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.

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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!

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.

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.