Blitzy Fairytale Eggplants with Tahini Sauce

Blitzy Eggplants with Tahini Sauce

A few weeks ago, Rachel from Seed + Mill invited me for a day of cooking fresh produce and taking pictures with other fun content creators! It was enjoyable to work with people from different backgrounds in food styling and cooking. Their unique eye for details genuinely inspired me!

When I saw these adorable fairytale eggplants, I wanted to blister them for that charred flavors and serve them with my signature tahini sauce. These cute eggplants are in season right now. And, you don’t have to do much to enjoy them at their finest!

It’s a low-effort dish with high satisfaction that will make everyone happy.

Total Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7-8 fairytale eggplants

  • 1 tbsp EVOO and a little bit of extra

  • 1 cup tahini

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • Mint & roasted pine nuts for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Coat fairytale eggplants with salt, pepper, and EVOO.

  2. Heat up your cast iron pan with a little bit of EVOO until you see the smoke. Make sure the pan is smoking hot. Add oiled eggplants to the hot cast iron pan and cook them until each side gets dark.

  3. While the eggplants are getting blistered, make the tahini sauce by mixing tahini, water, and lemon. Set it aside.

  4. Arrange the blistered eggplants on a plate with a scoop of tahini sauce. Garnish with mint leaves and roasted pine nuts.

No-Cook Summer Menu

No-Cook Summer Menu

When it’s hot outside during summer, the last thing that you want to do is turn the heat on. But, when you have an array of incredible summer produce, you don’t have to cook them at all to let the flavors shine. I have a perfect menu for you to enjoy summer seasonal produce to the maximum without sweating in your kitchen!

Start this no-cook summer feast with super refreshing Almond & Cucumber Gazpacho. Have fun with different toppings like chopped cucumber, a dollop of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and more.

Those perfectly ripe peaches and tomatoes you picked at Farmer’s Market? Slice and put them on a spread of labneh. So simple, yet SO flavorful. Labneh 2 Ways are great ways to use fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market! Let those juicy peaches and tomatoes shine!

My new favorite way of enjoying seasonal summer squash is this Summer Squash Salad. If you haven’t eaten summer squash raw, THIS is a perfect way.

For your main dish, this Tahini Rice Noodle Bowl allows you to customize whatever that you have in the fridge. Any leftover vegetables or protein can be tossed into this, and this bright and zesty Cilantro Tahini Dressing brings everything together.

Before the season is over, make this easy no-cook summer menu and turn up the heat with flavors.

A collab with @mostrecklessly ceramic studio

Weekday Tahini Rice Noodle Bowl

Weekday Tahini Rice Noodle Bowl

When it’s hot outside, the last thing that I want to do is to turn on the oven. I try to minimize any cooking that involves heat, but I don’t want to skimp on flavors either. And, that’s how this delicious, but easy-to-assemble rice noodles bowl is my new favorite summer dish.

It’s quick to assemble, highly customizable, and just overall feel-good clean lunch. You can use leftover protein, such as rotisserie chicken or grilled salmon or shrimp, to make this meal more wholesome.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8oz rice vermicelli noodles

  • 1.5 lb flank steak

  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced in half moon

  • 1 cup edamame

  • 1 tsp sumac

  • 1/4 cup pickled red cabbage

  • 1 bunch cilantro, hand-torn for serving

  • 1 bunch mint, hand-torn for serving

  • 1 cup of cilantro tahini dressing

  • white and black sesame for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Cook the noodles based on the package. Transfer the cooked noodles to ice-cold water bath from being overcooked. Reserve them on the side.

  2. Meanwhile, season the steak with salt and pepper and grill it over high heat for 2 minutes each side. Let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes.

  3. Toss edamame with sumac. Put it on the side.

  4. After resting the meat, slice the flank steak against the grain.

  5. Drain the rice noodles and transfer them to a big, shallow serving platter. Top the noodles with sliced cucumber, sumac-tossed cucumber, pickled red cabbage, hand-torn min, and cilantro.

  6. Drizzle the cilantro tahini dressing and toss everything together. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Summer Squash Salad

Summer Squash Salad

I have been growing a lot of zucchini but bored of grilling them all the time! After recently visiting my favorite neighborhood restaurant - five leaves - I was inspired to make this simple salad with a new way to eat summer squash RAW!

What’s so great about this salad is that it’s fresh, simple, fast, and can be made in one bowl! Each bite needs a little feta and pistachio for that silky crunchy texture. Make this salad for lunch, or as a side with your grilled protein!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 cup arugula

  • 1 green zucchini

  • 1 yellow summer squash

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 lemon, squeezed

  • salt & pepper

  • 1/4 cup marinated olives, chopped

  • chopped pistachio for garnish

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Using a mandolin, slice green zucchini directly on top of the bed of arugula.

  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the sides of summer squash on top of the vegetables again.

  3. Drizzle olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and toss the vegetables together and season them with salt and pepper.

