Archive for the ‘Garden Goodness’ Category

This Saturday was the first one I have had off from work ALL summer…crazy I know! I love farmers markets and since they are usually on Saturdays I have been unable to go. I was SO excited to have this one off so I jumped at the opportunity to the local farmers market with some of my friends. This one is right down the street from my house and it was so much fun…lots of yummy food, beautiful crafts, and everything else that farmers markets have! I bought lots of fresh veggies and put together the yummiest dinner with them and a kafir lime curry sauce that I bought as well. I am definitely going to try to hit up more farmers markets before they stop in October…lots yummy and healthy fruit and veggies and I love tasting everything!!! Below are some pictures of the fresh produce and the dinner that I made with my goodies! ūüôā

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I’ve eaten a staggering amount of kale this summer and am constantly finding endless ways to prepare it.¬† Here’s the latest from Mom/Auntie Joan…

Wash and dry a bunch of kale leaves and remove stems and spines (I use my kitchen shears). Slice the kale. In a frying pan, saute half a sliced onion and a crushed clove of garlic in olive oil.¬† Add the kale and continue to stir fry for a few minutes.¬† Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, put a lid on the pan, turn down the heat and let steam for a few minutes.¬† It’s the perfect side dish for almost everything.¬† Enjoy!

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My mom has been making pesto bread for as long as I can remember and it is one of my favorite appetizers. The combination of warm, fresh bread and flavorful pesto is oh so delicious and just thinking about it right now is making me crave it! This is a great party appetizer and it’s so easy to make. If you keep pesto frozen in your freezer, you can make pesto bread at any time of the year!


  • Pesto (homemade or store bought, but homemade is best :))
  • 1 large loaf of fresh French bread (or your favorite bread)
  • Olive oil¬†


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. You can also cook this on the grill in the summertime, just turn up your grill to high.
  2. Coat one side of the bread with olive oil and the other with pesto, as much as you like.
  3. Place bread on cookie sheet (or grill) oil side down and pesto side up.
  4. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until pesto starts to melt into the bread a bit.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!

Note: Want to spice up your pesto bread a bit? You can add mozzarella and/or tomato, prosciutto, or whatever else you like!

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Photo Credit: Ifinite Trends

I got an email from Auntie Martha yesterday with a note about a bruschetta she was making to take to a friend’s house for dinner that evening – the ingredients were decidedly summery (namely the fresh peaches) and the combo sounded delicious so I thought I would share…

Topping: fresh tomatoes, fresh peaches, basil, parsley, onions, garlic, olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar to liven it up. Served over toasted bread which she brushed with olive oil before hand. Yum!

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Photo Credit: Keaolani Duhaylongsod

The long, warm summer days are here and I find myself eating later and later in the evening (9 p.m. last night!) and choosing much lighter food (I have to buy three bags of Ma’o greens from the farmers market just to make it through the week).¬† With salad combos on my mind, I was wandering around the Kanu Hawaii website this morning and came across this recipe for Spicy Ahi & Avocado Summer salad by member Keaolani Duhaylongsod (she modified a similar recipe from Sam Choy) – it looked so ono I had to share it.

Keaolani posted this as a Slow Food recipe – encouraging local food sustainability by using all local ingredients.¬† For those of you who can’t get locally caught, fresh tuna, either try experimenting with another type of fish that you do get locally (the firmer the better), or at least make sure that the tuna is raised and caught as sustainably as possible.¬† As for the veggies, what a good excuse to plant a garden!

Spicy ‘Ahi & Avocado Summer Salad

1. Cube up some LOCAL ‘ahi poke (about 1 lb.) and 2 small LOCAL avocadoes.

2. Mix 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tsp. hot chili sauce (Sriracha) to desired taste, 1 T. shoyu, and 1 tsp. garlic (pressed or minced). Toss this chili mayo sauce with the ‘ahi and avocado. Set aside.

3. Make a salad dressing out of 6 T. ponzu flavored soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil. Add sugar and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle this over a bed of lettuce leaves (or chopped/torn leaves).

4. Layer a scoop of the ‘ahi/avocado mixture on top of the lettuce bed. Then top it with LOCAL garnishes of your choice: sliced LOCAL cucumbers, LOCAL tomatoes, LOCAL cabbage, LOCAL papaya, etc. I also topped it with nori (seaweed) cut into strips.¬† He ‘ono la!

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Photo Credit: Kanu Hawaii

Ever wondered how poi is made?¬† Check out this Friday’s Lunch Live with Daniel Anthony on the Kanu homepage.

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Last night at a dinner party my girlfriend brought a gigantic salad (she works at Ma’o Farms so she always gets stuck bringing the greens!) with fresh papaya seed dressing.¬† It was SO good I had to share it, especially because I know this is an Elpern favorite!¬† Not only did I save some of the salad to take home, I also stole what was left of the dressing ūüôā¬† Here is the recipe she got off of Recipe Zaar (I’ve edited it a bit to reflect the ingredients my girlfriend used).

