Salad Nicoise

August 17th, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Salads | Seafood - (0 Comments)


Our garden is booming these days.  I love it!  We put a lot of time, energy, and love into our space – wherever that may be, and it’s such a beautiful thing to see the reward when it’s a garden.  For many of our recent meals I walk out and pick a handful of chard right before dinner, steam it, and eat a large bowl with balsamic vinegar.  Not worth posting as a meal but worth talking about!  There’s nothing better than garden fresh greens.  Delish!


This salad is full of yumminess.  The greens, dill, and carrot are from our garden.  The beans from a local farm.  Eggs from the town next to us.  Our tomatoes are starting to come in but the picked ones weren’t ripe for this salad, they are organic heirlooms though.  If only we had an avocado tree outside!  When making a salad nicoise I always spend a little extra and buy top shelf tuna.  My go to brand is Tonnino tuna fillets.  The fish has great texture and flavor.  For dressing I made my roasted garlic ‘caesar’, serving it on the side.  This salad did not disappoint!


Salad Nicoise

  • greens
  • fresh dill
  • green beans, steamed/blanched/chilled
  • hard boiled egg
  • tomato
  • carrot
  • avocado
  • olives
  • tuna
  1. Assemble all ingredients on a plate.  Greens on the base topped with fresh dill, tuna in the middle, and each other ingredient placed around the tuna.
  2. Serve with a side of dressing.

Caesar Dressing (makes about 1 cup)

  • 2 bulbs garlic, roasted (you can easily use one bulb instead)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dijon styled mustard
  • 2 anchovies
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers
  • s&p
  1. Remove roasted garlic cloves from bulbs and place in food processor with olive oil.  Blend until smooth adding a bit more olive oil if necessary.
  2. Add 1/2 the lemon juice, mustard, anchovies, capers, and season with s&p.  Pulse.  Taste and add more lemon juice if desired, I added a bit more.  Refrigerate until serving.



Things slowed down this past week.  We recently lost a dear friend.  I’m not going to elaborate here but I felt the need to pull out and take a little time to myself.  Well it’s never time to myself, but time with me and my children and with Josh when he wasn’t at work.  It seemed every time my mind wasn’t occupied I immediately thought of our friend.  There are so many questions I want answered with no answers to come.  I’m slowly losing this mind ‘preoccupation’, but I still think of him often.  I dreamt of him last night, one of many times since his passing.  It lightens my sadness a bit after each dream.  Our friend died young, too young, but I truly feel he fulfilled his life purpose during his time.


Now as I am moving back into the daily routine of life my meal creativity is coming back.  It’s too hot to cook extended meals in the oven, to spend long periods of time in the kitchen prepping, or to eat heavy foods.  This lasagna is my solution.  A no oven noodle free lasagna!  Patty pan squashes are in abundance around town and I purchase them every time we hit the farmer’s market.  Their shape is too fun!  So this is my play on a zucchini noodle lasagna.  Local heirloom tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, ground turkey, and ricotta cheese all layered on sautéd patty pan squashes.  With plenty of basil and oregano from the garden.


Summer Lasagna (serves 2)

  • 12 oz ground turkey
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely celery
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • s&p
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons oregano leaves
  • 2 large patty pans
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 small tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds.
  • pecorino romano, to serve
  1. Heat up a medium sauté pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Add carrots, celery, and onion.  Sauté a few minutes until fragrant.  Add the ground turkey and brown.
  2. Once meat is cooked through season with s&p and garlic powder.  Add tomato paste and water.  I didn’t measure but I’d say it was about 1/4 cup.  You can use less.  Let simmer until water is cooked off.
  3. Meanwhile chop patty pans.  The best way I can describe how I do this is to half them lengthwise and then make 1/4″ wedges, still cutting lengthwise.
  4. In another large sauté pan heat up remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the patty pans and cover.  Cook 5 minutes.  Remove lid and stir.  Patty pans should be about tender crisp.  If not cover and cook a few more minutes.  Stir in fresh basil and oregano.  Season with s&p.
  5. Layer patty pans in bowls.  Top with ground turkey mixture, ricotta cheese, and fresh tomato slices.  Serve with fresh grated pecorino romano.


I love the versatility of eggs.  Lately we’ve been eating lots and lots of hard boiled eggs.  Mainly because we feed Calen a yolk almost daily.  For the rest of us I decided it was time to switch it up.  We all know eggs are mainly served as a breakfast food.  I do think this is a good thing since protein is a beneficial way jump start your body for the day.  But eggs are wonderful for any meal.  For us this was dinner.  I harvested a huge pile of swiss chard and served it lightly steamed with the frittata.  Don’t mind my poor quality iPhone picture of the chard.

IMG_6489In the frittata I used wild Alaskan salmon, local mushrooms, lots of chives from our garden, local goat cheese, and pecorino romano.  I made this early enough for to Cia to have for her dinner.  I find frittata’s can be served at room temperature, which is how Josh and I ate ours.  Cia gobbled up her piece being a fish lover just like her parents.  And Calen seems to be same, enjoying a little salmon I cooked separately for his dinner.  I love my kids!


Salmon and Mushroom Frittata

  • 1/2 lb salmon, skin removed and sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 oz lightly crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated pecorino romano + a bit more
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • s&p
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a medium bowl blend together eggs using a fork.  Add milk and season with s&p.  Stir in salmon cubes, fresh chives, 1/4 cup pecorino romano, and crumbled goat cheese.
  3. In an 8″ skillet heat up butter over medium high heat.  Once hot add the mushrooms and sear.  Turn off heat.
  4. Add the egg mixture slowly to evenly pour over the mushrooms.  Top with a little more fresh grated pecorino romano.
  5. Place in the oven and cook 20-30 minutes, until center is cooked through.  (I was dealing with kids and cooked mine closer to 30 minutes, I thought it was slightly on the dry side).

** My skillet is very seasoned so I didn’t need to add any extra butter to prevent the frittata from sticking.  But if yours is not consider coating the base and sides with a little more butter once the mushrooms have been seared.  You can also cook this frittata in a buttered pie or pyrex dish if you do not have an oven safe pan.





Asian Beef Noodle Bowl

August 1st, 2014 | Posted by eatingwithsporks in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


Noodle bowls are one of my top Asian foods.  I love all the different flavors and textures – raw vegetables, rice noodles, marinated protein, and fresh herbs.  Normally you find noodles bowls in Vietnamese restaurants served with a nuac cham sauce.  I went for a more Korean inspired bowl using kimchi as the ‘sauce’.  I’m not one for spicy food but there’s something about the flavor that I just can’t resist.  My friend’s grandmother is Korean and makes an incredible kimchi.  It’s as delicious as kimchi comes, and we were lucky enough to receive a large jar!  Thank you Bachan!!!!

I marinated strips of a flank steak for most of the day in a mixture of tamari, ginger, garlic, green onion, and rice wine.  Flank steak only takes a few minutes to cook so this meal comes together pretty quick.  In the bowl I used fresh greens from our garden, rice noodles mixed with garden Thai basil, julienned local carrots, julienned cucumber, bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, and of course kimchi!  To make the slicing of my vegetables easy I use a mandolin.  Saves so much time and energy trying to cut uniform strips.  This meal is one of my recent favorites!

IMG_6476Asian Beef Noodle Bowl (2 bowls)

  • 1/2 lb flank steak
  • 1/8 cup tamari
  • 1/8 cup Braag liquid aminos
  • 1″ knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or any other sugar)
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • s&p
  • 1 cucumber, julienned – medium blade
  • 1 carrot, julienned – small blade
  • few handfuls lettuce
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 4 oz rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup minced Thai basil.
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • kimchi
  1. Slice flank steak into 1″ strips agains the grain.  Mix marinade – tamari, liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, green onion, and rice wine.  Tamari is salty so I used half tamari half liquid aminos.  You can use all tamari if you prefer.  Season steak with s&p, place in a glass tupperware and add marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat grill.
  3. Meanwhile cook noodles according to package and rinse well and drain.  Toss with Thai basil and set aside.
  4. Grill beef 2 minutes per side, achieving a nice sear.  Meat should be medium rare.  Remove from grill and set aside.
  5. Assemble bowl.. noodles, cucumber, lettuce, carrots, bean sprouts, beef, and kimchi all arranged in a circle.  Top with cilantro leaves.



I’m currently lacking a memory card for my camera so don’t mind my pictures.  I’ve been using my iPhone for the last four or so posts, which has proved to work out pretty well.  I try to maximize the amount of light I have to prevent using the flash, so most are taken outside.  This meal was a late one, so the lighting was poor and the flash was used.


Zucchini season is upon us!  I’ve been having quite a bit of fun stuffing the round variety but this week opted for traditional ‘boats’.  I’ve seen the concept of zucchini enchiladas floating around the internet for awhile but have never been inspired to make them.  I’m regretting this as they are quite exceptional.  The zucchini takes on the flavors of the dish and the hold up really well when baked.  I was pleasantly surprised and will be stuffing plenty of zucchini’s this fall.  (I pick and choose when to use the oven as the house gets too hot!)


For this recipe I used ground beef.  It is the quickest and easiest to cook.  One pan for the onion, garlic, olives, green chilies, beef, and seasoning.  When I have a little more time I’ll switch it up and prepare some shredded beef – either a flank steak or a chuck steak slow cooked in the crockpot before stuffed into zucchinis.  My mouth just watered a little thinking about this.

Typically, I prepare my dressings and sauces from scratch.  I like knowing what goes into them, mainly because there is so much added sugar and other junk in bottled condiments.  But when it comes to Mexican cooking I prefer to buy jarred salsas.  There are so many on the market now and plenty with acceptable ingredients.  It’s one less thing I have to prepare and clean up after.  Time is of the essence these days.  Originally, I intended to only use a green chili salsa for this dish.  But once I tired it I realized it was a bit too spicy for me, so I opened up a jar of roasted green chili sauce and used them both.  Use whatever you prefer – enchilada sauce, salsa, tomatillo sauce, roasted green chili sauce, ect..


Enchilada Zucchini Boats

  • 3-4 medium zucchini’s (I used 3 1/2 – that was all I could fit in my pan)
  • 2/3 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 can roasted green chilies
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • oregano
  • s&p
  • olive oil
  • jar of salsa/enchilada sauce/roasted green chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • olive oil
  • fresh cilantro, to serve
  1. Half zucchini’s lengthwise and scoop out seeds to create ‘boats’ leaving a 1/2″ thickness.
  2. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, and carrots.  Cook 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the ground beef, black, olive, and chilies.  Season with 1/2 tablespoons cumin, 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.  I don’t measure spices so this is my estimate.  Season with s&p and brown meat.  Once beef is cooked through taste and add more seasoning if desired.  Turn of heat.
  4. Lightly oil a pyrex dish and layer in the zucchini boats.  Fill each with ground beef mixture, pressing down into the boats.  Top each with a layer of salsa/sauce and cover pan with foil.
  5. Bake in a 350º oven for 35 minutes.  Remove foil, top with cheddar cheese, and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  6. Serve topped with fresh cilantro.