From sunshine golden beets to deep purple eggplants, August wins for the most colorful array of CSA goodness. And even more than that, something I loved about this month was how cooking with the season started to feel so much more natural. I noticed this shift happen when I looked into my box of eggplants and red peppers and instantly saw a vision of baba ghanog, muhammara and chicken shawarma. Developing a comfort with vegetables that didn't typically make an appearance in my shopping cart (hey, dandelion greens!) is something I've found endlessly gratifying. Take a peek below to see what else was keeping me inspired and busy in the kitchen this month!
Twenty-six years old today - another trip around the sun complete! And that's pretty fitting as today also marks the solar eclipse. Also fitting for today is finally posting - on its one year anniversary - my recipe for summer peach panzanella. I made this up on a bit of a whim for my birthday party last year, and have been meaning to write it down pretty much every day since then. So, at long last, my favorite summertime salad!
So much has changed since my last birthday. I've seen a best friend get married, said see ya later to a handful of dear friends as they started new chapters in their life, and made new friends along the way. Matt and I discovered a deep love for Carmel (and reaffirmed our love of burritos in San Francisco), explored Minneapolis by bike and discovered new corners (and restaurants!) of DC. There's been an election that has caused more than its fair share of turmoil, and as such, I've never participated in more marches, sent more letters, or made more calls to Congress.
I've totally - and officially - taken a deep dive into the world of food too. I've launched this very blog, become much more involved in efforts to support women in food thanks to Pineapple DC, and become completely enthralled with my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA. All of these have had such a massive impact on the way I eat, cook and think about food. And as a result of that deep down passion, I'm about to start a new chapter professionally, so there's no doubt my 26th year will be filled with much more learning, food, new friends and mentors.
But, if there's at least any proof of the saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same," this recipe can be it. I've been making a variation of it since last year and it never disappoints. The blend of juicy peaches with creamy, rich poppy seed dressing alone is perfect, but pairing it with red onion and goat cheese is just out of this world. I promise this isn't a sponsored post, but Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed dressing is the only one I'll spend money on. For any other salad, I'll make my own balsamic but this one is worth the $$$!
This recipe makes excellent use of a cast iron skillet too. First, you'll want to lightly toast bite-size chunks of bread. You can use fresh or day old bread here. In this case, I was using fresh bread that I had baked the previous day. And truly, any kind of bread will do. This was just a basic white bread, but I imagine sourdough would work wonderfully. Rye would also probably be pretty tasty with this flavor combination! After toasting the bread, then you'll cook the peaches in your skillet. They get browned in a mix of honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt.
From one year to the next, I wouldn't mind at all having it as a staple at each and every birthday dinner. Now...is it time for cake yet?
Summer Peach Panzanella
what you'll need:
1 thick slice of bread, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large handfuls arugula
1 peach, cut into large chunks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
heavy 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp honey
small handful fresh basil leaves, julienned, optional
Brianna's Home Style Rich Poppy Seed dressing, to taste
what you'll do:
- In small bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour coated bread cubes onto cast iron skillet and toast until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes). Toss occasionally to brown all sides equally but be careful not to burn. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- While you let skillet cool for a few minutes, in a small bowl toss peach chunks with honey, remaining extra virgin olive oil (1/2 tbsp) and a pinch of kosher salt. Spray cast iron skillet with non-stick spray, then pour peaches onto skillet. Cook peaches over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss as they cook to ensure they don't burn. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- In large bowl, toss arugula with basil, red onion, goat cheese, toasted bread and peaches. Either mix poppy seed dressing directly into serving bowl or serve dressing separately.
Bet you didn't expect to see a dessert recipe in this batch o' veggies, did you? Scroll through slowly and you'll see a double chocolate zucchini bread! To be honest, I'm not sure what the zucchini does to enhance the chocolate flavors, but I'm all ears for someone to weigh in. Not that I have any complaints because a slice of that chocolate bread warmed up just slightly with a glass of milk...I'm in heaven.
