Green Chili and Almond Pesto

IMG_1988

There is no recipe that epitomizes summer quite as well as basil pesto. The unrelenting heat has caused the basil plants in our garden to explode–and I’ve been making pesto consistently ever since. I seriously can’t even keep up with them. Our red eye chili plants are right beside the basil, and haven’t yet reached their “red” stage–but I’ve been picking them green. The addition gives the pesto a subtle kick. The typical pesto nut choice is pine nuts. However, I don’t typically buy those–in favor of raw almonds, which I always have on hand. So I use those instead here–I think they work great and even impart an almost...

Raw Strawberry Vanilla Cheesecake {Dairy free}

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

The summer dessert dilemma. For me, the ultra heat precludes the very rich, the heavy,and the cloyingly sweet, when it comes to dessert. I also like something light, cool, and easy to make, something good for gatherings, barbecues, and that won’t make me feel like I just ate a ton of bricks. The cashew “cheesecake” is the ticket to all of the above. It is the key to a crowd-pleasing, show-stopping dessert that satisfies a sweet tooth without sacrificing nutrition. With a base and filling made of mostly nuts, and sweetness from dates and maple syrup–this is as healthy a cake as you’re likely to find. This cake can be...

Grilled Pizza and a Recipe for Same-Day Dough

Grilled pizza

I always want to forget about same-day pizza dough–that is until the moment I need it. I prefer the idea of a slow-risen dough crafted from my sourdough starter. The key word there being “idea.” At a certain point, I need to be real with myself, and with the reality that I probably throw together a same-day pizza dough nearly as often as I make my sourdough version. Or, that there are days like this past holiday weekend, when I spend two days lovingly coaxing my refrigerated levain back to life, I mix the dough for pizza, and then promptly forget about it. Oops. Needless to say once I did...

Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dip

Cilantro Avocado Dip

This recipe can fill many roles: dip, dressing, sauce, sandwich spread, etc. I settled on calling it a “dip,” as that felt like it’s most descriptive stand-alone use. Though even calling it a recipe feels like a stretch here. To be frank, you throw all the ingredients in a blender, doctor with salt and black pepper and you’re done! It’s an ode to the quick summer night meal as it adds a bit of herby, summery freshness to whatever you pair with it. My default meal when I can’t think of anything to make for dinner, summer or not, is a veggie bowl of some sort. Basmati rice, quinoa, sometimes cauliflower rice,...

Pea and Caramelized Onion Soup

Caramelized Onion Pea Soup

Pea Soup. The mention of it immediately evokes memories of the goopy, gelatinous mush from a can of my childhood. With it’s typically sharp flavor and unappetizing pale green color, it wasn’t any wonder why I swore off this meal for many years. Anyway, as any self-respecting five-year-old will tell you, “peas are gross!” They are, however, a food that I rediscovered as I entered adulthood and, moreover, learned to cook and began to prepare meals from scratch in my various rented kitchens. From a health perspective, peas are high in fiber, protein, and vitamins A, B6, K and C. The soup that follows is made with dried green split peas....

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

squash.casserole.edited.featured

The following is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It comes together easily, and serves as a deeply nourishing and satisfying dinner after a long day. It’s healthy to boot. With a squash base, this meal is high in fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium. A simple tomato sauce, a couple of add-ins, and some good cheese and you’ll have an instant dinner table mainstay. Ingredients: 1 medium spaghetti squash 1 medium zucchini 1 ball fresh mozzarella 1/4 cup Parmesan or similar hard cheese 1 32 oz can peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are best) 3 cloves garlic 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup soppressata, other hard salami or uncured...

Thai Zoodles with Tofu and Crushed Peanuts

Thai zoodles

A spiralizer is a miraculous thing. “Do you want chopped up zucchini and red sauce for dinner?” Meh. “How about a big bowl of zoodles with meatballs and marinara?” YES. The spiralizer turns the ordinary into the appetizing, quietly performing a sort of culinary sleight of hand. Another thing that zoodles do, is really allow you to hone in on your sauces. Whereas a plate of pasta with salt and black pepper may not need too much coaxing to turn out a desirable meal–zoodles do require a little more sauce prowess. That said, most pasta sauces taste great with zoodles. But, you’ll be able to taste it if something is lacking....

Raw Red Cabbage Slaw

cabbage.slaw.featured

It’s the perfect side dish, meal base, or afternoon snack. This slaw can play many roles. It’s great for a party, grab-and-go lunch, or for lazy, LAZY Sundays–like today. Today is the best kind of Sunday. One that falls between two days off. I have to admit I’ve barely left the house all weekend. But in doing so I’ve gained a wonderful sense of quiet, and of stillness. One of the things I love most about living in the country is the feeling of solitude. We aren’t actually THAT far out of town. But surrounded by trees and set back from the road by a long gravel drive, it can feel...

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Roasted eggplant with Tahini Yogurt

It’s about this time of year when I start craving summer vegetables. As much as I love spring onions, baby lettuce and asparagus, I begin to develop a deep longing for the fruits of midsummer, namely summer squash, red pepper, heirloom tomatoes and eggplant. Truth be told, I’ve never had much luck with eggplants in my garden. Though I try almost every year, the little plant stalks either wither away in the first stages, or the fruit becomes dinner for insects far before harvest time. Needless to say, I purchased these eggplants at the grocery store. Though I remain hopeful for this year’s nightshade garden. Look for medium-sized fruits that feel firm and weighty. The...

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Summer is almost here! But with weeks of clouds and rain in Virginia, I’m still focused on warm, brothy foods. This soup is just that. A full, hearty, and deeply nourishing meal. The following is a minimalist version of white chicken chili. Many recipes you’ll find contain heavy cream and/or cheese. While I’ll agree that cream and cheese have their place in some soups, I’m of the opinion that chicken chili isn’t one. Besides the lower calorie count, their absence allow the flavors of the a good chicken broth, hatch chilis and hot chili powder to shine through. Broth-centric, vegetable filled, with a healthy kick of heat–this soup is also good to stave off any...