Guys, sorry I’ve been the worst at writing lately. We’re moving on Monday, so everything is packed away in the kitchen. In the meantime, here’s what we made as our last full home-cooked meal in the old place: Roasted Chicken and a Kale, Apple & Roasted Butternut Squash salad.
I’ve loved this apartment but I’m really excited to move into the new place with Bren and really make it “ours.” Also, two words: Gourmet. Kitchen.
Be back soon!
Up until a couple years ago, I hated brussels sprouts with a passion. When I was a kid, my mom tricked me into trying them by telling me they were “little cabbages”, which as the daughter of an Irish dad, I obviously loved. A couple bites, though, were all I needed to realize brussels sprouts don’t taste anything like “little cabbages”, and I avoided them for years after that.
For the record, I think coleslaw is the worst. The name is bad, the texture is weird, the mayo-y ness of it is gross, it’s just yuck. That said: this is not coleslaw. This is antioxidant-rich shredded red cabbage (from the Scranton Farmer’s Market, hurraugh!), carrots, cilantro and scallions, dressed with lime juice, rice vinegar, cumin and olive oil. It’s fantastic. We were making shredded chicken tacos with leftovers from a roasted chicken in lemon gold that we had for Sunday dinner, and decided it needed some crunch, so I threw this together and I’m so glad I did. Brendan came home, took one bite and said, “This tastes exactly like my favorite cabbage salad from my favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado” soooo….you’re welcome, JBG. This was perfect on tacos, but honestly, I would (and did) eat this with a fork by itself. You can throw it together in 5 minutes, but make sure you let it marinate for about 30, so all the flavors come together into a little colorful shredded salad of deliciousness.
SHREDDED RED CABBAGE SALAD WITH CARROTS, CILANTRO, SCALLIONS AND LIME (makes enough for 2 as a side or at least 6 small tacos)
– ½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 2 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
– 2 carrots, shredded
– 1/3 C cilantro, chopped
– juice of 1 lime
– ½ tsp. cumin
– ½ tsp. honey
– 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
– 4 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & pepper to taste
1. Slice the cabbage into thin strips.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, cumin, honey, rice vinegar & kosher salt & pepper. Whisk together so the seasonings can blend in well with the acids. Add EVOO and give everything a good mix so it emulsifies.
3. To the bowl with the cabbage, add the shredded carrots, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine.
4. Top the cabbage mixture with the dressing and mix it all together really well. Cover and let it sit for approx. 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while to redistribute the dressing.
5. Serve on its own or on top of tacos for a perfect crunch and super bright flavor.
SUMMER NECTARINES, FETA & BASIL WITH ARUGULA (serves 2)
– 3 nectarines
– 6-7 basil leaves, chiffonaded
– 1/4 C. crumbled feta
– juice of 1/2 a lemon
– couple glugs of EVOO
– kosher salt and pepper to taste
– 2 cups baby arugula
1. Cut up the nectarines into little cubes.
2. In a bowl, combine nectarines, EVOO, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
3. Add the feta to the bowl with the nectarines.
4. Chiffonade the basil, then add to the bowl. Combine all gently.
5. Put the arugula in a bowl and season it a little bit with Herbamare or salt/pepper. Squeeze half a lemon over it, stir to mix.
6. Divide the arugula between two bowls, then top with the nectarine/feta/basil mix. Make sure you get any juices that have collected – this adds a nice little sweetness to the dressing.
7. Serve and enjoy.
I don’t know about you guys, but for me, summer doesn’t really begin until I’ve had at least one watermelon (“I carried a watermelon?“). They feel like such a summer indulgence, and they’re one of my favorite bases for salads. This combo of watermelon, cucumber & avocado is perfectly sweet, crunchy and creamy, and the lemon-lime dressing pulls it all together. Throw in some chopped fresh basil, mint and chives and dig in. Nobody puts Baby in the corner.
SUMMER SALAD: WATERMELON, AVOCADO AND CUCUMBER WITH HERBS (serves 4)
– 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
– 2.5 C. seedless watermelon, cubed
– 1.5 avocado, cubed
– 5-6 basil leaves
– 4-5 mint leaves
– small handful of chives
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 5 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 tsp. Herbamare, or 1/2 tsp. kosher salt & pepper mix
1. Dice the peeled cucumber (if you can’t find an English cucumber, seed a regular one and use that), and put the pieces in some paper towels to drain it a little bit.
2. Dice the watermelon into about the same size pieces as the English cucumber, wrap that in towels too, so that drains.
3. Make the dressing – juice the lemon and the lime, then add the Herbamare or kosher salt/pepper blend. Mix so the seasonings react with the acids of the lemon/lime mixture. Add the EVOO, stir (or shake) well to combine.
4. Roughly chop up all the basil, mint and chives.
5. Add about half the cucumber and half the watermelon to a pretty big bowl. Dice the avocado into similar-size cubes and add half of that to the bowl. Add the remaining cucumber, watermelon and avocado.
6. Add the dressing evenly over the top of the salad. Then add herbs.
7. Mix, serve and enjoy. This doesn’t keep well, but chances are it’ll be gone before you have to worry about that.
Sometimes I read about those super fit celebrities sharing their “diet tips” about how they just watch what they eat and avoid carbs, and I think, (as someone whose last meal – okay, every meal – would be pasta) ‘how in the world is that possible??’ Salads like this. That’s how it’s possible. This recipe gave me a clue about how you can eat healthily, feel completely full, get a packed serving of veggies instead of carbs, and also have it be so simple, complex and delicious that you might not even want anything else for dinner. Also, roasted chickpeas??? Yes. This is a Smitten Kitchen recipe that was adapted from another recipe, and I followed it almost to the letter since it seemed like a completely bizarre combo that I couldn’t wait to try. Enjoy.
SHREDDED CARROT SALAD WITH ROASTED CHICKPEAS AND PARSLEY IN A LEMON-TAHINI DRESSING (makes 4 servings)
– 1 15oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried pretty well
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
– 1/4 tsp. cumin
– 1 lb. carrots, washed, peeled & grated
– 1/4 C. chopped parsley
– 1/4 C. lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
– 1 garlic clove, shredded
– 3 tbsp. tahini
– 2 tbsp. water
– 2 tbsp. EVOO
1. Heat oven to 425.
2. Toss rinsed, drained & dried chickpeas in a bowl with a glug of EVOO, the salt and cumin. Spread on a baking sheet and roast approx. 15-20 minutes until they’re crisp, shaking the pan occasionally.
3. In a large bowl, combine the shredded carrots & parsley.
4. Combine the lemon, salt, & garlic. Then mix in the tahini, water & EVOO. Whisk until well combined & smooth.
5. Mix the dressing into the salad (don’t use all of it at first…kind of add and stir as you go). Top with roasted chickpeas and get ready to have one of the tastiest salads you’ll ever have. Pasta who?
– 1/3 English cucumber, diced
– Handful of cherry tomatoes, diced
– 2 tbsp chopped parsley
– 1/3 c crumbled feta
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (make sure you rinse this really, really well first). Set aside to cool.
2. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and feta to the cooked quinoa, combine.
3. Serve with something else – this is an amazing base for spinach & feta turkey meatballs and tzaiki sauce, or even good on its own.
Quinoa all day, every day. I love it. It’s like pasta without the guilt, it’s packed with protein, and goes with just about everything. This salad mixes avocado cubes, cherry tomatoes and chick peas with a cilantro-arugula dressing…it was terrific and would be great for a summer salad (just add the dressing right before serving).
3. In a bigger bowl, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, avocados and cooked quinoa.
4. Combine the lemons, sugar, dijon, cumin, kosher salt & pepper, mix to combine. Add the EVOO & shake it up again.
5. Pour the dressing and the arugula/onion blend on top of the quinoa chickpea mixture and stir well, then add salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let everything combine.
Seriously, if you’re still buying salad dressing, why not give making your own a shot? I think DIY salad dressing recipes are so much tastier, simpler and versatile than being stuck with 10 bottles of partially-used salad dressing bottles clogging up your refrigerator. This one uses rice vinegar, which I loooove. Add that to a little balsamic, a bit of chopped shallot and a dab of Dijon mustard to bring it all together. I’d eat this on just about anything.
SHAVED APPLE AND FENNEL SALAD WITH LEMON AND TOASTED WALNUTS (serves 2-4)
– 1 bulb fennel, top parts cut off (but leaves saved), core removed.
– 1 tart apple
– Juice and zest of 1 lemon
– toasted walnuts, approx. 1/3 cup
– approx. 3 tbsp. EVOO
– kosher salt & pepper
– Arugula (optional)
1. With either a julienne slicer or a Cuisinart food processor with a slicer attachment, shave the fennel bulb and the apple into paper-thin slices (this really makes a difference in the overall salad). Put into a bigger bowl.
2. Over medium heat, toast the walnuts, shaking the pan every minute or so and making sure they don’t burn.
3. Zest and juice the lemon, then add to the bowl with the apple and fennel shavings. Add kosher salt & pepper, mix well to combine.
4. Add EVOO and walnuts, mix. Top with the toasted walnuts and a couple fennel leaves.
5. If using arugula, I just arranged some on a plate, juiced a little lemon over it, then added the apple/fennel salad on top of the arugula leaves. The apple/fennel dressing will work as enough dressing for the arugula.
6. We had this with salmon burgers with a simple lemony dill sauce on avocado toasts. So good.