Bucatini With Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes

One of my favorite employees brought me a ton of cherry tomatoes and basil from her garden (thanks Toni!!) so I decided to make one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes – homemade basil tossed with pasta and roasted tomatoes. It is delicious and fail proof!

Ingredients: (serves 1-2)
Bucatini pasta, or pasta of your choice
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
10-15 cherry tomatoes

Boil water and cook the pasta per the box instructions. Reserve a little of the pasta water to use.

In a food processor, mix together the basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can also add a small handful of nuts to your pesto if you like. I left them out this time. Next, in a pan saute the tomatoes in olive oil until they begin to burst and cook down a little.

After draining the pasta, add the pasta back to the pot and toss with the pesto, adding pasta water as needed to smooth it out. Plate and top with roasted tomatoes and additional Parmesan cheese.

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Yellow Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary

I love Bloody Mary’s… they’re spicy, tomatoey, and most of the time you get a mini appetizer added on top, which is definitely a bonus. I order one any time I am out to brunch, as many Brooklynites do, but I had never had one made with the colorful heirloom tomatoes we see all summer. So when I got a huge yellow tomato in my CSA this week, I figured I would give it a shot and see what happens! I added brine from some McClures spicy pickles which gave it a little kick, and topped it with a few other summery items I had on hand like basil, cherry tomatoes, green beans… and a caper berry (which comes in a jar and is one of my favorite toppings!) I am happy to report that Bloody Mary’s are delicious in all colors…

Ingredients: (serves 2)
2-3 medium yellow heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered
1-2 tablespoon of brine from McClure’s Spicy Pickles (depending on how spicy you want it)
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño peppers
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
2-3 ounces vodka (I always use Tito’s!)
Toppings: I used basil, blanched green beans, caper berries, and cracked black pepper

In a blender (or with a hand blender) puree the tomatoes and jalapeño together. I like mine a little thick but not too thick, so I strained half of it and kept the other half as is. Pour into a shaker with the spicy pickle brine, horseradish, celery salt, and vodka. Shake well. Divide into cups with ice, and top with any garnishes you desire!

Fresh Corn & Jalapeno Cornbread

I feel like if I ever met a human who didn’t like cornbread I would immediately be suspicious of them… because cornbread is AMAZING! My mom used to make it when we were kids and she’d sprinkle a little sugar on the top when it came out of the oven and it was soooo good. This week I got a bunch of corn and jalapeños in my CSA and immediately grabbed my skillet and cornmeal. It took about 25 mins to make and I ate half of it for dinner. Nothing else, just a straight up plate of cornbread smothered in butter and honey….

(I promise it tastes better then the photo looks!)

Ingredients:
1 corn on the cob, kernels cut off
1 jalapeño, chopped small
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk **if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make some by add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 cup whole milk and let it sit for 5 mins!
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and add the cast iron skillet to get it nice and hot – about 10 mins. In a bowl mix together the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and baking soda. In another bowl mix together the eggs, maple syrup, and buttermilk.

In a small pan, heat the butter until melted then toss in the corn and jalapeños. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then turn off the heat and whisk the buttery mixture into the bowl with the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and combine. Remove the skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and golden brown on top. Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with extra butter and honey on the side!

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Zucchini Ramen “Noodle” Soup

It has been insanely hot in NYC the past week. Like fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. And for some reason my weird self was craving hot and spicy ramen noodles like total freak. You’d think cold fruit would be on my mind, but no. Anyway, I had some zucchini on hand and thought I’d try some ramen “zoodles” for a change! It was quick and easy, and totally satisfied my ramen craving. I will definitely be making this again!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

Broth:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground galangal
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste depending on how much spice you like)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Other:
1 zucchini, spiraled into noodles
3 oz enoki mushrooms
Scallions, chopped
Nori sheets
2 eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken broth, water, soy sauce, Sriracha, galangal, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. During the last minute or so, add the spiraled zucchini to warm through.

In the meantime, make your soft boiled eggs. Bring some water to a boil, then gently submerge the eggs into the water with a ladle. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the eggs for exactly 7 minutes, no longer! Remove immediately from water and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Use the same hot water to quickly blanch your mushrooms by simply tossing them in for a minute or so.

To assemble, pour the zucchini and broth into your bowls. Add the chopped scallions, mushrooms, and nori sheets. Add an egg to each bowl, then slice down the center with a sharp knife to reveal the runny yolk!

