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My husband is a HUGE pickle fan and has been on a roll with pickling lately. He started just last month and we’ve already eaten our way through jar after jar of deliciousness. But he really topped himself this week with these amazing sesame ginger pickles. They are super fresh and crunchy and packed with flavor! We served them as an appetizer to our favorite Paleo Chicken Pad Thai. We almost ate an entire jar each (and some the next night too!). This is a super simple recipe, great for beginning picklers.

sesame ginger pickles 01

Sesame Ginger Pickles
via The Joy of Pickling

1 lb Asian or pickling cucumbers (about 3/4 inches in diameter)
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 scallion, cut into 1 inch lengths then slivered
1-inch piece fresh ginger slivered
1 to 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and slivered
3 tbs rice vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil

Halve the cucmbers lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch long pieces. In a bowl, toss the cut cucumbers with the salt. Let them stand at room temperature one hour. Drain the cucumbers and return them to the bowl. Mix them with the scallion, ginger and jalapeños. In another bowl, stir together the vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (he transferred them to mason jars here). Let the pickles stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the cucumbers occasionally. The pickles will keep in the fridge for about a week (day 3 today, and they’re still delicious and crunchy!)

sesame ginger pickles 03

(ps) this is how much my husband loves pickles…. meet Mr. Pickle:

mr pickle

I love this twist on a typical corn chowder! So much healthier too! With coconut milk instead of your traditional heavy cream, this soup has a satisfying heartiness without all the extra heaviness. And with a little chili pepper, it has just the right amount of kick. Might even toss in a bit of chicken next time for some extra protein. This is an awesome base for so many great additions, but is definitely delicious all on it’s own!

thai corn chowder

Thai Inspired Corn Chowder
via the kitchn

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Thai chili pepper, finely chopped, optional
3 tablespoons finely grated lemongrass
4 cups corn kernels (frozen or fresh from 4 corn cobs)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
13.5 oz can coconut milk (1 2/3 cup)
Olive oil
Salt to taste
Roughly chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Stir in the potatoes, chili pepper, lemongrass, and a pinch of salt. Add a splash of broth, cover, and cook until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the corn and cook another two minutes. Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Stir in the coconut milk. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and lime.

This was a lovely brunch this weekend! Packed with veggies and super hearty, SO MUCH better than my usual boring scramble. A little messy the first go around, but once I figured out to set the top before flipping, it turned out magnificient.

spanish tortilla

Spanish Tortilla with Roasted Red Peppers and Asparagus
adapted from whole foods

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 3/4 pound red or yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1/2 in pieces
1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, drained well
8 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just about tender, about 15 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook 3-5 minutes more, until it’s just al dente. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool about 10 minutes. Stir peppers and eggs into potato mixture, once it’s cooled. Wipe the skillet clean.
Heat another 1 1/2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Transfer potato mixture to the skillet and cook, running a spatula around the edges and gently shaking occasionally to prevent sticking, until eggs are set and bottom is golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place a lid or large plate over the top for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking to set the top. Carefully invert onto a large plate. Heat remaining oil in the skillet and slide tortilla back in, cooked side up. Cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer tortilla back to the plate and let cool at least 10 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.

 

So, so delicious and so easy! This was the perfect side to a bit of chicken this week. I had a few radishes in the fridge leftover from the weekend that I rolled in olive oil & salt and tossed on the pan too. I almost didn’t touch the chicken, this veggie mix was awesome. And the vinegary parsley oil paired with each so perfectly. I love an easy veggie side that’s really just a few minutes in the oven – minimal prep is my fave.

roasted acorn squash with carmelized shallots

Roasted Acorn Squash & Caramelized Shallots with Parsley Oil
via with food and love

2 large acorn squash
6 – 8 large shallots
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt & more for finishing
pinch ground pepper

Preheat the over to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper (or foil). Half the squash & scoop out the seeds, then quarter the squash so you have 8 pieces. Trim the ends of the shallots and peel the thinnest outer layer off. Arrange the squash (with one of the cut edges down) and shallots together on the baking tray, rub them gently with a little olive oil and pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes, the edges that are down should be golden brown. Flip the squash to the other cut edge and flip the shallots, roast for another 15-20 minutes. The shallots should be beautifully caramelized and the squash should have brown edges and soft centers, if they need a little more cooking, lower the heat to 350 and continue cooking until satisfied. As the squash and shallots are cooking you can prepare your parsley glaze. In a small mixing bowl combine the chopped parsley, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper. When the squash is done cooking immediately rub the mixture all over each piece and serve warm!

For the game yesterday (go hawks!!!), I finally made this killer corn dip that’s been sitting on my to-do list since the summer. And it turned out awesome! I can’t even put into words what a perfect mix of flavors and textures this is – and so easy! Definitely my new go-to for parties and football sundays. Particularly in the summer, when the corn will be even sweeter. Yum!

corn and cotija cheese dip

Corn & Cotija Cheese Dip
via minimalist baker

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob (about 3-4 ears)
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup sour cream (or you could use plain Greek yogurt)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup grated cotija cheese + more for topping
1/4 tsp each sea salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and shallot. Stir constantly to prevent burning, cook for 3 minutes, until the shallot begins to turn translucent, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add corn, 1/4 tsp each sea salt and pepper and stir. Cook for 5 minutes until shallots appear softened and the corn is slightly darker in color. Then remove from heat.
In a large bowl mix together sour cream, cream cheese, cotija. Add corn mixture to the bowl and stir until well combined.
Use the additional tbsp of olive oil to lightly grease the skillet, so the dip doesn’t stick. Spoon dip back into the skillet (I grated a little additional cotija on top here, about 1/4 cup) and bake 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle the green onions on top and serve immediately.
We served it with tortilla chips, but veggies, crackers or bread slices would be great too!

