Browsing Tag


Spicy Nectarine & Tomato Salad

I feel like every week this summer I have a new favorite salad recipe.  Ok, this is REALLY my favorite salad so far!!! If summer fruits and veggies are like fireworks (they totally are), then when stone fruits and heirloom tomatoes hit their peak it’s like the best firework finale ever. You can make this is less than ten minutes. You might have extra vinaigrette to use later (a very good thing) I used fresh mozzarella here, but can I suggest burrata? Even blue cheese would be so good and take it in a whole new direction. Or skip the cheese altogether and add extra greens. YUM. Make it more than once and most importantly, make it your own <3.

for the vinaigrette:
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. hot sauce
2 T. apple cider vinegar
drizzle of honey, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

for the salad:
2 lb. heirloom tomatoes, quartered or sliced
2 lb. ripe nectarines, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1-2 c. fresh basil leaves, left whole
2 ripe avocados, sliced
1 c. fresh mozzarella pieces (or a couple balls of burrata)


  1. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
  2. Arrange tomatoes, nectarines, red onion, basil, avocado and mozzarella on a large platter or individual serving bowls. Generously drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

peperonata salad

This is a recipe straight from the restaurant archives. My very first job out of culinary school was at the locally beloved D’amico Cucina in Minneapolis, MN which has since been turned into a downtown parking structure. I remember being so nervous those first few weeks as I learned to slowly stew the peppers, thinly slice the fennel and prosciutto and quenelle the goat cheese into perfect little footballs. The thing about this dish, is that it’s a salad that melts in your mouth. It tastes like Italy and summer. 


for the peperonata:
½ c. olive oil
2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ c. sherry or champagne vinegar
1 T. raw honey
salt and red pepper flake, to taste

for the salad:
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (slice and save any fennel fronds)
4-6 c. fresh arugula
¼ lb. prosciutto, thinly sliced
5 oz. fresh goat cheese


  1. Make the peperonata: Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over low heat. Add the olive oil, yellow and red bell peppers and onion. Cover and cook on very low heat for around 1-2 hours, stirring throughout, making sure peppers don’t brown or stick to the bottom of the pan. The idea is to cook them slowly, so instead of “searing”, the juices melt into the olive oil as they gently cook.
  2. Remove stewed peppers from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the vinegar, honey, salt and red pepper flakes and stir together. You can make this ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to make the salad.
  3. Plate the salad: In a large bowl gently combine the fennel, arugula and peperonata. Build salad in the center of a large platter. Arrange prosciutto slices and goat cheese around the perimeter. Buon Appetito!

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.

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)


  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

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.

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


  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.

Butter Croutons

I grew up in a country crock house. It was the 80’s-90’s and butter substitutes were the rage and thought to be healthy compared to the real thing. I still remember with fondness the brown tub with the friendly looking barn logo, and smearing the golden spread on warm slices of amish friendship bread. I’m sure until the end of time we will continue to learn and have new theories popping up about what is healthy, so I’m not judging (hi mom!). I’m just thankful now we know that soybean and palm oils are not great for our bodies or the environment.

I actually remember the first time I tasted butter. I’m sure I technically tasted it before at our house or somewhere else, but I’m talking about the first time I really tasted it. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade and my family was at a graduation party for a high school student from our church. I remember standing at the buffet table out in the yard, streamers and balloons weighted down with 2-liters of pop to keep them from blowing away. I remember looking at the assortment of cake, veggie platters, chips and dips, sloppy joe simmering in a crock pot, and then there were dinner rolls with butter in a glass butter dish.

The butter wasn’t too soft or hard. It spread perfectly on the roll and it was then I noted it’s absolute superiority to butter spreads. It was like a wave. First I tasted the salt, then quickly followed by sweet cream all of which rolled over and through the soft and yeasty dinner roll. This was one of those “When I grow up moments” where I internally promised my middle school aged self that when I grew up I would always have real butter in my house. So I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t grow up during World War II where butter was carefully rationed. To this day I still have a bit of a love affair with the real thing and thankfully it still tastes like a treat whether spread on toast, a ham and cheese sandwich, or melted to make these croutons.

This is also a great way to stop bread from going into the trash. Sometimes I’ll make these as soon as I notice a partial loaf of bread has been hanging around for a while. I can promise that these won’t go to waste.


2 c. bread (your favorite kind, diced or torn into pieces)
1/4 c. melted butter
Salt (to taste)


1.) Preheat oven to 350 f.
2.) Line a sheet tray (aka cookie sheet) with a silpat, parchment or foil (easy clean up!)
3.) Toss bread and melted butter in a bowl.
4.) Spread out into a single layer onto the sheet tray.
5.) Sprinkle with salt.
6.) Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes or until croutons are crisp and golden brown.

Component in Action

-sprinkle on soups and salads
-use odds and ends of bread hanging around your kitchen…a great way to stop them from going to waste.
-when tossing bread with butter, add various spices and/or grated hard cheese for a flavor boost:
-add grated parmesan cheese before baking for tomato soup
-add dried oregano for a salad of tomato, cucumber + feta
-add a bit of cinnamon and black pepper for a butternut squash soup

Thai Lime Dressing

First, a disclaimer: I’m six months pregnant. My first pregnancy all I craved was frozen yogurt, which was strange enough only because I have never liked frozen yogurt before. This time around, my cravings are far reaching and more culturally well rounded (good job pregnancy cravings!) that have me constantly pining for sushi, coconut milk curry, ramen, pho, sweet and sour eggplant, I could go on. For a long time.

It all started on one of the many nights I was too tired to make dinner in my first trimester. I ordered Thai takeout and discovered the delights of green papaya salad. Ever since that night I have been hooked, a new craving carved into my brain that pops up pretty much any time I am hungry, which these days is almost all the time. I couldn’t believe all the flavor and texture notes it hits perfectly–the heat, the brightness, the briny punch, the hint of sweetness, the crunch.

The salad itself is an incredible mix of green (unripe) papaya, chilis, sometimes peanuts, and a plethora of variations based on who makes it (and believe me, I have tried every variation I can get my hands on). But the star of the show is the dressing, which can be made in many ways. Here is the version I am making at home, and has now become a regular go-to anytime the Thai craving hits. This little dressing can transform even the most unassuming veggie’s or greens into an exotic and satisfying treat.

1/4 c. fresh lime juice
3 T. honey
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. fish sauce
1 clove of garlic (thinly sliced) OR 1 t. chili garlic sauce
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1.) whisk or blend all ingredients together.

Component in Action

  • drizzle over roasted or grilled vegetables, fish, or meat
  • toss with salad greens
  • use as a dip for raw veggies or spring rolls
  • use as a dressing for rice noodle salad