This time of year, I remember why I love New York. All of the streets are lit up, there’s a crispness in the air that isn’t bitter cold yet, and you can’t help but smile at all of the holiday decorations and Christmas trees. But with December comes a rush of holiday parties and with them an abundance of sweets, drinks and delicious little cheesy cocktail appetizers (you know what I mean). Some nights, you might just want a salad. Personally, I need salads with a lot of crunch, and some interesting elements besides just lettuce (and I can’t always justify adding cheese and bacon). This salad has quickly become one of my favorite weeknight meals — quick, inexpensive and delicious.
Category Archives: Gluten-free
Do you ever have one of those nights where you feel like you have nothing to eat even though the fridge has plenty of food? Sometimes I get home from work at 7:30 and don’t feel like making a complicated meal, and lately, fried rice has been the one thing that has saved me from ordering takeout (also great, but it adds up quickly). Fried rice may not be quite as healthy as having a salad, but it is a great way to use up any miscellaneous vegetables and the variations are almost endless. I love adding chicken or tofu for more protein, and while my favorite vegetables are broccoli and peas, it would be great with carrots, zucchini, or pretty much anything else you might have lying around in your refrigerator.
When I studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico during high school I encountered many new things. It was the first time I had ever been away from home for more than a week, and the first time I had ever spent any time in a foreign country without my family. The experience shaped my love of travel, and, of course, food. Growing up in Minnesota, it was hard to find really authentic Mexican food (although, El Burrito Mercado in St. Paul is pretty fantastic), and I hadn’t been exposed to much of it before I left for Cuernavaca. Apart from the amazing tacos and mole that my host mother made, one of the things I remember the most from that trip was when I tried aguas frescas for the first time. Horchata remains my favorite, but the other aguas, made from cantaloupe, pineapple, and of course, watermelon, are always the perfect accompaniment to spicy guacamole and burritos. I have seen multiple recipes and they always looked pretty simple, but I hadn’t ever tried making them until last week found me with an excess of basil and watermelon. Simple as can be, and they went perfectly with the fried fish tacos I made that night.
I have made a version of this salad pretty much once a week since the beginning of the summer, but neglected to post it until now because it usually disappears too quickly. It’s the perfect summer dish, to me — light, full of texture, and minimal cooking time. It also uses my favorite ingredients of the summer — namely, lime juice, fish sauce and a little hot pepper. I was always wary of fish sauce until a couple of years ago, afraid of the pungent smell and implications behind the name. But luckily, I got over that and now I use it in dressings, marinades and sauces all the time — it adds the perfect salty, unctuous flavor to almost anything. The original recipe uses panko-coated pan-fried shrimp instead of tofu, which is also delicious.
You probably know from previous posts, that I enjoy a glass of wine every so often. But sometimes during the summer, nothing tastes better than a crisp cocktail. A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complex (some of my favorites, like Mint Juleps & French 75′s only have a few ingredients) but while produce is at it’s best, why not switch it up a little and use those peaches for a before-dinner drink instead of a pie? I would recommend using especially ripe peaches, as they are the main flavor you taste (besides the bourbon, of course). Next time, I might try switching out the mint with basil, and adding a float of prosecco on the top instead of club soda for a little more interest.
And while starting off Monday morning with a cocktail recipe may seem like cruel and unusual punishment, doesn’t it make you excited to go home and try it? Not a bad way to start off the week, in my opinion.
Now that it is finally feeling like summer around here, I have been craving cool salads and smoothies for breakfast (of course, they would taste even better if I could drink them on my terrace, but alas, that will have to wait until I live somewhere besides New York. Or make a lot more money. One of the two.) I’ve gotten to be a big fan of adding greens to smoothies, as they add lots of nutritional value while not tasting like salad in a glass. This is my current favorite combination, and I added chia seeds in there for some protein, though they are completely optional if you don’t like the taste. One of the other things I love about smoothies is the endless variation — you could sub berries for the pineapple, or use 1/2 coconut or almond milk and 1/2 orange juice instead. Whatever you try, the results usually end up being pretty delicious.
Also, in case you’re wondering, the metal straws are from Amazon. I happen to always want to use straws for any kind of drink, so I love these — eco-friendly and so much cuter than the boring old plastic straws. (Though I kind of hate myself for using metal straws AND a mason jar. So twee. And yet, I still love it.)
Potato salad is one of those foods that means summer to me. Of course, potatoes are in season pretty much all year round, so there’s no real reason for that — and yet, when I think of potato salad, I automatically think of barbecues, eating outside, laying in the sun. It does, of course, go very well with any kind of grilled meat, and since you can serve it at room temperature it’s an ideal dish for picnics. With outdoor space in short supply in New York, we probably won’t be grilling any time soon (though I have thought about one of those tiny charcoal grills for the fire escape), but I can still make a great potato salad — no grill required.
My mom has been making a version of this potato salad for years, and while I love the creamy mayo-based versions as well, this recipe is really the best. How can you go wrong with bacon and blue cheese?
We have been having a lot of smoothies lately for breakfast — which is great, but in an effort to switch things up a bit from the routine, while still being healthy, I decided to try out this chia seed pudding recipe from Food & Wine. It couldn’t have been easier. Ari was not as big of a fan — I will admit, the texture takes a little getting used to, but it pretty much just tasted like vanilla almond milk — so, delicious. I used maple syrup (my dad makes it!) instead of agave, and vanilla almond milk (from Trader Joe’s — it’s SO good), and served it with diced mango and just a touch of maple syrup drizzled on top. My note would be to make sure that you shake it occasionally while refrigerating — the chia seeds in mine were a little unevenly distributed, making some parts more liquidy than others. Overall, it made a delicious, healthy , and filling breakfast — and I always love anything that you can make the night before to make getting out the door in the morning that much quicker.
If you are anything like me, there are nights that you simply don’t want to go to the grocery store (although mine is a block and a half away, so I don’t have much of an excuse). This recipe uses ingredients that I pretty much always have on hand, and can be adapted really easily to suit your tastes — you could add in some chicken sausage, sprinkle lettuce or cotija cheese on top, make scrambled eggs instead of poached. But in any case, this is an easy, cheap option for weeknight dinners or weekend brunches — and even if it’s still a little cold here in New York (although, compared to what my family is experiencing in Minnesota, it’s practically summer here), I can almost imagine sitting on a beach, maragarita in hand, devouring these tostadas.
Disclaimer: Ari told me that I had to tell you that this is very messy to eat. We tried our luck with forks but ended up just picking up the whole tostada at once. It still tastes good, in any case.
Confession: I did a juice cleanse last week. As an avid lover of butter, wine, and pretty much anything crunchy, I’m not going to lie — it was REALLY hard. (And probably nearly as hard for Ari, who had to listen to me whine, “I’m so hungry!” for three days straight. Why do such a thing, you might ask? Turns out, too much fried chicken, cake for someone’s birthday, and butter can catch up to you, and I felt like my system needed a break. While the juice itself was good, I’m not sure if I’ll be committing to one again — but it did make me think more about what I eat on a day to day basis. These super simple kale chips give me the crunch I love while still being a much healthier alternative to potato chips. Plus, they taste better and are much cheaper than the ones you can buy at the store.