zucchini fritters

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Happy fall! I posted a zucchini fritters recipe about a year ago, but I’ve since tweaked it and I’m happier with the result. It yields a bigger batch of heartier, crispier, hemp-ier (yes I added hemp seeds) fritters. I like eating some right away and freezing the rest for later. They’re excellent topped with soft artisan cheese, fresh tomatoes, and parsley.  One of my favorite ways to use that garden zucchini, which is still going strong for me right now!

Here are the revised zucchini fritters. Let me know if you try them!

Makes 8-10 fritters

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of graded zucchini
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 C. chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 C. hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp of salt & pepper, more to taste
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. artisan soft cheese (like quark or goat cheese)
  • 1 C. cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 C parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Drain excess water out of the zucchini using nut milk bag or a cheesecloth.
  2. Combine the graded zucchini and chopped onions in a bowl.  Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, hemp seeds, garlic, salt & pepper, and thoroughly stir.
  3. Heat 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil in pan. Turn heat to medium. Pick up ~1/4 C. of the batter, roughly form into a patty with your hands, and drop in pan. Working in batches, cook 2-3 patties at a time.
  4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until browning. Flip, and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and set on a plate.  Add more oil to the pan to continue to make the rest of the fritters.
  5. Spread a bit of soft cheese on top of the fritters, and add the tomatoes and parsley right before eating.

Enjoy!

blueberry smoothie bowl

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It has been one hot summer! Smoothie bowls are so awesome for summer, and I’ve really been loving blueberry season this year. I’ve also had constant cravings for coconut, dark chocolate, and nut butters, so all those things are in this bowl. They really go together well though, and the bowl is packed with anti-oxidants. I’ll for sure be turning back to this bowl again and again!

Quickie recipe! This makes 1 large bowl or 2 small bowls. For the smoothie, blend 1 banana, 2 cups blueberries, 1/4 cup coconut yogurt, 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp real maple syrup, 1 – 1.5 cups almond milk (or your choice of milk), small scoop protein/superfood powder (if you use it), small scoop flaxseed.

Top with granola, dark chocolate pieces, blueberries, and hemp seeds.

Enjoy and stay cool!

sesame lime squid tacos

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Squid seems to be an underrated seafood choice but I really enjoy it. I love that it’s inexpensive, versatile, delicious, and an overall sustainable seafood option. There are also so many other ways to cook it besides making fried calamari!

Here, I grilled it and served it up in delicious tacos, along with seasonal fresh cucumbers, corn, shallot, serrano pepper, and a sesame oil + lime drizzle. It would also be great plated up as an appetizer or small plate straight off the grill and seasoned. Either way, give it a shot if it’s not something you usually try! You’ll be pleased!

Makes 4-6 tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb cleaned squid tubes & tentacles
  • 4-6 corn (or your choice) tortillas
  • 1 cup of chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 serrano (or 1 small one), sliced
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp shoyu / soy sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • sesame seeds and a few parsley sprigs for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine cucumber, corn, and serrano. In a small bowl, add shallot, sesame oil, olive oil, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt & pepper, and almost all the lime juice (save ~1 tsp worth). Mix until well incorporated, and drizzle over corn/cucumber mix.
  2. Rinse the cleaned squid and pat dry.  Season with salt & pepper. Grill the whole tubes and tentacles on high for 2-4 minutes. Heat up the tortillas on the grill as well if desired. Remove tortillas and squid from heat, and slice tube into cross sections and split up tentacles.
  3. Add squid to corn/cucumber mix, and plate onto tortillas. Squeeze remaining lime juice on top, and garnish with sesame seeds and parsley.

 

Enjoy!

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raspberry rhubarb pecan galette

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There we were, pulled over on the side of the interstate, 15 minutes east of Seattle. Our cats were really not having being in a car. I mean, really REALLY not having it. We installed a wire mesh barrier in the back of our hatchback for them to have space to hang out and not get in our area in the front seats. We thought it was the best option for a long drive. Nope! Definitely not. They hated it back there so much to the point that they somehow broke through the barrier right away and scrambled up to the front seats. It’s kind of a blur what happened next. Chris was driving and I was in the passenger’s seat. They were both frantically making their way up to the front. Chris pulled over and I somehow corralled Finn, the tabby boy, into the cat carrier and set him on my lap. Chris was somehow able to get Jackie, the tabby/white mix, to the back and re-secure the barrier. We continued back on the interstate, and I felt something warm on my leg. Finn definitely peed. Meanwhile, Jackie busted out again somehow and made her way up to the the driver’s area and slinked under the seat. We took the next exit and pulled over at a park to figure it out. We were not off to an awesome start.

We took a more southern route to stay a few days in Colorado to visit my sister and family. We managed to make it to Pendleton, OR the first night, after an exhausting first day of driving. The cats calmed down. We kept them in their carriers on the middle seat, and let them come out every once and a while. It was a long drive for them too. The temperatures were close to freezing as we pulled in to a brewpub that December night night in eastern Oregon to get some dinner.

