Pickled Board

Pickled Board

I’m back with another board series. For this time, it’s all about pickles!

I used my favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and pineapple, to pickle. I paired the pickle board with fresh crudités, a few of my favorite dips, and some potato chips. Such a simple spread for lots of flavors.

Use my base pickle recipe to pickle your favorite veggies and fruits. Cauliflower, watermelon rinds, and even peaches would be excellent.

Stay tuned for more of my board series, and I hope you start having fun with creating your own incredible boards for your upcoming parties.

Mediterranean Cheeseboard

Mediterranean Cheeseboard

I fell in love with putting together boards from cheese and charcuterie one to get things started to a colorful fruit one to end the feast. My clients LOVE seeing my boards, and they always request one for their party! It’s a perfect way to showcase seasonal, colorful ingredients that will impress the crowd. After being inspired by so many great ones on Instagram, I am excited to share the beginning of my ongoing How To Make Your Own Board series.

I created this beautiful Mediterranean Cheeseboard to kick off. I used Mediterranean cheese, such as halloumi, feta, and labneh, along with fresh, seasonal ingredients, like scallions, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries! It can feed the crowd on a budget, is super versatile (feel free to swap in and out whatever you want!), and is perfect for summer entertaining!

Also, this is vegetarian-friendly so it will please everyone! A gorgeous centerpiece at the party that can feed the crowd. I mean, what else can you ask for more?

I hope this cheeseboard has inspired you to have fun and create your own gorgeous boards, and I will continue to share more boards here and my IGTV channel so that YOU can be the new queen of entertaining.

Garlic-y Labneh (Labneh bi Toum)

Labneh bi Toum

Labneh: a creamy, tangy Middle Eastern yogurt strained until extra thick. It’s sort of a cross between whipped cream cheese and sour cream—but better. Lebanese people eat labneh with chips, chicken, kibbeh, fries. I shared my love of laBneh and how I used to watch my grandma making it in the kitchen, growing up on Food52. Hope you fall in love with labneh as much as I do.

PHOTO BY TY MECHAM

Total Time: 24 hrs
Makes: 1 pint

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds non-fat Greek yogurt

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Dried mint (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a large strainer with cheesecloth, and set into a large bowl.

  2. In a large bowl mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt, until fully incorporated.

  3. Place the yogurt mixture in the cheesecloth, and cover it by bringing the edges of the cloth towards the middle. Let drain in the fridge for 24 hours.

  4. After 24 hours, squeeze any excess liquid and place into an airtight container, or serve immediately, garnished with olive oil and dried mint, alongside warm pita and olives.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto

I make a bomb kale pesto, whenever my friends come over that's what they ask for. Every client of mine is always asking me to add my pesto to the menu somehow. After coming up with some fun Hors D'oeuvres using the kale pesto I decided to take it simple - so I made this for dinner and it was too good I couldn't resist posting it! I hope this becomes your go to grilled cheese. The best part about the pesto is that you can make it - freeze it - use it whenever!!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pint

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups arugula

  • 1 cup basil, with stems

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or pumpkin seeds (if allergic)

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, freshly cracked

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.    In a food processor, add arugula, basil, nutritional yeast, nut, and garlic clove. Pulse until well combined. 

2.   Add lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse while drizzling the extra virgin olive oil. Pulse for one additional minute until all combined. 

3.   Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Simple Spring Salad

 
 

Simple Spring Salad

Happy April! Is that spring that I smell? My favorite produce season is back from bundles of asparagus to crunchy snap peas. I put together this simple, fresh raw salad that is so easy to assemble, but breathtaking to look at.

Shaving asparagus is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this seasonal vegetable. Make sure to pick thick asparagus in order to make those asparagus ribbons. Just like you would peel carrots or potatoes, shave the thick asparagus from the asparagus top to bottom. Twist those asparagus ribbons for a gorgeous presentation as well. Feel free to add whatever spring vegetables that look fresh. Using fresh, spring vegetables is the key for this salad.

Serve it with a side of Za’atar crusted chicken and cucumber lemonade to have your first spring backyard dinner! Happy Spring!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of Boston lettuce, washed

  • 1/2 cup snap peas, chopped

  • 3 asparagus stems

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 3 tbsp goat cheese dressing

  • 1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Keeping lettuce leaves whole; pull off from the stem and place on a plate.

  2. Start layering the salad by sprinkling the snap peas and scallions.

  3. Shave the asparagus stem with a peeler and decorate the lettuce with the asparagus ribbons.

  4. Top with walnuts and serve with a side of dressing

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

 
 

Goat Cheese Black Pepper Dressing

Do you guys love goat cheese? I’ve always loved it in every form — appetizers, dipping sauce, and even marinade. Since I like goat cheese so much, I sometimes sprinkle it in my salad, but when I do it, the crumbled cheese doesn’t get distributed evenly. I want to taste goat cheese in my every bite, you know?

So, I decided to turn it into a dressing to keep its tangy, creamy flavors while making it easier to toss around my salad. By doing so, every bite has a bit of that tangy, goat cheese flavors without being clumpy. This creamy dressing will be an instant flavor boost, making any boring salad into something incredible!

Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1/2 quart

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 - 8oz goat cheese

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Falafel Varenyky

Lebnaese Varenyky

A few years ago, I found this beautiful, mostly plant-based food blog, called The New Baguette. After many years of following her on Instagram, I finally messaged Alex, who runs The New Baguette, hoping that we could collaborate on fun recipes together. After bouncing a few ideas with each other, Alex told me about varenyky, Ukrainian stuffed dumplings.

I have always been intrigued by dumplings from different cultures. Empanadas from Mexico. Mandu from Korea. Sambousek from Lebanon. Ravioli from Italy! They are all basically savory fillings, wrapped in a dough, and living in Greenpoint, I eat my fair share of Polish pierogis.

Alex is Ukrainian, and when she introduced me to her take on traditional varenyky with potato filling and fried onions, I immediately thought of ways to add my Lebanese twist — falafel!

We decided to have fun with the recipes by making different falafel fillings with different doughs. Since it was our first time making this together, we weren’t sure how these would come out, but we were pleasantly surprised how delicious they were. Herbaceous, fresh flavors of falafel fillings worked so well with chewy, crispy dough.

For Basic Falafel Varenyky, I kept things simple but added a bit of turmeric to the dough for extra color. The falafel filling is a standard falafel recipe, so if you want to make falafels, you can simply omit the dough and fry the filling alone. Just like making dumplings, you add the filling and close the dough into a half-moon shape and pinch the ending so that they are stuck together. It’s super easy and no need to feel intimidated!

Now you have the basic version, have a little fun by adding different flavors and mix & match! Alex and I made two other varieties, inspired by the original.

Dipping-GIF.gif

These varenyk are great as they are, but they are even better with flavorful dipping sauce. Alex has a great recipe, cilantro-lime tahini dressing, which pairs so well with these varenyk. It’s tangy, bright, and just full of flavors!

Tabbouleh

 
 

Tabbouleh

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup fine white bulgur

  • 3 bunches of parsley

  • 3 scallions

  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped

  • ½ english cucumber

  • 3 lemons, juiced

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, place bulgur and cover with room temperature water. Let it sit for 20 minutes, it should double in size.

  2. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop parsley and place in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Wash and peel cucumber, slice in half. Using a spoon, de-seed the cucumber. Slice the cucumber length-wise into thin strips and chop it into small dice. Add to the parsley.

  4. Small dice tomatoes and add to the mixing bowl.

  5. Thinly slice scallion and add to the bowl.

  6. Drain and squeeze bulgur – make sure it is completely dry.

  7. Add to the mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Mix until fully incorporated.

  8. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses.