Mixed Greens Salad with Celery, Radishes, Black Beans and Cotija with Whole Grain Mustard Cilantro Dressing
IMG_8676.jpg

This salad spotted with crunchy celery and peppery radishes is lovely for a light lunch or had for dinner with chicken charred on the grill, herbed salmon or juicy flank steak. It’s quick to toss together with just a minute or two of chopping and this whole grain mustard cilantro dressing is both delicious and easy to whip together.

IMG_8732.jpg
IMG_8696.jpg
IMG_8710.jpg
IMG_8703.jpg
IMG_8719.jpg
IMG_8693.jpg
IMG_8751.jpg

Mixed Greens Salad with Celery, Radishes, Black Beans and Cotija

  • Several handfuls mixed leafy greens

  • 1 celery stalk (8 ribs)

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • Four radishes

  • Cotija cheese, grated

    Slice the celery ribs at a diagonal and thinly slice the radishes. Pat dry the beans. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and add grated cotija to taste. Toss with spoonfuls of the following dressing:

Whole Grain Mustard Cilantro Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or other dressing vinegar)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 sprigs of cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Whisk together the mustard, honey, and vinegar until combined. While whisking vigorously, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in the chopped cilantro and add salt and pepper to taste. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a mason jar, secure the lid, and shake until combined. You may adjust the sweetness/tartness by adding more or less honey and vinegar.

Tomato Soup
IMG_8511.jpg

A good dose of rain over the past few weeks blessed my little town with lush green hillsides and blooming backyard roses, spurring a craving for meals that warm you from the inside out after a day’s worth of rain boot stomping and umbrella wielding. As we’re now teetering on the edge of springtime and looking towards summer, perhaps a whopping bowl of hot soup may not be a viable option for this week’s dinner due to a sunny locality, but for the unexpected June thunderstorm and the last rainy days of spring, this makes for a comforting meal when the weather turns. Keep this recipe tucked away for when you find yourself craving soup, for now and for six months from now, whether it’s the way the clouds are rolling in or a simple pang of wanting.

IMG_8524.jpg
IMG_8518.jpg
IMG_8541.jpg
IMG_8512.jpg

Tomato Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped

  • 1/2 cup red wine

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 28 oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, with juices

  • 8 cups filtered water

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Pinch of nutmeg

  • 2 generous teaspoons herbes de Provence

  • 1/2 cup whole milk (optional)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onion, cooking over medium-low heat until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook until the mixture begins to brown on the bottom of the pot. Then, add the wine and the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any bits at the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to simmer for about 5 minutes or until it’s reduced a bit.

Add the San Marzano tomatoes with their juices, 8 cups of filtered water, the sugar, nutmeg, and herbes de Provence. Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down and allow the soup to simmer for 1 hour, uncovered.

After the soup has simmered for 1 hour, it should be reduced by about 1/4th of its volume. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until there are no bits of tomato or onion left and it’s quite smooth. Add the milk (optional, and if you do, be sure not to allow the soup to boil after adding it), and the salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with torn pieces of toasted bread and a sprinkling of cheese on top.

Chocolate Fig Ice Cream
IMG_8149.jpg
IMG_8136.jpg

The seasons are turning again, all is coming alive and green, and a hankering for cold dessert has come along with the sound of crickets filling warmed nights. A jar of fig jam and dark chocolate hidden away in my pantry were just begging to be used and with a surplus of eggs and cream left over from a family brunch, I whisked it all together one night when a new batch of richly flavored ice cream was on my mind. No extra sugar added, this dessert gets all its sweetness from fig and chocolate. Deep ruby jam and rich chunks of chocolate are swirled with this fruit sweetened chocolate cream to make for a truly decadent treat. This ice cream would pair excellently with strong espresso for a fantastic affogoto.

