lunchbox life: grass-fed burger, avocado, and tomato basil salad

image1(17)Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there! Alex and I had a great time visiting with our moms this weekend. I’m lucky to know so many great moms, both who have been maternal toward me and who are maternal toward their own beautiful children. I hope you all had breakfast cooked for you and hugs from loved ones.

Two weeks into testing month, two weeks to go. Last week I shared that I was attempting a 7-day version of the Whole30 plan, and I’m happy to say that I successfully completed the challenge! 7 days of no sugar, legumes, grains, dairy, alcohol, and many chemical additives left me feeling lighter, sleeping better, and with clearer skin. I My last day was this past Friday, so since it was over, I had a few off-book things to eat this weekend, but that was planned. I’m excited to attempt the full version of the plan this summer at GHP, but I still want to incorporate some of the plan in the meantime.

This leads me to this week’s lunches: protein, veggies, and fat. It’s really a non-recipe: I made four burgers out of a 1 lb. block of grass-fed ground beef, combined some grapes tomatoes with fresh basil, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper, and plan to pack a half of an avocado each day along with some oil and vinegar to dress the salad greens. Here’s the key with the avocado: to keep it fresh, only cut each one lengthwise the night before you need it on the morning that you need the first half. Pack the first half without the pit, wrapping it in plastic wrap and placing it in a small plastic container. Wrap the pitted half in plastic wrap and place it in another small plastic container, then put it in the refrigerator. This will slow down the oxidation process and prevent the exterior of the sliced avocado flesh from turning brown.

Only four lunches this week because my sister Harriett is getting married this weekend! We’ll be traveling to Columbus on Friday.

Have a great week, everybody–TEN more school days for me!

bungalow to go: beer braised pork carnitas tacos

Carnitas 6As some of you know, Bungalow Kitchen and Ocmulgee Traders (our local Macon grocery) have partnered to create Bungalow to Go, a meal that you prepare at home with portioned out ingredients, including local produce from Babe and Sage Farm. This week’s feature will gear you up for Cinco de Mayo and have your taste buds singing. Interested? Let Steve and Laura at OT know on their Facebook page or call them up at (478) 345-6162. Boxes available April 30-May 3.

Beer Braised Pork Carnitas Tacos
Serves 4, generously

8 stems of scallions from Babe and Sage Farm
4 lbs. pork shoulder (Boston Butt)
5 oz. queso fresco
24 oz. beer, dark porter
8 garlic cloves
spice mix (1 Tbsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes)
24 small corn tortillas (5” diameter)
1 bunch of cilantro
1 avocado
1 lime

What You Need at Home:
aluminum foil
salt and pepper
1 dutch oven with lid
1 knife

STEP 1: Assemble Ingredients
Read over each step to familiarize yourself with the process of the meal.

STEP 2: Prep the Meat
Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks. Place all of the pork chunks into a dutch oven.

STEP 3: Bring Beer and Pork to a Boil
Pour the beer over the pork, then bring the liquid to a boil. While waiting for the liquid to boil, mince the garlic and thinly slice the scallions.

STEP 4: Add Ingredients and Simmer
When the liquid is boiling, add the spice mix, scallions, zest of the lime, and garlic to the pot and stir, then place the lid on the pot and simmer for 1 hour. After the hour is up, remove the lid, bring the liquid back to a boil, and boil for another 30 minutes. Much of the liquid will evaporate in this process.

STEP 5: Heat the Tortillas and Assemble Toppings
Heat the oven to 300 F. Wrap the stack of tortillas in aluminum foil and warm for about 15 minutes. Thinly slice the flesh of the avocado, crumble the queso fresco, slice the lime into fourths, and pick the leaves off the cilantro stems. Set aside. When the pork is finished cooking, line a plate with two paper towels and spoon the meat chunks out of the remaining liquid.

STEP 6: Assemble the Tacos
For each taco, double up the tortillas. On each double torilla, add about 1/4 cup (or a couple of chunks) of the pork, taking care to slightly shred the pork as you assemble, but leaving the shape mostly intact. Next, top with your choice of toppings: lime juice, queso fresco, avocado slices, and cilantro leaves. Because the tacos are smaller, serve each person three tacos (six small tortillas).

meatless monday: parsnip souffle


Well, everyone. Tonight was one of those nights. It was one of those nights where the dish just didn’t measure up. Was it good? Yes. Was it attractive? Not really. Most importantly, despite the effort and ingredients, it just did not stand up as a complete dish.

