Recipes for Week of September 18

Sweet Chili Sauce


  • 500g long fresh red chillies, stems trimmed

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 750ml (3 cups) white vinegar

  • 645g (3 cups) caster sugar


  • In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook tomatoes and shallot in oil 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to burst and skins are blistered. Gently press half of tomatoes with back of spoon to release juices.
  • Stir in wine, chopped thyme, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Add butter; simmer 5 minutes.

  • In serving dish, toss mozzarella with warm tomatoes. Garnish with thyme sprigs and additional pepper.


Ma Po Eggplant in Garlic Sauce


  • 1 pound ground pork, preferably from the shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Six 8-ounce Asian eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil, plus more for brushing
  • Kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sake
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile-bean sauce, such as Lee Kum Kee Toban Djan
  • 3 scallions, minced, plus thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • Steamed rice, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, mix the pork with the vinegar, sambal oelek, cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the broiler and position the rack 8 inches from the heat. Brush the eggplants with peanut oil and season with salt. Arrange the eggplants cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and broil for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until lightly charred and tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the chicken stock with the sake, sugar, sesame oil, chile bean paste and remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. In a wok or large skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of peanut oil until shimmering. Add the minced scallions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry over high heat until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the pork and stir-fry until no pink remains, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock mixture and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Arrange the eggplants cut side up on a platter and spoon the pork on top. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and serve with steamed rice.
  5. The cooked eggplant can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before proceeding.


Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill Sauce


  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon) 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish (optional) 
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper 
  • 4 to 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise


  1. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, and dill. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk well to combine.

  2. Add cucumbers, and toss to coat. Garnish with more dill, if desired. Serve, or refrigerate, covered, up to 4 hours.


Eggplant Burger Patties


  • Eggplant - 1.5kg (3.3 pounds)
  • Breadcrumbs - 80 grams (2.8 oz)
  • Egg - 1 each
  • Parmesan cheese - 50 grams (1.8 oz) optional
  • Parsley - 10 sprigs
  • Garlic - 2 cloves
  • Salt - 1.5 teaspoon
  • Ground black pepper - 0.5 teaspoon


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Place 1.5 kg of untrimmed eggplants in baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes, depending on their size.

  • Peel the eggplant as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Place in a colander set over a bowl, and let it drain.
  • Mince 10 sprigs of parsley, place in a bowl. Chop the eggplant and combine with the parsley.
  • Add 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, an egg and 50 grams (1.8 oz) of parmesan cheese. Mix, and add 80 grams (2.8 oz) of breadcrumbs. If the mixture turned out too thick, add some of the drained eggplant liquid back into the mixture.
  • Shape the patties and coat them in flour.
  • Fry in very hot oil. Turn the patties once they formed a nice golden crust. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the extra oil and serve.


Pan-Sauteed Grape Tomatoes with Mozzarella


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pints (4 cups) grape tomatoes SAVE $
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coarse (kosher or sea) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 container (8 oz) fresh mozzarella cheese in whey, drained, cubed
  • Fresh thyme sprigs and additional freshly ground pepper, if desired


  1. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook tomatoes and shallot in oil 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to burst and skins are blistered. Gently press half of tomatoes with back of spoon to release juices.

  2. Stir in wine, chopped thyme, salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Add butter; simmer 5 minutes.

  3. In serving dish, toss mozzarella with warm tomatoes. Garnish with thyme sprigs and additional pepper.


Lettuce Cup Tacos


  • 4 baby romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick fry pan over medium to high heat, and fry onion until soft and translucent.
  2. Add beans, quinoa, garlic, seasoning, and water.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook for two to three minutes.
  4. Serve bean mixture in lettuce cups, topped with carrot, tomato, and avocado.

Recipes for Week of September 11

Watermelon Lemonade


  • 12 cups lemonade
  • 5 cups watermelon juice


Cut chunks of watermelon and blend until almost liquid.

Pour 5 cups watermelon juice in the drink dispenser with 12 cups of lemonade. Add slices of watermelon and lemons and top with ice.


Thai Curried Opo Squash and Peppers


  • 1-2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (see notes)
  • 2 small or 1 medium opo squash (see notes)
  • 2 bell peppers (I like to use different colors)
  • 1/2 onion vertically sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger minced or grated fine

Sauce :

  • 1 cup lite coconut milk (see notes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (see notes)
  • zest of 1 lime and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
  • fresh cilantro and/or basil to garnish


  1. To a wok or large saute pan over high heat, add coconut or vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add opo squash. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, then add peppers, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry another 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Add coconut curry sauce (or remaining marinade), stir, and cover. Simmer just until vegetables are tender.

  3. Garnish with chopped cilantro and/or basil if desired.


  • Make sure to check the smoke point of your coconut oil if using! Refined coconut oil can handle high heat.
  • If you cannot find opo squash, substitute another summer squash variety, eggplant, sugar snap peas, etc. Be creative!
  • Mini sweet peppers are a perfect way to add lots of beautiful color to this dish! Use 6 to 8 of them.
  • Most of the time, I use lite coconut milk to cut fat and calories. The choice is yours.
  • Curry paste is hot! If you can't handle very spicy food, you may wish to start with a teaspoon or two, and add as desired. Curry paste recipes and prepared curry pastes vary greatly in heat level.
  • To make this a vegetarian dish, substitute tamari or a good quality soy sauce for the fish sauce. "Vegetarian" fish sauce isn't very good, and I wouldn't recommend it.


Stir-Fried Long Beans with Garlic

1 bunch of Chinese long beans (about 1/2 lb)
2 T vegetable oil
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp soy sauce (or to taste)

Cut up long beans into 2-inch segments. Heat wok to medium high heat. Add vegetable oil and minced garlic. When garlic begins to slightly brown, add beans. Add about 1 tablespoon of water, cover, and steam. Wait about 5 minutes, or until beans are cooked through. Add salt and soy sauce to taste.You can optionally add a bit of sugar or hoisin sauce as well if you like it sweet, but I didn’t add any.


Cold Pesto Pasta Salad


  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup arugula
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the arugula, nuts, tomatoes and pesto and toss. Transfer to a plate and top with the cheese.


Avocado & Arugula Omelet


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon low-fat milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ cup arugula
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons plain whole-milk Greek yogurt


  1. Beat eggs with milk and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook until the bottom is set and the center is still a bit runny, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the omelet over and cook until set, about 30 seconds more. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Toss arugula with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil lemon juice in a small bowl. Top the omelet with avocado, yogurt, the arugula and the remaining pinch of salt.


10 Amazing Things You Can Do with Mint

  1. Salad Ingredient: Chop up a few leaves and add them to your salad along with some freshly grated ginger and lemon zest. The flavor combo is amazing and adds a great summary flare to your favorite salad.
  2. Jazz up your water: Flavour your water or lemonade with some smashed mint leaves.
  3. Fancy Ice Cubes: Adding chopped mint leaves or even mint tea to your ice cube tray is super cute and makes for fun summer sipping. Pop these ice cubes into your guests' drinks at a party or into your blender for a minty smoothie.
  4. Homemade Potpourri: Dry mint leaves in your dehydrator or oven at the lowest temperature. Once dried, chop slightly and put into a little sachet or piece of cheese cloth. Secure with a ribbon and hang on your door knobs or tuck inside your drawers.
  5. Add To Chocolate: I think many of us can agree that mint-chocolate is a match made in heaven. Take your raw cacao loving to a whole new level by adding a few mint leaves into recipes. My personal favorite is this Chocolate Avocado Pudding recipe with the addition of 4-5 mint leaves.
  6. Chocolate Dip Them: What!? Yes! Take fresh mint leaves, one by one, and dip them in your favorite homemade or melted chocolate chips and let chill in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. Amazing!
  7. Juice It: Mint adds an amazing freshness to any pressed juice. Try it with some apple, cucumber and lemon. You might always want to swap the apple for watermelon if you have some on hand. Serious refreshment.
  8. Make A Tea: Fresh mint, chopped or even just mashed up a little and added to hot water makes a delicious digestive soothing tea.
  9. Tincture it: Chop up your fresh mint, fill a jar and add some organic vodka to the jar and shake, shake, shake. Shake daily for at least 4 weeks, and then strain out the mint and you have a mint medicine tincture (or a mint infused cocktail vodka!). More on tincture making here.
  10. Pesto. Need I say more? It's a summer classic and there's a great recipe here on the blog. Plus, you get to see some really funny vintage pics of me getting overly excited about plant matter.


Herbed Honey Mustard Dressing


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb leaves such as: parsley, basil, dill, thyme or combination of herbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb leaves such as: parsley, basil, dill, thyme (or combination of herbs)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1 TB dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp shallots chopped


  1. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for 1 minute until the herbs are finely chopped. Store the dressing in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Lemon Herb Vinaigrette


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried mint, optional*
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs**, optional*
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, optional*
  • 1 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well.
  2. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using to meld the ingredients.
  3. Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator.

Recipes for Week of September 4

Roasted Tomato Salsa


  • 1 pound roma tomatoes (cored and halved)
  • 1/2 white onion (medium, cut into 1/2-inch slices)
  • 2 garlic cloves (medium, peeled and smashed)
  • 1 serrano chile (medium, stemmed)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coarsely)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (freshly squeezed, plus more as needed)


  1. Heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Place the tomato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Scatter the onion, garlic, and serrano around the tomatoes. Broil until the tomato skins start to blacken and blister, about 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a blender, add the measured salt, and blend into a smooth purée. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice, taste, and season with more salt and lime juice as needed. Store in the refrigerator in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 4 days.

Baby Kale Avocado Salad with Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette


  • 10 oz Baby kale (or regular kale with ribs removed)
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil (preferably extra virgin for more flavor)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (shaved or shredded)
  • 1 medium Avocado (cubed)
  • 1/2 cup Pine nuts (preferably toasted)


  1. Place the chopped kale into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, sea salt, and black pepper, until dressing forms. (Alternatively, place dressing ingredients into an airtight container and shake vigorously.)
  3. Pour the dressing over the kale leaves and toss to coat. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves for a minute or two (pick up a bunch, squeeze, and repeat). Do this until the kale softens and begins to wilt. (It will happen fast with baby kale, and takes a little longer with regular kale.)
  4. Add the parmesan cheese, chopped avocado, and toasted pine nuts. Toss again.


Grilled Mexican Street Corn


  • 8 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese, divided
  • ½ cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, minced, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • Lime wedges, for serving


Star Fruit Chips


  • 2 firm-ripe yellow star fruit (sometimes called carambola;1/2 lb total)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water


1. Light a grill. On a sheet pan, toss the corn with the oil, then season with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, stir together ⅔ cup of the cotija cheese with the mayo, sour cream, cilantro, lime zest and chile powder to combine.

3. Place the corn on the hottest part of the grill and cook, turning as needed, until cooked through and charred, 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Remove the corn from the grill and immediately brush each cob liberally with the cheese mixture and transfer to a platter. Garnish each cob with a sprinkle of the remaining ⅓ cup of cheese and more cilantro, then serve with lime wedges.


Oven Roasted Mushrooms


  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 pound cultivated mushrooms, trimmed, halved or quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil shallow baking pan large enough to hold mushrooms in single layer. Add mushrooms and toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons oil. Add garlic; season with salt; roast for 20 minutes stirring on occasion; mushrooms should be browned. Season with pepper.


Lemon Bars


For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Recipes for Week of August 28

Creamy Mushroom Pasta


  • Butter
  • Mushrooms
  • Heavy Cream
  • Orecchiette
  • Parmasean
  • Salt
  • Chives 


Begin by browning a good chunk of butter in a skillet—exactly how much depends on what kind of week you've had. As the butter begins to brown, add a handful of sliced mushrooms and let them cook down. Cremini work great, but any mix of mushrooms (such as maitake, shiitake, and king trumpet) would work. After the mushrooms are nice and browned, add a bit of heavy cream—not too much, just enough to make everything creamy.

