shawarma roasted chickpeas 

When I have the time and motivation, roasted chickpeas are a snack staple in our house. If you didn’t think you could eat two whole cans of chickpeas by yourself, this snack may prove you wrong.  Lucky for me, I have a toddler who loves them just as much as I do so they’re the perfect thing to share.

The flavor combo is adapted from NYT’s chicken shawarma recipe (which, by the way, is SO good) and I wanted to try it out on these little guys.  And guess what?  It works!

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Loaded Ceviche

When the temperature breaks 100° for at least five days in a row, the kitchen is one of the last places even I want to be.

Ok, that may not be a completely true statement since I can’t stay away from cooking for more than a day.  But what better way to combat this crazy heat than with a super refreshing ceviche??  This dish satiates my need to be in the kitchen without turning on the stove or the oven. Win-win.

Ceviche is a dish ordered often around these parts and my husband and I typically eat it as an appetizer or snack whenever possible.  That being said, it is extremely easy to make yourself and completely customizable to suit your tastebuds, so why not give it a go?

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If you’re not familiar with the ceviche, it’s a dish comprised of raw seafood that are essentially “cooked,” or cured, by marinating it in a bath of citrus juice for at least two to four hours.  In this recipe, we opted to marinate three types of seafood: wild-caught Alaskan salmon, snapper and shrimp, finding the flavor was better the longer they marinated.  Since you’re working with raw fish, the dish will only be as good as your ingredients so I recommend purchasing the best quality available.  It is a waiting game with this dish, so plan accordingly!

Once the fish/seafood are done “cooking,” it’s time to get creative with your add-ins.  I loaded mine up with fresh tomatoes and a cucumber for some freshness, onion for a crunchy bite and a roasted poblano for a hit of smokiness.  Finally, a generous bunch of chopped cilantro to garnish, which is absolutely necessary.  Dare I say perfect?

At least for this home cook it was!


loaded ceviche

(makes about 4-5 cups)

This is a no-cook dish and perfect for summer.  Serve as an app with a bowl full of tortilla chips or top some butter lettuce and eat as a side or even an entrée.  Feel free to switch up the fish, use only one type or all three.  Either way, this ceviche is the perfect accompinament to a warm summer evening and and ice cold beer.

  • ½ lb wild Alaskan salmon, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ lb snapper filet, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¼ lb medium to small-sized shrimp, cut into thirds or quarters depending on how big they are
  • 1 generous cup lime juice (approximately 4-5 limes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 scant tsp fine-grain sea salt
  • 2 serrano chiles, diced (feel free to sub 1 jalapeño for a little more heat)
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes (approximately 1½ tomatoes)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • ¾ cup diced white or red onion
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • more sea salt, to taste

The idea is to chop all ingredients roughly the same size.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the salmon, snapper and shrimp.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, garlic cloves, sea salt and serrano chiles and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture over the fish and toss a few times to make sure everything is completely incorporated.  To marinate the fish, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Typically the fish will be ready to eat in about two hours, however, the fish will be completely “cooked” in about four (which is how long I waited for mine).

Once the fish is “cooked” to your desired doneness, toss in the remaining add-ins: tomatoes, cucumber, onion, poblano pepper, avocado and cilantro.  Mix everything together.  Taste and add more salt as desired.

(adapted from Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday)

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Potatoes with Chimichurri

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In elementary school, Tuesdays and Thursdays were THE best lunch days because I was able to indulge in fast food (just a little bit), Doritos and chocolate chip cookies instead of my usual boring PB&J with pretzels.  Food that I really didn’t eat too often at home.

We would line up by class to pick up our one Taco Bell taco or McDonald’s hamburger and had the option to purchase a bag of chips for $0.25 or a cookies for five cent a piece.  With only a quarter in my pocket, the big dilemma was choosing the bag of chips or five (whole) cookies.  Life decisions for a third-grader.  If I chose the chips, I had to do it quickly because the good ones like the Doritos, Lay’s or white cheddar popcorn were always sold out first, leaving only the Salt & Vinegar flavor.  Ew. No thank you.  It was the vinegar smell that completely turned me off and lingered in my nostrils if anyone even opened a bag.

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Acorn Squash + Goat Cheese +Prosciutto Empanadas

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How was your Super Bowl Sunday?  Ours was filled with friends and babies, waay too much food and plenty of wine.  A pretty stellar combination if you ask me.  I had no real rooting interest in the game itself since we’re a Chicago Bears family, but to keep it interesting I placed some prop bets and made sure to catch the commercials and halftime show.  I was rooting for the Panthers (who lost), my turkey chili got a little burnt (oops! was the distraction the toddler or wine?) and I lost most (all) of my bets (i.e. Beyonce’s shoe color, will Peyton Manning cry and/or retire…) BUT these acorn squash + goat cheese + prosciutto empanadas were kind of a winner!

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Soused Tomatoes

Soused Tomatoes 2

Here is another gem from Seven Spoons, Tara O’Brady’s yummy, vibrant cookbook.  We know that roasted tomatoes are pretty amazing, but this is a very unique and in her words, “beautiful” way to treat them. Their delicate flavor is intensified from the slow-roasting and she recommends using them as an antipasti, in a salad with peppery arugula and lots of Parm or squished onto bread or flatbread- all of which sound amazing.  However, I have used them to top my pasta dishes and grain bowls in lieu of sauce, which is also highly recommended.

Beware, these soused tomatoes take about 3-4 hours in the oven, so plan accordingly!

The leftover oil once the tomatoes are gone is definitely something to keep and use as a finishing oil or vinaigrette, mayonnaise or marinade base.

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