What’s in Season? July Produce Guide

Learn what to do with July fruits and vegetables! Find recipes, preparation tips and more. cookieandkate.com

Welcome to July! Ninety degree weather is here and so is all the colorful summer produce that comes with it. This month’s list features quite a few of my favorites, like peaches, raspberries and tomatoes. Scroll through the preparation ideas and recipes below, then hit the farmers’ market!

Thanks again to Becky for letting me base this resource on her “Eat Seasonal” monthly seasonal produce lists. See her July screensaver here. For more seasonal inspiration, follow my boards on Pinterest!

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How to Get an Irishman to Enjoy Fish + A Super Easy Way to Cook Fish

Super Easy Baked Salmon

One of the things I still miss about living in Sydney is being able to visit the fish markets.

When we were in Cooma I used my lack of access to the fish markets as an excuse not to cook fish very often. But to be honest a large part was the reaction my Irishman would have when faced with a steaming plate of salmon or snapper…

Fish for dinner? Really? (with a really unhappy look on his face).

No fun for anyone.

When we moved to our little farm, much closer to fresh fish, we made a deal to try and have fish at least once a week. With no complaints.

I wish I could say we’re a family of pescetarians. But while Fergal and I would be happy to have fish every day, another member of the family still has a long way to go.

I have, however, noticed one thing that increases the likelihood of getting a favourable fish dinner review from my Irishman.

It’s simple really.

Just serve the fish with potatoes. The old spud ‘trick’. Works (almost) every time.

So today I have the recipe for one of my favourite super easy ways to cook fish (and spuds).

Enjoy!

Easy Tray Baked Salmon with Spuds

This recipe was inspired by Jamie Oliver. I used to think something like this would be a bit dry but I’ve found the solution! Serve with home made mayo AND make sure you include a lemon which will release the most delicious juices after it’s cooked.

enough for: 2
takes: about 40 minutes

2-4 medium spuds, scrubbed
2 bulbs fennel, + tops to serve
2 salmon fillets
1 lemon, halved
mayo, to serve

1. Chop spuds into big bite sized chunks and pop in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil.

2. Simmer spuds for 15-20 minutes or until just tender.

3. Meanwhile, crank your oven to 230C (450F). Trim and discard fennel stalks (keeping any leafy fronds). Slice fennel bulb finely and place in a roasting pan with the lemon. Cut 3 shallow ‘score’ lines on the skin side of the salmon so they look pretty and help to cook more quickly.

4. When the spuds are cooked, drain and toss in with the fennel. Drizzle with olive oil and top with the salmon. Season generously.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. Serve fish and veg with mayo on top and fennel fronds sprinkled over (if you have them).

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Variations

short on time / slow carb – replace spuds with a drained can of chickpeas or white beans. No need to simmer, just pop them in the baking tray with the fennel.

different veg – green beans, asparagus, capsicum (re bell peppers), snow peas, or chopped zucchini can be added straight to the pan like the fennel. Other veg will need simmering or roasting first until tender like baby carrots, beets, sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnip or swede (rutabaga).

different fish – any fish fillets can be used but if they are quite thin be prepared to adjust the cooking time. At this temp some delicate fish will only take 5 minutes. You could also cook a whole fish like plate sized snapper or rainbow trout this way (adjust the cooking time upward – around 15-20 minutes).

carnivore – replace fish with chopped chorizo, sausage or chicken thigh fillets (sausages and chicken will need a little longer, around 15 minutes)

egg-free – you could skip the mayo or use a vegan (egg-free) mayo or serve with a drizzle of lemon pressed olive oil.

more veg – serve with a green salad or lots of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (also see the different veg for more ideas).

vegetarian – replace fish with poached or fried eggs.

hot! – add in some chopped fresh chilli with the fennel.

Video Version of the recipe

Big love,
Jules x

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Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

Blueberry lemon yogurt cake, a healthier pound cake for summertime! cookieandkate.com

First things first. Are you on Snapchat? I am. For the longest time, dismissed it as an app that teenagers use to send scandalous photos to one another. Apparently that’s not all it’s good for, though! I’ve gotten hooked on other bloggers’ behind-the-scenes Snapchat “stories” lately.

I’ve been following Gaby (whatsgabycookin) and Lindsay and Bjork (pinchofyum) on their travel adventures, keeping up with Dana and John (minimalistbaker) and their general shenanigans and caught glimpses of Ali and her pup/our pal Henry (gimmesomeoven) during their weekend at the lake. I also saw what happened when Jessica (howsweeteats) used liquid dish soap in her dishwasher yesterday. Oh my.

lemon yogurt cake ingredients

You can find us on Snapchat over at cookieandkate! Consider it a Cookie cam. Now you can watch her fly up the ladder to steal my food while I’m trying to photograph it. I’ll show you what happens when I pull out a treat and tell her to “roll over,” too. (Spoiler: somersaults.) I’ve been throwing in some behind-the-scenes cooking experiments, too.

All this is to say, please follow us! Send me snaps of your Cookie and Kate cooking, too. I would love that.

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Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold brew iced tea is so refreshing! No bitterness at all. cookieandkate.com

My mom made sun tea when I was little. She would fill up the same clear plastic pitcher with Lipton tea bags and water and set it out in the sun to steep. I’d go out there and marvel at the process. As an experiment, I filled cans with water and macaroni noodles and set them next to her sun tea to “cook”. Never worked, no matter how long I left them out there.

Fast forward a few years, and my mom let up on her soda-once-a-week rule. I started guzzling Dr. Pepper like she guzzled unsweetened iced tea, and I squealed every time I grabbed the wrong cup from the cup holder. Yuck!

Cold brew iced tea ingredients

Nowadays, I’ve given up the soda in favor of good clean water. I’ve always wanted to understand my mom’s iced tea thing, and I’ve finally found a way to really, truly enjoy it—cold brew!

The cold brew method reminds me of sun tea, since you’re just steeping tea in water for hours, but cold brew takes place in the refrigerator instead of the back porch. Heat brings out the tannic, bitter flavors in tea. In the absence of heat, you’re left with perfectly refreshing, super smooth tea for slow summer sipping. It isn’t bitter in the slightest.

The method itself is incredibly simple. Just combine loose-leaf tea and water in a pitcher and let the tea infuse the water for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator (see instructions below for specifics). Strain, and you have cold-brew tea that will taste great for days!

Continue to the recipe…

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Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Quinoa black bean tacos with avocado crema! Quick, easy and delicious. cookieandkate.com

You guys are the best. You know that, right? Two months ago, when I shared my roasted cauliflower and lentil tacos recipe, I asked you to hop over to Facebook and vote for my recipe. You did, and my tacos won!

That means my tacos will represent the United States at the United Nations’ 2016 International Year of Pulses celebrations. (Pulses are beans, lentils and other dried legumes and they were selected based on their significant health, economic and environmental benefits.) Basically, you’ve made this food nerd verrrry happy. Thank you! Thank you to the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council for letting me participate, too.

quinoa black bean tacos ingredients

Since 2016 seems so far away, I thought we’d celebrate today with some more tacos! These are inspired by some that I ordered last week at my friend’s bachelorette party. I was sitting next to my college roommates, sipping my cocktail very slowly, and feeling sappy about how grown-up we are now.

The waiter came by and I ordered some quinoa tacos, hoping that they would be hearty enough to fill me up. They were, fortunately, and they were so tasty that I had to recreate them at home right away.

Continue to the recipe…

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Peanut Dipping Sauce

This peanut sauce is a healthy party veggie dip! cookieandkate.com

After a weekend full of wedding festivities, I have party food on the brain. Feeding one hundred people at once is no easy feat, you know? I have enough cooking and restaurant experience to really appreciate the planning and preparations that go into big events… which is not to say that I want to take on the task myself. Oh no! I’m thrilled to sit down and eat dinner with friends while the dirty dishes disappear like magic.

peanut sauce ingredients

Since we’re entering the season of potlucks and barbecues, I thought now might be the perfect time to share my go-to peanut sauce. It’s been the backbone of my peanut noodle dishes and the dip for spring rolls. You can drizzle it on steamed or roasted vegetables for some extra protein and tons of flavor. It also makes a stellar veggie dip, which are notoriously full of preservatives. It’s creamy, savory, a little spicy and totally satisfying. Make some and you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!

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Fergal’s Blueberry Yoghurt Cake

Blueberry Yoghurt Cake-2

This week, if Stonesoup feels a little different it’s because I’m writing from the Northern Hemisphere.

For the first time in three years we’re back in Ireland for one of my Irishmans mates weddings. So! Excited!

The timing is great because on Sunday Fergal turned two!

I know.

So we’ll get to have a party with his Granny and Grandad. And his twin Irish cousins who are a month older.

To celebrate I have a special new cake recipe for you. It’s something Fergal and I have been working on during our Sunday Baking Sessions. Easily one of our favourites.

Enjoy!
___

Blueberry Yoghurt Cake

This is my gluten-free version of the classic French yoghurt cake that I discovered in Pamela Druckerman’s brilliant little book ‘French Children Don’t Throw Food’. It’s one of Fergal and my go-to cakes for our Sunday Baking Sessions. The yoghurt makes it super moist but also surprisingly light.


serves: 6-8
takes: 50 minutes

250g (9oz) almond meal
50g (2oz) sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
250g (9oz) natural yoghurt
2 eggs
50g coconut oil or other neutral flavoured oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 handfuls blueberries (frozen are fine)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease and line a 20cm (8in) cake tin with baking paper.

2. Mix almond meal, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add the yoghurt, eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix to combine but don’t stress if you end up with a few lumps.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter over the blueberries and bake for 40 minutes or until the cake it golden brown and feels springy. And a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

4. Cool in the tin before serving.

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Variations

budget / nut-free – replace almond meal with plain (all purpose) flour.

choc-hazelnut – replace half the almond meal with hazelnut meal and replace blueberries with chopped chunks of chocolate.

different fruit – feel free to use your imagination! Raspberries are lovely.

diary-free – use coconut yoghurt or coconut cream instead of the yoghurt.

vegan – use the dairy-free option and try replacing the eggs with large mashed banana (I haven’t tried this so let me know if it works!)

sugar-free – replace the sugar with a granular stevia or your favourite sugar substitute.

