Camp Cooking Essentials + Lamb Kofte with Feta Tzatziki

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Albertsons and Safeway. All opinions are 100% my own. *I’m beyond excited to partner with Safeway and Albertsons and their line of Open Nature® products to bring you this post about feasting in the outdoors. These products are created with high-quality, minimally processed ingredients… Read more »

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Albertsons and Safeway. All opinions are 100% my own.

*I’m beyond excited to partner with Safeway and Albertsons and their line of Open Nature® products to bring you this post about feasting in the outdoors. These products are created with high-quality, minimally processed ingredients without any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, just as nature intended. These products are available in my area at Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions stores., and you can find them exclusively at Albertsons Companies family of stores, including ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets and Carrs/Safeway. Visit safeway.com to find a store near you

Camping season in the PNW may be coming to a close, but we still have one more epic adventure left in us. This summer has been full of outdoor adventures. I’ve pushed myself in the outdoors in ways that have made me feel stronger and less fearful. From camping alone, to camping with a couple of moms and a whole lot of kids, to mastering the art of baking sourdough over the fire. It has been a summer filled with joyful and delicious memories, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Through all these adventures I’ve learned how to refine our pack list, what’s necessary and what isn’t, and I can guarantee you throughout every adventure we’ve eaten so very well.
So as our family is about to embark on our biggest camping trip yet, I thought I’d take you along in the planning process. If you’re just here for the food, that’s fine too. There is a Lamb Kofte recipe below that is equally delicious prepared over the fire or in the warmth of your kitchen. Click “recipe” above and you’ll be brought right to it.
For those of you who aspire to camp and want to do so with memorable meals then read on, my friends.

 

Create a plan.

My first step in preparing for camping is always to create a Google Doc with a plan for our meals. If we’re going with a small group, I also include links to the campsite and activities that we may want to consider while camping but the bulk of the doc is all about food.
Generally, if we are camping with other families, we do breakfast and dinner as a group then leave each family to take care of their own lunch.
Breakfast is usually a mix of yogurt and homemade granola and some sort of egg and potato scramble. And in our family, it’s also lots and lots of coffee enjoyed around a morning campfire.
I divide the doc into days and list out what is for dinner each day. Then, I write out a grocery list for each family and include the specifics of how the ingredients should come to the campsite. For example, we generally will have some salad with each meal so the greens should already be washed and chopped; ready to dress. This saves so much time and hassle trying to chop and clean on the campsite. Generally, I’ll ask that vegetables be already chopped as well. It saves so much time in the cooking process so we can enjoy that leisurely afternoon hike instead of having to rush back to the campsite to cook for hours – although I often don’t mind that either.
Plan your meals in such a way that the most perishable or vulnerable food items will be enjoyed first. For example, on a recent trip our first dinner was mussels in a fennel cream broth with sausage and potatoes. I picked up the mussels on the way to the campsite and kept them on ice for a couple of hours. It’s too stressful to worry if the ice in the cooler will hold long enough to keep fragile items fresh. For our last meal, on day three, we enjoyed potatoes baked in the coals with all the fixings. It’s a great meal to use up remaining ingredients and leftovers that may have accrued during the trip.

 

Know your limits.

 

I started upping our camp food game because for me, good food adds to the experience. I take great joy in feeding the people I love food that delights and wows them. The campfire became a fun challenge; could I create the same or similar food I do with ease back in my kitchen at home around the fire? The answer is YES! And often it is so much better prepared over the fire.
Something happens to me when I’m cooking with flames lapping at my cast iron and smoke is dancing around me while I move around the fire pit. I’m connecting to something primal, an instinctual nature kicks in and it satisfies me to my core. But listen, no one needs fresh baked sourdough baked over coals in order to have a memorable camping trip. You need to find what delights you in the outdoors and lean into that.
When I started cooking elaborate meals for my family over the fire, I may have taken it a little too far. There were 17 of us on the campsite and I brought real plates – not fine china mind you – but actual plates that needed washing. Lucky for me as the cook I don’t need to do the dishes but I’m quite certain my brothers were not my biggest fans when they had to hand wash 17 sets of dishes in cold camp water. Since then I’ve embraced compostable plates and utensils. My heart for the environment would prefer to use all reusable, and I do if it’s just me camping or a rather small group, but I don’t want to miss the smell of the pine, the dull roar of the waves and the time sitting around the campfire because everyone is too busy doing the dishes. I’ve found my limit and am now bringing all the Open Nature compostable products that can fit in my car.
Start small. Wrap some russet potatoes in aluminum and toss them into the coals without a care. Turn them every 10 minutes or so then top the fluffy potatoes with crisp bacon, sour cream and whatever you may have lingering in your cooler. This is one of the easiest and most satisfying meals we have had on the campsite.
Know your own limits. Find what works for you and your family and friends and lean into that.

 

Divide and conquer.

