We have lovely cherry tomatoes growing in our backyard. But the tomatoes I used in this recipe came from a dear friend who gifted me a big box of fresh farmers produce. I squeaked like a kid in a candy store when I opened it and discovered lots of different kinds of tomatoes. Heirloom, love their sweet citrusy tartness, and Black Zebra, also related to Heirloom, but with a slightly different look and texture. Black Zebra have stripes and come in red and green.Read More
I am fully bonding with September. Not just because it happens to be my birthday month but now consciously seeing all the vegetable and fruit gems this month brings, they all fully blend in with my culinary weaknesses.
Apples! I am an apple addict. At least one a day. At least. Sweet melons, fresh corn, crunchy bell peppers, juicy pomegranates, plump tomatoes [read my upcoming post - it will tell you a lot about my current relationship with tomatoes, another special bond right there] and lots of soft herbs like cilantro, basil, parsley and mint. All are 'first row' staples at dinner table.Read More
Fall is around the corner. And the air is already quite cool here in NorCal. So I made this simple yet absolutely luscious roasted broccoli cream soup, packed with everything nourishing you can imagine. And it comes with a bonus: No cream.Read More
Have you tried a cup of this cold silky tomato based vegetable soup? It is a staple in Spain and a must have in my home during hot summer months. When I lived in Spain a small glass of Gazpacho topped with a pinch of fresh ground pepper and salt was the perfect way to start a meal, basically like a light appetizer. But even better is to sip it cold as a refreshing snack in between lunch and dinner, typically when hunger strikes in the afternoon after a long swim or a day out in the heat. Thinking of its vibrant color, refreshing texture, packed with fresh vitamins, with a nice savory accent and fine cold pressed extra virgin olive oil makes me crave a cup right now.Read More
Happy [#summer #steaminghot #Ineedfreshveggies] Friday! I am going to dive right into this salad because it is full of energy. Asparagus are in season, but my usually roasted green dish needed a bit of a revamp. So I started playing with flavors and textures, until I spotted these dark red purple gems, beets. Beets have become a constant inhabitant in my refrigerator, pre-cooked I have to admit. Just so much easier to pop into salads or to add into my all times favorite beet chocolate brownie recipe [coming up soon]. Beets are so good. Why? High in Vitamin C, beets are true immune boosters. Also high in potassium, which takes care of your nerves and muscle function, manganese, for healthy bones, liver and kidneys, and bonus for expecting moms, they have a high B folate content. Have a look at this link to learn more about beets and their benefits.
Beets + mango are a pretty sweet match. The deep red beets carry a mix of tart sweetness while golden mangos are lusciously dolce. You can just combine those two over a bed of fresh arugula and top with roasted pine nuts. Voila, it makes a fresh vitamin packed summer salad. But this version here is a bit heartier and more filling - can be a meal on its own. And where is the dressing? You just need a little drizzle of one single ingredient: A smooth pure balsamic vinegar. That's all you need. Because the vegetables and fruit together with the creaminess from the goat cheese will run the show, the silky balsamic vinegar will give it all just a subtle accent.
INGREDIENTS: Serves 4
Fresh green asparagus, 1 whole bunch
2-3 cups of baby kale
1 whole mango, nicely ripened, pealed and cut into bite sized chunks
1 cup cooked beets, cut into larger pieces
1 hand full of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 to 4 Tablespoons soft goat cheese (or a bit more if you like)
A generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean asparagus and cut off harder ends, approx. 1.5 inches
- In a heated [coconut oil] greased pan toss asparagus until they start to brown, for approximately 10 to 15 minutes depending on their thickness. Make sure stalks are soft enough to eat yet retained some crunchiness. Season asparagus with a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper. Set pan to side and let cool.
- Cut up cooked beets in large chunks and mangoes in medium sized cubes.
- On a serving platter or large salad bowl, create the first layer with baby kale leaves. Lay asparagus on top of kale, followed by cut up beets and mango. Finally top salad with bits of soft goat cheese.
- Dressing: A drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Enjoy and send me a note if you gave this summer salad a try, tweaked or added anything to it. It's fun when a dish keeps evolving, there is so much to explore. Ok, there might be one exception to this rule: grandma's culinary treasures. Those for the most part stay intact, like jewels.
Happy 4th of July ~
I found my June bucket filled with simple memories, thoughts and no-sweat recipes. All get to be bundled up with June's vibrant and summer-infused fruitage [have a quick look above]. Here are my favorite picks:
Alcachofas were a big part of our time in Chile. We would eat them at dinner, as an accompaniment, next to many other fresh goodies. Usually boiled. And while still warm, we'd peal off each leave from its flower and dip it in a homemade cream or oil based sause, biting off the fleshy part. Then the real skills came to the table: Who was able to cut out the artichoke heart, the tasty prize, leaving behind the hairy shell? Sounds easier than it is. Eating alcachofas comes with a ritual, and that's so beautiful about them.
And there is much more...Read More
Rhubarb? Yes, tart and sweet. What a combination. But I don't feel brave enough to cook it at home. Why? Not sure. Too complicated maybe and if done wrong, potentially toxic I heard.
It is so silly of me to assume based on bits and pieces picked up without having proper knowledge. So my favorite local spot, Monterey Market in Berkeley, gave me the gentle yet decisive push I needed. After loading up on plump tomatoes, peaches, loads of fava beans and juicy blueberries, I turned the corner, aiming for some fresh ginger roots. And there they were, laying comfortably and right at eye level. Loads of slender Rhubarb stalks. I could feel their stare. The long crimson red sticks reminded me of Rachel's organic rhubarb yogurt I would eat [daily] in London. And I could see sheet cakes and pies layered with this tasty 'fruit'. Those take the main stage in German cafes and bakeries during the summer months. It's sweet tartness is one of my kind of flavors. It is hard to find outside of its short spring season. Yes, Monterey Market didn't let me leave without a couple of rhubarbs gently stuffed in my bags. They were now proudly smiling at me. They won and I had a plan in my head.
So first I learned about this not fruit but VEGETABLE.
Oh May. We don't have much time left but I truly loved hanging out. I already look forward to reuniting next year. Same spot, same time. You kept me busy. I managed to get little on the blog but lots going on in the kitchen with little time for staging and less for "oh wow' imaging. That's how it is when the main room in the house is as busy as a [German] Autobahn. And I improvise, a lot. I compiled the highlights of what Sweet Lemons and Lilikoi whipped up this month [please send me an email if you want one of these recipes and how to's]. This post is more about traditions, celebrating occasions, less staging, more down to earth, improvisation and hopefully inspiring kitchen action.Read More
Oh hello May. Didn't see you coming...
This is perplexing. Months have completely lost their manners. They whiz by in record speed without any kind of notice, not a quick hello nor goodbye. How are we supposed to develop a deep relationship? But I will cut you, May, some slack. You are a special one. In my personal world, we have a big little birthday coming up for our soon-to-be five-year-old bundle of joy+energy+jazz+jokes. In exactly that order. He is a true crack and I'll leave it at that or else this will go madly off topic.
Sticking to the foodie side of things, May is the month to welcome a hand full of fresh and summer-inspiring produce-newcomers.Read More
Hello and good morning from this part of the world. So glad you stopped by. I could have named this post my fully spontaneous and casual weekend greens and grains whip up. That would have been 100 percent accurate. The pictures reveal it, no optimal light, no planning, no set up, no staging. Nada. However the smoothie turned out delicious.
Meals at home are most of the time created with a large pinch of spontaneously, in part because of everything else that goes on here and I let the produce I have at home guide the menu. It usually works better than overload planning. SL&L premise for upcoming food creations: Just plain spontaneity paired with fresh and nourishing ingredients.
Roasted vegetables soups were a hit at dinner table this past fall-winter-spring, and their benefits are enormous. I will not shuffle those recipes away yet but give them a summery twist too keep them in the meal rotation year around. I have a stack of cold soup ideas stashed away in my top drawer - stay tuned. But now my fingers are itching to make fresh bowls of crunchy bites crowned with indulging and nourishing toppings. Now this one here will turn broccoli and cauliflower skeptics upside down. All the textures work really well together.
On The Menu: Raw Cauliflower + Broccoli Florets, Sliced Carrots and Jitama on a bed of baby spinach w/ Slices of Silky Sheep Milk Cheese Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar + Topped with Roasted Pistachio Halves.Read More
A charming, vibrant and unstoppable team launched this past weekend London's best Latin American Street Festival. I am talking Comida Fest. Comida Fest filled the British capital with warming flavors and charming rhythms. Events like these introduce the richness and beauty of Latin America's culture and culinary expertise to visitors from all over the world. I have the great pleasure to write every week for Comida Fest their news section. So fun. And it makes me very nostalgic. So I am [mentally] taking a little trip back to my childhood home-base, Chile.
