grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 grilled vegetables with balsamic

Red onion - an unassuming vegetable hiding a gentle sweetness and flavor behind its many layers. It took me a while to fully come around to this lovely vegetable. I used to catch glimpses of it in the grocery store, modestly nestled next to the sweet and yellow variety but hardly ever did I think to cook with it. I guess it seemed a bit intimidating so I stuck with the familiar kind. 

But truth be told, red onion is now one of my favorite vegetables. Aside from its alluring color, red onion has a sweet, mild flavor that enhances many a dish. 

Las weekend my mother visited. And as is typically the case, she comes baring little gifts of one kind or another. While I insist that I need nothing and she doesn't have to, this time though she nailed it when she walked in with a massive pot of basil. There are few things that bring me as much joy as fresh herbs. But along with the basil she also brought an array of vegetables that were now strewn about my counter so my job was to figure out what to do with the mishmash. 

Days past and I still hadn't figured out what to do with all the vegetables on hand. Roasting of course was always an option but I wanted something else. Then I remembered the red onion sitting in the fridge from a previous recipe I'd made and it all came together. I would keep things very simple and grill the vegetables, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and finish them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. 

I won't lie, you can play around with this recipe as you see fit and swap out the vegetables to suit your liking but what you absolutely can't be without is the red onion. It changes the entire flavor profile of the vegetables. It brings out the best in them in an almost inexplicable way. You'll see...

 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 basil
 grilled vegetables with balsamic
 grilled vegetables with balsamic

grilled vegetables with balsamic and basil

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • grilling time: 10 minutes
  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • handful of green beans, trimmed
  • 2 red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • tongs
  • grill
  • grill safe plate
  • cling wrap

Directions:

Preheat grill on low.

In large bowl combine all ingredients aside from vinegar and basil and mix well. 

Add all vegetables to grill safe cast iron plate (most grills come with one) and grill for 10 minutes on low (stirring occsaionally) until soft but still retaining a bite. 

Place grilled vegetables back in bowl, add balsamic vinegar and basil and stir until vegetables are coated. Cover with wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve right away. 


one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes

 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes
 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes
 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes
 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes

A few years ago my father mentioned that I'm 1/16th Greek. He currently resides in Romania but is completely enthralled with Greece and its culture. So much so that he used my grandmother's maiden name (which is Greek) on one of his poetry books and does so for most of his writing. He visits Greece as much as possible and likes to share all his adventures and stories through photos, writing or in person. I'm certain that given the opportunity, he would live there permanently. 

I see a lot of similarities between Greeks and Romanians. They're often very honest (even if you don't like it), loud, talkative, passionate, they love to sing, dance and are all about their food and wine. Though I never had an obsession with Greece to the extent of my father's, I can relate on a food level and wine level

On his side of the family, I grew up eating food that was heavily steeped in traditional Greek cooking. My grandmother, a culinary whiz, would spend a good chunk of her day in the kitchen whipping up delicious stews that left the tiny apartment smelling divine. Though meat was often a challenge to obtain, my grandparents had no problem waiting in line for hours only to return home and cook for several more. It's just how things were done.

Two weeks ago, while doing my weekly shopping, I spotted some beautiful potted thyme. I had no idea what I would make with it but decided it was coming home with me regardless and I would figure it out later. But while watching an episode of Parts Unknown about the Greek Isles several days later, I had my answer. I would without a doubt whip up something Greek inspired - an homage to the 16th of my heritage. 

I wanted something simple, yet flavorful, involving lemon, oregano and obviously thyme. And also something that required little clean up. The answer was a one pan Greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes. The flavors of thyme and oregano take me right back to my grandparents little kitchen. 

If you don't have a cast iron pan yet, I highly recommend it. It's without a doubt one of the best investments I've ever made and use it nearly every day. It's also ideal for transferring the cooking process from stovetop to oven. You may need a pair of strong hands to move it but it's most certainly worth the weight. 

 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes 
 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes
 one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potatoes
 thyme and lemon on cutting board

one pan greek lemon chicken with baby potaotes

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • marinating time: 1-12 hours
  • cooking time: 45-50 minutes
  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 fresh sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tbsp 
  • 5 lemon slices
  • 1.5 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 lb baby potatoes cut in half

Equipment

  • cast iron pan or other oven safe pan
  • container with lid or Ziplock bag

Directions

In container or bag, combine lemon juice, oregano, minced garlic, salt, 1/4 cup olive oil pepper and chicken and mix well. Place in refrigerator and marinade for at least one hour or up to 12 hours. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In cast iron pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Remove chicken from bag and add to pan, reserving the marinade. Cook chicken on both sides for 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add potatoes to marinade bag and let sit until chicken has finished searing. Add potatoes and remaining marinade to chicken and arrange them evenly around chicken thighs. Add thyme sprigs and nestle lemon slices between chicken and potatoes. 

