Grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing {vegan}

grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing

There are about a million and one things I miss about living in NYC. Family/friends, a dog named Mollie, the Museum of Natural History (seriously), the kid who plays the sax at Union Square....just to name a few. 

But you know one kind of weird thing I miss? Like, really really miss??

CHOPPED SALADS.

Hopefully I don't have to spend too much time convincing anybody that chopped salads are superior to not-chopped salads. It's an actual fact. Studies have been done, the votes are in, it's written in history. 

None of that is true BUT STILL CHOPPED SALADS FOR LIFE OKAY?!

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

For two years I could find one on every corner, and  it was glorious. An overpriced weekday lunchtime triumph, if you will. Within 15 steps of my office I could go build my perfect salad and watch as someone chop, chop, chopped it into bits perfectly mixing everything with my dressing of choice. No need to worry about inconsistent bites because everything is everywhere (in salad terms this makes sense, I promise)! No concern over looking like a baby who just discovered solid food while trying to fit a weirdly large piece of lettuce in your mouth because it's all been chopped into perfect. tiny. bites.  

But now? Nothing! To be honest, I'm mostly annoyed because I live in a city that I actually think would welcome chopped salad bars with open arms. We're all over here drinking kombucha and hiking and I just really think we need a place to fulfill some salad dreams. 

Okay fine, that's a lie. I'm not hiking. I do drink a lot of kombucha though. Sometimes I add alcohol. BUT SOMETIMES I DON'T!

( I should pause here and mention that I could be totally wrong about all this, and there might actually be a place a girl can get a salad here? Seattle people HALP!)

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

So now that we've established my feelings toward chopped salads, it feels like a great time to tell you this salad I'm sharing today is not, in fact, chopped. 

Do you hate me now? I hate me now. 

But look, as delicious as I think it is this salad just did not photograph well when chopped. So for the sake of food photography these are regular ol' boring salads, but please don't let that stop you from giving yours the chop treatment.

And chopped or not, I love this salad. It's easy to put together and super customizable. Use your favorite vegetables, or better yet use the ones that have been in your fridge a smidge longer than they should. You're grilling most of them up anyway! Because I kept the dressing vegan, I decided to go all the way and left off the cheese and meat with this one. But by all means, do not be afraid to throw some grilled chicken on here. Or steak! Or shrimp! Some feta cheese wouldn't suck either!

And this dressing? I am SO into it. I unabashedly love creamy dressings - even when they negate the health benefits of a salad - and loved the idea of making something really creamy without any cream or yogurt. Enter coconut milk! Along with the avocado it simultaneously makes the dressing super creamy, while also balancing the heat of the jalapeno. So good! I made it over and over again for testing purposes, and the last two times neither batch even saw a salad. Instead I just stood over my sink dipping anything and everything into it. Cucumbers, carrots, tortillas, crackers, roasted potatoes, whatever I could get my hands on.

Again, SO GOOD.

grilled southwest salad with cream cilantro dressing

Grilled southwest salad with creamy cilantro dressing

Serves 4

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved (or ½ a large one)
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce

Creamy cilantro dressing:

  • ½ large avocado (or 1 small one!)
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-4 TB water

Rub the corn, poblano peppers and green onions with oil and season with salt. Grill until softened and charred (I did this on the stove in my grill pan, but you can obviously do this on a real grill!). When done, let vegetables cool slightly and then chop the peppers and green onions and cut the corn off the cob.

While the other vegetables cook, chop up the romaine lettuce, thinly slice the red onion, dice the red pepper and drain and rinse black beans.

(P.S. Feel free to grill up that red pepper if you want! I just happen to love it raw, but it's 100% delicious when grilled too.)

Divide everything between 4 bowls and drizzle with dressing OR combine everything in one large bowl and let everybody serve themselves!

Make the dressing:

Throw everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. If it's too spicy, add some more coconut milk or avocado! Want more acidity? Add more lime juice! Tinker until it's perfect for you and then add the water last to control the consistency - I usually start with 2 TB of water and add more if I need it. The amount is up to you based on how thin you want this to be.

Notes:

The dressing keeps well in the fridge for a week, and is awesome on everything so don’t be afraid to make a double batch. I especially LOVE using it as a dipping sauce for roasted sweet potatoes.

