These started off as peanut butter and jelly, I'm not even kidding. Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I had been having a bit of a rough week and hadn't planned anything for our weekly get together. So that morning we just wanted to keep things simple and focus on getting our cats to be friends (long story). We were thinking - let's just make PB&J or store-bought ravioli.
But then - she said she was craving salmon, and I said smoked salmon and goat cheese with crackers was easy and good, she said what about nice bread and an egg. Then there were herbs and kale and shallot and good lord we can't keep it simple! And I wouldn't have it any other way. Fresh, gorgeous ingredients (including some from Mel's garden) turned into a lovely lunch for us, even while wrangling a baby, a toddler, and 2 kitties in an un-childproofed house (mine).
Now that I am settling into my new place, and Melissa has welcomed her baby daughter to the world, we are getting back into our lunch schedule. We started with this gorgeous Spring inspired egg salad. This is really customizeable, and you can add whatever you find fresh in your area.
We started by finely dicing some celery, scallions, chives, parsley, and dill while we boiled some eggs. You can use whatever combination of herbs you prefer. We also separated the greens from a bunch of radishes.
To that, we added chopped eggs and avocado, caper, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard.
Melissa and I have been going through our recipes to see what areas we are lacking in, and sandwiches are definitely one of them. She has been growing tomatoes and basil in her yard, which just beg to become caprese. But instead of just making a salad, we tried to figure out how to turn it into a sandwich. Melted cheese is clearly superior to un-melted cheese, so of course we made a panini!
We spread slices of Italian bread with basil mayonnaise, then layered in fresh mozzarella and balsamic marinated tomato slices (our attempt to get balsamic flavor without adding too much liquid) with fresh basil (you can't have enough basil). Then we placed them on a panini grill and cooked until the cheese was melted and the outside was golden.
The sandwiches were so gooey and yummy - I loved it! But the bottoms did get a little soggy, so next time I will toast the bread on one side before spreading the mayo on the toasted side, then putting the sandwich together and grilling as usual. I think that this will help keep it from getting soggy. I also might put basil mayo on the outside of the sandwich to help brown it up and because it is delicious.
You guys. This is my FAVORITE movie. Ever. Seriously. And it is the January pick for Food 'N Flix! I am so excited that I can't even... wait... wait a second... how is this a foodie movie? I mean they do eat food in it, but... whatever, I don't even care. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal thrown together for one day of detention - it's The Breakfast Club!
Mad props to Eliot's Eats for choosing this movie, but what a tough one to get a recipe inspiration from! In the end, I decided to make what I would want for lunch if I was stuck in detention. I mean, sushi would be great (looking at you, Molly Ringwald), but I can't make that at home yet. So instead I present to you the best sandwich in the world! To me, at least. Turkey, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg on toasted whole wheat bread slathered with roasted garlic aioli. Everything I want and nothing I don't, this is sandwich perfection. I'm calling it The Breakfast Club Sandwich because it has breakfast food like bacon and egg, and is kind of like a club sandwich. It's so clever, I'm dying.
I don't have a recipe for you (cuz it's a sandwich), but I want you to bust out your copy of The Breakfast Club and tell me what your detention meal would be. A classic pb&j, perhaps? Or something more exotic like cereal and pixie sticks with mayo?
So for the past few weeks I have pretty much been living off of fresh summer produce and cheese piled onto whole grain seed bread. It's pretty much all I want to eat. EVER. The French call these open-faced sandwiches "tartines". I like that, it makes them sound fancy (when really they are super simple).
The farmers' market has been bursting with huge, gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. This beautiful yellow, green, and red tomato made it onto pizza (which I will post about soon) AND some lovely tartines. I wanted to eat some of this super sweet and juicy tomato raw so I toasted some bread and topped it with creamy homemade ricotta, basil from my garden, slices of tomato, high quality EVOO, high quality sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Super simple and sooooooo delicious.
Next up I paired some fresh figs with more of that homemade ricotta, black pepper, and honey. Whether for lunch, dessert, or a snack - this tartine is awesome.
Lastly, I wanted to experiment with warm tartines and broiled tomatoes, so I placed sliced mozzarella and tomatoes on seedy whole grain bread, drizzled them with olive oil, and broiled them. Then I topped them with fresh basil, salt, and pepper - yum! Definitely very satisfying.
What are some of your favorite tartine ideas? Leave them in the comments!
It's time for another vegetarian lunch with Smells Like Brownies! I've never really liked tabbouleh. Maybe because it's usually cold, or there's too much parsley, or there's raw red onion, or it just isn't that filling - I don't know why. As it turns out, Melissa doesn't like it either! So when she suggested we try to conquer it, I was skeptical. But making something yourself means that you get to adjust it until it is the way you like it.
Upping the bulgur, balancing the parsley with mint, and using scallions instead of onion certainly helped this dish out. But what really sent it into yummy land was serving it warm, stuffed inside pitas, with a generous amount of feta. We managed to turn something we both disliked into something we both loved! It may not be traditional, but it sure is delicious.
I bought extra pita pockets and feta to go with my leftover tabbouleh, but ended up with too much! Melissa had given me some of her CSA cucumbers (since she was drowning in them), so I threw together a quick cucumber salad with feta, mint from my garden, olive oil, and champagne vinegar.
Because everything is more fun in a pita pocket! (Except for peanut butter and jelly - I just found out the hard way that that doesn't work.)
Tabbouleh Pitas with Feta
adapted from Mad Hungry
1 cup dry bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, diced (about 1½ cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups minced fresh curly parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
6 pita pocket rounds
8 oz feta, crumbled
Rinse the bulgur. Cook in the water over medium heat for 12–15 minutes, or until soft and chewy. Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic. Drain of any excess water and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, parsley, and mint. Toss together.
Whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl. Stir the dressing into the salad to fully combine.
Serve stuffed inside pitas, layered with feta to taste.
1 cucumber, chopped
4 oz feta, crumbled
1 tbsp chopped mint
salt and pepper to taste
splash of olive oil
splash of champagne or rice wine vinegar
Mix ingredients together, serve with pitas.
It has gotten hot, hot, hot out here - plants and people alike are wilting in the heat. On days like these where you can't bear to be outside for more than 5 minutes, slaving over a stove is out of the question. These shrimp rolls are the perfect thing for oppressively hot days: fast, easy, cool, and refreshing.
All you have to do is mix together cold, cooked shrimp with celery, scallions, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Put a piece of butter lettuce on a bun, top with the shrimp mixture, done! Dinner in less than 10 minutes.
Creamy Shrimp Rolls
adapted from Real Simple
Makes 4 rolls
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs cooked medium shrimp, cut in half crosswise
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallion greens
4 soft buns
1 small head butter lettuce, torn into pieces
In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Fold in the shrimp, celery, and scallions. Line the buns with the lettuce and fill with the shrimp mixture.
I am a little bit behind on posting, so to tide you over until I can get myself organized I will show you this super simple and and super tasty snack/dessert. All you have to do is spread one slice of bread with peanut butter and another with Nutella, then top with some banana and strawberry slices.
Press the slices together and dip each side of the sandwich into a combination of beaten egg, milk or cream, and a little cinnamon. Cook in a hot pan with melted butter and you are done! Great for a late night snack, or breakfast with the kiddos - enjoy.