Salad is one of my favorite things to eat for dinner. We generally eat some version of salad with dinner every night, with the exception being the first trimester of both of my pregnancies when I couldn’t even look at a green without gagging. I think salads are one of my better meal preps and my party guests frequently ask me what I put in mine. That depends on my mood…what I have in the pantry…what I want to use up in the fridge. I made up this version last week when I had some leftover quinoa and a clamshell of spinach that needed to be eaten. Feta, kalamata olives and pepitas were also on hand and to finish it off, I made a quick batch of my favorite tahini dressing from Food52.com. This dressing is seriously addicting and so easy. The salad it’s featured with is also tasty, but the dressing has been my go to anytime I have a tahini craving. Anyway, this salad was super tasty so I recreated it again, making sure to write down my ratio of ingredients. (I also added some Argentinian Red Shrimp from Trader Joe’s.) But I think salads are easily modified based on your taste, so add, swap, or omit ingredients at your leisure. But definitely make this for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.

Spinachsaladwithtahiniandfeta

Spinach Salad with Red Quinoa, Feta and Tahini

1/2 of a 16 ounce clamshell of organic spinach

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

1/2 cup pepitas

1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt

3 tablespoons tahini

3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Toss all of the salad ingredients in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix the garlic paste and lemon juice. Whisk in the tahini, water and olive oil, until smooth. (If you want the tahini a bit thinner, add more water.) Pour as much dressing as you’d like onto the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

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Grilled Pizza with Mushroom and Fontina

by Michelle on May 17, 2016

Johnny and I started grilling pizza years ago, and every summer we try to come up with new combinations of ingredients. A few seasons ago it was white clam with bacon. Last summer, it was vodka sauce with peas and fresh mozzarella. Before that, fig, goat cheese and walnut pesto. And then there are our old standbys: fresh tomato, basil and mozz; kalamata olives, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, red onion and feta; and pesto with mozzarella and roasted red peppers. If you’ve been to our house for a meal in the summer, chances are we’ve grilled you a pizza.

When we lived in the city, we often ordered pizza from a place down the block called Veloce. It’s not there anymore, which is a shame, because they had the most amazing mushroom pizza we’ve ever tasted. No gummy button mushrooms and congealed mozz here. This baby was topped with a mix of more exotic mushrooms, like hen of the woods, parsley, garlic and a blend of cheeses. It was fantastic. We still talk about this pizza. Which is why we wanted to recreate it ourselves. A trip to Whole Foods yielded a decent blend of mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, shitaki, cremini) and I picked up fontina, fresh mozzarella, garlic and parsley. We were ready to begin.

I should tell you that our pizza making skills have improved vastly over the years. Our early attempts looked more like the United States then a round or square pizza. Friends are always interested in our pizza grilling technique so I took pictures of each step:

dough

I don’t make my own dough. I could, but I really like the multigrain dough from Terranova Bakery. I get it at Whole Foods. It also comes in white and whole wheat. I buy it by the dozen and freeze it. I take it out in the morning, put it in a greased bowl, cover it with a dish towel and let it thaw and rise all afternoon.

 

doughrolledout

Once the dough is ready to roll out, I place it on a floured mat and roll it out as thin as possible. Try to get it as round as possible too.

 

doughrolledoutonpanNext, I brush a baking sheet liberally with olive oil and then gently place the dough on it, pressing the dough into the pan, which also helps it take shape.

 

doughongrillAt this point, Johnny takes over. I help him carry the dough onto the grill grates, oil side down. He straightens it out with tongs, brushes the top side with more olive oil and closes the grill. We use all burners on medium high. After a minute or two, check to see that the bottom has grill marks, then flip it. Add your toppings, turn the heat down to low and close the grill.

doughongrillwithtoppingsOnce the cheese has melted and the bottom is browned to your liking, place a large cutting board close to the front edge of your grill and quickly slide the pizza onto it. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting, to let the cheese and toppings settle.

 

Mushroomfontinapizza

Grilled Pizza with Mushroom and Fontina

1 ball of multigrain dough (prepped according to the aforementioned directions)

1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, grated

1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound of mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster, cremini, shitaki, etc.), stemmed and chopped

Parsley

Olive oil

Prep your dough. In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive until just softened. Set aside. Grate and slice the cheeses, and dice up the parsley and garlic. Once the dough is ready to be topped, place the sliced mozzarella evenly across the pizza and then add the fontina. Cover the pizza with the chopped mushrooms, garlic and parsley. Grill until the cheese is melted and the bottom is browned to your liken. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

 

 

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Michelle on April 9, 2016

The other day my BFF Christie texted me to ask if I’d ever tried Enjoy Life’s line of chocolate chips. She was making Paleo-friendly chocolate chip cookies and that brand is deemed acceptable by the Paleo Powers That Be. I hadn’t tried them, but I’ve had other products that Enjoy Life makes and I am always impressed with the taste and quality. But back to the cookie recipe. I try not to eat a lot of sugar so I am always interested in recipes that are healthier versions of traditional favorites. She reported that the cookies were really good despite the fact that they didn’t have any flour, butter or sugar—typical ingredients in a chocolate chip cookie. I got the recipe from her and so far I’ve made two batches—one with regular dark chocolate chips, one with the Enjoy Life brand, which I found at Whole Foods (plenty of grocery stores carry them as well as a slew of online retailers.)

Wow. As with their other products, these Enjoy Life chips did not disappoint. They’re dairy, nut and soy free and contain 69 percent cacao, making them a super clean chocolate for those of you who care about that sort of thing. They’re also an excellent alternative for kids with food allergies who might not be able to eat “regular” cookies. I cannot say enough good things about this product (full disclosure: I do have a contact at Enjoy Life and they are very generous with their samples, but I bought the bag of chips used in these cookies.)

OK, but enough about the chips. Now let’s talk about the cookies. I love this recipe. Christie told me that the batter was really good, though she did wonder if that’s just because she is off sugar and anything with even a hint of sweetness is now fantastic. After tasting it myself, I would agree that it’s surprisingly good. It almost tastes like a samoa cookie, probably because of the almond flour and coconut oil. I used Trader Joe’s almond meal, which is the cheapest almond meal I have found, but almond flour/meal is available at most major grocery chains these days so you shouldn’t have trouble finding it. (Be prepared for it to be pricey: $7-10 a bag, but worth it. You can use it to make these chicken fingers too.)

If you’re trying to watch your sugar intake, these cookies will satisfy your craving and you won’t feel guilty indulging. They’re also super easy to make and only need 10 minutes in the oven, so making a batch is simple. This is a good thing because they go fast. Also, if you don’t have the Enjoy Life chips, it’s fine to make them with regular ones. They’ll have a little more sugar but will still be healthier than a traditional cookie.

Paleocookies

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Paleo For Dummies)

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the coconut oil, vanilla, honey and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well to combine. Mix in the chocolate chips, then cover and refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven for 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into 12 balls. Bake for five minutes, then remove from the oven and flatten the cookies slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake for five minutes more. If you like softer, chewier cookies, remove them from the oven. Otherwise let the bake for another couple of minutes. Let the cookies cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack.

 

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