‘Tis the season to transform your home and kitchen into holiday mode. In my case, it’s a traditional shift in color palette to warmer tones and richer flavors; it’s the subtle fragrance of winter greenery; and it’s the excuse to throw seasonal gatherings much more frequently.
Y'all, this heat is heavy. In need of a light and cool summer meal, I aimed for an airy Asian dish that highlights natural flavors and awe-inspiring colors. I plucked both the ahi tuna and cucumber at the Memphis Farmers Market last Saturday, and I spotted some prepped jicama at my Whole Foods location. Ten minutes prep max yields a ten-fold amount of impressionable plating and tasting!
Serve alongside a crisp dry Pinot Grigio and, perhaps, a shareable bowl of steamed edamame. Cheers!
Makes 2 servings
1 ahi tuna steak 1 teaspoon canola oil 2 cucumbers 1 package pre-cut jicama 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon rice vinegar Black sesame seeds Sea salt Eel sauce, to serve
1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Season both sides of tuna steak with salt and black pepper. Place tuna in pan, searing for 1 minute. Flip and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and allow to rest.
2. Spiralize cucumber into thin ribbons. Slice jicama into thin strips. Mix vegetables with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and sesame seeds.
3. Slice tuna into 1/4-inch pieces. Create a cucumber-jicama nest, and place tuna on top. Drizzle with eel sauce and, if needed, add additional sea salt. Serve cold.
Our upcoming Daylight Savings holiday (only nine days away!) has instilled a sense of anxious excitement for the arrival of extended sunshine and outdoor splendor. I'm anticipating balcony sunsets with wine in hand, outdoor dinners in the side courtyard, and post-work walks along the River Bluff.
Until Spring officially arrives, though, I'm savoring winter citrus for breakfast bruléed, for dinner on salad, and for dessert on gelato. This low-maintenance salad boasts an obviously gorgeous presentation, but it tastes like heaven. The acidic pops of blood orange and creamy avocado are an undeniable combination.
Makes 4 servings
1 bag arugula 1 avocado, quartered and sliced 2 blood oranges, segmented 2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1-inch pieces 1 handful crumbled goat cheese 1/4 cup of my favorite salad dressing
1. In a large bowl, carefully toss arugula with avocado, oranges, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve with dressing on the side.
Labor day has passed, and I am still in denial. After all, the high today is 94 and sunny. Why wouldn't a late summer salad suffice? In honor of a short work week with too many items to check off the list, I'll make your grocery shopping extra concise. Three ingredients produce a vivid, colorful spread to prelude your family cookout or romantic Italian date night. This caprese is beautifully versatile and incredibly refreshing. Enjoy.
Makes 6 servings
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved 6 oz. mozzarella, sliced 1 bunch basil, torn
1. Arrange a large platter with mozzarella wedges. Sprinkle with tomatoes and basil. Serve alongside olive oil and balsamic reduction.
It's tough to remit gratitude through a material gift. I've struggled, especially when attempting to thank others for their time. I now have learned that despite the excitement of opening a box, a thoughtful homemade meal is the ultimate token of appreciation. I served dinner to my parents last night in my new home. Through farmers market ingredients and diligent preparation, I thanked Mom and Dad for their incredible help with the house move and its hectic details. Caribbean sea bass and spiraled squash with a homemade tomato sauce took the main stage. To begin, I prepared this beautiful arugula salad with oyster mushrooms from Dickey Farms. The meaty, woodsy flavor accentuated peppery arugula leaves and sharp parmesan shavings. I think you'll love this one. Use the recipe to thank someone special this week.
Makes 4 servings
4 cups arugula 1 box oyster mushrooms 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon honey 1/4 teaspoon salt Ground black pepper Shaved parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss mushrooms in 2 tablespoons olive on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
3. Bake mushrooms until golden, approximately 12 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk remaining olive oil with vinegar, honey, and salt. Divide arugula among four plates. Top with mushrooms and garnish with parmesan and black pepper.
This past week, I took on a self-created culinary challenge to rethink how I purchase groceries and utilize them creatively. It began Monday evening when I forced myself to Fresh Market in five o'clock traffic to fill my empty fridge after a weekend in California. Instead of wasting time in every aisle, I entered the store without a list. I picked out the very best of the seasonal produce, those of which seemed colorful, healthy and multi-functional. It turned an errand into somewhat of entertainment? I checked out with the following ingredients, all of which were under $25 (score!). Then, the fun began. Grocery items: Part-skim ricotta Arugula Avocado Half dozen brown eggs Black mission figs Haricot verts Gulf shrimp
The allocation of these fine ingredients over the course of a week may seem difficult to most, primarily because I was only cooking for one. However, it was intriguing to craft recipes on-the-spot with an empty canvas. Arugula, for example, could served as a bed for grilled shrimp, a base for a vegetarian Nicoise, or the binding element of soft scrambled eggs. Dollops of ricotta and slices of avocado added a rich note of satisfaction that, in actuality, was light and rather healthy.
Scroll through this week's meals, which I hope will serve as inspiration for your weekly grocery trips. Zero percent waste and 100 percent beauty.
MONDAY DINNER ::
TUESDAY LUNCH ::
WEDNESDAY LUNCH ::
THURSDAY BREAKFAST ::