Leek, corn, and arugula salad

Summer is in full swing here in Santa Cruz, and that means summer salads packed with things from our garden and weekend trips to the Farmer’s Market.

This salad contains three of my favorite things: corn, leeks, and goat cheese. It is deceivingly hearty on the stomach, yet light on the pallet, and incredibly easy to make.

THE SHMECIPE:

Ingredients: Arugula and mixed greens, plain goat cheese, one large-ish leek, one fresh ear of corn, good olive oil, sunflower seeds, and salt and pepper

Once you have gathered your ingredients, begin by slicing your leek longways and then chopping into thirds, creating six leek parts of about 2-3 inches long. Separate the leek layers a bit and place in a fry pan with a bit of olive oil on medium-low heat. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of pepper and allow to cook.

While the leeks are going, cut your corn off the cob and combine with the leeks, stirring to coat the olive oil evenly on both the leeks and the corn.

During this time you combine your arugula with your mixed greens. You may do one or the other, but I suggest both. The bite of the arugula is what makes this salad so successful (I think). So, combine arugula with mixed greens 3:1 and toss lightly with your tasty olive oil and just a hint of salt.

At this time your leeks and corn should be nicely caramelized. Turn the heat off and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Plate salad mixture, top with leeks and corn, finish with crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.

Not only is this salad simple, but it really is delicious. The bite of the arugula plays with the mellow notes of the leeks and the sweetness of the corn, with the finish of the goat cheese cooling the salad making it a perfect addition to a summer evening.

Sage, basil, and sunflower seed pesto

My wonderful husband Paul and I just got back from vacation.

While we were gone we asked friends to tend to the garden. Well, they watered for us, but allowed the herb garden to run wild. So, in an effort to thin the jungle that was now my herb garden, I decided to make a pesto. A quick and easy way to use a ton of the purple sage and basil that was now growing in an overwhelming amount.

I picked an ample amount of purple sage and about half of the amount of lettuce leaf basil.

In a small food processor I combined the sage, basil, roasted salted sunflower seeds, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Pulse until you get your desired texture. I was after a rough texture, in order to add crunch and texture later when I use it.

I had some chicken thighs ready for dinner and rubbed and covered them in this sage pesto and let them sit for 3 hours before I cooked them.

For dinner I pan-cooked the chicken thighs and served them with pan-fried polenta, lightly caramelized onions, and a blend of four different cheeses.

The pesto would be great with pasta, on crostinis, or even with something like steak.

Enjoy!

It’s not mine, but it’s good.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I just did a MASSIVE two-week long road trip.

Our first official stop, after saying “hi!” to the Grandparents, was The Saguaro in Palm Springs.

Yes. It’s as awesome as it looks.

As a matter of fact, it’s awesomer. It houses the restaurant Tinto. Lucky us.

Regrettably, we didn’t order a ton of things off the menu, just a simple Charcuterie plate and a Cheese plate. But boy oh boy were they good.

It was a simple meal, paired with a White Sangria and Red Sangria that left us both feeling like we had finally entered Vacation Mode.

Broccoli Salad.

FIRST AND FOREMOST: OBVIOUSLY this would be good with bacon added in right at the end and incorporated per serving.

OK. I just NEEDED you to know… I’m thinking of you, BACON.

Now.

With THAT out of the way. Let’s talk about how delicious this is; and healthy, and easy, and just darn-right great.

talk talk talk.

CHILLED BROCCOLI SALAD WITH CORN, SUNFLOWER SEEDS, CARAMELIZED RED ONION AND GOAT CHEESE

Ingredients: Broccoli, salted roasted sunflower seeds, plain goat cheese, one red onion, fresh white corn, salt, olive oil or coconut oil

Gather your ingredients.

Chop your broccoli into bite-size pieces or smaller.

Steam your broc, keeping it slightly crunchy. Yum.

Broccoli Forest.

