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

any vegetable vinegar pickles

any vegetable vinegar pickles

I love cookbooks and I hoard them pretty obsessively. Although, I’ll admit, I have a hard time following recipes from start to finish. Which is why I love the premise of Kate Payne’s new book, The Hip Girls Guide to the Kitchen. It’s a “hit the ground running approach, seeing as you need to eat three times daily whether you’ve mastered your kitchen or not.”

It’s full of, really, everything you need to know to be pretty successful in your kitchen – from how to set up your pantry to how to put meals together intuitively and economically. (Also she’s gluten free, so she includes tons of dietary options). She offers suggestions for what to buy in bulk, (and what not to), tips for buying kitchen tools from second hand stores, plus tons of clever “hip tricks” along the way. (For example: did you know you can buy a refurbished Vitamix blender for a fraction of the cost? …me neither).

The Hip GIrl's Guide to the Kitchen, by Kate Payne

She’s truly your friend in the kitchen and her writing is charming, witty, and just fun to read. Some of my favorite sections are:

Equip your Ship: Setting up your kitchen without winning the lottery
Methodology & Madd Skills: Learning how to cook without books or your laptop
Kitchen Kick-Ass: Tapping into your inner depression-era granny
Using Stuff Up: Preserving projects any beginner can handle

The Hip GIrl's Guide to the Kitchen, by Kate Payne

Since I’m clearly a beginner at preserving projects, I instantly gravitated to her recipe for Any Vegetable Vinegar Pickles. Any recipe that has “any vegetable” in the title, is my kind of recipe. I chose cauliflower, broccoli, red onions, radishes, and cucumbers along with a few various spices. Her brine recipe was quick and easy to make. The hardest part is the waiting – she suggest stashing them in the back of your fridge and not touching them for at least a week, although she says 2-3 is the best. (We’ll see if I can hold out that long!)

any vegetable vinegar pickles

Click here to go buy her book!

Also, be sure to check out Kate’s blog, as well as these fine fellow bloggers who have also written posts about the book: Food in Jars, Healthy Green Kitchen, Local Kitchen Blog, Autumn Makes and Does, Punk Domestics, Spinach Tiger, and Local Savour.

the giveaway is now closed, a winner has been notified

mostly-veggie baked macaroni

mostly veggie baked macaroni / loveandlemons.com

Sometimes life is not all about balance. For example, this is by no means a perfectly balanced mac and cheese (I know, way to sell it, right?). There’s some cheese in here, but nowhere close to four cheeses. Nothing is truffled, or bacon-ed, or cauliflower-ed. There’s some mac – but, all and all, it’s pretty light on the (quinoa) pasta to “other stuff” ratio.

This is the kind of filling, yet, not-over-the-top meal that I like to eat in an every day sort of way. These days, in particular, I’m into meals that are overwhelmingly jam packed with green things.

mostly veggie baked macaroni / loveandlemons.com

I also happened to have all of these items in my fridge, so this was also a total impromptu weeknight meal. If you have some cashew cream leftover (like I did), it’s especially quick to put together.

This came about as I was getting ready to toss those (above) ingredients together into a salad like this… but since I can’t even follow my own recipes, I got the last-minute idea to switch it up and bake this thing instead.

mostly veggie baked macaroni / loveandlemons.com

Since no green meal is complete without unmeasured handfuls of fresh herbs, I plucked and added some basil and sage from my yard. I usually think of sage for fall, but it really added a nice rich flavor in contrast to all of the fresh, bright things. (Although, I think tarragon would offer a nice savory note as well).

mostly veggie baked macaroni / loveandlemons.com

And just to un-vegan and un-gluten-free things, I added some panko and grated comté cheese to form a crispy crust. Which – really –  sounds fancier than it is. Jack always grabs handfuls of random cheeses from the remnant bin at Whole Foods so we always have interesting assortments on hand. Feel free to use parmesan or pecorino if that’s what you have. (Or see the notes below to adjust this to actually be vegan or gluten free, if need be).

quinoa apricot & arugula salad

quinoa apricot & arugula salad / loveandlemons.com

I’ll never get tired of salads with arugula, avocado and quinoa. I realize these are common ingredients for me, but hear me out – this one is special (although, truthfully, I think they’re all special). I made a sweet combo with dried apricots, peppery arugula, smoky cumin and fruity Arbequina Olive Oil. (I almost named this Arbequina Quinoa – but try to say that one five times fast).

homemade olive oil dressing w/ California Olive Ranch Arbequina quinoa apricot & arugula salad / loveandlemons.com

So what’s Arbequina Olive Oil? It’s a light and fruity extra virgin olive oil that’s perfect for spring and summer salads like this one. Coincidentally, I’ve been buying it long before the folks at California Olive Ranch started sending it to me. Try it, I promise you’ll love it. (I usually buy mine at Whole Foods).

I made this simple moroccan-inspired salad dressing with cumin, garlic, lemon and honey. If you’re vegan (or even if you’re not), a few squeezes of orange would be a nice exchange for the honey.

homemade olive oil dressing w/ California Olive Ranch Arbequina

rooberry smoothie

rooberry smoothie / loveandlemons.com

Today I’d (and this is Jack again, by the way) like to bring you another one of my favorites – a great, fruity smoothie. You see, Jeanine likes smoothies, but I really, really love berry smoothies. And I don’t need them for a workout, or to wake up, or any regimen – we’ll be walking down the street randomly and I’ll just decide that it’s smoothie time. I have no smoothie shame.

rooberry smoothie / loveandlemons.com rooberry smoothie / loveandlemons.com

This smoothie brings in my two favorite smoothie berries – blueberries and raspberries – and adds another favorite to the mix. Tea. We’ve been experimenting with AIYA’s Rooibos Tea blend. Similar to the way matcha is made, it’s powdered tea, so it doesn’t need to be steeped. This means that it is perfect for sprinkling into things like smoothies. The mild red tea adds a delicious depth to the flavor of the berries that you normally don’t get in a smoothie.

Jeanine wanted me to make sure I mentioned the health benefits (since this is a healthy blog after all). Since this tea (like matcha) is made from the whole tea leaf, it has (around) 10x the health benefits and antioxidants of regular steeped tea.