Category Archives: Seasonal

DC Foodie: Sweetgreen

Sometimes (read: all of winter) I’m like “ick, salad” and other times (most of summer) it seems like the most perfect idea.

This month – which how is it possible, that it is already half over??Sweetgreen, the as locally-sourced-as-possible, salad brain trust of local Georgetown grads that is taking the NE + MidAtl corridor by storm has figured it out, almost.


Their July Salad features mesclun greens, basil, peaches, slivered almonds, goat cheese and balsamic dressing.  Normally, I’m a big fan of goat cheese, but on a whim (and because they were out) we swapped for white cheddar.  This is a good move, I promise.  The white cheddar offers an extra salt kick in an otherwise pretty close to perfect summer salad.

Get your greens – before they wilt!

What to do this Weekend: Dinner with Friends

It’s August, we’re officially closer to fall than spring.  While we’ve complained about the oppressive (really, it has been) heat, in as many weeks we’ll (I’ll) be complaining about the colder temperatures.

So, in this order: invite some friends over, fire up the grill, open up a bottle of wine, eat, talk and laugh too much.

Dinner with Friends! Grilling by Jon, Flowers by Kristin

Dinner with friends doesn’t have to be fancy.  It could be new flavors or old favorites – the company is what counts!

Need ideas for some dishes?  Connect with me on Pinterest for some yummy inspiration.

Easy Springtime Vegetables

During the Passover/Easter weekend I did a lot, a lot, A LOT of cooking — which also meant a lot of eating.  when I was planning the menu I wanted healthy and spring dishes.

Here are two bright, colorful, and healthy winners – Roasted Carrots with Parsley and Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.

Roasted Parsley Carrots, adapted from The New York Times
2 pounds carrots, peeled, then cut in half  horizontally and then down the middle vertically
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a prep bowl drizzle the olive oil over the carrots and then sprinkle in the salt, pepper, thyme and oregano.
Lay the carrots on a foil covered baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until fork tender.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Add parsley just before serving.
Lemon Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower, adapted from Martha Stewart
1 head broccoli (about 1 pound), broken into 1-inch florets
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), broken into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground pepper
Prep the broccoli and cauliflower, wash, dry, and cut and place in large Ziploc bag or Tupperware. 
Add to the container the olive oil, salt and pepper, thinly sliced garlic and the lemon slices.  Close the container and shake thoroughly to fully coat all of the pieces with the oil, lemon and garlic.
I left my vegetable bag in the refrigerator overnight, but you could also skip right to the roasting.
Lay the contents of the bag onto a covered baking sheet and into a 450 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, longer for crispier vegetables.  Check the vegetables at the midway point and toss on the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
These recipes were affordable to source, a cinch to prepare, healthy and kid approved.

A Berry Good Weekend

Last weekend I went on an impromptu trip to Florida to see my parents.  We cooked, hung out, and relaxed.  It was wonderful.

One of the perks of the weekend was enjoying true spring weather and seeing the sun – we haven’t had a ton of sun in DC this winter.  Another plus was being able to gorge on fresh Florida spring fruits like strawberries and blueberries.  Not flavorless like they are here, and not super tart they were perfectly sweet.

And so, my berry snacks have inspired me for this weekend.

Shop: Dress, Flats, Fruit, Denim, Lip, Smoothie

There is something so lovely about the freshness of a new season and the first crop of sweet fruit.  I hope you have a beautiful weekend with lots of sweetness and joy.

2011 Gift Guide: Edible Edition

This year, I really want to make some of my gifts, and since I was never one for shop class our friends and family can expect gifts made from chocolate and flours, not wood and glue.

I know, of course, that during the holiday season you’re able to find a variety of goods and gummies, but nothing says love, and hopefully “yum”, like something handmade and homemade.

Make: Spice Cookies, Pistachio Trees, Spiced Nuts, Savory Cookies, Caramel Sauce, Ginger Sesame Brittle, Meringues, Almond Bark, Gummy Drops

These edible gifts are my inspiration as I head into the kitchen.  There are a variety of flavors, textures and treats.  I love the idea of surprising bites, and taking classic and traditional treats and adding some sophisticated flavors to them.

What is your favorite edible gift to give?  Tell me in the comments!

Thanksgiving Recipes: The Best of the Web

Thanksgiving is just over two short weeks away and what better time to try new recipes than a holiday that is almost entirely focused on food?

We spend with a casual feast and a huge crowd of family and friends. Everyone signs on to bring a dish or many dishes and just as quickly as they are put out they starts to disappear.

In years past I have always left the cooking to my mom, but this year I am excited to try some new recipes.
Here are some of my favorites:


Source (L-R): Caramel apples, Roasted Squash, Biscotti, Meatballs, Hand Pies, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower

I love the idea of mixing savory with sweet, and the fall produce that is featured during Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity.

I love the saltiness of cheddar paired with a crisp apple, the tartness of cranberries with a perfectly seasoned turkey, fresh aromatic herbs with the depth of autumn squash.

What are your Thanksgiving favorite recipes?

Whether you’re ordering in take-out Chinese, have a Whole Foods Thanksgiving, or hostessing like Martha, I hope you have a delicious, simple and stress free Thanksgiving!

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

A few weeks ago I scraped together some vegetables from the refrigerator to make a pasta dish.  A few bites in Mark, my most honest taste tester, proclaimed it the best pasta dish I had ever made.  When I find a good thing or a great recipe, I stick with it  – I have made this dinner for the last three weeks!

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Ingredients
1 large eggplant
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 handfuls of green beans
2 links of chicken sausage (optional)
1 onion
Spaghetti for 2 (1/2 box of Quinoa Heritage spaghetti)
1 tbsp Olive oil for the pan
Olive oil spray
Garlic (I use cubes, three)
Basil (I use cubes, three)
Salt and Pepper
Pepperoncino to taste
Parmigiana Cheese to taste

 The great thing is that with this recipe there are no rules.  Did you want more pasta than vegetables?  Sure.  Love green beans?  Make it three handfuls!

Cut the eggplant width-wise into coins and then cut across into cubes.  Prepare a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with extra virgin olive oil spray.  Spread the eggplant evenly on the sheet, spray eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Bake on the top shelf of the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.

While the eggplant is roasting, get to work on the rest of the ingredients.  In a sauce pan melt the onions in olive oil with garlic and basil.  If you’re including the sausage, add slices to pan. Then, add the cleaned green beans and sautee on low/medium heat.  The green beans can hang out on their own for a little while without much attention, just a stir here and there.  I top the pan with a cover to allow the steam to soften the beans, but not too soft.

After the eggplant has been roasting for 15 – 20 minutes add to the oven the halved cherry tomatoes, also treated with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place the tomatoes on the top shelf to allow them to get blistered.

During this time, set the water to boil for your pasta of choice.  After the vegetables are cooked/roasted and the pasta is perfectly al dente, add the drained pasta to the green beans pan, along with the eggplant and tomatoes.  Give the entire pan a light drizzle of olive oil and gently stir to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Serve with fresh shaved Parmigiano and a sprinkle of pepperoncino – and then you can also weigh in if this is your favorite pasta dish to date.

P.S. Mark, this is dinner tonight!

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Orange Biscotti

If we’re being honest, any time of the year is a good time for cookies, but the start of Fall seems like an especially good time for cookies that are meant to enjoyed with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.

This little cookie is inspired by the season and full of flavor, so really 1 or 2 (or 3 or 4) is enough.

