Category Archives: Appetizer

Asparagus Soup

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Welcome to the new site! Do you like it? Not going to lie, it took me waaaaaaay too long to put it together. It’s all a bit of an experiment, so please let me know if you find any quirks. I’m sure there are many.

In addition to a new site, I’m also in a new kitchen and have a new place to shoot photos. I (finally) moved back into Philly and have a beautiful kitchen at my disposal now (including a Viking range!!!!). Between the moving and the unpacking, life has been a little crazy. Throw in getting the floors redone and the insane amount of dust that creates, and you can see why it’s been a little while since I’ve posted. But now I’m back, baby, and possibly even better than ever.

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Spring has definitely sprung this week, and to celebrate, I made a springy recipe! My roommate (and BFF, and the best Philly realtor, in case you need one) inspired me to look into asparagus soup recipes, which I honestly never knew existed. I took a little bit of this and a little bit of that from different recipes and ended up with something that is bright, creamy, and a beautiful spring green color. It definitely tastes like spring in a bowl.

This soup is great either hot or cold, as a snack or an appetizer, and as with all soups, I highly recommend a nice, crusty piece of bread with it. What spring recipes are you cooking?

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Get the recipe!

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

It’s that time of year again…time for the Super Bowl! As usual, I, along with all other Philadelphia fans, am still recovering from the heartache/migraine (to put it mildly) that was the regular season and pretending that I totally believe my own lies when I say that next year will be different. To be fair, the Eagles were so bad this year that it would just be impressive if they got any worse (but don’t get any ideas, boys).

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In the meantime, I’m happy to sit back and watch some (hopefully) good football. Add in fun commercials and a free concert (with a Beyonce appearance!), and it should be an enjoyable Sunday evening all around. As part of my annual tradition, I approach the Super Bowl with one big goal in mind: eat lots of tasty food.

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This year, I decided to try a recipe that I’ve seen floating around a bit. I know buffalo wings are the big game day snack, but since I don’t eat them, I tried to make my own version of the spicy treats. These buffalo cauliflower bites are absolutely delightful! They are crispy, spicy, and perfectly pair with a creamy sauce or dressing. Almost good enough to make you forget that your own team, once again, did not make the playoffs this year.

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Sigh.

What will you be eating on game day?

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Get the recipe!

Roasted Pineapple Guacamole

Wow….it’s been a very long month for me. Let’s recap, shall we?

After all the graduation festivities from last month calmed down, and after I (sadly) said goodbye to some great friends I’ve made over the last two years, I started scrambling to find a new apartment. Apartment hunting is never fun, but luckily I found one and will be moving there in 2 weeks (yikes!).

Next came the Second Annual Guac Off! I had signed up for this amazing competition way before I realized that my friend’s wedding was actually the same day, at the same time, three hours away. Oops! So I had two friends represent at the competition (THANK YOU LADIES!), but only after throwing a party to determine what guacamole recipe to use. We decided on a roasted pineapple guacamole, following last year’s theme of sweet and savory. Also following last year’s theme, we came in second place for the People’s Choice Award (by only one vote!). At least it was all for an amazing cause.

Arches National Park at sunset right before a crazy thunderstorm

Next up was my road trip in which my friend and I drove nearly 2000 miles in 10 days by taking the most roundabout route from San Francisco to Denver. On the way, we saw multiple amazing sites and national parks, drove into an alarming number of monsoons and thunderstorms, and completely wore ourselves out. It was crazy, incredible, and something I would totally do again in a heart beat.

Then this past Monday (just a day after I got home) I was very excited to host a healthy cooking demonstration in my apartment in which we talked about how to make healthy, fresh meals on the go. Thank you so much to everyone who joined me for that! We made some great recipes, including overnight oats three ways, a number of salads, and a tasty quinoa chickpea stew. I promise to share some of these recipes and strategies on the site at a later date!

Now I’m back to a regular schedule, focusing on things like work and moving, and of course, picking up where I left off on the blog. I’ve been meaning to share my almost award winning guac recipe ever since the competition, but life kind of got in the way. Now I finally have the time!