Big love,
Jules x

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12 Healthy Barbecue Salads and Sides

Asian chopped kale salad

Oh happy weekend! I’m a bridesmaid for the most lovely and laid-back bride this weekend (you’re the best, Tessa!). The past couple of days have been full of laughs and good food, too.

It’s hot down here in Oklahoma, so I thought I’d share a collection of my most barbecue-worthy salads, side dishes and snacks today. They’re all meatless, of course, and many are vegan and/or gluten free as well (see labels below recipe titles). Here we go!

No. 1: Chopped Kale Salad with Edamame, Carrot and Avocado
Gluten free and vegan

“Delicious recipe! A weekly staple at my house. I add 1/2 Tbs of Sesame Oil for a little extra flavor in the dressing.” – Peter

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Summertime Aguas Frescas

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Summer is almost here! I can feel it. I’m downright giddy about the explosion of colorful summertime fruit at the farmers’ markets right now. My dear strawberries, cherries, blueberries and cucumbers, it’s been too long since I last saw you!

It seems serendipitous that the hottest season of the year would produce produce that hardly requires any help. I treat ripe strawberries like dessert; just rinse and eat. Of course, I love them roasted in a crisp, too, but on the hottest of summer days, I just want fresh fruit.

Aguas frescas ingredients - cookieandkate.com

One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh fruit is in agua fresca form. Agua frescas are refreshing fruit drinks made simply of fruit blended with water, lime juice and a bit of sweetener. They’re popular in Mexico and Central America, although I ordered the most incredible pineapple agua fresca in Austin, Texas, earlier this year.

I’m not much of a juice drinker, but I love agua frescas because they can be served unfiltered. So, unlike regular juice, you’re sipping up all the fiber that is inherent in the fruit rather than filtering it out. In theory, that means that they won’t cause quite the blood sugar spike that regular juices can. Plus, you can make it in a blender and skip the filtering step.

Continue to the recipe…

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A Healthier Alternative to Couscous

Spiced Cauli 'Couscous'-3

Before I learned about the perils of eating lots of carbs and started (mostly) avoiding grains, I used to LOVE couscous.

I mean its so quick and easy to prepare and has all that carby comforting goodness. What’s not to love?

But as I’ve discovered, couscous didn’t love me.

So it’s been literally years since I made couscous. I had tried using grated raw cauliflower as an alternative. It was fine but didn’t really look or taste like couscous.

Recently I was inspired to try it again. But this time I did a few things differently…

First, I pulsed some cauliflower in the food processor until it was broken down into couscous sized grains.

Then I did the most important thing for making practically anything taste more delicious… I added lots of butter to the pan before warming my cauli ‘couscous’.

To give it better colour and some extra flavour, I added some spice and plenty of salt and pepper.

And the result?

When we sat down to dinner my Irishman asked, ‘is this couscous?’ So it definitely looked the part.

It tasted great. Buttery and comforting like a good couscous should with the added bonus of a bit of spice. So good!

And even better I felt great after eating it. No ‘couscous bloating’… so now I love my cauli couscous and it loves me.

___

Spiced Cauliflower ‘Couscous’

Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend of over 20 spices so it’s got a lot going on. You’ll need to get it from your favourite spice merchant but if you prefer to keep it simple just use a 50:50 blend of ground cumin and ground coriander. Serve as a side anywhere you’d normally serve couscous or rice or see below for ideas to turn it into a whole meal.

enough for: 2 as a side
takes: 15 minutes
1/2 small cauliflower
3-4 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons Ras El hanout
1 bunch coriander – leaves picked (optional)
handful pinenuts (optional)

1. Whizz the cauli in your food processor until it looks like little grains of couscous.

2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add cauli and the spices and stir fry over a medium high heat until everything is warm.

3. Taste and season with lots of salt and pepper. Serve with coriander leaves and pinenuts on top (if using).

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Variations

no food processor? – you could try hand cutting or grating with a box grater but it will take a while!

no ras el hanout – use a 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander OR substitute the Lebanese spice blend baharat if you have it.

more complete meal
– serve with pan fried or BBQ chicken or fish. Or for a veggie meal top with poached or fried eggs or a drained can of chickpeas.

nut-free – just skip the pinenuts or replace with a little chopped red onion for crunch.

carb-lovers – replace some or all of the cauliflower with couscous or quinoa cooked according to the packet.

different herbs – mint, basil, chervil, sorrell or flat leaf parsley are all great.

more veg – soften an onion in the butter before adding the cauli. And stir in chopped red bell peppers (capsicum) or halved cherry tomatoes with the herbs.

What about you?

Got any foods that don’t ‘love you back’ that you’d like to find an alternative for? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Big love,
Jules x

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