Folks, I made a side that was masquerading as a main. Nonetheless, it is still a savory, tasty souffle that most of you will enjoy. It has the fresh, spicy taste of parsnip, and creaminess of cheese, the texture and protein of souffle, and even an unusual green from the CSA (Sorrel). It was a dish I would be proud to take to a dinner party or serve at a family dinner, even if it was not a full dinner for tonight. Which is to say, I still wanted you to know about it.

Being a souffle, it is mainly a dish of stuff mixed with eggs. The stuff in this case are pureed parsnips, onions, sorrel, and cheese with respective herbs. You can mix this up in numerous ways, including adding spinach, more cheese, other aromatics, or even ham.

Parsnip Souffle (adapted from epicurious.com)

1 pound parsnips, peeled, diced
glug olive oil
Salt, pepper
2 cups water

1/2 onion, frenched
1/2 cup sorrel, chopped
olive oil

1/4 stick butter
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flour
80z sharp cheddar, grated
Salt, pepper, paprika
1 tsp chopped sage

6 eggs, separated
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

shortening to coat dish

Heat oven to 400. Saute the parsnips in a pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. Heat until it begins to caramelize then pour in water. Stir well then put in oven for 10 minutes. Remove, drain and keep 1 cup of liquid. Puree in food processor. Place mix in fridge.

Heat more oil in a sauce pan and saute the onions. Add the sorrel and saute until wilted. Remove mix from pan and set aside.

Melt butter together with oil and add flour. Whisk together for a few minutes. Add the cooking liquid and continue to whisk for about 3 minutes, until thick as gravy, but smooth. Add the onions, sorrel, parsnip mix (from fridge), cheese and sage and spices. Stir together. Remove from heat.

Mix the egg whites and cream of tarter together at medium high speed of a mixer until stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, stir the yolks into the parsnip mix. Once the whites and finished, slowly fold them into the parsnip mix. Pour into the shortening coated square dish and bake 35-40 minutes until set and golden brown.

Finish with grated Parmesan or extra cheddar if you choose.

… serve as side.





Folded together

Folded together

Ready to go.

Ready to go.


guest blog: Erin Lake’s baguettes and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

photo 2

Greetings, friends! My dear friend, neighbor, and hostess extraordinaire, Erin Lake, has written a guest blog for Bungalow Kitchen! I’m so glad that she’s bringing us not one, but two amazing baking recipes, because let’s be honest–baking isn’t my (Eleta’s) forte.  Enjoy!

These recipes were taught and passed down to me by a wonderful Aunt who is known for her delicious baking confections and flair for off-the-chart meals.
As the weather starts crisping up, I tend to incorporate the bread into more meals and make the muffins as evening and breakfast treats.  (FYI, the muffins are delish with coffee!) These cozy items are a great complement to the season and are a crowd pleaser no matter what your culinary level may be.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Baguette Flutes
This recipe is a cool-weather staple.  It is a superb complement to soups, stews and wonderfully-soppy entrees as it soaks up juices and amps up a meal’s delish factor.  The baguette recipe is an old Danish recipe that my Aunt’s friend converted to American measurements.  She passed the recipe and her techniques down to me during one of her visits to Macon.
With just 7 ingredients, once you’ve learned the simple steps, making this recipe is a snap and the variations are endless.   And, you can multi-task while the bread is rising—I’ve been known to run errands or take the dog for a walk during this step.  In all, the total time for all the steps is about 2.5 hours.
1 T Dry-active yeast
2 c Very warm/hot water
½ c. Dry Oatmeal
1 T sugar
1 T salt
1 T olive oil
4 c. + 2 T unbleached, enriched flour
For this recipe, you’ll need a 3-slot baguette pan.  I have not been able to find one locally and purchased mine online.  You can find a great, affordable version here.

photo 3
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 2 tablespoons of flour.  Slowly add the 2 cups of water and mix with your hand for about a minute to ensure the flour and yeast have completely dissolved.  It is worthwhile to note that while you could use a mixer for this recipe, I was taught, and have always found it beneficial to use my hand to mix all of the ingredients.  This technique ensures that ingredients fully dissolve and you can better better feel the needed consistency.
Once the yeast has dissolved in the water, add the oatmeal, sugar, salt, olive oil and last, the flour.  When mixing in the flour, I shape my hand like a paddle and stir as I add each cup.
Once everything is combined, form the dough into a ball and remove from the bowl.  I, spray the bowl with non-stick spray  before putting the dough back in—it makes the dough easier to remove once it’s risen.

