Summer Gazpacho With Muir Glen Tomatoes

According to the Russian rules, today is the last day of Summer. September 1st is the start of Autumn. If only the weather reflected this!

One of my favorite types of summer dinners is grilled corn with a salad, a sandwich or a soup. Of course when I say "grilled," I actually mean charred: I don't have a grill (or outdoor space), so I char the corn directly on the flame of my stove.

Last week I realized that I haven't made gazpacho a single time this summer. Same goes for ice cream. One of those things was easier to fix than the other ;)

Unfortunately, I was all out of tomatoes. HORROR! Fortunately, I almost always have canned tomatoes at home, and decided to use those.

The brand of tomatoes I buy is Muir Glen. This is not a sponsored post or anything like that: I just like their product!

Summer Gazpacho With Muir Glen Tomatoes
Serves 1-2 ;)

1 can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted tomatoes
1 cucumber, skin removed, cut into a few pieces {save some of the cucumber and dice it for the garnish}
1/4 small white onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
chili oil

1. Put the fire roasted tomatoes, cucumber, onion and olive oil into a blender. Puree till smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Pour gazpacho into a bowl (or bowls) and garnish with diced cucumber, a drizzle of chili oil and fresh dill.


Salmon Cakes With Summer Corn, Peppers & Spicy Mayonnaise

Are you looking for a quick dinner, an appetizer or a snack? Well, you are in luck! My Salmon Cakes With Summer Corn, Peppers & Spicy Mayonnaise perfectly fit the bill.

Although I usually have a few cans of tuna in my refrigerator for a fast dinner of tuna salad, occasionally I pick up a can of salmon at the store. I only choose the boneless skinless variety. Canned salmon can be added to pasta, salads or turned into cakes. Salmon cakes.

The recipe below is for 8 little cakes but you can also turn it into 2-4 patties. Make sure to use fresh corn while it's still sweet and tender. In the winter time, feel free to use defrosted corn.

Salmon Cakes With Summer Corn, Peppers & Spicy Mayonnaise
8 mini cakes

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for cooking the cakes
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced pepper
salt & pepper to taste
5 ounce can skinless boneless pink salmon, drained
1 egg
5 basil leaves chopped
3 tablespoons bread crumbs

spicy mayonnaise = mayonnaise + sriracha ;)

1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add corn, onion and pepper and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables get a bit golden.
2. While the vegetables are cooling, mix together the salmon, egg, basil and bread crumbs. Incorporate the cooled vegetables and form the mixture into 8 mini cakes.
3. Refrigerate the cakes for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the cakes from the refrigerator and sauté in a bit of olive oil in a heated skillet for 3 minutes on each side.
5. Serve with a drizzle of spicy mayonnaise.

These cakes were great on top of a simple arugula salad and also served as a super snack cold straight out of the refrigerator the next day!

Have you cooked with canned salmon? What did you make?


Asian Cucumber And Hearts Of Palm Salad Perfect For A Hot Summer Day

It feels like I've been MIA for a long time. In fact, it's only been two weeks. Of course I did a bit of cooking while visiting my family in Seattle and have fed myself since coming back to DC a week ago. I just did not really feel like taking proper photographs of what I've been cooking. I knew I had to change this ;)

Last week I saw an instagram photo of a cucumber salad on Washington Green Grocer's account and was inspired to make my own version.

This salad is incredibly easy to make and requires no precise measurements, but I'll let you know my suggestions just in case. I added one of my favorite ingredients, hearts of palm, but you can experiment with peppers, red onions, or a combination of both. This salad would be great for a picnic or as a topping on grilled fish or even in tacos!

Asian Cucumber And Hearts Of Palm Salad Perfect For A Hot Summer Day
1 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup thinly sliced hearts of palm
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
sriracha to taste
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

1. Place cucumber slices in a bowl and cover with rice vinegar. Refrigerate for an hour.
2. Drain the cucumbers and combine with toasted sesame seed oil, a pinch or two of sugar, sliced hearts of palm and cilantro.
3. Garnish each salad bowl with sriracha and black sesame seeds.