Thinly slice half of a red onion. If you’re a big fan, obviously adding more is up to you. But I used half of a relatively small one.

Caramelize with coconut oil or olive oil. Again, your choice. I did coconut oil… I thought that the richness of it would add something nice to the dish, which, it does. But if you don’t like it or are allergic, olive oil is fine.

The onions soften pretty fast because they are sliced so thin, so keep the heat low and keep your eye on them.

Make yourself a Gin and Ginger.

Or pour yourself a glass of wine. Whatever toots your horn.

Retrieve your steamed corn and cut it off the cob.

At this moment in this process you should have your broccoli set aside, your eyes on your almost-done onions, your corn steamed and cut off the cob, and a drink in your hand.

Your handy-dandy sunflower seeds should be just that… handy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients and crumble in your goat cheese.

Salt to taste and chill, until, well, chilled.

Taste-test to make sure it’s not deadly to the people you’re serving it to.

Eat and Enjoy .

A Delightful Summer Pasta

It’s Summer!

Summer to me equates to fresh vegetables. Which I love.

The husband loves them too. Just not as much as he loves pasta.

So. Let’s make everyone happy. Load up some delicious pasta with some delicious fresh summer veggies.

FRESH VEGGIE PASTA

Ingredients: Fresh pasta of your choice (I used Linguini), olive oil, salt, Parmesan cheese, lots of veggies! I used orange bell peppers, purple asparagus,  mushrooms, yellow onions, corn, peas, and fresh basil

Gather your ingredients and chop accordingly. Rough chops are fine 🙂

In a rather large pan, begin sauteing your onions with a pinch of salt.

A rough julienne chop on your basil is fine 🙂 For me, more basil is better… yummy.

The same goes for your bell pepper… although I was a little more precise. I find it cooks better and looks nicer if it’s even and pretty.

Having things prepped and ready to go helps later down the line. When all of a sudden your water is boiling, you need to add the pasta, stir your veggies, and chop something, all at the same time… you’ll discover it’s helpful to have things that you can prepare ahead of time done and ready when you need them.

Finding purple asparagus was fun. It looks so pretty when it’s added to dishes… especially when mixed with something bright.

Add your veggies to your onions and incorporate. Begin boiling your water for your pasta with a pinch of salt.

For this dish, it’s alright to add all your vegetables at the same time because the amount of time they will spend in the pan is minimal, and will result in them coming out just fine. I promise. Just keep your heat on medium-low and stir occasionally.

Add your pasta to the water and cook normally. Strain then add to vegetable mixture, incorporate gently and add basil and a pinch of salt to your liking.

With everything in the pan, add your cheese and stir. At this point you can turn the heat off and get some bowls 🙂

Eat and enjoy.

A Whiskey Refresher.

 

WHISKEY REFRESHER

Ingredients: Whiskey (I used Pendleton), fresh mint, fresh lemon juice, tonic water, the tiniest bit of simple syrup

Sometimes, ya just need a mid-week cocktail in the sun. This one is perfect for just that.

SHMECIPE

1. Get your cocktail shaker, toss some fresh mint leaves in, squeeze in a bit of fresh lemon juice, and muddle

2. Add desired amount of Whiskey 🙂 followed by some ice and a little bit of simple syrup

3. Shake shake shake

4. Pour over ice into cute little cocktail cups, leaving room at the top of the glass for a bit of tonic water

4. Add said tonic water and stir

5. Garnish with a cute little lemon slice and couple mint leaves. Thoroughly enjoy.

Black Pepper Pork Tenderloin, Red Onion Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Corn

Keeping with the Paleo-dealio.

This meal got rave reviews from the husband, who isn’t the most enthusiastic person in the world. So, that’s how I know it’s goooood.

BLACK PEPPER PORK TENDERLOIN, RED ONION SWEET POTATOES AND ROASTED CORN

Ingredients: Pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, corn, red onions, salt and pepper and olive oil

This whole shinanigans is super easy. I mean, super, super super easy. There really isn’t much to do.