Zucchini Fritters With Dill Crème Fraîche & Smoked Salmon

I am a sucker for any lox dish when it comes to brunch, and I almost always order it if it’s on the menu. So this week when I got zucchini and potatoes in my CSA bag, and remembered I had leftover crème fraîche in the fridge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Fritters are one of those always good, fail proof things to make. Any time I have a potato around and/or fritter worthy veggies, I whip some up in a pinch for any meal of the day!

Ingredients: (makes about 6-8 fritters)
Smoked salmon
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1/2 russet potato, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 small garlic clove
1 egg
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Oil for frying (I used a canola/coconut blend)
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
Salt and pepper, to taste

Shred the zucchini and potato on the large holes of a box grater. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and set in a strainer over a bowl. This is going to help remove the moisture as both contain a lot of water. After about 30 minutes squeeze the zucchini/potato to get the liquid out – you’ll be surprised how much comes out of there! Toss the liquid. Place the mixture to a bowl and add the onion, garlic, egg, flour, baking powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Next, in a large frying pan heat the oil until hot. Scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of the mixture into the pan and flatten with the back of a fork. I usually do about 3-4 fritters at a time, and like to make them pretty thin so that they crisp up nicely. Cook for 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden brown with crispy edges. Remove and either place on a wire rack or a paper towel lined plate to absorb any leftover oil.

In a small bowl mix together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.

To plate, top the fritter with crème fraîche mixture, followed by a piece of salmon, and some extra dill for garnish. Enjoy!

Flank Steak With Basil Chimichurri & Tomatoes

It’s been a while since I’ve made myself some steak, mostly because I really need to be in the mood for meat in order for me to eat it, which is rare these days. But Whole Foods opened up a new store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn which is fairly close to me, and I was excited to have a market in the neighborhood to buy “non-creepy” meat from! I had a lot of basil on hand, so I made a chimichurri to top the steak with, then added some pretty cherry tomatoes from my CSA. It was a successful dinner! I did have a lot of steak leftover though, so in the morning I made myself steak and eggs with an easy roasted tomato relish. I’ve added that quick recipe below as well!

Ingredients: (serves two)
Flank steak
Olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/8 cup red onion
1 small garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch red pepper flakes
Fresh cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salt and pepper the steak well and set aside until ready to cook.

In a food processor, mix together the basil, red onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat your pan with some olive oil until nice and hot (I used my cast iron pan) then add the steak. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how well-done you like your meat. I like mine medium, so I went with 3 minutes on each side. Remove and place on a cutting board and wrap with aluminum foil, let sit for at least 5 minutes. The reason I like to do this is because the steak continues to cook a little bit, but also if you cut it right away then all the juices pour out. If you let it rest then it gives the meat a little extra time to absorb all that juice! While it’s resting, toss the tomatoes with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

To serve, slice and plate the steak, then add the chimichurri sauce and fresh tomatoes. Enjoy!

And here is the steak and eggs with a quick tomato relish I made the following morning!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
Flank steak
10 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Slash red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
Chives, for topping
2 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a pan (I used my cast iron again) add the tomatoes and a tiny bit of olive oil. Let cook until they begin to char and burst a little. In a food processor, mix together the cooked tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sriracha, salt and pepper. Lastly, cook your eggs in the cast iron pan as well. Plate and be grateful for another eggy morning!

 

Summer Corn With Basil & Garlic Aioli

I’ve always loved Elote, aka Mexican street corn. It is smothered in a messy mix of ingredients that tastes exactly how I would imagine the corn in Heaven to taste. Traditionally it is rolled in butter and mayonnaise, then crumbled cotija cheese, chili powder, and a squeeze of lime. I decided to make my own little version of it this morning by making an aioli with the basil and garlic I had from my CSA bag this week, plus Parmesan cheese and paprika. It was amazing. AMAZING. I made it early this morning with the intention of bringing it as part of my lunch to work today, but after tasting a little bite, I ate the whole thing (at 9AM) standing over the sink in my kitchen as to not make a mess. WORTH IT.

Ingredients: (serves 5)
5 corn on the cob
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus for for topping
Smoked paprika, for topping

In a food processor, or with an immersion blender, mix together the basil, olive oil, mayo, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and Parmesan cheese until smooth. You can keep the corn whole or cut them in half, whichever you prefer. Brush the corn with olive oil and cook in a pan over medium heat, turning every minute or so to cook the sides evenly, about 7 minutes total. You can also cook the corn on the grill of course, I just don’t have a backyard here in NY and think it’s prooobably illegal to put a grill on my fire escape! To serve, brush the corn with the aioli then top with grated parmesan cheese and paprika. Eat with lots of napkins!