At 30 weeks along, tiredness hit me like a bag of bricks when evening came around. Here I was, deliriously-tired pregnant lady trudging into the Pendleton hotel with a cat carrier in one hand, sensitive house plant plant in the other, still managing to grab one of those hotel cookies. I must’ve looked pretty questionable. As we made another trip out to the car, I low-key wondered how I was going to pull off the rest of this move. The best thing I could do was take it day at a time. That night was so cold, I was so tired, we had so much traveling ahead of us, but damn was that hotel cookie good.

Rhubarb season! I grew up with this gem. My mom made incredibly delectable rhubarb pies. Strawberry and rhubarb is a classic, but I’ve really been liking raspberry and rhubarb as well for it’s tartness. It’s great balanced out with lemon and sugar though. Also, adding some pecans on top gives it a bit of a crunch. It’s also easy it to make your own crust if you’ve never tried.

Ingredients

Crust*

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour + more for dusting  surface
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp cold water

Filling

  • 2 cups of chopped rhubarb (5-6 small/medium stalks; 2-3 if they’re large) Optional: 3 additional stalks cut lengthwise for presentation
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • lemon squeeze
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  •  handful of chopped pecans
  • Vanilla ice cream for topping

 

Directions

Crust

  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Slice butter into small pieces, and work into flour mixture using your fingers (or a pastry cutter) until dough is crumbly.
  2. Drizzle the 1/4 cup of water into the flour, bit by bit, and stir until moistened. Save the last tbsp of water in case the mixture seems on the dry side.
  3. Roll dough it into a ball, knead a few times, then press into disk shape and cover. Refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Take dough out and let come to room temperature (or close to it) before assembling galette.

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss the rhubarb chunks (I cut them into 3/4 inch cross sections), raspberries, sugar, lemon, vanilla extract, and cornstarch in a bowl and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Crack the egg and beat in a separate side bowl. Set aside.
  3. When the dough is at room temp, gently roll it out into 10 inch sized crust on top of a sheet of parchment paper. The goal is about 1/8 inch thick crust. It’s totally fine if it’s not a perfect circle.
  4. Pile the filling onto the crust, leaving a roughly 2 inch border. If you’re going for the optional presentation touch, wedge the stalks on top of the filling. Fold in the edges, working all the way around and tucking in the filling.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the filling and brush crust with egg.
  6. On center rack, bake for 40-45 minutes, or until crust starts to turn golden brown. Let cool, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Note: You can make the galette ahead of time and refrigerate before baking if needed.

*crust recipe adapted from Food & Wine’s recipe

Enjoy!

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slow roasted tomatoes

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The pinnacle of tomato season is upon us! My tomato jungle is producing more than I can handle, so I’m getting moving on slow roasting these guys. Slow roasting brings out a deep, beautiful tomato flavor that’s downright addicting. Add some garlic and basil to be slow roasted with the tomatoes to add earthiness to that deep flavor. If you’ve never slow roasted tomatoes, definitely give it a try. You might feel like it’s too hot to get the oven going, but when it’s at a low temp of 250° F, it’s only slightly noticeable in the kitchen.

What do you do with slow roasted tomatoes? So many things. My favorite is to add them to a jar with olive oil (my favorite is Tuscan evoo from Oregon Olive Mill) and pile them on toast, eggs, pasta dinners, pizza, or anything for the following week. I also blend them with additional olive oil and use as fresh pizza or pasta sauce. It’s also really great to freeze the sauce or tomatoes in small, single use bags to pull out throughout the winter and put to use. They store for about a week in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.

Speaking of my favorite olive oil, my friends at Oregon Olive Mill will be attending Feast Portland this year, along with many other local artisans, chefs, distilleries, breweries, cider houses and wineries. Feast is a once a year, incredible Portland food and drink festival. I’m excited to say that I will be there too! I will be covering various events throughout the festival, including a small hands-on class, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you. If you’re interested in attending Feast Portland, there are still a select few packages and events available, check out feastportland.com!

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • As many small or medium tomatoes you can fit on 2 baking sheets (~5 lbs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I don’t really measure – just drizzle)
  • salt + pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250° F. Remove stems and cut small tomatoes in half, medium tomatoes in quarters.
  2. Lay out onto baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Toss tomatoes to evenly coat, and bake for 3 1/2 hours or until they look soft and nicely roasted.
  3. Let cool, and spoon into jars partially filled with olive oil, or blend with additional olive oil to make sauce.

Tips:

My favorite tomatoes to use are sungolds and sweet million, but this works with any small or medium tomatoes.

If you’re short on time and just need some roasted tomatoes, I’ve done them at 275°-300° for about 2-2.5 hours, and they came out pretty well. Not exactly like a true slow roast, but pretty close.

