Tomato Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

Tomato & Avocado Salad

While strolling through the farmers market I spotted this mix of heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes.  The farmer was describing them to another customer so I stopped to listen along.  He said the tiny yellow ones — yellow currant tomatoes — were nearly as sweet as grapes and offered them up for us to taste.  I happily obliged.  He was not kidding; they’re super sweet and delightfully juicy…and so darn cute!

This simple salad highlights the incredible flavor of these gorgeous tomatoes.  With just a few other salad ingredients (avocados, onions, crumbly cheese, and herbs) along with a spicy limey vinaigrette, this quick and easy salad makes for a delicious, healthy, and colorful summertime side dish.  Or, add it to any taco, sandwich or pita pocket for a complete meal.  A veggie rainbow of flavor!

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Cast-Iron Cherry Cobbler

Stop what you’re doing right now and make this cobbler.  You will thank you me, I promise.

So the story goes, I had a bunch of cherries on hand and was in a baking mood the other morning.  I hadn’t made cobbler yet this summer, so I decided to whip one up.  I figured I’d get this made and have a nice dessert ready for later that evening and the rest of the weekend.  I didn’t mean for it be breakfast that morning.  After all, it IS a dessert.  I didn’t mean for us to eat nearly all of it one sitting.  After all, there are ONLY 3 of us.

Roasted Cherry & Brie Baguette Sandwiches

Roasted Cherry & Brie Baguette Sandwiches

In July of 2005 my husband went to London for a few weeks.  He was doing research for a college art class he would later be teaching.  The first day he was there the 7/7 bombings occurred.  The bombings targeted public transportation.  He was scared.  I was wigging out!  He spent the rest of the trip going everywhere on foot.  He walked and walked and walked.  He wore his shoes out, got many blisters, but he was safe.  And he saw much more of London that way; the nooks and crannies of the city that you only experience by chance while walking down an alley or stopping to look at graffiti art or noticing the curiosities of passers by.

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto

Spring Veggie Pasta w/ Cilantro Pesto
Summer is nearing and we need to make room for the hot-weather veg about to grace our tables.  This is a fantastic way to use up any spring veggies you have on hand.

This pasta takes advantage of the spicier spring produce available: peppery arugula and piquant radishes.  The cilantro pesto — made with garlic scapes, toasted almonds, red pepper flakes, lime juice and avocado oil — compliments those flavors and steers us in the direction of the Southwest.  Fiber-rich black beans and fresh, milky mozzarella round out the dish for a hearty, healthy meal.  To add an additional kick of spice and flavor, drizzle on some sriracha!  Let’s get the party started!

Braised Asparagus & Spring Onions

Braised Asparagus & Spring OnionsThe beauty of cooking asparagus is that it’s best when left to humble methods with few ingredients.  Simply grilled with a little olive oil, salt & pepper is divine.  Steamed with a squeeze of lemon and garlic salt is incredible.  Asparagus doesn’t need much to be an amazing side dish.

This recipe follows suit: few ingredients and a simple preparation.  I stumbled upon this recipe while reading Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy (a phenomenal book/cookbook).  It called for braising the asparagus.  I was curious; I haven’t done a lot of braising — it’s a technique I tend to shy away from because in my head it’s synonymous with “it takes a really long time.”  Well, apparently it doesn’t.  This dish is ready in 20 minutes.  It’s fantastically simple and enormously flavorful.  The veg is cooked just past al dente and you’re left with a light buttery sauce you can soak bread in.  It makes for a nice, light meal or a hearty companion.

Radishes with Tarragon – Garlic Chive Butter

Radishes with Tarragon - Garlic Chive Butter

Often the best snacks or party appetizers are the simplest ones that highlight fresh, raw ingredients.  With spring in full force and my local farmers market having just opened up, I wanted to taste the season.  Literally.  I found three kinds of radishes from one vendor and tarragon and garlic chives from another.  These had to join forces somehow…but with minimal manipulation.

Garlicky Spinach Frittata

Garlicky Spinach Frittata
Egg cookery can be intimidating.  The perfect fried egg with completely cooked but silky whites and totally runny yolks.  Beautifully round poached eggs with no craggy whites dangling off.  Fluffy, barely golden omelets with a creamy yet adequately cooked center.  Eggs can be a real trip.  But they don’t have to be.  Frittatas are your friend.  They’re the lazy (ahem…impatient) cook’s omelet.  They’re easy, they don’t require careful flipping or folding or just-simmering water, it’s easy to tell when the eggs are fully cooked, and you can do it all in one pan —  that’s the kind of cooking I love.

Dill Pickle Grilled (Goat) Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato – Dill Soup

Dill Pickle Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches & Creamy Tomato - Dill Soup
Winter is over (’bout dang time!).  Spring produce isn’t quite ready (asparagus, I’ve got plans for you).  But I’m already craving the familiar flavors of summer…tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and dill to name a few.  Lately, I’ve really needed a hot-weather food fix.  So I decided to seek solace in the comfort of my pantry and freezer.  Last summer my dad taught me how to can tomatoes and pickles.  This is a life skill no Bloody Mary-loving, spicy pickle-obsessed gal (or dude) should be without.  It ranks right up there with knowing how to change a car tire (which I don’t) and knowing when to pull the pot off the heat before the sugar burns when making kettle corn (which I do!).   Priorities, amiright?

Homemade Ricotta Cheese and Ricotta-mole

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
There’s something incredibly satisfying about making your own cheese.  It feels a little Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Sorta like you’re accomplishing something you thought could only be done on some far-away farm surrounded by grazing sheep, arcadian meadows, and rickety wooden fences…or in a cheese-making factory.  But it doesn’t.  And it’s really simple.