Updates from the lives of Colleen, Nick, Cashew & Pinot

And just like that…

Posted by colleen On August - 31 - 2011Comments Off

….  I’m no longer married to a grad student!

Thanks to all who came out to help celebrate with us on a Tuesday night!  :)

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Kayak Annapolis!

Posted by colleen On August - 27 - 2011Comments Off

We had a great time last weekend – we’ve loved all of the GroupOns and LivingSocial purchases to date!

Despite a start time of 8:30AM, on a Sunday – not just any Sunday, but the Sunday after we finally cleared/cleaned out our storage unit and then staying up late to organize donations (her) and to relax with Fall Out 3 (him) – despite getting up early to get to Annapolis – we were chipper and excited for the tour to begin.  (Can you tell that I’m not really a morning person?)

Growing up around Lake Ontario and Seneca Lake, I’ve motorboated, row-boated, paddle-boated and canoed…but this was actually my first time on a kayak.  Nick’s first time too!  Pretty much exactly like other boats you have to row, but it was fun to be closer to the water!

Maybe we can move to Annapolis?

Two thumbs up for Kayak Annapolis.    Next time, we will go with Pinot!

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Recipe Organization & Recipe for Nectarine Scones!

Posted by colleen On August - 27 - 2011Comments Off

I am migrating over to my new laptop.  My old laptop was purchased while I was in grad school, 5 years ago, and about 8 months ago it decided that it had given up on life.  Meaning, it decided that it would no longer charge it’s battery, effectively becoming a desktop computer that turned off whenever the pets accidentally tripped over the cord.  (Or, whenever we used the microwave at the same time as the Xbox or PS3.  Another story.)

I was a big fan of my laptop, and so rather than just getting a new one on the spot, I wanted to try to save it.  Nick was excited to oblige me, ordered a soldering kit and the part that we needed to replace on the motherboard for the connector…I used my EE background to show him how to solder (albeit not well, somehow my EE curriculum missed soldering), but we successfully replaced the battery connector on my motherboard.  BUT – my computer had really decided to give up, and that didn’t help.  In one fail swoop, my laptop became a desktop, and it wouldn’t let us do anything about it.

Fast forward 8 months, things have slowed down some and I’ve finally agreed that a laptop that is actually a laptop would be nice.  And so, things like recipe migration have started to take place.  I’ve been using MacGourmet to organize my recipes for about 5 years now (also compatible with iPhone/iPad!) – and boy did I have a lot of clippings from my dad, aunt, and mom.  I had been pretty good about adding all of mine to it until about a year ago when I just gave up and started posting them to the blog.

The recipe progression has occurred, and I’ve just weeded 1400 recipes down to a manageable 800.  Some of that 800 suck; kept because I tried them with best intentions and the memory of it makes me smile.  New project is taking all of the recipes from the blog (like Baba Ganoush, which I made for the 2nd time in 2 weeks today!) and transferring it over so that I can look it up without the internet.

Anyway, in all of this hubbub,and looking through recipes past, I found this one and was VERY disappointed that I’m out of peaches and nectarines.  This one brought back memories of summer, memories of sunshine – and while that may be the only thing needed on this dreary day while Hurricane Irene passes through – memories of YUM.    It made me smile and say darn at the same time because I know I missed out on it this year.  But, maybe you didn’t.  And so, here you go:

Nectarine Scones with Nutmeg Sugar
Found online here back in 2009

  • 1 cup diced nectarines, peel on (I used 1 nectarine)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-⅔ cup cold heavy cream, plus additional for brushing
  • 1-½ tablespoons coarse sugar (or granulated)

Line a small tray with wax paper and spread the nectarines on it in a single layer. Pop in the freezer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and salt. Drizzle in the cream, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Don’t neglect the bottom of the bowl, as flour particles tend to hide out there.

Turn half the dough out onto a floured board. Knead once or twice, then scatter half of the slightly frozen nectarine bits over the dough and knead until incorporated, about 8 to 10 more times. Use additional flour as necessary because the fruit will make the dough a bit wet and sticky in parts. Pat into a rough circle about 3/4-inch thick.

