Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

I usually don’t like tuna salad. I feel like every tuna salad I have had is a horrible combination of mayo, celery, and sweet relish. The thought makes me cringe. Luckily this salad can erase any prior memories of tuna salad gone wrong. This salad is light and refreshing. There are so many amazing flavors. Using Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise, not only lightens up the salad, but really adds a nice, creamy base that lets all the different flavors shine through. I really liked that nearly every bite had a little tangy bite from the capers and a little bit of subtle spice from the bell peppers. I served this salad on a gluten-free Chebe roll with a tomato, olive and balsamic salad.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

 Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

  • 2 (6 ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained well
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell or piquillo pepper
  • 3/4 cup sliced Greek olives
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and gently fold together until well combined. Serve on sliced bread as a sandwich or spoon over a green salad.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Soufflés

Double Cheese Souffles

This was my first attempt at making soufflés and I must say I was quite impressed. I know I have had soufflés in the past, but I only remember them being in dessert form, so I really had no idea what was going to happen once I closed the oven door. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The texture was wonderful, really light and airy with just a little bit of crisp from the top crust. I really like that you could taste the goat cheese in every bite as well.

I think for this recipe to be a success, a scale is going to be necessity. I absolutely adore my small little kitchen scale and it’s definitely one of the most worthwhile investments I’ve made in a kitchen accessory. At the time I didn’t have any one cup ramekins to bake these, so used half cup ramekins instead. I have since found bigger ramekins at Ikea for next to nothing, so next time I will try the bigger cup.

Gluten Free Goat Cheese Soufflés
Adapted from BBC Good Food.

  • 25g/1 ounce butter
  • 25g/1 ounce flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 250g/8.8 ounces soft goat’s cheese , crumbled
  • 50g/2 ounces Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 250ml/1 cup milk
  1. Heat the oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Butter 4 x 250ml/1 cup soufflé dishes. (I used 8 half cup ramekins.)
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to make a thick sauce. Cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the floury taste.
  4. Stir in the cheeses and chives then add 4 of the egg yolks, season generously and mix well.
  5. In a clean bowl, whisk all the egg whites until they are stiff and form soft peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture and pour into the buttered soufflé dishes.
  6. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the soufflés are risen and golden.

St. Patrick’s Day Sides: Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Brown Butter

First asparagus of the season. Oven roasted with garlic brown butter. I love #spring!

I was quite happy to find asparagus everywhere at farmers’ market last weekend. I love asparagus, especially during the spring when it’s super thin and not gross and woody. Roasting just about any vegetable makes it about 100 times better in my book and asparagus is no exception. Roasting the asparagus give it a little crispy crust to the tips that is just amazing. While not a traditional Irish side dish, it’s green, seasonal and delicious. It’s also one of the simplest side dishes in the world. Perfect for a quick, weeknight dinner or a fancy dinner party.

This dish is adapted from my balsamic roasted asparagus, but I made an amazing garlic brown butter sauce instead of the balsamic. As much as I love balsamic, it is a bit harsh and very overpowering. I think the garlic brown butter sauce works with a lot more dishes.

Excuse the Instagram photo, I wasn’t planning on posting this originally, but it turned out too delicious not to. 

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Brown Butter

For the Asparagus:

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus, woody stems removed
  • cooking spray
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Brown Butter Sauce:
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head, but I’m crazy)
  1. Heat oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray until coated and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the asparagus in the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender and just starting to crisp.
  4. While the asparagus is in the oven, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is almost completely melted, add in the minced garlic. Stir to coat. Allow the garlic to cook until crispy, stirring occasionally so the butter and garlic don’t burn.
  5. When the asparagus is done, place in serving dish and pour garlic and butter over. Serve immediately.

St. Patrick’s Day Side Dishes: Horseradish & Scallion Mashed Potatoes

Irish Beef Stew

Look beyond the Irish Beef Stew and let’s talk about the potatoes. I’m Irish. I love potatoes. I’m basically a potato expert. While I have nothing against tried and true, plain mashed potatoes, sometimes you just need to spice things up a bit. I like horseradish quite a lot and horseradish is quite nice with beef dishes. I knew I was going to like these, but I was very pleasantly surprised about how well the horseradish went with the stew. The horseradish really brought out the best of the flavors on the stew. I think these potatoes would be the perfect side dish to any St. Patrick’s Day meal

Horseradish & Scallion Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick softened butter or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2+ tablespoons prepared horseradish (I think more is better)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let sit until just cool enough to handle, then peel and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the butter/oil to the potatoes. Add the milk, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste; mash with a potato masher or large fork.
  3. Fold in the horseradish and half the scallions. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining scallions.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

I will fully confess this salad was made out of desperation. I got a little overzealous at Costco and bought a 5 pound bag of baby spinach. It was $3.79, seemed like such a great idea at the time. Do you know how much baby spinach is in a 5 pound bag of baby spinach? FIVE pounds. Do you know how hard it is to come up with new ideas to use up 5 pounds of baby spinach? Real hard. There are only so many green smoothies and sautéed spinach one can consume. I have gotten to the point I just google spinach and any other random ingredients I can think of and hope something worthwhile comes up. I’ve been hitting a lot of duds, but I really lucked out with this one.

