mango habanero black bean tacos

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

I love a good mango salsa. (I mean, who doesn’t?) It’s so fun and versatile - some of my favorite additions have been roasted jalapeños, smoked paprika, diced avocado, and even sesame & ginger.

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

Today’s special ingredient: Mango Habanero Jam. I know, I know, it’s not in your pantry already, but I just loved this salsa so much I had to share it anyway. It’s sweet, juicy and spicy with a little nice kick from the jam. (A little bit goes long way).

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

I didn’t realize mango habanero jam was missing from my life until it showed up recently in my Hatchery Box. I’ve been loving my Hatchery subscription – it’s like mini-christmas once a month to get a box full of sample-sized artisan ingredients to try. I find that it often takes just one unique ingredient to elevate simple meals into something special.

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

These really couldn’t be easier - just chop and mix your ingredients – salsa, avocado, black beans, etc, and stuff them into a tortilla. (Add cheese if you want, but these are plenty flavorful without). Next time I might switch things up by adding a grilled piece of halibut or salmon.

If you don’t have mango habanero jam: try jazzing up your mango salsa with chipotle spices (either from a can of chipotles in adobo or ground chipotle powder)… or if you’re really brave try adding roasted habanero peppers (just don’t touch your eyes after you handle them!). You can also make this salsa with diced ripe peaches or pineapple instead of mango.

For now, I’m off to eat these leftovers for lunch…

mango habanero black bean tacos / @loveandlemons

red & white summer wines

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Happy almost 4th of July!

Jack and I just got back from a long week in Chicago so didn’t have time to get my flag-cake on… (not that I’ve ever made a flag cake, but there’s always next year). Since the internet seems to be blowing up with food coloring, I thought I’d take a different approach to “red and white” and share a few of my favorite summer wines.

These are all very food-friendly. I’ve made some pairing suggestions but, really, they’re very versatile – perfect for any weekend picnic or cookout. (Also, they’re all under $20). Available at (wine-carrying) Whole Foods stores, now through mid-July:

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Innovac!ón Chenin-Chardonnay 2013, Argentina $9.99
I’ve been a fan of Innovac!ón wines for a long time. This 70% chenin/30% chardonnay has notes of white flowers, apple, pears and tropical fruits. The flavor is fresh and soft with well-balanced acidity. (It’s also 1 liter bottle so it’s a super bargain).

pair with:
Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad
Grilled Veggie Skewers
Edamame & Corn Succotash

Frey Agriculturist Organic Blanc 2013, California $11.99
This one wins my award for “prettiest bottle.” Frey Vineyards is America’s first maker of certified Biodynamic® wines. This organic white is a blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling. It has notes of honeysuckle, tropical fruits and orange blossom.

pair with:
Mango Zucchini Lettuce Wraps
Grilled Peach Salad w/ Mint Pesto
Strawberry Quinoa & Feta Salad

Les Hauts de Bel Air Bordeaux Blanc 2013, France $10.99
A beautiful pale yellow Bordeaux Blanc… This white has delicate aromas of sandstone, rosemary and thyme backed up by pepper, fresh peaches, and grapefruit zest.

pair with:
Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad
Anna’s Tomato Gazpacho with Mango
Chickpea Niçoise Salad with Roasted Potatoes

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

Soleil des Garrigues Ventoux 2012, France $10.99
This one is our favorite red lately – it’s made up of 70% grenache, 15% syrah, 10% carignan, and 5% cinsault. Its aromatic bouquet features red licorice, white pepper, raspberry and sweet cherry fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Polenta with Zucchini Salsa
Rosemary Lemon Pasta
Feta & Harissa Fattoush Salad

Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana 2011, Italy $19.99
A blend of 50% sangiovese, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot, this smooth super Tuscan blend is vegan, spicy and full of juicy black fruit.

pair with:
Grilled Potato & Arugula Salad
Grilled Herb Garden Pizza
Grilled Panzanella with Poached Eggs

Sanford Flor de Campo Pinot Noir 2012, California $19.99
This medium bodied balanced wine delivers bursts of bright red raspberries and cherries with an earthy hint of pepper.

pair with:
Tomato, Feta, & Honey Toasts
Kale & White Bean Crostini
Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta

red and white summer wines / @loveandlemons

This post is created in partnership with Whole Foods.

dinner party w/ the yellow table

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comUntitled-1

When someone asks you if they can come over and throw a dinner party for you and your friends, you say yes. Resoundingly, yes. To be honest, I struggle with throwing dinner parties – they’re a LOT of work and at the end of each one I always say to Jack “let’s just meet friends at a restaurant next time.” My friend Anna – from The Yellow Table – however, is a pro. She’s on a mission to make this year “the year of the dinner party.” She just spent a month driving from NYC to LA throwing 8 (EIGHT!) dinner parties along the way, including a stop at our place last weekend.

