Quick and Easy Drop Shortcakes

When it comes to quick and easy desserts, this one takes the cake (see what I did there?!). How quick and easy, you ask? Well, it takes about 30 seconds to make your dough – which, by the way,  you do in a food processor. Yup, easy. And then 20 to 25 minutes to bake. Sounds like a quick and easy winner dessert (or, let’s face it – breakfast) to me! Quick and Easy Drop Shortcake Recipe Quick and Easy Drop Shortcakes

Yield: 8 shortcakes

2 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

¾ cup buttermilk

1 whole egg

Grapeseed oil, for greasing measuring cup

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse until dough resembles coarse meal.

Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Turn on food processor and stream into dry ingredients. (Set bowl aside – do not wash yet!) Let food processor run for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. A dough ball will form and it should get whipped around the food processor, kneading the dough.

Measure dough into a greased 1/3 measuring cup and drop dough on a parchment lined sheet pan.

Remember that small bowl that you whisked the egg and buttermilk in? Brush the tops of the shortcakes with any remaining liquid left in the bowl and then evenly top biscuits with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until shortcake is golden brown on top. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

This is the perfect salad to make when you don’t have much time and just want to grab a few things from the pantry to make a delicious dish. Good for lunch or dinner and perfect for a hot day, like the one we are having here in Southern California!

Tuna and White bean Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced (1 teaspoon)

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

2 (5-ounce) cans of premium skipjack tuna in extra-virgin olive oil, undrained (I like Ocean Naturals brand)

1 (15-ounce) can of white beans (Great Northern beans), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 (12-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus some whole leaves for garnish

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the garlic, shallot, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Open the cans of tuna and put them into a small bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna, then season to taste with salt and pepper. It will need some seasoning—trust me.

Mix the white beans, capers, artichoke hearts, and chopped parsley with half the vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve one cup of arugula on a plate with a scoop of the bean salad and one quarter of the tuna. Use a vegetable peeler to top the with some shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, then sprinkle with the whole parsley leaves. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the salad, if desired.

 

 

PB&C (Peanut Butter and Chocolate) Smoothie

Really can’t go wrong here. Cocoa powder, peanut butter, sweet, salty, spicy, protein, fiber, sweet-tooth killer. Blend on!

PBCSmoothie

PB&C (peanut butter and chocolate) Smoothie

Yields: 2 cups

 

1 large banana, peeled

1 cup almond milk

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder

7 small fresh deglet noor or medjool dates, pitted

1 tablespoon honey

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined.

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

So, there’s this thing called Umami Paste. It’s typically a blend of different ingredients, like vinegar, anchovies, tomatoes, mushrooms, spices… and it’s used in cooking (add it to a soup, rub on meats, throw a little in with your eggs) to add a punch of flavor – an umami boost, if you will. (You can purchase it at speciality stores or on Amazon.) Given that most dishes for meat eaters have umami naturally – that very satiating savory flavor experienced most commonly when eating meat dishes – I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be a perfect sauce/paste to adjust (no anchovies here!) for vegans and vegetarians? Hence, my vegan umami paste – seriously good regardless of your meat eating preferences, and definitely a punch of umami to your food! Here, I add it to roast eggplant on grilled bread – KERPOW!

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

 

Vegan Umami Paste

Yield: 1 cup

2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon unsulphured organic molasses

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons porcini dust (.25 ounces dried porcini put through a spice grinder or you can rehydrate .25 ounces of dried porcinis, rough chop them and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

½ cup green olives, pitted

1 medium garlic clove, minced

4 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate in between uses.

 

Roast Eggplant Sandwich

1 large Italian eggplant, cut into ½-inch thick slices, widthwise

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

½ teaspoon ground cumin

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Piece of baguette or ciabatta that has been seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

Flat-leaf Italian parsley, for serving

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil (a generous amount) on each side of the eggplant slices and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggplant is nice and caramelized.

Spread vegan umami paste on bread. Top with eggplant, a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley leaves.

 

Mixed Herb Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Easy. Delicious. Healthy. Flavorful. Beautiful. An all around winner!

Mixed Herb Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Mixed Herb Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Yield: 2 servings

 

For Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 small shallot, peeled and diced small, 2 tablespoons

¼ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

 

For Salad

3 packed cups mixed greens

1 large radish, sliced thinly

 

Gently mix greens and radish with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Divide onto plates and serve.

Balsamic Roasted Figs with Fresh Thyme

Did somebody say cheese plate? How about snack? Dessert? Ok, fine – fig grilled cheese?! YES!

Balsamic Roasted Figs Close

Come to me, my sweet ones!

Balsamic Roasted Figs Far

Balsamic Roasted Figs – Sheet Tray

fig grilled cheese

Look at what you can do with these figs!

Balsamic Roasted Figs with Fresh Thyme

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

1 pound figs, halved lengthwise

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

Place an oven rack in the upper position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place figs, flesh side up, on an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan.

Sprinkle the thyme, salt and a few grinds of pepper over the figs.

Drizzle the vinegar and olive oil over the figs.

Place in the oven and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until the figs start to puff up and the balsamic vinegar thickens.

Let cool slightly before eating.

Pan-Roasted Okra with Fresh Corn and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Okra is still popping up at the farmers market and, for all my Southern and die hard okra friends, what’s summer without okra and tomatoes?!

Pan Roasted Okra with Fresh Corn

Pan-Roasted Okra with Fresh Corn and Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ pound of okra, cut in half lengthwise

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground fennel

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 14.5-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes

½ cup water

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1½ teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup plain greek yogurt

 

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the butter. After approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute, the butter will foam up, and then subside. Following that, the butter will begin to turn golden brown. (Yay!)

Once the butter is brown, add the okra and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the okra starts to caramelize.

Add the cumin, fennel and garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the corn. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and water. Stir occasionally and cook until the liquid begins to thicken, approximately 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the thyme, mint, basil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls with a dollop of Greek yogurt atop each serving.