Tag Archives: summer

Tropical Black Bean Quinoa Salad

6 Feb

tropical black bean quinoa salad

Inspired by the coconut breakfast quinoa I recently cooked up, I decided to try a savory preparation using quinoa cooked with coconut milk. I added black beans for extra substance and played off the tropical flavor of the coconut with mango, avocado, fresh mint, and lime juice. The resulting salad was colorful and delicious (not to mention healthy) – perfect for serving my parents for dinner at the end of a hot day of sightseeing.

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Roasted Corn Salsa

17 Dec

roasted corn salsa

Did you know the best way to keep sweet corn sweet is to store it in the refrigerator? This helps slow down the conversion of the sugars to starches. I only have a small refrigerator here (think slightly larger than one in a dorm room), so I don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to storing corn. But I can’t resisting buying some when it shows up fresh at the market (currently in season here, of course), so I had to think up a quick easy use for the cobs sitting on my refrigerator shelf. I opted for this take on a basic corn salsa, roasting the corn for extra depth of flavor. The rest of the flavors here are pretty traditional (green onion, cilantro, hot pepper, lime), though I did toast the garlic, which I find mellows it perfectly for things like this. This salsa is great as a dip, on tacos, to add a pop of color and flavor to a plate of beans, or as a side for grilled fish or meat.

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Roasted Strawberry Quinoa Salad

30 Nov

roasted strawberry quinoa salad

Ever since I first heard of roasting strawberries, I’ve been waiting for a chance to try it out. Since strawberries are starting to show up around here, I tossed a pound of them with balsamic vinegar and threw them in the oven. The result is wonderfully concentrated flavor, perfect for savory or sweet applications. I chose to use them in this savory salad with quinoa. The quinoa is a great foil to the strawberries, absorbing their juices and providing a good base for the salad, along with spinach. Walnuts on top for crunch and blue cheese to balance the sweetness of the strawberries make this salad a winner. It comes together quickly, with the quinoa cooking while the strawberries roast, and I liked it best served at room temperature – perfect for packing for lunch. I think this would also be a great unique addition to a brunch spread.

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Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans with Basil

1 Oct

roasted tomatoes and green beans with basil

Every once in a while, I cook something delicious but don’t get around to posting about it. As I was going through some photos from late summer, I stumbled across the photos of this simple but tasty side and knew it was worth putting up on here. My kitchen was overflowing with cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden, and green beans were dirt cheap at the farmers’ market, so I put this together when I was feeling a bit lazy. But the end result was amazing – roasting the veggies concentrates their natural sweetness, and combined with herbaceous basil leaves, this makes for a great side dish (and I know I don’t post enough recipes for sides on here). I seem to remember that I actually mixed the end result with crumbled goat cheese which added a great creamy and tangy element, but even in its healthier vegan version, as written here, this is a dish worth making (or at least bookmarking for next summer).

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Anchovy Chimichurri

12 Sep

anchovy chimichurri

Today, I have an exciting announcement. I’m moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina! While I’m certainly going to be sad to leave my hometown of DC, it was time for a little change of scenery. Last week was my last one at my full-time job (yes, I do more than just write this blog), and a week from now, I’ll be on a plane heading to South America. I’m looking forward to new culinary experiences (in between learning Spanish and taking online classes towards my masters) and have big plans for improving and expanding this very blog, so the next year or so should be an exciting time!

In honor of the occasion, here’s a recipe for the classic Argentinean sauce, chimichurri. A pureed combination of herbs and spices, chimichurri is usually used to top grilled meats in traditional Argentinean asado (barbecue). But, although I’ve shown it over a pan seared rib eye here (made with this Alton Brown recipe, by the by), it’s also well-matched to roasted or grilled vegetables or as a spread on sandwiches. Of course, in my usual way, I couldn’t just make a typical chimichurri recipe. So this one has a twist – the inclusion of anchovies. The flavor isn’t overtly fishy, but the anchovies provide extra umami for an intensely savory and rich version of this sauce. Of course, any anchovy haters (probably the group I’m least likely to convert on here) can feel free to simply omit the anchovies.