Add to preheated oven and let roast for 40 minutes giving potatoes a stir once half way through cooking. 

Serve with a side crunchy green beans. 


 

 

 

paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

Head heavy, body in slow motion. I stumbled down the steps much earlier than I would have liked. Irrelevant of when I go to bed I seem to wake at the same time on most mornings without an alarm. My body's got it figured out so I suppose I should be grateful. 

Looking out the window, I zoomed in on the dewey grass; each blade splendid, vibrant green and unique in its own way. I stared at it for a while, wanting to run my hands over it's smooth surface and feel drops of dew running down my arm. The massive headache pulsing through me, interrupted my thought, as did my growling stomach.

I like wine a lot! I usually have a glass daily and on occasion two but last night we had company and buzzing with an excited energy, I lost track. There was champagne, food, wine and more wine. I stayed up too late and there I was, on a dreary Sunday morning, nursing a hangover I hadn't experienced in some time. It was comical in some ways and brought me back to my college days. Days of waking up in the morning (or noon) after partying all night and eating cooked macaroni with shredded mozzarella, salt and olive oil for breakfast. My best friend's specialty. 

But times have changed. For the most part, I do believe in moderation but frankly, it felt good to give myself over to the evening and leave the calculated, responsible me behind for a while.

And as far as breakfast, I felt infinite gratitude for the paleo collagen mini muffins I'd made the day before (no macaroni for me). They came in at just the right time and saved me from having to think about making breakfast. And not only that, but they were seriously delicious. Even better than on the first day. 

For me, breakfast is essential. In whatever shape and form it comes, I have to eat it as soon as I wake up and it has to be something that compliments coffee. These mini muffins are packed with collagen, are grain free and you can use the toppings of your choice. I went with blueberries, walnuts and allergy friendly chocolate chips. 

These little guys make an ideal snack or breakfast and aside from one tbsp of maple syrup, are sweetened only by one banana. It's the perfect little bite for when you want something sweet, whether you've had too much wine or not. 

 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways
 paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

paleo collagen mini muffins 3 ways

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • cooking time: 18-20 minutes 
  • yields: 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

Equipment

  • mini muffin tin
  • mini muffin liners
  • medium mixing bowl
  • large mixing bowl
  • large whisk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with middle rack inserted. 

In medium bowl combine, flours, salt, collagen, orange zest, baking soda. Combine and set aside. 

In large bowl, mash banana with fork, combine the rest of the wet ingredients aside from the optional ones and combine well. 

While whisking the wet ingredients, slowly add the dry ingredients, while continuously mixing. 

Line your muffin tins and fill each almost to the top. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack. 


spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
 turkey burgers with peach chutney 
 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney 

I rolled over and looked at my phone, 5:32. I quickly tossed the covers aside and stumbled around the room in search for a long sleeve and some shorts. It was quiet. I peaked out the window and a pang in my chest told me to rush. A quick scan of my surroundings and I determined it was clear - they were still sleeping. I made a beeline for the door, grabbing the key along the way. 

The air was thick and salty, seagulls happily announcing the morning's arrival and searching for whatever food was left from the previous evening. It was a welcoming symphony. I made my way down the steps, sleep still tugging at me or perhaps that extra glass of wine I'd had the night before, but no matter. 

Crossing the near empty street, aside from the occasional deterministic runner, I was alone making my way from the promenade on to the beach. The shift from asphalt to cool freshly combed morning sand, felt exhilarating. As I made the trek across the beach, the sound of crashing waves intensified. It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful the beach is early in the morning. 

I climbed up the lifeguard stand, skimming the beach. A few surfers, hungry for good waves held my attention for a moment. So did the elderly man with his oversized hat and peach colored shirt, serenely and rhythmically moving his metal detector from side to side as he searched the beach for treasure. Were they as happy as I was at that moment? Few things feel as complete as this place. I felt a jolt of sadness trying to make its way into my head. This won't last, this won't last. I tried to chase it away and just observe what was in front of me. 