 

For us the point of the Google doc is to create a shared plan. While I tend to do the majority of the dinner cooking while camping, I’m using ingredients that everyone contributed. And since I’ve done the cooking, after dinner I’m sitting around the fire drinking a glass of wine while the dishes are being cleaned.
After many camping trips we have found what works best for our family. A system that feels equitable and shared so that we all get to enjoy our time outdoors as much as possible.
Don’t be a hero, share the tasks and divvy up the responsibilities.

Go, enjoy and let whatever may be, be.

A loaf of sourdough baked over coals is one of the most rewarding things there is but inevitably that loaf contains at least a part that is a bit charred and may require a bit of shaving unless someone is quite partial to burnt bread. But char or not it is still a loaf of fresh baked bread that has been cooked in the fire!
Embrace the char. Embrace the dirt. Embrace what is beyond your control so that you may breathe in the smell of cedar warmed by the sun, the laughter of kids who are not playing on devices, the leisurely hours spent not checking anything off of a to-do list. This is what truly delights and this is what camping is all about.

Pack List

Every trip will be different and every pack list will vary as well. It depends greatly on what is on the menu but I’ve created an extensive list of products and tools that I always bring with me when cooking outdoors and I’ll also add our pack list from a recent camping trip. Leave any questions you may have in the comments below or come find me on Instagram. I’d be happy to answer any questions. My heart is for getting everyone in the outdoors so I’m delighted to do whatever I can to make that feel accessible to all.

Outdoor Cooking Essentials

Sample Google Doc Meal Plan:

Dinner:

Sunday

Mussels in a Fennel Cream with Potatoes and Sausage
Sourdough bread
Salad
Stone Fruit Cobbler with Butter Biscuits

Monday

Roasted Mushroom & Truffle Macaroni & Cheese
Bread
Salad

Tuesday

Coal Baked Potatoes and alllllll the fixings
Salad

 

TO BRING:

Gerald & Lynne:
Firewood
Beer
Wine
Ax
Tablecloth
Paper plates
Utensils
Napkins
Aluminum foil
Salad greens, washed and chopped
Sour cream
Bacon
Cream
Briquettes/charcoal

 

Chris & Deb:
Marshmallows
Graham crackers
Chocolate
Wine
Beer
Salad greens, washed and chopped
Sausages (or Brauts)
3 Onions, diced
3 Red peppers, diced
Cream
Briquettes/charcoal
Grated sharp cheddar

 

Geoff & Amy:
Bacon
Eggs
Granola
Yogurt
Dish bin
Paper bowls (? – for granola/yogurt)

Ashley & Gabe:
Russet potatoes
Garden potatoes
Fennel
Salad dressing
Sourdough bread dough
Ritz crackers
Water
Beer
Wine
Paper plates
Salad greens
Chives
Pasta ingredients
Mama lil’s
Large cast iron
Medium cast iron
Dutch oven
Cooking utensils
Cobbler ingredients

 

Lamb Kofte with Feta Tzatziki

If lamb is not your jam feel free to substitute any ground meat here. I often like to use a mix of ground lamb and chicken or pork. If preparing this to bring to a campsite bring the seasoned meat with you along with the prepared yogurt. You can warm store-bought naan over the fire or if you want to take it next level prepare the dough at home then bake the naan over the fire. This is my favorite recipe: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/homemade-naan-recipe/

Ingredients

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground fennel

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon chili flake

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

16 ounces Open Nature Ground Lamb

Feta Tzatziki

1 cup Open Nature whole milk yogurt

1/2 cup diced cucumber

1 teaspoon dried mint

1/4 cup crumbled feta

Pinch salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 pita

Fresh cilantro, mint or other greens

Hot sauce, optional

Instructions

In a large bowl combine all the spices with the yogurt and stir well. Stir in the meat. If you are planning to cook over the fire, have everyone at the campsite gather sturdy roasting sticks.

Take about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture then form the meat around the top 4-6 inches of the stick. Roast the meat over a fire of coals (avoid cooking in the flames as it won’t cook evenly and the flavor won’t be as good). Roast until the meat is completely cooked through. This will take about 10 minutes of steady heat. Serve the kofte in a warm pita with the yogurt sauce and greens.

Prepare the yogurt sauce by mixing all of the ingredients in a small bowl. The yogurt can be made up to three days in advance.

 

Esquites Tacos

*I’m proud to partner with Watkins to bring you this story and recipe. It’s quite evident in my recipes that I’m a big fan of flavor and I rely on good, fresh organic spices and dried herbs. Watkins uses only USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients in its spices, spice blends, and herbs…. Read more »

*I’m proud to partner with Watkins to bring you this story and recipe. It’s quite evident in my recipes that I’m a big fan of flavor and I rely on good, fresh organic spices and dried herbs. Watkins uses only USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients in its spices, spice blends, and herbs. You can find their products at Watkins1868.com and select stores nationwide.

