Monthly Archives:

August 2012

Smoked Salmon Kale Carbonara

Salmon and kale is one combo. I often cannot pass up. Each is a favorite of mine, and together, they make the dream team of nutrition. Filled with a longer list of vitamins than calories per serving, kale’s been on everyone’s grocery list these past few years. It’s been replacing potatoes in the form of chips, it’s been added to the menu of nearly every smoothie place I ever frequent, heck, many are even claiming kale is the new bacon, as our society steadily becomes more food conscious.

And salmon has always been regarded as the king of the crop in the seafood world for its high level of omega 3’s. One serving also provides 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D, in which recently, more and more studies are revealing a significant portion of Americans are deficient, leading to an array of health consequences.

So both are a great start to creating a meal, particularly when local kale is springing into season and wild varieties of salmon are available. I found this particularly light version of carbonara from the ever-so-useful blogosphere and decided I’d try my hand at making my first kitchen-cooked carbonara. Typically, it’s a sauce made with heavy cream, eggs and often bacon. Since I don’t eat bacon and rarely have cream at my disposal, this altered variation using both kale and smoked salmon seemed like a far superior option for my preferences.

This is a flavorful dish that’s fairly easy to make. I almost preferred the carbonara at room temperature, so I could totally see this as a picnic/potluck item. Just make sure to cook the egg through if you plan on using this dish at such an occasion.

Click here for recipe…

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder

I never noticed how sweet corn was until this chowder. Upon first taste, I was hit with such a creamy sugariness that I found it almost hard to remember what kind of vegetable I was cooking with. Though, it’s a different sweetness than fruit. Different than the veggie’s candy corn counterpart, too. Instead, it’s a palate-cleansing sort of sweetness. One that pairs well with the acidity of a nice tomato, basil, mozzarella salad, or with a potent herb like parsley, the one that lightens up the rich sweetness of this soup. It’s a sweetness that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with, and spawns me to blend this creamy concoction every summer.

Many late August’s ago, one of the very first creations I ever pulled together in my parents’ kitchen was an early variation of this recipe. Cornstarch at the time was not in my vocabulary, and I remember my superwoman mom coming in to save the day and thicken my soupy mess together. To my surprise, the ending bowl turned out rather well. It was a shock for me to discover how much flavor could be extracted from just a handful of ingredients. Perhaps that’s what ignited the cooking fire in me. The idea that I didn’t need to learn how to mix together ten trillion ingredients to make something tasty. To this day, I still find simplicity to be key. At least within my own kitchen. When the ingredients are fresh, I want a meal where nearly all of them can shine, each complimenting each other in straighforward yet unique ways. This is one of those recipes that really allows all of the multifaceted dimensions of corn to come through. Corn on the cob is fantastic. But to unleash the real sweetness that lays within each of those little kernels, you’ll find a little shake in the blender becomes a miracle.

Click here for recipe…

“Meaty” Veggie Pasta

The best thing to do when you get into a cooking rut is to buy a bunch of veggies at the store—whatever looks fresh—slice them up with garlic and onions, and get it all talking with some extra virgin olive oil in a pan. This simple process alone is enough to make your whole kitchen smell like something revolutionary is cooking on the stove. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper, and you’d be surprised at how easy a plate of veggies could go down.

Once you get started, it’s easy to get going. For me, this mindset applies to nearly everything in my life. From running to writing to cooking, after the first few tricky minutes, the rest of the cruise typically turns into a smooth and pleasant sail. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come home from work and forced myself to opt for a run over a nap. Or the number of occasions I’ve made veggie-chopping rather than toaster-plopping a mandatory evening activity. I’m always happy with these decisions. And the enjoyment usually comes no more than 5 minutes into the process.

When sauteing, once the veggies start releasing their aromatic allure, the creative juices may begin to flow. Perhaps you keep it simple, or maybe you add soy sausage, oregano and mozzarella like I did here. All of the ingredients that followed made this pasta spark, but it was the veggies that got the dish rolling. With the summer garden season still thriving, there’s really no better time to look towards the soil-rooted ingredients for a little culinary inspiration.

Click here for recipe…

Green Beans with Gorgonzola and Basil Vinaigrette

Growing up, if you’d ask me my favorite veggie, you’d always get the same response:  Green beans.  Today, my response might not be so automatic, but green beans still reside as one of my favorites.  Unlike many other veggies, green beans have a relatively mild flavor.  This is likely why my childhood taste buds were so drawn to them.  Holding true into my older years, when I’m getting tired of that sharp, dark-green veggie flavor, it’s green beans I reach for.

Their neutral flavor is also great for cooking, allowing them to easily adapt to other ingredients thrown into the pan.  Here, I add in balsamic-sweetened red onions and diced tomatoes for a little color, in addition to basil and gorgonzola, which star on the main stage for taste.

There’s nothing like a spruced up green bean dish to serve alongside the main entree when entertaining guests.  No matter how tasty the entree, it always needs its veggie side kick. This one will take fewer than 15 minutes to make, meaning just a few extra minutes than simply steaming the beans.  So when you’re feeling like getting a little fancy and dressing up those beans, keep this idea ready to go.

Click here for recipe…

Baked Egg in Avocado

I hate to bring you guys a non-seasonal post right in the middle of a prime growing season, but you’ve got to serve something substantial alongside all of those garden veggies, right? Plates of vegetables are glorious, but working hard in this heat requires some solid pairings to go with them.

When I caught wind of this idea, I knew it was just the thing I wanted to couple with the summer greens currently flourishing outside. These avocado bowls are adorable. They are rather simple too, allowing them to shine in their appearance as well as with the other toppings you select to spruce them up.

I chose to go with a Mexican theme because when I think of avocado, the maracas start shaking and guacamole automatically comes to mind. Season to taste, and feel free to add any other ingredients that inspire you, like lime juice or paprika. Think of it as a breakfast taco wrapped up in an avocado. That’s a tortilla shell substitute worthy of a summer fiesta.

Baked Egg in Avocado


  • -Avocado
  • -Egg
  • -Chili Powder
  • -Cilantro
  • -Salsa
  • -Shredded cheese
  • -Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place a cast iron pan in oven and heat.
  2. Cut avocado in half. Depending upon how big the pit is in your avocado, you may want to scoop a little bit of the flesh out of the middle and set aside. Line area where the pit was removed with cilantro and then crack egg into the middle. Sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Remove cast iron pan from oven and place egg inside. Bake about 10 minutes, or until egg reaches desired consistency. When egg looks about done, sprinkle with cheese and cook until melted. Serve alongside salsa, fresh cilantro, and hot sauce, if desired.
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