This month brought a whole bunch of fun cooking projects, above and beyond chocolate-heavy sweets. Thanks to the massive heads of cabbage delivered this month, I had jars of sauerkraut and kimchi on hand. I became reacquainted with one of my first ever favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks, and had the opportunity to recipe test from a cookbook I've been dying to get my hands on, Salt Fat Acid Heat.
zucchini parmesan, nyt food
peachy avocado salad with leafy greens and goat cheese
zucchini fritters with sumac yogurt, williams sonoma
pistachio dukkah roasted beets
double chocolate zucchini bread, sally's baking addiction
sauerkraut with pork chop and honey and thyme-roasted carrots
carrot ginger soup with carrot top pesto
sautéed beet greens with capers and feta
moroccan carrots & chickpeas,
protein packed salad with kale, pickled onions & golden quinoa
corn, peach, avocado and goat cheese salad tossed with fig dressing
sweet silky corn soup with chile-lime salt, salt fat acid heat
Well folks, we are in the full swing of summer. I'm celebrating with lazy river tubing, stoop drinks and seeking out the closest air conditioned room. This month so far has been packed with park days, bike rides and thanks to accidentally signing up for ClassPass, a newly discovered love of FlyWheel and sunrise yoga.
When it comes to working out, I'm a creature of habit. I wake up every morning at 5 a.m., run or bike until 5:45 a.m., lift light weights for a bit, then upwards and onwards with coffee in hand. That routine got shaken up by an ad I saw for ClassPass promoting four classes for $4. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. So enamored was I with ClassPass - so blissful from my sunrise vinyasa flows - that I also totally forgot to end by account after the four class promo ended.
I suppose it was a happy mistake because I've been digging the mix-up to my schedule. Physically, I can tell a difference from working out new muscles, which I'm loving. Socially, I've been able to check out new classes bright and early with friends. And mentally, the classes have been awesome in allowing me to think about nothing other than how bad my legs are shaking, for example, in barre class.
All this mind body wellness pairs perfectly with the bountiful hauls of fresh veggies I've been getting from Lancaster Farm Fresh. Just look at those beautiful beets! I cook with beets a lot, but in the spirit of mixing things up, I wanted to take classic roasted beets but try a new way of preparing them. Et voila - pistachio dukkah-roasted beets. Beets tossed generously with olive oil, aromatic herbs and crunchy chopped pistachios. dukkah is a staple herb and nut mixture hailing from Egypt, typically served as a dip for warm bread or as a coating for meats and fish. From here on out, it's something I'll be tossing a lot more roasted veggies in.
There are a lot of things I love about this recipe - the way the flavors come together, the colors of the beets (the more colorful, the better!), the way the briny feta compliments the bright herbs. I know nobody likes to blast their oven when it's 95 degrees out, but I promise, for this recipe it's worth it. Plus, after your beets are roasted, the rest of the recipe is light and cool, which is just what summer days call for. Serve as a side dish to grilled chicken or salmon, and in true summer fashion, with a cold glass of rose.
pistachio dukkah-roasted beet and feta salad
serves 2 as a side dish
what you'll need:
1 pound beets
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
what you'll do:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare beets by removing leaves, rinsing and removing skin with vegetable peeler. Cut into 1 inch chunks. Place beets in bowl and toss with 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, cumin, coriander and black pepper. Mix until each beet piece is coated with oil and spice blend.
- Pour coated beets into glass baking dish and place in oven. Roast for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully toss with spoon, then roast for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Pour beets into large mixing bowl. Toss with mint, parsley, feta, sesame seeds and pistachios. Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over beet mixture and serve immediately.
If the picture below alone isn't enough, I don't know what will convince you of the beautiful bounty that was the entirety of the June CSA deliveries! From vibrant, fresh carrots to a surprise inclusion of juicy, sweet strawberries, June was filled with lovely, colorful veggies. Can you tell I was relying on Bon Appetit quite a bit? I blame their amazing podcast.
Crispy, cheesy, tahini-roasted cauliflower (recipe on Food52!) was an absolute highlight this month too. I guess it's not too shocking that anything dredged in cheese and tahini is going to be delicious, but this recipe is absolutely genius...will be using this technique on many vegetables to come.