A couple hours before you want to eat, brine your pork tenderloin in water and large handfuls of salt and LOTS of black pepper. All this should be in a sealed container of some sort (gallon Ziplocks for me!) and then in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it!

Then, about an hour before you want to have dinner, slice your sweet potatoes thinly; I used a mandolin, but, you can use a knife. I used two large potatoes. Then, slice a red onion very thinly as well, so that the onion makes rings. Layer the onions and the sweet potatoes in a greased pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. I used a pie tin because, well, I didn’t have anything else. It worked fine.  Pop in the oven on 350 for about 45 minutes.

While the sweet potatoes are going, take your pork out and sear on the stove, then roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.

The majority of the meal is in the oven. So, pan roast some corn on the stove in a pan with some olive oil and salt.

Twenty minutes have passed. Take everything that’s in the oven, out. Remove the pork from the hot dish it is on and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Plate sweet potatoes, sliced pork tenderloin, and top with roasted corn.

Healthy and delicious. The contrast of the spicy, sharp black pepper with the creamy sweetness of the potatoes and the snap of the corn made this meal and huge success and something I will most likely repeat.

Enjoy!

Curried Chicken, Squash Ribbons, and Grilled Onions

Hey Eaters!

So, I started a diet. Kinda goofy, I know. But, something HAD to happen. I swear I turned 25 and the little bit of metabolism I had, went away. I feel like by the time I’m 50, not only will have not have a metabolism, but it’ll be a NEGATIVE metabolism (meaning, I can only eat like a squirrel, very very very small portions of only veggies and nuts or something ridiculous like that).

Diet it is.

Paleo diet to be more specific. An old friend of mine from high school is a prof. trainer and has the body all us girls want (tone but not that icky body-builder-type look), anyway, she’s hot, I’m not, but, I’d like to be. I asked her for some tips and she pointed me in the direction of the Paleo Diet. So, alas, here I am.

What it hasss forced me to do is get creative in the kitchen. Last nights dinner is a good example of this, not to mention, it was delicious and super healthy.

CURRIED CHICKEN WITH SQUASH RIBBONS, GRILLED ONIONS, AND A COCONUT, LIME, AND FRESH BASIL SAUCE

Ingredients: Chicken breasts, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Fresh Basil, Coconut milk, olive oil, salt and pepper, Yellow onions and coconut oil

This is a very simple shmecipe.

Obtain chicken breasts. I used two rather large ones and there are two of us.

Slice them “hamburger” style in half, place in gallon Ziplock bag along with enough water to submerge the chicken in, some salt, and a handful of curry powder. Do this about two hours before you want to eat them; they can also sit in this brine for as much as a day and it will be fine.

When you’re ready to begin cooking dinner, gather your zucchini and yellow squash. I used two zucchinis and one yellow squash, but you can come up with any combination that you like! Cut them long-ways into ribbons. I used a mandolin, but, if you don’t have one, slicing them with a sharp knife will work just fine too. Blanch ’em (boil water, toss them in for about a minute or two (depending on how cooked you want them), strain them like pasta, and toss ’em in ice water) (or don’t) (they’ll be just fine).

Pan cook your chicken with coconut oil on medium heat until cooked all the way through; flip accordingly.

Gather your yellow onions and slice so that they form onion rings. In a fry pan with a bit of olive oil “grill” onions on medium-high heat until desired texture is achieved (I like mine with a little bit of a crunch still). Set aside until serving time.

While your chicken is cooking, take coconut milk (about half a can or one cup-ish) and put it in a sauce pan over low heat. Squeeze fresh lime directly into it, add a pinch of salt, and freshly chopped basil (add as much as you like).

Combine all ingredients together on a plate and eat up!

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza

There seems to be a trend here. A delicious trend at that.

Macaroni and Cheese.