I originally thought you have to toss the tomatoes half way through baking, but now I realize it’s totally fine without doing this. I usually just pull out the pans 1/2 way through, check if they need any more basil or seasoning, and switch the pan spots in the oven. 

Hope you give them a try!

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berry mint smoothie

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Summer. What a beautiful time of year. Also, what a busy time of year. Lately, I feel like I’ve had 20 things on my mind at all times, and I’m failing if I’m not getting them done.  Gardening, recipe developing, food blogging, making food from scratch, and other general life stuff can be a lot with a full time job. I know others feel the same with their jobs, families, activities, and social obligations. I feel we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves and place impossible expectations upon ourselves. We need downtime to re-charge, be mindful, and enjoy being in the company of friends and family after all, right? Lately, I’ve found these 3 things to be helpful organize my intentions and avoid a racing mind:

  1. Make weekly lists and give myself manageable, prioritized tasks spread throughout the week. Don’t be too hard on myself if things come up and I don’t get through them.  ( I like the app Any.do)!
  2. Read a good book or magazine article when I would otherwise be on my phone for about an hour (give or take) every day.
  3. Turn my phone off an hour before bed. This is a great time for relaxing, self-care, reading, or playing with the pets!

I’m not perfect, but these things definitely seem to help, along with daily exercise and other mindful activities. Of course a licensed professional is your go-to if you’re really feeling this problem, but I think many of us go through the “too many tabs open in our mind” phase from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Enjoy the summer while it’s here.

On another note, I’ve been making smoothies almost daily this summer. This one is a simple, refreshing treat that cools you down. Perfect for hot days and to utilize the surplus of berries I have in my kitchen this time of year. Any berries would work, I just used what I had on hand. Also, kombucha or ginger beer could be a nice substitute for the water and would add some fizziness.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of berries (I used 2 cups raspberries, 1 cup blueberries)
  •  1/2 a pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large kale leaf, chopped & spine removed
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
  • 4-5 small mint leaves, chopped finely

Directions: Add all ingredients to a vitamix or high speed blender, and blend for ~45 seconds, or until smooth. Serve and drink immediately or store in the freezer for a bit.

Cheers!

cucumber peach salad

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Here’s another quickie recipe! This is a really nice summer salad to have on the side when you’re out grilling or to bring on a picnic. It’s packed with flavor yet has a beautiful lightness to it. I really love the peach/cucumber combo, and the radishes add a little crunch.

Thinly slice 1 cucumber, 1 (barely ripe) peach, and 5-6 french breakfast radishes and combine in a bowl or on a plate. Drizzle olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and salt & pepper onto the fresh cut slices and toss to combine. Have a try and add any more vinegar, oil, or lemon to taste. This is great freshly made, but can be made ahead and saved for a while as well.

Serves 2-3 people. Enjoy!

peach & almond butter smoothie bowl

peach-1 peach-2 peach-3Peach and almond butter is a flavor match made in heaven. Here, end of season peaches and almond butter blend excellently in this smoothie bowl. Very quick and delicious!

Ingredients

Bowl

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax meal

Toppings

  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 cup granola
  • drizzle of almond butter

Directions

  1. Blend the bowl ingredients until smooth. Add granola and peaches, drizzle almond butter on top. Enjoy!

thai zucchini salad

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One of my favorite Thai dishes is papaya salad. For this dish, I decided to substitute zucchini for papaya, since we currently have more garden zucchini than we can handle. I also used garden tomatoes (sun golds and golden nuggets), garlic, onion, green beans, and a carrot. It’s a pleasing vegetarian dish. Throw in chili-lime shrimp or chicken for some added protein. Perfect for a hot summer day and a great way to use those zucchinis!

Ingredients 

Salad

  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • 5 green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 small tomatoes (cherry, sun gold, etc) halved
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Dressing

  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • juice of 2 limes, zest of 2 limes
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper flakes (less if mild spicy level is desired)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Directions

  1. Using a julienne peeler, cut the zucchini and carrot into long strands. Add it into a large bowl, along with the green beans and cherry tomatoes.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients into a mortar and pestle and grind for about a minute to mix flavors and thicken dressing.
  3. Thoroughly stir dressing into salad, and top with cilantro, crushed peanuts, and another squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!

Makes 2 servings

cherry & thyme salad

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I’m back from my blogging break which was brought on by general life stuff. We’ve moved into our home in south Seattle and have been taking on a multitude projects. Most of which include eating areas; kitchen and patio. My little starter garden is blowing me away with it’s bounty and I’m very excited about it. I’ve been making quite a few salads with garden ingredients, and this particular salad turned out well. I discovered seasonal cherries go well with thyme, and I added a bit of goat brie, prosciutto, almond slivers, and a delicate, beautiful Tuscan extra virgin olive oil from Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms in Dayton, Oregon. I also used their lovely Apero passion fruit vinegar. Check out their online store. This salad is bright, earthy, and perfect for cherry season. Make it up as close to meal time as possible.

