Root Vegetables: 2 Ways


Do you have a purpose when you go to the Farmer's Market?  I usually wander around aimlessly, wanting everything but afraid to commit.  It would probably benefit me to treat it like any food shopping experience, with some sort of recipe or meal plan in mind.  But sadly, I'm not that organized of a person.  Especially when it comes to food.  The old, Dutch, fat man that lives inside of my appetite usually takes over, and I want to buy everything... but I always chicken out and leave with next to nothing.  It's very frustrating!  I need help from you people that instragram your Farmer's Market purchases every Sunday, because I know you're better at it than me.

Last week, I left with radishes and golden beets.  That's it!  No one in my house even likes them, besides me!  (Oh, and I also bought a log of mozzarella cheese because... fat man.)  I was determined to not let my purchases sit there mockingly, until they shriveled up with mold.  So I prepared them both in the easiest ways possible, roasting one and quickly sautéing the other.  And guess what?  My family loved them!  (My family = Carson, my kids eat nothing.)  See below for my techniques...   

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Wash beets and trim the leafy stems (reserving if you wish, they're edible).  Place beets on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place another piece of foil on top of beets.  Roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  Once cooled slightly, peel the skin off of the beets.  Slice, sprinkle with more olive oil, salt and pepper and serve!

Wash radishes and thinly slice them.  In a sauce pan, heat a tablespoon of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of olive oil.  Saute over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until they caramelize (sometimes I add sliced shallots as well).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mini Pies on TODAY


I've been trying to write this post for a day and a half.  A day and a half!  Trying to balance life is a daily struggle of mine, and I'm sure you can all relate.  I have so much I want to cook, so much I want to share with you, and yet I'm trying to actually put my swimsuit on this summer and go UNDERWATER with my kids.  As in, who cares about how cold the water feels or what my hair looks like or having to shower after (or not).  I'm trying to play with my kids!!  And so my to-do list grows and grows and grows... WHY IS BALANCE SO HARD.

Back to trying to share with you, my virtual friends.  Yesterday I had so much fun baking mini blueberry pies with my friend Savannah on Today.  It was a Today Original recipe, and they were simple and delicious.  Yes, yes, I may have made a few mistake during the segment, but I think you know that I embrace errors in the kitchen and I certainly try not to take cooking too SIRIously.   

You can check out the segment and view the Today Original recipe here.

All photos by Samantha Okazaki

TODAY Show: Eggplant 3 ways


Well, "veggie week" at the Today Show has come and gone, and I may have converted Carson (and Savannah) a teeny, tiny bit with my greek yogurt eggplant dip (however it's true, eggplant is technically a fruit... whatevs).  If you missed yesterday's segment, or want the recipes (plus a delicious bonus stuffed eggplant recipe), check everything out here!

AND, I'll be back on TODAY on Monday, baking up something summery and sweet.
Have great weekends!

(photo by Samantha Okazaki)

TODAY tonight: Cauliflower Steak


If you're unfamiliar with my "TODAY tonight" series, it's when Carson won't stop talking about something he ate at work, so I make it at home to shut him up.  However, this time around, I didn't even have to wait to hear him rave.  I was watching Aarti Sequeira on the show and I instantly wanted everything she cooked.  She made cauliflower three ways, and I could practically taste the vibrant, Indian flavors through my TV screen.  

It was the "cauliflower steak" with a lime yogurt sauce that made me run to the store for the vegetable.  I cook cauliflower a lot, but something as simple as cutting it differently and marinating it with different spices completely transformed it for me.  I am obsessed.  Even my son loved it!  I will make this again, and again, and again.  Recipe here.

And speaking of Today Food and vegetables, I will be there tomorrow trying to get Carson to eat a particular one he doesn't like... wish me luck!

We served it with a version of this salad because we just can't get enough.

Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Salad


People, it's hot.  Like, real hot.  Like, I thought I'd sit outside for a minute with my computer and let my just-showered-hair (after 3, fine 4 days) dry in the summer breeze until I realized my boobs were already sweating HOT.  When it's this hot, I feel the need to eat really light, probably because my body feels bloated and heavy and I also want nothing to do with the kitchen.  This is, eat lots of vegetables (and sip white wine for lunch?) type of weather.  But I always forget how easy it is to throw a salad together for lunch.  For some reason it doesn't SEEM easy, but with leftovers involved and some minor weekend prep, a week-day salad can be effortless.  See the one I just made below...

Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Salad
Serves 3

1 bag frozen quinoa with vegetables* (or 2 cups cooked quinoa)
3 cups baby kale
1 cup shredded roasted chicken
1 avocado, diced
3 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled greek ricotta** (or goat cheese, or feta)
Balsamic glaze
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Prepare quinoa as instructed on bag (I did this Sunday night and kept it in tupperware).  Assemble rest of ingredients and toss.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

*Found this in the organic section of the freezer.
**Sometimes I get in a feta/goat cheese rut, so I tried this Greek ricotta the other day and I'm OBSESSED!  So creamy.

Pasta with Arugula Pesto on TODAY


In case you missed my Today Show segment yesterday or need the Bow-Tie Pasta with Arugula Pesto recipe, click here for both!  And I'll be back next Thursday... trying to get Carson to eat his veggies.  It should be entertaining :)  Have a great weekend!  

Photos by Samantha Okazaki.

Tuna Avocado Toast + Bertolli Contest


Want to know something?  I love olive oil.  Some women collect shoes, or handbags, or jewelry... and I collect olive oils.  One of my favorite brands, Bertolli, is celebrating their 150th anniversary and they sent me that beautiful anniversary bottle above.  It's so pretty!  I want to carry it around like a handbag or wear it on my feet!  I'm very normal!  Anyway, to celebrate, Bertolli is having a recipe contest in which you could win a trip to Tuscany (as well as other prizes) just by submitting a dish using Bertolli oils.  Check it out here and enter soon, the deadline is July 31st!

The other night, using Bertolli olive oil (duh), I tried to recreate a dish we recently had at the Manhattan Beach, CA restaurant Love and Salt.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I pretty much fell in love with this restaurant right away.  We ate insanely crispy yet juicy roast chicken, and pasta with bone marrow (yup), and a salad with crispy garbanzo beans... all while sipping spicy margaritas.  And we began the meal with an albacore tuna and avocado toast.  This toast was something magical... every bite so full of bright texture and flavor.  I could have made love to the toast alone... perfectly crispy and probably soaked in delicious olive oil.  Creamy avocado, with a hint of lemon, topped with fresh, chunky tuna that melted in your mouth, and sprinkled with some sort of olive (caper?) mixture and a sliver of onion.  Am I still talking about this toast??

I thought it would be the perfect appetizer to make with my fancy olive oil, see what I did below...      

I had ciabatta bread leftover from our local pizza joint, so I used that, however you could use sourdough or french bread.  Just slice, and sauté on the stove in a splash of olive oil over medium heat until both sides are golden.  Take a can of solid white albacore tuna (soaked in water), drain and place in a bowl.  Scoop out an avocado into another bowl and mash with a fork.  Take the juice of half a lemon, and sprinkle over both bowls.  Drizzle both bowls with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  To assemble toasts, spread avocado first, then tuna and then top with some chopped kalamata olives (or use an olive tapenade).  Serve and enjoy!  


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