I‘m back in my kitchen this week… back from making pies with you up and down the east coast… back from gently and not so gently asking you to buy my dang book… back to my roasting pan.
This acorn squash was patiently awaiting my return. Just sitting tight, waiting to be more than it already is.
I hacked my way through the protective skin (didn’t even lose a finger), removed the seeds, sliced, and drizzled.
This is the result of those efforts. Let’s make it together… I mean, right!?
I fell down such a strange Internet rabbit hole this week. There were makeup tutorial videos, doomsday prepper podcasts, and a weird amount of frittata recipe googling.
While I still don’t know how to properly apply bronzer or survive the apocalypse, I can make one damn fine frittata. Award-winning (according to me).
Frittata is Italian for “I’m too lazy to make quiche crust.” It’s a simple baked egg dish that can house just about any filling that you can dream up and can be served morning, noon, or night. Wow. Frittata is also Italian for “Eat this. You’re welcome.” Don’t worry. I’m fluent.
Whatever we do, can we not call it a crustless quiche? That just sounds sad and lazy and makes me wonder who is enjoying crust without me.
Let’s talk about this frittata, because I sure did put grits in it, and I’m not even sorry.
This frittata (as the name above would suggest) is home to spicy Italian sausage and cheddar cheese. Eggs of course, because a frittata isn’t a frittata without eggs. The HECK YES elements of this frittata are the dollops of cheesy chives grits that stud the dish. Soft creamy eggs meets cheesy baked grits? Spicy and sausage, too? It’s a very good idea.
Weekend breakfast idea complete. You should drink more coffee and keep your pajama pants on until at least 3pm. For sure.
It feels like we’re in the middle of things. Like we have to begrudgingly set down our watermelon and water balloons and pick up our infinity scarf and pumpkin spice latte. Seasons don’t happen in a snap. There’s a transition period… a kind of grace that allows us to take a deep breath, absorb our days of sunshine and beach breezes to ready ourselves for the crisp nights and spiced cider. What we crave in the transition can be tricky. I find myself gobbling all of the peaches and dreaming of apple fritters. Truth be told, I’m always dreaming of apple fritters, that’s no surprise.
This salad feels like a lovely transition. Fresh apple and fennel make it easy to move into Autumn. It’s no time to crank up the oven for a roast when I find myself still craving fresh and bright flavors.
We’re also adding fresh arugula for its peppery notes, salty roasted pistachios, sweet dried apricots, and salty parmesan cheese. It’s all about balance!
This recipe is inspired by Chef Nathan Lyon. His seasonal cookbook is a staple in my kitchen.
I wish there was some sort of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced savory avocado delights instead of candy. In addition to that statement making me sound stone-cold craaaazy, the reality of that sort of factory would be absolutely AMAZING! Don’t lie. You want in.
I’d totally Veruca Salt my way all up in there. No shame.
Since there is no fantasy-land avocado factory I’ve settled for roasting a big ol’ bunch of cherry tomatoes, and tossing them (along with just a little too much feta) into a batch of creamy do-no-wrong guacamole.
Don’t roasted cherry tomatoes look a little bit like candy? If candy were vegetable.
Related and rhetorical: why won’t I shut up about candy!?
It would seem as though I’m trying to drink my way through the rainbow, lemonade style. First there was bright red with Beet Lemonade. Here we have a pretty peachy-orange color with Peach Cardamom Lemonade. We also worked in the deep purple with Fresh Blueberry Mint Lemonade.
I’ve missed green lemonade but I figure we can work some sort of cucumber jalapeño situation into our future.
I’ll tell you now, I’m showing no signs of stopping this drinkable rainbow. Hop on the lemonade train now! I know you’re thirsty.
This Summer is brought to you by lemons, over-ripe fruit, and a dose of sugar. Cheers to us!
Don’t look at me with those sad-clown eyes (wait… is that a thing?). It can’t be all Peach Cobbler Cinnamon Rolls around here. That’s unrealistic (though delicious) and downright daunting (though delicious).
When the day’s diet turns a bit too indulgent, I reach for a blender and try to coax whatever fresh ingredients I have into a healthy smoothie. It’s not rocket science… it’s mostly just fruit and almond milk. You know the old song and dance.
If you take away any little gem of inspiration from this smoothie concoction, please let it be the Green Tea Ice Cubes. Though so so simple, these little blocks kinda thrill me. All the antioxidants and good vibes of green tea, frozen into a smoothie friendly cube and ready for blending. It’s a clever way to add more nutrients to our smoothie meal! I’m into it.
My favorite smoothie boosters include:
• Chia seeds for their omega powers
• Maca powder for energy
• Aloha Green Juice Powder for a major boost of green and minerals
• Raw Meal Protein Powder for a vegan, gluten, and dairy free protein bang
• Big handfuls of kale, cucumber chunks, and not bacon. Whatever you do, don’t add bacon.
Can we talk about lemonade?
Actually. Proper question: can we talk about lemonade again and probably again and again after that?
Last week we experienced Beet Lemonade, all bright pink and sweet and totally showing off. Today it’s Blueberry Mint Lemonade, all deep and purple and tart… and totally showing off.
This lemonade comes together with exactly those fresh berries languishing in the back of your refrigerator. They’re getting wrinkly. You know the ones. Throw those little darlings in a blender with fresh mint, stems and all… and here we are, on the fantastic side of refreshment.
This recipe is again inspired by The Lemonade Cookbook because it’s lovely and I’m thirsty.
I’m in need of a California salad. The kind that’s heavy on the green, unique, full of protein and surprises, and just generally sexy. The kind of salad that would wear super expensive yoga pants… if a salad could wear yoga pants (because that totally makes sense). The kind of salad that Gwyneth Paltrow would order if she were slumming it. You know the stuff.
That’s exactly the sort of salad I’ve been craving.
Besides… I’ve had a watermelon on the counter staring me down and this week I’ve found the perfect combination of hunger, energy, and guilt to actually slice into it.
Come on, let’s salad!
This recipe is inspired by The Lemonade Cookbook. Loads of great sandwich, salad, and well… lemonade inspiration in this super fresh, California cuisine book.
I love combining greens and sweet fruit in the summer. It’s pretty amazing that watermelon and onions can find their way into a dish together and work as a team, right?
I lay in bed some mornings trying to will my food brain into action.
On the particular morning that these Banana Bonbon things were born into my brain, I was lying in bed thinking that I’d really like to eat Oreo cookies… but I’d like them to be frozen… and then maybe I could smear peanut butter on top… except that’s crazy… crazy good!!!
No food brain. No. Be reasonable. (That’s what I think to myself as I lay in bed thinking about Oreo cookies first thing in the morning.) We need more fruit. Can we turn bananas into cookies? Yes. Let’s add peanut butter… and probably chocolate while we’re at it… and we’re going to need something crunchy… peanuts! And let’s pull that awesome coconut oil trick to make a the chocolate as smooth as can be.
Alright food brain. Good job! Essentially you’ve created a chocolate-dipped frozen banana and found a way to smash peanut butter inside. You started with Oreos cookies and, well… here we are.
Think of these frozen treats as mini banana peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate an topped with peanuts. It’s beyond easy and might be one of the better ideas ever on the Internet. Speaking of the Internet, these treats are aaaallll over the dang thing, which just goes to show that no matter how hard my food brain works, it’s impossible to think of anything brand-spankin’ new. Still though…. still delicious! Just saying…
Be advised: It would be best not to get in between me and my burrito.
I’m talking about the kind of burrito that’s the size of a newborn baby and served, covered in cheese and red sauce, on a scalding hot that plate that I always touch even thought I’m cautioned against it. The kind of burrito that is filled with so much cheese, so much rice, so much stewed beef, so much guacamole… it feels as right as it does obscene.
Yea… don’t get in between me and that burrito. It’s probably best if we don’t even make eye contact.
This (thankfully/sadly) is not that burrito.
Let’s welcome cauliflower to the table. We’ll set aside all the beef, red sauce, and most of the cheese momentarily.
This recipe starts with Cauliflower Rice which I’m pretty sure is ALL THE RAGE on paleo blogs. I make the opposite of a paleo blog, so…. this might seem a little strange.
We’re talking about the simple art of turning raw cauliflower florets into little bits of simulated rice. It’s good, it’s really really good!
Cauliflower + Food Processor = Cauliflower Rice.
I used a purple and green cauliflower, not because I’m fancy, mostly because that’s what looked fresh at the grocery.
I had a little taste of Asheville, North Carolina waiting for me when I returned to New Orleans last week. It wasn’t a warm mochas or a drinkable caramel, sadly… but those are fleeting anyhow. I found my friend Ashley’s book Handmade Gatherings waiting for my in my mailbox! The very same Ashley that writes about chickens and bees, and had me in a stone-bottomed river bed pretending to be warm for a Spring picnic photoshoot. Needles to say, Ashley is always welcome in my world. I usually just need boots, a sweater, and an empty stomach.
I found this recipe flipping through the Spring pages of Handmade Gatherings. Asparagus meets pistachios. Roasted tender and crunchy. Green on green. Salty and fresh. From the recipe title alone I knew it would be exactly right.
Spot on! This is dish is all balance and heart. Good timing. I was just starting to miss those endless waves of green-blooming Blue Ridge Mountains. Asparagus will step in where the mountain-longing creeps in.
I’m in need of some greens. The gnarly kind. The kind that bite back.
Clearly kale is the answer. It’s clean and crunchy and that’s where we’re starting for today.
The very back of the pantry is like a treasure trove of forgotten bottles and spices. I dug out my neglected bottle of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar for this clean and crunchy salad. They’re just the right ingredients to tame the taste and texture of raw kale.
I got a real taste of what most of you have endured this winter.
I was in New York City most of last week and… whoa. Weather is real. The snow! The slush! A snow plow scared me half to death. They go so fast! Why did I think they operated at the speed of a zamboni? The shovel and footwear requirements are remarkable. Lastly… freezing rain is 100% unacceptable.
All of this is to say that you deserve a reward, a medal of honor, extra hot fudge on your sundae… something, everything, whatever you want you should have it.
I’m back in California nearly buried in packing boxes, but at least they’re not frozen. To honor you, I’ve made soup. It’s roasty toasty cauliflower with earthy cumin and happy curry. Totally comforting. You might consider pairing with some sort of cheesy bread situation. Also ear muffs. You’re a champion. Stay warm!
I made Curry Hummus a few weeks back. In that recipe I made mention of Smitten Kitchen’s Ethereally Smooth Hummus. Deb achieved her heavenly hummus smoothness first by peeling each and every garbanzo bean. Pfffttt. I quickly and easily dismissed that possibility in my Curry Hummus in hopes of expediting the process and getting hummus in my face as soon as possible. Peel every bean!? No way.
The only problem is, the thought of Deb’s smooth hummus has been haunting me ever since! Dangit! Laziness backfired.
Back in the kitchen for me! This time with a recipe from the latest Food and Wine magazine for Avocado Hummus. Between the peeled beans and the creamy avocado, I really need this to be a smooth success!
Tracy and I are friends because in 2009 we caught each other rolling our eyes at the same thing. At some point during one of the first BlogHer FoodBlog Conferences Rocco DiSpirito was trying to sell us on the merits of frozen risotto reheated into an almost glue-like paste. Rocco was wearing one of those Madonna style Vogue microphones and jogging through the labyrinth of tables being his own frozen risotto hype man. Oh Rocco. Thank you for your enthusiasm for frozen risotto, it was bologna but you made two people friends for life.
I caught Tracy rolling her eyes at Rocco’s fist pump just as I was equally disturbed.
In my memory she says something like, “Want to grab a drink at the bar?” and I respond with a “Race you to the escalator!”. Friends for life!
While my kitchen life is haphazardly piled high, operating near chaos, Tracy’s organization situation is ship-shape. We’re incredibly different. Tracy is organized, loves even numbers, and wears black and white. I’m disorganized, don’t even want to talk about numbers, and dress like Punky Brewster.