I bet this salad would be great with dill or basil. Of course it's completely fine to eat the salad with a fork, but I dare you to try it out with chopsticks!


See You Later!

It's Friday! I'm flying to Seattle to visit my family and friends. I wish you a wonderful weekend and a week to come. Make sure to follow me on instagram for all of my travel adventures. See you soon!


Boozy Mango Smoothie: Cheer Up! It's Summer!

It's Wednesday! We are that much closer to the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, this past Sunday I took a very ripe mango and turned it into a Boozy Mango Smoothie. Four ingredients. No exact proportions. One awesome drink.

Boozy Mango Smoothie for 1
1 mango, cubed (obviously remove the skin and the seed)
1-2 cups crushed ice (use crushed ice to make it easier on your blender)
splash or 2 or 3 of bourbon
drizzle or 2 or 3 of ginger syrup

Add all the ingredients to a blender. Blend away.

How pretty is this drink?

There were no leftovers ;)


Purple Pepper Confetti Salad: Eat The Rainbow!

How is it already Monday!?!? Why aren't weekends longer?

Over the weekend I overindulged a bit and compensated by making a vegan (not on purpose!) Purple Pepper Confetti Salad. This salad is perfect for today's Meatless Monday and can be served as a side or piled on top of tacos or eaten as salsa.

The salad started with gorgeous purple peppers. I wasn't sure whether they'd keep their color if I cooked them and decided to keep them raw. The rest of the vegetables were the ones that I had in my refrigerator. The key is to make sure that all the produce is about the same size: that's what makes it confetti in my mind ;)

Purple Pepper Confetti Salad: Eat The Rainbow!
Serves 1-2

1 corn, charred, kernels removed
1 purple pepper, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
10 green beans, blanched, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
dressing: equal parts olive oil, lemon juice, stone ground mustard
salt & pepper to taste

1. In a bowl combine the first five ingredients.
2. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and season with salt and pepper. I used the mustard container because there was only a bit of mustard left: perfect for one portion of the salad.
3. Add the dressing to the salad. Mix well.

Doesn't this look pretty?

How's your Monday?


Where To Dine In Mosaic District: Dinner At Brine

Are you trying to make weekend plans or looking for a fun Friday dinner? If so, I highly recommend dinner at Brine. Last Friday I took the metro all the way to Dunn Loring station where my friend Mary picked me up and we drove to Mosaic District for dinner at Brine. I've been to the Mosaic District multiple times, but this was my first time checking out Brine. Ever since I've heard of Brine and that they serve oysters, I've wanted to go. It's a perfect place for a date, a girls night out, or a family dinner.

The restaurant is GORGEOUS! I loved the reclaimed wood tables and chairs, open kitchen, high ceilings and stunning plates. The only thing I wish they'd change are the tacky fake flowers in the bathrooms.

Apparently this restaurant has had mixed reviews, but everything Mary and I ordered was amazing. Yep, amazing.

Here's what we had (not counting the clam bucatini dish which although was good, wasn't stellar):

Oysters! Get the oysters!!! We ordered two of each on the menu.

Oh, and you get a bucket of the most buttery, pillow'y and decadent rolls with flaky salt on top. Let's just say that when we were asked if we wanted another order, we said YES!

For the shared appetizer we chose Yellowfin Carpaccio with ginger, sweet onion, sesame oil and puffed tendon. I could eat this dish daily. The fish was sliced thinly, and the Asian flavors marinated it perfectly.

And then there was the burger....oh the burger! Please get it medium rare! The red onion jam on the bottom bun was sweet and a perfect counterpoint to the sharp cheese and the slaw. I wish we could have had a few more garlic pickles. NOTE: the burger comes with fries. Do not order fries. Do order the corn side though!

