homemade

Two Bean Salad

Are you ever craving a filling dinner with flavor that packs a punch but without the lethargic, button popping feeling that usually follows? Yea, me too. And its especially difficult being in Italy with every type of bread, pasta, and pastry at your disposal. So, the past few days I have been having a real hankering for something green but with more flavor profile than a traditional salad. Enter my brain child (with the help of Yummly), my two-bean warm salad. It was not only super filling and healthy but I got to highlight some of the Italian flavors I have been experiencing in the local restaurants!

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Ingredients

1 handful of green beans, rinsed and dried

1/2 can of cannelloni beans

1 large handful of spinach (consider wilting)

6-10 pitted kalamata olives (alter depending on love of olives)

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1/4 of a medium-sized white onion, chopped

1 handful of parsley

2 lemon wedges

Olive oil, salt, and pepper

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat.

2. Add chopped onion and green beans and cook for 8-10 minutes. Check back every couple of minutes to move stuff around so nothing burns or gets stuck to the pan.

3. Once onions become translucent and beans begin to shrivel add the garlic and olives. Let sit for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

4. Add 1/2 the chopped parsley and squeeze one lemon wedge. Stir ingredients as needed.

5. Add the cannelloni beans. Let ingredients cook until beans begin to mush, giving them a good toss once or twice.

6. Remove from heat and fold in the spinach.

Once all ingredients are combined top with remaining parsley and squeeze the second lemon wedge

**Salt and pepper throughout as needed**


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This recipe makes enough to serve as a single meal for one person or a side dish for 2-3 people.The lemon, parsley, and garlic balance each other perfectly, and there is a refreshing contrast between the crunch of the al dente green beans and the smooth, creaminess of the cannelloni.

I am anxious to make this again with a possible addition of some local pancetta, or topped with a fresh fillet of white fish! I’m still quite a novice cook so suggestions are always welcome!!

 

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Sriracha Lime Kale Chips

I have been pretty skeptical of all the pre-packaged and mass produced kale chips I have seen on the market lately, and I was totally aware of how easy they are to make from scratch, but like Pinterest Fails have proven to be true, it’s not always as easy as it looks. However, I was proved wrong when I tried out a simple spicy kale chip recipe myself a couple of weeks ago. My goal was to keep the kale pretty pure, to not lose its healthiness, but I still wanted some flavors to distract from the its bitter nature. I landed on using Sriracha and some kind of citrus as my focal flavors, and found an awesome recipe online that combined those things and more!

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Oven: Bake & pre-heat to 350 degrees

This recipe is very simple and takes about 30 minutes max, from start to finish. I recommend getting the fluffiest and leafiest kale you can find because the chips do shrink up quite a bit in the oven, and if you put multiple trays in at a time, keep an eye on the bottom one because it tends to cook at least 2 minutes quicker than the top! Now, down to the dressing. This delicious concoction is made up of Sriracha sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and olive oil (measurements below)

1 Tbl Sriracha

Juice of 1/2 a lime

1 Tsp soy sauce

1 Tsp fish sauce

2 Tbl olive oil
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Pour the dressing over a bowl of  chip-sized kale leaves, and with clean hands (or not, totally up to you!) massage the dressing all up and into the nooks and crannies of the kale. Give it a good rub down! Then, once the leaves are fully coated lay them out on greased cookie sheets. Make sure the leaves don’t overlap and that they’re laying as flat as possible, so the chips can really crisp up.

Cook Time: 8-10 minutes, but keep an eye on ’em because they can burn pretty fast!
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Once the chips are all nice and crispy take the trays out of the oven and put them directly onto a paper towel covered plate or metal rack to 1) stop them from cooking anymore and 2) to soak up any extra oils, although the majority should be cooked off. The chips will be very delicate, but that’s part of their natural charm and aesthetic, so if you feel so inclined to pat them dry just be careful not to break them. Within 5 minutes they should be all set to toss into a bowl for snacking!

I like to sprinkle mine with some  garlic salt for a little extra kick, but regular salt and even as is, is just as delicious! Fair warning, these babies do have a little kick, so if you’re not a huge fan of the spicy spice I’d recommend cutting the Sriracha down to 1/2 Tbl because it still does provide some yummy flavor along with the spice!

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The Island Market

I am lucky enough to have a second family that lives on a little strip of paradise in Maine called Islesboro. I am also lucky enough that these amazing people own The Island Market, a specialty grocery store open all year round that caters to both the locals and summer vacationites. This store has everything from the freshest fish and shellfish to the most mouth-watering prepared foods and desserts. The two behind this gem are David and Linda Mahan (better known as Shake and Loony); chefs, butcher, grill master, baker, hostess, inn keeper…they do it all! As is expected and anticipated every year, they serve the most delicious food, and as a special house guest (a title I earned by spending many a hot summer day stocking shelves) I have access to the plethora of fresh ingredients in their fridge and cupboard. Some of those goodies include fresh eggs from Loony’s chickens, homemade broccoli-cauliflower hummus, fresh greens grown right there on the island, and much more.

