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Yum! This salad is so simple and so tasty. I love the crunch and the sweetness of fresh peas this time of the year. With delicious salty bacon and the bite of sharp cheddar, I don’t know what there isn’t to love about this. It’s the perfect side for a summer of barbecues and get-togethers. I’m thrilled to have a new favorite to share!

spring pea and bacon salad

Spring Pea & Bacon Salad
via foodie with family

1 pound of bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled or finely chopped
2 pounds fresh peas, blanched and chilled
3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 small red onion, peeled, and finely chopped
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon paprika

To blanch the peas, drop them in boiling water for 3 minutes, then move to an ice water bath. Once chilled, drain and stir together all of the ingredients. Serve immediately, or (preferably) put in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator, to give the flavors a chance to meld, for an hour but up to three days prior to serving. Give it a gentle stir from top to bottom before serving.

This recipe was so delightfully different that what we usually make. And a team effort tonight! Husband made the balsamic reduction and did most of the chopping, I whisked together the dressing and dressed the salad. Husband grilled the lovely endives and I put it all together, voila!
Perfection. And while sometimes endives can be a bit too bitter for me, grilled they are quite nice, particularly with the balsamic reduction drizzled across. The perfect balance of flavor.
The original recipe called for radicchio to be grilled also, which we did, but I found it still too bitter for my own personal liking, and decided to forgo them for just the delicious endives instead.

farro with grilled endives

Farro & White Bean Salad with Grilled Endives
via the first mess

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup farro (whole grain spelt or spelt berries), rinsed
1 cup cooked white beans
1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried currants
3 ounces arugula, chopped
3-4 belgian endives, trimmed of rough outer leaves and cut in half lengthwise
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
salt and pepper

Dressing
juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup-worth)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or olive, sunflower etc)

Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until vinegar is reduced by half and it coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Once adequately reduced, remove from the heat, scrape into a separate container and place in the fridge to set up.

Place farro in a medium saucepan with 2.5 cups of water over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse with cold water and dump into a large bowl. Set aside.

To the cooked farro, add the white beans, chopped almonds, currants, chopped arugula, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the dressing: whisk together the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil while quickly whisking the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Pour over farro and bean mixture and toss to combine.

Heat a grill to medium high. Brush the endive with the grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the endives on the grill on their cut sides. Grill for 2-5 minutes or until you see some charring/browning of the leaves. Flip them over and repeat cooking process. Remove from the grill when charred a bit on all sides and slightly tender to the touch.

Place dressed farro and bean mixture in a serving plate. Arrange grilled endive pieces on top. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the whole thing and serve.

image via my iphone

It feels like summer’s last gasp this week. The weather’s been perfect, and I’m craving salads every night. And I must say, this vinaigrette is possibly the most amazing dressing I’ve ever made, ever had! With the fresh peas (if you can still get your hands on them), it is the most delightfully bright and refreshing dish. The perfect mix of zing and crunch. Ah! I’m in love again.

Summer Pea & Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
via smitten kitchen

1 pound of small pasta
1/4 pound snow pea pods, ends trimmed
1/2 pound fresh summer peas, which yielded about 1 cup once shelled
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a small ice water bath. Boil the snow pea pods for about two minutes, or until just barely cooked but still crisp. Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and drop them in the ice water bath. Cook the peas for about 10 minutes (once again, this will be al dente, you can cook them longer if you prefer them softer), scoop them out with a large slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water bath as well. Drain both peas. Cut the snow peas into thin slivers.
Add the pasta into the boiling water and cook it according to package instructions. Drain and let cool, then toss in a large bowl with peas and Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, seasoning to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Makes about one cup of dressing

1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded or the equivalent from a jar, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped shallot (about 1 small)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several grinds of black pepper

Puree the red bell pepper in a food processor or blender as much as possible, then add the remaining ingredients and running the machine until the dressing is silky smooth. Adjust the vinegar level and seasonings to taste.

Phew! Well, my sister’s engagement party went off yesterday without a hitch. We went for a swanky americana theme – a summer barbecue with a bit of class. I think the bloody mary bar was the biggest hit! You can’t see them all in the picture below, but we had about 10 different kinds of pickled vegetables to add, and they were all so delicious.

