Two Tomato Roma Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing

This salad is inspired by a sandwich from one of my favorite cafes near my hometown on Long Island.

Tiger Lilly Cafe was and is something pretty foreign to suburban Long Island – it combines of a full vegetarian menu with non-vegetarian options to create a fresh produce-focused selection of sandwiches, salads and other lunch fare.

Tiger Lilly has a terrifically funky vibe, with mis-matched used furniture and local artists’ work adorning the brightly painted walls. The cafe has the feel of both California and the East Village – with good coffee and wheat grass shots readily available. Again, unusual to Long Island, but completely welcome.

I haven’t been there in a few years, but I have found myself thinking about it a lot lately. I seem to manifest my homesickness in the form of cravings for dishes, sauces and sugar-free pudding products. Luckily, I like a challenge in the kitchen.

One of my favorite sandwiches from Tiger Lilly is called the Roma, it’s made on a light french bread roll with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato, mixed greens, and basil pesto mayo. Very simple, but the pesto mayo really brings a zing that ties it all together.

I’ve never been a mayo person, but can often be persuaded when it’s mixed with something fancy like ‘herbs’! or ‘garlic’! And pesto, well, pesto gets me nearly every time.

I decided to give our pesto mayo a makeover. I used Greek yogurt in the place of mayo and thinned out the mixture with some olive oil and a little lemon juice to create a creamy pesto salad dressing. (If you want to use this as a sandwich spread, you can probably reduce or omit the amounts of olive oil and lemon juice, depending on the consistency you would like.)

The result is a salad reminiscent of a Roma, without the uncomfortable presence of mayo. Hooray!

Creamy Pesto Dressing:
– 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
– 2 tablespoons pre-made basil pesto
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon water
– salt & pepper, to taste

Salad (Serves 2)
– 1 truss tomato, chopped
– 6 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
– 2 big handfuls of arugula, or any desired green
– 2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Assemble salad in a large bowl. Pour dressing on and toss vigorously to make sure all the arugula leaves are coated.

I would make this a meal with some white beans or some good-quality tinned tuna on top.

30 Days of Breakfast

Breakfast should be about being nice to yourself.  Fueling up for the day ahead. Treating yourself. Taking time to pause in the morning and enjoy something – however simple or elaborate.

I’m not going to lie, every meal of the day excites me.

But breakfast is special. It feels like the most intimate of the meals. Maybe because it’s often eaten and prepared alone or with our partner and eaten while we are still waking up.

It’s a gentle meal. Eaten consciously slow… in between sips of tea and paragraphs in the paper.

…I like to make it last.

Setting time aside in the mornings to enjoy my breakfast and feel totally un-rushed has been an important addition to my life. It’s probably not something I can carry on with forever. (I imagine things like children get in the way of such calm moments…) But for now, I’m all about relishing it.

I took a picture of my breakfast, or part of it, every day for 30 days as a little shout-out to one of my favorite meals. I don’t post many breakfast recipes here, but I’m hoping to change that.

I look forward to sharing many more breakfasts with you…

Sriracha Roasted Chickpeas

If you haven’t gotten on the Sriracha bandwagon yet, it’s not too late!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about – Sriracha is a Thai chili sauce, most popularly sold in bottles with a bright green cap and a rooster on the label. If you like all things chili and spicy, you might totally fall in love with this stuff.

If I’m preaching to the choir, please join me and make some Sriracha roasted chickpeas. These babies are the new wasabi peas! (Yes, I’m for real with that statement.)

They’re an addictive snack and great garnish for salads, soups and pretty much anything else you can think of that might want a little extra awesome.

ALSO! I came across this Bon Appetit list that got me all fired up about going through another putting-Sriracha-on-everything-phase.

Get involved!

Sriracha Roasted Chickpeas
– 2 cans or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and patted dry with a paper towel. (Make sure they’re very dry!)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 tablespoons Sriracha
– 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F.

Spread chickpeas out on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Check on them once or twice during this time, and shake the pan a little to make sure they cook evenly.

Remove chickpeas from the oven and place them in a mixing bowl. Pour olive oil, Sriracha, paprika and salt into the bowl and mix well to combine.

Spread the chickpeas out onto the baking tray again and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Store in an airtight container.

Brothy Chinese Noodles with Barramundi

I understand that, in some circles, slurping is considered rude.

But let’s be real. Hot soup, cool night, lots of broth and noodles… slurping is bound to happen.

Sometimes you’ve got to do it. The meal demands it. And hey, slurping isn’t really the rudest thing you can do, is it? …you know you want to.

This soup is easy to prepare, warming, satisfying, but light and brothy enough to eat the whole bowl.

The slurping of such a dish is non-negotiable though. Deal with it.

Brothy Chinese Noodles with Poached Barramundi  (serves 2)
Adapted from Eating Well

– 1 tablespoons sesame oil
– 1 red chili pepper, finely sliced
– 4 scallions or green onions, sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
– 3-4 cups vegetable broth
– 2 tablespoons soy sauce
– 130 grams/4.5 ounces dried chinese noodles
– 2 cups thinly sliced bok choy, roughly chopped
– 500-600 grams/1.25 lb of barramundi or meaty white fish, but into 5 cm/2 inch chunks

In a large pot, heat sesame oil over a medium high heat. Add chili, green onions, garlic and ginger and cook for 3 minutes until everything is beginning to soften and become fragrant.

Add vegetable broth and soy sauce and bring to a boil.

Add noodles and cook for 5 minutes.

Add bok choy and stir into the broth.

Place fish on top of noodles and bok choy, half-submerged in the liquid and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the pieces of fish over and cook for another 3 minutes covered. Fish should be white throughout and easily flaked with a fork.

To Serve, place noodles in a large bowl, with fish on top and pour broth over it.

Simple Stewed Peaches

Listen, Australian peaches – we need to talk.

It’s summer. You’re supposed to be juicy and delicious. I’ve bought you from the local fruit shop, the farmer’s market and one of the big supermarkets and each time you’ve been all weird and mealy. Not to get all crass with you first thing in the morning, but WTF? For real.

What am I going to do with you? I can’t waste another piece of fruit.  I cannot deal with another un-peachy disappointment. I just can’t.

I’m this close to giving up for the season. Packing it in early. Watermelon is looking pretty good these days… but a little less travel-friendly.

Lemons to lemonade, you say?

Peaches to butter and honey and cinnamon? Yeah, that could work.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

Summer stewed peaches on the easy. One more shot. Let’s do it.

Stewed Peaches
(serves 2)
You can peel your peaches, if you’re fancy like that. I didn’t, because I’m lazy like that.

2 peaches, pit removed and sliced into wedges
1/2 tablespoon of good unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of water

In a large pan melt the butter and honey over a medium heat.

Add cinnamon.

When the butter and honey begins to bubble, add peach slices and stir them around in the pan to coat each slice.

Add 1 tablespoon of water, reduce heat to low and cook covered for 10 minutes. Check the peaches about half-way through, stirring gently and adding another spoonful of water if the pan looks a little dry.

The end result should be soft peaches in a small amount of thick syrup.

Perfect with a scoop of ice cream for dessert or with yogurt or oatmeal to make breakfast feel like dessert.