Shake and Loony also previously owned a restaurant together on the same island so their cooking game is out of this world! One can anticipate the most phenomenal variety of meats from Shake such as a pork tenderloin cooked to perfection, addiction-inducing chicken wings, a killer piece of steak, or THE ORIGINAL bacon wrapped hot dog (his specialty). Loony’s specialities (seen below) include pies with minimal ingredients and maximum flavor, cakes with buttercream frosting that carries you away on a cloud, and recently added gluten free options. She also makes a kick-ass platter so appealing to the eye (and stomach) you’ll ask no questions and want to eat everything on it!

 

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Asiago Bagel (Scratch Bakery, Portland, ME) topped w/ Broccoli Hummus, Avocado, Tomatoes, and a Farm Fresh Egg

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Charcuterie & Broccoli Hummus Platters

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Pork Tenderloin w/ Mushroom Sauce, Baked Rosemary Sweet Potatoes, Walnut Brussel Sprout Slaw, and Steam Green beans

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Vanilla Cake w/ Marscapone Filling & Orange Buttercream Frosting

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Blueberry Pie w/ Blueberries, Cinnamon, Lemon Zest & a Handmade Crust

If you are ever looking for a get away that will completely remove you from reality I highly suggest a vacation to this special little island. A quick 20-minute ferry ride across the Penobscot Bay will transport you to another world full of lush scenery, delectable fresh & local foods, and amazing people!

**All of this delicious produce, meat, and recipes can be found at the fabulous Island Market!!**

Mediterranean Shrimp Tacos

So the other night I was really craving fish tacos. Like real, soft tortilla, fall apart in your hand, West Coast tacos. But I have yet to master the art of cooking a mean fish/ not really sure what fish is best for fish tacos/ on that college budget. So I opted for the shrimp that was already in my freezer, and I wasn’t feeling a Mexican vibe. I wanted something crisp and refreshing, so I hopped on the internet and found the answer to my cravings in Mediterranean shrimp tacos! I skimmed through a bunch of recipes. I don’t usually follow once recipe in particular because I like to put my own personal spin on the dish, ya know? Now onto the fun stuff!

My dad always told me to get all the prep work done first and out of the way, so it’s one of the few golden rules of cooking I live by. It really makes the whole experience more enjoyable and run more smoothly. So, while the shrimp were a-thawing I prepped the marinade and salsa.

Marinade

  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped basil
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Salsa

  • red onion
  • cherry tomatoes
  • oregano
  • splash of marinade

I marinade the shrimp for only a few minutes. Its important to pay attention because shrimp are one of the weaker proteins and will start to break down if marinaded too long especially in something acid like lemon juice. Sauté for 3-5 minutes on Med-High heat. Get a small sauce pan, or any flat bottom pan, warm on Low heat to heat up your tortillas. I used corn, but would recommend flour, only because the hold up better to all the good stuffins. Garnish with whatever you think will make it look pretty! I stayed in the the Mediterranean realm and went with sliced avocado, bean sprouts, and parsley.

Voila! Here we have a great version of seafood tacos that are really accessible on a college budget, and not too hard on the eyes.  This was also made with simple, healthy ingredients that you can find at your local grocer, bodega, or even better, the farmer’s market. Happy creating!

Luca & Bosco

Luca & Bosco is a local creamery pumping out ice cream flavors, sauces, and toppings that will make you reevaluate your entire outlook on the life! (Okay, well maybe not life, but definitely frozen flavor combinations) Sold in the Essex Street Market, this delicious gold mind is the workings of  Catherine Oddenino and Ruthie Vishlitzky and is made with all-nautral ingredients, organic whenever possible. Although Luca & Bosco is a small start-up, their flavors are anything but small. With exquisitely unique flavors like milky tea, goat cheese, and their superstar Drunk & Salty is impossible to pass by their cart without at least asking for a sample. They’ve also got some killer sauces which include Butterscotch Diablo, Cilantro Syrup, and the Drunk & Salty Caramel (match back to the ice cream flavor).

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Goat cheese ice cream w/ balsamic reduction

When I paid them a visit I was greeted by who I could imagine to be either Catherine or Ruthie, all smiles and willing to answer any questions. I sampled the Drunk & Salty and Goat Cheese. While the D&S was everything I could have wanted from a sweet and salty ice cream, the goat cheese had a unique and enticing, creamy, tangy flavor. The lovely lady behind the counter suggested I pair it with the balsamic reduction syrup, and I’m glad she did because it was fabulous! Even with my notoriously ginormous sweet tooth I was pleasantly satisfied with this tangy, savory treat!

Luca & Bosco is open Wednesday-Sunday to make all your artisanal ice cream dreams come true. You should also follow them on Instagram to get the inside scoop (sorry guys, couldn’t resist) on their newest creations!