Why would someone put themselves through something so crazy as a Cookbook Roadtrip? “Something magical happens when people gather around table,” she told me… “I just love that sense of connection.” Her passion for bringing people together over delicious food was the inspiration behind the cookbook that she created (and blogged about for 100 days in a row). I can tell you first hand that her recipes are beyond delicious… but here’s the thing:

We have to kickstart that cookbook! CLICK HERE, to preorder your copy of The Yellow Table Cookbook, which will fund the first round of printing. Your copy will arrive this fall, just in time to lend some inspiration to your holiday gatherings.

And now, some pics from our party!!

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Anna created her menu using tons of local ingredients: Heirloom cherry tomatoes garnished her creamy gazpacho. Beautiful shaved carrots got tossed into a huge lemony kale salad. Juicy peaches and blackberries became a (make-ahead!) crumble with a crispy oat topping. (All of the recipes are in the book, btw).

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

I set the table with mismatched chairs, vintage dishes and assorted patterned napkins. (Being a food blogger, I don’t own “sets” of anything). I designed little menu cards to tie the look together. Anna plated soups just before guests arrived – icy cold gazpacho was perfect for this hot summer night.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.comdinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

The night was filled with good friends, (and new friends!), and of course great food. The main course (not pictured b/c Jack was too busy eating it), was grilled skirt steak and fish topped with roasted red pepper chimichurri – a delicious twist on a classic.

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Everyone sat around the table and enjoyed wine late into the night…

dinner party with The Yellow Table / loveandlemons.com

Special thanks to Anna for coming to our house and creating such a magical evening! And thanks to Whole Foods who provided all of the groceries and wine!

food by: Anna / photography by: Jack / tables & graphics by: yours truly

a trip to new york with samsung

samsung club de chefs

This past week, Samsung flew me out to New York as part of their Club de Chefs collaboration. I had the opportunity to preview some amazing appliances at the Samsung Living Atelier (like a pop up shop), and chat with some pretty major Michelin star chefs.

Along with fellow bloggers, I had the chance to sit down and chat with Éric Fréchon of the restaurant at the Hôtel Le Bristol in Paris, Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa, Michel Troisgros of La Maison Troisgros in Roanne, and (surprise chef!), Daniel Boulud of the restaurant Daniel. They were all so kind. Our afternoon session was all smiles and laughs – I found myself forgetting that I was sitting with people who make some of the most incredible food in the world.

One thing that made me feel good about my personal approach to food is that all chefs agreed that cooking at home has to be light, and it has to be simple. “Quick simple beautiful ingredients,” says Chef Michel.

My biggest takeaway was one common element – food is love. When I asked about cooking at home, 3 out of the 4 of the chefs replied with “my wife cooks, or I cook with my wife.” I just love how, even for rockstar Michelin star chefs – cooking is about family. I thought it was especially sweet to listen to Chef Michel talk about his wife:“I’m amazed at what she does with nothing.”

But it was Chef Éric that described cooking in the most heartwarming way. “You must cook the way you love to cook. Take time and be meticulous. But cooking has to come from the heart to make a difference. It’s about sharing what’s in your heart while you prepare the for the person you are cooking for.”

samsung club de chefs

You may be thinking “what does this have to do with Samsung?” Someone really smart at Samsung decided to find out what these amazing chefs would actually WANT in their kitchens at home – and with their help the new Chef Collection line was born. I walked away with some serious appliance-envy (hello, oven that can cook at two different temps at the same time(!)… and fridge with sparkling water dispenser where you can choose your level of fizz).

Later that evening (pictured), they cooked for us (and many others) at the final press event. At the end of the event they gave us each a signed apron. All and all, a super inspiring trip.

This post is in collaboration with Samsung

summer recipes & some link love

summer veggie recipes / loveandlemons.com

Happy Friday! I don’t usually do link-y posts like this, but there’s been a lot going on lately – here are just a few tidbits I wanted to share!

I wrote this fun guest post on A Couple Cooks about food & design. Check it out if you’re in need of some inspiration to get your creative (green) juices flowing.

It’s always a good mail week when, not one, but two cookbooks I’ve been excited about arrive at my door. (Stay tuned next week for some sneak peaks)
The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin of Naturally Ella
Vibrant Food by Kimberley of The Year in Food

Apparently it’s national doughnut day and how cute are these, these, and this.

Yes way rosé.

I’m heading to New York next week to meet & interview michelin star chefs as part of Samsung’s Club des Chefs collaboration. (Hoping to learn some good at-home pro tips to share with you all!).

Have you been following Anna (The Yellow Table), and her Cookbook Diaries? She’s currently driving from coast to coast on a road trip dinner party (!), as part of her Cookbook Kickstarter. She’s stopping at Joy the Baker’s place before she comes here to throw a dinner party next weekend in my backyard. Blogger meetups are the best – especially when they come to cook for you!

… and some favorite summer recipes (pictured above): Summer Squash Tian, Mango Lime Pops, Peanut Spring Rolls, Spicy Watermelon Salad