So easy to make, this version of the dressing is much lighter and tastier than the bottled creamier versions you can get in the store.¬† I guarantee that once you try this, you’ll never go back.¬† Once you are done with the seeds, dice up the meat of the papaya and add it to the salad.

  • 1¬†tablespoon fresh papaya seeds
  • 1/2¬†small onion
  • 1/4¬†cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4¬†cup sugar
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon salt
  • 1¬†teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2¬†cup vegetable oil


In a food processor, whir together the papaya seeds and onion until finely chopped.  Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and mustard and pulse 3 or 4 times.  With the processor running, gradually add the oil in a thin stream until dressing emulsifies.  Use over your favorite salad greens and refrigerate what is left over.  Enjoy!

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(Larry Crowe, The Associated Press)

I saw this recipe in today’s Denver Post and wanted to share it. I think it will make a perfect summer party appetizer. I love asparagus, peas, and brie, so¬†I will definitely be trying it out soon!¬†


Asparagus and Pea Toasts with Brie

By The Denver Post

POSTED: 06/02/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT 

Recipe by J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press. Start to finish: 20 minutes. Servings: 4.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large slices rustic sourdough bread ( 1/2 inch thick)¬†
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil¬†
  • 1 clove garlic, minced¬†
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced¬†
  • 1 bunch asparagus, bottoms trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths¬†
  • 1 cup fresh peas¬†
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste¬†
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint¬†
  • 6 to 8 ounces brie¬†


  1. Heat the oven to broil. 
  2. Divide the butter between the bread slices, spreading it evenly over one side of each. Set aside. 
  3. In a large skillet over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, asparagus and peas. Saute until the asparagus is just barely tender, about 4 minutes. 
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the mint. Set aside. 
  5. Place the bread slices under the broiler. Toast until just lightly browned and the butter is melted. Remove bread from the oven and smear a quarter of the brie over each slice. Return to the broiler for another minute. Top each slice with a quarter of the asparagus and pea mixture. 

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 596 calories; 224 calories from fat; 25g fat (13g saturated; 0g trans fats); 65mg cholesterol; 67g carbohydrate; 27g protein; 7g fiber; 1,063mg sodium.

Source: The Denver Post

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I was at the supermarket today after yoga and saw tomatoes in all kinds of beautiful colors and I thought oooh, I’m going to make a pretty tomato salad! I picked up red, yellow, orange, and green tomatoes and a container of feta and hurried home to put it together. I rinsed and cut the tomatoes and them arranged them on a plate, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and topped with feta. The result- AMAZING! It’s perfect for a light lunch or for a dinner appetizer. I can’t wait to make it again soon! ūüôā

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Shibi (baby yellow fin tuna), grapefruit, pickled fennel and a whole bunch of other yummy goodness

Saturday, as Lesley and I lazed around wondering what to do with ourselves, I flipped through the latest Twitter posts on my phone for some inspiration and came across a photo from @edstown of that night’s dinner menu at Town which looked incredible.¬† Lesley had never been there before and I’ve been craving it for months so we decided to splurge a bit and make it a date night – problem solved.

Beet, Arugula, Orange, Chickpea and Ricotta salad

Good thing we made reservations because it was packed when we arrived.¬† I love everything about this restaurant; the aesthetic of it makes you feel like you are at your friends house for dinner, the food is all farm-to-table (New American type dishes), the staff is great, and everything I’ve ever eaten there has been to-die-for delicious.¬† And that night was no exception.¬† We shared a bottle of white Italian wine, bread (I would kill for their bread recipe)/olive oil/butter/olives, a beet/orange/arugula/ricotta salad, shibi(baby yellow fin tuna)/pickled fennel/grapefruit appetizer, fresh ono with fresh veggies and a meyer lemon berry butter sauce, hand cut pasta with eggplant and prosciutto, and finally buttermilk panna cotta drizzled in honey.¬† If that doesn’t make your mouth water I don’t know what will.

So ono!

Great for lunch as well, I will have to make it a point to not let so much time go by before I find myself back there.¬† The game plan for next time however is to share an entree so that we can share the apple banana/chocolate panini for dessert….heaven in between two slices of bread I imagine.¬† Also on the list of things to try is their Wine Down Wednesday event where they have a special menu with wine pairings….For reviews, phone numbers etc. go HERE.

The hand-cut pasta was silky, flavorful and not overly heavy. The leftovers the next day were amazing!

"Milk & Honey" Buttermilk panna cotta drizzled in local honey....perfectly light and refreshing after a big meal!

Cheers to good food and even better company!

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