As always, the words and photos are mine. I appreciate your support and the companies who graciously partner with me so I can continue to share my stories through the recipes that fill our table.

 

You may have heard of the popular street food recipe in Mexico called Elote. If not, it’s an incredible dish that starts with corn on the cob; grilled until blackened and smoky then slathered in a creamy and spicy sauce before being rolled in cheese then finished with fresh lime juice. It is now absolutely my preferred way of eating corn. Esquites is the same idea but minus the cob. Corn kernels are blackened (or the cobs are grilled then the kernels removed) and then mixed with mayonnaise, cheese, chili powder, cilantro leaves, ground cumin, adobo seasoning and lots of lime.

Because I’m a believer in “all things are better when wrapped in a tortilla” we’ve turned this classic Mexican corn dish into a taco. It’s paired with what is basically a chunky guacamole that is loaded with scallions and a touch of sour cream (or if you’re an Antoni fan you can use Greek yogurt).

This recipe is written to feed a crowd or to have plenty of leftovers. I also added slow simmered pinto beans to bulk up the tacos but you can add grilled fish, chicken, steak, or carnitas – the options are endless.

 

 

Esquites Tacos

Ingredients

Esquites

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup crumbled Cotija or Parmesan cheese

2 tsp lime zest

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 tsp salt1 tsp Watkins Organic Chili Powder

2 TBL butter

8 corn cobs, kernels removed (or about 24 ounces corn kernels – you can use frozen corn here too)

Instructions

In a medium size bowl stir together the mayonnaise, cheese, lime zest, juice, salt and chili powder. Feel free to add more chili powder if you want more heat.

Add the butter to a large skillet set over medium high heat. When the butter sizzles add the corn then let blacken. Give a quick stir after a couple of minutes then let sit again. Add a hefty pinch of salt then turn off the heat.

Stir the blackened corn into the creamy mayonnaise mixture.

Alternately you can grill the corn cobs then let cool and remove the kernels from the cob before stirring into the creamy sauce.

Creamy Avocado and Scallion Salsa

2 large avocados, peeled and diced

5 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

2 TBL sour cream

1/2 tsp Watkins Organic Ground Cumin

1/2 tsp Watkins Organic Adobo Seasoning Pinch salt

1 TBL fresh lime juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBL minced jalapeño (more or less depending on your spice preference)

1 TBL Watkins Organic Cilantro Leaves

In a medium size bowl stir together the avocado, scallions, cumin, adobo, salt, lime juice, garlic, jalapeño and dried cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired

Tacos

12 small flour or corn tortillas

Meat or beans (optional)

Crumbled cotija or queso fresco

Pickled jalapeños

Warm the tortillas then serve with meat or beans, esquites, salsa and whatever other toppings you prefer. I’ve listed my favorites.

 

Rosemary Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce

*I’m proud to partner with Watkins to bring you this story and recipe. It’s quite evident in my recipes that I’m a big fan of flavor and I rely on good, fresh spices and dried herbs. Watkins uses only USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients. You can find their products at Watkins1868.com and… Read more »

*I’m proud to partner with Watkins to bring you this story and recipe. It’s quite evident in my recipes that I’m a big fan of flavor and I rely on good, fresh spices and dried herbs. Watkins uses only USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients. You can find their products at Watkins1868.com and select grocery stores nationwide.

As always, the words and photos are mine. I appreciate your support and the companies who graciously partner with me so I can continue to share my stories through the recipes that fill our table.

 

We dump the flour on the table, a simple action that is right but feels a bit defiant. With our hands, they are in fact the best tool for the job, we dip into the cool powder to form a soft bowl to hold the eggs. While Ivy cracks the fragile white shells, I anticipate the day when we can cross our backyard and visit our hens (who are now chicks) to gather eggs, still warm with yolks that practically glow. I’m interrupted from this dream as the last egg runs out of our flour bowl and onto the table. Ivy and I both laugh while we attempt to capture the runaway egg. Once safely contained she generously shakes fragrant rosemary onto the dough. We both breathe in deep, taking in the piney scent that now surrounds us.

While kneading the sturdy dough I take in the simplicity of this moment, these ingredients. It’s a rare reprieve from the noise and chaos that has grown familiar in my mind. Here in this moment, with all my senses engaged, I can be at the table, fingers covered in dough, laughing with my daughter while stories of past pasta making memories entertain us during our kneading.

We knead the dough until smooth then tuck it in for rest. This is not a rushed process, nor is it complicated. It’s simple yet asks you to be present, to adjust an otherwise busy schedule around its timing, not ours. I gladly accept this offer for it is also an invitation to be here now. To meditate while covered in flour and bask in gratitude with a fragrant bowl of homemade pasta under our nose.

It’s a simple act, humble, messy and imperfect but as with so much in life these are the ones that make all the difference.

 

 

 

Rosemary Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce

Yield 6-8 Servings

The pasta dough quantity here is enough for 6 – 8 servings. The sauce quantity below is enough for about 1/3 of the dough. You can easily double or triple the sauce to feed a crowd. The pasta dough can be made in advance. The dough and any leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for one day. The color may shift just slightly.

Ingredients

400 grams all-purpose flour4 large eggs1 tablespoon Watkins Organic Rosemary

For 2 large or 4 small servings (about 1/3 of the above pasta dough)

60 grams/4 tablespoons unsalted butter1 tablespoon fresh lemon juiceSea saltWatkins Organic Ground Black Pepper2 teaspoons lemon zest1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Instructions

For the pasta.Dump the flour on a large surface. Make a shallow and wide bowl in the middle of the flour. Crack the four eggs directly into the flour bowl. Add the Watkins Organic Rosemary to the eggs.Using a fork gently start to whisk the eggs, incorporating a little bit of the flour at a time. Continue to do this until the eggs and flour are the consistency of waffle batter. At this point it’s best to get your hands dirty and start kneading. Pasta dough should feel quite stiff. If it’s too dry you may add a touch of water but not too much, we don’t want a sticky dough. Knead until smooth, for about 5 to 7 minutes. Wrap well in plastic wrap then let the dough rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes. During this rest the gluten will relax and absorb the liquid. The dough will feel much smoother and cohesive after its nap.

You may use a rolling pin to make the pasta dough but if you have a pasta machine it will go quite a bit faster.Take about 1/10th of the pasta dough and keep the rest covered. On the widest setting of your pasta maker run the dough through then fold in half and run through again. Repeat at least three times. This is another way to knead the dough which will strengthen the gluten and give the pasta a pleasant bite in the end. Continue rolling the dough until you reach the desired thickness, for my pasta machine that is a 6 out of 8 settings. Add a little flour to the dough if there is any stickiness. Fold the pasta sheet in half, then half again, and again, until it’s about 2 inches wide. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in rough 1/2-inch strips. Set aside on a lightly floured sheet pan.

Prepare the sauce.

spaghetti con le sarde

*This post is in partnership with Barilla. I’m so thrilled to work with them and proclaim a shared belief that pasta is art. “Each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.” Chefs from around the world recently competed in Paris at the Pasta World Championship. Check out their… Read more »

*This post is in partnership with Barilla. I’m so thrilled to work with them and proclaim a shared belief that pasta is art. “Each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.” Chefs from around the world recently competed in Paris at the Pasta World Championship. Check out their Instagram page to meet the chefs and see the winning dish.

I’m back with more pasta inspired by the 8th annual Barilla Pasta World Championship. The competition is officially complete, and a winner has been selected. 

You guys, when I saw the competing dishes I was so impressed. The recipes for these incredible pasta dishes were pages long. There were powders and foams and multiple sauces on one plate. Mine? Well, I thought the crispy salami was a nice touch. This is why I’m the one at home sitting and eating the pasta and not out there competing. Because when all is said and done simplicity is whereI reside and I want you to be able to easily recreate this dish at home! 

 

That’s not to say I didn’t study the recipes from these chefs because their ingenuity and complexity fascinates me. I love learning from these masters – studying their methods and watching what ingredients they gather and using that to inspire a recipe that fits in our home.

Like the recipe from the Canadian competitor, Kshitiz Sethi. I was so intrigued by the combination of sardines, fennel, tomato, pine nuts and raisins that I had to give it a go. Of course, the recipe also wanted me to sous vide fresh sardines and make a delicate broth of fennel and tomatoes but I turned his idea into a 20-minute, accessible pasta dish that you can make with ingredients you most likely have in your pantry. 

 

Congratulations to all the competitors. Thanks for always inspiring. 

spaghetti con le sarde

Inspired by Kshitiz Sethi – the Canadian competitor in the Pasta World Championships

Ingredients

12 ounces Barilla Collezione Spaghetti

Sea salt

1 small shallot, diced

1 small fennel bulb (with greens and stems)

1 sardine, packed in oil, bones removed and minced

2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

Chili flake

1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Instructions

Remove the stems from the fennel bulb. Set aside 1/2 cup of the fennel fronds and slice the fennel bulb.

Set a large pot of water over high heat. Add the fennel stems to the pot and enough salt to make the water taste of the sea. 

While the water boils add olive oil to a large skillet. Sauté the shallot and fennel bulb until just starting to caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt along with the sardine and pepperoncini. Sauté for one minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, pine nuts and golden raisins. Mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before add the diced tomatoes. Add another pinch of salt and fennel pollen then let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Add some pasta water to the sauce if it gets too dry.

Drain the cooked pasta but be sure to reserve some of the pasta water. Add the pasta (minus the fennel stems) to the skillet with the sauce. Add pasta water to the sauce as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer the pasta to a serving platter then top with fennel fronds and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

 

Pasta al limone with crispy finocchiona, chanterelle and parmesan

*This post is in partnership with Barilla. I’m so thrilled to work with them and proclaim a shared belief that pasta is art. “Each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.” Right now, chefs from around the world are competing in Paris at the Pasta World Championship. Check… Read more »

*This post is in partnership with Barilla. I’m so thrilled to work with them and proclaim a shared belief that pasta is art. “Each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.” Right now, chefs from around the world are competing in Paris at the Pasta World Championship. Check out Barilla’s Instagram page  site to get the know the chefs and follow along as they crown this year’s winner. 


Have you ever thought about being a part of cooking competition? The ones where the clock ticks loudly, you have a stocked kitchen and a plan and then a mystery box is thrown in or  you have to cook with your eyes closed or use aluminum foil for your cooking vessel. Plates fall, ingredients are flying, people are sweating, and hands are thrown up as the clock menacingly hits zero.

I applaud those who can stomach it, but me? Give me a quiet kitchen, a full pantry and a glass of wine and that’s what I call cooking. Every once in a while, though I like to imagine if I were a part of a cooking competition what would I make. Especially when the challenge is simply this: prepare a signature dish. What would be the recipe that encapsulates you on a plate? 

 

The Barilla Pasta World Championship is happening in Paris right now and as much as I wish I could be there (watching, not competing) I had fun in the kitchen imagining what I would make for their first challenge: “The Masterpiece. In this challenge, the chefs will create and present their Masterpiece – their signature dish.”

 

 

A pasta-centric signature dish. I wanted to play along. So, here’s how my process went.

 

For days I haven’t been able to get Pasta al Limone out of my head. Bon Appetit posted a stunningly creamy pasta dish with citron curls of lemon peel, a heavy hand of black pepper and a few flutters of Parmesan. So, I started there, but if this was to be a masterpiece then it needs more. 

I went to the store for inspiration. That’s where my next step usually is. I wander the aisles thinking about what might be the right addition with a lemon-y pasta. I imagine myself eating the dish; it’s silky, tender and creamy so maybe I want a little crunch, some texture and bite. Standing at the deli counter I see a fennel-studded salami – finocchiona. I imagine it diced and fried until crisp. Next I spot chanterelles. It’s the time of year when they are in abundance and I am tempted to put them in everything. Their season is so short so really there’s no reason to not be eating them right now. Plus, if this is my masterpiece, I want it to tell the story of my home and one bite of chanterelles I’m immediately standing in the damp woods, under the canopy of the pines. Speaking of pine, I remember I have some leftover toasted pine nuts and think that they too would offer a nice buttery bite. To complete my masterpiece, I use Barilla Spaghetti so that all of the ingredients blend together around the pasta. Then I think about how it will all look on the plate, it’s a lot of beige at this point but nothing that a simple flurry of finely minced parsley can’t fix.

 

When all is said and done it’s a visually humble masterpiece but me on a plate? Absolutely. It’s simple with a twist. The ingredient list is short but purposeful, it has texture contrast and intrigue and is equally comfortable being eaten in a bowl on the couch with a glass of wine nearby or being served in a lovely restaurant, artfully presented. I’ll take the couch.

 

I’m not too certain it would win me the competition but I will say I am very happy with dinner tonight.

Pasta al limone with finocchiona, chanterelle and Parmesan

Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

12 ounces Barilla spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 pound finocchiona, 1/4-inch dice

1/4 pound chanterelles, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 lemon

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan

Black pepper

Sea salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons finely minced parsley

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Set a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil then add the finocchiona. Sauté until the salami is browned and crisp. Add the chanterelles along with a pinch of salt. Saute until just starting to brown, then add the garlic and continue to saute for a few minutes more. 

Using a vegetable peeler cut a 1 inch strip of the lemon peel off then zest the remaining peel using a microplane. Squeeze the juice (about 2 tablespoons) then set aside. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil then add enough salt to make it taste like the sea. Add the pasta, cook for 8-9 minutes, until it still has a good bit of bite to it. It will continue to cook in the sauce.

While the pasta cooks transfer the salami and chanterelles from the skillet to a plate. Return the skillet to the stove set over medium heat. Add the cream, 1/2 pasta water, lemon zest and a good bit of black pepper. Whisk in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Stir in 1 cup of the parmesan. Taste and add salt if needed.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce then cook, stirring well to coat the pasta. Add more pasta water if the sauce looks dry. Add the sauteed mushrooms and salami to the pasta. Stir to combine. 

Transfer the pasta to a serving platter. Cut the lemon peel into thin strips then add to the top of the pasta along with remaining Parmesan, pine nuts and parsley. Serve right away. 