It was so much fun, and everyone pitched in. Husband and I made kabobs with steak, chicken and a variety of veggies – and my now famous potato salad. It’s a pretty simple salad, but with a great balance of flavors and what I call the ‘secret ingredient,’ white wine vinegar! It adds just the right amount of tang and gives the creaminess just a bit of a bite. And I add a little more celery, because I love the extra crunch.

Creamy Potato Salad with Bacon
via real simple food

3 pounds small red new potatoes (about 24)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 slices bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

Place the potatoes in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut into quarters.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then break into pieces.
In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, the 2nd teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Add the potatoes and celery and toss to coat. Fold in the parsley, tarragon, and bacon before serving.

On a rainy Sunday, the only thing I ever want is a comforting bowl of soup. I finally restocked the kitchen with some basics this weekend, and decided that making a simple soup was the best way to start the week. I love potage parmentier – it’s perfect, delicious, and so easy. I’ve used it as the base for plenty of other, heartier soups in the past, but on this cool-ish spring day something simple was all I wanted. I love it with a handful of fresh herbs and a warm loaf of crusty bread.

Potage Parmentier

2-3 large leeks
2 tablespoons butter
2 large potatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Cut the leeks lengthwise and wash them well. Slice the white and light green parts. Peel and dice the potatoes. Heat a saute pan over medium heat, add the butter and saute the leeks until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add the potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, partially cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Mash them roughly with a fork and add the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

image via costachel

Phew! I didn’t know when we’d be hungry again after Portland, but finally around eight tonight my hunger came creepy back. Craving something bright and fresh but filling, we went with an old favorite, Chicken Piccata. I love it with a huge helping of mushrooms and asparagus on the side.
While cremini mushrooms are my usual go-to, I use white mushrooms in this dish for aesthetic reasons – to keep the sauce as bright as possible. And I’ve a heavy hand with capers and parsley, the more flavor the better!

Chicken Piccata

1 pound chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons capers

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the flour on a plate and season it with the salt and pepper.
Coat the chicken in the flour and lightly shake off any excess. Heat a large skillet to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and a splash of the olive oil. Saute the chicken until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and hold it in the oven.
Add the rest of the butter to the pan, along with another splash of olive oil. Saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are glossy. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside. Deglaze the skillet with the wine, stock and lemon juice. Boil the sauce until it’s lightly thickened. Add 2 tablespoons of the parsley and all of the capers. Stir in the mushrooms and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with additional parsley.

image via let there be bite

This was our second weekend in a row in Portland, last weekend for a birthday and this one for a wedding. I always think of Seattle as such an amazing city for food, but Portland has really blown my mind these past few days. Peruvian tapas, the best biscuits & gravy in the country, maple bars with bacon and the most fantastic selection of food carts I’ve ever seen. And stellar service at every single place. I don’t know what they put in the water in Portland, but every person we encountered seemed to love their craft and love sharing it. Even at the hotel and shops. We’re putting it on our list of possible retirement locations – so much happy.


top: broccoli rabe scramble with fresh chevre at irving st kitchen
and a killer selection from voodoo doughnuts
bottom: breakfast nachos and the famous biscuits & gravy from mother’s bistro


top: our friends’ fabulous wedding at the Portland World Trade Center
bottom: Andina aftermath and the hilarious confetti on my reception plate


top: the library and bubbly at the urban farmer, drinks at the the top of the nines: departure
bottom: the best hangover cures at the original, more rooftop fun at departure

Two perfect weekends. We’ll be back, soon.

Loving this weather! Bare legs twice this week. Hooray Seattle! We see so little of the sun, especially this early in the year. I’m taking advantage with all the dresses and skirts I can. This week’s obsession is shift dresses. I love the clean lines, bright colors and fun prints.


virginie castaway via asos


kate spade via nordstrom


robert rodriguez via nordstrom

Just a little bit of sunshine and I’m already thinking about a new swimsuit. Normally I go for a pretty classic bikini, but this year I’m considering something a little more snazzy. I’m really curious about how the retro style suits fit. How you ever tried one on? I’ve got a little more curve to my hip this year, and I’m wondering if this might be just the thing! What do you think? One piece or two?

 

suits by anthropologie