  4. Finish the salad with chopped olives, pistachio, and crumbled feta.

Labneh 2 Ways

Labneh 2 Ways

I truly have a relationship with labneh and this is me taking it to the next level! Summer season is my favorite produce season. Eating tomatoes and peaches raw is the best way to enjoy there natural fresh and juicy flavors. I combined my two favorite things into easy summer dishes.

You can make this when a friend is coming over to nibble on, as a quick snack or lunch! To bring the savory labneh to the next level you can add some prosciutto or sopressata for that extra salty meaty bite. For the sweet labneh you can shave some chocolate, or drizzle some nut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread to add a richer chocolate bite.

Look up times to your local farmers market and make the best of summer’s finest produce. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS:

FOR SAVORY

  • 1 cup labneh

  • 2-3 tomatoes, preferably ripe from farmer’s market

  • 1 cucumber, sliced in circles

  • 1 tbsp za’atar

  • 4-5 marinated olives, chopped in lengthwise

  • Drizzle of olive oil

FOR SWEET

  • 1 cup labneh

  • 1 peach, sliced in chunks

  • 1 dark plum, sliced in chunks

  • 1 apricot, sliced in chunks

  • a few raspberries and blackberries

  • Drizzle of honey & granola

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Spread labneh on a platter.

  2. For savory, arrange all the ingredients on labneh-spread platter. Finish it with a drizzle of olive oil.

  3. For sweet, arrange all the ingredients on labneh-spread platter. Finish it with a drizzle of honey and granola.

Almond & Cucumber Gazpacho

Almond & Cucumber Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables, and it’s a perfect way to capture all flavors, especially during the summer season. This chilled soup is a great way to get the meal started. Use any leftover vegetable as a starter!

Marcona almonds add creamy, rich texture to the soup, and cucumber provides a refreshing flavor foundation to this ideal, summer dish. People often add breadcrumbs to thicken the blend, but you can substitute them with more almonds to achieve the same consistency.

Make this ahead and let it chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours so that the flavors develop.

This recipe is inspired by Food & Wine’s Green Grape and Marcona Almond Gazpacho

Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 large garlic cloves

  • 2 large seedless English cucumbers, cut into 1-inch dice

  • 1 cup Marcona almonds

  • 5 scallions

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • 1/4 cup EVOO

  • 2 lemons, squeezed

  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients and blend them together until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large container and season it with salt. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 24 hours.

  2. To serve, stir the chilled gazpacho, then pour it in shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with chopped cucumber, Aleppo pepper, or a dollop of greek yogurt and finish it with a drizzle of olive oil.

Picnic Za'atar Chicken Salad Slider

Picnic Za'atar Chicken Salad Slider

Chicken salad is one of the classic American dishes. It’s often made with mayonnaise and chopped celery. But, I wanted to add my Mediterranean twist to this by adding za’atar and swapping out mayo with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt will make everything super creamy while adding a tangy note to the dish while za’atar brings extra savory herbaceous flavors, taking this salad to another level.

As the weather gets nice outside, I often go out for a picnic at the park, and I bring this to make a DIY chicken sandwich which everyone loves. Make this salad and put it in a container. Bring slider buns and a few condiments, like tomatoes, cucumbers, or arugula, to make easy, delicious chicken salad sliders!

Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

  • 1 cup greek yogurt

  • 3 tbsp za’atar

  • 1/2 cup chopped dill pickle

  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber (small-diced)

  • 1/2 cup shredded almonds

  • slider buns, arugula, slices of tomato, and cucumber to serve

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine shredded rotisserie chicken, greek yogurt, za’atar, chopped cucumber and chopped pickle in a medium-sized bowl. Mix it until everything is well combined. Taste and season it with salt.

  2. Add shredded almonds to the mixture and mix everything again.

  3. Serve this chicken salad with slider buns with a few toppings.

Peach Ricotta Cake

Peach Ricotta Cake

I whipped up this moist, fluffy cake for my clients, and they RAVED about it; it was gone in a few minutes! It’s such a simple recipe, and a perfect way to use seasonal fruits such as stone fruits and berries.

The recipe calls for less flour than a traditional cake, and extra ricotta in the batter makes everything more flavorful and moist. You can easily substitute the fruits and have fun with this recipe. Do you have those berries going bad but don’t have time to eat or cook them right away? Throw them in the freezer and when you are ready, make this recipe with your frozen berries. Cherries? Nectarines? They will all go perfect in this cake.

This recipe is inspired by Bon Appetit’s Raspberry-Ricotta Cake

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 cups ricotta

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

  • 4 peaches, 12 slices of peaches, and the rest, chopped

  • Sprinkles of brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9” cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. (Springform pan also works well if you don’t have a cake pan).

  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by chopped peaches. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining slices of peaches over top.

  4. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean for 45 minutes at 350F. After that, crank up the heat to 450 for additional 15 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.