Monday, June 30, 2014

Fresh Corn and Arugula Salad with Rose Vinagrette

We received some beautiful fresh corn on the cob with our box last Thursday, and immediately I knew I wanted to make a corn salad. I make several varieties of corn salad- and almost all of them during the summer. Corn screams summer, and this salad is a great alternative to grilling corn for the forth of July!

The key here, is to make sure all your ingredients are dry before combining. That way, they are enhanced by the Vinagrette, as opposed to soaking it in and becoming soggy. You can make the dressing ahead of time, and simply toss right before serving.


4 ears of corn, husks removed
2 cups of arugula, washed and patted dry
1 16oz container of fresh mozzarella bites in water, strained, patted dry, and halved 
1 carton of cherry heirloom tomatoes

2 avocados, chopped, run through cold water, and dried
8 basil leaves, chiffonade  


Bring a pot of water to boil. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cob. (If you do this over a kitchen towel, the kernels will stick to the towel, and not all over the floor). Place kernels in boiling water for 3 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Dry.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, gently tossing to combine. 

For the Dressing


1/2 cup rose vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine in Tupperware, cover, and shake until combined. Add to salad, a little bit at a time, being careful not to overdress, just before serving.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Simple Summer Strawberry Salad

Are we loving the alliteration? No? Just me then... So, in last week's FMB loot, I received some amazing fresh Stawberries (or Strawbs as my Aussie friend Alex is want to call them), Red Romaine, and leftover spring onions. Perfect for a BBQ side salad!


1 head Red Romaine Lettuce, washed and torn
1 head Butter Lettuce, washed and torn
1 carton Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 bunch (about 6) spring onions, primarily the light green part 
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled 

For the Dressing


1/2 cup Pomegranate Vinegar
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1-2 tsp sugar, adjusted to taste depending on sweetness of vinegar 
Pinch of sea salt


Combine dressing ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to blend.

Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with just enough dressing to coat leaves. Sprinkle strawberries, onions and pistachios on top.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Avocado Crema

We grilled this weekend. Tri tip and shrimp, which I served with fresh tortillas and cabbage. I wanted to create a mild sauce that would go with both proteins and not overpower either marinade. We got some really great avocados in this weeks Farmer's Market Box, and even though I have some earmarked for pasta later in the week, I used one to make a crema (fancy word for flavored sour cream). Sounds complex, but is about as easy as it comes.


1 avocado
1/2 cup of sour cream
Juice of one small lemon
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of white pepper
Salt to taste


Halve avocado and remove seed. Peel, dice, and run under cold water. (Rinsing cut avocados under cold water prevents them from turning brown). In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Add in sour cream, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Continue using a fork until ingredients are incorporated. If you are not planning on using immediately, lay Saran Wrap directly on top of Crema, so that the mixture has no exposure to oxygen (this will further prevent browning), and refrigerate.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Grilled and Chilled Veggie Pasta Salad with Basil dressing

This was a fun one! It's super simple to replicate, and easy to change up depending on what you have in your fridge and your pantry. You can use the basil dressing as a marinade, to coat lettuce for a green salad, drizzled over fish, or eaten straight out of the bowl with a spoon (yes, I have been known to do this...shhhhhh). I used orzo, but any small bite sized pasta would work just as well. 

To start, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and add in one package of orzo. After cooking for about 7 minutes, remove pasta, rinse with cold water (I only rinse my pasta if I am going to chill it, the cold water helps the pasta not stick together in one large pasta blob, otherwise it's a no-no). When pasta reaches room temperature, remove from cold water, drain and place in bowl. Drizzle a small amount of grapeseed oil over pasta, toss, and refrigerate.

For the dressing:


10 large basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tablespoon honey
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
A dash of salt and pepper
1/2 cup white balsamic dressing
1/3 cup grapeseed oil


Combine all ingredients except for oil in a blender. Blend until combined. While blender runs on low, slowly drizzle in oil, only until mixture is combined.

Reserve at least 1/2 cup of dressing, and refrigerate. Toss pasta with just enough dressing to coat, and return to fridge. Let pasta sit in fridge for a bit to absorb flavor. 

For Veggies:


4 assorted varieties of summer squash, thinly sliced
6 green onions
1 bunch of pencil asparagus
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil


In a large ziplock baggy add vegetables, oil, and vinegar. Sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper. Close bag and shake to coat. Let vegetables rest for at least 30 minutes at room temp.

Heat indoor grill pan to medium. Grill veggies until barely tender, about 4-6 minutes a side. Veggies should have slight-brown grill marks, but not be falling apart. Cool. 

Cut asparagus into bite sized pieces, squash into strips, and slice the green onions.

To composes salad. Chiffonade 10 fresh basil leaves, and add to pasta. Add veggies to pasta. Add leftover salad dressing to pasta dish, 1/4 cup at a time, tasting I between additions, to make sure that salad is not overdressed. Refrigerate until serving time.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer of Fun: Recipe Challange

I totally outed myself on Facebook yesterday...

Me, and my lack of commitment to actually write down the recipes I create on a weekly basis. 

I cook. All. The. Time. That's not the problem... The problem I have is pausing to photograph what I do, write down measurements for people to duplicate (and trust me, for someone who tends not to measure when she cooks, that is a much more difficult task than it sounds like), and then find time to sit in front of the iPad and actually write out the recipes. This? Is what I need to get better at, or there is no hope of me ever creating a cookbook. Ever.

So, I made the rather bold announcement yesterday, that I am committing myself to write out 3 new recipes a week. Yes, Three. To give myself a jumping-off point, and to have a little fun in the kitchen, I am going to highlight the items found in my weekly Specialty Produce Farmer's Market Produce Box, along with add-ons I order additionally. I play my own personal Chopped game each week when I receive my delivery- and this way, we are guaranteed a variety of fresh, seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients from which to create our recipes from. Plus, if you get a box, it's easy to "play" along, and if you don't, the ingredients will be readily available to you. Some recipes may just be super simple sides, marinades or dressings, others may utilize proteins and starches I have around the house...I'm not limiting myself to only FMB items, just making sure I include them in what I do.  'Cause let's face it, that's how I cook regardless of if I'm writing it down or not- fresh, local, seasonal- it's what's on the menu! 

So let's get started, shall we? I'm getting a new delivery today, can't wait to see what I'll be working with. To get your appetites ready, I'll be posting a recipe today that highlights two ingredients from last weeks box...and bacon.  

Pesto Tortellini with bacon, spring onions, and grape tomatoes

Here's a little insight into what I'll be doing over the summer: last week's box included some amazing spring onions and grape tomatoes which I incorporated into an amazing pasta dish. 

It's super simple to make, and easily interchangeable. You can use a homemade pesto, or save a step and dump in a jar of your favorite store-bought version. While I used tortellini, if you are avoiding dairy you could substitute a different type of pasta that you have on hand (I would suggest a thicker pasta like a rotelle or parpadelle). And, if you avoid meat, you could skip the bacon and start the recipe by substituting grapeseed oil in place of bacon fat. 


Bacon, 8-10 pieces roughly chopped
1 carton of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch of spring onions, whites only, thinly sliced
1 cup of corn, kernels off the cob, can use frozen as well
1lb fresh pasta, I prefer tortellini 
8oz of your favorite pesto sauce


In a large skillet on medium heat, brown bacon.

Remove from pan and drain, leaving a thin layer of bacon fat covering the bottom of the pan. (Here's where you would heat grapeseed oil until shimmering, if you were wanting to leave out the meat).

Add sliced spring onions to fat. Make sure you stir, as onions are thin, and you want them to slightly crisp, without burning. Add in tomatoes. Turn heat to low, and let simmer until tomatoes are soft.

While tomatoes are softening, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add in fresh tortellini and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Add corn to tomato mixture. Cook for 2-4 minutes until just tender. Return bacon to pan. Add tortellini to vegetable/bacon mixture and add pesto. Stir to coat with sauce. Remove from heat and serve.