Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Cantaloupe Recipes

Cantaloupe at their best is by far one of my favorite summertime treats! But how does one choose a good cantaloupe? After reading the July article from Real Simple magazine (where I found the recipes below) I learned that the peel under the bumpy webbing should be golden and the melon should feel noticeable heavy for its size. These tips along with a floral smell are two additional indications that should help you pick cantaloupe that no one will push aside in a fruit salad. A perfectly picked cantaloupe pairs well with salty meats and cheeses. Last summer in Italy, a pairing of cantaloupe and prosciutto ham was my favorite dessert. In my book, nothing quite beats a salty sweet contrast. These recipes are a great example. Hope you enjoy!


Pasta Salad with Cantaloupe, Feta, and Dill

Combine 4 cups cubed cantaloupe, ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, cook ½ pound orecchiette pasta according to directions. Rinse under cold water until cool and drain well. Toss with the cantaloupe. Top with 1/3 cup of crumbled Feta cheese just before serving.


Vietnamese Pork Chops with Cantaloupe and Basil Salad

Combine 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and soy sauce with 2 teaspoons of fish sauce and brown sugar. Add 4 bone-in pork chips. Let marinade for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Toss 4 cups chopped cantaloupe, ½ cucumber, 1 cup basil, 2 tablespoons or fresh lime juice, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Serve with the chops.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

15-Step Paella

This weekend I cooked my friend Trevor some Spanish Paella for his birthday celebration. Trevor and I have both spent some time in Spain and share an equal love for this dish. Although it took four painful visits to four different grocery stores to get all of the ingredients for this dish it was well worth it. When I took my first bite, I was transported back to Madrid where I had my first taste of this salty-savory-seafood-citrus goodness. I would eat paella every day if I could. This recipe will definitely resurface the next day I am feeling nostalgic about my adventures across Spain. Enjoy my wanderlust friends! 

3 medium tomatoes

16 uncooked jumbo shrimp

16 uncooked mussels

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley

1 teaspoon paprika

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

8 oz of Spanish chorizo

1 medium yellow onion

3 medium garlic gloves

1 large pinch of saffron

2 cups paella rice

4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth

2 medium lemons

Salt and pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Core and peel tomatoes and grate until you have about ½ cup of tomato juice.
  3. Peel, devein, and wash shrimp. Combine with a ¼ teaspoon of paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Scrub mussels and set aside in a strainer with ice.
  5. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Combine with a generous amount of salt and pepper in another small bowl and set aside.
  6. Cut Spanish chorizo into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place 15-inch paella pan on stove, add EVOO, and cook chorizo until it starts to brown and fat has rendered (about 3 minutes per side) then transfer sausage to large bowl.
  7. While chorizo is cooking go ahead and dice your onion and chop your garlic.
  8. When chorizo is done add 1 or 2 tablespoons of EVOO to pan and now cook chicken until golden brown (about 4 minutes per side) then transfer to the same bowl as your chorizo.
  9. Reduce burner heat and cook your diced onion, salt, and pepper until softened (about 5 minutes). Next add garlic, remaining ¾ teaspoon paprika, and saffron until fragrant (less than a minute).
  10. Stir in tomato juice and cook 3 minutes while stirring. Add rice and more salt into tomato mixture and stir. Add chicken broth and arrange the rice mixture in an even layer.
  11. Evenly distribute chorizo and chicken over the rice.
  12. VERY IMPORTANT STEP: Do not stir the rice from this point on. I know it’s tempting but don’t.
  13. Bring to a lively simmer and cook rice while rotating the pan 90 degrees every few minutes until rice swells and much of the liquid has been absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). The mixture will bubble unevenly which is why you will want to keep a close eye and rotate the pan.
  14. Arrange remaining seafood (shrimp and mussels) in pan, place in oven, and bake until the mussels have opened and the shrimp is cooked through (another 10 minutes of so). Remove from oven and top with fresh parsley and squeezed lemon juice. You can cut lemons into wedges in case your guest would like even more citrus added.
  15. Close your eyes for the first bite, pretend you’re in Spain, and follow by a large swig of red wine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Washington Berry Lingcod

So, I haven’t blogged in a while...

I am going to go ahead and blame the fact that I am constantly traveling for work and my social life is packed on weekends I am home. But just because I’m not home doesn’t mean I don’t eat well and don’t think about blogging.

This week I am back working in the beautiful Seattle area. Can I just say after being here at least twice a month since April that I don’t believe the rumor that it always rains? I have experienced nothing but beauty.

Okay, I guess beauty isn’t all I have experienced. I have also experienced some pretty incredible seafood. On Tuesday, I went to a restaurant right on the Puget Sound and ate local lingcod topped with fresh berries that are currently in season in Washington.

I have to admit, it was one of the first times I have ever saw fish topped with berries on a menu but it definitely intrigued me. I was glad I tried it because it was pretty scrumptious! I decided to add this post to my blog so I don’t forget to try it myself. I also have been wanting to share one of my favorite kitchen contraptions: The OXO 3 piece bowl and colander set and this seemed like the perfect fit.

This device is great for washing, serving, and storing fresh berries without the hassle of transferring and dirtying multiple bowls. You can find it at Bed Bath and beyond or at So go ahead, go splurge on this super handy kitchen item, try topping your next piece of fish with berries, and save the rest to top your yogurt for breakfast! I promise it will become your most used kitchen item this summer.

Happy shopping, July, and farmers market season!