photo 1
Cover the dough with a tea towel and place in a location that does not have an air draft.  Let rise for an hour.

photo 2(1)
After an hour, your dough should look like this.

photo 1(1)
Spray your 3-slot baguette pan and hands with non-stick spray.  I learned to spray my hands as it is easier to form the baguettes without the dough sticking to your hands.  Deflate the dough in the bowl and form into 3 equal-ish balls.  One by one, free-form each ball into a baguette shape while rubbing your hands together and flipping the dough while gravity forms the baguette shape.  This really is a very easy step, gravity really does the work—rubbing your hands together helps keep the piece in a uniform cylinder shape.  You’ll want the length of each baguette to be slightly less than the length of your pan.  This provides a buffer as the dough rises.  Lightly score just the top of each baguette with a sharp knife.  You’re not looking to cut deeply cut the baguette, just simply score it.
Lightly cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour.
After an hour, your baguettes should be plump and you can smell the lovely yeast working.  Very lightly brush each flute with egg wash and place into a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.  (Note, if you have a convection oven as I do, for most recipes, I lower the temperature by about 25 degrees.)   After 15 minutes, lower the temp to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes.
It has been my experience that neighbors can smell the bread cooking—don’t be surprised if you get knocks on your door for a sample.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan.  The loaves may stick together slightly but they generally break apart easily.  When hosting a meal, I usually serve the bread on a cutting board and allow the guests to cut their own slices.  Enjoy!
*For a fun twist, try sprinkling the dough with chopped rosemary, poppy seed, course black pepper or parmesan cheese after you brush on the egg wash.  Once you’ve mastered the recipe, you can even braid the dough and make it a culinary and artistic treat.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
A fall staple.  Friends and neighbors alike request these as the calendar flips into September.  These muffins are delish and pair nicely with a cup of coffee.
1 16oz can of pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 ¼ c vegetable oil
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 c flour
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c chocolate chips

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips and nuts once all other ingredients are combined.  Pour into greased muffin pans or 2 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees—muffins approximately 18 minutes and loaves need 60-70 minutes.  Enjoy!

lunchbox life: mediterranean chickpea salad


Rarely do I have a time when I dread cooking; usually, the process of creating a meal is a soothing experience for me. Tonight, however, I was simply too tired to cook. I also didn’t want to take too much of a shortcut, so this no-cook recipe is a great compromise. Some of my favorite recipes, particularly salads, come mostly from the assembly of great ingredients to make something easy, but also fresh and healthy. This chickpea salad is full of veggies, but it also has bites of Italian cheese and meats to satisfy your protein needs. If you want to go really light with this dish, you could use diced turkey instead of the pepperoni and salami, but if you go that route, I’d suggest adding some olive oil to the lemon juice for the dressing for added flavor. I didn’t use olive oil in the dressing here because the fat in the pepperoni and salami has enough of a flavor and consistency that it doesn’t need an added oil. Tip: when getting the meat for this dish, go to your grocery’s deli counter and ask for some thick-cut slices, about 1/2 an inch. This way, when you get home you can simply dice up the meat and you’ll only get enough for the specific dish.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cucumber, sliced and cubed

1 red bell pepper, sliced and cubed

1/3 cup marinated sun dried tomatoes

4 oz. salami, cubed

4 oz. pepperoni, cubed

4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed

juice of 2 lemons

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, refrigerate overnight.

meatless monday: fresh corn and cauliflower bowl, basil stuffed grilled tomato, charred okra and snap beans



Yesterday we were driving back from Athens, my other favorite Georgia city, listening to an album that I haven’t heard in years (incidentally the only album released by the band Panic at the Disco–Pretty. Odd.), and thinking about the simple joys in life–good people, good music, and good food. Part of what makes these things such simple joys is that the are intimate and individual– that combination of favorite things is different for every person. And that drive is something that always brings those things into focus for me. A road so often travelled that brought me to my favorite person and my favorite place–a road that no matter which way I go it takes me home.

Now when I travel to Athens it is usually to seek culinary delights and this may have been the best yet. We managed to hit both Cinco y Diez and 5 & 10 and the Four Coursemen successor Coterie and Tie (Eleta will be doing a full report on this in a later entry). It was a gustatory wonderland. (Considering we started the weekend with dinner at Dovetail we really had a weekend to envy food-wise).

But, to the point, all this really brought into focus the need to focus on the simple, even when it comes to food. Fresh, simple, well seasoned food. It is so easy and makes you so happy when done well. Nothing can make you instantly happy like a great bite a food, and there is no better way to do that than using fresh ingredients in their time.

So, for meatless monday, I concocted a fresh corn bowl using some of the techniques we saw over the weekend with the garnishes. Easy prep, fresh flavors, delicious meal.

(For what it is worth, I listened to Cooley’s “Fool on Every Corner” while I cooked. Good folks, Good Music, Good Food.)

Corn and Cauliflower Bowl

2 ears fresh corn
1/2 Head Cauliflower
1/2 stick butter
Tbsp salt
Tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
8 large okra
Handful of fresh snap green beans
2 fresh tomatoes
6 leaves basil
Olive oil, salt, pepper.

Begin by bringing a pot of water to a boil.

Shuck the corn and remove silk. Cut the corn off the cob midway through the kernel into a large bowl. Milk each ear by scraping down the ear with the back of the knife. Grate the floret part of the cauliflower with a fine cheese grater into the bowl. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Stir and set aside.

Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 2 minute. Remove from heat into an ice bath. Let rest.

Heat a grill pan or stove top grill over medium high heat.

In a deep, heavy bottomed pan, add the butter and heat over medium heat until it bubbles and browns. Add the garlic and rosemary and reduce heat to medium low for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Add the corn mixture to and and stir. Raise heat to medium and cover about 10 minutes. You can add extra butter if you like. this is very much a choose your own adventure flavor wise.

In a bowl, coat the okra with olive oil and salt. Place on the grill and cook 7-8 minutes per side, until well charred and soft throughout. Add the green beans and grill until lightly charred, about 6 minutes.

Remove the stem side of the tomato, about 1/4 inch until the seed beds are exposed. Stuff 3 basil leaves into each tomato in the soft seed sections. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and place cut side down on the grill for about 4 minutes.

Plate as seen above.

The real question with this dish is what the corm mixture is more like. It has a texture more like risotto or grits  than creamed corn. The corn kernels should keep their integrity and have a slight crunch. The flavor has way more freshness than either risotto or grits, though.

The flavors really mesh well, especially the spiced corn and the aroma of the basil tomato. The sweet juice of the tomato mixing with the corn has a similar effect to a fried egg influencing and elevating to other flavors of a more savory plate.

All told, simple and delicious. In the middle of summer, all was golden.

tasty tuesday: barbacoa grilled cheese with cumin-lime Brussels sprouts slaw


Let’s be clear from the start. What follows is not actually barbacoa–a pit smoked whole animal wrapped in banana leaves or some sort. This is a quicker, more Chipotle or Loco’s style braise. That speaks nothing to the deliciousness of the dish- it is real and it is spectacular.

My return to tasty tuesday comes with a basic meal turned on its head. This is a sandwich and salad, but it is has nicely meshed flavors that have some tex-mex sensibilities. The salad is a take on our now-standby Brussels spout salad changed up with a cumin-lime dressing instead of the dijon vinaigrette.

All told, a wonderful weeknight meal, but it takes a little time.

Barbacoa Grilled Cheese

1 lb flaken style beef short ribs
Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Red Pepper to Cover ribs
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bomber beer (I used Sierra Nevada Torpedo)
1/4 Vidalia onion
2 tbsp butter

4 slices sourdough bread
2 tbsp butter
1/2 lb queso blanco
1/2 Vidalia onion cut into strips

Start by heating a cast iron dutch over to medium high heat and preheating the oven to 325. Coat the ribs in the spices. Add the oil and 4 cloves of the garlic to the pan. Sear the ribs on both sides, just a few seconds on each side and remove. Pour the beer into the pan to deglaze. Place the meat back into the mixture with the onions and butter. Cover and place in the over for about an hour and a half to braise.

Heat 1 tbsp butter on a griddle and add the onions. Heat until the onions soften and brown in places.

Once the meat is able to be pulled apart with a fork, remove from the oven. Pull the meat into tiny morsels. Place the meat on in a single layer. Leave about 3 minutes until a crust forms. Flip the meat and heat for 2 minutes and add the grilled onions. Ladle about 1/4 of the cooking liquid on to the meat and remove.

