I have met some truly incredible people in the four years since I started blogging: one of them is my friend Melissa Lanz. I first encountered Melissa “virtually” in an online food writing class over a year ago, and in that class, I learned that Melissa is a very talented writer. I’ve since met her in person and know her to be a brilliant businesswomen, as well as a very beautiful person, both inside and out.
Melissa is the founder of The Fresh 20, a meal planning service that focuses on helping busy families eat well, at home, together. The Fresh 20 philosophy revolves around shopping for 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients that you can use to make 5 easy, healthy weeknight meals. Her system can help you not just eat better, but save time, money, and reduce waste, too.
Like I said, Melissa is brilliant. And now she’s also the author of a cookbook!
The Fresh 20: 20-Ingredient Meal Plans for Health and Happiness 5 Nights a Week is a companion to Melissa’s online business, but it’s a fabulous cookbook on its own. She sent me a copy to review and I can’t say enough good things about it: the recipes are great and it is beautifully photographed by her husband, Trent Lanz.
I shopped for and cooked a week’s worth of meals as per the book’s instructions back in June and they were all terrific: this Coconut Curry-Style Fish Soup was one of them.
If you’ve been reading my site for a while, you probably know that I am crazy for soup, and that soups made with coconut milk are a particular favorite of mine. I’ve now happily added this one to my repertoire. I added a handful of minced Thai basil and a minced hot chile pepper (both from my garden) to the recipe to spice it up a bit and found that it’s wonderful both hot and cold, so give it a go even if the weather in your neck of the woods doesn’t necessarily have you thinking about soup yet.
I loved this soup topped with some kimchi, and you can serve it with Asian hot sauce, too, if you like. I recommend giving this recipe for homemade sriracha a try.
We’re big on kombucha in my house. It’s is one of my favorite healthy thirst quenchers, and I wrote a guest post for MindBodyGreen about how and why to make kombucha at home. I’m posting the recipe below as well, along with some links to additional recipes and resources that may be helpful if you are interested in making your own kombucha :)
Note that I adapted this recipe just slightly from the new (and wonderful!) book Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods. There are many different recipes for making kombucha floating around the internet, but I like this one because it’s very simple. A lot of people seem to be intimidated when it comes to homemade kombucha, but it’s not at all difficult. Give it a try! If you have questions or concerns, please ask them in the comments section below.
Summer’s almost over and I haven’t yet shared my iced coffee frappe recipe? This is a problem. A problem that must be remedied immediately.
If they weren’t super expensive (and filled with who-knows-what as far as the ingredients go), I’d be at Starbucks getting a “frappucino” pretty much every day in the summer. I mean it…I really love them! So to avoid that scenario, I came up with a simple, yet delicious, homemade version.
The secret ingredient in this drink is organic, freeze-dried, instant decaf coffee. I love this stuff…it’s tasty and so convenient! And it’s perfect for making blended iced coffee drinks. (My health food store carries it in both the regular and decaf versions…maybe your’s does, too.) Sure, you can make a blended iced coffee drink with chilled brewed coffee but I don’t make mine that way, so I can’t help you out as far as a recipe goes.
You need a good blender for this recipe. Not necessarily an expensive on, but one that won’t crap out on you when you attempt to blend lots of ice in it. I have a high speed blender called a Blendtec and I love it. It’s not cheap but I use it every single day and have for years…it’s an excellent machine for making smoothies with frozen fruit, too.
By the way, you know what makes this iced coffee frappe even more delicious? You guessed it: ICE CREAM! Add a scoop or two of vanilla (or chocolate or coffee) ice cream for extra deliciousness. If you do so, you may want to cut back on the maple syrup (or whatever sweetener you decide to use) so it’s not too sweet :)
I grow many types of organic heirloom tomatoes each summer. Though I have made and water-bath canned several different kinds of cooked salsas in years past, I decided not to bother this year. I far and away prefer to make and eat fresh salsa (aka Salsa Fresca or Pico de Gallo) with my tomatoes right after I pluck them off the vine.
I take a pretty loose approach to salsa making. I don’t really follow a recipe- I simply chop up a slew of tomatoes, then add a little of this and a little of that. Red onion is a must. So is lime juice, cilantro, and some jalapeño chile. Sometimes I may add cucumbers…avocado is another option. In the pictures here, you’ll notice I added fresh (raw) corn sliced right off the cob.
Below is a basic fresh salsa recipe with which you may play around. Chop the tomatoes as big or as small as you like, and use different colored heirloom tomatoes, if possible (though if you want your salsa to contain as little liquid as possible, it’s best to use plum tomatoes). Make a little to snack on with crackers or chips, or to eat with veggies, or throw together a big batch to enjoy with tacos or any Mexican-inspired meal. I’ve been known to eat a big bowl in lieu of a salad! Have fun and enjoy.
My house has a longish rocky driveway and purslane grows like crazy along the edges. I also find it in my garden beds, so I eat it quite a lot. I love its slightly sour flavor raw in salads, and I occasionally cook with it. But it never occurred to me to make pickled purslane until I saw a recipe in Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West.
I am new to Kevin’s work (he also has a blog called Saving the Season) and I really enjoy his writing. I own many preserving books but have found Saving the Season to be particularly charming. I’ve loved everything from the book I’ve made so far this summer, including several types of jams and the Sunshine Pickles…Kevin’s recipes are truly inspiring and unique.
Purslane is an edible wild plant with an incredible nutritional profile. According to herbalist Susun Weed, purslane is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, as well as the minerals calcium and magnesium. Purslane is also a source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha linolenic acid). This recipe is easy to make except for one thing: you have to pluck the leaves from the purslane stems (and 1/4 pound is A LOT of purslane leaves!). This is a bit of a pain to be sure, but if you quiet your lazy bits and get meditative about it, you may actually enjoy it. I did.
So how do you eat pickled purslane? Kevin suggests serving it with sandwiches or charcuterie. I like it straight out of the jar…I’ve found it to be a welcome addition to scrambled eggs and enjoy it tossed into salads, too.