Gluten Free Double Chocolate Orange Biscotti
1 cup blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon GF corn starch
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice
1/8 cup dark chocolate chips
1/8 cup pistachio nuts
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
Sprinkle of sugar
Set oven to 350 degrees
In the bowl of a food processor combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, corn starch, baking soda and salt.  The ingredients will pulse to be even finer and fully integrated.
Then add the orange juice and the agave syrup and pulse again until the ingredients start to form together into a ball. (Helpful hint: scrape with a spoon the batter away from the edges).  Add the pistachio nuts, the chocolate chips and orange zest and pulse one more time.
Pour all of the ingredients onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Use your hands, or the parchment paper to guide the dough into a loaf shape, about an inch tall and 8-10″ long.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool – for about 15 minutes.  Then with a sharp knife cut the loaf in a diagonal and if you’d a little extra sweetness, sprinkle with sugar.  Then separate the slices cookies by a few millimeters and rebake for another 15 minutes at 300 degrees.
Finally, you know what to do… eat and enjoy!

Fig Season

Figs are funny kind of thing, well, not in the ha ha sense, but funny in the way that I never really knew what they were or what they tasted like.  I was definitely not a Fig Newton kind of kid, not fun enough.  But, now, my, oh, my – figs are such lovely delectable bites.

They’re delicious, not too sweet, full of flavor and pretty rich for a fruit, and right now they are in season… So, hello, don’t wait around too long, go and find some or make a delightful little snack – after finishing the blog 🙂

Some fig inspiration:

How amazing would homemade jam be?  Then you could make your own homemade Fig Newtons!

Fig Jam from Delicious Shots

Fig and Pig, Pig and Fig!  Open faced fig and prosciutto sandwich?  Molto bene!

Italian Fig Sandwich from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ooey, gooey cheese and drippy, sweet figs.  Seriously, this is the kind of “snack” I’d eat by the spoonful.  Is that bad?

Brie with Figs and Almonds the Enchanted Cook

This recipe is happening!  Gluten free and figgy!

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes from The Cupcake Blog

The piece de resistance!  How stunning is this cake?  What a beautiful finale this would be for a dinner party.

Fig, Mascarpone and Pistachio Tart from Desserts for Breakfast

Have you tried figs, would you?  Are you intimidated by this “strange fruit”?

Some figgy history, from Serious Eats: The fig tree was a common theme in the Bible, and the Egyptians considered figs to be sacred, often burying the dead with baskets of figs. In ancient Greece, Plato wrote that athletes were fed figs to make them stronger. Fig culture spread to the northern Mediterranean and Adriatic shores until it reached southern Italy, and then the rest of Europe. When the Spanish planted figs in Mexico, and the Franciscan monks moved northward with pockets full of figs–that’s when they came to the States.

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread

I have a serious love for apples, and not just any old kind, my personal favorite is Honeycrisp apples.  They are a little tart, a lot of sweet, and only available in the fall.

Well, what do you know… it’s the fall and it’s Rosh Hashanah time and so there is barely a time that’s better for apples and honey than right now.

This easy recipe is great to have a round during a long holiday weekend, or to use up your favorite apples.

Gluten Free Honey Apple Bread
In a small bowl
2 cups Gluten Free Flour (Namaste Brand)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 apple sauce cup, about 4 oz.
2/3 cup of honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup of chopped apple, or about 1 large apple (Honeycrisp) – I like it really apple-y
Sprinkle of cinnamon and raw sugar

In a small  bowl sift the dry ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix with a whisk the oil, honey and apple sauce.  Here’s a tip first pour the oil, then when you pour the honey out of the same measuring cup it will slide right out.  When mixing you may need to give it a little muscle to break down the stickiness of the honey and to have a smooth liquid base.  Then add the vanilla and eggs.  Mix until fully combined.

Then slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet.

When the two sets of ingredients are fully incorporated add the chopped apples and give it a good stir so that the apples get covered in batter.

Pour the batter into an oiled 9 x 5 pan, and bake for 55 – 60 minutes at 325 degrees.

This little bread isn’t too sweet and so it makes for a great breakfast or snack.  Try it warm with some butter, or cheese, or nut spread.