I keep the seeds and ribs in my jalapeno because I like the heat. If that's not your jam, you can either remove all of that or just start with half a pepper and go from there.

To make this a chopped salad (sorry I have to), I like to build a bowl and before dressing it pour all the veg out on a large cutting board. Then I chop it to my heart's content before putting it back in my bowl and mixing with the dressing. It's unnecessary work, but I've never regretted it. 

 

My favorite green smoothie

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Do you even remember a time when all of our drinks didn't come pouring out of a blender? 

We live in an (admittedly, wonderful) world of margaritas and wine slushies so it's more important than ever to keep that blender going. But today - and please hear me out here - maybe we put down the tequila and pick up some spinach? Maybe?

This is obviously not the first recipe for a green smoothie, and frankly it might not even reach full health potential, but I love it enough to drink it a few times a week and we can all agree that's a win for me (the girl who ate ice cream for lunch). I like these the most because compared to others I've seen it doesn't have a million different ingredients, but still manages to include some hipster healthy favorites (kept in mason jars because DUH).

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I added smoothies into my life last fall when I convinced my parents to do Whole 30 with me, and decided we all needed smoothies to get through it. So off we went to the grocery store where I proceeded to pick up the most gigantic bags of frozen fruit you've ever seen. Very large bags of frozen fruit. Like, why do these bags even exist SO BIG. 

Am I exaggerating? ONLY A LITTLE BIT. 

Long story short, I only lasted 10 days on Whole 30 and that fruit is probably still sitting in my parent's freezer. Whoops. 

But! I discovered smoothies have a time and a place in my life so that's good, right? I've never been a huge fan of getting a smoothie when I'm out because I always feel like they are just....too much. Like, they're trying too hard? I don't know - don't listen to me.

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Basically, at this point the main purpose of my smoothies is to get TWO GIANT HANDFULS of spinach in my system at any given time. I add this and that to make it taste good and now I have a pretty good system down. I've also started making little smoothie packs to keep in the freezer which makes things even easier than they already are (see notes below for more info on that).

Alright, off you go to your blender! And don't forget to clean it out before the tequila goes back in.

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My favorite green smoothie

Serves 1 (easily multiplied)

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 banana, preferably frozen
  • 2 cups spinach (or just 2 big ol' handfuls)
  • 1 cup soy milk (or any milk/liquid of your choice)
  • 1 TB chia seeds
  • 1 TB hemp hearts

Add all ingredients to blender and blend away!

Notes:

Technically, the chia seeds and hemp hearts can be optional but chia makes it more filling and I swear the hemp hearts make it super creamy, which I adore. 

To make smoothie packs, freeze the mango, banana and spinach in a ziplock bag, plastic bag or mason jar (full disclosure - getting frozen things out of a mason jar is hard, but doable if you let it sit out for a little bit). When you're ready to drink, just dump it all in your blender and add the seeds and milk (you might need a tiny more milk since the spinach is frozen too, but that depends on your consistency preference). TA DA!

You can also blend multiple servings of the smoothie over the weekend and just grab and go throughout the week. I find it only stays good in the fridge for about a day, so I prefer to freeze them and then let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

If I'm not making the packs, I like to freeze a bunch of bananas to always have on had. Instead of freezing them all separately, I just slice each one into 4 pieces and throw a bunch in a bag. When I'm ready to make a smoothie, I grab 4 chunks and I'm ready to go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger paloma popsicles

I couldn't wait, I had to share another popsicle idea.

In my defense, I did warn you about this. It's the summer of popsicles over here, and I'm not stopping. Are savory popsicles a thing? Is that weird? I'll look into it. 

(P.S. Before I go any further, did you know it's Popsicle Week? WELL IT IS. These are not an official part of Popsicle Week because I didn't get my life together in time to throw my name in. BUT! I had already planned on sharing these before the holiday weekend anyway so it really just felt right.)

Every summer, I like to declare a drink my "drink of the summer." And by declare, I mean DECLARE. While it's not something I spend months researching or anything, I do put just enough thought into it to make people shake their heads when I talk about it. 

And to be clear, this does not mean I ONLY drink one thing during the summer. That would be silly. Instead, I'm most annoying about this particular one. You understand.

