Spring Nicoise Salad

Spring is made for salads, especially those tossed with asparagus fresh from the farm. Nothing beats a topping of crisp radishes, too, to compliment the butteriness of the season’s lettuce.

Spring Nicoise Salad

This season – which I long to never part – let’s us rethink our salad bowl – which I love. Love. Love. With it, it brings endless light options for lunch that would be a disgrace to label as boring.

Salad can be fun. And this one more than proves that to be so.

Spring Nicoise Salad

Here, asparagus takes the place of the green beans in a classic Nicoise salad. Aside from that, the make-up is pretty straight forward. Hardboiled eggs? Check. Tuna? Check. Thinly sliced onion? Check. Radishes? Check.

For the asparagus, a simple steam actually works well with this salad, given the complexity of the other flavors. However, if roasted spears are your absolute fav., by all means, get the oven going and go for it.

SpringIf you want to get fancy, you could sear some fresh tuna instead and add it on top. Or reserve that fanciness for the olives and bread you may wish to serve alongside this.

Bright, light and easy to assemble, this is spring at its best.  Cheers.

Spring Nicoise Salad

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Life-Changing Bread

More than a handful of my friends have made this bread. Nearly all of my fellow let’s get in the kitchen, anytime, anywhere friends have made this bread. And pretty much my entire food blogging world has mentioned, created, and/or featured this recipe in some form.

Published a little over two years ago, it was about time I tried this illustrious Life-Changing Loaf of Bread for myself. Here I am. Another blogger to declare this recipe is awesome. And despite it’s cult following, I admit it was a bit to my surprise.

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Sure, I’ve heard everyone rave about how great this is. But as I was stirring up a bread pan’s worth of nuts and seeds, I found myself a bit skeptical. I knew this thing was going to be dense, and what I didn’t know was how that would play out into its finished form. I wasn’t even sure how it’d come together to ever fully form a loaf. I mean, what was this foreign psyllium husk ingredient, anyways? Could a few Tbsp. really bind a bunch of nuts into a loaf of bread? After finding it in the supplement aisle, the lady at Whole Foods told me psyllium husk is often used to help make you go..

Life-Changing BreadAnyway, when I finally got my first loaf out of the oven and cooled down enough to eat, it proved itself in no time. Yes, it’s dense, but incredibly delicious. Especially in its toasted form, as  many other food blogs assured me prior to making. “Toast it!” So toast I did, and slathered it with jam. I would recommend you do the same.

The toaster (I’d recommend a toaster oven, if you have one) pulls out an extra intensity of flavor from the already slightly browned nuts and seeds. Delish. Again, pair with jelly, or go for the savory route with some crisp radishes and a very thin spread of avocado.

Bluebells

This bread + spring + good cup of coffee + morning breakfast spent outside…now that might just make it to a life-changing status. Head over to My New Roots for the recipe!

Asparagus Pesto and Radish Open-Faced Sandwich

My first contribution to Greatist went up this week, and it’s a real spring treat. Sure, asparagus may still feel like a novelty at this early point in the season, but it won’t be long until plain ol’ roasted spears begin to lose their excitement. When that point hits, Asparagus Pesto is here to save the day (and save you from wasting any of this vibrant green veggie)!

Asparagus Pesto and Radish Open-Faced SandwichAsparagus has a robust two month growing period, within which new spears can shoot up to 6-10 inches tall in just one day. I.e., if you have a garden equipped with asparagus, there will be tons of it. If you don’t, the farmer’s market won’t be running out anytime soon.

Asparagus Pesto and Radish Open-Faced Sandwich

To keep things fresh, have options like this creamy vegan sandwich spread on hand. The slightly sweet, earthy spread goes perfect with peppery radishes and a hearty, crusty bread. Feel free to throw an egg on top, if that’s your style.

Asparagus

Head on over to Greatist for the recipe!

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Two days till Cinco de Mayo – that leaves plenty of time to plan for tacos, right? Ample time to switch up prevailing plans of a standard Mexican meal, too.

Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Outside of the corn tortilla, this recipe isn’t the typical celebration piece. But the roasted carrot + spiced lentil combo that lays within it makes the recipe certainly worth veering away from traditional.

If you’re in the market for something new, give it a go. These tacos will still pair perfectly with a classic margarita and side bowl of guac., so don’t think you need to entirely ship your Cinco de Mayo plans outside of the box. I mean, avocados are pretty much a must…

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Tacos

Here, cumin seeds get flashed in a hot skillet and then ground into a notably aromatic, fresh powder. This extra step really makes the lentils shine without requiring much further effort to make them stand out. I.e., don’t skip this step if you can help it.

The toasty flavor of the cumin pairs perfectly with the sweet and earthy carrots that are placed beside the lentils. Creamy goat cheese seals the deal before the taco gets wrapped. If you want, you can amp up the buttery factor by pureeing some of the roasted carrots prior to adding them to your taco. Layer this onto the tortillas as a sauce, and proceed as the recipe instructs. Yum-o. That’s a celebration I’m ready to have on my plate this Tuesday. You with me?!

CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…

Socca with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Socca and tahini have pretty much been my main obsessions for the past year. Although, my love affair with tahini really extends much further back than that. If you’re not on the sesame tahini train, I advise you tp get on it. (Come aboard the Soom train, and you’ll get an extra smooth ride.)

Socca still feels new to me though, with what seems like a never-ending number of ways I could imagine it being used. In fact, that’s what I love about both tahini and socca – they can be reinvented in so many different ways, including this latest creation where the two team up together.

Socca with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

Swiss chard is of course yet another lovely ingredient. Add it to anything, and what will result is the magical appearance of something beautiful. Those colors…pretty much the embodiment of spring at its best.

It’s as vibrant as the weeping cherry tree and pink tulip filled gardens, and as tasty as the greens that are beginning to show up in them. Magic.

Swiss Chard Stalks

Here, swiss chard gets a simple saute to create a light and healthy, seasonal topping for the tender socca that’s placed beneath. A tangy yogurt-tahini sauce richens it up, and creates a meal you’ll want to make again. And again. And again. Until your tahini jar runs out, and you move onto a new socca creation.

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Cut into quarters and serve as a meal for two, or divide into smaller pieces for a fun pre-dinner or party app. Note, you will want to serve this up with a fork. You’ll find the socca dough to be rather tender in comparison to pizza or other similarly-styled dishes. It’s more than worth the fork though, and even slightly messy hands if need be!

Socca with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts and Tahini-Yogurt Sauce CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE…