Heads up: A ten-minute meal comin’ your way!
I’m not kidding—this dish takes NO. TIME. AT. ALL.
Prosciutto-wrapped peaches on a bed of bitter greens is a classic Italian starter that I used to order every time I spotted it on a summer menu…’til it finally dawned on me that this dead-simple recipe can be made at home for pennies on the dollar. Yeah, I can be dense sometimes. It took this old dog a decade to learn this peachy new trick, but hey: better late than never, right?
Once ripe peaches made their first appearance of the year at the local farmers’ market, I started making this savory, sweet, and assertive summer salad on a regular basis. Can you blame me?
Most recipes call for grilling the porky peaches, but I’ve found that searing ’em in a skillet is a much easier and faster method. (In fact, it takes longer to fire up the barbecue than it does to prepare and eat this gorgeous hot-weather salad using a skillet.)
Plus, I’ve replaced the usual bed of arugula with watercress. Why? ’Cause she’s the new Queen Bee of the vegetable aisle (that’s right: move over, kale), and I’ve been doing my darnedest to incorporate this nutrient-packed powerhouse into my diet. The warm peaches wilt the watercress slightly, making each mouthful a kaleidoscope of flavors and textures.
What do you say? Ready to try your hand at my favorite summer salad?
Now that I’ve quit my job, I should’ve spent the past week developing and writing up a brand-spankin’ new recipe for y’all, but you know how it is: the mountain of crumpled-up laundry on the couch is keeping me from doing ALL THE THINGS. I’ll admit it: I’m terrible at keeping our house in order. But don’t you worry your pretty little heads; as soon as I emerge from this bottomless pile of mismatched socks and pillowcases, I’ll get back to cooking. After all, there’s nothing I love more than messing up the kitchen.
In the meantime, how ’bout I share one of the most popular recipes from our cookbook and iPad app? (You’re nodding, right?) Ready or not, it’s time for Spicy Tuna Cakes!
I make these portable savory cakes about once a month ’cause I aways have the ingredients on hand. You may not normally associate canned fish with sweet potatoes and jalapeño peppers, but trust me on this one: they’re tender and subtly sweet, with a wickedly peppery bite that sneaks up on you. The heat levels can be adjusted to your taste; amp it up by subbing serrano peppers in place of jalapeño, or turn it down by cutting down on the red pepper flakes. Serve these spicy cakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—or whip up an extra-big batch for your next dinner party!
In the off-chance that there’s more than one person (hi, Dad!) who’s interested in what I’m checking out on the Internet this week, I’ve once again compiled my favorite food-related links of the week. Read ’em and weep!
Paleo + Celebrities
If there’s anything (other than food) I love, it’s celebrity
gossip news. But it’s only now, after almost 40 years of studying trashy tabloids and Hollywood rags, that I’m starting to see Paleo elbow its way into the news (or at least the news that I care about, anyway).
In the past few weeks, a number of celebrities have publicly come out as Paleo (or Paleo-curious): not only did Robin Wright (Princess Buttercup a.k.a. Claire Underwood) open up about her (allegedly “no carb”) Paleo diet, but country superstar Tim McGraw also showed off the impressive eight-pack that he credits to CrossFit and Paleo.
News of weight loss and sexy washboard abs will no doubt appeal to folks on the lookout for the Next Great Diet Fad, but to me, A Great Big World’s Chad Vaccherino’s reason for going Paleo is the most inspiring: he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007 when he was still in college. After learning about Dr. Terry Wahl’s TED Talk, he started eating Paleo and lo and behold: his symptoms went away. Amazing.
See? Who said gossip rags are filled with garbage?
Dr. Oz on the Hot Seat
Dr. Oz may have talked up the benefits of Paleo on his show a couple of times over the past year, but he’s become known for promoting a ton of sketchy “magic” weight loss products, too. Recently, the doctor was grilled by Congress for making fantastical claims about potentially scammy supplements, and then skewered by John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight to boot.
I think I liked it better when Dr. Oz was just the guy who showed up on Oprah in hospital scrubs (hey, I don’t blame him: I know how comfy scrubs can be) and talked about the shape of his poo.
Henry’s the artistic one in our relationship—not me. I’ve been called tricky and sly, but never crafty. (See what I did there?) In fact, when I started popping out kids, one of my worries was that I’d diluted Henry’s creative genes. Luckily, our two boys appear to have turned out more more left-brain-dominant than their right-brained mama, as evidenced by Big-O’s creepy clay sculptures and Lil-O’s colorful comics and Lego creations. Phew.
Even though I can’t keep up with the boys artistically, I do occasionally manage to come up with a fun project that convinces my spawn to put down their colored pens and join me in the kitchen.
The other night, as I was leafing through the yellowed and food-stained pages of my well-loved copy of Jacques Pepin’s La Mèthode, I was struck with some old-school culinary inspiration. There, mixed in with the chef’s classic (but eye-poppingly intimidating) recipes for Goose Liver Pate in Aspic and Stuffed Pig’s Feet, I stumbled upon a super-simple, kid-friendly kitchen activity:
“Hard-Boiled Eggs, Clown-Style.”
Yeah, you heard me right:
I don’t know why, but I couldn’t get these insane clown faces out of my mind. So at the break of dawn, I bolted out of the bedroom and announced to my bed-headed boys that we were straight-up making Crazy Clown Eggs.
What follows is Big-O’s interpretation of Chef Pepin’s jaunty clown-faced eggs, with an assist from me (I helped prep the eggs and veggies) and his pop (Henry supervised my nine-year-old’s knife work).
Apparently, the Double Os think I have mad skills in the kitchen. (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)
Unless you’ve been living underground (like a good cave-person should!), you know that Juli Bauer and George Bryant just released one of the most highly anticipated cookbooks of the summer, The Paleo Kitchen. And if you know about this extraordinary book, then I’m sure you’ve already scooped up a copy—and helped it debut on the New York Times best sellers list!
It’s difficult for me to be objective about The Paleo Kitchen because I’m pals with George and Juli. In person, they’re exactly how you picture them from their respective blogs: Juli is smart, sassy, and funny, and George is savvy, passionate, and loyal. Together, their Wonder Twin powers activate like nobody’s business, and you can see this in their exceptional cookbook. Its pages are packed with tantalizing recipes, luscious food photography, and a whole mess ’o useful cooking tips. I love their light-hearted, devil-may-care approach to Paleo, showing folks that anyone can be fit and happy without going to extremes.
While George and Juli are renowned for their Paleo treats (and yes, those are pancakes on the cover of their book), don’t be fooled into thinking that The Paleo Kitchen is nothing but desserts and grain-free baked goods. Inside, you’ll discover a healthy balance of savory and sweet dishes for every occasion. In fact, one of my favorite recipes turns out to be one of the easiest main courses in the book: Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs. I love that can throw this dish together on a busy weeknight with items that are already sitting in my kitchen. Besides: who doesn’t love honey mustard chicken, for cryin’ out loud?
When I told George and Juli how much I wanted to share this super-simple recipe with you, they generously gave me the green light. Ready to get cooking?
Happy Friday the 13th! Yeah, I know it’s been a while. At the end of each week, my dear old dad’s been reminding me that I haven’t put up a new Forky Friday in eons, so I think it’s past time I put up a new post packed to the gills with my favorite finds from ’round the world wide web. So in advance of Father’s Day, this one’s for you, Pop!
Celebrate Your Dad!
Yep—Father’s Day is Sunday. THIS Sunday. Got something special planned for the big poppa in your life? If you’re still searching for a cool gift, I’ve got a feeling all the grilling guys (and gals) out there will love Chris Schlesinger’s and John “Doc” Willoughby’s The Big-Flavor Grill.
Ever since I received a review copy a few weeks ago, I’ve been testing many of the no-marinade, no-hassle recipes on our grill. The simple techniques in this book are a revelation: simply pick the right cut of protein, slap on a zero-fuss rub, grill the meat, and then toss the fire-charred goodness with a flavorful sauce. That’s it.
The Big-Flavor Grill has made a spontaneous griller out of me. It’s a game-changer.
One of my favorite dishes in the book is the recipe pictured on the book’s cover: Grilled Skirt Steak with Smoky Red Onions and Grilled Avocados.
From start to finish, this meal took just 30 minutes to make. If—like me—you’ve had an irrational fear of grilling over an open flame, this book’ll get you over the hump, and it makes for an incredible Father’s Day gift.
But if you’re strapped for cash, you don’t need to buy a present to make your dad feel appreciated. Just let him know you’ll be making brunch, and reconnect with your old man over a plate of Bacon Pancake Sandwiches…
…or grill him a Chili Rib Eye Steak by following Chef Pete Evan’s drop-dead-simple technique!
