Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Fritters with Sriracha Mayo

Spaghetti squash fritters

Remember how I said I was super excited for squash season? That’s not a joke. In the past two weeks I have made/consumed:

-Acorn squash and leek soup

Pumpkin kale risotto

-Spaghetti squash with feta, white beans, and spinach

-Butternut squash chili

-Spaghetti squash and spinach fritters with Sriracha mayonnaise

Squash

That’s some serious squashing. I love it all. And I’m still looking forward to more butternut and spaghetti squash in my future, but this has been a quality start. Let’s pave the way to winter – not with broken promises but with squash.

Now, I know y’all were worried about a possible Sriracha shortage, but don’t worry, they’re gonna keep at the good work. This Sriracha mayonnaise sauce surprised me – the vinegar gives it a serious tang. I obviously couldn’t follow the recipe straight, so I also added some garlic and ketchup to round out the flavors.

You know what did not surprise me though?… Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Roasted Pepper and Sun-dried Tomato Feta Dip

Yes, I own this hat. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Yes, I own this hat. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Ok, ready for the weird/rad/no-filter? Sort of like rummaging through my big purse, if you scrolled through my “Notes” section on my phone, you’d find quite the array of random things. Just to give you an idea, I’ve conveniently tossed together a comparison list for you. Now, for starters, we have the essentials like:

Restaurants to try…………keys

Grocery list…………wallet

Websites to check out…………sunglasses

Sundried tomato dip ready for the food processor

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the totally random and seemingly unnecessary (but totally necessary) things like:

Hawaiian phrases for “cheers” …………a tiny mirror

DC library hours…………DC produce seasonality wallet pamphlet

A cheesy “kitchen tips” entry for a magazine (don’t ask. Wait, totally ask. It’s awesome.) …………pocket-sized nail file

Red pepper and feta dip

And right in the middle are the things that maybe not everyone has, but if you don’t, I want to make sure y’all have ’em:

A list of your New Years resolutions (big and small – just something to check up on to remind yourself occasionally) …………Advil

A list of “ideas” (mine happen to be recipe ideas) …………a reusable bag that stuffs into itself

**LAST BUT NOT LEAST, the two most important: Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Orange & Toasted Almond Scones

You know what’s kind of rad?

Orange and almond scones

…bringing back “rad” and making these delicious beauties with ingredients purchased last minute at the drug store. Scones are made with basic pantry ingredients, and are easily jazzed up with almost anything you want to toss in there: dried cherries and dark chocolate? Yes. Blueberries and ginger? Absolutely. Bacon and oregano? …yes, but let’s just call that a biscuit.

 

And orange and toasted almond? Definitely. The proof is in the puddin. Well, scone. Side note: as I blog, I’m consistently realizing how many food idioms I use – that’s a good thing, right? This is much like the time I realized how many baseball idioms I use when I was living with a Brit :)  (Thanks Dad!) But I digress.

Orange and almond scones

I’m not always a great planner, and when I’m not super prepared, it’s a recipe like this that really saves the day. And ya know, it’s often the unexpected, last minute things that turn out to be the best :)

 

Here’s what I did:

Orange and almond scones

Orange and Toasted Almond Scones

*Feel free to substitute other ingredients for the orange zest, almonds, and almond extract! Let’s get creative.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Using the grater blade on your food processor or a cheese grater, grate:

-1 stick salted butter, frozen

Then using the basic flat blade on your food processor, pulse until breadcrumb texture is achieved:

-2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

-1 c. whole wheat flour

-3 tsp. baking powder

Pour into a large bowl. Stir in:

-4 Tbs. granulated sugar

-the zest of one orange

-a handful of almonds, chopped and toasted in a dry pan until light brown, cooled

Stir in with a wooden spoon until just mixed:

-1 c. low-fat buttermilk

-1 ¼ tsp. almond extract

Mix to a soft dough. It should be fairly wet and sticky, so you may need to add a little more milk. Turn onto a floured surface and gently roll out or pat down the dough. It’s important not to handle the dough too much so that it stays light and doesn’t get tough. I like to keep it fairly thick, about an inch and a half thick, but you do you. Cut the scones with a biscuit cutter or slice into wedges. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake on a buttered cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes. This varies depending on oven and thickness of scones, so start checking after 11 or 12 minutes. The tops stay quite pale looking. If you check the bottoms they should be lightly browned, so tip one up to check. Enjoy with whipped cream and jam for breakfast or an afternoon treat!

