Three Bean Salad

Three Bean SaladSometimes you need a vacation after your actual vacation, or at the very least, a couple days to get back into the swing of things. With a three-year-old, the whole family needs that time to transition into reality. We spent the week of the 4th visiting family and playing in the sand at the beach. It was a wonderful trip. Despite flight delays, our son was incredibly patient. I kept thanking him for that. We are lucky to have a good traveler!

Preoccupied with the stress that comes the moment you set foot in an airport, on our outbound journey I realized I packed my little guy’s snacks, but nothing for me. Without much thought, I headed to a grab & go and picked up a chickpea salad with a southwest twist. It far surpassed my expectations for terminal fare. At home I made my version, a three bean salad with black, pinto, & navy beans and plenty of lime and cilantro.
Three Bean Salad
Three Bean Salad

Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
1-15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 handfuls cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, chives and remaining salt & pepper. Stir in the lime vinaigrette. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper as desired before serving.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Pico de Gallo

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Pico de Gallo

I had given sweet potatoes the cold shoulder. Since last fall we were going steady. They got me through the bleakest moments of winter, but consumed by the joys of summer sun, I had totally forgotten about my once beloved root vegetable. When I realized how callous I’d been, I figured we were long overdue to make up and get back together.

To stay true to the season, I fired up the grill to make grilled sweet potatoes with pico de gallo. I started by boiling the potato wedges to guarantee they would be tender. The point of grilling was to add smoky char and, I admit, grill marks. Even though the sweet potatoes would have been good with just salt & pepper, pico de gallo added a little heat.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Pico de GalloGrilled Sweet Potatoes with Pico de Gallo

Serves 4

1 pound medium sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into wedges 1/2 to 1-inch thick
1-1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 jalapeno, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7-9 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender and can be pierced with a paring knife.

For the pico de gallo, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Grill the sweet potatoes until they have grill marks, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Top the sweet potatoes with pico de gallo before serving.

Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches

Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches
What’s your favorite summer sandwich? Mine is comprised of a thick layer of ice cream squashed between two cookies. Nothing beats an ice cream sandwich! They are the best way to use leftover homemade cookies, if you manage to save some, for that pint of ice cream stashed deep in the back of the freezer. I usually cut them into quarters once they are frozen, so they last a bit last longer.

For these black and white ice cream sandwiches, I baked thin chocolate cookies in rounds. Of course, I could have cut them into rectangles, but that required a ruler and too much precision for my laidback, summer vibe. I did take the time to freeze a layer of chocolate followed by a stripe of vanilla ice cream. I ended up with a lot of leftover two-tone ice cream scraps, but those marbled extras didn’t go to waste.
Black and White Ice Cream Sandwiches
Black & White Ice Cream Sandwiches
Adapted from Bon Appetit July 2017

Makes 12 2-1/2-inch round sandwiches

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints chocolate ice cream
2 pints vanilla ice cream

For the cookies, combine the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and flour in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars until pale, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick disk and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. (The dough can be made up to 2 days in advance).

For the ice cream, line a 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan with two sheets of plastic wrap. Let the chocolate ice cream soften for 5-10 minutes. Transfer the ice cream to a large bowl and whisk until smooth like thick cake batter. Use an offset spatula to spread the ice cream in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let the ice cream freeze until firm, about 20-30 minutes before repeating the same process with the vanilla ice cream. Cover and freeze until solid, about 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 24 cookies, rerolling the scraps as needed. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined sheet pan, spacing them 1-inch apart. Prick the tops of the cookies with the tines of a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

To assemble the sandwiches, turn over half the cookies. Use the 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to carefully cut out the ice cream. (Save the extra ice cream for another use). Wipe off the cookie cutter each time to avoid smearing the ice cream layers. Use a spatula to place an ice cream disc on each of the turned over cookies. Place another cookie on top right side up. Work quickly to limit ice cream melting. Freeze 2 hours before covering with plastic wrap and freezing for an additional 8 hours.

Zucchini Noodles and Cherry Tomatoes


Every year when tomato season is in full swing it becomes part of my daily routine to roast a sheet pan full of sliced tomatoes. It doesn’t matter the size, color or variety, I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle on salt & pepper. Then they wrinkle a bit in the oven revealing their most tomato-y flavor.

The time had come to give the oven a rest and enjoy summer in the raw. I pulled out my spiralizer and made zucchini noodles and cherry tomatoes with pesto and fresh mozzarella. Not cooking these “zoodles” kept them a bit crunchy. I marinated the tomatoes in olive oil and garlic.
Zucchini Noodles and Cherry Tomatoes

Zucchini Noodles and Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 2

1-1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
3 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/4 cup torn basil
3 ounces mozzarella, torn into pieces

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Trim and spiralize the zucchini. Cut any long noodles, so they are about the length of spaghetti. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pesto. Add the tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

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