Use a floured cutter or floured drinking glass to stamp out 2″ rounds. Transfer to the baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough and nectarines. (At this point, you can freeze them until hard and then transfer to freezer-safe resealable bags.)

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a small bowl. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.

Divide the (fresh or frozen) scones between the baking sheets. Lightly brush the top of each scone with heavy cream and sprinkle with the nutmeg-sugar. (Don’t skip this step, the nutmeg sugar makes it!)  Bake in the middle of the oven (not on the bottom) for about 22 to 28 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve warm.

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Summer Squash with Baked Eggs

Posted by colleen On August - 26 - 20112 COMMENTS

Not the fanciest title, but WOW was this good!  I want more – now.

My photo doesn’t really do it justice:

But the photo with the original recipe?  Yeah – that looks a bit better!

Summer Squash with Baked Eggs
Slightly modified from the original recipe found here

  • 3 smallish zucchini + 1 yellow squash
  • Salt, to taste
  • Olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 6 slow baked Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 4 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the ends off the squash and grate.  Place in a colander and let drain in the sink for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In an oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until just tender and fragrant. Add the paprika and stir to combine.  Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the squash and add the squash to the skillet along with the tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is tender and no longer releasing liquid, about 10 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in goat cheese.

Smooth the mixture evenly in the skillet and make four wells using the back of a spoon. One at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl and pour into one of the wells.

Bake until egg whites are set and yolks are still soft, about 10-15 minutes.

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Canning Tomatoes!

Posted by colleen On August - 25 - 2011Comments Off

Remember how I recently purchased another 40 pounds of tomatoes?
20 pounds were slow oven baked and frozen.
Another 20 pounds officially has been canned!  (Erm, jarred?)

I can’t call it a complete success yet.
In 4 months, in the dead of winter with snow falling down and near zero temperatures…  that evening we just may be craving chili.  And into that chili may go these tomatoes.  If I open a jar and they smell like summer, then I will call it success!  (If they don’t smell like summer….hrmm.  We’ll see how motivated I am next year to try again.)

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Grape Pie!

Posted by colleen On August - 24 - 2011Comments Off

It just looks fun coming out of the oven, doesn’t it?

I didn’t make the filling, but if I see it again at a festival/vineyard I will pick it up again.  I did make the fun little grape patch in the middle of the pie.  Aw, so cute.

Popularity: 32% [?]

Quite the picnic spread!

Posted by colleen On August - 22 - 2011Comments Off

We had an indoor picnic spread sometime last week.  I was loving that fact that we made the cheese and baba ghanoush, we grew the basil, and we got the tomatoes locally.

As a side note – this “Almostarella” cheese is being called “Almostarella” because it didn’t quite make it to mozzarella.  Quite a tasty, tangy spread.  This was actually the first time I’ve made cheese since I used to make fresh mozzarella and sold it at Wegmans!  (Let me tell you, people are a lot more excited when I mention that I can make mozzarella now then when I was in college.)    If you are interested – since I’m guessing it’s not common for normal people to have access to cheese curds in bulk as grocery stores do – my wonderful husband gave me this kit last year for Christmas.  It makes up to 30 batches, and was pretty easy!

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South East Asia – A food-based photo recap

Posted by colleen On August - 21 - 2011Comments Off

Our trip to South East Asia was pretty brilliant.  Over the course of 18 days (plus 1 mostly missed day due to the time change) we flew to and from and visited 5 countries – attended a wedding in Singapore, met up with friends in Malaysia, took care of elephants in Thailand, toured ancient ruins in Cambodia and sang “The heat is on in Saigon” in Ho Chi Minh City.  We have highlight albums online (captioned and split into album 1, album 2, album 3, and album 4 on facebook, or if you’d prefer them all together see this album on flickr which still needs to be captioned).  Nick will someday soon update our Travel Blog.  But today, since I’ve been cooking up a storm now that we are actually home, today we will recap in food photos.  These by no means do it justice – and we tried oh so much more than what is pictured – but since such a big part of our trip was (as always) eating our way through, it seemed an appropriate way to recap.

Popularity: 40% [?]

Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin

Posted by colleen On August - 20 - 2011Comments Off

I’ve had this one bookmarked for a long time, and tonight it finally all came together.    I made a few changes – added a clove of minced garlic and some parsley, used half and half instead of milk, used less cheese (gasp!); but the recipe base was great and so I’m simply going to repost while I try to refrain from heading back to eat my second portion.  Yum!