IMG_8200.jpg
IMG_8187.jpg
IMG_8139.jpg
IMG_8159.jpg
IMG_8199.jpg

Chocolate Fig Ice Cream

  • 2 cups low fat milk

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/4 cup fig jam plus more for swirling into the ice cream

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or baking wafers

  • Approximately 1 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, salt, and vanilla. When it feels warm to the touch, add the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or wafers along with the fig jam and whisk until melted and combined. While the chocolate cream is mixture continues heating, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. When the cream is steaming and has reached a temperature of 175 degrees, scoop 1/3 cup of the hot chocolate cream and whisk it into the egg yolks (do not skip this step, as pouring all the milk in at once will cause the eggs to curdle with the rapid temperature change). Continuing to whisk, add another 1/3 cup of the hot cream, then a final 1/3 cup. Finally, pour the remainder of the hot chocolate cream mixture into the bowl and whisk until completely combined. Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator.

Chill the chocolate cream in the refrigerator overnight or for at least four hours until very cold.

After chilling, churn the custard according to your ice cream machine's directions. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer safe container and add the chopped dark chocolate and a few big spoonfuls of fig jam, swirling with a spoon. For a soft serve consistency, serve immediately. To firm the ice cream, place in a freezer-safe container and allow to freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight, then serve.

Gluten Free Pizza with Savory Fig Sauce, Goat Cheese, Shallots, Corn, and Vinegar Dressed Greens
IMG_8065.jpg
IMG_8084.jpg

For many, a thought of pizza brings flavors of tomato, mozzarella, and perhaps pepperoni or a bit of basil to mind. Though that sort is undoubtedly classic, I tend to gravitate towards much less traditional flavors when assembling pizza in my own kitchen. This recipe is a juxtaposition of sweet and tangy from the fig and the vinegar, caramelized and creamy from the shallots and cheese, and earthy and tart from the chopped greens and lemon-vinegar dressing. This combination creates layers of differing flavor that’s both a bit unexpected and wholly delicious.

Some of my very favorite people are sensitive to gluten, causing me to explore gluten-free ways of feeding those around me. This crust is a delicious way to enjoy pizza if you or those you love find themselves with a food sensitivity or allergy. It’s very quick with little prep time required and the flavor is so enjoyable that I simply can’t decide which of my recipes I like better, sourdough or gluten-free. If you’re not in need of a gluten-free option, try these toppings on my sourdough pizza crust recipe.

IMG_8091.jpg
IMG_8100.jpg
IMG_8103.jpg
IMG_8093.jpg

Gluten Free Pizza with Savory Fig Sauce, Goat Cheese, Shallots, Corn, and Vinegar Dressed Greens

For the pizza dough:

  • 3 cups gluten free flour, King Arthur gluten free flour blend preferred

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 packet active dry yeast mixed with 1/4 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • Lukewarm water, starting with 1 cup

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons fig jam

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Generous pinch of salt and grated black pepper

For toppings:

  • 3 shallots, sliced

  • 1/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen

  • 8 oz soft goat cheese

  • A few handfuls of spinach and arugula, roughly chopped

  • A handful of snap peas, thinly sliced

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Olive oil

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Paprika, salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, allow the packet of yeast mixed with warm water to sit until bubbling, a few minutes. Whisk in the sugar and olive oil, then the salt and baking powder. Finally, fold in the gluten free flour. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water and knead with your hands, adding more water until the dough just comes together. Roll the dough into a ball then flatten into a disc shape.

Oil a pizza pan or baking sheet then place the disc of dough onto the pan. With your hands, press the dough outwards then switch to a rolling pin if you’d like, pressing and rolling the dough on the pan until it’s quite thin.

Bake the pizza crust with no toppings for about 20 minutes or until it’s dry to the touch; this ensures you won’t end up with soggy pizza.

Whisk in a small bowl the sauce ingredients. In a medium bowl, toss the sliced shallots and corn with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of paprika, salt, and pepper. After the pizza is done baking without toppings, spread the sauce over the pizza and top with dollops of goat cheese, the shallots and corn. Return to the oven for 30 minutes.

In a medium sized bowl, toss the arugula, spinach, and snap peas with a drizzle of vinegar and the lemon zest. Top the pizza with the greens after baking and serve.