The BEST Spring Lemon-Herb Orzo Salad

The BEST Spring Lemon-Herb Orzo Salad

The BEST spring lemon-herb orzo salad! It’s so easy to make and packed with fresh flavors from tons of herbs, lemon juice, feta cheese and crunchy peppery radish! I love to make this for potlucks, tailgating and make ahead lunches. It’s a vegetarian pasta salad everyone will love!

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Spring Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pizza

Spring Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pizza

My black car is officially yellow, so it’s time to break out the asparagus recipes, starting with this spring asparagus and goat cheese pizza! While I am usually adamantly pro-tomato sauce on pizza, I love this pie topped with garlic oil, two cheeses, crisp-tender asparagus and thin slices of Yukon gold potatoes. Don’t be skeptical of potatoes on pizza - the crispy rounds of potato are so good! And as I’m writing this, I’m realizing proscuitto or bacon would be a very welcome addition.

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Grilled Spring Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

Grilled Spring Vegetables with Miso-Lime Dressing

This is such and easy and delicious side dish for Spring! To make grilled spring vegetables with miso-lime dressing, throw seasonal vegetables on the grill, then drizzle with a probiotic rich dressing! Feel free to use the same dressing on other seasonal veggies.

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Spring Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Za'atar Croutons

Spring Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Za'atar Croutons

This spring Caesar salad is packed with seasonal produce like sauteed asparagus, crispy cucumbers and peppery radish mixed with arugula! Crunchy roasted chickpeas and za’atar seasoned croutons balance out the meal with protein and carbohydrate. One of those salads that will be on repeat all season!

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Spring Vegetable Coconut Couscous with Harissa Chicken

Spring Vegetable Coconut Couscous with Harissa Chicken

Make this spring vegetable coconut couscous with spicy harissa chicken! Mix in any vegetables you like in this easily adaptable dish! Takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to whip up this coconut infused couscous with tons of spring vegetables, that gets a kick of spicy flavor from harissa roasted chicken.

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Creamy Spring Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms, Asparagus and Mint

This creamy spring pasta with oyster mushrooms, asparagus and mint was inspired by a trip to the farmers market.

After taking an unintentional extended break from the farmer's market, I finally made it back last weekend with a girls trip to Soda City with my friend Katrina and my Bernese mountain dog, Savannah. It felt so good to be back! When we moved to Columbia five years ago, I was none too thrilled with it. When we discovered Soda City, our local farmers market, and saw all the passion behind the local food movement, it got me really excited about what this town could be. To see it grow from a tiny, ramshackle building on the outskirts of downtown to a huge affair the city shuts down Main St. for has been really cool! In that time, Columbia has grown into a town I quite enjoy living!

I'm not the most intuitive of cooks, but I'm always inspired to create at the farmers market. And with such delicious and beautiful produce, it's hard to go wrong!  I snagged a ball of mozzarella from Charleston Cheesehouse, fresh squid ink pasta from Rio Bertonlinis and finally a little basket of oyster mushrooms from City Roots. I sauteed up the mushrooms with some asparagus (I admit, from TJs, not the farmers market) in plenty of olive oil to let the freshness shine through!

To make the sauce, I simply used a little creme fraiche. If you haven't tried it before, creme fraiche is made by fermenting cream, similar to how you make yogurt from milk. The result is a rich, thick, and slightly tangy cream. If you can't find it, a few tablespoons of heavy cream will work just fine!

Creamy Spring Pasta with Oyster Mushrooms, Asparagus and Mint

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces fresh or whole grain pasta
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus, trimmed, cut into thirds
  • 1/4 lb oyster mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 1 cup peas, defrosted
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water then drain pasta in a large colander. Set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add asparagus and saute 2-3 minutes. Add oyster mushrooms and cook until asparagus is tender and mushrooms are browned.
  3. Turn off heat and add pasta to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir in creme fraiche, mint, and peas. Scoop into large serving bowl, stir in mozzarella, season with salt and pepper and serve.

More farmer's market inspired recipes for spring: 

Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish and Lemon-Mint Dressing
Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish and Lemon-Mint Dressing
Ultimate Veggie Avocado Sandwich
Ultimate Veggie Avocado Sandwich
Roasted Asparagus and Radish with Mint-Pea Pesto
Roasted Asparagus and Radish with Mint-Pea Pesto

Mediterranean Cobb Salad

For a twist on the traditional Cobb salad, try this Mediterranean Cobb salad with roasted asparagus, roasted red peppers and crispy chickpea croutons! 

Time for another round of Recipe Redux! This month's theme:

Limping Along for Lunch

Do you ever find yourself in a lunchtime rut? I quickly get bored of eating the same thing again and again. Packing leftovers from dinner for the next day's lunch has been my method for preventing lunchtime boredom for years! It works well for us since most recipes serve four,  there's always enough for our lunch.

Last month the hubs got a promotion that means a lot more travel the leftovers routine that I had down pat. If it's just me, I don't want to cook something and eat it for lunch and dinner, two days straight

For lunch, as stereotypical as it is, I love salads. They're bright, refreshing and don't leave me feeling groggy when I've got a ton to do the rest of the afternoon. But I also like tasty salads - no boring 'berg lettuce with ranch and cheese!

Last week I tried something new and planned a 'fancy' lunch salad then used some of the ingredients in making dinner the rest of the week. It was basically the reverse of my usual plan of using leftovers for lunch! This Mediterranean Cobb salad topped with roasted red peppers, crispy chickpeas, hard boiled eggs and roasted asparagus is what I came up with.

Here's how I extended my salad to dinner:

Asparagus: Roasted up two bunches and used the rest as a side dish with lemon and garlic chicken kebabs, roasted carrots and skillet potatoes.

Hard boiled eggs: One of my favorite snacks! I sliced them up over rye crispbreads with spicy mustard (one of my clients turned me onto this mustard and it's my favorite!)

Crispy Chickpeas: Roasted 2 cans and enjoyed the rest as a crunchy, salty snack!

Dressing: Leftover dressing is great drizzled over roasted vegetables for bright flavor, or over a side salad at dinner. I had this drizzled on roasted broccoli and it was heaven!

Here's some more ideas with some of my favorite salads:

Asian Tempeh Quinoa Salad with Wild Greens // Make extra tempeh-quinoa salad to serve with brown rice crackers as a snack.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Apples and Tempeh Bacon // Make an extra batch of tempeh bacon to scramble with eggs in the morning, or stuff into a vegan quesadilla with refried beans and guacamole. Use extra lemon dressing over roasted or sauteed veggies.

Black Rice Salad with Crispy Kale and Coconut // Make extra black rice for fried black rice with bok choy. Double the amount of dressing and use the other half to marinade chicken or tofu.

Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Soy-Miso Dressing // Double the batch of quinoa and use the rest to make a grain bowl or quinoa tahini bars. Make extra ginger orange carrots and swap for the plain carrots in my creamy carrot coconut soup! The dressing is also great over roasted salmon or a simple bowl of brown rice, roasted broccoli and chickpeas. 

One note, there are anchovies in this dressing but PLEASE don't let it deter you! I've got a recipe in the que that will talk all about anchovy goodness, but until then, please give this a try! Know that they're a totally sustainable and delicious source of omega 3s that also packs a nutty, briny flavor into dishes. You can try it in my roasted cauliflower pasta with browned butter (and secret anchovy) sauce ;)

Mediterranean Cobb Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

Salad: 

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 8 cups arugula

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 3 anchovy filets, very finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss chickpeas with 1 teaspoon olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper, Roast for 20 minutes, toss with a spatula, continue roasting 15 minutes more until crunchy and toasted.
  3. Toss asparagus with 2 teaspoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on another baking sheet and roasted under the chickpeas for 10-20 minutes until browned and tender. Thinner asparagus will cook faster and thicker will take longer.
  4. While vegetables are roasting, make the dressing. Mix all dressing ingredients together and whisk until combined. Season with pepper (it'll have enough salt from the anchovy)
  5. If serving individually, divide arugula between plates then divide chopped asparagus, chickpea croutons, halved hard boiled eggs, walnuts, and red onion down in lines.

Asparagus Eggs Benedict with Grain Free Biscuits & Avocado Hollandaise

I recently read an article in Food & Wine Magazine all about how brunch is officially back. Seriously? When as brunch ever out cause I totally missed that memo? I mean, who doesn't love an excuse to drink Bloody Mary's before noon and eat food smothered in hollandaise?

My one beef? Going out for brunch requires me to take a shower and make myself presentable on a weekend morning, which I loathe. Weekends are for lounging around the house in fuzzy socks and your ugliest, oldest, most broken in pair of yoga pants, I say. Uh oh. Did I just reveal myself to be in my thirties?

Solution? Make brunch at home and pour a couple light on the orange juice mimosas while you're at it! Not only is it a fun, stay-at-home date (or a way to pamper yourself!), but you get to enjoy the fancy breakfast food you don't have time to make during the week.

I used to think poaching eggs was impossible, only for chefs at fancy restaurants, but then I read directions on how to do it. Apparently dropping eggs into boiling water makes a hot mess of broken up boiled egg and not perfectly poached spheres of runny yolked goodness. I think this is my problem with most things in life. I act first, read directions later. Don't make the same mistake. This post on how to poach an egg by Smitten Kitchen breaks it down into simple to follow directions.

Also of note, the biscuits in these pictures are not the same ones included in the recipe. I've been damned and determined to find a perfect grain free biscuit recipe, not because I have anything against whole wheat flour, but because I'm stubborn, especially when it comes to things I'm not very good at (i.e. biscuit making). The biscuits pictured tasted great, but were a bit hockey puck-like in appearance (not in taste, thankfully). This weekend, I finally nailed it!

Asparagus Eggs Benedict with Grain Free Biscuits & Avocado Hollandaise

This recipe makes extra hollandaise, perfect for dipping spears of steamed asparagus.

Ingredients

Grain Free Biscuit:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Avocado Hollandaise:

  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup water

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 6 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. First, make the biscuits. In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Drizzle in melted coconut oil and using your fingers or a fork, stir together until evenly dispersed in the flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and honey. Pour into flour and whisk until combined.
  3. Oil a baking sheet. Using a large spoon, drop 6 biscuits evenly on the sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.
  4. While biscuits are baking, steam asparagus in a steamer pot for 5 minutes until bright green and tender. Remove and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, cut in half.
  5. Poach the egg using this method
  6. While you're poaching the eggs, make the hollandaise. Add the avocado, lemon juice and water to a blender. Season with salt. Blend until pureed.
  7. When ready to serve, top each biscuit with asparagus and a poached egg, then spoon on some avocado hollandaise.

 You might also like:

Avocado and Ricotta Tartines with Preserved Lemon

Avocado and Ricotta Tartines with Preserved Lemon

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes with Mint Pea Pesto

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes with Mint Pea Pesto

Chickpea Pancake with Fried Eggs, Avocado and Chili Oil 

Chickpea Pancake with Fried Eggs, Avocado and Chili Oil 

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes with Mint-Pea Pesto

Roasted asparagus and radishes with mint-pea pesto is a beautiful and tasty way to highlight Spring produce. 

It’s finally Spring! Except if you’re here in Columbia...then it’s actually kinda, sorta summer.

I’m not sure what happened, but the temperature basically went from the 30s and 40s to the 90s in about two weeks, skipping the season of Spring entirely. Obviously we still got the insane amounts of pollen typical to this area. And massive thunderstorms that seem to be timed to start exactly 2 minutes before I have to leave the house. Oh well. What’s important is that Spring produce and the dogwood flowers are here and that's enough to make me happy.

This recipe is packed with everything I love about Spring. I’ve been obsessing over roasted radishes ever since I saw this article on The Kitchn. When The Kitchen tells you there’s a roasted vegetable that’s missing from your life – you listen. I love raw radishes in salsa, garnishing a bowl of posole or on rye crispbreads with a little butter and sea salt, but I honestly never thought about cooking them. Roasting radishes mellows their peppery bite and turns it into something sweet, tender and almost juicy. 

This recipe makes more pea pesto than you'll need, and you'll still wish you doubled the recipe! Use leftover pesto as a sandwich spread (it would be amazing on my smoked salmon breakfast sandwich), tossed with whole grain spaghetti, or as a dip for whole grain crackers. You can even freeze it, but you might want to put a light layer of olive oil over the top to keep the bright green color.

I whipped up this recipe during a photoshoot for lululemon's Columbia showroom with Celia from Celia G Photographie. It was so much fun! Celia is incredibly talented, fun to work with, and how cute is the outfit she styled? The Refine Crop I'm wearing is probably the most comfortable thing I've ever put on my body...and for the record I'm currently in 10-year old, hot pink Juicy Couture velour sweats. Don't judge, it's laundry day. And who knows, maybe they'll come back in style. Maybe??

Anyway, wanted to share a couple pictures from the shoot with you all as well as a sneak peak into my kitchen. Please know my kitchen is never this clean and is usually much more chaotic with the two big fluffy dogs at my feet!

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes with Mint-Pea Pesto

Serves:4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 8 ounces radishes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pesto:

  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, packed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the asparagus and radish with olive oil in a large bowl and spread evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes until tender and lightly browned.
  2. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for two minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool and stop the cooking.
  3. Drain the peas again and add to a food processor along with the garlic, walnuts, mint, lemon juice, walnut oil, salt and pepper. Process until pureed, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Serve roasted vegetables dolloped with pea pesto, or toss it all together.

 You Might Also Like:

Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms with Herbed Breadcrumbs
Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish & Peas with Mint-Lemon Dressing
Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish & Peas with Mint-Lemon Dressing
Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins
Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

My Two Favorite Salads with Seasonal Asparagus

My Two Favorite Salads with Seasonal Asparagus

Celebrate asparagus season with my two favorite salads featuring fresh from the farmer's market asparagus! First up, mixed greens topped with roasted asparagus, prosciutto and goat cheese. Next, a tapas inspired salad with grilled asparagus and chickpeas in a smoky paprika dressing with oil-packed tuna. 

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