We are in Minnesota for a much needed family vacation. I have to admit that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing and that’s mostly thanks to my body deciding that vacation = fall apart. I got a pretty epic summer cold and then my neck and left shoulder seized up, leaving me immobile for the past 3 days, thanks to a seven year old car accident injury. Did I mention that we drove from Denver to Minneapolis? Yep. It’s been quite the trip so far. On the plus side, Riley is having a blast with his Minnesota grandparents, we all seem to be breathing a little easier now that we’re getting settled in, the weather is perfection, annnnnnd there’s this Wild Rice Salad. So it can’t be all bad, right?
I love wild rice. It’s so beautiful and satisfying in a variety of dishes. Casseroles? Um, yes. Soup? Duh. Salads? Absolutely. Plus, it is one of Minnesota’s claims to fame (for good reason). Here, I’ve taken cooked, chilled wild rice and tossed it with some baby spinach leaves, beautiful red strawberries, and a creamy, citrusy tahini vinaigrette. It’s an ideal summer lunch that packs tons of flavor, countless health benefits, and it is 100% added sugar free. WIN. Continue Reading →
My sister has returned with a refreshing and healthy beverage to kick off your weekend. If you’re still recovering post-July 4th, this Cardamom Lassi is the perfect solution! Also, don’t forget to check out Rebecca’s blog here.
A lassi is a cold yogurt drink. As far as I can tell, there are as many recipes for a lassi as there are people who drink them. Some are smoothie-esque, some are savory, some use water, some use ice, etc. I like it tart but you could add more sugar if you want. Or less. Or use honey. Mango is a more conventional flavoring. Try adding banana instead of sugar. Whatever.
Oh … and I suppose you could add some kind of booze to make it a cocktail – but why? Turn off the glowing rectangles and take some deep breaths. Look around you. Read a book. Talk to people you love about things you love. Plan your next move.
That’s what I’ll be doing tonight. No booze required.
When Brad and I were living in Tokyo, I used to dream of summer when we would be able to come home and enjoy the best summer produce. I know it sounds strange. We were living in the food capitol of the universe, surrounded by amazing food stuffs every single day, and I was anxious to come home to farmer’s markets. I guess that just speaks to how special this time of year is when it comes to eating fresh, whole foods. This heirloom tomato and halloumi salad is a perfect example of the kind of food I craved. Sweet, juicy, colorful tomatoes, salty cheese, and loads of fresh herbs simply cannot be beat. Well, the buttery salmon sashimi we bought at the local market always made me weak in the knees. So there’s that.
One year, we flew to San Francisco and stayed for a few days. It was our first time in this beautiful city and one of our first trips was to the Ferry Building Famer’s Market. I immediately bought a giant heirloom tomato, some locally baked ciabatta, and locally made goat cheese. I tore off a piece of bread, slather it with goat cheese and used a plastic knife to cut a thick slice of tomato. Each and every bite was absolute heaven. Tomato juice dripped down my chin and I devoured that little sandwich like my life depended on it. Glorious. Continue Reading →
Hello, holiday food hangover. I did not miss you. Hello, date sweetened peach BBQ sauce. You are a lifesaver. Before I get into the recipe, I want to share some pretty personal stuff with you all because as a food blogger food can sometimes be my biggest enemy. I have to learn, just like anyone else, how to eat and cook to keep myself and my family healthy.
I kind of lost control this 4th of July and ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright embarrassing at times. I’m slowly working my way back to feeling normal again, but it’s taking some work. A few things I’m working on to reduce the amount of preservatives and added sugar going into my body:
- Making my own sandwich bread
- Making my own condiments (enchilada sauce, this Date-Sweetened Peach BBQ Sauce, and ricotta cheese)
- Eating ALL of the fruit
- Going on more walks
It’s pretty amazing how these small changes make a huge difference in how my mind and body function. Beginning in college, I started to be more aware of what I was eating and why. Late in high school, I was eating because I was nervous, sad, happy, frustrated, tired, awake, bored, busy…you get the idea. I had no concept of portion control and found myself nearly 30 pounds overweight for my 5 foot 3 inch frame. Something clicked during my freshmen year of college and by simply paying attention to how much I ate and exercising more regularly, I lost 20 pounds by the time I returned for my sophomore year. Continue Reading →
Ah, Sangria. It’s the perfect way to refresh on a hot afternoon and an ideal cocktail to serve to guests. I love how Sangria leaves room for creativity. Red wine, white wine, and even sparkling wines make the perfect base. From there, you just need to add something sweet along with some fruit. It all comes together perfectly every time. This Prosecco Sangria is quite possibly the most refreshing sangria everrrrrrr. Just throwing that out there.