While the mushrooms are browning, boil a pot of heavily-salted water (you always need more salt than you think!) and add a box of orecchiette. I like my pasta al dente, so cook it a minute under the suggested boiling time. Once the pasta's done, add the drained orecchiette to the skillet with the buttered mushrooms and a bunch of grated Parm and mix it all up. A sprinkle of chives on top lends a pop of color. Once plated, top it with as much Parm as you can physically grate and give it another good stir.

Glazed Chinese Long Beans


  • 1/2 pound Chinese long beans
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallion
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional


In a large pot of boiling water, blanch long beans for 2 minutes until slightly tender. Allow to cool.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter. Add scallions, ginger and garlic. Mix together. Add red pepper flakes and long beans. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir in chicken stock, honey and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add sesame seeds, if desired. Mix together.

Spicy Shrimp and Eggplant Stirfry


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste (bottled or made by combining 1 teaspoon each grated garlic and ginger)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder divided
  • 2/3 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small green chilies, slit
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato 
  • 2 teaspoons red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 baby black eggplants cut lengthwise into 4 (or two depending on size)


  1. Combine 1 teaspoon salt, turmeric, ginger-garlic paste,1 teaspoon cumin powder, and the shrimp in a medium bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add green chilli and chopped tomato. Stir until tomato is broken down and starting to get dry, about 5 minutes. Add remaining cumin, red chilli and coriander powders and vigorously until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Add drops of water if you think the paste is sticking to the bottom or the powders are burning.) Add eggplants and stir to coat with spice paste. Add water and season to taste with salt. Cover and cook until eggplant is tender and most of its liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the shrimp and stir. Cook uncovered until the shrimp is opaque and curled and the eggplant is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with roti or steamed rice and daal.


Chicken With Longan and Macadamia Nut Salad


  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 2chicken breast fillets
  • lettuce, washed, dried, torn
  • 2 c. longans, peeled and halved, seed removed
  • 2 c. snow pea sprouts, trimmed (other sprouts can be used)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tsp. finely shredded fresh mint leaves
  • Pinch sugar


  1. Cook chicken in small amount of oil until fully cooked. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Combine the lettuce, longans, and sprouts, and place on plate. Place the oil, juice, mint and sugar into a screw-top jar, and shake until blended. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
  3. Slice the chicken and serve with the salad. Sprinkle with macadamias to serve.


Grilled Mushroom Skewers


  • 16 oz (1 lb) Baby Portabello Mushrooms (crimini or button work too)
  • 10 bamboo or wood skewers

For the marinade: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • small handful of parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Place 10 medium skewers into a baking dish and cover with water. It's important to soak the skewers for at least 15 minutes (more is better) or they will burn too quickly on the grill.
  2. Place all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until marinade is nearly smooth.
  3. Rinse your mushrooms and pat dry. Cut each mushroom in half, so each piece has half of the mushroom stem.
  4. Place the mushroom halves into a large gallon-size ziploc bag, or a medium bowl and pour in the marinade. Shake the bag until all of the mushrooms are evenly coated in marinade. Refrigerate and marinate for 30-45 minutes.
  5. Preheat your grill about 300˚F
  6. Skewer the mushrooms snugly onto the bamboo/wooden skewers that have been soaking (no need to dry the skewers). Skewering the mushrooms was a little annoying at first until I got the hang of things. I've found that it's easiest to skewer them by twisting them onto the stick. If you just push the stick through, it may cause the mushroom to crack.
  7. Place the skewered mushrooms on the hot grill for about 3 minutes per side, making sure the mushrooms do not burn to the grill. The mushrooms are done when they are soft; as mushrooms should be  Remove from the grill. Cover with foil to keep them warm until ready to serve.


Homegrown Micro Green Salad


For the Salad:

  • 1 cup of micro greens
  • 1 blood orange, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrot or daikon radish
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

For the Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove chopped garlic (optional)
  • A dash of salt and pepper


  1. If your microgreens have some soil on them, give them a light wash and air dry them in a colander for a few moments. (They are very fragile so need to be handled with care). 
  2. Place them in a bowl and add the remaining salad ingredients. 
  3. Stir up your vinaigrette in a little jar and pour on top of the salad.