You might related, quite often it can be a single spice or a genuine flavor of an herb, fruit or typical ingredient that can revive fond memories. And I want to share with you notes of flavor that I connect with this beautiful region. You will see they might not all be foreign to you. A few of my top 5 are already circulating around food blogs and gaining more and more in popularity abroad. Yay!
And here is why...Read More
It can't be. April already? Read on and I'll share what happened to my build-in calendar sensors and why they got all out of whack (*wink*). But first the real deal: What is new this month?
- New potatoes,
- Mixed berries, from raspberries, blueberries to blackberries, and
- Cherry or grape tomatoes.
All these gems are joining the produce party this month. A sweet addition of naturally vibrant red, purple and dark blue and softer, more cream colored, tones. [Check out the April Gallery to see what else is (still) In Season].Read More
This happy salad bowl is becoming a weekend staple at home. Happy because you can't but get in a good mood when you look at its vibrant colors. So what's in it? Freshly cooked multicolored quinoa, organic garbanzo beans (or chickpeas). I admit, canned garbanzo beans. It safes so much prep time and I read somewhere, canned are as good as home cooked. Not sure I believe it. But I am happy with the canned version as long as it doesn't have added salt or other funny things. Just plain. Organic. What else? Creamy avocado and fresh English cucumbers, sun-infused plump cherry tomatoes, cubed yellow paprika and diced crunchy shallots, and cilantro (coriander).
Now bring the party together and you'll have a feast for the eyes before your tastebuds get to dance. If you like a crunchy nutty accent, sprinkle a hand-full roasted pistachios over the mix. But let's not forget the cilantro. Cilantro plays the beat in this song.Read More
This colorful egg deco session and the sunny weather outside got me thinking about Easter brunch and sweat spring-themed treats. Then I saw all these juicy oranges at the market and it clicked... I have been making this Spanish Almond Orange cake now for the last 2.5 years, since we moved to the second oranges + almonds heaven I know, California. The first is 5,800 miles away from here going east, in Spain, where I lived for 10 years.Read More
Banana Bread is a favorite in this house. Ok, personally closely followed by cheesecake. It is not too sweet, hearty, with a bread-like texture (I know, that's why the name). It can be topped with any kind of extras, from indulgent frostings to protein-packed nuts and seeds, or enjoyed just plain, with no toppings at all. You can eat it for breakfast or as a snack in between. No need for a special occasion to have a slice but it can be the highlight to celebrate a special occasion.
I like trying out and modifying new banana bread recipes, experimenting on how to make it healthier and more nutritious, with a new tasty twist. So this recipe right here is a winner.Read More
While walking through Berkeley's Monterey Farmers Market with my kids last Tuesday morning I made a heart-jumping discovery. They had Cherimoyas or Chirimoyas. Oh my, this takes me back to being little and to fun-packed summers in beautiful Chile.
This fruit is a well-known staple of South America, specially popular in Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. And of course, you get it in Chile. It's a sweet tropical fruit, with a fresh, fleshy and some would say also creamy consistency.Read More
I am excited. Today at home we had all windows wide open. A warm breeze swept through the house. And now, while compiling images for this month's [Eat] In Season, I am so happy to see a few spring-inspiring fruits and vegetables. In January and February I couldn't get enough of roasted brussels sprouts, spiced cauliflower rice, and cinnamon sweet potato bread. Now March is here and I am anxious to start experimenting with new and revive old recipes with these good friends:Read More
Every time I make this dish, at least every other weak, it takes me back to our first evening in Somerset, England, last summer, while visiting family abroad.
Somerset is the most beautiful countryside I have ever experienced (and we have quite a travel history). I will rummage through my pictures and post one or two to give you a feel for this magical place. Its green lushness and endless hilly landscape have restorative powers. While taking little hikes every day I would indulge the pure freshness of my surroundings. Cows, sheep, fruit trees and scattered lovely stone-build country homes make Somerset an idyllic spot. I call it a little piece of heaven on Earth.Read More
Baking bread is truly fun and so rewarding. Everybody should give it a try. I have been shying away from yeast-linked baking for way too long. Big flub. That's over. Bring on the yeast!
This rustic homemade bread recipe is a keeper. You can prepare the dough in less than 10 minutes, let it rise overnight and bake it in the morning. Voila, you got your own freshly baked, crusty on the outside, fluffy in the inside, preservative-free loaf of bread. Every time you make it you can give it a new twist adding in spices like rosemary, variety of seeds, asiago cheese, etc.Read More