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Colorful Mediterranean Salad with Hummus and Harissa

31 Aug

colorful mediterranean salad with hummus and harissa

Recently, I found my stomach rumbling in the middle of the afternoon after having accidentally skipped lunch. I was finishing up an errand and needed food fast, so I stopped by the newly opened location of a local chain that serves Mediterranean food assembly line style. I wanted to eat something healthy (one of my main motivations for cooking) so I ordered a salad. It was amazing – large enough to fill me up (often not the case with salads) and with great variety and flavor. The best part? The inclusion of harissa and hummus as toppings! I’ve been adding them to my salads ever since, and the extra flavor and creaminess they add is unbeatable. It inspired me to later throw together this quick recreation, chock full of healthy and tasty ingredients, including multiple different greens, red cabbage, tomato, and cucumber. Easily customizable with whatever fresh vegetables you might have around (and even better topped with lamb, chicken, or beans), this recipe is definitely worth trying out.

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Mediterranean Fig Salad

20 Aug

mediterranean fig salad

When my parents handed me a plate of figs from their neighbor’s tree, I felt like I had to really do them justice. Fresh figs like these, just bursting with natural sugars, taste quite decadent to me, so I wanted to keep the preparation simple. Mint, feta, and walnuts give this fig salad a Mediterranean twist. I didn’t even bother to whisk the dressing together first (although you certainly can, if you’d like), opting instead to simply toss everything together gently, making this salad take mere minutes to assemble. But the jewel-like figs and fragrant mint mean this salad is still impressive enough to serve to guests.

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Summer Fajita Bowls

17 Aug

summer fajita bowls

When I was a kid, I remember feeling annoyed when my parents would proclaim some fresh vegetable to be “as sweet as candy!” It seemed like such a blatant falsehood that I couldn’t believe these people who had so impressed on me the importance of being honest could dare to utter it. But maybe my taste buds have changed because I could’ve sworn this sweet corn I roasted tasted just like candy. Alongside other fresh summer produce – squash, bell peppers, onion, and jalapenos – also roasted until caramelized, it added a wonderfully savory sweet touch to these fajita bowls, rounded out by black beans and chorizo. Of course, you can also grill all the vegetables, if you’d like. Either way, this recipe is perfect for all that overflowing summer produce that’s currently at its peak!

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Layered Fruit Salad with Whipped Coconut Cream

10 Aug

layered fruit salad with whipped coconut cream

I have a history of becoming really passionate about something and then letting it fall by the wayside when a new obsession comes my way. When I was really into knitting, for example, I didn’t just knit scarves and hats; I knit complete sweaters, bookmarked hundreds of patterns, and collected boxes and boxes of yarn. And I still have those dusty sweaters, patterns, and yarn, despite not having knit anything for years. So when I started this blog, I was worried that I might lose interest, stop posting, or get sick of food (okay, I never thought that last one could actually happen). But over the past year, I’ve only found myself becoming more and more passionate about cooking. This blog has become extra motivation to keep expanding my repertoire, and I’ve found that not only has my cooking improved as a result, but so has my photography and writing. Yes, this is my one year anniversary – for an entire year, I’ve been posting three recipes a week (not always an easy feat with a full-time job), and although it’s been difficult and stressful at times, it’s also been really really fun. Nothing too fancy today to celebrate, just a tasty and simple fruit salad with a twist. Whipped coconut cream on top adds the perfect amount of richness to this summer dessert, and sliced almonds add a little crunch. I hope you enjoy the recipe and hope you’ve been enjoying my blog! Thanks to anyone who’s reading this, and here’s to another year.

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Family Style Summer Salad

8 Aug

family style summer salad

Food, I believe, is meant to be shared. Sitting down with family or friends (or ideally both!) over a good meal, home-cooked or otherwise, always fills me with a great feeling of joy and belonging, often reinforced by enthusiastic anecdotes, spirited debates, and unbridled laughter before the end of the meal. This recipe combines my love of good company with my recent love of salads. Perfect for a midsummer get-together, this salad can be thrown together in mere minutes and is easily adapted to the tastes of whoever you happen to be eating with. Use fresh seasonal vegetables from your garden or farmers market, add chicken or steak for extra protein, or make it interactive by inviting everyone to bring their favorite ingredients. By the end of the meal, I hope you’ll feel that lovely glow of an evening well spent.

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