I make an effort to make dinner during the week. Tackling dinner while holding down a full-time job can be challenging (and tiring — let’s just be honest). I’ll be the first to admit that I get stuck in the rut of making the same couple of salads over and over when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed with life.
Our CSA box has helped a bit in pushing me outside of my normal cooking repertoire (because, like what the hell do you do with kohlrabi?)
This week’s box inspired me to whip up a bunch of spicy roasted veggies which I decided would be perfect for both breakfast burritos one night and tacos the next.
Nothing like cooking once for two meals, eh?
These vegetables are a great end-of-summer blend of things you probably have sitting in your fridge right now (and, frankly, are so easy and delicious, there’s really no reason not to make them.)
Double-Duty Spicy Roasted Veggies
- 2 medium squash, diced (I used round zucchini, but any summer squash works here)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 large bell peppers (any color you like — I used a mix of green and red)
- 1 cup corn kernels (cut off the cob or frozen)
- 2-3 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Place all veggies onto a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add all the spices (feel free to just eyeball the amounts — it doesn’t need to be exact, by any means). Toss everything together until evenly coated, then spread out the veggies so they’re in a single layer on the pan.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until desired done-ness is reached (I wanted a little bite left in mine, so I just did 15 minutes).
Post on our breakfast burritos and taco feast coming up!
Given that it’s the middle of the week, I thought a cocktail post might be in order. Sometimes a Wednesday night calls for this sort of thing, y’know?
This cocktail is a summery twist on the classic whiskey-ginger, and is perfect for mid-week drinking (given that it takes almost zero effort and brain cells in order to make.) The recipe is also highly adaptable, so feel free to sub in a different berry and/or herb if you feel like it.
Bourbon Blackberry Smash
makes one cocktail
- 2 large, ripe blackberries
- 4 mint leaves, torn
- Ginger beer
- In a rocks or double old-fashioned glass, muddle together the blackberries and mint leaves.
- Add 1.5 ounces bourbon.
- Fill glass with ice and top with ginger beer.
Notes and Modifications:
- I used Woodford Reserve, but feel free to use any whiskey or bourbon you like here.
- Cherries or blueberries would be a nice alternative to the blackberries, if you’ve got them on hand. If your berries are more on the tart side, add a little sugar during the muddling step.
- Feel free to try basil in place of the mint.
- I used Cock & Bull ginger beer. If you find the cocktail too sweet (as different types of ginger beer will add different amounts of sweetness) add a squeeze of lime.
I mean, it’s pretty much rocket science, right? Maybe I’ll recreate this around the holidays with cooked cranberries and rosemary. I think that might be quite a treat!
How was your 4th of July? Ours was fun. We had a BBQ which ended up going long into the evening and involved a lot of debauchery and a record consumption of Fireball shots (Not by me. Ew.) If I had to gauge the amount of fun our party was by how sticky our dining room floor was the next day, I’d say it was suuuuper fun.
At the BBQ we served grilled sausages with sautéed peppers and onions, the world’s largest watermelon, and my go-to Caesar salad. The night before I also whipped up two batches of homemade soft pretzels (because sausages + soft pretzels — so American, right? Yah.) The pretzels were such a hit that I figured I should share the recipe with y’all, so you too can be the talk of the town at your next party.
Soft pretzels aren’t particularly difficult to make, just kind of time consuming. And if you cheat a little and use a bread maker to make the dough (like me), it’s even easier.
makes 16 pretzels
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (80-90°F)
- 1 tbsp. salt (plus additional for sprinkling)
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
- Alkaline solution: 5 cups water + 1/3 cup baking soda
- Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a splash of water or milk
- Using a bread maker: To make the dough, place all ingredients (omitting the alkaline solution and egg wash) into your bread maker in the order listed above and use the dough setting.
- Not using a bread maker: Combine water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture until well combined and the dough comes together. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Oil a clean bowl with vegetable or olive oil and place dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 50-55 min, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once your dough is ready, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (cut into fourths, then cut each fourth into fourths again). Quickly roll each piece into a long rope and twist it into a pretzel shape. *Try to handle the dough as little as possible — the longer you mess with it, the tougher your pretzels will be.
- Once you have 16 pretzels formed, place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Make your alkaline solution by combining 5 cups of water with 1/3 cup baking soda in a wide saucepan, then bring to a boil (I used my Le Creuset braiser for this). Once boiling, boil each pretzel for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through (you can do this in batches rather than going one at a time). Place onto a wire rack to drain.
- Once drained, return pretzels to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt (I recommend using pretzel salt or sea salt for this — I used Maldon flake salt).
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- To revive pretzels the next day, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with a tad more salt, and reheat in the oven for 3-5 minutes.
Pair these with mustard and a cold beer and you’re in business.
Yep, another salad recipe. You know I can’t get enough salads — mostly because I’m a little lazy when it comes to cooking, and I like things that assemble quickly (ideally in one bowl).
Traditional salade niçoise doesn’t involve lettuce — it’s actually quite a stunning presentation of potatoes, olives, tuna, eggs, and various other things. However, I had a bunch of arugula that I needed to use up, so I added it in. Why be hemmed in by the expectations of what salade niçoise is supposed to be? Do what you want, I say!
Potatoes in salad might be one of my favorite things. (Who’s surprised? No one — I love all carbs.)
A Twist on Salade Niçoise
serves 2 as a meal
- 1 russet or handful of new potatoes, cut into chunks (peel the russet, if you’d like)
- olive oil
- dried herbs: thyme, basil, oregano
- 1 small bunch green beans, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- 1 bunch arugula, cleaned and spun dry
- 2 handfuls tomatoes, chopped
- big handful of kalamata olives, cut in half
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
- 1 can quality tuna (I used albacore in water, but packed in oil would be delicious here as well)
- red wine vinegar
- dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- optional: roasted beets, sliced cucumber and/or radishes
- Preheat oven to 425°. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a big pinch (each) of the dried herbs. Place in a single layer, then bake until tender and crispy (20-25 min).
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a big pinch of salt and green beans, then cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- For the dressing, combine 1 tsp dijon mustard with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
- Combine lettuce, tomatoes, olives, eggs, tuna, and green beans in a large salad bowl. Add cooked potatoes, drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.
An easy meal for weeknight dining. Oui oui!
Sunday morning I woke up craving waffles, but discovered that I didn’t have enough of my favorite Trader Joe’s mix to make any. After a little internet-scoping, I came across a recipe I actually had all the ingredients for (since I don’t normally have buttermilk lying around…) and figured I’d give it a go.
Given the amount of effort this recipe takes (very little) and the common-ness (not a word) of the ingredients, I figured I’d share it with you all so you too can make waffles whenever that breakfast-carb craving strikes.
5-Minute Basic Waffles
makes 3 large/12 small
- 2 eggs
- 1 3/4 cup milk (I used a combo of nonfat and half and half, because that’s what I had)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil (you might be able to sub applesauce here to make these a little healthier)
- 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but you could probably use bread flour or an all-purpose GF mix)
- 1 tbsp white sugar (feel free to add an extra tbsp if you like your waffles on the sweeter side)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium-sized bowl, whip eggs (using a whisk or hand mixer) until frothy and doubled in size.
- Add milk and oil, then whisk in dry ingredients just until combined (don’t overmix!)
- Place a large scoop of batter into your waffle maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
I mean, did I say easy or did I say easy? Please note that Penny was the only one this waffle-making process wasn’t easy on. It sure is hard being a puppy (when your owners refuse to give you any of their waffles).
*You could also mix some berries or chocolate chips into the batter to fancy these up a bit. Get crazy.