Was there room for dessert!? Of course! We got the Creamy Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with blackberries and pound cake. What a perfect way to end a meal.

And then I went salsa dancing ;)

Have a great weekend!


Dinner in Under 15 Minutes: Charred Corn & Tomato Salad with Burrata & Lamb Loin Chop

Let's be real: we all lead busy lives. Some of us are busier than others, but I still believe you have the time (if you choose it) to make dinner. You don't have to make dinner every day, but when you want to treat yourself to something other than cereal, takeout or a frozen meal, I have something that will only take 15 minutes from start to finish and will not only impress YOU but also those who may be lucky to dine with you.

This Charred Corn & Tomato Salad with Burrata & Lamb Loin Chop is a great summer meal and can be served for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients for 1
olive oil
lamb loin chop
salt & pepper
1 ear of corn
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 burrata ball
1-2 slices of bread, toasted
chili oil
chopped chives

1. Bring your lamb loin chop to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper and cook in a bit of olive oil in a heated pan for 2-4 minutes on each side depending on how rare you want your lamb to be. I like mine quite rare!
2. Meanwhile, char the corn directly on top of the gas stove. Allow it to cool a bit, remove the kernels and mix them with tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Time to plate: arrange the corn and tomato salad on a plate next to the lamb loin chop, add a ball of burrata and one or two slices of toasted bread.
4. Drizzle with chili oil and garnish with fresh chives.

What's your super quick dinner idea?


Cucumber, Avocado & Sweet Pea Chilled Summer Soup

Happy Monday! If like me you had a weekend of too much drinking, eating out, dancing and not enough sleep, this Cucumber, Avocado & Sweet Pea Chilled Summer Soup will invigorate you and make you feel like you are doing something good for yourself.

A few weeks ago there was a debate about whether or not adding peas to guacamole was a good idea. I don't really care what you do, but I don't want peas in my guacamole. The debate made me think, however, about using creamy avocado and sweet peas in a dish together: a chilled soup came to mind. I added a few other ingredients to a blender, and voila!

Cucumber, Avocado & Sweet Pea Chilled Summer Soup
Serves 2-4

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped
1 avocado (halved, pit removed, flesh scooped out)
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
garnish: chopped pistachios, chili oil, chopped chives, defrosted peas

1. Add the first 4 ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
2. For best results, refrigerate the soup for about 30-60 minutes.
3. Serve the soup in bowls garnished with chili oil, chopped pistachios, a few peas and chives.
I absolutely loved this soup! It's perfect for a hot summer day (lunch or dinner) and would make an elegant first course at a party. Who wants a spoon?


Fun Fundraiser At Studio Theatre In DC

Good morning! Are you looking forward to the weekend!? I am! If you are like me and plan ahead, I have a great event to share with you.

Next Saturday, August 1st, Studio Theatre is having a fundraiser. I was invited to attend and am happy to share the information with you. Come for the food, drinks, retail therapy, and more importantly to support a local theatre!

Taste of Studio
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW, Washington, DC
noon – 8pm First Floor Memorabilia Sale and Beer Garden
4pm - 7pm Main Event: Taste of Studio
4pm – midnight Mixology Lounge and Guest Bartenders

This summer, in conjunction with Midcity Dog Days, Studio is debuting a new fundraising
event—Taste of Studio—a twist on our annual Garage Sale. As in years previous, attendees will
be able to purchase costumes, props, and even set pieces used throughout the season. This
summer’s event includes a multi-floor food and beverage experience featuring neighborhood
restaurants and bars, along with live entertainment and behind-the-scenes views of Studio’s
upcoming productions.

$15—access to Beer Garden and Memorabilia Sale, 12 noon-8pm
$90—access to Beer Garden, Memorabilia Sale and tasting rooms, 4pm-7pm
$135—access to Beer Garden, Memorabilia Sale, tasting rooms, and Mixology Suite, 4pm-12am

Will I see you there?