I held on to the moment for as long as I could before making my way back to the condo where my family would likely be buzzing with energy, ready to get outside and get the day started. 

A bike ride to our favorite farm was in order complete with lunch outside. Beach Plum Farm is one of the most beautiful places I've seen and a favorite in Cape May. The food is carefully prepared with local ingredients and offers some unusual pairings. As we sat in the shade of a big oak tree on a damp picnic bench, looking over the red cabbages, scallions and fresh herbs, I thought about the recipe I'd made shortly before we left. 

Turkey burgers with peach chutney, red cabbage, scallions and spicy mayo was maybe something I would be able to find on the menu here. I thought about what it would be like to live simply and work on a farm by the beach, growing and making food, being close to the ocean. I was quickly jolted out of my daydream when our food arrived but what did remain is this recipe. 

It's a delicious sweet and spicy combination with flavors and textures aplenty. Since turkey burgers can often be plain and boring, I wanted to give them life and infuse them with plenty of spices and top them with a fresh peach chutney and sliced cabbage. 

I may not get the chance to live at the beach anytime soon but at least I can sink my teeth into these delicious burgers while dreaming of the ocean. 

 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
turkey burger (15 of 19).jpg
 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney 

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • cooking time: 15 minutes
  • yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 semi-ripe peaches peeled and cut into cubes 
  • 1 scallion sliced (separate white and green part)
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing the burgers
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I use 85/15)
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

    Optional though recommended toppings:
     
  • chipotle lime mayo (store bought or a speedy recipe)
  • sliced avocado
  • extra purple cabbage

Equipment

Directions:

Preheat grill or grill pan. In a mixing bowl, combine ground turkey with mayo, coconut flour, ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into 4 patties. Brush both sides with olive oil and set aside. 

Preheat frying pan to medium. Add olive oil, scallion and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly. Add chopped peaches along with purple cabbage and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly. 

Grill turkey burgers for 3-5 minutes per side until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

To assemble, place turkey burgers on plate and layer with chipotle lime mayo, sliced avocado, peach chutney and sprinkle with additional cut up scallion. 


paleo chocolate ice cream

 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream 
 paleo chocolate ice cream

I had to do another sweet post. I just had to. It's been about a bazillion degrees here for what seems like an eternity. It's too hot to go outside and even the idea of walking from house to car makes me want to lay down and take a long nap. But I said I wasn't going to complain about the heat so I guess I'm going to bite my tongue and eat me some ice cream. 

It's a relatively long ride, familiar and in many ways pleasurable. A trip I've been making for some years now. Going back to the small town where I spent my teens holds a certain kind of sweetness. I didn't appreciate its intricacies until some distance was placed between it and me, allowing for memories to replace the mundane, every day life. After all, this small town holds the little family I have here and some good friends, whom I see all too rarely.

So the idea for this post came as a result of this visit. I generally arrive with 1 or 2 bags and inevitably end up leaving with 4 or more, packed with stuff I didn't even know I needed but my mother insisting I should have. Example being - a body heat activated ice cream scoop. I know it's been around for a while, but it's not something I would go out of my way to purchase. So what do you do with a new ice cream scoop? Well, naturally you make some ice cream.

I spent most of the drive home thinking about new recipes and decided it was without a doubt going to be chocolate ice cream. But since I don't have an ice cream machine, it would have to be a no churn version and of course be dairy fee, vegan and paleo. No problem, bring on the coconut milk. 

Since my pms hormones strongly dictate my recipes, I decided it was also going to get another layer of chocolateness (is that a word?) by adding not just good cocoa powder but ground chocolate chips. Yes, desperate times call for more chocolate. 

You need nothing more than a food processor, maple syrup, cocoa powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract and chocolate chips, which you could technically leave out if you wanted - but why would you want to?

I know it's so much easier to just go out and buy a tub of ice cream but as I mentioned when it's this hot, I prefer to be indoors, pay homage to the inventor of the air conditioner while slowly licking a spoon full of paleo chocolate ice cream. 

 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 spoons and chocolate chips

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • freeze time: 4+ hours
  • makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp allergy friendly chocolate chips
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Equipment

Directions

Add chocolate chips to food processor and pulse a few times until the chips are broken up into smaller bits. Set aside.

Add remaining ingredients and puree until fully incorporated. Transfer mixture to ice cream container or loaf pan and sprinkle over with shredded chocolate chips. If not using an ice cream container, Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours. 

Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. 

* Alternatively if you have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture in and let it do the magic for you.