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Summer Corn Leek & Tomato Galette

I make a variation of this galette a lot in the summer, as it is one of my favorite flavor combinations – fresh summer corn and tomatoes! I posted a version of it last summer using dandelion greens, which you can find here. I like to add corn meal to the crust because it gives it a nice texture and flavor, and I usually make a double batch of the dough so I can freeze half and make a galette on demand another night! Goat cheese is what I usually add on top, though I’m sure feta would be delicious ….or maybe even some torn burrata when it comes out of the oven?! Man I wish I thought of that earlier, that will definitely be an experiment for next time.

Galette Crust: (this crust is for 2 medium galettes, as I like to freeze half for future use)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, for brushing
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Filling: (this filling is for 1 galette)
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic clove, roasted whole
2 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese (can usually find at grocery store)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh torn basil for topping

Start by making the galette crust. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, corn meal, salt, and pepper. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or use your hands. If using your hands, you simply want to roll the butter chunks between your fingers with the flour until it resembles the texture of small peas. In a separate small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, and water. Add this to the flour/butter mixture and mix with your fingers until a dough forms. Shape into two disk (if you plan to save/freeze half like I did) then wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

When the dough is almost done vacationing in the fridge, start getting the fillings ready. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wrap the garlic cloves in aluminum foil and roast in the oven until soft, about 15 minutes. Next, sauté the corn for about 5 minutes with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Don’t overcook it though because it will continue to cook later in the oven and you don’t want it to get chewy. Set aside. Add the leeks and chopped shallot to the pan and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

To assemble, roll the dough out on a floured surface. I like to do this on a sheet of parchment paper so that I can lift it right onto the baking sheet after. It is OK if it’s not a perfect circle, I say the more rustic it looks the better! Leaving about an inch boarder around the edges, spread on the corn, then sprinkle around the roasted garlic chunks, followed by the leeks/shallots, the sliced tomatoes, then the goat cheese crumbles. Fold in the edges, then place the galette (with the parchment) on a baking sheet. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling looks happy. It won’t smile at you, but you’ll know it’s happy.

Let cool for 5 minutes, throw on some fresh torn basil, then dig in!

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Peach & Plum Caprese With Balsamic Glaze

A traditional caprese with tomato and mozzarella is great and all, but why not switch it up a little! I made this one with plums, peaches, and a balsamic glaze. You can find balsamic glaze at any major grocery store, or you can make it yourself using balsamic vinegar and sugar! I didn’t have enough vinegar to make my own batch this time, so opted for store-bought. But here is the usual recipe I follow when making my own!

Ingredients:
2 plums, cut into half slices
2 peaches, cut into half slices
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into half slices
Fresh basil leaves, kept whole
Balsamic glaze
Salt and pepper, to taste

Simply arrange the slices one by one – peach, basil, mozzarella, plum… and so on. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze, then a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.

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Simple Summer Veggie Bowl

In the summer I crave fresh meals a lot – crisp veggies, fresh herbs, all the good stuff. In the winter on the other hand, I crave anything hot and filled with carbs and melted cheese. I figure it must all balance out between seasons, right?! Anyway, here is one of go-to summer dinners. Packed with vegetables, soft boiled eggs, crispy polenta, and yummy cucumber yogurt to tie it all together.

Ingredients:
1 Persian cucumber, chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
String beans, blanched
1 cup cauliflower, cut into smaller pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Cherry tomatoes
1/2 ripe avocado
Sriracha
1 egg
Pre-cooked polenta, sliced
Olive oil
Fresh Lemon
Black pepper
Maldon (flake) salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower in turmeric and olive oil. Also add the tomatoes. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes softened and burst, and cauliflower is roasted well.

In the meantime blanch the string beans in salted boiling water for 2 minute, then placing in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. I used the same water to boil my egg – bring back to a boil and gently add your egg, let cook for 5 minutes (6 min max) then also place in the ice water.

Next, add a little olive oil to a pan and cook the polenta slices until crisp, about 3 minutes each side. Also sauté the kale with some olive oil for at about 5 minutes. Lastly, mix together the cucumber and Greek yogurt.

To assemble, just place everything in a bowl… and as my grandmother always says – “chow baby!”