crispy kale & harissa frittata

a few years ago, i tried to make a frittata on my birthday. i don't remember what recipe i was trying to follow or what process i used. i blocked that memory out of my mind because it was an utter kitchen fail. tears were shed, i kid you not. and then we got dressed and went out for breakfast. i had never made a frittata before in my life. and i had a sad not-so-non-stick pan. 

yesterday i marched out and purchased a good non-stick sautee pan. hell, i deserved a new pan every once and a while. but more importantly, i deserve perfect frittatas any time i want. first up, a frittata version of my go to breakfast of crisped kale & eggs. with an added kick from harissa paste. this recipe is probably a 'three-star' on the heat scale. so modify if you like, or skip the harissa entirely. 

crispy kale & harissa frittata ~ serves 6
10 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 bunch kale
1 + 1/2 teaspoons harissa paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper 
1/2 cup crumbled feta (i used sheep feta) 
3 tablespoons olive oil, separate
optional: roasted garlic, roasted bell peppers, or sauteed shallot

preheat oven to 375. wash and dry kale and remove stems. tear kale into 2 inch bits and spread out on a large baking sheet. in a small bowl, whisk together a tablespoon of olive oil with 1 teaspoon harissa paste and smoked paprika. pour this mixture onto the kale and use your hands to toss and coat kale evenly. spread out the kale on the baking sheet and roast in oven until just starting to crisp, but not blacken (check after 5 minutes or so). let cool. 

the easiest way to whisk all these eggs is to toss them in a blender along with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon harissa paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black and aleppo pepper. bend just for a few seconds on medium speed until lightly fluffy. 

in a 10-inch non-stick & oven-safe sautee pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. add whisked eggs and scramble gently for a few minutes. the mixture should still be very wet. at this stage, remove from heat and fold in the crisped kale, and top with the crumbled feta (or any additional optional ingredients). return the pan to the stovetop, and let sit untouched for 2-3 minutes over low heat to allow the frittata to begin to set. run a spatula around the edge, to loosen the frittata from the pan. then using a spoon, drizzle a bit of olive oil just around the edge of the pan. remove from stove top and place into the preheated oven. bake for another 15 minutes or so until eggs are firmly set and the edges of the frittata start to bubble and brown. 

let cool slightly before cutting to serve. with your favorite hot sauce if you like. or a sprinkling of aleppo pepper. enjoy! 

summer salads with fruit

i have a love affair with vegetables. i love their versatility. the variety of colors, shapes and textures. there's not a vegetable that i've tried, that i dislike. my theory is that, everybody can learn to love every vegetable... they just need to be open to experimentation and try them prepared in a variety of ways. i love vegetables so much, i imprinted them onto my left arm... forever. a full garden of botanical tattoos. people ask me if i will tattoo botanical fruit onto my right arm... for now, i have no plans to (my mother will be happy to hear)... but i have a growing appreciation for fruit. 9 months out of the year in seattle, our fruit options are lackluster. apples and bananas are about the only accessible ripe fruit. but everything else is always just hugely disappointing to me when eaten out of season. 

only in summer time, my love affair with vegetables is challenged by a rediscovered obsession with fruit. the farmers market pushes out piles of apricots, pluots, melons, berries, cherries, pears. i consume as many tart and sweet fruits as i can handle. a handful of cherries with my morning savory eggs. they mingle into my green salads. they work their way into my catering menus in every fashion possible. and somehow it provides me the perfect energy for all of my summer activities. it's amazing how the seasons support our bodies cravings.... if i had a giant additional freezer, i would stockpile them. turn them into freezer jam and hoard as many jars as possible and cross my fingers that i have enough to last me until the next summer.

nectarine & tomato caprese salad (pictured at top) 
large chunks of nectarines
heirloom tomatoes
torn fresh buffalo or cow mozzarella
a bed of mixed salad greens
olive oil & champagne vinegar 

cherry feta salad
pitted & halved rainier cherries
crumbled sheeps milk feta
ripe avocado
balsamic & olive oil 


classic strawberry & chevre salad 
ripe sliced strawberries
toasted walnuts
soft goat cheese
olive oil and tarragon vinegar

oh and that pizza that might be overshadowing the salad next to it... follow this recipe for dough, top with san marzano brand pizza sauce, sun dried tomatoes, pickled peppers, marinated artichoke hearts and after baking top with shaved parmesan. 

