Cardamom Yogurt Tea Cake

Cardamom Yogurt Tea Cake

I hope you’re all having a great weekend! Ours has been pretty chill – we went to the farmers market, Jack played video games, and I did some baking. I’m excited to share this lovely little tea cake recipe with you because I think it’s the perfect Sunday afternoon treat. It’s lightly sweet and nicely spiced. The yogurt makes it tangy while giving it a nice puffed up look. It’s moist with that perfect cake-y crumb that you want in a quick bread.

I’ve been snacking on it all week reflecting on the lovely trip that inspired it…

One of the great perks of my job is when I get to visit new, picturesque places and meet farmers who so passionately live for their work. I got this in spades when Stonyfield invited me to Vermont to visit some of their partner organic family farms and to hear from their co-founder Gary Hirschberg. I’m not sure what I expected, but after spending two days meeting with the farmers and hearing Gary’s mission of (basically) converting our whole planet to organic, I left truly inspired.

Trip to Vermont

I was delighted to see that these farms are true family farms, as Stonyfield doesn’t actually own their own dairy farms. In order to work with Stonyfield, these farms have to be organic, which basically means that the cows predominantly eat grass from the pasture and are not exposed to pesticides, antibiotics, or other chemicals. Being organic is not only best for the animals and the land, these farmers spoke passionately about the benefits to their families as well.

I heard one story of a farmer who converted to organic because he had a lightbulb moment when he realized that he could not come home from a day’s work in the field and hug his children without stopping in a shed to wash off pesticide residues first. Now that his farm is organic, his kids can ride on the tractor with him and spend time helping out, hopefully inspiring a future generation of responsible farming.

Trip to Vermont

We all loved was petting the cows! It was so cute that they responded like little puppies – they love the attention! It was a joy to see the farmers’ love for their cows – one was reluctant to switch to organic BECAUSE she loves them so much. She was afraid that her cows would get sick without antibiotics, but she was happy to discover that when they were in a healthy ecosystem, with grass to eat and a pasture to roam in, the cows simply didn’t get as sick. Someone else said that they paid more for their dog’s vet bills than for keeping their cows healthy after switching to organic.

Trip to Vermont

Of course, we had the pleasure of enjoying meals full of great organic produce every day of the trip. Pictured above was a wonderful farm lunch at Green Wind Farm, where we had one of many meals sitting around the table listening to Gary’s stories of starting Stonyfield and his passion for organics.

Trip to Vermont

The final dinner was on the hilltop of Philo Ridge Farm at sunset, hosted by Blue Apron‘s Culinary Team. The evening kicked off with hors d’oeuvres, Blue Apron wines, and a tour of Philo Ridge, followed by an amazing, interactive farm-inspired dinner. The chefs spoke about their sourcing philosophy, namely the emphasis on seasonality and sustainability. It was fun to chat with Blue Apron’s head chef John Adler about their processes for creating and testing recipes that are fun (and educational!) for people to make. Their dedication to bringing people around the table with an incredible meal experience was so apparent, especially with details like decorating the table with fresh herbs as the centerpiece so we could DIY garnish our dishes – I may steal this idea for my next dinner party!

We ended the meal with the cake that inspired the recipe below, and took home samples and instructions for a special sunflower seed granola recipe. All in all, an amazing way to end my trip to beautiful Vermont.

Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

I love gazpacho. If gazpacho is on a restaurant menu, I’m ordering it. Every day that we ever spent on vacation in Spain, you’d better bet it was a gazpacho day for me. So, naturally, when I was approached to create a recipe for Olive Oils from Spain, I immediately knew I was making my favorite cool summer soup (you know – gazpacho).

To date, I’ve made it out of watermelon, tomatoes (raw and roasted), corn, green apples, zucchini, and even carrots. I think it’s fun to experiment with different types of fruits and vegetables to find out if they are gazpacho-able. So why did it take me so long to think about tomatillos?! I get giddy about tomatillo salsa, so the obvious next step was to throw a cucumber into the blender along the otherwise-salsa ingredients and make gazpacho.

Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

To start, I grill the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and a jalapeño. If you don’t have a grill, you can roast these ingredients in the oven or char them in a cast iron pan on the stove. At this stage, the fire-roasted tomatillo/onion combination smells like the best salsa bar ever.

Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

After grilling, let the hot vegetables chill completely before blending with cucumber, lime juice, cilantro, and Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain. The Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain is full-flavored and actually a bit spicy. For balance, I added a scoop of yogurt and also served this with a yogurt-lime sauce for drizzling. This soup is tangy, spicy, creamy, and so delicious for hot summer nights!

Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho Green Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

Load up your gazpacho with whatever toppings you enjoy. I added tomatoes, charred corn, cucumber, mint, hemp seeds, a sprinkle of microgreens, and, of course, more olive oil! Another delicious combo would be cilantro, diced avocado, and croutons (or even crispy tortilla strips).

Three Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

3-Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

During our trip to Tokyo last spring, I had the most incredible sesame ice cream and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Before the trip, my friend Stephanie sent me a list of must-eat-at places. She knows me very well because her top two recommendations were a place called Rojiura Samurai Curry for their 20-vegetable(!) curry and an ice cream shop called Gomaya Kuki for their creamy sesame ice cream. I haven’t quite gotten around to recreating a version of that amazing curry, but I was surprised to figure out that making delicious sesame-forward tahini ice cream at home is actually super simple!

3-Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

At first, I had a few ideas to jazz this up a bit more – vanilla, cinnamon, and/or a bit of cardamom were all possibilities in my mind. But after trying this base, I loved it as-is with just these three ingredients:

1. coconut milk: my go-to base for non-dairy ice cream
2. maple syrup: as the sweetener
3. tahini: the creamy star ingredient of this recipe

3-Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream 3-Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

In this ice cream, the tahini flavor is present, but not overpowering – it mostly lends an extra-creamy texture to the coconut milk base. The ice cream is yummy on its own – just churn it and pass around some spoons!

If you want to get a little fancier like I did, add tart cherries, melted chocolate, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds :). Or if you want to serve it like they do in Tokyo, drizzle it with a little soy sauce!

3-Ingredient Tahini Ice Cream

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

I love a good crudité board. I feel like they get a bad rap because the grocery store versions with the sad celery, raw cauliflower, and grubby carrots are never the most exciting appetizer at a party, but this board fixes that by being bright, fun, and delicious! It’s a yummy mix of fresh things, salty/savory bites, and even a sweet element from the delectable Tart Cherry Thyme Compound Butter.

Each little recipe is made up of super simple combinations of creative ingredients that together, make a really unique appetizer board! I brought this platter to my family’s father’s day gathering a few weeks ago and it got gobbled up in minutes.

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

This recipe comes from the gorgeous book Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen of the blog Vegetarian Ventures. It’s filled with recipes to create fun, beautiful, yet very doable spreads for any occasion. There’s everything from a Beach Board, to a Holiday Hosting Spread, to a Lazy Sunday Brunch Board.

What I love most is the part where Shelly talks about how a board can be blank canvas for your creativity… or your leftovers. “It’s a great way to use up whatever vegetables, cheeses, jams, or meats you have hanging around your refrigerator, or use it as an opportunity to try new foods. Take a trip to that new cheese shop you’ve been meaning to visit or spend some time in the bulk section of your grocery store.”

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

While my wheels are turning about what other types of boards I can create, let’s turn back to this one and talk about this marinated feta. I’m SO OBSESSED with this Marinated Feta with Sun Dried Tomato, Thyme, and Garlic. It added a wonderful pop of flavor to this board, and to the salad that I made later with the leftovers. It’s tangy, briny, and so fresh with the addition of the thyme leaves. I think thyme is such an underrated herb – it’s time to start using more thyme!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

The crowd pleaser on this board was this Tart Cherry Thyme Butter (again with the thyme – so delicious!). Shelly’s recipe calls for dried blueberries, which I couldn’t find, but dried tart cherries offered a bright, sweet element. I would have never thought of adding compound butter to a veggie board, but it was a wonderful, fancy addition that was easy to make!

Veg Out Platter (i.e. the Ultimate Crudité Board)

For more fun board inspo, get the book, Platters and Boards!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

By popular request: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars!

I did a poll on Instagram last week asking which strawberry rhubarb dessert I should make. If you were one of the many that voted for crumble bars – you win! Well, actually, I win too, because these were yummy.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

This recipe is super easy because the crust and the crumble topping are one and the same. It’s a gluten free mix of oats, nuts, brown sugar, flax, and cinnamon. Pulse it together in a food processor and press 2/3 of it into the pan to form a crust. Save the rest to use as the crumble on top!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

The strawberries and rhubarb are mixed with lemon juice, vanilla, and just a touch of maple syrup. I don’t like to sweeten my fruit too much because I like the sweetness of the fruit itself to really shine.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Assemble and bake! The hardest (yet very necessary) part is letting them cool completely before slicing and eating.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Unless you’re serving these all on the same day, store the remainder of the bars in the fridge. Enjoy!