I personally don’t like super oily vinaigrettes (or oily anything), so I tend to skimp on that. I just couldn’t get a taste I liked with just the limes for acidity, so I added in a bit of white wine vinegar to try to get the flavors to blend a bit better. Perfect fix. I added the feta at the last minute (an other Costco purchase that needs to be used… I need to stop doing this to myself). I think it gave the salad a tangy bite that worked really well with the other flavors, but it’s not essential. Leaving it out would still make this one amazing (and vegan) salad.

I also have to admit I am totally embarrassed by the fact that I took the time to cut the strawberries into hearts. Who does that? It’s a cheesy cute idea for a Valentine’s Day salad if you have the need for such a thing. This salad is definitely tasty enough to share.

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
  • 1 cups strawberries, halved (cut into hearts if you’re crazy)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
For the Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (I don’t like oily vinaigrettes, use more if you do)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large serving bowl, add the spinach, strawberries, shallots and feta.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, grainy mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle on the walnuts and add the diced avocado.

Carrot-Miso Soup

Carrot-Miso Soup

The second I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, I knew I was going to make it. Every single ingredient in the original recipe sounded soup-er appealing. My end result ended up being a little different.  It may be the sore throat, or the stuffy nose, or the general quasi-illness induced haze I am currently living in, but I set about making this soup and then promptly forgot to include half the ingredients. Oops…

I left out the ginger. I meant to put it in. I even put it out on the counter to peel, but promptly forgot about it until I was ladling it into the bowl. I even dug out my little bottle of toasted sesame oil to drizzle over the top. Neither the ginger, nor sesame oil ended up in the soup, but I was pretty okay with that. I like carrots. I love miso. Throw in some garlic and onions, and I really don’t see how you could go wrong.

One quick note about the Miso, I used Cold Mountain Miso . I can’t find the details on their website, but as far as I can remember all but one of their miso is gluten-free (one is made with barley). I had two different types of miso on hand (I might have a slight miso soup problem), one is Kyoto White Miso and the other is the Light Yellow Miso (Japanese White). I used the Kyoto White to begin with, but I have to say it was super mild, like you could barely taste the miso mild. I had to add the same amount of  the yellow miso to get any miso flavor. If in doubt, go with the stronger miso.

Carrot-Miso Soup
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4-6 garlic clove, minced (I used double that amount)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 5 scallions, very thinly sliced
  1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  2. Puree soup in batches in blender, or all at once with an immersion blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.
  3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a small mound of scallions.

Red Lentil Tomato Soup

Red Lentil & Tomato Soup

Sometimes I get a bit indecisive when it comes to making certain meals. I try to make a rough meal plan every week mainly to make both shopping and blogging a bit easier on myself, but sometimes I just don’t stick to it. Despite my best efforts to plan ahead, sometimes I just don’t feel like what I had previously planned out. On this week’s plan I had both lentil soup and tomato soup. It’s been super cold here lately, so soup is in high demand. When it came time to make lentil soup for lunch one day, it just seemed kind of blah… I really wanted tomato soup, but it didn’t really seem filling enough. Then I got wonderful idea of putting the two together. I’m quite happy it did. The end result had everything I wanted. It was tomato-y and comforting and filling and hardy all at the same time.

If I had time (aka if I wasn’t starving for lunch at the time) I would have chopped up some more veggies to add to the soup. Carrots would be perfect in this soup. I did throw a couple large handfuls of spinach at the end to add some sort of vegetable and color (hard to see in the picture, but it’s in there). The green onions were a last-minute, impulsive addition and were amazing on top. The soup itself is completely vegan. I decided to add a couple spoonfuls of greek yogurt to stir in for a little extra creaminess, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Red Lentil Tomato Soup

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-28 ounce cans whole (or diced) tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • greek yogurt/sour cream, optional
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add onion to the pot and cook until soft, 6-7 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika and cumin. Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add in tomatoes, juices and all. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. If using whole tomatoes: With a handheld/stick blender, blend the tomatoes and onions until mixed, but still slightly chunky.
  3. Bring heat back to medium-high and add in the broth and lentils. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are soft and have absorbed some of the liquid.
  4. When lentils are soft, add in baby spinach and stir until slightly wilted.
  5. Put soup in serving bowls, top with green onions and greek yogurt, if desired, and serve.

Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad

Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad

I went up to San Francisco over New Year’s to visit a few of my best friends. It was grand. One of the days, Nancy and I wandered down to the Ferry Building, which is one of my favorite places in SF. We grabbed a delicious lunch at Il Cane Rosso. We both had an amazing butternut squash soup. I also had an amazing caesar salad. Everything about the salad was perfect and to top it off there was roasted broccoli! I love caesar salad and I love roasted broccoli, so it was basically a match made in heaven. I was a little disappointed I hadn’t thought of the combination myself! This is my attempt to recreate that delicious dish. As I was grabbing the broccoli out of the fridge, I happened to spot some b. sprouts in there as well. It seemed rude not to use them, so I added them in as well. The flavors of the roasted vegetables go surprisingly well with the tangy dressing. I think the combination really brings out the best of both flavors.

Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad

Roasted Broccoli & Brussels Sprout Caesar Salad

For the Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 medium heads broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste
For the Salad
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Your favorite Caesar dressing (I recommend this one.)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated

For the Roasted Vegetables:

  1. Heat oven to 400. In a medium bowl or large plastic bag, toss broccoli and brussels sprouts with the olive oil and Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, to taste.
  2. Put vegetables on rimmed baking dish and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir vegetables and return to over for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
  3. Remove from baking sheet and place on a towel lined plate to drain the excess oil (you don’t want it in the salad).
For the Salad:
  1. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, green onions, and dressing. Divide between four bowls. Top with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle each bowl with parmesan cheese and serve.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Capers

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Capers

Brussels sprouts and capers! I can’t think of anything finer. I love both brussels sprouts and capers. This dish is the stuff my dreams are made of. Roasting the sprouts is essential. Roasting gives them a nuttiness and subtle caramelized flavor that is amazing when combined with the salty, crispy capers. The red pepper flakes are a nice background note. You can adjust your red pepper usage to your own taste. I like spice, so I went a little heavy with it. With so many other wonderful flavors it remained a nice accompaniment to the dish, not overpowering and hot.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Capers
Adapted from this recipe.

  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 cup drained brined capers
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2-6 garlic cloves, minced (more is better)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (adjust to your own heat preference)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 425F/220C. Toss brussels sprouts with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Place sprouts on rimmed baking sheet. Roast 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden.
  2. While the sprouts are roasting, blot capers on a paper towel. Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add capers and cook, stirring carefully (mixture will splatter), until capers start to open and are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chile flakes to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer capers and garlic to a paper towel to drain.
  3. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with capers and a squeeze of lemon.

Lentil, Olive & Goat Cheese Salad

Lentil Goat Cheese Salad

This salad wasn’t really planned out. I set about making lunch one day, but was in one of those moods where nothing really sounded good. After hemming and hawing for a bit, I ended up grabbing several random ingredients. Anything I saw that seemed appealing at the time got put on the counter. Not surprisingly these basic ingredients are some of my favorites. Feeling accomplished about picking out items for lunch, I then realized I still had to figure out what to do with them. This salad is what ended up happening. Nothing too fancy, but delicious and filling nevertheless.

I don’t like overly oily salad dressing, so I just mixed lemon juice into the lentils instead of making an actual dressing. And olive oil  lemon dressing or a light vinaigrette could definitely be used on the lettuce or lentils if you like. If you are looking for something a little warmer for this time of year, the lentils could also be served warm with all the ingredients mixed in. If serving warm, I would leave out the lettuce and substitute a bed of sautéed spinach.

Lentil Goat Cheese Salad


Lentil, Olive & Goat Cheese Salad

For the Lentils

  • 1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional)
  • 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the Salad:
  • 1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • handful of kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil (optional)
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • bacon or pancetta, cooked until crispy and crumbled

For the Lentils:

  1. Wash Lentils in a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water. Then transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the broth/water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
  2. Bring the broth/water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
  3. When lentils are done, remove from pot and allow to cool in a serving dish.
For the Salad:
  1. While the lentils are cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Divide lettuce onto individual serving dishes.
  3. When lentils are cooled, add onion, tomato and olives and top with lemon juice (and olive oil if using). Mix ingredients together. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle bacon over the top. Divide the lentils between the lettuce plates and serve.