Recipes for Week of August 21

Raw Chioggia Beet Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette


The Salad

  • 4 medium Chioggia beets (or another beet variety) washed, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons roasted unsalted or salted pepitas*

The Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* The pepita, a pumpkin seed, is high in zinc and other nutrients. Pepitas are available at most major supermarkets.


  1. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
  2. Wash and peel beets. Using a sharp knife, cut into matchsticks
  3. Place beets in a small bowl
  4. Add scallions, cilantro and pepitas, and toss
  5. Add vinaigrette and toss until well coated
  6. Serve at room temperature
  7. Variation: Add diced avocado or crumbled queso fresco, a soft, mild, lightly salted Mexican cheese available in most major supermarkets

Gingerly Sauteed Watercress and Shiitakes


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 bunches watercress, thick stems removed (about 6 cups)
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the watercress and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, tossing, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat, add the sesame oil, and toss to combine.

Simple Tomato and Burrata Mozzarella

Take note of the size of your burrata balls, you may need two. I assume about 4 oz. per person. This salad is very free form, don't pay too close attention to measurements. It's a summertime salad, it's meant to be easy going. 


  • 1 cup torn bread (preferably from a baguette or fresh loaf)
  • 2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs (approximately 4) heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 cups soft lettuce of choice (arugula, spring greens, butter lettuce, watercress)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese, room temperature
  • Good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar


Preheat the oven (ideally toaster oven) to 400 degrees F. Spread the torn bread on a baking tray, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are crisp and brown. Set aside. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4'' slices and arrange them on your serving tray in concentric circles. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and the chopped shallots. Chop the soft greens and basil together, toss them gently with 1 tsp. each olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then mound it in the center of the tomatoes. Distribute the croutons on top and then place the burrata in the center of the lettuce pile, breaking open the creamy center if you'd like. 

Drizzle the burrata with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste and finish with a sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper. 

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


  • 4 medium-size sweet potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing roasting tray
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Lightly scrub the sweet potatoes under cold running water. Place the potatoes on a roasting tray and bake until tender, 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the potatoes to cool slightly before cutting off the top third of the potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh using a large spoon (leave enough on the base so the skin holds its shape) and reserve bases. 

Add the potato flesh, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and butter to a food processor. Process until the ingredients are completely combined and the puree is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a roasting tray with a little oil. Set the potato skin bases upright on the tray and fill with the mixture. 

Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and pecans in a small bowl. Sprinkle the top of each stuffed sweet potato with the sugar-pecan topping. Bake 10 minutes. Finish the potatoes under the broiler for the top to brown, 1 minute, if desired.

Cucumber Sushi Rolls


The Sushi

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 cup cooked rice white or brown
  • 1/4 firm avocado cut into thin slices
  • 1/4 red bell pepper matchstick, julienne cut
  • 1/4 orange bell pepper matchstick, julienne cut
  • Optional: you can also try adding julienne cut carrots, red cabbage, sprouts, or scallions

The Spicy Mayo


  1. Cook rice by instructions on package. When finished, do not stir rice and allow it to cool. This should make for a stickier rice to hold everything together.

  2. Cut each cucumber in half and remove seeds with either a small spoon or knife to create a long, hollow tube.

  3. Spoon in a small amount of rice, then compress towards one side of the tube.

  4. Gently insert a slice of avocado and a few slices of pepper, then add more rice to fill gaps, compressing and adding more rice until packed full. Be gentle, especially if your avocado is ripe and soft!

  5. With a sharp knife, slice cucumber into 1 inch thick pieces (thinner if you're a daredevil). If you start to notice the filling is loose as you cut, stuff in some rice and peppers where needed.

  6. Serve with either low sodium soy sauce or spicy mayo. To make spicy mayo, mix 1 Tbsp mayo and 1/2 tsp sriracha.

Honey and Lemon Tea


  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup or more of hot water


Put honey and lemon juice in a tea cup or a mug. Add hot water and stir. Add more hot water, lemon or honey to taste.

Oven-Baked Onion Rings


  • 2 Yellow Onion (medium) 
  • 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Click here for detailed instructions with photos.