Potato, Squash & Goat Cheese Gratin
Recipe below copied directly from here

  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 4 small to medium red potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Use a mandoline or chef’s knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less. Toss the sliced vegetables with the olive oil in a large bowl.

Pour a small drizzle of olive oil in a casserole dish (around 8 or 9 inches square) and spread it around the bottom and sides. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish—no need to layer them squash-potato-squash-etc.—then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

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Baba Ghanoush

Posted by colleen On August - 19 - 2011Comments Off

No photo for this one – from the time it was made until the time it was gone, it existed in our house for only 24 hours….  and 6 of that was chilling time.    I’m more than a little bit excited to have found an eggplant recipe that I’d want to make again!

Baba Ghanoush
Mildly adapted from the recipe found here

  • 1 eggplant
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (Russian Red!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off.  At this point, I stored my eggplant in the fridge for a couple of days until I was ready to use it, but if you are ready, carry on…
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, olive oil and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a bowl, and chill for a few hours to let the flavors meld (3 hours recommended).

Popularity: 40% [?]

Is it possible to be in love with a vegetable? (Erm, a fruit?)

Posted by colleen On August - 12 - 2011Comments Off

I am in love with tomatoes.

There, I said it.

It’s not really a big secret.   My dad taught me the joys of eating raw tomatoes with salt, I don’t even remember when, I’ve just always done that.  So many great memories of road tripping around upstate NY with him and our dog Bootsie, stopping at random farm stands and eating all of the tomatoes before we got home.   In high school, I used to bring a tomato and vinegar and ate it for lunch practically every day.  (Yep, I was THAT kid.)

Fast forward a few years, and we live in Maryland, and we don’t have a yard.  (Sniff.)
BUT – we do have a CSA!  And now you will get a hit of where this post is going.

This year, our CSA sent a grand ol’ note out notifying it’s members that they had bulk boxes of tomatoes available for purchase.  I was on that like …  (salt on a tomato?  butter on bread?  white on rice?  Take your pick.)    I must say, it’s the first time I’ve had 20 glorious pounds of large tomatoes on the kitchen counter since I was about 14,  when we went to visit my cousin George and he sent us home with twice that many from his garden.  (He lived 6 hours from us – the first 20 pounds were eaten on the ride home – ha!)

I had all intentions of canning the tomatoes and trying to keep them through the winter, but I didn’t have time to pick up any quart jars …and I may have eaten a significant number of them … and thus, for the first time in my life, I’ve actually finally taken a stab at making fresh tomato sauce – from the tomatoes themselves!  And the results – dare I say it – YIPPEE!    Maybe it had everything to do with the organic tomatoes, maybe it had a little bit to do with the yummy Russian Red Garlic we picked up at the Garlic Festival last weekend, but I can say this without a doubt – I am excited for dinner tonight.   And, for lunch tomorrow too.

That’s not all.  Nope, we are not done discussing the glorious little red items with a fruit/vegetable identity crisis.  Our standard CSA this week showered us with about a 3 pound bag of Roma tomatoes, and to my excitement I was able to swap out yet another bunch of beets for a second bag.  These were destined for slow oven-roasted tomatoes, which I’ve never had before but can now honestly say that I don’t know where they’ve been all my life.

It’s been a good week for me and the tomatoes.  So good that I just ordered another 20 pounds of Roma’s AND another 20 pounds of red ripe tomatoes so that I can make more oven roasted goodies AND try my hand at canning tomatoes for the winter.  We’ll see how that goes….

I only wish I had this countertop! Photo credit to Smitten Kitchen (post link below) - though mine looked very similar!

Fresh Tomato Sauce
Loosely based on this post from Smitten Kitchen

A whole big bunch of tomatoes, red and ripe and ready.  We had somewhere between 10-15 pounds.
1 organic onion, grated
6 cloves garlic, minced through a garlic masher
4ish tablespoons of olive oil (so I could honestly say I knew where every ingredient was from, I used some olive oil we brought back from South America)

Step 1:  Prepare the tomatoes
Prepare a pot of boiling water.  Core the tomatoes, and slice an X in the other side.  Boil them for about 2 minutes and then immediately cool.  Once you can hold them, peel the skins – they should slip right off!  After peeling, use your fingers to open them up and get most of the juice and seeds out of them and into a bowl.  Strain the seeds out of the juice, discard the seeds and save the tomato juice.

