Archives for posts with tag: dinner

watermelon 2

salad duo makes a meal

basil. watermelon. peach. balsamic.

citrus dressing. garlic prawns. green salad.

I have this compulsion to invite people over and feed them. I am not the most organized hostess and I actually do not even like that word. “Hostess”. It makes me think of forced seating arrangements and jell-o molds. I prefer casual, organic get togethers that occur in nature. Someone caught fish, let’s cook it. I have a plethora of zucchini, let’s eat it. Sometimes I just invite random people that I love over and try new recipes. This week I was inspired by my basil plant I have managed to keep alive in this tropical heat wave, and my dearest friend and her new dietary restrictions. I used 1/2 the case of white peaches I picked up last weekend, watermelon spears (from Trader Joes), fresh chiffonade basil and a little balsamic for the first salad. I sprinkled some black pepper on it as well. It was savory enough for dinner, but could have easily been dessert possibly with added blueberries.

The second salad I needed to avoid some of my salad staples (nuts, cheese). For the base of the salad I used:

Organic mixed greens

Hericot verts

Mixed medley cherry tomatoes

English cucumber


The dressing/marinade:

Orange juice

Fresh lime juice

Organic honey

Olive oil

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing, pour half of it in a plastic bag with the prawns, 3-4 cloves of chopped garlic and some parsley. Let it sit for about a half hour. Saute in a pan over medium heat until cooked through and pink. Use the remaining marinade as a dressing.

I served gluten-free garlic bread and grilled corn as well, and we had some amazing halibut to add to the spread as well. We ate family style and managed to eat it all, which just makes clean up easier. I am grateful for nights like this, with conversation and delicious food. Old friends meeting new friends. Finish the evening with a stroll with a view and give thanks, this is the good life.


chanterelle + white wine + shallots + risotto

I went chanterelle mushroom hunting for the first time this week. It was amazing to be outside in the woods, everywhere you looked you saw beauty, unfortunately everywhere we looked we did not find any quality chanterelles. Next time. It was still a lovely day, in good spirits and luckily I was able to procure some excellent chanterelles from our mushroom vendor. These golden looking, golden tasting mushrooms also happen to be golden priced. While I am not hesitant to spend my money on high end, quality ingredients it is oh so much nicer to enjoy the perks of my profession.

I have never made risotto, I was always nervous to make it because of the dreaded mushy consistency it often becomes, and I shied away from this Italian style dish. It sounded like the perfect pairing and I know my man loves it, so it was just the right thing to try out for date night.

3 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp. butter
2 minced, peeled shallots
4 cups cleaned small chanterelles
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low to maintain simmer.

2. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a medium deep pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add small chanterelles and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.

3. Melt 2 tbsp. additional butter in same pot over medium heat, add short-grain rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost absorbed. Continue adding stock, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but firm to the bite and mixture is creamy but not soupy, about 25 minutes. Add chanterelles just before last addition of stock. Stir in parmigiano-reggiano, adjust seasonings, and serve immediately.

We also baked chicken with white wine, spices, and parmesan to serve with our risotto as well as a simple baby kale and pomegranate seed salad. A perfect rustic meal.


It officially feels like Fall in Santa Cruz. The mornings are chilly and I turned the heat on in the evenings for the first time since Spring. The weather calls for hearty soups and stews, celebrating the flavors of the season. Instead I chose this recipe to share, mainly because I had made a soup earlier in the week (white bean and kale) that the boyfriend and I have been living on since then and I cannot possibly swallow another bowl of hearty goodness. Secondly, because I’m picking up a sample of organic root veggies I want to showcase next week. Oh, and I got not one, not two, but THREE high fives during dinner. This kind of enthusiasm over a simple healthy dish, keeps a smile on my face. I was inspired by my favorite, go-to food blog

For the Bowl
1 cup dried rice or another cooking grain of your choice
1 package pre-cubed butternut squash
2 broccoli crowns
8-10 white mushrooms (sliced)
1 small package firm tofu
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt (I like the pink Himala Salt)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

For the miso-ginger dressing
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 small garlic gloves, minced
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oilPhoto Nov 06, 7 22 28 PM

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook grain according to instructions. I like to use Better than Buillon and a tiny bit of butter.

Cut broccoli into bite size florets. Slice mushrooms. Cut tofu into bite size pieces as well. (my mother will still tell me to cut something into bite size pieces, when I’m being her sous chef, I think it’s a pretty accurate and obvious description of how food should be cut)

Coat one baking tray with a thin slick of olive oil, I cover mine with aluminum foil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until slightly bubbly and the aroma is filling the room. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli, tofu and mushrooms to the tray, season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly.

In a small skillet, toast black and white sesame seeds until fragrant. I love sesame seeds. I also love poppy seeds. I love the added texture.

While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth.

Scoop rice in each bowl, top with veggies, dressing and sesame seeds. Keep the extra dressing handy in a bowl at the table.

Photo Nov 05, 5 22 42 PM

Photo Nov 06, 6 38 25 PM

I’m a cucumber freak, I put cucumbers in everything I can, including my guacamole and my cocktails. So, I served the Miso Bowls with sliced cucumber and baby carrots like my mom probably packed in my school lunches. While not entirely sophisticated, it rounded out the meal for us, and provided a way for the boyfriend to consume more ginger laden miso sauce by dipping the veggies in the leftovers.