Scrape the griddle. Butter one side of each of the pieces of bread and place on the griddle. Lower the heat to medium low and cover the top side of bread with the cheese and cover all with a pan lid. Add the meat to one side once the bread begins to crisp and cheese starts melting. Complete the sandwich by topping the meat with the other cheesy bread. Nom. You can also make an au jus sauce by heating the cooking liquid over medium high heat and add some turbinado sugar and flour. Mmm.

Cumin Lime Brussels Sprouts Salad

1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chipotle almonds, finely chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turbinado sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Finley chop the sprouts and add the oregano and cilantro. Top with the almonds. Shake the remaining ingredients in a large sealable container and add to the green mix. Mix well and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Welcome back, you guys!

wild card wednesday: brown butter catfish with stir-fried collards



“The Mississippi Delta is shining like a national guitar,” a line from Paul Simon’s “Graceland” from the album of the same name is a great analogy for the food of the region. Among the many dividing line’s the nation has, the Mississippi River is peculiar in that it is permanent and literal, and that it also leads to the truth that we are one great melting pot. The delta is a place that calls us all out on our iniquities while also pointing to the fact that we, from our founding, have been a nation of self-reliance (and perhaps cosmic irony). Tonight’s meal is a tribute to the forgotten, the cast-offs, and the offal that shows that even in the dredges there is beauty. I have learned so much about this region and its culture through this challenge and carry a much fuller respect for Southern Foodways because of it.

Catfish is a bottom feeder, collards were considered an inferior to turnips and designated for servants, and hominy hardly has an identity of its own. The people of the delta–this wonderful, multi-cultural area– made these foods delicacies that are now regularly finding their way to the menus of America’s greatest chefs. This meal is an ode to all the cultures that make this region special (I learned in researching the area that several Asian-Americans settled in the region after the California gold rush ended and added immediately made collards part of their cuisine to replace bok choy and other cabbages common in Asia).

In other words, America might have learned to farm in the mid-atlantic, to hunt in the wilderness, and to fight in colonies, but the delta is where America learned to cook. This meal is an ode to those who found a way to make plates from scraps and build society around compost.

It was also delicious.

Brown Butter Catfish

1 stick butter
8 Filets catfish
2 cups water
1/4 cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
30ish whole peppercorns
Pinch salt

To begin, melt the butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Allow the butter to froth and then calm down. When brown flecks begin to appear, swirl the pan. Keep cooking for about 7-8 minutes until the butter is mostly brown. Heat another minute and pour into a container away from heat.

Add the water, wine, garlic, pepper, salt, and bay leave to a deep frying pan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Uncover and raise the heat to being the liquid back to a boil. Cut the temp to medium low/simmer and place the filets into the liquid. Poach for about five minutes.

Turn broiler on. Place the catfish filets on a foil lined broiling pan. Pour enough browned butter on each filet to cover. Broil 4-5 minutes until the butter is bubbling. Remove and serve immediately, with lemon if you choose.

Velvety smooth.

Velvety smooth.

Stir fried collards

1 lb (bunch) collards
3 strips sliced country ham, chunked
1 can golden hominy
1 tbsp bacon fat
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1 tsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fish sauce

Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil and prep an ice bath. Chop the collards into 2-inch squares. Blanch the collards in the boiling water for about and minute. Remove and dunk in the ice-bath. Lay a double-layer of paper towels on the counter and place the collards on the. Cover with an additional layer of paper towels to dry.

In a deep pan at medium high heat, saute the ham and hominy together in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and saute about 3 minutes. Add the canola oil and then the collards. Stir in the fish sauce for 2 minutes and reduce heat and continue to cook about 5 minutes.

Corn and Pork, the South in food.

Corn and Pork, the South in food.


Plate with the collard mix in a dish and top with fish. Enjoy. Keep bounding into Graceland.

meatless monday: sandwich king- grilled artichoke sub and carrot cranberry salad


Prepared last monday, this meatless monday special might be right up your alley for the coming week. I was inspired for this meal after watching the great Sandwich King on food network. His show is a pretty entertaining and inventive twist on the sometimes pretentious shows on the network’s line-up and is a huge step up in watchability from Guy. It also airs on Sunday morning, a great time to get you excited about comfort food.

This sandwich and salad combo was not paired on the show itself, but it allowed me to use some of the great items from out CSA (the eggs and carrots).Thus, it is a timely, springy meal with some great bold flavors. I thoroughly enjoyed it and think you will too!