Step 2:  Prepare the ingredients
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and saute the grated/minced onion and garlic until this smells wonderful (i.e. until it’s not raw).    Roughly chop up the drained whole tomatoes and add them to the mix in the pan with the heat over medium (we used ‘6′).    Even though you’ve drained the juices from the tomatoes, there is a lot left and you’ll see very shortly that there is indeed enough juice to keep this cooking.

Step 3:  Cook down the tomatoes
This took about 2-3 hours over 3-6 heat on our gas stove.  Stir occasionally.  I cooked it down until the tomato chucks started to break up and until a lot of the liquid had evaporated.  If more liquid is needed,  add some of the juice you saved from earlier.  Season with salt (and others, but I kept it strait salt).

Step 4:  Cool & Smash
I used an immersion blended to help break up just a bit more towards the end while still leaving some chunks.    You are now ready to eat!  (Well, tomorrow!)

Slow Oven-Roasted Tomatoes! Photo credit to Food In Jars at the recipe linked below.

Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Follow this recipe/method

Roma Tomatoes
Olive Oil

Slice the roma tomatoes in half.  Place on parchment lined baking sheets and season with salt and pepper.  Roast – slowly, very slowly – in a 200 degree oven for 10-12 hours (overnight!).  Turn the oven off and let cool, then experience the magic.  I can’t keep from thinking about crusty bread with goat cheese and a slice of this, and have put all of mine in the freezer to ensure that we still have some when we have those other two ingredients in the house.

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Congratulations to Melanie & Javed!

Posted by colleen On August - 10 - 2011Comments Off

Melanie and Javed held their state-side wedding at the Belhurst Castle on Seneca Lake – just 10 minutes from the cottage where we spent so many of our summers growing up!

The majority of the pictures that we took were at the rehearsal and getting ready the day of – since both Nick and I were in the were in the wedding, we didn’t have cameras on us once things got started.  With that in mind, we didn’t take a picture of the bride & groom on their wedding day proper, we we did take a few of them the night before!  (I can’t wait to see how the pro-pics turned out – it was such a gorgeous day by the water!)

We  had a blast, as we do at every wedding – but this one had the added bonus of our knowing almost everyone in attendance – sort of like our wedding, but I wasn’t wearing white ;) .    Since I think we’ve taken one of these arm shots just about every time…

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5 years of NJ + CJ!

Posted by colleen On August - 9 - 2011Comments Off

We were all out of wedding cake this year, and we were driving to another wedding - but neither of those stopped us from taking a bit of time to enjoy the day!  I worked for all of 3 hours on Friday 7/29/11  before we set off to New Jersey so that Nick could fill out some stuff for his new job.  When we got there, we realized we were all of 20 minutes from the Jersey shore!  I haven’t been to the Jersey shore since I was 17 – Nick has never been – and we decided that it was the perfect way to spend the majority of the afternoon.    After a lovely walk along the beach and a sit-down for a late “linner”, the sky opened up and we literally got caught in the rain – which was oh so much fun!

Not quite the late night we had planned, but we did celebrate later in the weekend with a bottle of Nebbiolo 2006 from Barboursville vineyard that we’ve been aging in our closet for 5 years.  Yum!

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Congratulations to Maura & Tom!

Posted by colleen On August - 8 - 2011Comments Off

A bit late, but congratulations to Maura and Tom for a gorgeous wedding on Long Island on 7/30/11!

We enjoyed the wedding venue overlooking the Long Island Sound…

And had a fun time hanging with the ROC ladies (and their men)!

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Congratulations to K* & David!

Posted by colleen On July - 26 - 2011Comments Off

We are officially home from South East Asia (summary pictures to come from me soon, and the travel blog to be updated by Nick….sometime in the next year we hope).    I was quickly, oh so quickly, reminded just how  much I love Vermont – and just how much I love my girls in Vermont –  4 days after we returned as we headed up to Burlington.  I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my good friend Kristin’s wedding!