Something new! I feel like we’ve been stuck in a rut lately, but maybe it’s just because I’ve gotten out of the habit of cooking every night and have been eating way too much junk. This was a great dish to get us back on track. Super healthy and super delicious – plus it’s easy to make vegan and gluten free with a little earth balance swapped out for the butter and gluten free options for the noodles and tamari. What’s tamari you say? It’s like soy sauce, only better! Made without wheat, a little less salty, but still big on flavor. And this dish showcases it perfectly, along with a few of my favorite things: mushrooms and bok choy.

shiitake bok choy soba noodle bowl

Shiitake Bok Choy Soba Noodle Bowl
via a house in the hills

4 cups, washed and thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 small/medium bok choy,
2 bunches of buckwheat soba (about 16 oz)
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons tamari
1/8 cup mirin
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook noodles per package instructions, drain and rinse with warm water.
While water is coming to a boil, prepare mushrooms, sauce and bok choy. In a large non stick sauté pan heat earth balance butter with 4 tablespoons tamari and add mushrooms. Give a quick stir to coat and then cook on high heat for 6 minutes (do your best to not stir the after the initial mix). Give them another stir and cook an additional two minutes. The should be brown, slightly crispy and a little caramelized. Set aside until noodles are prepared.
For the sauce, combine mirin, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of tamari. For the bok choy, trim off ends, wash thoroughly and dry. In a large wok combine noodles, sauce, bok choy and mushrooms. Cook over medium high heat until bok choy is wilted. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately!

Last week I made this amazing soup. It was so bright and summery, and perfect on a night that was just a bit crisp. For fresh herbs, I only had parsley and a little bit of basil on hand, but it made for a fantastic pistou (the french version of a pesto), and with just a squeeze of lemon in each bowl, I was in love. And it was still fresh and delicious the next day after a quick zap in the microwave and a mix-in of the pistou and lemon at work. I forgot to take a picture of the masterpiece, but the original one is so gorgeous, I just had to share. After browsing a bit, I think Love and Lemons might be one of my new favorite food blogs. I didn’t even notice most of the recipes were vegetarian or vegan, everything just looks so good! Click through the link below for the full recipe!

soup au pistou

image via love and lemons

The other day, one of my coworkers had shells & white cheese with peas mixed in, and I had this intense craving mixed with nostaglia that I knew I would need to satisfy. I was thinking about it for days before I stumbled across this great recipe – cauliflower is really the perfect substitution for those of us trying to cut down on the carbs (check out the cauliflower fried “rice” recipe too!). We served it with sauteed chicken to up the protein factor, and it was the perfect not-quite-paleo meal.

cauliflower pasta with peas and ricotta

Cauliflower “Pasta” with Peas & Ricotta
via the stonesoup

1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into tiny trees
250g (1/2 lb) frozen peas
1/2 bunch mint, leaves picked
250g (1/2 lb) ricotta
2 handfuls grated parmesan cheese
Freshly Ground Pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil. Simmer cauliflower for 10 – 12 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in another saucepan. Cook peas over a medium high heat for 5 – 8 minutes, or until peas are tender and starting to go a little wrinkly. Remove from the heat and stir through the mint. Drain the cauliflower and return the peas to the heat. Toss cauliflower in with the peas and add ricotta. Stir until ricotta is heated and coating everything. Taste & season.

And now for the main course! Lamb and a spicy twist on gorgeous classic sprouts for our New Year’s Eve dinner party. Alas, my dear friend winged it on this amazing lamb that paired so perfectly with these curried brussel sprouts. Fortunately, I’m a sucker for rules and always have all the steps laid out for every dish I make. Voila! Simple steps for quite the side.

spiced lemony brussels sprouts with lamb

Spiced Lemony Brussels Sprouts
via martha stewart

2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or other cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon hot or regular curry powder
Coarse salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in middle and lower third. Divide brussels sprouts between two rimmed baking sheets and toss each with oil and curry powder. Season with salt. Roast until browned in spots and tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes, stirring and rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to a serving dish and top with lemon zest and lemon juice.

This was my course from new year’s eve! I was really nervous it would be too bland, but it turned out wonderfully. I was so pleased! This soup was the perfect creamy balance after the amazing and slightly spicy scallops we started with, and the perfectly bright and citrusy salad that followed.

creamy butternut squash soup with sherry

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry
via food52

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or preferred cooking oil
1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
2 to 3 cups chicken stock (or veggie if you prefer)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for serving

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened—this should take about 5 minutes (if leek starts to brown, add a tablespoon or so of water). Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add enough chicken stock just to cover the squash (if you have added all of the stock and still need more liquid, add some water). Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup with the milk in several batches, adding more liquid if necessary. Return to the pot and heat until just simmering. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in another splash of sherry and the cream just before serving, adding a drizzle of cream to garnish each bowl if you like (we tossed on a sprinkle of parsley too).