My Mom, bless her heart, started making this delicious concoction from scratch when I was about ten years old. Needless to say, I was hooked from the first time I tried it. I mean, what’s NOT to like? Pasta? Yes please. Cream? Absolutely. Loads of melty, creamy, delicious, CHEESE? Bring. It. On.

MACARONI AND CHEESE PIZZA

with Brussel Sprouts, Prosciutto, and a little bit o’ seasoned Arugula

Ingredients: Pizza dough, noodles, cheeses, heavy cream, prosciutto, b. sprouts, arugula, lemon oil, salt and pepper, olive oil, mustard seeds

We all know the drill here…Gather your ingredients.

These are the noodles I used. If I was going to make this again, I would use something smaller. Once they boil, they get much larger. It wasn’t bad, it’s just, there’s options out there…so why NOT pick something better!

Get those noodles going in a pot of boiling water with some salt.

Once they are done set them aside. I toss them in a bit of olive oil to keep them less-sticky.

While your noodles are boiling, you can get started on your prosciutto with brussel sprouts and mustard seed.

Quarter those sprouts up and chop that proscuitto into small-ish pieces.

Yum. This pile started out a bit bigger… oops.

A bit of mustard seed goes a long way. You don’t need very much, but it is definitely a bonus to the dish…so don’t leave it out.

In a frying pan, saute all these delicious things together until there is browning on the sprouts and the prosciutto is gettin’ nice and crispy.

Don’t forget about your noodles!

Now it’s time to make your cheese sauce… yum.

Gather your selected cheeses. I used Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pepperjack. Yes, very standard-issue cheeses, they made for a deliciously creamy sauce. BUT, I would suggest adding something with a little punch to it… This was definitely missing that, and since you haven’t made it yet, I’m tellin’ ya, ADD SOMETHING WITH A PUNCH.

Get your cream in a sauce pan until it’s hot then turn the heat down to maintain the temperature and keep it from burning (gross). With a whisk, slowly add your cheese, stirring constantly.

Make sure your sprouts and such aren’t burning.

In a large bowl, combine noodles, brussel sprout mixture, and cheese sauce.

Roll out pizza dough. You can make it, or, you can pick up some up at Trader Joe’s, which is the cheating, easy way to do it if you simply don’t have the time to make some pizza dough.

On a sheet of some sort (it really doesn’t matter, if it did, I’d tell ya so), cover it with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Pre-heat that oven to 375 degrees.

Top your pizza dough with your mac n cheese creation.

yum city.

After roughly 30 minutes, maybe 40 depending on your oven, your pizza should be ready.

Pull it out and let it rest on a cooling rack. If you don’t use a cooking rack, the bottom will get soggy and gross.

I’m drooling writing this post. Good thing I have left overs.

For dinner I topped it with arugula tossed lightly in lemon oil and salt and pepper.

It was a wise choice. The acidity in the arugula was a perfect compliment to the creaminess of the cheese sauce.

For this post I tried something different. Recently I join the club. The “people with iphones” club; and, I must say, I enjoy my fancy new toy. So, for this post, I took all of my pictures with my phone. It’ll take some work, but, I like it. Fancy things are fun.

The past few weeks…

… Have been busy.

But, rest assured, I have been cooking, coming up with new ideas for a fancy new page or blog, and loving/being slightly addicted to Instagram (but, then again, who isn’t these days?).

Chicken with Mushroom Port Cream Sauce. White truffle potatoes. Steamed Asparagus.

Fuji Apples for Fuji Apple Pie. It was delicious.

Seared then Roasted Pork Tenderloin. Caramelized Leeks with Fried Brussel Sprouts. Black Pepper Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Warmed Goat Cheese topped with Spicy Apricot Glaze and Sliced Almonds. Salt and Pepper Crostinis.

Sharp Cheddar Risotto with Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Tequila Lime Pork Chops.

Homemade Boysenberry Turnovers with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.

A big blog post is coming soon about my adventures this weekend… and what an adventure it was!

Happy Tuesday!