Monthly Archives:

June 2013

Saucy Cabbage and Potatoes with Chickpeas

Saucy Cabbage and Chickpeas

As I walk to yoga class, I’m getting showered in sun(burn). As I’m in yoga class, I’m showering in a naturally 90 degree sweat bath. As I leave yoga, it’s pouring out, aka, the sky’s sign it’s time for a real shower.

Alas, summer is officially showering my life. And I love it.

I’ve expressed before, I’m a warm-weather kind of girl. A runny red nose and frigid fingertips just aren’t for me. I prefer spending my free time outdoors in flowy dresses and shorts. And if that means a little bit of sweat, so be it.

The beginning of summer also means that the first heads of cabbage are starting to bound themselves in the garden. Layer after layer of leaves, one of these heads can whip up a huge, budget-friendly pot of food. The recipe below can certainly attest to that. A few humble, kitchen staples like chickpeas, onion and ketchup (trust me, it works in this), combine to create this saucy cabbage dish. I like to top it with a sharp cheese to compliment the kick of the Sriracha, but that’s totally optional. An unpretentious meal that plays off of just-picked garden ingredients – for me, that’s what summer eating’s all about.

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Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

After a successful batch of strawberry-basil muffins, I decided I needed to use that flavor combo again. And again. And again. So, following a trip to my local strawberry patch, I was back at it. This time with strawberry basil lemonade (along with some mint thrown in there too for fresh measure).

Honestly, I’m not a huge lemonade fan. All the sugar takes the fun out of lemons for me. I like making funny faces upon their tartness, and shocking my tastebuds with their startling sourness. I also enjoy dousing my salads with vinegar, and for those of you who do to, I bet you can relate here.

When I order lemonade out, whether it’s homemade or not, it’s generally hard for me to tell whether there’s actually lemon juice in it or not. This is especially true for the strawberry variety. And don’t even get me started on that pseudo, crappy powdery kind.

Hence, lemonade is a rare occurrence in my diet. That’s not to say, however, I don’t find the thought of a cold cup of it to sound incredibly refreshing. What could be more elegant and alluring than a tall, iced glass of Strawberry Basil Mint Lemonade? With a splash of vodka (..ahem, use responsibly), even better.

Strawberries and Basil

So, I set out to make my own. Don’t worry, it won’t make you pucker until your eyes bulge out. In fact, it likely won’t make you wince at all. However, this is no sugar water. Instead, this lemonade is packed with taste. I’m talking basil, mint, and the actual fresh flavors found in strawberries and lemons. (You know, the real fruit flavors you should find in every glass of lemonade!) Feel free to add a splash of vodka, but I’m warning you. This is an incredible flavor-masker, so while the lemon flavor will be evident, the alcohol flavor may be not. It will, however, make for quite the refreshing summer cocktail. Enjoy.

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Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins


Sometimes you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to quit that job that’s ruining your life. Or hop on a plane and go explore the world. Or kiss that someone you’ve been eyeing for weeks. Or say yes to the one you’ve loved so long. Life is an experiment. If you’re not kicking off your safety shoes from time to time and moving beyond your comfort zone, then I say you’re not really living.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta take a leap of faith. And sometimes you’ve gotta throw the basil in your strawberry muffin batter.

When the results turn out well, then here you are, on Earth, to tell about them.

Basil and strawberries are a combination in which I’ve grown quite fond. I know their sweetness and mintiness compliment one another and that I generally enjoy them when they’re hanging out in the same space. Pairing them with chocolate, however, and packaging it all in a muffin was an upshot I couldn’t predict. But as I said, taking chances can be fun, especially in the kitchen. So that’s what I did. I took a chance and threw the basil into the batter. Fortunately, I loved the results.

Strawberry Basil Chocolate Chip Muffins

These aren’t overly sweet, so the chocolate doesn’t act as overkill or even seem strange next to a bite of basil. Instead, it plays up the sweetness of the strawberries, and then the basil sweeps in for a clean finish. I really love the complexity of this muffin. You’ll get a wide range of complimentary flavors that all come together for a unique and exciting bite. I’d like to try turning this into some kind of cake because I am totally dreaming of serving it up with a sweet scoop of vanilla ice cream. Though I suppose you could do that with these too.

Feel free to use all whole grain flour, but expect a denser turnout. To yield a moister, lighter muffin, go half and half, as in the recipe below.

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Swiss Chard and Chickpea Curry

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Curry

Alright, I’m giving kale a break. I’ve been eating enough raw kale salads and smoothies lately to last me for the month. Although, don’t worry, I will be balancing out that consumption with some chocolate. I’m about to take off for a camping trip, so some s’more action will definitely be going down this week. And hopefully some hiking too.

Anyway, don’t expect the kale hiatus to last for all that long. It’s still the season for kale, but sometimes those other greens deserve a little lovin’ too.

Like spinach, swiss chard is one of my favorites when I want to add a silky texture to a dish. Here, it fills in as almost a creamy element so that no dairy is needed in this recipe. If you’re looking at me like, “This girl is crazy. Swiss chard is no heavy cream,” I’d have to agree. Swiss chard, cooked or not, will never be the butter to your mashed potatoes. But, how about the non-dairy dab of butter for you curry? Hey, why not. A little creamy green never hurt anybody.

This is simply my early-to-mid June, seasonal take on a classic bowl of healthy chickpea curry. Spinach would work well too, if that’s what you have on hand. Enjoy as a nutritious lunch or dinner.

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Curry

Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

Raw Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

The greens are attacking, the greens are attacking! Runnn….to the garden that is.

The last time I took a visit out to my parent’s garden, it was filled with nothing but leaves — leaves of many different kinds. Buttery lettuces, baby spinach, chard, arugula and kale of all colors, textures and sizes. My mom eats these on a twice-a-day, sometimes three-times-a-day basis, so yes, that garden gets put to good use. And thank god for that.

I need my mom to be here for many more years to come. Who else is going to answer all of my frantic phone calls for advice? With her kind of diet, I can rest in the fact that her odds of being on planet Earth forever fare pretty high. I hope.

Farmer’s markets will likely have greens all summer long, but now’s the best time to fill up your bags with them. As the Earth tilts a little closer to the sun, and its rays start to embrace this side of the globe with a little more passion, the garden greens become bitter. While I love a nice hot summer, my leafy friends do not, and they’ll scream this to you from your plate. For most varieties, the slightly cooler seasons of spring and fall are ideal.

Kale Leaf

Raw kale salad lends itself best to the young, more tender and least bitter leaves you can only find at the beginning of each season. I’m not a horse, and thus, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sitting down to a salad I’ll need to chew for longer than an episode of Mad Men. I do enjoy a good raw kale salad though, and it’s in the spring you’ll find me making them. Heartier than a typical salad, and yielding more ruffly, textured bites than you can attain from cooked kale, salads like these provide a nice change of pace.

Make sure to give your hands a good wash so you can put them to work. You’ll really want to massage the dressing into the kale. This will help eliminate some of that bitterness/intenseness of flavor that results when you don’t cook it. Feel free to add radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers or any other fresh produce to the bowl. The tahini/nutritional yeast dressing works well with a variety of vegetables.

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