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This is what summer time is all about. We spent a lazy 4th of July weekend devouring RedRocks Pizza on the patio,strolling through Eastern Market, grilling everything we could find, enjoying drag brunch at Nellie’s, and finally taking a nice long bike ride to the National Arboretum. Oh, and then we watched a 360° panorama of fireworks from the roof.

Life is good.


We made an excellent batch of kale chips to start. No, not on the grill. Wash and dry any variety of kale very thoroughly – drying is the most important part. Then shred into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake for about 15-20 minutes in a 300° oven until super crispy. Can’t be beat.


Next, Emily made eggplant bruschetta, using grilled eggplant slices in place of bread, fresh pan-seared tomatoes, basil and feta cheese. As vibrant in flavor as it is in color.


Now this was the kicker. Dijon-glazed salmon burgers, grilled to perfection and made all the more heavenly with bacon and arugula. Hell. Yes.


Salmon burgers, kale chips, and potato salad with radishes and celery.

…I hope you don’t think we stopped there.


Grilled cinnamon glazed peaches with ice cream (not pictured: fresh blueberries).

Yeah, this makes the summer heat all worth it.

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A Brief Update

So due to the inevitable craziness of life, we haven’t had a chance to update in a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been cooking and eating great stuff! A brief photo synopsis of the past few weeks…

I intended this dish to center around salmon cakes, but surprisingly, the salad stole the show. I roasted sweet potatoes and onions until sort of caramelized, tossed with mixed greens, goat cheese, and pepitas, and whipped together a nice cider vinaigrette. Recipe (of my own improvisation) to follow.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Mixed baby greens
2 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed (1/2″)
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 c. roasted, salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
4 oz. chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
salt and pepper

Cider Vinaigrette
1/2 c. EVOO
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey (I was fortunate enough to have some from VT)
salt and pepper

  1. Heat your oven to 425. Meanwhile, toss your sweet potatoes and onions with the olive oil. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, or until the onions are browning and the potatoes are soft but still hold their shape. Roasting brings out vegetables’ natural sweetness, so it will have a nearly caramelizing effect.
  2. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together and taste. I never measure when I make my own dressing, so these are total guesses – your own taste will determine how sweet, salty, or sharp you like it.
  3. Top the greens with the sweet potato-onion mixture. Dress with the vinaigrette and then top with a handful of pepitas and goat cheese. Serves 4.

As for the salmon cakes, I simply mixed a can of salmon, 2 eggs, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and bread crumbs until they reached the right consistency, and pan-fried them. Piece of cake!

Lovely trip to Ella’s Wood-Fired Pizza in downtown DC (thank you, LivingSocial for the half-off deal!)

A grilled portobello mushroom salad featuring pears, mozzarella, and spiced walnuts.

Pesto pizza with Shrimp, Roasted Red Peppers, and Pine Nuts at Ella’s. Really great restaurant known for its pizza, but I’ve had appetizers there that topped even this! Specifically a stuffed portobello mushroom with pesto, goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes, and an asparagus risotto with shrimp! Whatever you love in Italian cookery, you’ll love Ella’s.

I took a lazy Saturday afternoon to make a simple, cheap, and healthy favorite, Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chilli. It’s hardly even a recipe, just follow the photos…

First, roast 3 medium sweet potatoes, a large sweet onion, and a large bell pepper coated in olive oil, at 425 for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, start simmering a large can of black beans, a large can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomatoes with green chiles, a small can of tomato sauce, and a small can of corn (optional) over low heat. Add chilli powder. cumin, salt pepper, and cayenne if you’re brave, all to taste. A pinch of sugar will bite the acidity of the tomatoes.

Then stir it all together, taste, and season appropriately. The longer you can let it simmer and allow the flavors to mingle and integrate, the better. If you’re short on time, ten minutes will do. If it starts to get too thick, add a little water. Top with pepper jack cheese and serve with tortilla chips, cornbread, whatever you like.

A few other highlights…

Sunday brunch – just throwing together what we had on hand… A toasted bagel sandwich with cheddar, a fried egg, and seared bell peppers. Stuffed mushrooms with cream cheese and olives. And a simple side salad with cucumbers and feta. Not pictured: mimosas, of course!

And a random lunch: grilled pepper jack, pancetta, and arugula sandwich – a bit odd but quite good.

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