Oven Baked Risotto with Butternut Squash and Candied Rosemary Walnuts

I feel like celebrating. It’s been a year (give or take a day or so) since Let’s Stay In hit the bookstores and I’m feeling sentimental. This little book went out to the world with a bit of fanfare and then I just left it to do its thing. Hoping, praying and crossing my fingers… Read more »

I feel like celebrating. It’s been a year (give or take a day or so) since Let’s Stay In hit the bookstores and I’m feeling sentimental. This little book went out to the world with a bit of fanfare and then I just left it to do its thing. Hoping, praying and crossing my fingers that the recipes will find their way into your homes, around your table and perhaps even into the stories of your families. I’ve received so many incredible messages throughout the year that indicate that my prayers were answered.

Thank you for trusting me with your time, your resources and with those precious moments spent around the table. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude today as I reflect on the incredible gift it is to be able to share this work. Just like any job there are many moments where it feels just like work. That’s when I sit back, often head into the kitchen just to cook and revel in the goodness.

Words fail me so let’s just celebrate this little occasion with a warming, special yet delightfully simple dinner. It’s what I’ll be making tonight and I hope you join me. Connecting with you all over recipes really does bring an intimacy that is felt beyond the computer screen.

Thanks for all the support and for enjoying and sharing the work I do. It would not happen without you all.

Oven Baked Risotto with Butternut Squash and Candied Rosemary Walnuts

Yield 4-6 servings

As much as I love cooking the reality is most days don’t afford me the luxury of gingerly stirring a pot for an hour with a glass of Pinot in hand. But just because that’s my reality doesn’t mean I can’t have risotto on a regular basis. Enter oven-baked risotto. This no-stir method produces a creamy, satisfying result without all the stirring (don’t worry, you can still have the wine in hand while the oven does all the work). 

The process starts with a cold oven so that pesky preheating isn’t even an issue here. And if fall is a season or two away feel free to skip the squash and candied walnuts and go for say, roasted asparagus with peas. Or how about roasted corn and tomato laced with twangy goat cheese and a few wisps of basil? The adaptability here makes this dinner a perfect candidate for cleaning out your fridge.

Ingredients

4 tablespoons/ 60 g unsalted butter, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

1 large onion, diced about 3 cups/ 450 g 

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced, about 4 cups / 540 g 

1 1/4 cups/ 250 g arborio rice

4 cups/960 ml chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup/ 240 ml white wine, divided

1 cup/ 10 g finely grated Parmesan

1/2 cup/ 60 g crumbled gorgonzola (optional)

Instructions

Add 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet. Stir in the onions and rosemary and sauté over medium heat until they just start to color, about 15 minutes. Add the butternut squash and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt then continue to cook for 5 minutes. In a 9×13 baking dish add the rice, stock, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon sea salt then stir in the butternut squash mixture. Place the dish in the middle rack of your oven. Turn the oven to 400°F. Bake the rice for 30 minutes stirring about halfway through. The rice should still be ever so chewy. Remove the rice from the oven then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup white wine and the parmesan. Serve with the candied walnuts and gorgonzola crumbles, if using. Serve while warm.

*Leftovers? Breaded in Panko crumbs leftover risotto fries up beautifully in a skillet with just a bit of oil. Add an egg if the risotto is not wanting to hold together. 

Candied Rosemary Walnuts

1 cup/ 120 g walnuts

1/4 cup/ 50 g sugar

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

Flake salt

Add the walnuts, sugar, and rosemary leaves to a dry skillet set over medium high heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar melts and caramelizes. Don’t leave the pan as the walnuts and sugar can easily burn. As the sugar starts to melt stir continuously until completely melted and the walnuts have shifted in color. The sugar will start to smoke but continue to cook until deeply caramelized. Carefully dump the caramelized walnuts onto a plate, sprinkle with flake salt then let cool. 

 

Squash and Potato Focaccia with Bay and Pecorino

* This post was created in partnership with California Olive Ranch. We’ve been working together this year  to bring you some special recipes that highlight this beautiful olive oil. I’ve been using their olive oil for years now because they produce a high quality oil for an everyday price. They work with farmers in California… Read more »

* This post was created in partnership with California Olive Ranch. We’ve been working together this year  to bring you some special recipes that highlight this beautiful olive oil. I’ve been using their olive oil for years now because they produce a high quality oil for an everyday price. They work with farmers in California and around the world to source their olive oil in order to create perfect blends.

As always the words, images and opinions are my own. A very hearty thank you to all of you who support the brands that believe in the work I do here.

As much as I love the abundance of produce in the summer it’s fall that I’d consider to be the season of cooking. There’s a chill in the air that settles me inside. I’m home, warm and content. As the rain patters against the window and the gray settles in I take it upon myself, a duty and an honor, to fill the air with scents of spice, roasts and freshly wakened yeast. Simple joys when slowly added together build a lifetime of loving memories.

Now that we’re settling back into a rhythm and routine of the fall and the sun softens its heat, the oven is back on, dinner is once again served round the table and I’m happy.

This focaccia recipe is from my latest book, Let’s Stay In. I loved it when I wrote it (which is why it’s in the book) but since publication this recipe has been fully lived in. The dough comes together quickly and while it can handle a slow rise it’s not required. I can throw the dough together between inbox sessions then about 30 minutes before we plan to eat I ravage the fridge and figure out what to throw on top. Served with a simple salad it makes a stunning meal that doesn’t feel as thrown together as it really is. 

As luck would have it on this particular day I had a delicata squash and a potato sitting next to one another in the vegetable bowl. While I’m the only one in the family who heralds squash season with fanfare this simple pizza of sorts got rave reviews from each seat at the table.

Bay leaves add a fragrant floral note but rosemary would also do nicely here, as would sage or thyme. I thought Parmesan would finish the focaccia but it turns out pecorino is what I had on hand. All of that to say, this is endlessly adaptable. 

Squash and Potato Focaccia with Bay and Pecorino

Ingredients

3 cups / 1 lb/ 455 g flour

1 tablespoon yeast

2 teaspoons sea salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cup / 10 ounces/ 300 ml warm water

1/4 cup / 1 3/4 ounce / 60 ml California Olive Ranch Destination Series Mild & Buttery olive oil

1/2 delicata squash, deseeded

1/2 large yukon gold potato

5 fresh bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon chili flake

1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or in a large bowl using your hands as the dough hook) add the flour, yeast, sea salt, and sugar. Mix just a few seconds to combine. Stir in the warm water and olive oil then knead until a smooth, sticky dough forms. Let this rise until doubled, about an hour, or plop into a greased and lidded container in the fridge overnight.

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

After the first rise add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a parchment lined sheet pan. Add the dough to the pan and coat the dough in the oil. Start to press the dough to cover the pan. It will resist at first but stretch it as far as it wants to go then let it rest a few minutes then stretch again. Continue until the dough reaches all four corners of the pan.

Using a mandolin (or a very sharp knife) slice the delicata squash very thin, about 1/8-inch. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and slice using the same thickness. They need to be sliced super thin in order to cook through in the oven.

Layer the squash and potato on the focaccia dough until covered then slip in the bay leaves. Sprinkled with chili flake, olive oil and flake salt. Let rise for 30 minutes. 

Leg of Lamb, Lemon and Mint Salad

  Rare is the book that changes you from within. That shifts your way of thinking, even if subtle, so that every breath, every step outside, every gentle breeze feels new. For me, Braiding Sweetgrass is that book. The heart behind Robin Wall Kimmerer’s words are what inspired the intention behind our Nourishing Through Nature… Read more »

 

Rare is the book that changes you from within. That shifts your way of thinking, even if subtle, so that every breath, every step outside, every gentle breeze feels new. For me, Braiding Sweetgrass is that book. The heart behind Robin Wall Kimmerer’s words are what inspired the intention behind our Nourishing Through Nature Workshop we hosted earlier this summer.

“Know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them.
Introduce yourself. Be accountable as the one who comes asking for life. Ask permission before taking. Abide by the answer.
Never take the first. Never take the last. Take only what you need.
Take only that which is given.

Never take more than half. Leave some for others. Harvest in a way that minimizes harm.
Use it respectfully. Never waste what you have taken. Share.
Give thanks for what you have been given.
Give a gift, in reciprocity for what you have taken.
Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last forever.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Leg of Lamb, Lemon and Mint Salad

Ingredients

1 4-5 pound leg of lamb

salt and pepper

2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt

2 small Meyer lemons

1 generous cup fresh mint leaves

Instructions

If you’re the sort that plans ahead, generously salt and pepper your lamb leg the day before you plan to cook it.

You are welcome to add more spices to your lamb. I really enjoy coriander and cumin. On this particular day I used a dried morel salt to season the lamb.

If using a grill, preheat until very hot. If you plan to cook over the fire, ignite a large fire then let it burn down to a hot pile of coals. Cook the lamb about 8-10 inches from the coals on a grill grate. You may have to move the lamb leg around a bit to keep it from charring too much.

I’ve found that a deep sear, about 7 minutes per side, and then another 10 minutes on a cooler part of the grill or fire gets me a beautiful medium rare lamb. Use a meat thermometer for the most accuracy. 145°F is just right for medium rare.

Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes.

While the lamb rests, generously slather the yogurt on the bottom of your platter. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the lemons into 1/8-inch thick small triangles and tear the mint leaves.

Add pieces of thinly sliced lamb to the yogurt. Then top with the lemon and mint.

This workshop is the work of many hands.

Photos: Gabriel Rodriguez

Florals: Teressa Johnson

Natural Dying: Hina Mughal

Location: Oxbow Farm and Conservation Center

Serveware: Barebones Living

Partner: American Lamb Board

 

farro salad with preserved lemon, rhubarb and yogurt

Grandpa would have been 100 this past fourth of July. He died just a few weeks short of his 99th birthday last summer. We celebrated in the same way we’ve done my entire life, fireworks and a table full of food meant for grazing on all day long. The only difference was there was no… Read more »

Grandpa would have been 100 this past fourth of July. He died just a few weeks short of his 99th birthday last summer.