you might also like to look back at these two recipes featuring summer melon in salads: 

avocado & melon salad (also great on skewers with prosciutto

chilled fresh pea & ricotta soup

my family came over last weekend to celebrate fathers day... well actually, fathers day was a bit overshadowed this year by my older sister getting married and my mom turning 60 all in the same week. certainly good reasons to host a dinner party! my sister played mixologist and brought over some fun cocktails and the worlds best sorbet for dessert (rachel's ginger beer sorbet from molly moon... my favorite beverage to begin with... turned sorbet! it was out of this world!!) i was responsible for dinner, which is always a pleasure to make for my family of appreciative foodies. the first course was this simple and summery chilled soup. it was certainly a crowd pleaser. with most chilled soups though (except maybe gazpacho), i tend to enjoy just a small serving along with a heftier entree or salad. maybe that's just me. maybe you want a giant bowl of this soup all to yourself, in which case it would make about 2-3 large bowls. for the fam, i made garlic shrimp sauteed in coconut oil and jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk and tossed with toasted coconut flakes... it fit perfectly with this lighter first course soup! 

chilled fresh pea & ricotta soup ~ serves 4 small portions

2 small to medium english cucumbers, cut into cubes
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1 ripe avocado 
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or to taste)
1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
1/4 cup chopped parsley
small bunch mint
salt & fresh cracked pepper 
olive oil & fresh peas for garnish

combine all ingredients into a blender adding just enough water to get things moving. start with a smaller amount of mint and add more after tasting. you don't want the mint to overpower the flavor of the fresh peas, but let it present enough that it balances with the flavor of the parsley. 

chill for at least one hour to let the flavors meld. taste again and season to taste with salt & pepper. to serve, drizzle portions of soup with a teaspoon of olive oil and garnish with a few shelled peas and torn mint. 

roasted cauliflower & spiced chickpeas

i could have sworn it was starting to turn seasons in seattle. there was sunshine and warm air, epic bbq parties and cravings for rose. and then suddenly, there wasn't... suddenly i was ridding my bike in the rain... stubbornly without my rain jacket. for weeks, i had been craving smoothies, salads and simple raw foods. but with the turn in weather, i was craving something warm and cozy. something with a touch of heat and two of my favorite spices: aleppo pepper and smoked paprika.

cauliflower has grown on me over the years. i've never disliked it, but now it sneaks into my meals fairly regularly and it is just starting to show up early in the season at the farmers market. hurrah! looking at this dish, you'd almost think i had roasted the golden heirloom variety of cauliflower. instead, the rich golden yellow comes from turmeric and paprika - the perfect warming spices for cool summer evenings. this recipe makes a large batch, but could easily be halved. also to note: these spiced roasted chickpeas could be made on their own and thrown into summer salads or eaten as a snack. super tasty! 

roasted cauliflower & spiced chickpeas ~ serves 4-6
1 large head cauliflower
4 cups cooked & drained chickpeas (or 2x 14oz cans, or one large 25oz can)
1 red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper 
parsley for garnish

preheat oven to 425. strain chickpeas and place them onto a clean dish towel or paper towel to dry. chop cauliflower into smaller florets. peel and cut onion into large chunks. line two baking sheets with parchment paper (for easy cleaning). on one sheet, combine cauliflower and onions. place dry chickpeas on the second. 

in a small bowl, whisk together olive oil with spices and salt. divide this mixture and pour half onto the onions & cauliflower, and the other half on the chickpeas. use your hands to mix and coat vegetables & peas evenly. place sheets into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are crisped and vegetables start to caramelize and brown. i like to keep the chickpeas separate, because they crisp up a bit more and the vegetables have more room to roast (vs steam in a crowded pan). but once cooked, i combine everything into one large serving dish and top with a dusting of chopped parsley. serve warm or at room temperature. 

a smoothie with apricot & greens

woke up with the sun shining through the blinds, ears still ringing from the loud sound of a killer live show last night, and thirsty for something to refuel me after a night of dancing. yesterday, i made a mini version of this smoothie as a snack. it was so delightful, i had to repeat it... and supersize it... and drink it all up in bliss while re-listening to tracks from the bands last night! we went and saw jungle play live at neumos. it was the funkiest, grooviest and clean-sounding set i think i've ever heard live. their opening act, beat connection, was pretty damn good too! so much fun!! now time to rehydrate and get on my bike to pedal over to better booty camp (by which i mean the awesome outdoor 'macks mo' fitness class i've been getting my butt kicked by!!) 

a smoothie with apricot & greens ~ makes 16 oz

1 frozen banana
3/4 cup frozen spinach (or 2 cups fresh spinach) 
2 ripe apricots
8 oz coconut water

blend on high until almost juice-like. i like to use frozen banana to chill the smoothie down more, but you can certainly use fresh bananas and add a few ice cubes if desired.