Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta

The combination of these ingredients is possibly the best thing to happen to summer dinners. It’s one of those dishes that I could eat everyday until it makes me sick and then I never want it again. So far so good.

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Ingredients 

1/3 cup extra virgin Olive oil

3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp Tabasco

Pepper to taste

Seedless watermelon cut into 1 inch cubes, chilled (10 cups)

Feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 cup fresh mint, chopped

 

Directions

Whisk the first five ingredients in a big bowl until combined. Add the watermelon, feta, onion and toss gently. Sprinkle with chopped mint and dive in.

 

 

 

Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls

Ever since I had my first meat pasty in London, my radar for a British meat pie is always on. This is an easy recipe that sort of has a pasty vibe, perfect for a party or pot luck, when those days are allowed again.

*recipe is from Epicurious

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds good pork sausage

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (17-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 eggs beaten

DIRECTIONS

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix together the sausage, basil, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste until all the seasonings are well distributed throughout.

Roll out all the puff pastry into one large rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Put the wide side of the rectangle to your left. Form the sausage meat into a log about 1 inch thick and long enough to fit the width of the pastry. Lay this log along the whole edge. Roll the pastry around the sausage, brush with beaten eggs at the join, and cut so that the pastry has just enough room to slightly overlap. Repeat the process with the remaining sausage meat and pastry. Line up all the sausage rolls making sure the seam on each is at the bottom and not showing. Brush the tops with the eggs and cut the sausage rolls into either 1 1/2-or 3-inch logs.

*serve with your favorite mustard or an aioli or nothing, they are good on their own.

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Sticky Korean Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are without a doubt the best finger food ever. Over the years I have steered towards the sweet and salty sauces opposed to the original buffalo sauce, I find it to be a little boring.  I used a dry rub and a sauce for these and it made them much more addicting. The Gochujang gives them a lingering spice that lends an umami sweet heat.

To lessen the clean up, I grilled the wings; leaving only the saucepan in my workload of dishes.

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INGREDIENTS

18 Chicken wings or around 2 lbs.

Dry Rub

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tsp EACH ginger powder, garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

Korean Sticky Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons Gochujang (you can find this at most Asian markets and I have also seen it at Vons)

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or Mirin

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons of chopped scallions

DIRECTIONS

Stir rub ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add half of the rub to a large freezer bag with half of the wings and shake until coated evenly.  Set wings on a large cutting board or a vessel to transfer to the grill. Continue with remaining rub ingredients and wings.
Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high heat.
Grill the wings until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
While the wings cook, start the sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, simmer until thickened about 8 minutes.
Place the rested wing into a bowl and toss with the sauce until they are evenly coated. Garnish with green onion or sesame seeds.
*Note, these can be baked in the oven if you prefer. Heat oven to 400, line baking sheets with foil and top with a baking rack. Line wings on the prepared rack and bake 35-45 minutes or until cooked through. Follow as is, with the sauce.

 

 

Cheese & Cherry Tomato Puff Pastry Tart

Puff pastry, who doesn’t like puff pastry? It’s so versatile and can be used for anything. I usually have some tucked in my freezer just in case the urge to make this Tommy Tart recipe appears. I didn’t veer far from that recipe, but instead of using Boursin cheese, this time I used mozz, gruyere and parm.

Listen, this is recipe you need in your back pocket. When your neighbors, you know the ones you kind of like but don’t ever hang out with. They suggest you “stop on over” for some wine. And well, duh, if there is wine, then you are there! But you can’t show up empty handed. SO, you are welcome.

Here is what you are going to do, pull out the puff pastry you have in your freezer (see what I did there). Set it on the counter to defrost while you either, break up the siblings fight in the other room or struggle with the common core math that the 7 year old brought home. Now you really need that wine AND your puff pastry is now ready; set GO!

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Ingredients

1 sheet of frozen Puff Pastry

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped herbs, basil, oregano

1/3 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup  grated Gruyere cheese

1/3 cup  grated Parmesan  cheese

olive oil + salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

The puff pastry needs to be defrosted, leave out on the counter for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and let drain as you prepare the following.

Place a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Place the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured counter.  Unfold the flaps.  Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the pastry and, with a rolling pin, just slightly roll the dough so the seams are not so prominent.  Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, score the puff pastry all along the sides about 1/2 inch, to  make a small border.  Sprinkle the cheeses with the herbs and  top with the tomatoes. Drizzle with (good) olive oil.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden. Cut it up and now you have a dish to bring to (said) neighbor. Maybe they will invite you back or maybe they wont. Either way, it wont be this recipe that disappoints, just saying.

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Pesto Zoodles with Burrata and Tomatoes

I almost forgot that my spiralizer existed. While cleaning my pantry I spotted it sitting lonely up on the top shelf. I promised myself to use it the next week. If you meal plan or prep ahead of time, this dish can come together in five minutes. Otherwise it might take a good twenty minutes or so; Choose wisely. With no cooking at all,  this dish is good way to feel like you are having a big bowl of pasta without the guilt.

