Spicy Okra With A Tangy Aioli & Roasted Cabbage With Blue Cheese

This week my friend and I got fancy in the kitchen and made a GREAT dinner. We had recently tried some roasted cauliflower with an amazing buttermilk dressing, so that was our inspiration for the roasted okra. It was delicious! The okra was pretty spicy, so the tangy aioli helped to cool it down a bit. As for cabbage, we decided to just simply roast it and top it with some blue cheese knowing it would go well with the skirt steak we were making. Overall a really awesome meal- food is always best when shared with a friend!

We had these two dishes on the side of our skirt steak, which we simply pan seared with salt and pepper, and topped with cooked onions, parsley, and a few fingerling potatoes.

Roasted Purple Cabbage With Blue Cheese

1 small purple cabbage, cut in half then into 1/2 inch thick slices
Olive oil
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Place cabbage slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with some olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until it begins to brown. Top with bleu cheese and place back in oven for 5 minutes.

Roasted Okra With A Tangy Buttermilk Aioli:

1/2 pound fresh okra, some halved the long way some kept whole
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons for the aioli
Big pinch of sea salt
Big pinch of black pepper
1/2 small onion (or 1 shallot) finely chopped
3 tablespoons buttermilk (to make buttermilk, just add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to 1 cup whole milk)
3 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 small lime, juiced
Small handful fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, add 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in the okra. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly charred.

While the okra cooks make the aioli. Mix together the 3 tablespoons olive oil, buttermilk, crème fraiche, lime juice, onion, and a pinch of pepper. Set in fridge until ready to use. (I forgot to take photos of the aioli when making it!)

To plate, drizzle a good amount of aioli onto a plate, then top with the roasted okra and a little more aioli sauce. Finish with some fresh parsley and serve right away.


Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

I get these quinoa bowls from a place near my office at least once a week. My favorite is the Mediterranean bowl, so when I got some eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes this week I decided to make it at home! It was perfect for a summer night, very fresh, light and easy to make!

Ingredients: Serves 2-3
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 small eggplant, chopped
Small bunch kale, chopped small
Handful of green beans
3-4 small tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small onion, minced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup almond slivers
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by making the quinoa. While it is cooking, add in the chopped kale and lemon zest. Next make the vinegar mixture for the green beans and tomato- mix the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and a small pinch of salt and pepper. Blanch the green beans for a minute or two, then add them to the vinegar with the fresh tomatoes and let soak until ready to plate. In a separate pan, add some olive oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened, then add the eggplant, green pepper, garlic scapes, nuts, and a little salt and pepper.

Plate some of the quinoa, then top with the eggplant mixture, green beans, and tomatoes. Finish with some feta cheese and a little drizzle of the vinegar.


Summer Squash Tacos With a Citrus Slaw

I stayed at my sisters house last night to help with my one year old nephew while her husband was away for work. It’s a dreamy situation whenever I stay there- I get to be smothered with smooches from my mini nephew and spoiled by my older sister! I wanted to make them dinner, so I brought all my CSA veggies and whipped us up some summery tacos. My sister is a vegetarian so these were meatless. Vander (my nephew) had his own little deconstructed taco with all the same ingredients that we had- the kid will eat anything! It was a lovely family night…

Ingredients: Serves 2
4-6 medium flour tortillas
1 large summer squash, cut into medium thick strips
1 avocado, smashed
2 medium corn, cut off the cob
1 scallion, chopped small
2 green onions (or 1/2 small onion)
1/2 grapefruit, segmented and chopped small
2 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 baby cabbage, shredded
Small handful fresh cilantro
Olive oil
Crumbled goat cheese
1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat some olive oil and place the squash in a flat layer, cooking and turning occasionally until both sides are slightly browned and cooked through. While that is cooking, add some olive oil to another pan and cook the corn until slightly browned as well. To make the slaw, place the cabbage, cooked corn, scallion, green onion, grapefruit, and cilantro in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and a good squeeze of half a lime. Toss well and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, smash the avocado and add a little squeeze of lime and some pepper.

I usually like to warm by tortillas by holding them over my gas stove until they get a light char on them. Fill the tacos with a spread of avocado, followed by some squash, cabbage slaw, goat cheese, and radishes. Serve with some sliced lime on the side. Enjoy!3

Summer Panzanella Salad

I’m on a health kick right now- I’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week and trying to eat healthier! I feel so much better. It is really true, when you work out and take time for yourself, you feel much more energetic and positive. Not only is it good for your body, but good for your state of mind as well. I find that the small daily frustrations aren’t bothering me as much as they normally do!

With working out comes a more than usual hungry belly though, so this week when I got home I made myself a big salad including pretty much every item I got in my CSA this week, which was nice. I added some toasted pita bread to the salad to help with the carb cravings I knew I would have if only eating a big bowl of veggies. Overall a great fresh meal! I had some leftover veggies and dressing, which I ended up wrapping up in rice paper as spring rolls for lunch the next day. A surprisingly good snack!

Ingredients: Serves 2-3

2 small green onions, thinly sliced (use the white part for the pickling and the greens for later)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bread, torn into crouton sizes ( I used onion pita bread)
Two eggs
2 cups kale, chopped well (optional- a lot panzanella recipes do not include lettuce)
1 pound fresh green beans, halved
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 cucumber, skinned and sliced (I used lemon zucchini- they are round/yellow but taste like a reg cucumber)
1 medium tomato, sliced
Carrots, peeled into ribbons
2 radishes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs fresh mint, chopped
Pinch of salt

Start by pickling the onions. Place the chopped white onion in a bowl with the red whine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. To make the mint dressing, place the mint, olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar in a bowl and mix. Set aside.

Next, get a pot of water boiling and blanch the peas for a minute or before placing in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. In the same pot of water, cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes.

Add some olive oil to a pan and add the garlic scapes, onion greens, and pita bread. Tossing until the greens are cooked and the bread is toasted.

To plate- in a large bowl add some kale to the center, then the rest of the ingredients (carrot, cucumber, radish, green beans, the onion/scape/bread mixture, pickled onions, and sliced egg) then dress it with the mint dressing and enjoy!

Zucchini & Squash Spaghetti With Creamy Pesto

It’s been pretty hot outside lately, and cooking with the stove or oven can only make is worse at times. I was craving something light and refreshing, so I went with a summery vegetable “pasta” – mimicking the spaghetti with squash and zucchini ribbons instead. It was really good! I loved the veggie pasta, it was satisfying without having all the extra carbs. This is a gluten free meal, and can also be a raw meal if you don’t blanch the vegetables at all!

1 yellow squash, cut into small strips
1 zucchini, cut into small strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh basil
Small handful of cress
1 garlic scape
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons walnuts
2 tablespoons hemp nuts
1/3 cup water (or less as needed)
3 tablespoons ricotta cheese (optional)
Radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
Salt and pepper

Start by slicing the squash and zucchini into thin long strips so they almost resemble spaghetti. Set aside. Next make the pesto. Add the basil, cress, lemon, garlic scape, Parmesan cheese, nuts, olive oil and some pepper to a food processor. Blend well, adding bits of water as needed to get a smooth consistency. Set aside. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the zucchini and squash for about 1 minute until soft. Strain the water and add the squash/zucchini back to the pot along with the pesto. I like to add a few scoops at a time until I have the amount of sauce that I like. Plate the “pasta” and top with a small dollop of ricotta cheese and fresh radishes!