July 31, 2017

Backyard Garden Salad with Burrata

2 zucchini, spiralized into ribbons*
1 "baby" cucumber, spiralized into thin "noodles"
4 red radish, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used Black Krim tomatoes from my garden)
2 balls burrata
1 spring onion bulb, cut into half moons
Himalayan sea salt (or regular)
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Arrange the zucchini, cucumber, tomato, radish and onion on two plates. Top each with burrata. Slice the burrata through the middle but not cutting all the way through. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to taste. Serve immediately.
My thoughts:
Are you ready for another salad? This one is super simple and is made using only ingredients that should be readily available in your garden (or farmers market) right now. I have lived in my house since 2005 (one year after I started this blog almost to the day!) and never have I had success with tomatoes. We have tons of fruit (blackberries, red and gold raspberries, figs, plums, beach plums, apples, pawpaws, and serviceberries-check out my #baltimorebackyard on Instagram for pictures) but gave up on vegetables after one year we planted 10 varieties of tomatoes and didn't get one. Our yard it pretty shady, so I think that probably is the issue. Anyway, we went to the Annapolis garden sale back in May at the William Paca House (totally worth the drive if you are local) and on impulse picked up two plants. We picked a tiny, sunny spot near the steps and they have thrived! The plants are taller than I am. So far, I have only had 2 ripe, these Black Krim (this explains why they are purple-y and not red in the picture) so I had to make a quick salad! I've been wanting to try out my new spiralizer so I used that but you could just thinly slice all of the vegetables yourself or use a mandoline. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as we did! I served it with steak and a grilled baked potato.

*I used one I bought at Aldi, it is nearly identical to this one (if not actually identical).

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

July 28, 2017

Mediterranean Beet Salad


10 oz cooked beets*, diced
2 "baby" cucumbers, diced
3 oz crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 bulb spring onion, cut into half moons

for the dressing:
juice of  1/2 lemon
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the beet ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the salad, toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*I used  Love Beets brand cooked beets I bought at Costco. Alternatively, you can roast your beets.

My thoughts:
Tonight we are having my favorite kind of meal. I call it snackies and it is basically meat, cheese and bread for dinner. It is perfect for hot summer nights but we do have it year round (in the colder months we normally have some hot apps). So we aren't totally unhealthy hedonists, I try and throw some fruit in there or something. Today I was feeling peppy so I tossed together this salad using some staples and odds and ends from the fridge. I was really pleased with how it turned out! It is light and refreshing with a nice mix of textures: tender beets, crisp cucumber, and crumbly cheese.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

July 21, 2017

Summery Spaghetti and Meatballs

for the meatballs:
2 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano
1/3 cup bread crumbs
pinch nutmeg
1 egg

for the sauce:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz petite diced tomatoes
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil

to serve:
1 lb spaghetti, cooked to package instructions

Start the sauce first. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onions are softened. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally.

In a medium sized bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients. With a gentle hand, combine all ingredients and form into 1 to 2-inch meatballs. Place on an (oiled or nonstick) broiler pan and broil for about 5 minutes or until just starting to brown.

Add to the sauce. Continue to cook until the meatballs are fully cooked and most of the liquid has been cooked out of the sauce. Serve over hot spaghetti.

Pro tip: Leftover meatballs in sauce freeze remarkably well.

My thoughts:
Just because it is summer doesn't mean one can't crave spaghetti and meatballs! As a nod to the season, I added some grated (and squeezed dry using a paper towel) zucchini which pretty much everyone has on hand right now. It isn't quite tomato season here yet (all I've seen are cherry tomatoes and puny ones at that and the ones on my plant are still super green) so I went with canned tomatoes but if you have fresh, by all means, use that! Just peel and hand crush/chop them to equal the appropriate amounts. Either way, the dish was a fresher, more summer take on the traditonal favorite and only heated up the house a little bit.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

July 12, 2017

Elotes Inspired Hamburgers

1 lb 93% lean ground beef
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/3 cup grated cotija cheese
1 ear's worth of corn kernels

spicy mayo:
1/2-1 teaspoon Tajín Clásico seasoning (chile lime seasoning)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

to serve:


In a medium bowl, combine all of the burger ingredients until evenly distributed. Form into 4 even patties. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the spicy mayo ingredients. Set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare grill according to manufacturer's instructions. Grill the burgers, flipping once until desired doneness. Place on buns, top with spicy mayo. Serve immediately.

Warning! You might hear some of the corn "pop" as it cooks!

My thoughts:
I am sure this recipe is somehow blasphemous. I admit is it is a bit of a stretch but when I realized I had all the ingredients for elotes and ground beef, I couldn't resist. It is kind of wacky but it works, I promise! Think of it as fusion if that helps. You get bursts of sweet corn and that lovely cheese flavor in every bite of burger and the spicy mayo sets it off perfectly. I served it with mango with Tajín sprinkled on, chips and guacamole. It was a great summer meal and a wonderful way to use up that last ear of corn. The burgers were so good, my husband gave an audible "Mmmm" and a thumbs up after one bite and raved about them all night.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

July 10, 2017

Cauliflower Salad with Marinated Artichokes and Olives

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives (in brine)
1 jarred marinated artichoke, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, diced
1 large handful curly parsley, chopped
1/4 cup marinade from the artichoke jar
juice of 1 lemon


Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and steam 5-8 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool. Place in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Chill 1 hour prior to serving for best flavor.

My thoughts:
I know, another cauliflower salad. I can't help it! I really enjoy them this time of year when cauliflower is in season. It just tastes so fresh! Of course, I couldn't resist using a bit of pickle-y, marinated flavor. Plus you can use the marinade from the artichoke jar totally eliminating the need to make a vinegarette. The lemon juice brightens it up and keeps it all from being too heavy. The cubanelle adds a light pepperiness and crunch as well. A refreshing salad for a hot day.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg