For once, I’m feeling really refreshed after the weekend. I tidied up my place yesterday morning and abandoned my to-do list for the afternoon, choosing instead to camp out on my bed with a book. Necessary! Later on, my friend and I rode our bicycles to a bar to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder game, because suddenly I care about basketball. I’m not quite sure why—maybe it’s because we’re in the playoffs, or because our players are cute, or because I’m turning into my mother. Please don’t say it’s the latter (sorry, Mom).
Anyway, this strawberry panini is killer and I’d like for you to make it pronto, please. The word sandwich falls short as a descriptor; this is a panini, or more accurately a singular panino, regardless of the lack of grill marks. This panino consists of warm, jammy strawberries, tangy goat cheese and fresh basil sandwiched between golden brown, buttery whole wheat levain, served with a side of balsamic honey dipping sauce. You want to make it right now, right?
Not long ago, while I was hunting for summer salad recipes for this tasty little round-up, I realized that I’ve posted a whole lot more salads than most other blogs. Hearty salads with grains or beans (or both, as is the case here) are terrific side dishes for family meals and easy potluck offerings. I’m also convinced that they are the ultimate single girl food. I can make a big bowl of salad and keep it in the fridge for ready-made meals or just stick a fork in it for a snack. Living alone, I can eat straight outta the bowl without an eyebrow raised. The single life is good, my friends, and the perks are many.
That trip to New York reminded me how much I love my quiet life with Cookie. Every moment of that trip was spent with others, others whose presence I enjoy very much, but I need ample alone time to feel like myself. Cookie understands this; she lounges around on the couch and comes by to say hi if I’ve spent too much time staring at this screen. Every day, our conversation goes something like this, “Cookie, have I told you how pretty you look today?” She wags her tail.
My travel companion kept commanding me to “pep up!” but the truth is, I’m not peppy all the time. I don’t like talking for the sake of talking. I might use exclamation points liberally in writing but I’m not bubbly in real life. My head is usually lost in the clouds and I get irritated when someone tries to bring me back down to earth. This introversion is an undeniable part of me but maybe, someday, I’ll find someone who understands and lets me float around in thought and never runs out of interesting ideas to share. Here’s to hoping he’ll like salads, too, because I’m not going to stop making them.
Thankfully, you all seem to enjoy salads almost as much as I do (I know Sarah does, at least!). I loosely adapted this one from two of my favorite recipe sources, Melissa Clark (Cook This Now) and America’s Test Kitchen (Healthy Family Cookbook). I knew it was going to be good, but the end result was leaps and bounds beyond my already high expectations.
If I had to pick one salad to eat for the rest of my life, it might be this one. A bold statement, I know, but it’s a statement befitting this unapologetically bold salad. It’s overflowing with spicy arugula, salty feta cheese, sweet and crunchy carrot ribbons, chewy wheat berries and earthy chickpeas, tossed in a bright, lemony olive oil vinaigrette. Hop on over to Chesapeake TASTE for the recipe!
P.s. If you want a little peek into my rarely photographed, humble little kitchen, it’s on Houzz this week!
Have you ever heard that the phrase “cellar door” is the most beautiful-sounding phrase in the entire English language? I would like to petition that “jammy pockets” take its place. Jammy pockets, as in, “this maple-scented blueberry tea cake is full of jammy pockets.” Jammy pockets make the world a better place.
This sweet little cake, with its delicate, maple-infused crumb and jammy purple pockets, is naturally sweetened and made entirely with whole grain flours. The recipe is one of Melissa Clark’s in Cook This Now, an audaciously titled book that lives up to its name. I got the book this winter and indeed, I did want to cook the maple tea cake the moment I found it, but I had to wait until the blueberries arrived this month. It was certainly worth the wait.
This recipe caught my eye as I was poring over the May issue of Saveur Magazine on the flight home. It’s from a feature on Senegal, which is a country that has recently been brought to my awareness by my new friend Bill. Bill has told me stories about his time in Senegal a couple of years ago; Penny de los Santos‘ vibrant, rich photographs of Senegalese cooking and culture brought his stories to life for me.
This salad is not one of the signature Senegalese dishes that Bill described to me, but it seemed fresh, light and simple, which is precisely the kind of food I’ve been craving since gorging myself on Milk Bar treats and white bread sandwiches in New York.
I’m back from New York! Sunshine is streaming through my windows, Cookie is snoozing on the armchair and my air conditioner unit is humming. It’s good to be home. I’m still processing my trip—it was wonderful—but I’m not ready to put it all into words just yet. Thank you all so much for your amazing food recommendations, though! I knew you wouldn’t let me down. It was a whirlwind trip and I wish I could have tried every single recommendation, but I think we managed to eat our way around the city.
One major takeaway from my trip is that good food is good food, no matter where it is made. I’m just as happy eating Shake Shack’s crinkle fries in Madison Square Park as I am with Johnnie’s fries here in Oklahoma. And for the record, Oklahoma is not an unfortunate place to live. I’ve returned with a renewed sense of appreciation for this place. Lastly, these baked fries might be lower in fat and therefore healthier than their fried counterparts, but they are unbelievably crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I only post exceptionally tasty recipes, y’all.
This week has been a doozy. I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off, scrambling to get caught up with work before I jet off to New York City (New York City?!) for the next few days. By the time this post goes live tomorrow morning, I should be well on my way! Footloose and fancy-free we’ll be tonight once we find authentic New York pizza and a bar with many taps. That’s all we have on the itinerary so far—I haven’t had time to research where to go, what to do and perhaps most importantly, where to eat in NYC! Please, tell me what I can’t miss. I know you all will know just what I should do!
If one of my raw kale salads got with my black bean tostadas, we’d get these baby burritos. Stuffed full of beans ‘n greens and brightened with lime and feta cheese, they’re a little spicy and entirely delicious. By my fourth burrito, I had my method down to a science; I can roll up one of these babies in less than 10 minutes flat. They’re just the right size for me, but if you’re feeding a hungry boy, you might want to buy bigger tortillas and double the amounts listed below. Enjoy!
Lovely easy receipt- I added a touch of fresh rosemary when roasting. Sadly my oven is slightly too powerful and ended up burning the veggies a bit. Still tasted good!... by Christina, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup