I made the mistake a few nights ago of making a dinner using only the oven…in the middle of summer…when it’s hot…and my apartment is small. So to move past my momentary lapse of judgement, I made dinner the following night and refused to even turn my stove on!
This fennel salad is cool, crisp, and refreshing – perfect for warm summer days when the mercury is rising with no end in sight. I had an AMAZING fennel salad at Love and Salt in Manhattan Beach and since then, I’ve tried my best to recreate it.
Fennel can seem intimidating- the fronds! How do I cut it? I hate black licorice! However, once you learn how to cut the bulb (here’s a great how to video from Martha Stewart) and find a great recipe, you’re ready to incorporate fennel into your diet.
Want more fennel info? Check out Cooking Light for more details and to find some recipes.
Shaved Fennel and Parmesan Salad
2 bulbs fennel, de-cored
1/4 c shaved parmesan
1-2 TBS olive oil
juice from half of a lemon
fresh cracked sea salt and ground black pepper
fennel fronds, minced
Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, thinly slice or shave fennel. For best results, aim to cut the fennel nearly paper thin
Add parmesan, a healthy drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Sprinkle with minced fennel fronds and stir to combine
Let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Tastes even better the next day.
Roasted squash in the middle of August may not sound exactly tempting, but when I saw these squash at Whole Foods, I couldn’t resist. After cooking, the skin of the delicata squash softens and you can eat it! Meaning, no need to peel the skin, just trim and cook! I love anything that saves me an extra few minutes in the kitchen and so I braved the oven and got cooking.
What sets this recipe apart from other roasted squash is the to die for lemon tahini sauce! Tahini is one of the main ingredients when making hummus but this sesame seed paste is super versatile. It goes great in sauces and dressing to top pasta, vegetables, salad, and more. I love making a tahini dressing paired with a spinach salad and summer berries 🙂
Delicata squash is rich in beta carotene (which converts into Vitamin A). To help your body better absorb this valuable antioxidant, the addition of a healthy fat source (tahini sauce!) can help your body maintain it’s carotenoid and Vitamin A stores.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Lemon Tahini Sauce
4 delicata squash, de-seeded and cut into half circles
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 TBS tahini
juice from half large lemon
2 TBS water
1 tsp herbs de provence
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place cut squash in a single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Stir squash with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with olive oil and spices.
Bake in oven for ~30 minutes until squash is softened and caramelized. Halfway through cooking, flip squash allowing them to cook evenly on both sides.
While the squash is cooking, prep the tahini sauce. Add tahini, lemon juice, water, herbs de provence, and fresh cracked black pepper to a dish and whisk together with a fork to combine. I also added a drizzle of olive oil to bring the dressing together.
Remove squash from the oven and drizzle with tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
Dressing will last in the refrigerator in a mason jar for 3-5 days.
First of all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I had a relaxing holiday, filled with some indulgences (I made Hershey’s Kisses Christmas blossoms…..) and great time spent with family.
My parents just purchased a house in Chico, California. Chico is a cool, college town an hour and a half north of Sacramento. When I moved to New Hampshire for my internship last year, I envisioned Keene being very similar to Chico. It wasn’t anything like Chico (probably due to the fact that Chico was Los Angeles compared to Keene) but living in Keene has made me appreciate Chico much more. If you are every visiting Northern California, it is definitely worth a stop. Bidwell Park has something for everyone – biking, hiking, swimming, nature and the town has great shopping and dining. Some of my personal favorites are Tea Bar and Fusion Cafe and Three Sixty Ecotique.
Why do I bring up Chico? Well while in Chico I happened upon an AMAZING farmer’s market. I love going to the farmer’s market and checking out the different stands, discovering new produce and striking up conversation with the farmers. It is one of the BEST ways to support your local economy and the small farms. My dietetic internship at Keene State College had an emphasis on food systems and sustainable agriculture. I was fortunate to work with some very passionate local foodies/RD2Be’s who were very knowledgeable about food systems and I was really able to learn and be more conscious of what I was eating and where it was coming from.
Anyway, at the Chico farmer’s market I blacked out and spent all the cash I brought with me. My senses were overloaded with so many of my favorite things. There were stands of pickled vegetables, homemade lavender almond milk, walnuts that had been picked and shelled FIVE days ago, tons of winter squash, I really could go on. However, the one thing I bought that brings me to some damn good green beans is a small jar of crushed tomatillo peppers. I love all things spicy and stumbled upon a stand where the guy was selling homemade pepper blends. Talk about my kind of place. He had every kind of pepper spice blend a pepper lover like myself could want. I bought one without even sampling and am regretting that I didn’t buy more!
The spice blend is called the Zing Mix and it is a blend of dried tomatillo and peppers. It is perfect on just about anything. I have a batch of Zing Mix spiced tempeh marinating (recipe on the blog soon!) in the fridge and my green beans were pretty much amazing.
BTW this recipe is my favorite for green beans. Once you make them this way, I guarantee you won’t want to steam, sauté, microwave, etc again! The key is the squeeze of fresh lemon when they come out of the oven!
Best Damn Green Beans
1 pound trimmed and washed green beans
2 TBS olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tsp Zing Mix (or any mix of dried spices- I love no salt seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne, ground chipotle, don’t be afraid to experiment!)
1/2 of fresh lemon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spread green beans in an even layer on a baking sheet
Drizzle olive oil over green beans
Sprinkle generously with fresh cracked black pepper and add a pinch of sea salt. Sprinkle spice on top
Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing green beans half way through. I like my green beans slightly more crispy so I will cook them a bit longer.
Remove from the oven and squeeze half a lemon over green beans
Over the weekend, I went to one of the best burger places in the South Bay, The Standing Room. Instead of getting a delicious burger I got Korean marinated pickles. I’m weird, but the pickles were delicious and instead of feeling full from a big burger, my gut microbiome was happily singing its way to digestion.
So when I was making my lunch last night, TSR’s Korean pickles were still on my mind. Fermented and pickled vegetables pack a hefty probiotic punch and I thought I’d amp up my gut health another notch with a homemade version.
The salty/sweet/crisp/tart combinations of pickled vegetables are mainstays in cuisines from around the world. Some of my personal favorites are tsukemono (a Japanese variety that I’ve eaten since I was a kid), curtido (Hispanic cultures), and kim chi (Korean)
Pickled and fermented vegetables have a history that dates back to the 7000 BC. Cultures from around the world have used this preservation technique and it has lasted the test of time. Fermentation works by transforming organic substances into simpler compounds via enzymes. These enzymes release bubbly super powers that turn the flavor train up ten notches while building healthy probiotics along with it. Sounds like a winning combination to me.
This pickled Japanese style cucumbers are a tribute to my Japanese ancestry. My mom makes her own variation and my grandma makes a mean takuan (pickled daikon radish). I also like to add Furikake to my cucumbers. Furikake is a blend of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and sugar. It is typically used as a topping on rice, but I love to add it to musubi, salads, marinades, salad dressings, etc! You can typically find it on the Asian aisle of most major grocery store chains.
Pickled Japanese Cucumbers
3-4 Persian cucumbers (any variety of cucumbers will do), cut into spears and then diced
Sea salt, to taste
This recipe is one that I typically don’t measure anything. I add vinegar (~1/4 c) than oil (a TBS or so) and then will add furikake and salt to taste.
To add some spice, I will add a Japanese chili pepper blend called Nanami Togarashi. If you can’t find it in stores you can add red pepper flakes.
Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Great as a snack, topping for salads, or a side dish. My favorite way to eat it is with my fingers straight from the tupperware! 😉