Sub- adapted from foodnetwork.com

1 head garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Zest of 1 lemon
1 12oz jar of marinated artichoke
1 large Italian sweet loaf
4 to 6 vibrant leafs of red leaf lettuce
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted with salt and a pinch of red pepper

Cut the top off the garlic and wrap in foil with some salt and pepper and olive oil. Roast for at least 20 mins on 350. Remove when brown and caramelized and place on the board to cool.

Mix the cheeses, basil, and lemon zest in a bowl. Squeeze the garlic out of the bulb and mash on the cutting board. Add to the cheese mixture and mix.

Toast the pine nuts in a pan with the salt and red pepper over medium-low heat. Check and roll regularly to make sure the do no over-toast. This process will give the nuts a fuller flavor.

Heat a grill pan to medium high. Place the artichokes on and cook about 5 mins per side, until marks show. While they are cooking, lightly toast the bread in a 250 oven.

Split the loaf and smear the cheese on both sides. Add artichokes to one side and nuts to the other. Fill with the desired amount of lettuce and close it up.

Sammich time.

Sammich time.


Carrot cranberry salad– again adapted from food network.

2 egg yolks
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tbsp dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded carrots (about 8 medium)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

In food processor, add the yolks, honey, mustard, vinegar, and lemon items. Turn on processor and slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture. Blend about 10 seconds and remove. (This is an adaptation of another Sandwich king recipe!).

Place the shredded carrots, cranberries, and pecans in a large bowl. Add the aioli mix to the bowl and stir. Refrigerate about 20 mins and stir before serving.
Serve together and enjoy your bright, springy-lemony meal!

Prepared 4/21/14

meatless monday: mexican soup with avocado filled quesadilla


Rainy days and Mondays, you guys. Those two things in conjunction are something far worse than just a Carpenters song or something that doesn’t simply get you down. The wicked combo forces you to find inspiration to not just consider the day cancelled and sleep for an extra 24. Unfortunately, the jerk who invented work made it down from the Big Rock Candy Mountain and made Monday the start of the work week. And so it goes, that’s just how it is.

But, thanks the ingenuity of the human race, we have developed cures for the doldrums of the rainy monday– the soup and grilled cheese combo. The very definition of comfort food. It’s a combo that makes you feel like you are in a snuggie that is somehow stylish and you are proud to strut along the promenade.

Of course, a simple grilled cheese and tomato soup combo is not what you demand. Had to kick it up and notch with a South of the Border (Mexico, not Pedro’s amusement park on the Carolina border on I-95) soup and quesadilla combo that is spicy, warm, creamy, and decadent.

The soup is a basic vegan soup with a vegetable broth base that is loaded with veggies, spices, poblano, and lime. The non-vegan portion, the quesadilla, is a standard queso fresco grilled cheese with simple avocado spread.

This meal is well balance and perfect pick-me-up for this dreary day.

Mexican Vegetable soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
6 Cloves Garlic, pressed
1 Poblano pepper, ribs and seeds removed and cut into strips
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp oregano
1 14 once can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 14 once can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Bunch cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or dutch over over medium low heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. In frying pan, roast the poblano strips until the skin on the outside blisters. Remove from pan and finely chop. Add the peppers and garlic with the onions and saute for another couple of minutes. Add all the spices, then the tomatoes and beans. Stir and saute for anther minute. Add the oregano the broth, raise the heat to medium high and stir in the lime, salt and pepper, and 1/2 the cilantro. Once it is at a boil, reduce back to medium low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

soup pot dome


During the simmering, make the quesadillas.

Avocado filled quesadilla

1 tortilla per diner
1/2 tbsp butter per quesadilla
1 hunk of queso freco
2 avocados
1 tbsp heavy cream
2 pinches salt
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Peel the avocados and place in a bowl. Add the salt, garlic, cream, and lime and beat together with a wisk.

Heat a large frying pan to medium low and melt the butter. Once bubbly, add a little garlic powder and salt to the butter. Swirl the pan until the butter coats the pan and place the tortilla into the butter. Crumble queso frseco to cover the tortilla all over. Cover for 30 seconds to accelerate the melting. Once the cheese has melted and the tortilla is browning on the edges, spoon two scoops on avocado on one side of the tortilla and fold the other half over the avocado. Press to make the cheese stick. Cook an additional 20 seconds per side, until crisp. Cut in half to serve.


like a warm food blanket

like a warm food blanket

Nom on get happy.