Kristin, Brandee, Nick and I all played on that first volleyball team (IBM intramurals) when I first met Nick – meaning K, B and I all started working at IBM at the same time.  Erin and Brandee are best friends from high school, and Erin and Kristin actually were roommates for a bit after we’d left Vermont.  This photo was taken in NYC in 2005 – in order of our marriages it was me in 2006, Brandee on the far right in 2008, Kristin on the far left this weekend, and Erin in the middle to come in September!

We don’t get up to Vermont as often as we should nor as often as we’d like, but being there was like we’d never left.   It was a quick weekend (they usually are), but oh so great to meet K & Erin’s beau’s for the first time and to meet B&Tim’s kids once again, we hadn’t seen them since their wedding!

The wedding reception was held at the Sunset Ballroom overlooking Lake Champlain (I love Lake Champlain!).  Such a gorgeous locale to celebrate!  Also, such a fun wedding!  Kristin is a founding member of the Green Mountain Derby Dames roller derby league, and a few of her teammates were in attendance.  David actually helps to coach them now as well!  Check out their engagement photos!

After partying down on Saturday evening, Nick and I hit up the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival at Shelburne Farms before flying home on Sunday.  I’ve had that bookmarked and friended on Facebook for the past year and couldn’t believe that it fell on the same weekend.  It was a tasty kickback to one of our first dates (a terrior cheese tasting at Shelburne Farms way back in 2002!)

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Posted by colleen On July - 4 - 2011Comments Off

A few photos of our past few days in Singapore…just because I actually have internet at the moment.  :)   Mouse over the photos – the titles that will show give an idea of what/where we were.

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SilverDocs 2011

Posted by colleen On June - 22 - 2011Comments Off

Standing in line waiting for our second film yesterday, I was overcome with loving that we do this every year – it truly is one of the things that I love about this area.  (Stuck in traffic and running through Silver Spring to make the first film didn’t allow me a lot of time to reflect :) – but I made it on time and that is what counts!)

We saw two films yesterday, and we loved both!  We met Elmo (and the man behind him) first, and then learned some horse/life lessons while watching Buck (which is released into certain theaters, including Landmark Bethesda, this weekend if you miss it at SilverDocs!)

Loving both ‘feel good’ documentaries yesterday wasn’t a big stretch for us this year with great subject matter  (though this is not always a given – there have been some person-based movies we’ve seen in previous years that were less than ‘eh, ok’.)    Tonight we venture in a different direction with Page One:  Inside the New York Times and we’re both really looking forward to it.

While we are only seeing 3 films this year due to thesis work, work work, and vacation prep work, the festival does run through Sunday and there are a lot of great movies we wished we could have fit in on Saturday – check it out if you are in town!

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I loved every moment this weekend!

Posted by colleen On June - 19 - 2011Comments Off

We were actually at home this weekend!  And, with a to-do list literally 2 pages long, I didn’t think we were remotely going to catch up.  But we did, and we still had a lot of ‘play’ time too :)  Some moments and random pieces include:

Pinot and I hung out in the backyard.  It was a bit buggy since it downpoured right before (thank goodness for the tarp we had to sit on), and less important for you and more important for me was that I succeeded in doing my nails while we were outside.   Woot!

How is it that I managed to miss this view the last time we went to a Nats game?  I was loving it.  LOVING it.  Friday night was a great night to be outside.  It sort of makes me want to live downtown so we can go to games more often without having the long ride there and back.  Just, you know, sort of.  :)

The Nats won!  Which was great.  We saw lots of folks and had fun at the game, which was even better!
We got home late and I fell asleep on the couch sitting up, didn’t hear it when Nick told me to go to bed, and woke up on Saturday with a big kink in my neck.  Not so great.  But, it worked itself out and we took a long walk around the neighborhood with Pinot after knocking off 1/2 of our to-do list.  Then we were off to…

Noah’s first birthday party!  As you can tell, we took a lot of photos.  (ha).  Noah really seemed to enjoy his first chocolate cupcake, and we were excited about our choice of present – so much so in fact, that we thought about getting one for ourselves (any guesses?).  We followed up the birthday party with…

