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Honey Lime Beet Salad

Honey Lime Beet Salad

Honey Lime Beet SaladI can feel the weight of winter lifting. The daylight stretching. What joy it is to watch the winter wonderland melt away, as green blooms subtly at every roundabout. Alarmingly, someone said something about swimsuits the other day….eek, what? No. Not ready for that. The trotting in of Spring alone will captivate me for an endearing amount of time before I have to think about bathing suits and heat stricken days!

Although I haven’t been thinking about bikinis, I have been thinking about beets. Roasted beets drizzled with a light honey lime vinaigrette served on a bed of crisp baby arugula or a mix thereof. This salad is inspired by a recipe I saw in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Although there are many ways to eat beets, roasting them is sure to bring out their richest flavors.

How to Roast BeetsGolden Beets

I thought I would finish out the winter season with this salad that is perfectly colorful and upbeat for the coming tulips. I used golden beets, which are, perhaps, slightly less sweet than the more commonly found red beets, but either one will work fine in this recipe. Look for beets with their stems still attached and lively.

Roasted Golden BeetsRoasting beets brings out their rich earthy undertones, however, I have also peeled the beets with a vegetable peeler and finely julienned them for a raw salad when pressed for time. Both ways are delicious, but differ in obvious texture. If you try the raw method, let the julienned beets marinate in a small portion of the prepared vinaigrette before tossing into the salad (the amount of marinading time is up to you).

Honey Lime VinaigretteHoney Lime Vinaigrette

The honey lime vinaigrette can be spiced up with some red pepper flakes, which adds a nice punch to the sweet tang aspect of the dressing. Either way, the sweetness of the honey compliments so much in this salad from the earthy beets to the peppery arugula. I’m just sayin’. It is GOOD.

Honey Lime Beet Salad

If you choose not to use pecorino on the salad, then substitute it with another salty cheese. All of the individual ingredients are playing their big part well here, including the salty pecorino.

Honey Lime Beet Salad


Although root vegetables are traditionally thought of as a winter vegetable, beets are generally available all year round. When tossed with a light dressing concocted with honey and lime juice, you will not have to twist my arm very hard to convince me that roasting beets moving into any season is the right thing to do.

If pressed for time, this salad can be made raw, by peeling and finely julienning the beets (or grating them on the large holes of a box grater) and then marinading them in a small portion of the vinaigrette before tossing with the greens. My preference is roasted, but this is a nice alternative when in a pinch for time.

Inspired by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 4 large, or 6 small salads


3 golden or red beets, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
7 ounces / 200 grams arugula, washed and dried
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup red onion, small diced
½ cup pecorino romano shavings

Honey Lime Vinaigrette:

Zest of one lime
¼ cup / 60 ml lime juice
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss beet pieces with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until fork tender and slightly crisp on their edges.

2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients, except the olive oil in a small bowl.  While whisking, drizzle in olive oil and continue to whisk until vinaigrette is completely emulsified.

3. Toss arugula, pepitas, red onion, pecorino, and roasted beets together with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Photo Note: beets photographed were roasted with skins on, but after testing recipe, I decided I preferred the flavor and texture better using the above described roasting method, which renders a crisp golden outside and tender inside.


Blood Orange Prosecco

Blood Orange Cocktail

Blood Orange Prosecco

Prosecco, in my tongue’s mind, is like the Italian’s masculine version of the French’s feminine champagne. It is a balance of dry white wine with apple-ess sweetness, bearing a sparkling and crisp nature. Not as bubbly as a glass of “bubbly,” but certainly enough to add interest.

One might think of this cocktail as an evening mimosa-like drink, only better, perhaps. More complex with sweet tartness from the blood orange juice and zip from limes.

Blood Orange ProseccoBlood Orange Prosecco

A small detail, such as crusting the rim of a glass with the zest of fresh oranges and crystals of sugar really should not be overlooked. Of course, it is optional.  But really, such a simple step truly makes this drink feel special, not to mention the added compliment the sweet bitter rim adds to the crisp, citrus liquid that follows.

Blood Orange ProseccoBlood oranges are not always easy to come by. I generally only see them at the store during peek citrus season, so feel free to substitute them with Navel, Cara Cara, or Valencia oranges.

This drink was sort of a late impromptu Valentine’s toast. By late, I mean a week or so thereafter. Valentine’s day fell mid-week, and was swept away comforting sick little ones. Oh, the brute of winter and the catching of every cold and flu in season. My sweet husband gallivanted across town that day over the lunch hours to dine, cafeteria-style, with each of our older daughters at their respective schools. He hand delivered a rose to each of them–blessed man.

With kids on the mend, there would be a date night somewhere on the horizon for us, but in the meantime it never hurts to connect over an unscripted happy hour at home.



Blood Orange Cocktail

Blood Orange Prosecco

This crisp cocktail is a beacon of citrus light in the haze of winter. It is effervescent amongst rich, hearty meals, and even slight enough to serve as an impromptu happy hour at home. The cocktail amount is for a single serving so increase amounts accordingly; however, the orange sugar is enough for 4-6 rims. If you cannot find blood oranges, another sweet variety, such as Navel, Cara Cara, or Valencia will do. This is best when the Prosecco is heavily chilled, so do not overlook this step.
  • Orange Sugar for Rim:
  • 2 tablespoons cane or turbinado sugar
  • Zest of 2 blood oranges
  • Cocktail Contents:
  • ¼ cup / 60 ml blood orange juice (about 2 small oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons cane or turbinado sugar
  • 8 oz / 236 ml chilled Prosecco
  • Orange or Lime slices for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the orange zest with sugar on a plate. To rim each glass, rub the rim with a wedge of an orange or lime, then gently work the rim of the glass in the zested sugar until evenly coated. Whisk together blood orange juice, lime juice, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Pour juice into rimmed cocktail glass and top off with measured Prosecco. Serve immediately.



Creamy Cauliflower Cannellini Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

White Velvet Soup

This time of year my belly just aches for soup. The only trouble I have, is deciding which route to go–chunky and hearty or smooth and velvety. With cauliflower, I don’t know that it is really up for debate, although that is an interesting thought: chunky cauliflower soup? Nevertheless, I stayed a bit more traditional and opted for smooth and velvety.

White Velvet SoupCauliflower Soup

Cauliflowers are gnarly and a little beautiful, in an organic sort of way. I love how the leaves are hugging at the base.

I have made cauliflower soup many times before, and could never quite master the texture. It was in need of heavy cream, perhaps? More cauliflower, less broth was another attempt, but still not quite the end result I had desired. My husband, nor I were ever completely satisfied. With an overstocked pantry of cannellini beans, I found my resolve.  The addition of fiber and protein was merely a bonus, as it ultimately was the texture that I was after (well, and my husband’s approval because I like cauliflower soup).

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Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Muffins

Cornbread Muffins

Citrus season has cast its twinkling light in the gloomy days of winter. We’ve un-apologetically inhaled eight mouth-watering pounds of oranges each week for the last three weeks straight. And my baby is curled on my lap as I pitter patter on my keyboard sucking her very own slice of meyer lemon. I can hardly blame her for wanting her own, for meyer lemons are sweeter than their counterparts. Most days she stands at my feet in the kitchen waiting for a finger dipped in batter to be outstretched in the direction of her mouth, but today her begging hands were curiously greeted with a golden slice of citrus.  There is something very special indeed about these sunshine jewels peaking in the the dead of cold winter months–such a lovely splash of brightness amongst hearty stews and grey skies.

Meyer Lemon Recipe Lemon Cornbread Muffins

It may sound ridiculous, but I stood photographing these lemons and began to admire their symmetry and beauty. I imagined rays of sunbeams bursting from their centers, or placing stems of sage at their base to make happy yellow, poppy-looking flowers. They play a cheerful and subtle role in these honey-kissed muffins.

Meyer Lemon

As mentioned before, I have never been one to balk at winters dark nights and chilled days. They entitle me to recoil and reflect in the comfort of my own home. In addition, they send me into fits of baking and soup making, to which I would hardly be so unkind as to not share my oven successes with you.

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Classic Hummus with Extras

How to make hummus

How to make hummus

Hummus is one of those genius culinary concepts from ancient times. I applaud the humans that thought to paste sesame seeds, and the humans who thought to cook garbanzo beans to the point of unrecognizable mashability, and last, but certainly not least, the machinist who invented a food processor which makes my life ridiculously easy at times. Through their brilliance, mankind has benefited from a complex and satisfying dip, spread, topping, nibble and nosh we call hummus. The variations are endless–roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives, herbs galore, and more. All whipped into a finger-dipping fluff.

