Pluot Summer Salad
Pluot Summer Salad Pluot Summer Salad

Pluot Summer Salad


A lot of the fruit salads this time of year are sweet. Juicy, ripe fragrant fruit with a sweet dressing - summer bliss bite after bite. These compositions live in the dessert category of my brain. That said, there are often times I feel compelled to snap fruit salads out of dessert-land and lead them over to the savory side of the spectrum. One of the more popular examples of this is watermelon, feta, and mint. You probably know the combination well. Sweetness from the melon, salty from the feta, tingly herbaceous from the mint. That's one example, but there are other realms to explore, and many ways to play off the soft sweetness of summer fruit. I thought we might work through some other ideas. Summer fruits are often tender, so bringing crunch and texture to a preparation can be good. Or, the introduction of a medley of green notes with herbs, sprouts, or salad greens. Also, I think we can agree, few things aren't improved by introducing deeply caramelized shallots - this works particularly well in this realm. To inspire, here's an example of what I'm talking about using pluots as the lead fruit. The fruit is set off with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs - in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro. Also, lots of toasted peanuts.Continue>>

 
 
Lemongrass Miso Soup
Lemongrass Miso Soup Lemongrass Miso Soup

Lemongrass Miso Soup


One thing I've most enjoyed experimenting with over the past year is broth. I suppose the style of broth I'm interested in would technically be considered vegetable broth. That said, this isn't what one tends to think of as a typical vegetable broth - I rarely kick things off with the holy trinity of onion, carrots, and celery. Instead, I might focus one around a favorite chile pepper, or varietal of dried mushroom, or, in this case, lemongrass. It might be more helpful to think of this as thin, flavor-forward soup, where I attempt to build on a short list of intense flavors. I like broths to be compelling on their own, but also like them to function as a dynamic base for other preparations. Now, I know summer tends to be the time of year people rally around grilling and outdoor cooking, but I have to tell you, it's also the time of year I like a light, clean brothy soup. So the broth experiments continue. This one, in particular, was a standout - as a pot of water is on the stove, coming to a simmer, you add a host of ingredients like chopped lemongrass, shallots, ginger, tomatoes, and coriander. Simmer, season with miso, and you have a beautiful, unique component beautiful served straight, but also wonderful and surprising as a base for noodles, poached eggs, or rice soup...Continue>>

 
 
Feta Oregano Salad
Feta Oregano Salad Feta Oregano Salad

Feta Oregano Salad


What you can't see in the photos here is the river running just a few feet out of frame. You can't smell the pine and redwood or their sun-warmed tree bark. What you can see is a good lunch. We were greeted at my friend Bonni's sweet, little alpine cabin with this deliciousness. I thought I'd share her feta-olive preparation - it was beautiful, and it is something you can throw together and serve as part of a series of mezze for people to pull from. It's comprised of good feta and olives served with a lot of fresh oregano, slivered lemon rind, black pepper, and a thick finishing thread of olive oil. Bonni served it with an assortment of crackers and pita, black yogurt-dolloped lentils, and chilled rosé. You can enjoy any leftovers on salad greens or grains, or a simple pasta bowl. You can also cover the herbs, feta, and olives in with olive oil in a little oven-proof dish, and heat it through for a nice little appetizer.Continue>>

 
 
 
 
Pineapple Coconut Water
Pineapple Coconut Water Pineapple Coconut Water

Pineapple Coconut Water


Once or twice a year, I buy a pineapple. It feels like a strange thing to purchase in San Francisco. Pineapples = hot tropics, beaches, bare feet, and endless summers. San Francisco = fog, wind, Victorian architecture, and year-round denim. I remember driving between San Diego and Northern California, along the Pacific coast, when I was in my early twenties, driving home from college, and coming across a small pineapple farm near Oxnard. But, aside from that, this isn't pineapple country. I never see them at the farmers' markets here, so I don't think about them much. That said, the other day I walked past a tiny pineapple display at my local grocery store, and the scent coming off these fruits was like walking into a thick, sweet wall of intoxicating, tropical brightness. It was the sort of perfume that immediately takes you someplace else, and I could imagine just how good that pineapple, the most fragrant of the lot, was going to taste. Continue>>

 
 
A List of Summer Picnic Bowls
A List of Summer Picnic Bowls A List of Summer Picnic Bowls

A List of Summer Picnic Bowls


This coming weekend I'm planning a break from the fog. If all goes well, there will be sun-bright days, star-lit skies, pine trees, bare feet, and eating outdoors. There will be a river. There will be a grill. There will be a cabin. All the necessary components for California mountain summering. I'm incredibly excited. As soon as we solidified our plans I started going through my archives looking for ideas for good picnic-style salads to make, and found myself drafting a list of contenders. It occurred to me that it might be helpful to post the list here as well. Most of these salads are the sort that can be prepped, in large part, ahead of time. And they're all meant to be served family-style as part of a larger spread. I hope it's helpful. Here's to long weekends, long days, and summer adventures. xo -hContinue>>

 
 
Spiced Spinach with Walnuts
Spiced Spinach with Walnuts Spiced Spinach with Walnuts

Spiced Spinach with Walnuts


Simply stated, this is a spinach recipe you should try. It's an adaptable dish that downshifts seamlessly from main attraction to supporting role depending on the quantity of leftovers at hand. The jist: a hot pan filled with all manner of things that work well with spinach - toasted walnuts, shredded mint, lemon, a host of spices, and a good amount of leeks that are cooked until silky tender. Loaded with spinach greens and healthful spices like turmeric and cumin - this is the sort of preparation I favor, in part, because it adds such a nutritional punch to my day while still being interesting, satisfying, and easy to pull together....Continue>>

 
 
Coconut Broccoli Soup
Coconut Broccoli Soup Coconut Broccoli Soup

Coconut Broccoli Soup


For the time being the QUITOKEETO studio has no kitchen. It has a warhorse of a sink with two of the legs truncated, but that's about it. If we want to expand our lunch options to warm or hot foods, appliances need to be involved. This has become a favorite topic of discussion. The question is: if you can only have three appliances, what are they? A hotplate seems to be the obvious first pick. A toaster oven and/or microwave also seem like contenders - but my argument is, we don't have either of those at home, so why would we have them at the studio? I'm lobbying for a wine refrigerator to stock with rosé for the summer, and a coffee grinder. This is a position that triggers much eye rolling. Jack thinks the waffle maker should live at the studio. While we figure out appliance #2 and #3, the hotplate was purchased, and made its efficient and unsexy debut this afternoon at lunch - reheating a pot of broccoli soup from its perch atop a beer garden bench. The soup - a simple broccoli and spinach affair - was made with coconut milk broth, double greens (broccoli & spinach), and was topped with good stuff like pan-fried tofu cubes, lots of toasted almonds, and shredded scallions. Continue>>

 
 
 
 

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