Recipes for Week of July 31

Eggplant Parmigiana


The Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole plum tomatoes

The Eggplant:

  • 2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound provolone cheese, grated
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, leaves only, torn


The Eggplant:

For the tomato sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. Set aside to cool.

For the eggplant (this step is optional, leave it out if you have limited time): Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt on both sides of each slice and allow it to sit for about 1 hour. Salting it draws out the liquid and bitter flavor. After an hour, rinse with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.

Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant. Arrange them in single layers on the baking sheets.

In a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (alternatively, test with a thermometer and wait until the oil registers between 380 degrees F and 400 degrees F). Use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the pan. Cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. Season lightly with salt. Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan and provolone cheeses. Top with a layer of torn basil leaves. Spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. End with the remaining mozzarella. Carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish once assembled. Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. For extra browning, put the dish under the broiler for a minute or two just before serving to get an extra brown cheesy top. I always nibble on a bit of that before sharing it with my friends!





  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce can) plum tomatoes, pureed until smooth with their juices
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Honey, if needed

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Romano
  • 1 lemon, zested


  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut crosswise into 14-thick slices


For the lamb: Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper and honey, if needed. Remove from the heat.

For the eggplant: Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels.

For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.


Olive Oil Roasted Eggplant with Lemon


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters lengthwise. Cut each of those in half to make two shorter quarters. Place the eggplant onto the baking sheet with the skin side down. Brush each piece with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven until softened and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve hot.


Banana Sorbet


  • 5 or more bananas


  1. Line a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch rounds and place them on the parchment evenly spaced. You can fit about 5 medium-sized bananas on one standard-sized baking sheet, and you will end up with about 1 pound of frozen banana. Freeze the banana pieces for a few hours up to overnight, or until firm. Don't freeze them for longer than 24 hours or they may start to brown, get freezer burn and lose their flavor.
  2. Remove the pieces from the cookie sheet and immediately place them into Ziploc bags (they thaw quickly!). Weigh each bag as you fill them to 1 pound of banana in each (about 3 1/2 cups banana slices). Remove the air from each bag before placing back in the freezer. I like preparing 1 pound batches of bananas this way so that they're easy to grab and make whenever we feel like a quick dessert. This 1 pound portion of bananas seems to be the best for blending smoothly and easily in our processor. Alternatively you can freeze the slices in bags without first putting them on the cookie sheets, but they will stick together as they freeze and it will be harder to blend them.
  3. When you're ready to prepare the sorbet, fit your food processor with the blade attachment and pour the frozen banana pieces in. You can also attempt this in the blender, but it is much more difficult to avoid clumping and to get things to mix evenly. If you have a food processor, use it!
  4. Start by pulsing the frozen banana a few times until small crumbles form. Continue processing. As you do so you'll notice the banana mixture clumping or sticking from time to time. Open the processor and use a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly throughout the processor so that it processes smoothly.
  5. Continue processing, periodically stirring with the spatula, until the mixture becomes smooth and has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
  6. Scoop the soft serve into bowls and serve immediately.


Sweet Spaghetti Mix


  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (mild or hot) 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 (3-ounce) package fresh herb mix (Italian parsley, basil, oregano, thyme; available at farmers markets), stripped from stems 
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans low-sodium tomato sauce 
  • 12 ounces water 
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar 
  • 1 (8-ounce) tray fresh white mushrooms


  1. In a large pot, brown ground beef and sausage; drain fat. Add onions, garlic, celery, green peppers, and herbs. Cook until celery and onions are tender.
  2. Add tomato pastes, tomato sauce and water, brown sugar and mushrooms.
  3. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.