As a child, my love for sweets was indiscriminate. I had no standards; if it was sugary, I figured it belonged in my mouth. I am, after all, the girl who used to go to bed with a sticky plastic bag of sugary drink mix powder next to my pillow.
But with age comes wisdom—and a better-developed palate. I’m turning 40 this year, and after a lifetime of mindless dessert consumption, I’ve actually become one picky mother. These days, I rarely indulge in sweets—and only when it meets my demanding standards. If I’m going to treat myself to something that’s less than healthy (and let’s face it: dessert ain’t health food), it better knock my socks off.
Homemade panna cotta is one indulgence that fits the bill. Offering up spoonfuls of silky sweetness at the end of a meal, this Italian gelled cream custard has long been one of my favorites. Panna cotta is incredible all by itself, but a dollop of tangy fruit sauce makes it truly special. And what better topping than the classic combination of fresh strawberries and balsamic vinegar?
This recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, but the quality and ratio of the components are critical to a good panna cotta. Let me be painfully frank: Too many people are making mediocre panna cotta. Some of the offenses I’ve seen? Overly sweet custards or toppings, poor quality cream/nut milk, and incompatible and overpowering toppings.
But the worst infraction of all? Adding too much gelatin. Yes, gelatin’s important for gut and joint health — but I’d much rather down a mug of steaming bone broth rather than chew on rubbery, over-gelatinized panna cotta. Pro tip: If you can hold a bowl of panna cotta upside down over your head with nary a care about messing up your beautifully coiffed head of hair, you used too much gelatin in your dessert. (Or you’re a total slob. Or both.)
Made properly, a panna cotta should be fragile and quivery in texture. This creamy dessert should collapse in on itself when you pierce the surface with your spoon, allowing the fruity sauce and slippery custard to mix and marry.
Now: who’s ready to make panna cotta?
Here’s what to gather to make 4 servings:
**THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER! CONGRATS TO DANIELLA H.!**
I’m still recovering from my blink-and-you-missed-it trip to New York City. When I get a second, I’ll write about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of partying at the 18th Annual Webby Awards with George Takei (okay, we were just in the same room). Plus, I got to do what I always do in NYC: eat my way through the city. But to be honest, I’m glad to be home. I’m thrilled to have this holiday weekend to make up for lost sleep and snuggles with my favorite guys.
While I recharge, how ’bout I host another giveaway?
Thanks to the fine folks at Vitamix, one lucky reader’s going to win a brand-new Vitamix S30 Blender—a $409 value!
I’ve been a loyal fan of Vitamix for years, and my trusty 5200 is still a workhorse in my kitchen. Still, I’d long eyed a more compact version of my super-powerful blender—one that takes up less storage space and can be used whenever I whip up small-volume recipes.
Then, out of the blue, Vitamix contacted me a few months ago to test-drive its new personal-size blender, the S30—and as soon as I unboxed it, I knew I was in love. The S30 may be smaller, but it’s still crazy powerful. Plus, it comes with two blending containers: a 20-ounce double-insulated portable carafe and a 40-ounce unit, too.
Last month, as part of a special sweepstakes on this site, twenty of my readers scored an invite to a cozy Paleo dinner party in San Francisco with me and Henry. This exclusive shindig had secretly been in works since January, when Amanda Nudelman of Disqus (the company that powers the comments on my blog!) reached out to me with an idea to create an “IRL” (in-real-life) community event. It sounded like a whole lotta fun, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out.
The deck was stacked in our favor—gorgeous venue, incredible chef, and cool peeps—but as the date approached, I began to fret. After all, our guests were picked randomly from the pool of readers who entered the giveaway, so no one would know each other. Would our dinner companions get along? Would there be awkward silences? Paleo food fights? Would I have to break out my Fake Call App to bail me out? Or would we be making 20 new friends?
My questions were all answered on Saturday night. And as I should’ve known, I’ve got some of the coolest readers on the planet.
Amanda hired a professional photographer (yay, Irja!) to document the festivities, which meant Henry could actually put down his camera and enjoy himself for once. Of course, my compulsive husband ended up snapping some shots with his phone anyway because HE. CAN’T. STOP.
Want to see how twenty modern cavepeople (who don’t know each other) party in a San Francisco loft? Then keep reading!