I love giving you 15-minute recipes, but once in a while there comes a dish that is worth the extra effort. This Layered Summer Vegetable Torte is just that. Yes, you have to grill some vegetables and make a simple vinaigrette, but this is a hearty, delicious, veggie-centric showstopper. Every summer I have a few recipes that I put on repeat when I entertain at home, and this was one of my go-to’s from the Summer of 2021 and now it’s back in the rotation!Continue reading
If you’ve been to Jon & Vinny’s in LA, you may recognize this salad which they call Gem Lettuce, Calabrian Chili Dressing, Parmigiano, & Bread Crumbs. It’s basically a spicy Caesar salad with the most delicious breadcrumbs and baby romaine leaves. It’s insanely good and worth every bit of the $16.50 they charge for one portion. Or is it? Well, we can make it at home and it’s just as good, friends! I make it all the time when I have people over or we want a really great Caesar. Ok, let’s do it!Continue reading
Happy new year! I’m just curious, are you on a cleanse? Which one? There are soooo many, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed. I have noticed, because I live in LA and I teach cooking classes all the time and once I resume teaching tomorrow, I’m going to hear all about what cleanses my students are on!
Some are hard core and just drink juice all day. I swear. Just. Juice. No. Food. Others will suffer through a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. Then there are easier cleanses where you can actually eat real food, as long as it doesn’t contain gluten, alcohol, dairy, sugar, red meat, or caffeine. Or peanuts. Or oranges. Or tomatoes.
I’m just having a little fun here. I think if a cleanse can help break some bad habits, great. I’m not really a fan of not eating food though, unless you are at a spa and you don’t have to work, drive your kids to school, help them with homework or make meals for your family.
I am a fan of thinking about the person you want to be – healthy, energetic, positive, creative, maintaining a healthy weight – and making a commitment to eat in a way that supports that vision. Continuing to overeat and drink after the holidays does not promote good health. Overdoing sugar and simple carbs doesn’t either. Maybe just a little more mindfulness and some specific, realistic goals are what we need.
How does all this tie into these wild salmon patties? Not sure. But my son, Mr. Picky, thought I should finally post this recipe. Yes, Mr. Picky loves these salmon patties. I know he probably shouldn’t be called Mr. Picky anymore, but I could give you 579 reasons why the name stays. Mr. Picky actually does like salmon, as well as many other types of fish. The more simply prepared, the better.
The first time I made these salmon patties, Mr. Picky said to me, “Mom, the next time you want to make salmon, think salmon patties!” Ok, little dude. These are a little different from many fish patties though, because they are lacking filler. They’re basically just salmon. No bread, breadcrumbs or crackers were used here. Maybe that’s why I thought they’d be a good, clean eat at the beginning of the new year when a lot of us are looking for good, clean eats.
They are also made with canned salmon, so this can be a last minute pantry meal if you happen to keep canned salmon around. I buy my canned salmon from Vital Choice because it’s the best I’ve found. It’s wild, clean, and the cans are not lined with BPA. What more can you ask for? (Unfortunately, it’s a tad expensive. But feel free to use whatever canned wild salmon is your fave.) I also love this recipe because you can prepare the patties in the morning, refrigerate them and then cook them up for dinner when you get home. Love recipes like this!
I serve these on a salad with avocado and baked sweet potato fries, or with cauliflower mashed potatoes and some greens. I suppose you could serve them on a hamburger bun, but only if you’re eating flour, grains, gluten and you’re not Paleo or grain-free. Just saying.
- 24 ounces canned wild salmon, preferably without bones, drained
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 small or 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- unrefined coconut oil or olive oil for sautéing
- Place the drained salmon in a large bowl and break it up with a fork.
- Add remaining ingredients, except oil, to the bowl and gently mix until combined.
- Form into patties with your hands and place on a flat plate or small baking sheet. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
- Warm a griddle or large skillet over medium with enough oil to cover the pan ⅛-inch deep.
- Place the salmon patties in the pan and cook until golden brown on the underside. Carefully flip the patty (I like to do this by sliding a metal spatula under the patty with one hand and flipping the patty against the side of the pan and allowing it to slide back down to cook the other side. This will help avoid splattering and breaking the patty.) and cook the other side until golden brown. You don’t have to worry about whether or not the salmon cakes are cooked through, because canned salmon is already cooked.
- Serve warm with a side salad or on a rice bowl. I also like putting a little chipotle Vegenaise and some avocado on top.
For all of you out there who were like me and just hoping for a good game last night, was that a disappointment or what?! We started counting how many times someone in the room said, “Are you kidding me?!” At least the commercials and the half-time show were entertaining and eats were tasty. We kept everything very simple with a taco bar, Mexican chopped salad and pizzas. For snacking during the game, we had lots of guacamole, salsa and chips, naturally, and a huge raw vegetable platter with hummus, spinach dip and this homemade Ranch dressing. I was very happy to fill up on lots of veggies so that I didn’t overdo it on pizza and tacos later.
I had to come up with a cleaned up homemade Ranch dressing years ago for my husband because it’s his favorite on salads and I just can’t handle buying the bottled version. Just read the ingredients on a label of Hidden Valley Ranch and you’ll understand why. Even though I prefer a lemon juice or apple cider vinegar-based salad dressing, I think Ranch can sometimes really hit the spot and I do like it as a dip for crisp vegetables, too. I taught this dressing in a summer cooking class over big slabs of ripe tomatoes and avocado with some raw corn. So good! And I love the idea of pouring a dressing into little cups with a few raw vegetable sticks for a party appetizer.