This time of year, something light and bubbly fits perfectly into any celebration. Here, I’ve used white peaches, blueberries and strawberries. Instead of adding anything sugary, I simply smashed an entire peach with the small bit of bourbon the recipe calls for, then poured it through a strainer into a pitcher. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 people but it is very easy to double or triple if needed. Continue Reading →
We have been doing a lot of grilling this week. The temperatures climbed quite high in the beginning of the week making any sort of cooking in the kitchen completely miserable. Today is pleasantly cool which is a relief because I’m spending the entire day working on recipes for project I’m doing with United Noodles in Minneapolis. Lots of Japanese food happening today! But before I delve into a day of recipe testing, I want to share this perfect 4th of July recipe with you. It’s really two recipes in one so it’s twice as nice! If you’re grilling this weekend, you’re going to want this all purpose dry rub recipe that works for more than just pork loin chops. From fish and chicken to pork and beef you’ll be rubbing everything with this flavorful, easy rub that you can make with spices from your pantry.
I started making this rub a few years ago. Initially we only used it on chicken drumsticks but I quickly found that it tasted great on just about anything. You can also vary the recipe depending on your taste preferences. More heat? Add a little more chili powder. Smokier flavor? Add more cumin and use smoked paprika instead of regular. My favorite dried herb to use is oregano but you could easily substitute anything from dried thyme to basil or even rosemary. Then you just mix it all together and store it in an airtight container to use as you please! Continue Reading →
Summer is in full swing which means BBQ parties, pool parties, impromptu cocktail parties and lots of reasons to try new cocktails recipes! To make summer cocktailing a little easier for you, I’ve put together a list of my 10 summer cocktail recipes from Set the Table. TEN cocktail recipes all in one place. Just for you. That’s a good reason to say ‘cheers’!
Whether you’re hosting an Independence Day bash or just need some cocktail ideas in your back pocket for last minute gatherings, this list has you covered. Continue Reading →
Living in Japan for four years taught me a lot. One of the earliest things I learned was that food speaks volumes about our experiences. When we first moved to Japan my cooking repertoire was quite limited. I had a few Midwestern comfort food classics up my sleeve and some simple Italian dishes from some of the first cookbooks I owned as an adult. Other than that, I was at a bit of a dead end. It took me some time to realize that even the small, seemingly insignificant food items that we purchased on a regular basis would leave a noticeable mark on what comes out of my kitchen. This furikake butter is a perfect example. Continue Reading →
This Rustic Honey Nectarine Tart saved me a little. Let me explain…
I spent an entire day in the kitchen on Friday, which is not unusual for me, testing a recipe for Japanese Cheesecake. Everything had been going perfectly all day so I was feeling rather confident and pleased with myself. The egg whites were a perfect consistency, light and airy with stiff peaks. The cream cheese mixture was a beautiful pale yellow from the addition of egg whites and had a lovely fragrance thanks to delicate vanilla extract. Yes, everything was going just as planned. Continue Reading →
My sister, Rebecca (who also blogs here), will be taking the reigns on Fridays for a while and I am SO excited about it! Armed with her trusty iPhone and lots of Happy Hour experience, I know she will be bringing some great stuff to Set the Table! This spiked lemonade is perfect for summer, which officially starts tomorrow.
It’s been stormy in the Midwest this week. In Minneapolis, the Mississippi is getting a little too mighty. Minnehaha Creek is rolling up and up and up into the backyards of South Minneapolis and strong winds have knocked down trees and caused power outages almost every other day.
We’ve heard the power is out at home. I’m in Chicago for a few days though and here, the power is definitely ON.
Generally, I don’t mind when the power goes out for a little while. It’s not like we live in a loud place (we’re basically in the country). Still, there is the tug of the iPhone, the hum of the appliances, and the lure of the television. But when the power goes out? Quiet. Quiet like you never knew it was so loud in the first place. Nothing beeps or blinks or hums and time stretches out like taffy. It’s a mini wake up call. Continue Reading →