Classic Hummus

Sometimes I just want to appreciate a good thing for what it is. No tampering, no messing, no-techno versions of Christmas classics, please! Just straight up traditional. Boring? Hardly. Sometimes the prettiest girl at the prom isn’t the one in red boasting that bold is more beautiful, but rather the one draped in a simple gown played down to accentuate her natural beauty.

Classic Creamy Hummus

Classic creamy, fluffy hummus teeters on the branding of comfort food in my book. Drizzle with good quality olive oil, a dusting of fresh ground pepper, and perhaps some toasted pine nuts. This makes a perfect wrap spread, fresh veggie dip, and is excellent with toasted pita wedges and kalamata olives on the side. I contemplated whether it was sufficient to categorize hummus under appetizers and snacks alone on this site, and ultimately I resisted the temptation of labeling it a main course despite its possibilities of standing alone for a small lunch.

Wait, there is more regarding this, dare I call it by such a humble name, “bean dip”… always more. Why? Because I just can’t leave well enough alone, as sometimes I ought to, but in this case, I believe I am excused…

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Black Bean + Green Quesadilla with Lime Sour Cream

Black Bean Quesadilla

Black Bean Quesadilla

Every week, I am sure to throw a couple quick and easy meals into my game plan. Mostly because I am certain there will be at least one night where I don’t feel like cooking, and another night where I lost myself in creativity or child play only to peer at the clock which reads 5:34 p.m. and nothing has been started in the direction of feeding my tribe. I carry no shame in cutting cook time to spend the extra half hour of my life curled on the sofa with my children nestled on both sides reading And Then It’s Spring (a new favorite) as we pine for a season that brings budding leaves and sprouting tulips. Still, despite how I let the hours slip by, our grumbling tummies tell us we must eat. And soon.

Although, I love a good slow roasted cut of meat or simmering stew in the winter months as much as the next bloke, I am equally satisfied by the melding of simple seasoned chicken, a slathering of refried black beans, bits of greens, and oozing melted feta. Especially when I know it will act as my redeemer to such a late start at preparing dinner for the starving vultures (a.k.a. my children) that circle my kitchen as the dinner hour rapidly approaches.

These blessed black bean quesadillas can be on the table in less than half an hour.

Black Bean Quesadilla

When layering the ingredients on the base tortilla, leave a good inch for the ooze factor that occurs upon cutting the finished good. A couple pinches of ground cumin for flavor depth. Of course you could stir a teaspoon or two into the black beans to ensure even distribution, but really, sprinkling is so much more fun and simple.

Black Bean and Green Quesadilla

Be generous with the cilantro. Jalapeños are optional, but highly recommended. I removed the seeds and none of my itty bitties complained about their dinner being too spicy. A quick assembly, brush of the hands, and onto the hot griddle.

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Kale Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Kale Salad

The sun is shining today after several cloud loomed afternoons. It is warming and has put a slight spring in my step. The ability to take in fresh air with my kids has been the biggest benefit after weeks of colds and humidifier-filled nights. I do love winter for its hibernation qualities. There is something enchanting about burrowing deep into one’s own nest and spending evenings with board games and popcorn, but the need to explore nature eventually summons us out the door. If nothing else, just to breathe a little.

I didn’t want all of these winter months to pass without sharing this salad with you. It has certain rustic, earthy qualities I don’t find in other salads per say. It’s hearty enough to classify as a meal with the right extras.

The beauty of this kale salad lies in the depths of its flavors and myriad of colors. Truth be told, it has hidden perks as well. Besides the obvious health benefits, its crisp bite lingers long beyond a typical lettuce under the dousing of oil and vinegar, largely in part to the fact that kale belongs to the cabbage family. It will keep its crunch for several hour. Completely appreciated.

Kale Salad

Curly leafed kale is perhaps the more commonly sold kale, but for this I really prefer the nutty, less bitter quality of Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale, lacinato, cavolo nero, black kale, or Tuscan cabbage). Not impertinent, but definitely enhancing to remove the thick ribs from the kale leaves. They are very bitter and can overpower the other flavors happening in the salad. The easiest way I found to do this, is to use the point of your knife and run it along both sides of the rib.

Kale Salad

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