I'm sure by now you've figured out 2017 is my year of Palomas! I just love them, and when it's warm and my plans included drinking on a patio or roof this is the drink I want in my hand. They're just sweet enough to make it easy to take down 10 at a time, but tequila-y enough to make you realize that's never a good idea. They're easy to make for 1 or a crowd and nobody has every has sipped a Paloma and decided it wasn't refreshing. It's like the definition of refreshing!

All of that to say, I poured the drink into my popsicle mold and HERE WE ARE. I added a simple ginger syrup because I LOVE the little bite the ginger gives these, but feel free to make a normal simple syrup and leave the ginger out if it's not your thing (honestly, it's the tiniest little bite though. Try it!). And in case you're wondering, it's the ginger that makes these a little darker than a normal Paloma. 

Like many frozen cocktails, these are BOO-ZY. Like, whoa. But that's the fun! They pretty much saved my life during a weird 90-degree day we had here (guess who doesn't have AC?!), but I also highly suggest sharing with friends.

In fact, here's my one piece of advice for you: Be THAT person who always has fun popsicles in the freezer. It's a good person to be. 

Ginger paloma popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles, plus an extra drink (you’re welcome)

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup ginger
  • 2 cups grapefruit juice
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ½ cup club soda

Make the ginger simply syrup: Chop the ginger into small pieces (I don't peel it because we're going to strain it out, but you can peel it if you want). Combine with sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then remove from heat, let cool and strain.

Combine syrup with grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila and club soda. Pour into popsicle molds, leaving some room at the top for expansion. Freeze for at least 12 hours (I know that feels long, but I’ve found that works best for boozy popsicles like these).

Notes:

Depending on the molds you use, you might have to let the popsicles freeze for a few hours before inserting the sticks so they stay straight.

If the popsicles are hard to remove from the mold, you can dip it into hot water for 15-20 seconds to help release.

My favorite carnitas

I am SO excited to share this recipe with you today! For two reasons:

1. They are delicious and the whole purpose of this blog is to share delicious food.

2. Sharing them means I can finally stop making them.

I recognize that 2 kind of contradicts 1, but hear me out kids. Basically, I didn't want to share these until I was totally sure the recipe worked and would be something people loved. The cycle generally looked like this:

Make carnitas --> like carnitas --> have friends try carnitas and give feedback --> test one last time before posting -->decide to change something up last minute -->like those carnitas --> have friends tell you they like those carnitas --> test ONE last time -->RINSE AND REPEAT.  

No joke, this has been going on for a long time. It's like another full-time job at this point. 

(Not true. That was dramatic.)

Anyway, I just kept wanting to tweak things here and there, and could never settle on a recipe that felt totally, 100% perfect. With that said, these are probably also not totally, 100% perfect but I LOVE them and I really think you will too.

Again, maybe not totally, 100% perfect and definitely not totally, 100% authentic but still really, really good! 

I settled on this version because I think they are just as delicious on tacos as they are on a salad, and that's important when we're talking about a giant amount of meat. I mean, sure you can eat 700 tacos and call it a day (my hero), but if you like to switch it up these go on/with almost everything!

At my healthiest, I was mixing them up with roasted vegetables and calling it lunch. At my not-so-healthiest, I was....probably eating them straight out of the pan like a monster. 

This is me. This is who I am. Please love me. 

(Okay, but can you blame me? Look at those crispy bits up there!)

I consider this a pretty simple recipe since it's fairly hands off until the very end. If you've got a slow cooker you're on your way to carnitas and isn't that so exciting?!

And if you don't have a slow cooker, I'm sure you can still do this in the oven! I haven't tested it yet but the internet tells me it's possible. 

This is obviously great for a crowd, but if you're not feeding eight million people these also stay really well in the fridge and freezer. Trust me on this - I've pretty much had leftovers on hand for the past two months. The good thing is that I now know a million different ways to use carnitas, so I'm sharing some of my favorites down below! 

Alright, I'm done rambling and ready to share (but also really nervous?). I promise not to talk this much about pork again for a long time!

Carnitas

  • 5-6 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Trim fat off the your pork shoulder, and cut into big chunks (cutting it is optional, but I find that it makes things easier later). If you want, brown the pork in a little vegetable oil, just 1-2 minutes per side. When they are done transfer to your slow cooker (this is also very optional - I only do it because I have a fancy slow cooker that lets you brown meat and then cook it in the same pot. It's fancy and I love it very much).