 

French phrase for fun:

Je vais à l’Ecosse et l’Irlande avec trois des meilleurs amis d’une fille pourrait demander de plus! Eeeeeeeeee!

I’m off to Scotland and Ireland with three of the best friends a girl could ask for! Eeeeeeeeee!

a near-perfect day…or “friday” in california

I’m home in California for a much-needed vacation with my family. It’s glorious. The weather is perfect…like they do here. In just one day I knocked out one of my favorite runs with a stunning view, went to my favorite diner and froyo spot, and got to hang with some of my very favorite people. So I just thought I’d share a few photos with you…not to make you jealous or anything ;)

The view waking up at home in So Cal:

Southern Californa view

 

I picked oranges and grapefruit for the best juice you’ve ever tasted. Seriously, I can’t eat grocery store oranges because these have ruined me for all other oranges. And we have some pomegranates coming in!

 

Pomegranates

 

The BEST pancakes you’ve ever had in your entire life are lovingly made from scratch with the original 1949 buttermilk pancake recipe at Norms diner:

Norms pancakes

 

And I made a beautifully simple salad with ingredients from our garden. Tomatoes with basil, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepp. I get my green thumb from my momma :)

 

Fresh tomato and basil salad

French phrase for fun:

J’adore la californie.

I love California.

Creamy Pistachio Cardamom Pops

Let’s talk pops.

Creamy Pistachio Pops

Growing up I always used to have popsicles in the summer – the perfect reprieve from the heat. (Wait, can we just take a moment to recognize how OPPRESSIVE this heat is?! I hope it’s not as bad where you live, but DC is just oppressive right now. I felt like I was going to pass out on a simple 30 minute walk yesterday…at 7:30PM.)

Anyway! As a kid, we would always have the fresh fruit pops in my grandparents’ house in Florida, we would chase the ice cream truck down the street in our other grandparents’ neighborhood in Maryland, and our parents would treat us to a pop of our choosing at the ice cream carts lining the walkways around the monuments in D.C. – usually a chocolate and vanilla cone or one of those red, white, and blue Firecracker popsicles (remember those?!).  Needless to say, I used to love popsicles and making them occasionally with my mom, but sadly, I’ve dropped off in my pop consumption in the second half of my life so far.

Creamy Pistachio Cardamom Pops

But I’m here this summer to change that! I bought some popsicle molds, and we’re gonna go crazy! I’ve already made two different kinds (more comin’ at you next week), and I hope you’re just as delighted with this creamy, dreamy pop as I am!

Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

life is like a spin class & cucumber salad

I’m about to drop a bomb of a metaphor on you. Life is a spin class. (If you have never been to a spin class, you need to go right now and then continue reading this post.)

Cucumber Salad

When you go for the first time, you’re not really sure what the heck you’re doing. You adjust the settings, and then you get on and just go. It’s always better with some serious jams to encourage you to move along and step it up. You start to really get into it. There are going to be parts where you’re kickin ass and takin names, and then there will be a lull at some point or a slow and steady climb.

It’s always better with a friend.

Farmer's market cucs

Don’t stop. Keep reading…

Sky-High Biscuits

Biscuits

Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m not a hoarder. Ouf, that was good to get off my chest. In fact, when I (finally) sit down to clean out my closet, I can be ruthless – my mom taught me at a young age. Oh gosh, wait, that sounded terrible…she didn’t teach me to be ruthless; she taught me to only save things that I need or are really important to me. Moving around so much the past seven years (and the 18 years before that), I’m truly thankful for this discerning skill. It’s really one of the few areas of my life in which I’m confidently decisive. (I’m constantly striving for more executive decision-making in my life…it’s an uphill battle.) Was I sad when I got rid of my favorite troll doll slippers in the first grade? Yes. But in retrospect were they something to hold on to? No. They were weird little guys with purple hair that quickly became too small for my feet.

(If I were you, I’d really be wondering how in the world this story is going to connect to homemade biscuits right about now. Just wait for it…)

Easy Kettle Corn

Kettle corn

Life needs to be easy…like this simple, yet genius kettle corn. Right though?! Is your life a little something like this some weeks? – http://www.buzzfeed.com/przshly07/what-its-like-to-be-a-20something-as-told-by-mean-8ttl

Walk with me. We all have those weeks. Things get crazy stressful at work, someone’s a jerk to you, something just doesn’t go your way for no particular reason, you have to do something you really don’t want to. Don’t worry, we can be in it together, like friends do (cause they’re awesome – I speak from experience), and I promise, when you’re having one of those weeks, I’ll send you something like this: http://inktank.fi/60-of-the-worlds-happiest-facts/ FYI, #1, 11, 14, 40, and 55 are totally awesome. I meeaaaan, penguins only have one mate their entire life and “propose” by giving their mate a pebble?!?! STOP. I die of cuteness.

Easy Spicy Curry Peanut Sauce

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“A lemon press?…haha, of course you have this.”

This is what a friend of mine told me this weekend. And it’s true, I do have a lot of random kitchen gadgets. Just a few examples? – immersion blender, wine foil cutter, grapefruit knife, mandolin slicer, giant Oreo cookie mold, cupcake corer, and a bamboo steamer. I actually do a pretty good job of using these gadgets on the regular, but until this past week, I had never used the bamboo steamer! Terrible, I know. (Sorry, Mom!)

After a trip to the Chinese market, that involved me excitedly “Ooooo!!!”-ing right and left, I am now the proud owner of Sriracha, five spice, and dried shiitakes. I also made my very own chili flakes from peppers from the garden!

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Don’t stop! Keep reading…

Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip

Everyone in the food co-op at work has really been upping their game…and we’ve gone raw/vegan! I’m definitely enjoying it for summertime lunches, but it certainly is quite the challenge. This week we had a beeeeautiful dehydrated tomato tart layered with spinach and an oat/nut/kale crust, also a spinach, peach, and avocado salad with a fresh ginger dressing! These ladies are really stepping up their game. Cooking raw/vegan isn’t very difficult, but it’s not something I normally think about when making a meal – were these almonds blanched?! These tomatoes were steamed before they were canned, weren’t they?! So many things I normally wouldn’t think about, but it has presented me with a brand new culinary challenge, and I’ve had some surprisingly wonderful new discoveries – this creamy vegan spinach dip being one of them!

Cashew cream has become my best friend in this new raw/vegan world. It’s divine. I first discovered it in Joy the Baker’s Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup (which I HIGHLY recommend – and I think I have previously too). You let raw cashews soak for about an hour, and then blend it up into a dreamy creamy consistency.

This recipe was originally served for my co-op lunch as “creamed” spinach atop a zucchini and cucumber salad which was also wonderful. (This is real color here, people. Real life.)

It’s so simple and so good, you wouldn’t know it’s basically a superfood.  And you only need 6 ingredients! That’s it! :D

p.s.- How great is Phsycho?!?! I don’t know why I was so worried; it was a great way to end summer Screen on the Green.

p.p.s.- Did you know peaches could get this big?!?!

Nuts! Peaches!

Here’s what I did for the spinach dip!

Creamy Vegan Spinach Dip

Soak for about one hour:

-1/2 c. raw cashews
-1/2 c. water

Drain the cashews, and add to them:

-Juice of one large lemon

Blend the cashews and lemon juice until it’s a creamy and there are no lumps left.

In a food processor (or large bowl with an immersion blender or high-powered blender) combine:

-2 bags of raw spinach
-1 large very ripe avocado
-the cashew cream
-1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
-salt to taste

Blend it all up until it’s super creamy and thick. You could serve it as a spinach pesto over pasta (you’ll probably want to add a little more lemon or olive oil so that it’s not as thick), as a side, or as a dip. Go peaches! (It’ll catch on.) It’s so good for you and so good! Your body will thank you :)

**French phrase for fun!

Bah dis donc, quelle grande pêche!
Wow, what a big peach!