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Ingredients (for 2-3 people)

3 zucchini, spiralized

1 to 1 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 ball of burrata

Pesto

2 cups of fresh basil

1-2 cloves of  garlic (or more, don’t let me stop you)

1/3 cup of toasted nuts (you can use pine nuts, pistachios, almonds or walnuts. Do YOU)

1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)

1/2 cup of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Chopped pistachios to garnish

Directions

Put your spiralized zucchini in a big bowl.

Throw all the pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend until it’s to your liking.

Spoon as much pesto onto your zoodles for your taste and toss. Your hands are the best tool for this job.

Toss in your tomatoes.

Get your ball of burrata (SO delicious) tear it up and gently drop it all over.

Drizzle with your favorite olive oil and throw on some chopped pistachios. Taste for seasoning and then and serve. Voila.

 

Cooking with Kids {Basic Pizza Dough}

I love cooking with kids, my mom cooked with me, I cooked in my classroom and my two girls have been in the kitchen with me from early on. Now I am not going to say it’s easy, cooking with children. What’s easy is taking a picture of your child cracking an egg and then once the picture is taken it’s like “okay, you’re getting it all over, get out!” Am I right? The key is to go in knowing it is going to be messy and if you have multiple kiddos then there is always going to be a fight. BUT, it’s good for them, good for their brain and if you have your wine glass full, a little easier on you!

Kaili picked a pizza dough recipe out of her cookbook and read me the ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup water

1 package yeast

2 tbs olive oil plus 1 more for the bowl

2 tbs sugar

3 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Combine sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Pour yeast mixture and oil in well and stir into dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled.

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How simple is that? Now the hardest part is a toss up between the clean up or the refereeing.—> Take a big sip of wine!

Once I put the dough on a hot baking sheet, they slathered on store bought pizza sauce {it was a weeknight meal y’all} and cheese. Anything else in their mind is “gross”. Side eye.

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And voila! A cheese pizza that they both ate and didn’t kill each other over!

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Tzatziki

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When I was younger, Trader Joe’s Tzatziki was a staple in my refrigerator. As I have gotten older and really learned my way around the kitchen, I found it’s much more delicious homemade. As most things are.

A creamy greek yogurt sauce with garlic and cucumber, its a great partner to a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Or to just dunk a warm piece of pita bread in.

I used this as a topping to some chicken shawarma pitas. Easy to make there is really no excuse to buy it, sorry Trader Joe’s.

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 English cucumber, peeled and grated

4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs chopped fresh dill

1 tbs GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cups Greek yogurt

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

After the cucumber is grated allow to sit in a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle with a dusting of kosher salt and let sit, this will bring out the moisture in the cucumber.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt,  garlic, lemon juice and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Chill.

Squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can using cheese cloth, dish towel or aheavy duty paper towel. Add to the yogurt mixture and combine well. Chill until ready . Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

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Asparagus with Pesto and Burrata

How have we been eating asparagus without pesto for all these years? Fail! The compliments these two give each other is something from a love story, a perfect pairing.

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Topped with creamy burrata, this is a perfect side dish to anything.

Ingredients

1-2 bunches of asparagus

1/2 lemon

2 Tbs. Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Burrata

Pesto, you’re favorite homemade recipe.

Directions

Begin by making your pesto and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425. Place asparagus on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 minutes.

Top with burrata and a few spoonfuls  of pesto. Break open that ball of creaminess and dive in.

 

*recipe adapted from The Londoner

 

 

Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce

Thai and Coconut, probably two of my favorite things but when you mix them together with some spice, its pure harmony. Most of the time we have a bag of Kirkland raw, peeled, tail on shrimp in our freezer. No fuss and cooks up in minutes, perfect for a weeknight meal. If you can prep everything, cut all the veg and make the sauce…. or as the French say, “mise en place” then this dish comes together in no time.

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Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, your preference)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (you can use vegetable oil)
2 gloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ onion, peeled and sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup coconut milk
3-5 tablespoons high quality fish sauce (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to taste)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Serrano pepper sliced for the heat lovers

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Directions

Place the shrimp in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, garlic, ginger, kosher salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat and let marinade for 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

Heat a good sized skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers and onion to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until opaque, transfer shrimp to a plate.

In a medium bowl whisk the coconut milk, fish sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar and stir well. Transfer the cooked onion and peppers to the skillet and pour the coconut milk mixture of the peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet with the basil and cilantro and toss to coat.  Garnish with more cilantro and basil, chopped green onion and sliced Serrano. Serve over rice, noodles or riced cauliflower.

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*Recipe adapted from Foodie Crush

Israeli Style Hummus

I love hummus, we all love hummus. I pay way too much on store bought brands so I started making my own. As much as I love to make meals from scratch, avoid the big chains, drink local coffee and support small businesses, I am also human. I have been using gasp canned garbanzo beans for my hummus. Okay, canned is still better than say, Sabra’ right? I even used a packaged hummus mix that had everything but the beans and it was pretty darn good. This time I wanted to really make hummus, legit Israeli hummus.         I used Bon Appetit’s recipe found here.

It’s no more work than using canned beans and it’s cheaper, win win!

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I am not sure it tasted too much different than using canned beans but it was definitely creamier. No reason to look back, no reason to buy store bought. Next time I am going to throw in cilantro and a few serrano’s, actually I am going to do that now.