Ciao from Italia! At the moment, our life is all about pizza, pasta and tomatoes. It’s amazing but every time I travel, the things I miss most are tacos and mexican-ish food. We made these quesadillas a few weeks ago but I could totally go for one right now!
I often get questions about how to cook eggplant. My favorite and most foolproof method for non-spongy eggplant is to grill it. (If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can use a grill pan on your stove). I grill mine simply with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon or drizzle of balsamic; I then serve it with some arugula or sliced tomatoes.
But I’m in love with this recipe for grilled eggplant quesadillas that comes from my friend Erin (of Naturally Ella)’s new book The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen. The spices are so flavorful and the eggplant bulks up the quesadillas in a meaty-but-not-meaty sort of way.
I know that so many of you are fans of Erin’s as well, so I’m sure lots of you already have her book, but if you don’t, put it on your list. It’s a super handy vegetarian guide to cooking with what you might have available seasonally or on hand. There are 50 base recipes and 3 unique versions of each. So pretty much any vegetarian meal you might want to make, she has a recipe for. Everything is made with whole grains and with fresh seasonal produce in mind.
I modified her quesadilla recipe just a tad. I mixed her spice rub with olive oil and used it as more of a chile sauce to brush onto the eggplant after I grilled it. (This kept my grill pan a little cleaner). I served the remaining sauce on the side of the finished quesadillas… Jack gave this meal two speechless thumbs up. Because that’s how he says “this one is really good” as he stuffs the next quesadilla wedge in his mouth.
To say that we’re obsessed with cold brew coffee is an understatement. It’s the only coffee we drink at home now – the only reason we still own a coffee maker (which is now stored up on the highest shelf) is for when parents come to visit. I didn’t know it was possible to make cold brew yourself, but it’s more than possible, it’s easy.
I’ve been buying my cold brew by the bottle, but when I started seeing homemade versions all over the internet (here, here, here, here), I was intrigued. But let’s back up – what is cold brew coffee you ask? (if you’re not asking you can scroll down and skip this paragraph). It’s regular coffee beans (get a good quality kind) that you soak overnight and then strain instead of brewing it in a coffee maker. The benefits are that it’s less acidic than regular coffee, so it’s a little healthier and easier on the tummy. Plus, you can store it in the fridge and it’ll last almost a week.
I usually drink mine Americano style, and Jack drinks his with chocolate almond milk. Today we’re meeting in the (lightly sweet) middle with iced almond milk lattes made with homemade cold brew iced cubes… because no one wants a watery coffee drink once the ice melts.
Store these ice cubes all summer long – pop a few out as you like and just add Almond Breeze! Adjust the strength of your coffee drink by the number of ice cubes you use. Your iced latte will be ready quicker than your local barista can spell your name wrong on a paper cup.
First, thank you all SO much for your Italy foodie suggestions, the other day! They are all so so helpful. I’m writing this from the terrace of our small, yet very awesome, airbnb apartment in Rome. It’s picturesque, I’m not going to lie. What’s less idyllic is this jet lag. I always expect it to get easier, but every trip it seems to hurt a little more… of course, nothing I’m sure a little gelato won’t fix.
Before we head out for the day, I wanted to share this simple peach salad I made a few weeks ago with the sweetest Texas peaches & plums that I hauled home from the farmers market.
This is exactly the not-recipe recipe that I like to make with perfect peaches. While I absolutely love recipes like this grilled peach salad (it’s one of our most popular ones too), there’s something about those first summer peaches that are so special to me and I just want to savor them for the sweet little gems that they are.
This is the perfect salad for the start of a summery Sunday meal. Although – oops – I’ve lost all sense of day & time, so I guess this is a Monday salad.
There are no measurements here – just use up the peaches you’ve got and eyeball the rest. Ciao!
Ok so lately, I’ve been trying to detox (a little). Between all the food that’s been around during our cookbook testing and all of the food I’m about to eat in Italy – I’ve tried to clean (and green) things up over the last few weeks. Cheesecakes and pizzas aside (and oops, early gelato), I’ve gotten back to my salad-ey lunches and green drink routines. So it was perfect timing that Tess Masters (a.k.a The Blender Girl) sent me a copy of her new book The Blender Girl Smoothies. It’s packed with over 100 super unique, superfood smoothie recipes.
I get sent a lot of books but truthfully, the books I end up choosing to write about are usually the ones whose authors I have a personal connection with. I met Tess about a year ago where we shared a vegan meal at Bouldin Creek (one of my favorite neighborhood spots).
I was so inspired by her, not only because of her work (if you don’t have her first book, The Blender Girl Cookbook, you should get it – creamy vegan soups, sauces, etc, it has it all…), but because she’s one of those people who walks into a room and just lights it up. She has this inexplicable energy that is bright, vibrant, and kind. I’m sure it can be attributed to all of the nutrient-dense smoothies… or maybe it’s just her cool Australian accent…
Either way, her new book The Blender Girl Smoothies is a guide to a rainbow of creative smoothie combinations ranging from light breakfast recipes to indulgent dessert smoothies – (hello Apple Pie in a Glass, I’m coming for you this fall!).
Get the book here!
If I had to pick only one season and one category of food to blog about until the end of time, it would be this one. I’m pretty obsessed with salads all year round, but I just can’t get enough when tomatoes, peaches and zucchini are all at their best. It’s hard to go wrong with a salad by tossing peak-season summer veggies into a bowl with a simple, tasty dressing (that’s how many of these salads came to be). If you’d like some inspiration, though, here are some of my all time faves:
pictured from left to right, top to bottom:
Heirloom Caprese with Mint Pesto / Peach Salad with Mint & Pistachios
Heirloom Tomato Avocado & Chickpea Salad
Fete Harissa Fattoush Salad / Sweet Pepper Panzanella
Zucchini & Grilled Corn Salad / Spicy Watermelon & Avocado Salad