Mix together all the spices and sprinkle over pork. Add garlic, orange juice and oil. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

When pork is cooked, take out and shred with two forks. Transfer back into slow cooker and mix with juices left in pot.

To finish them off, you have two options:

Turn on your broiler and get it hot hot hot. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread pork out in an even layer. Broil for 5 minutes. Take sheet out, ladle some of the leftover juices over and toss with tongs. Broil for 3-5 minutes more until the edges are deeply caramelized and crispy.

OR

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high. Add 1 TB vegetable oil and spread pork out in an even layer. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, pressing down with a spatula to help it crisp up. Toss pork and let it cook for 1-2 minutes more. If it starts to look a little dry, just add in a few tablespoons of juice.

The latter is my favorite way (I think it comes out just a smidge better on the stove), but the former is perfect when you need to make carnitas for a crowd. Both are great!

Serve in tacos, burritos, bowls, whatever!

Notes:

If you're not eating these all at once, they keep really well. You can fry/caramelize them all at once and then keep them in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer for...probably forever?

Alternatively, you can store the pork as-is out of the slow cooker and then fry up whatever you need, whenever you need it! If you do this, either transfer some of the juices into the container as you pack it up or keep it in a separate container in your fridge. You'll want it when you broil/fry them up later to keep things from drying out. If the idea of keeping meat juice in your fridge weirds you out (I get it), just keep some chicken stock on hand! 

As mentioned, I like these on pretty much everything. A few options:

  • Tacos (duh)
  • Burritos (also, duh)
  • Nachos (you see where I'm going)
  • Rice/grain/salad bowls
  • This Quinoa Skillet <-- I replace the chicken with leftover carnitas and it is SO GOOD. The best thing to make on the weekend and eat for lunch all week
  • Make your favorite chili and replace the usual meat with these
  • Avocado toast + warm carnitas on top is a surprisingly delightful weekday dinner
  • Make a hash with potatoes, onions and peppers. Add carnitas. Top with egg. BREAKFAST LUNCH AND DINNER DONE

 

 

Caramelized onion, sausage and goat cheese frittata

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Here's a fun way to start off a post about a frittata: I don't really like eggs. 

I don't hate them or anything, just not really a fan. The only time I ever find myself wanting eggs is when I'm desperate for a breakfast taco but can't find one because apparently they don't exist outside of Texas and.....well that's really a whole other story that I'm sure you'll hear soon enough.

(Beginning, middle and end of that story is WHY DID I EVER LEAVE TEXAS?)

Anyway, I don't love eggs but I really, really like making a frittata. I can't explain it, but it's one of my favorite things to cook. Saute some things, whisk some eggs, sprinkle some cheese and BAM you've got breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack and dinner!

No, seriously. This recipe makes a whole lotta frittata. It is FILLED with some of my favorite things - chicken sausage, caramelized onions, GOAT CHEESE. Also spinach. But then also GOAT CHEESE.

And some eggs, of course.

Specifically, 12.

One. Dozen. Little. Eggs. 

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It works any time of day, and the best part is that you can let it sit out for a while and it still tastes good at room temperature. Some people say you can eat it cold, but that makes me want to die a little on the inside so maybe we stick with room temp or warm. Cool? 

COOL.

In case you are wondering (you are), my favorite way to serve this is at brunch! I love having friends over for brunch (big fan of day drinking over here) and this dish is a perfect addition to a brunch spread. Because it can sit out for a while, you can make it ahead of time and just keep it out for people to pick at. Serve with a salad, fruit, maybe some muffins? And mimosas! It's the perfect way to spend the day before falling asleep on your couch at 3 p.m. (oh look, another reason why I like hosting at my place).

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Sausage, caramelized onion and spinach frittata

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 1 lb sausage (I love spicy chicken sausage in this, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional if you don’t want a little heat)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook sausage over medium heat, crumbling as it cooks. When it’s done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add butter to pan and let melt. Add onions and ½ tsp of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want them to get soft and deeply caramelized (but, um, if you burn them a little because you called your parents and maybe forgot you were cooking onions it’s still going to be okay). When onions are done, bring the heat back up to medium-high and add the sausage back in the pan along with the spinach. Season with red pepper flakes and oregano and stir until spinach wilts. Spread everything out evenly in pan.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk eggs together with yogurt, ½ tsp of salt and pepper until smooth. It's okay if the yogurt stays a little bit lumpy but you want it pretty smooth. Pour eggs over sausage and onion mixture, tilting the pan a bit to make sure the eggs are distributed evenly.

Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, just until edges start to set. Crumble goat cheese over the top and then place pan in oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until middle is just set.

Notes:

Because I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet, a dozen eggs were used in the making of this dish. If you have a smaller pan (or just don't need this much egg in your life) you can use less. You basically just want to the eggs to even out with the filling when you pour them in - they don't have to cover everything but it should look pretty even. Alternatively, if you prefer a thinner frittata you can just use less eggs!

Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Burrata caprese

caprese

Looks like it only took me two weeks before I came here with a non-recipe. But in my defense, is it really summer if you're not throwing fresh tomatoes and creamy cheese on a plate and calling it dinner?  

So fresh. So summery. So not like the chilly rain I'm watching fall down as I type this (damn it, Seattle).

I live in a tiny studio with no garden, patio or anything of the sort and the freshest produce is either a 15 minute walk or Amazon Fresh delivery away. But still! Every time I make caprese I feel like I just walked in from a garden and effortlessly threw together something wonderful. I feel like my mom (who does grow tomatoes and basil) or Ina Garten (who probably invented tomatoes and basil)! 

burrata

Burrata is like a love language to me and has almost ruined regular mozzarella for me (ALMOST). I will literally fight anyone who tells me they don't like burrata. Who looked at an already wonderful ball of cheese and was like "you know what this needs? a bunch of cream in the middle, that's what!" WHO DID THAT?! I need to be their friend please!

Most of the time I make a caprese salad I use cherry tomatoes and those little balls of mozzarella and add as much fresh basil as I can possibly stand (so that's, um, a lot of basil). Then I drizzle on olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt and pepper and it's good to go for me. Rarely measured and always eaten by the bowlful. 

This version is more of a "company caprese" if you will. It looks pretty and fits perfectly next to a cheese plate and wine. All the wine, really. Be sure to let the person you love the most make that first cut in the cheese and watch their face fill with joy as that creamy filling starts to make it's way out.

Oh wait, I might be the only one who enjoys that. Did I just make this really weird? SORRY.

(Not sorry.)

This time I made it on a Saturday morning, took photos of it and then ate it for lunch for like 4 days straight. Just as good - even without the wine! 

I created the recipe below to be helpful, but in all honesty you should do this to taste. A little of this. A little of that. As long as you have fresh tomatoes, basil and cheese it will never go wrong. 

Burrata caprese

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side or appetizer

  • 4-6 tomatoes, depending on size (I used a mix of roma and beefsteak)
  • 2 balls of burrata
  • Basil, torn or cut into small strips  (as much as you’d like!)
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)

In a small bowl or measuring glass, whisk together lemon juice, balsamic and olive oil. Add half of your basil and stir to combine. Set aside.

Slice tomatoes and arrange in a large bowl or platter (I quartered some of my smaller tomatoes just to add texture, but you don’t have to).

Arrange burrata on top of tomatoes

Pour dressing over tomatoes and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Remember tomatoes can take a lot of salt (but still do it to taste)!

Sprinkle with remaining basil, drizzle on balsamic glaze (if using) and enjoy!

Strawberry rhubarb greek yogurt popsicles

Your girl got herself a popsicle mold!

(Your girl also discovered how difficult and messy it is to photograph popsicles!)

I know it looks likes a big ol' mess, but I'm just so excited about this. Summer has BARELY started here in Seattle but I'm already living my life on a rooftop, rose wine in one hand and a popsicle in the other. It's the best way to live and I intend on doing it until September. Maybe even October. Nobody can stop me!

Despite this somewhat-aggressive insistence on having a popsicle in hand at all times, for years I kept changing my mind whenever I would get close to buying a popsicle mold (that $20 would then go to very important things like lipstick and gummy bears, of course). I finally bit the (frozen) bullet and got one, and now I can't stop thinking of ideas! Naturally, most of them are just popsicle versions of my favorite cocktails so prepare yourself for that. But today we have yogurt! And fruit! Also some sugar. BUT YOGURT AND FRUIT TOO!

The rhubarb came into play only because I had been wandering around a farmer's market near my apartment for so long, passing the same stands over and over again empty-handed and realized I needed to get something before someone got tired of seeing my face not buy anything.

Basically, I bullied myself into some rhubarb (<--If you ever need a sentence to describe me, use that).