Traditional Ranch dressing is herby and contains buttermilk and usually sour cream. But I make mine with Greek yogurt, Vegenaise and kefir (pronounced kee-fer,) a fermented dairy product which is a little like a liquidy yogurt. You can definitely use buttermilk and regular mayonnaise if you want. But my girls really like kefir in the their smoothies and I usually have some in the refrigerator. I also think it’s a bit better than buttermilk from a nutritional perspective. Here’s an excerpt from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions which is very interesting: “Kefir is a cultured and microbial-rich food that helps restore the inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial yeast and bacteria (in a symbiotic relationship) that give kefir antibiotic properties. A natural antibiotic–and it is made from milk! The finished product is not unlike that of a drink-style yogurt, but kefir has a more tart, refreshing taste and contains completely different organisms…kefir does not feed yeast, and it usually doesn’t even bother people who are lactose intolerant. That’s because the friendly bacteria and the beneficial yeast growing in the kefir consume most of the lactose and provide very efficient enzymes (lactase) for consuming whatever lactose is still left after the culturing process…kefir is mucous forming, but…the slightly mucous-forming quality is exactly what makes kefir work for us. The mucous has a clean quality to it that coats the lining of the digestive tract, creating sort of a nest where beneficial bacteria settle and colonize.”
If you can’t tolerate any dairy, even fermented ones, I do have a great vegan version of this recipe that you can follow below. And if you don’t have fresh chives and parsley for this recipe, even half the amount of dried will do. Like most dressings and vinaigrettes, Ranch can be enjoyed all year long. However, keep in mind that creamy dressings go better with sturdier, more crispy lettuces like romaine. No matter how you enjoy it, I think you’ll agree this is the freshest, best-tasting Ranch you’ve ever had!
- ½ cup soy-free Vegenaise or good quality mayonnaise
- ½ cup full-fat Greek plain, unsweetened yogurt
- ½ cup buttermilk or plain, unsweetened kefir
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 medium clove garlic, grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives or 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
¼ cup vegenaise
¾ cup raw cashews soaked in water for 3 hours, then drained
1 cup fresh water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 medium clove garlic, grated or minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives or 1 scallion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Place everything except the herbs into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until creamy. Stir in the herbs by hand and transfer to a container.
If you follow me on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably figured out that I am back on Long Island at my parents’ house. We picked up Daughter #1 on Saturday from her summer program in upstate NY. I was so beyond excited to see her after 6 weeks, I was afraid I was going to suffocate her when I saw her. It was great for the five of us to be together again and I couldn’t resist another visit to Stony Brook. Love that place in the summer.
We’ve had an amazing few days here — peaceful, not in a rush to do anything, no stress, beautiful. My father’s garden is bursting. I lost count of how many basil plants he has this year, perhaps around 40. I have made pesto every day so far! But the big fun has come from the new outdoor pizza oven my father had built. It was a major project when I was here in June, with each of my parents saying to me without the other hearing, “I don’t know what we were thinking.” But once the dust settled, literally, we have enjoyed the most fantastic pizzas — you know the thin kind with a little char on the crust? So darn good. Not fitting in my skinny jeans today, but so. darn. good.
Sorry this isn’t a post about making your own pizza in a wood-burning oven, but I personally don’t have one nor will I in my current house since my “yard” is a patio! Figuring most of my readers don’t own one either. Instead I wanted to share my favorite new green bean recipe. No yawning! These are great! But I know where you’re coming from. Green beans come into season in the summer and I try really hard to get excited about them, but they have to compete with tomatoes and corn. Kind of hard to do. I honestly don’t have too many exciting green bean recipes that I think to myself, “I am soooo craving those such-and-such green beans.” Until now.
I taught these honey-lemon green beans last month and I couldn’t wait to eat them after each class and any leftovers for dinner the same night! The dressing has a bit of mustard too, and a little kick from the cayenne which is always something I love paired with sweet (honey.) They are seriously addictive. One of the only cooked vegetables Mr. Picky likes is green beans, but he doesn’t care for vinaigrettes yet. Except he did love these! He’s starting to develop a taste for spicy food. Very exciting!
The recipe for the green beans and the dressing is completely straightforward and quick to make. If you are in a time crunch, just make that and forget about the shallots. Blanching and quick-pickling the shallots is definitely another step that won’t make or break the recipe, although they are scrumptious. You can certainly take care of that while the beans are cooking and while you’re setting the table or grilling some fish. But sometimes when I try and multitask too much, that’s when I forget things -like shallots pickling in apple cider vinegar that I remember when I start washing dishes.
- For the Green Beans and Shallots:
- 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ pounds string beans, trimmed
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, preferably raw
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- For The Vinaigrette:
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small glove garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon mild honey, preferably raw
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
- Spread a clean kitchen towel on a baking sheet and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add kosher salt.
- Place the sliced shallots in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of the boiling water. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- Drop the beans in to the remaining boiling water and cook, uncovered, for 4 to 6 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain the beans and spread them on the cloth-lined pan.
- Drain the shallots and toss them with the vinegar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- To make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, honey, salt and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in the oil until creamy.
- Drain the shallots once again and squeeze dry. Add the shallots and the string beans to the vinaigrette and toss well. Sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt or to taste.
- If you have time, let it marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature before serving just to allow the flavors to permeate the beans. If you don't have time, they'll still be great.