the bright citrus, creamy goat cheese, hint of balsamic, peppery arugula, well I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself.

Ingredients
2 blood oranges (or navel)
1 ruby red grapefruit
2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 c.arugula
¼ c. goat cheese
4-6 slices of prosciutto de parma (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Peel the citrus with a knife. using a sharp knife, cut both ends off the fruit. sitting a flat side down on a cutting board, cut away the rind following the curve of the fruit. Save the pieces of rind.
  2. Then slice the fruit into rounds, picking off seeds if you see any. arrange slices of orange and grapefruit on large salad platter.
  3. Squeeze the pieces of saved rind to let any remaining juice fall in to a large salad bowl.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add onions and arugula to bowl. gently toss with your hands.
  6. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
  7. Crumble goat cheese on top and/or arrange prosciutto along the side if using.

Component in Action
-enjoy as a side salad or complete dinner.
-add grilled chicken, fish or shrimp.
-try with other cheeses too like parmesan or blue cheese.
-add other vegetables to the salad like raw shavings or grilled asparagus, sweet corn in the summer or avocado.