Hello, friends! It’s been awhile.
I took a much needed break from blogging, and it was really good for my soul. I’ve cooked with a strange sense of freedom for the past few months. I haven’t had to worry about whether or not a dish will photograph well. I’ve been able to go back and cook a lot of my old favorites, because I wasn’t worried about coming up with blog content. I haven’t had to think about lighting or composition or SEO or any of that stuff. Nope, I just cooked whatever I felt like cooking. I’ve made an effort to use what I have on hand. To waste less, and utilize my pantry and garden more. It’s been incredibly refreshing.
But, I’ve missed blogging. I’m itching to write, to get in the kitchen and try new things. To experiment and daydream and tinker. I’m still figuring out how to balance work and life and motherhood and blogging. It’s a challenge, but I’m getting there. Baby steps.
So, here I am. I decided to jump back into blogging, right in the middle of the craziest heat wave Portland has ever seen in June. The weather is gross. But, for whatever reason, I’ve felt inspired and creative and I’ve been in the kitchen a lot. Granted, I haven’t been “cooking”, per se. No, I’ve been assembling and arranging delicious meals with a minimum of cooking with any sort of heat. I refuse to turn on my oven.
For my grand return to blogging, I thought I’d share with you a few of the recipes that have been my saving grace during this crazy heat wave. Below, I’ll share my recipe for my new favorite summer salad – Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad – as well as links to a whole bunch of other recipes that are perfect for hot summer nights. These recipes all require little or no cooking (or a slow cooker!) and are some of my all-time favorites for summertime eatin’.
First the links (recipe for Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad to follow!):
THE BEST LENTIL SALAD, EVER (from My New Roots) – This salad is true to its name. It is the best lentil salad, ever. The dressing requires a lot of spices (be sure you’re stocked up), but other than that it’s super easy to make. And I make it with pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s so no cooking is required!
PAD THAI SPRING ROLLS WITH RED CURRY PEANUT SAUCE (from With Food and Love) – I haven’t actually made THIS recipe yet, but I make a lot of spring rolls this time of year. Throw some greens, protein, rice noodles and pickled veg into a rice paper wrapper and call it good. And here’s my favorite peanut sauce recipe, for dipping!
GARDEN GAZPACHO (from the blog archives) – classic summertime fare. This version includes a few fire roasted tomatoes (which won’t heat up your house, I promise) and a whole jalapeno, for good measure.
BUCKWHEAT SOBA SALAD WITH SNOW PEAS AND RADISHES (From my blog archives) – I could eat soba salads every day and be happy. I make a lot of different variations of cold soba salads, but this one might be my favorite. It’s simple, easy, and tasty.
STRAWBERRY CAPRESE WITH PISTACHIO PESTO (from How Sweet Eats) – Such an interesting twist on a traditional caprese. Simple, seasonal, and stunning.
SLOW COOKER KOREAN SHORT RIB TACOS (from Tasty Kitchen) – I make a version of this recipe a couple times a month and then use the meat in tacos, lettuce wraps, salads, burritos, etc. I’ve been keeping a container of shredded napa cabbage in the fridge, and I just toss the korean short rib meat with the cabbage, a sesame vinaigrette, and kimchi. It’s the best lunch.
STRAWBERRY CREAM PIE (From my blog archives) – Fresh strawberries, piled atop a mascarpone and cream cheese filling and a ginger snap crust. Doesn’t get much better than this. Pro tip: use any fresh berries that are in season, it’ll be just as delicious.
And now for a new recipe! This salad is so darn addictive, I’ve made it a zillion times over the past few weeks. Each time I make it, I change it up a little bit. Sometimes I include cherry tomatoes, other times I’ll throw in a red bell pepper. Sometimes I make it spicy, and other times, I leave it light and fresh and simple. Really, there’s a lot of ways you can go with it. Just make it. Eat it. Enjoy it. And stay cool!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1-2 carrots, julienned
- 1/2 a cucumber, thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1.5 cups of shredded red cabbage
- 3 teaspoons fish sauce
- The juice of 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chopped peanuts
- Handful of chopped cilantro
- Handful of chopped Thai basil
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, oils, and spices.
- Toss together the vegetables and quinoa. Pour dressing over the mixture, and stir to coat. Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. When ready to serve, sprinkle the cilantro, Thai basil, and peanuts over the salad before serving.
I used red quinoa for this recipe, but regular brown quinoa would also work.
(Recipe adapted from Foodie Crush)