What I love about this recipe is that the pineapples get even sweeter and juicier when you roast them, and provide a wonderful burst of flavor when mixed in with the more traditional guacamole flavors. This recipe makes 2 avocados worth of guac, though you can always make more or less (we had 40 avocados going into the Guac Off). If you’re already barbecuing outside, leave the oven off and thrown these pineapples on the grill instead. You could also sear them off in a pan or a toaster oven if turning on the broiler is too much heat for you this summer. Whichever way you do it, definitely get a nice caramelization on the pineapple pieces. It’s totally worth it.

Get the recipe!

Thai Spring Rolls with a Peanut Ginger Dipping Sauce

The last few weeks have been surprisingly crazy for me. First, I had some quality family time down the shore. Then it was Labor Day weekend, which really meant that I had to get back into study mode and crack down on those books. And we can’t forget about the freakishly early Rosh Hashana (shana tova, everyone!). Because it ran into shabbat, the holiday basically lasted a whopping three days! And now we’re well into September, despite whatever the heat and humidity is trying to tell you, and all I can think is, “where the heck did my summer go?”

Anyway, in honor of the new (lunar) year, I’ve decided to be more conscious of what’s in my pantry. I’m trying to go through what I already have and trying to use up more of my grains, sauces, and random other things I have hidden away in there. Really this means that I have to be a lot more creative and crafty with what I make. It’s kind of fun – it’s like a game or a puzzle I have to solve. I have these four ingredients – what could I possibly do with them?

Well, in my attempt to go through my pantry, I found these rice paper rounds that I bought ages ago but never did anything with (thank goodness they don’t go bad!). As soon as I found them, I knew what I was going to make for dinner – Thai spring rolls! The filling of these spring rolls is made up of my regular grocery items this time of year, and the dipping sauce utilizes tons of pantry items for me, so I barely had to do any planning or make extra trips to the grocery store for this dish.

I like these spring rolls because they are light yet flavorful, and they feel fun and exotic without using any specialized ingredients outside the actual rice paper. The peach and basil provide a bright, summery note (after all, it is 90 degrees outside…), the arugula gives it a kick, and the pepper and cucumber provide a lovely crunch. The peanut ginger dipping sauce is incredibly flavorful and can easily be poured over noodles, into a stir fry, or used as a marinade. In fact, I would recommend making double the sauce and immediately reserving half for one of those uses.

The hardest part of making these rolls is the actual rolling. Somehow, I managed to keep all my rice papers intact, but my first few rolls were not particularly pretty. But I very quickly got the hang of it. Make these as an appetizer for your next dinner party, or pack a few for a light lunch. Either way, you won’t be able to get enough!

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Recipe ReDux: Summer Ribbon Salad

This month’s Recipe ReDux is all about jars.  My first thought on seeing this was something along the lines of “now I really need to learn how to can things…”  But then I realized that jars are so much more than just canning.  Don’t get me wrong, preserving ripe foods in jars is awesome, and I want so badly to learn how to do it safely, but it’s just not in my repertoire right now.

I’m also a big fan of labels – can you tell?
I do, however, use jars.  I use them all the time.  My pantry is full of jars.  I use jars to store my grains and legumes.  I use jars as Tupperware.  I take snacks and lunch to work in jars.  In fact, jars have taken over my cupboard because I just have so many of them.  This is one of the many recipes you can make in a jar.  You can also make it not in a jar, but I like it in a jar just because it means I can easily give it a shake every once in a while and not really have to think about it.

Every summer my family goes to the beach (or, as we say in Philly, we go “down the shore”) for a few weeks at the end of the summer.  About this time last year, my mom discovered Pinterest, and immediately began pinning recipes to make at the beach.  This salad was one of them, and I think we made it at least three times in two weeks.  It’s easy, it’s fresh, and it’s all about seasonal summer vegetables.  What I love about it is how the zucchini seems to soak in the vinaigrette, making this dish incredibly flavorful.

It’s super important to use fresh, young zucchinis for this.  If you use the kind that’s spongy in the middle, it will just get mushy as it soaks in the dressing.  If that’s the only kind of zucchini you’ve got, scoop out the spongy part (throw it into a soup or something) and make the ribbons out of the rest of the zucchini.

If I were you, I would grab some zucchini, a vegetable peeler, and your storage container of choice and get to work on this delicious summer salad right now!

Get the recipe!