Baked Parmesan Tomatoes


  • 4 tomatoes, cut horizontally
  • 1/4 cup of grated Paramesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

Recipes for Week of July 24

Boiled Peanuts


  • 2 pounds in-shell raw peanuts
  • 3 ounces kosher salt
  • 3 gallons water


  1. Wash the peanuts in cool water until the water runs clear. Soak in cool water for 30 minutes to loosen any remaining dirt.
  2. Drain and rinse the peanuts. Add the peanuts to a 12-quart pot along with the salt and 3 gallons of water. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Check the texture of the peanut at this point for doneness. When done, boiled peanuts should have a similar texture to a cooked dry bean. It should hold its shape, but not crunch when bitten. Add more water throughout the cooking process, if needed. If necessary, continue cooking for 3 to 4 hours longer.
  3. Drain the peanuts and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  4. *Cook's note: The cooking time can vary greatly depending on how fresh the peanuts are. The fresher the peanut, the less time it will take to cook.

Papaya Breakfast Bowls


  • 1 small papaya
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 prickly pear
  • 1 tablespoon of pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds
  • A pinch of cinnamon powder


  1. Slice the papaya in half, and scoop all the seeds out.
  2. Slice the prickly pear in rounds.
  3. Fill papaya halves with yogurt, and top with fruit, pecans and cinnamon. Enjoy!


Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad


  • 1 pint colorful small tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ english cucumber, diced
  • 15 Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 C. feta cheese, diced from a block
  • ¼ C. diced red onion
  • 2 Tbls. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbls. chopped fresh parsley
  • Your favorite vinaigrette (enough to lightly dress the salad)
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add ingredients to a bowl and toss with your favorite vinaigrette. I made a simple vinaigrette with lemon juice, olive oil and greek seasoning, but any vinaigrette or greek salad dressing would work just fine.
  2. I used feta that I cut off of a larger block of feta that I purchased at Costco. If you have a container of crumbled feta that would work equally as well. Just use as much or as little feta as you like.


Romaine Salad with Tomatoes and Bacon


  • 4slices bacon
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut into strips (6 cups)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4scallions, sliced
  • 4 to 6tablespoons Creamy Parmesan Dressing
  • or bottled Caesar dressing


  1. In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Break into pieces when cool.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, and bacon with the dressing.


Papaya and Onion Quesadilla


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño chili
  • 8 6-inch-diameter flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces Brie, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 large papaya, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Sour cream
  • Purchased salsa (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until onion is just tender, about 4 minutes; cool slightly.
  2. Arrange 4 tortillas on heavy large baking sheet. Arrange Brie, then cilantro, papaya and onion mixture over tortillas, dividing equally. Top each with another tortilla, pressing to adhere.
  3. Bake quesadillas until cheese melts and filling is heated through, about 8 minutes. Transfer quesadillas to plates; cut into wedges. Serve passing sour cream and salsa, if desired.


Catalan-Style Tomato Bread


  • A loaf of good, crusty bread
  • A clove of garlic, crushed and peeled
  • The best, juiciest tomato you can get your hands on
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Slice off a piece of bread about a half-inch thick and toast it lightly. A toaster works; for extra brilliance, toast it over a hot grill, taking care it doesn’t burn.
  2. Now take the crushed garlic clove and rub it all over the bread’s surface. If the bread is properly toasted and crispy, it will pick up highly flavorful juice and particles from the garlic.
  3. Now slice the stem top off of the tomato and vigorously rub the cut side against the bread. The bread will absorb juice and particles from the tomato, becoming quite soggy.
  4. Now give it a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve immediately. Repeat as necessary. Prepare for addiction. After a while of cranking these treats out, you’ll be holding a a ravaged swath of empty tomato skin in your hand. Time to cut open another.

Sauteed Shishito Peppers

Provided by Brandon Lee, chef de cuisine at Piggy Smalls

Serving Size: Approximately 3

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Dish Ingredients

  • One package of shishito peppers
  • Olive oil to coat pan
  • Salt, to taste 
  • Furikake, to taste
  • Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
  • 1 small lemon wedge


Put a sauté pan on high heat. When it starts to smoke, add in your cooking oil (just enough to coat the pan) and your shishito peppers. It will smoke but don't be alarmed! Toss a few times and continue to cook for about a minute until the peppers have gained color and started to blister.  Season with salt. 

To plate, put peppers on your favorite dish and then drizzle Hidden Valley Ranch dressing on top followed by a generous sprinkling of furikake. Serve with a lemon wedge and enjoy!