Cucumber Noodle Salad

I love my little hand spiralizer and use it all the time for zucchini, but I just recently started using it for cucumber, and it's so good!

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Recipe below...

CUCUMBER NOODLE SALAD with sesame dressing

2 cucumbers

1 handful basil, chopped

1 handful pepitas (pumpkin seeds, roasted & salted)

For the dressing: mix equal parts sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, plus a sprinkle of sesame seeds

Trim the cucumber ends and use a spiralizer to make noodles out of them. You may want to flip the cucumber halfway through and spiralize it from the opposite end since the seedy part in the middle can get tricky. I try to make these noodles just before serving, as they can start to leak some water over time. Spiralize them over a strainer if you can.  If they do get watery, just drain the bowl a bit before serving– but a little water in the bottom of the bowl is no big deal.

Sprinkle the noodles with the pepitas and chopped basil, then add some dressing to taste  before serving. You can make individual plates and spoon the dressing over, or serve in a bowl and toss. Other fun additions are avocado and feta, but be creative! Any type of nuts, cheese or herbs are welcome here. Enjoy!

Serves 4 as a side

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Fashion Feast: Floral Summer Dresses + Salads

I'm starting a new series on this blog called FASHION FEAST! I love the idea of pairing seasonal clothing or accessories with "matching" seasonal dishes, so here goes! I saw these  food and fashion mash-ups on Bon Appetit years ago and have always wanted to do something similar.

If I could spend every day of summer in a floral dress, I probably would! So to kick things off, here's my list of 10 (affordable!) Summer Floral Dresses and Summer Salads to eat while wearing them:

>> Click on each dress pic to shop, and each salad pic for the recipe <<

Cheers to sun dresses and salads for the warm days ahead!


Salad from Miramar Farm

Jonathan, baby Max and I visited the most inspiring farm recently in Half Moon Bay, on the coast near where we live called Miramar Farms. It's a stunning spot created by Jayne and Mark Battey that hosts groups for learning programs, meetings and workshops. I was moved by the beauty and quiet of this farm overlooking the sea. Guests must leave feeling so renewed and rejuvenated! After spending just an hour there, I sure did.

 Miramar Farms. The ocean at Half Moon Bay is in the distance.

Miramar Farms. The ocean at Half Moon Bay is in the distance.

 A labrynth for personal reflection

A labrynth for personal reflection

 Jon &amp; Max walking the Labrynth

Jon & Max walking the Labrynth

 Visitors can sit in the tea house for some quiet time.

Visitors can sit in the tea house for some quiet time.

 The farm beds

The farm beds

Food is grown at the farm specifically to be served to the guests. We met Miramar's chef, Robin, and farmer, Liz, who work together with others to create amazing meals throughout the week. They sent us home with a huge bag full of the most beautiful greens: lettuces, a spicy salad mix, kale, radishes, turnips, herbs and flowers. There's really something about seeing where a vegetable is grown, picking it, and eating it on the same day. It tastes SO much better!! (Because it is!) Knowing exactly where it came from, and meeting Liz who had spent weeks cultivating it, made me appreciate the flavor even more. 

 Lettuce we got to take home

Lettuce we got to take home

 Liz holding baby Max

Liz holding baby Max

We went to a friend's house for dinner that night and I made a giant salad, with nothing but the lettuce, radishes and the spicy salad mix Liz had picked for us. I served it with this citrussy dressing below (that I created recently for Buzz + Bloom honey) and it was the best salad I'd had in a LONG time. 

Get the salad dressing recipe here.


Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade Cocktail

I have been following Lily Diamond's blog, Kale & Caramel, and Instagram (@kaleandcaramel) for years and so enjoy it. Her unique kitchen approach includes recipes not only for deliciously fresh food (like these Crispy Lentil Smashed Potatoes) and drinks (like the cocktail below), but also for DIY beauty products (like this Blackberry Basil Healing Face Mask).  

Her first book, Kale & Caramel,  just came out and it is BEAUTIFUL. Having grown up in an apple orchard in California where we grew a lot of our own vegetables, I think there's something so valuable about connecting to plants in the place that you live; watering them, feeling their leaves, watching them grow, picking them, eating them, having your hands and feet in the dirt. Lily grew up in Hawaii among a bounty of edible flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables in her backyard which informs her kitchen approach. This connection to plants and dirt and place is often difficult to maintain when you live in a more urban area without things readily growing around you, but Lily talks about how using fresh herbs, flowers and other plants in the kitchen can help you retrieve that connection. She calls it a "return to wildness", which I think is so valuable, grounding, and healthy. 

Here's Lily's recipe for Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade from her new book. (her pic below, plus my little watercolor illustration above.)

Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade

serves 2

preparation time: 5 minutes

3-inch length of cucumber, chilled and coarsely chopped (about ⅓ cup), plus cucumber slices for garnish 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish

Add the chopped cucumber to a blender or food processor with the basil, lemon juice,still water, and honey. Blend until smooth,then distribute evenly between 2 glasses.

Add the sparkling water, again splitting evenly between the glasses. Drop in a few ice cubes, and garnish with cucumber slices, lemon slices, and basil as desired.

1⁄4 cup still water 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

3⁄4 cup sparkling water, or more to taste Ice cubes, for serving

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Lily suggests making it a cocktail by adding gin, vodka, light rum, or cachaça. Yes, please. Cheers!

Recipe and drink photo copyright © 2017 by Lily Diamond from KALE & CARAMEL: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Photos copyright © 2017, Lily Diamond

Mother's Day Brunch

In case you're hosting a brunch for Mother's Day next weekend, and stressing over what to serve, I've got you covered! If you have my Forest Feast Gatherings book, you can serve the entire Brunch menu on page 95 (done, and done!). The star of that menu is an easy, make-ahead frittata loaf...recipe below.

 Zucchini Frittata Loaf + Ruby Mimosa Punch from the Brunch menu in Forest Feast Gatherings.

Zucchini Frittata Loaf + Ruby Mimosa Punch from the Brunch menu in Forest Feast Gatherings.

Serve it with grapefruit mimosas, a green salad, a fruit salad and some pastries, and call it a (Mother's) day! For more ideas, see this menu from the archives.

PS: Looking for a fun foodie gift? How about these placemats?!

Cheers to Mom!