I can't remember the last time I heard someone talk about rhubarb without mentioning strawberries, so those made it in here too. When I saw the recipe for the compote I knew I had to make it. If you make just that, and then bow out and just pour it over some ice cream before even thinking about popsicles I won't blame you. We should definitely be friends.

For the rest of you, don't worry - we can still be friends too. Just promise you'll come over and eat popsicles with me all summer.

Strawberry rhubarb yogurt popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles (in this mold)

  • 2 cups strawberry rhubarb compote (recipe below)
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups greek yogurt

Combine sugar, water and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for a few more minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool completely and then whisk it into the yogurt.

For a layered popsicle, alternate layers of yogurt and compote in your molds leaving a bit of room in the top (for expansion). I love the way this looks, but be warned that the fruit is a bit tart so when you eat them later you'll have some tart bites and some sweet bites.

If you prefer a more consistently sweet frozen treat (understandable), just stir the compote into the yogurt mixture and then fill your molds..still leaving room at the top. 

Freeze until solid, about 4-5 hours. Enjoy!

Roasted strawberry rhubarb

  • 2 cups strawberries, halved
  • 3 cups rhubarb, chopped
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup sweet vermouth
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together maple syrup, vermouth, balsamic vinegar and sea salt. Pour over strawberries and rhubarb and toss well. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes.

If you're using for the popsicles, let cool completely and then blend (I like to keep it a bit chunky). If you don't want to do that, you can totally eat this warm over ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, anything!

Notes

If you have trouble removing these straight from the freezer, dip the bottom half of the mold into warm water for 20-30 seconds and then gently remove.

To store, you can either keep them in the mold if you have the freezer space. If you don't have the space (or, um, need the molds to make MORE popsicles), I like to wrap each one in plastic wrap or wax paper and then store them all in a large ziplock bag.

{compote from Food52; popsicles adapted from Smitten Kitchen}

Chipotle cauliflower tacos {vegan}

Guys, be honest with me for a second here. Is there anything better than a taco? 

No? Good, we're on the same page.

With that out of the way, we can talk about THESE tacos! It took me a while to realize I didn't need meat in a tortilla to make me happy, but I like to think I've made up for lost time. Recently, I've been on a bit of a cauliflower kick (that was a weird thing to type), and we know I'm always on a taco kick so, really, this was inevitable.

That brings us to this chipotle marinade. OH MY WORD THIS STUFF. I first found this recipe a million years ago on Chrissy Teigen's blog (remember her blog??) and have adapted it over the years. The recipe below makes a whole bunch, but don't you worry - you can use it on pretty much everything. Chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, a pillow, literally anything, etc. 

I felt like keeping these on the vegan side, so I just topped mine with avocado and a quick little pico (oh hey i'm a person who says quick little pico now). I like spicy things so this was perfect for me. But! These would be great with a little dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt to cool things down a bit. 

Either way, give these a try and make sure to tell everyone you can eat double the amount because cauliflower basically turns you into a superhero.

Roasted chipotle cauliflower tacos

Serves A LOT

Chipotle marinade

  • 2 cans chipotle in adobo
  • ¼ cup tequila (see notes)
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 TB ketchup
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB sugar/agave/honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 TB oil

Pico

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • black pepper

Tacos

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 4-5 cups)
  • corn tortillas
  • favorite taco toppings: avocaodo, radishes, cilantro, sour cream, whatever you like!

Preheat oven to 425.

To make the marinade: Blend all ingredients until combined. This makes way more than you need, so you can always halve this recipe if you don't want the extra. (BUT just so you know, it’s delicious on chicken, fish, shrimp, other vegetables, etc. I put it on everything!)

Cut the cauliflower into small florets and toss with about ½-1 cup of the marinade (see note below). Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing once, until roasted and caramelized.

In the meantime, make the pico. Halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes depending on how big they are. Mix with diced onion, chopped cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. Add salt and pepper and combine. Keep in fridge until ready to assemble tacos.

Warm the tortillas to your liking, slice up some avocado, cut up limes, etc.

When the cauliflower is done, assemble your tacos. I like to start with 1-2 tortillas, lay down a few avocado slices and top with cauliflower and pico. Add a little more lime and you’re good to go!

Notes:

The original recipe for this marinade called for vodka, but I prefer tequila. If you want to stay away from alcohol you can totally just use water or broth.

Leftover marinade will stay in the fridge well for a week, and you can also freeze it for later!

I would start with 1/2 cup of the marinade, taste a little floret and decide from there if you want to add more. 

 

Roasted potato and salmon salad

It feels a little weird to be all "welcome back blog here's a SALAD" but here we are. 

To be fair, I happen to love salads. I do not view them as a form of food punishment, and many times my salads have more calories than, like, a burger (hi lots of cheese). However this is not one of those, and technically one could consider this a "detox salad" after a weekend of margaritas, tacos and movie popcorn. 

Except that's dumb, so don't call this a detox salad. We're all adults, we know what our bodies do and do not need. And sometimes we need movie popcorn OKAY?! Instead, I prefer to call this a "hey no pressure, but you're kind of old now so maybe eat some kale once in a while" type of thing. 

This dish holds a special place in my heart because potatoes and salmon are two of my absolute favorite, desert island, couldeatthemeveryday foods. 

It's also fairly easy to put together and totally customizable. Red onions too much for you? Use a shallot instead, or just leave them out completely. Literally can't stand kale? Use your favorite salad green, kids. Trying to cut back on potatoes? GO AWAY.

Kidding!

You could totally roast up any vegetable you like and throw them in here. It really is up to you. The dressing pretty much goes with anything, and the rest of the flavors are simple. If you're making this just for yourself (like I normally am), just scale back all the ingredients. The dressing stays good in the fridge for a good week though so maybe make all of that and throw it on whatever you want later. LIKE POTATOES MAYBE.

So in conclusion, this is a TREAT. Go forth and eat this salad (and maybe a taco right after if you must).

Roasted potato and salmon salad 

Serves 4

  • 1 lb potatoes (I prefer fingerling or any other small ones for this)
  • 2 TB olive oil, divided
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups greens (I used kale and arugula here)
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb salmon, cut into 4 fillets
  • salt and pepper

Lemon dijon dressing

  • 3 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB agave or honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Halve or quarter potatoes and toss with 1 TB olive oil, 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until roasted.

While potatoes are roasting, cook salmon. Heat the remaining 1 TB of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, season salmon with salt and pepper and place salmon in pan (skin side down if you’re kipping the skin on). Reduce heat to medium and sear until salmon is fully cooked, flipping once. This should take 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick your salmon is.

(ALTERNATIVELY you can just throw the salmon in the oven with the potatoes! Cook for 12-15 minutes, again depending on the size.)

To make salad:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Taste and make sure you like it - feel free to add a little more of anything to make it perfect! In a large bowl, mix together greens, red onion, cherry tomatoes and cheese. oss with about half the dressing. Divide into four bowls, top with salmon and drizzle with remaining dressing (if desired).

 

 

Hi again

I'm so happy to be back.

I would rather not sit here and make a bunch of excuses about why I essentially deserted this corner of the internet I created for myself, but if you're new just know that I use to blog, then I stopped and now I'm back! 

The past couple of years have been nuts (in a really good way) and it made sense for me to take a blogging break. While this little food blog is almost nothing compared to some of the others out there (YET), it's important to me and I didn't feel like I was in a place the past couple of years where I could put out content that I would be proud of. 

So what have I been doing?

Well. Last time you saw me I was in San Francisco and loving it. Then I was in NYC, also loving it. I adored both those cities, but the ONE thing I truly missed in each city (aside from, like, family and friends and stuff GEEZ) was MY OWN KITCHEN. Roommates are cool and all, but it's real hard to make a giant mess in the kitchen knowing others could walk in at any moment. Although, I will admit it helped me develop my own "clean as you go" system and basically nothing makes me feel like more of an adult.

ANYWAY.

I stopped blogging when I felt like I didn't have the resources (aka my own space) to really do it right. But guess what?! I HAVE MY OWN KITCHEN AGAIN!

(In Seattle.)

So you're probably like, "Stop it. Why can't you stay somewhere for more than two seconds?" and my answer is "I don't know. Let me live my life."

So here we are. Back to one girl in one kitchen making SO MUCH FOOD (P.S. If you live in Seattle, please come over for dinner. I feel slightly out of control here). 

While I can't promise things will be perfect and consistent here, I'm going to try my best. Come back for recipes, ramblings and all the virtual happy hours you could ever want.