For anyone who has been following me on Instagram you know I’ve been a tad obsessed with cooking whatever is fresh at my local Jersey City farmer’s markets.
It’s like my own Top Chef-Chopped challenge every week – what is at the farmer’s market today, what do I have in my fridge, and what can I whip up for dinner? Which mostly means, we have been eating a lot of salads, pasta, and more salads over the past few weeks, much to my meat-preferring husband’s chagrin. I am happy to report that he seems to be surviving.
I have made countless salad combinations with my fresh finds the past few weeks, but my Orecchiette with Kale Basil Walnut Pesto has been the real recipe winner to result from my farmers market shopping. Orecchiette is a great pasta when you want to really taste the sauce because the little “ears” really get coated, making a super flavorful pasta.
I like to leave pesto without cheese in it so that if I decide to marinate some chicken breasts or steak, I still have that option. And this batch of pesto makes enough for another pasta dinner, for some grilled veggies or for a quick chicken dinner.
1/2 pound orecchette pasta (or pasta of your choice)
2 cups fresh kale
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
reserved pasta cooking water
parmesan cheese (optional)
In a saute pan on low-medium heat, slowly toast walnuts until just fragrant, around 4-5 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
In a food processor fitted with a blade, add kale, basil, walnuts, garlic and a few Tbsp of the olive oil. Begin to pulse. Slowly add the remaining olive oil until smooth. You might want to add a touch more olive oil depending on your preference.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta and set aside. Return pot to low-medium heat on the stove, and add half the pesto to the pot. Add a few Tbsp of cooking water and stir.
Put drained pasta back into pot and mix until pasta is completely covered. Add more pasta water to loosen sauce if needed.
Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish.
Making fresh sangria is one of my favorite year-round drinks to mix up at home.The thing I love about sangria (or shangria as we like to call it in my home) are the endless combination of flavors you can create depending on your tastes, mood and what’s in season.
Last week a dear friend of mine was coming over for a long-overdue catch up. We had discussed going out for drinks and a bite to eat with my daughter, but as my eyes fell onto a bowl of peaches that were just slightly over-ripe, I decided we should stay in and I would whip up a batch of shangria instead.
Some might say you should be picky with the wines you choose for sangria. But I say: use whatever you have on hand! And in this case, I had a bottle of Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc leftover from a recent Shabbat dinner. It turned out to be a perfect base for a light, Summery sangria. Add some strawberries, a bit of orange-flavored liqueur and club soda or ginger ale, and you are ready with a light, fruity and slightly fizzy drink.
Want some inspiration to create your own perfect pairing? Here are a few recipes that caught my eye:
Need the perfect serving set for your sangria? I love this super affordable 7 piece set which includes glasses for all your friends too. Sangria isn’t meant to be enjoyed alone, after all.
Cheers! Or rather, l’chaim!
1 bottle dry white wine, such as Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc
¼ cup orange flavored liqueur or orange flavored vodka
2 Tbsp sugar
2 peaches, cut into slices or pieces
1 cup strawberries, sliced
8 ounces ginger ale or club soda
Small bunch of fresh mint leaves, around 2-3 Tbsp
In a small container combine orange-flavored liqueur, sugar, peach slices and strawberries. Put in fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve pour the fruit mixture into a pitcher. Add wine and soda.
Garnish with fresh mint.
I can hardly believe the end of August is upon us. The days have started to cool slightly, and the High Holidays are nearly here! But before we jump into Fall and holiday menu planning, we still have two more weekends left including Labor Day. And nothing says summer is still here like some grilling.
But by the end of the summer I am done done done with hamburgers and hot dogs. So what to grill?I think the question is more appropriately – what shouldn’t you try on the grill!?
Upgrade your hot dogs and hamburgers
I LOVE hot dogs. But after awhile I do need to change things up and grilled sausages with onions and peppers is a great way to do it. And if you find yourself in Los Angeles you must try some Jeff’s Gourmet Sausages. You can also try Jack’s Gourmet kosher sausages or if you’re in NYC try the homemade sausages at Prime Butcher & Bakery.
Instead of grilled chicken breasts try some grilled chicken wings or even these Cherry BBQ Chicken Drumsticks.
In the mood for a burger but willing to trade in the beef? You can always swap out your favorite beef burger for ground lamb, chicken or turkey. Or you could even throw out the meat all together and opt instead for fish like these Spicy Tuna Burgers from The Kosher Foodies.
Grill up some fruits and veggies
There’s nothing bad about some simple corn on the cob grilled and sprinkled with salt. But like the hot dog, you might be dreading another tired bite. Try instead my husband’s recipe for Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad.
I also love this super simple recipe for Grilled Zucchini with Cumin.
And even though I’ve written about it before, I can’t get enough of anything with grilled peaches during the summer. If you’ve never tried a sweet and savory homemade salsa, you must try The Food Yenta’s Grilled Peach Salsa.
Make your own BBQ sauce
I never loved BBQ sauce until I made my own. And once you make your own you’re going to keep coming up with things to put it on – chicken, brisket sandwiches and maybe even hamburgers! I opt for recipes that use ketchup, brown sugar and something for a little kick – like this recipe that uses chipotle peppers from Ree Drummond.