Oh my God, I think we just hibernated through the entire summer. While I am still holding on to the last few hot days with sadness that it has passed so quickly and that we were so preoccupied with some heavy life stuff to really notice, deep down inside, I am sort of yearning for fall and all that comes with it. Our best summer moments were spent up in Washington for our dear friend’s beautiful wedding during what everyone there said was the best weather week of the summer. It was glorious- the weather, the food, our friends and family, so much love and celebration.
For one of the celebrations, a family picnic, a small group of us made some salads. This potato salad recipe below was one of the dishes that Grant and I contributed and our friend asked for the recipe. Grant and I made it up, based loosely on one his sister makes which I think is based on a Barefoot Contessa recipe. Here is how it went…
Cornichon Potato Salad
6 large Red Potatoes (about 5 or so cups), washed, cubed, cooked in boiling water until done
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
⅓ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Liquid from the Cornichons
1 Tbsp Raw Organic Cane Sugar
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste (1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper is what we used)
⅓ cup Cornichons, chopped
¼ cup Fresh Dill, finely chopped
¼ cup Fresh Italian Parsley, finely chopped
Drain potatoes and let cool. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, Cornichon liquid, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper together to form a dressing. Mix the herbs and cornichons in with the potatoes. Pour the dressing over and gently stir.
For some time now, I’ve known about all the health benefits of eating quinoa yet, neither Grant nor I really love it. Still, I continue to try to make it in new ways with new combinations and usually we have the same results. It tastes OK but we just don’t love it. Finally, I came up with this little recipe that we both enjoyed and happily ate all the leftovers. I used it to stuff some small Italian peppers from our garden. It made for a colorful dinner. I served the stuffed peppers with Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower.
Italian Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large Tomatoes, sliced
½ Red Onion, sliced
A few glugs Olive Oil
1 cup Quinoa, cooked
¼ cup Pine Nuts
¼ cup Fresh Chopped Italian Herbs (I used parsley, basil, and lemon basil.)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 cloves Garlic, crushed & chopped
Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Bell Peppers (I used mini ones but any will do.)
Slice the tomatoes and toss with the onions and a small amount of olive oil. Roast them in the oven at 400 for about 20-25 minutes. Cook the quinoa (be careful not to cook too long, you don’t want it too mushy), drain any excess water, and set aside. Once the tomatoes are done, mix all of the ingredients (except the peppers) together and then stuff the peppers. Rub a tiny bit of olive oil on the outside of the peppers and cook in a baking dish on 375 for about 25-30 minutes. If you have excess of the quinoa mixture, it makes a great salad.
And rapidly trying to eat more and more basil before it all completely flowers (but excited for fall soups!), I came up with this lovely lemony Basil Pea Soup. It is very light and flavorful.
Basil Pea Soup
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Vidalia Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic
4 cups Frozen Peas
Juice of 1 small Lemon
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
5 cups Vegetable Stock
1 cup Basil Leaves
1 cup Walnuts, lightly toasted
Parmesan, grated for garnish (optional)
Heat soup pot on medium. Add oil. Saute onion until it begins to turn translucent. Add garlic. Stir. Add peas, lemon, salt and pepper. Stir. Cook for a few minutes to heat the peas and let the flavors coalesce. Remove from heat. In small batches, blend the basil, walnuts, and the soup to puree. Be careful not to fill blender too full with the hot liquid as the heat can make the top of the blender come off and cause the hot liquid to splatter. So, don’t get burned. Return to heat. Heat for a few minutes. Stir. Serve. I topped with some grated parmesan but this is purely optional.
I will close with this little cookie recipe I came up with based on another I adapted from somewhere… Just the right little ending to any meal. I like to refrigerate the batter and bake a few at a time so I can’t get all Cookie Monsterish or anything.
Small Batch Nutty Cacao Cookies
1 cup White Lily Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Sea Salt
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp Baking Powder
½ cup Light Brown Sugar
½ cup Cane Sugar
1 stick Unsalted Butter, softened
1 big tsp. Vanilla Extract
¼ cup Cacao Powder
½ cup Chopped Raw Mixed Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pepitas, lightly toasted and chopped)
Sprinkle tops with Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix the butter with the sugars using a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix. Add the cacao, flour mixture, and nuts. Form into small balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops with sea salt. Bake for 12-13 minutes.
More music coming soon!