Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

Stuffed & Baked Tomatoes

Guess why I smile a lot….Cause it’s worth it :)  Wise words from Marcel the shell (3:45 mark). It’s true, and I love to smile. Now admittedly, sometimes we all like to wallow in our sad situation – whether you got the worst hair cut, someone toyed with your heart, or work is crushing your soul – but then go for a run and/or scream, and then let it go (at least for the time being), and smile. I’m sure y’all know this, but even if you force a smile, you’ll feel less stressed and happier….it’s science. Click this link if you don’t believe me: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/07/study-forcing-a-smile-genuinely-decreases-stress/260513/  Even if you do believe me, click it anyway. Really, there’s quite the picture of a ginger on there. Frightening? Cute? We’re not sure. (I almost went with the Scientific American article, but it was just some average brunette smiling. This one is way better.)

Maybe it’s a chicken and egg situation with me normally. Unknown. But truthfully, when I’m frustrated or pissed off I actually have looked at myself and forced a smile. It absolutely helps.
Smile.
Things that make me smile on the regs…

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Creamy Vegan Corn & Leek Soup

From the farmer’s market, I bring you this wonderfully creamy, vegan soup entirely inspired from the ingredients that called out to me at the White House market.

I love shopping at farmer’s markets – the love affair truly began in Lyon, France with the market, Marché Saint Antoine-Célestins that runs along the Saône River just a few blocks from the center of the city.  On a weekday morning, you’d stroll leisurely under the sycamore trees with a beautiful view of the cathedral just across the river as the vendors greet you and tell you about their freshest produce. However, the weekend market was an entirely different event, fun, but you may get your toes run over by little old French ladies toting their wheelie shoppers through the tight crowds. It’s all part of the charm :) The DC markets have a similar allure, but I can’t say I have the same rapport with these farmers – I got spoiled with the daily market just a couple blocks from my apartment in Lyon.

Now, if you live in California, you’re probably still in luck, but I actually made this soup in October, and sadly most of the DC farmer’s markets have now closed for the winter. A big bowl of this comforting soup would be wonderful right now, but it is truly the perfect summer-meets-fall meal. I used the last offerings of the summer corn and combined it with new winter crop of leeks. I didn’t really have a plan when I started, but lemme tell ya, this soup is out of this world. It’s smooth and creamy, bursting with flavor, and it’s also a healthy, vegan soup! So go ahead, have another ladle-full ;)

Don’t stop now! Keep reading…

Tomato and Corn Summer Salad

Still speaking of summer…just like the humidity, it’s holdin strong! :) (and just in case you’re wondering…there’s nothing quite like Florida weather to make you really appreciate DC!) And I doooo love baking, but ya just can’t argue with summertime farm-fresh ingredients. I’m trying to devote a portion of my grocery-spending towards local farms, and let me tell you – it’s worth it. I was inspired by the beautiful vegetables at the farmer’s market and the hot weather to make a tomato corn summer salad!

Would you just LOOK at those corn kernels?! Mmh! The corn was sweet and had that perfect pop. The tomatoes were unreal. UNREAL. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a tomato that dark red and flavorful. I would never fuss with such ingredients, so I settled on a cold, crisp summer salad, and decided it would be perfect to eat up on the rooftop to enjoy over a drink and good conversation with my roommate. So we did! :) It looked a little something like this:

Here’s what I did:
Tomato Corn Summer Salad
Boil a pot of water for the corn. Once it’s boiling, toss in:
-2 ears of fresh corn
Boil them for 3-4 minutes, and then immediately remove them, and put them in ice water to shock them – stop the cooking.
In a large bowl combine:
-The corn kernels (cut off the cob once it’s cooled)
-3 large tomatoes, cubed
-1 large yellow squash, cubed
-1 medium yellow onion, diced
-1 bunch of fresh basil, finely chopped
In a separate small bowl, whisk together:
-1/3c. – 1/2c. rice wine vinegar
-1 T. Dijon mustard
-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss to combine. Taste it, and adjust the seasonings accordingly. Keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it – nice and cold on a hot day.
**French phrase for fun!
Elle a rougi comme une tomate!
She turned red like a tomato!