Tracy came down from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help me organize my life. She is the only one I’d feel safe revealing the madness of my medicine cabinet to. Good grief. She only judged me a little. Also… I embraced big hair (don’t care). Welcome to the latest Bonkers Awesome episode on ulive!
It’s the weekend! Let’s consider a cocktail. Maybe it’ll inspire you to clean a bookshelf, too! Everyone should have a Tracy in their life. Oh man… for real.
I’ve always wondered what chemistry tastes like. Wait… is that a thing that people say? No. You’re right.
A lot of things are chemistry in the kitchen, but this honeycomb situation is burning hot, boiling chemistry all up in your face. It’s not like that time you threw in cayenne pepper with your olive oil and corn kernels to make popcorn and gassed yourself out of the house. That’s homemade pepper spray and I’ve definitely never done that… but I know someone who has.
When sugar is boiled down with a bit of water and vinegar, things seem pretty benign. When baking soda and vigorous whisking are added to the mix, things change, on the quick. The result? Fluffy sweet, crunchy sweet, completely addictive sweet CANDY!
I love this life.
Ps. If my last post on Chocolate Dipped Bananas left you feeling like I was engaged to be married, rest assured that I am not engaged. If I were, I probably wouldn’t announce it in a Chocolate Dipped Banana post. I received a few congratulatory emails and I thank you… and that was awkward for me alone. …I’m going to go clean the kitchen now. I love you. Not weird.
I feel like every blog should have a safeword.
We need a word that says, ‘Um… why are you posting way less on your blog these days. Are you pregnant?’ No.
We need a word that says ‘I know you’re phoning it in with that compilation of past posts post’. It’s cool.
We need a word that says ‘Cool, you’re engaged! I’m going to unfollow you on Pinterest immediately’. It’s nothing personal. It’s a wedding thing.
We need a word that says ‘Did you really just post a recipe for ICE!?’. I’m sorry.
I was going to have our safeword here be ‘Lasagna Grilled Cheese‘… but we can’t use that anymore because that’s a thing now. Our safeword definitely can’t be ‘Chocolate Dripped Bananas’ because that’s obviously a thing. Maybe our safeword should be ‘gorilla pants’… until I get a pair. I’ll let you know when that happens. Until then, ‘gorilla pants’ is our safeword.
I’m really glad we had this talk.
There is a thing in the world… it’s called Really Bad Sangria. This is not that.
Really Bad Sangria is a mixture of cheap red wine (not cool, but not a crime), sliced oranges (fairly benign), and grapes (questionable, but tolerable). The combination of bad wine and boring fruit… that’s Really Bad Sangria.
Let’s talk about Really Good Sangria!
Really Good Sangria is pink. Really Good Sangria contains fruit that feels like a treat! See: watermelon and fresh strawberries. Really Good Sangria is layered with wine, and vodka, and lemon or orange liquor. Really Good Sangria is REALLY GOOD! This is that.
It’s the weekend! Get at that melon!
I like to drink wine from rocks glasses, with two hands, sitting alone at a bar.
I like to eat avocados standing in the kitchen, staring at the wall, with extra salt and too much lemon.
I like to eat summer corn raw, in clusters. I like to binge on cherry tomatoes. I like to eat tacos in excess… extra spiced.
Please never let the summer be over. Please and thank you.
T-minus five days (give or take) before I make some sort of taco grilled cheese sandwich concoction. I’m sorry/totally NOT sorry.
Whaaaat!? Look at us just living summer like it ain’t no thing. First we make our own buns and now we make our own condiments!?
Our summer selves are amazing. Our summer selves deserve high-fives and extra marshmallows on our s’mores. Speaking of s’mores… you should totally make these Toasted Marshmallow Squares for the upcoming holiday weekend… not that I’m being bossy or anything.
Let’s talk about ketchup! It’s pleasingly easy to make. If you can chop an onion and if you like to simmer the heck out of canned tomato and spices, this is totally up your alley.
Just adding to your summer bragging rights list! No big deal.