Ingredients

  • Large bowl of a mix of dark greens
  • handful of a seasonal variety of cherries (I used Chelan)
  • 2 oz. goat brie cheese
  • 2 prosciutto slices
  • sprinkle of almond slivers
  • 4-5 roughly chopped thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp Tuscan EVOO and 1-2 tbsp Apero passion fruit vinegar from Oregon Olive Mill
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Slice pits out of cherries and cut cherries in half. Crumble pieces of goat brie. Slice prosciutto pieces.
  2. Drizzle most of olive oil and vinegar onto greens. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste, and mix greens.
  3. Add cherries, goat cheese crumbles, prosciutto, almonds, and thyme. Drizzle remaining olive oil & vinegar, and mix minimally at this point. Enjoy!

fontina & blackberry basil grilled cheese

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It’s the tail end of the blackberry season here in Oregon, so I’m trying to enjoy blackberries every way possible. Also, basil. Fresh, bright, and one of the things I have growing on my balcony, so convenient. Combine these two lovely ingredients into a gooey grilled cheese utilizing mild and nutty fontina; and you have something that hits the spot…especially for late summer!

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches)

  • 8 oz  blackberries
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 oz fontina cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 4 slices of rustic bread like como, multigrain, or campagnolo
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

  1. Mash blackberries a bit with fork or mortar & pestle.
  2. Brush a bit of olive oil on the bottom of each bread slice, then set onto heated griddle or skillet. Place fontina on each slice and allow to melt for a few minutes.
  3. Spread a few spoonfuls on blackberries onto one slice of each sandwich, sprinkle on basil, then set the top slice onto the blackberry slice and press.
  4. Allow to grill for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and bread is golden.

Peanut soba noodles

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This dish is perfect for those peanut sauce cravings. Add edamame, cucumber and green onions to bring out some fresh, crisp flavors. Delicious and very easy.

Ingredients:

Peanut Sauce

  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • chili pepper flakes to taste
  • sriracha to taste (1-4 tsp)

Noodles, etc

  • 3/4 package soba noodles
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 cup of edamame beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • small amount of nori (for garnish)

Directions

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. While noodles are cooking, make peanut sauce by whisking together peanut butter, broth, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, honey, soy sauce, chili pepper flakes and sriracha until smooth and creamy. Whisk in water to thin it down if desired.
  2. Drain noodles and mix in peanut sauce until noodles are evenly coated. Let cool slightly, then serve in a bowl along with cucumber slices, edamame beans, green onions, and garnish with sesame seeds and nori.

Serves 2

acai bowl

acai bowl-2 acai bowl-1You’ve probably been seeing a lot about acai bowls lately..they are hot right now. I used to buy the Sambazon acai berry packets to make smoothies back in the day. I remember really loving the taste of acai, but was confused why people are putting it in a bowl now and making it a big deal. I gave it a shot, bought the Sambazon packets yet again along with some toppings, and actually really enjoyed it. Acai berry originates from the Amazon rain forest, and is rich in antioxidants , fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Acai bowls got big in Hawaii and California, and are now spreading across the U.S. There are so many ways you can make them. Blend the acai (nice and thick) and top with anything like granola, fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, or avocado. Here’s my version:

Ingredients

  • acai berry packet
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or juice
  • 1 big scoop of plain greek yogurt
  • Pack of each strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup granola
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Blend acai berry packet (3.5 oz) with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 scoop of greek yogurt, 1 banana, and 1 cup of berries. If not yet at desired thickness, add more berries and greek yogurt.
  2. Serve into bowl, and top with granola, remaining berries, banana, and cacao nibs.

So easy. Enjoy!

strawberry peach quinoa salad

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strawberry quinoa-3It’s summer. Time for berries. Strawberries shine in this delicious quinoa salad. Mix in peaches, basil, arugula, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, balsamic, and a strawberry-lemon pesto for extra zest. Mmm. I really do love summer…

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 pint of strawberries
  • 2 small peaches or 1 large peach
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • handful of arugula
  • large bunch of basil leaves (about 15 leaves)
  • 4 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 cups cups olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, make the strawberry lemon pesto by blending (food processor is best) about 1 cup olive oil, 10 basil leaves, 5 strawberries, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of walnuts, salt, and pepper to taste.
  2. Let quinoa cool for 10-15 minutes after cooking. Once cooled, mix quinoa with arugula, rest of basil, rest of walnuts, and (almost all) the strawberry lemon pesto. Mix a bit.
  3. Finally, add the sliced strawberries, peaches, and goat cheese and toss lightly. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and remaining strawberry lemon pesto.

Enjoy!