…a fun and entertaining BBQ!  Fun games (even as a spectator), a pinata, some boogie-ing and great conversation, it was a day to make a memory snapshot.    Got home and tackled more of our to-do list, and I actually managed to remember to sleep in our bed -win!  Sunday brought a scrumptious green eggs and ‘ham’ breakfast and this fail of a pie:

The pie was a fail, but not an epic fail.  What I tried to do, which didn’t turn out so great, was to combine strawberry rhubarb pie (yum!) with the peach/mascarpone pie that I love (yum!).  However, when combined  - not so yum.  I guess mascarpone and a crumble coating doesn’t really work with a strawberry rhubarb base.  Or maybe it was the little bit of fresh mint that I threw in at the last second.  Not to worry, it still is edible, especially with the almond whipped cream made for the occasion.  :)

We’re rounding out today with a long walk with Pinot on the Crescent Trail in Bethesda, a late lunch at Cosi, a bit of sewing for her and a bit of thesis work for him.     What was it that Dorothy said?  There’s no place like home!  :)

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Swamp Thang Smoothie!

Posted by colleen On June - 18 - 2011Comments Off

A close cousin of the green monster smoothie, I’m getting rather addicted to these in the morning and start to miss them if we run out of bananas!  Thanks to Melanie for recommending the additions :)  In the mix:

  • 1 banana
  • a handful of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup or however many blueberries you are feeling
  • flax seed, ground
  • (almond butter, if I remember it)
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • ice

Blend and enjoy!  I’m probably having one right about now.  :)

Popularity: 37% [?]

Scrumptious Salty Salad!

Posted by colleen On June - 17 - 2011Comments Off

The influx of CSA veggies has combined with the fact that (gasp) we are actually home this entire week!  The result – we’re trying out some new salads.  Some, like this take on a classic French Frisee Aux Lardons, was a great way to use up the frisee (or, curly endive) sitting our refrigerator, but we probably aren’t going to be seeking it out again just because – while it was worth a shot – it was, in a word, alright.    (My spin on it included some fresh turnips and green beans, applewood smoked bacon, and radicchio.)     Pinot has never been so excited about a salad in her life, and I learned that curly endive is not just the basis of the cheese platters that I used to make when I worked at the greatest grocery store ever.

But – the Frisee Aux Lardons is not the inspiration for this post.  Much like the Kale Slaw recipe posted earlier this summer, this salad is one that I’m planning to make again.  It seems that kale is making a play to be my favorite summertime green.  (Right now, it’s a toss up between swiss chard and kale, with collards coming in third and tied with beet greens and other leafy tops that can be added to stir fries, and the bitter dandelion greens pulling up the rear.)    Enough of my favorite greens of the moment and onto this salad.

Kale Salad

Adapted from this recipe on the kitchen, mostly accidentally

  • Kale (we used Red Kale), with center rib removed, sliced and washed
  • 10 dried apricots, diced
  • 1/4 cup or so of whole almonds
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Olive Oil, about 1 tablespoon
  • Red Wine Vinegar, about 3 tablespoons
  • Salt

Toss the kale with the diced apricots and almonds.  Sprinkle the olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt on and toss well, until the kale is coated well.  Add the tomatoes and avocados onto each salad (they won’t keep as well, just incase you have leftovers – if you’re planning to finish it off, then by all means toss them with the rest.

The kicker to this salad?  I really think it may have been the salt (which I also would like to try on a home-made version of these yummy gems!)    The bitterness of the kale is complemented by the sweetness of the apricots, and the almonds and avocado went with this entire palate much better than I imagined they could.    This one is on the books to be made again, and as a bonus, I think this is a salad I’d actually make and then bring for lunch the next day!  (Usually I hate bringing salads for lunch because things tend to get mushy in the meantime.)

If you try it out, I’d be curious to see if you like it as much as I do!

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About Me

Colleen grew up in Rochester, NY. Nick grew up in Thurston, NE. We both ended up on the same intramural volleyball team in Burlington, VT in 2002. A move to Maryland, a wedding, the adoption of a chatty cat named Cashew and a happy-go-lucky rescue pup named Pinot, and the rest is history.


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