We celebrated in the same way we’ve done my entire life, fireworks and a table full of food meant for grazing on all day long. The only difference was there was no birthday cake. Ivy and I did bring a no-bake cheesecake tart decorated with berries to look like an American flag. Grandma would have loved it.

I also brought this salad. It’s hearty and simple and yet each bite is fragrant, floral and fresh. Nestled in a large ceramic bowl with creamy unsweetened yogurt as the base this salad sat on the table next to two Snicker Salads. One my son, Baron, made because he feared we would run out of this classic. The other my aunt made because she always does. It’s snickers, green apples, pudding, and cool whip. Also, it’s important that you know that it is not a dessert. It is most definitely served right along side the hot dogs and hamburgers.

Food is so funny in that way. Because of tradition I have an affinity towards store bought birthday cake, Lay’s potato chips and a salad of pudding and whipped topping. I crave those tastes and the flood of memories that come with them. I also crave the bright pungent hit of preserved lemon, set alongside sweet dates and tart raw rhubarb. I eat both this farro salad and snickers salad with deep joy and no shame.

One is perhaps better for my body and the others, well on a day when you wished nothing more than to be celebrating your grandparents with them there, the other foods were for my heart. And sometimes that is okay too.

Farro Salad with Preserved Lemon, Rhubarb and Yogurt

Yield 6 – 8 servings

This salad was inspired by one eaten and enjoyed at Vif here in Seattle. 

I feel in love with the tart crunch of raw rhubarb. It is perfectly suited with the sweetness from the dates. Large leaves of mint may seem a daunting bite but I assure you they are everything in this salad. 

Ingredients

8 ounces Italian pearled farro, cooked until tender in salted water (3 cups cooked)

4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 slender rhubarb stalk, thinly sliced

1/3 cup pitted, chopped Medjool dates

1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup mint leaves

2 cups arugula

Flake salt

1 pint whole milk Greek yogurt

Instructions

In a large bowl combine the farro, scallions, rhubarb, dates, preserved lemon, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir until well combine.

This can stay refrigerated for up to three days.

Just before serving toss with the mint and arugula. Taste and finish with flake salt.

Smear the yogurt on the base of the serving bowl or platter then top with the salad.

Whole Grain Linguine with Salmon and Asparagus

*This post is proudly created in partnership with Barilla.  May was Mediterranean Diet Month which was just ranked #1 best overall diet for the second year in a row. So this recipe was inspired by this special Month. Lucky for us pasta plays an important role in that diet. So really, it’s a diet I… Read more »

*This post is proudly created in partnership with Barilla.  May was Mediterranean Diet Month which was just ranked #1 best overall diet for the second year in a row. So this recipe was inspired by this special Month. Lucky for us pasta plays an important role in that diet. So really, it’s a diet I can get behind all year long.

 

If you could peer into the window on a weeknight in our home you’d probably see pasta on the table. And if you are peering through the window, just come on in because we would love to have you join us.

Pasta is my go-to weeknight meal when the cupboards and fridge are starting to look bare. I’ll often start by thinking about what vegetables I have and want to use with the pasta, from there I may add a protein sometimes in the form of an egg stirred into the sauce or the finished plate topped with a soft boiled egg. There is always some form of cheese and loads of fresh herbs.

To celebrate Mediterranean Diet Month Barilla asked if I would create a pasta using their “Italian Recipe Builder”. I realized that this beautifully illustrated flow chart is basically the same process that happens when it’s pasta for dinner. Using this chart you can create hundreds of different pasta recipes. I tend to add a bit more cheese but I don’t think the Italians mind. These are the sort of recipes I love. The ones that leave plenty of room for creativity and feel both comforting and virtuous.

I’m usually a purist when it comes to pasta but I really enjoyed the nutty heartiness from the whole grain linguine. If fresh salmon isn’t available smoked salmon works beautifully. Feel free to use dill or parsley in place of the chives.

 

Whole Grain Linguine with Salmon and Asparagus

Yield 6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 12 ounce box Barilla Whole Grain Linguine

Sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup shallot

12 ounces cubed salmon

2 cups roughly chopped asparagus

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup chopped chives

Instructions

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water then cook one minute less than the package directions. While the pasta cooks add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium high heat. Sauté the shallot under tender and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the salmon and cook until opaque on the outside, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the asparagus and a heavy pinch or two of salt. Cook until the asparagus is just cooked through.

Carefully stir in the pasta with 1/3 cup pasta water. Stir in the Parmesan. Add more pasta water if needed.

Finish with chives then taste and adjust seasoning as needed.