Tag Archives: barbecue

Chopped Caprese Salad

Chopped Caprese Salad - In Her Chucks

After nearly three years as a loyal CSA subscriber, I can honestly say, my weekly boxes have converted me in ways I never thought possible.  Once upon a time I used to feel lost and overwhelmed by the site of unwanted veggies but now I can honestly say I am a beet buff, a kale craver and most recently a proud tomato lover.

And if it weren’t for the help of my CSA, I don’t think those conversions would have been possible.  Week after week, they provided me with bunches of soil dusted root vegetables, luscious leafy greens and perfectly plump tomatoes.  And because I wouldn’t dare waste any of it, I had to get creative.  And slowly but surely, I became more and more excited to get these items in my box.  And today, I will pretty much eat anything.

Now, I know Caprese Salads aren’t anything new.  I mean, if you’ve met one Caprese Salad you’ve met them all, right?  Well, in this case, I promise that this Caprese Salad is sure to kick things up a notch.  The secret ingredient?  Kalamata olives.  These little suckers change. the. game.

Readers, meet my new favorite salad.  New favorite salad, meet my amazing and loyal readers.


1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (or I like the Baby Heirloom Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s)

12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped (I use the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s)

3 oz Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

5-7 basil leaves, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or more to taste) *traditional balsamic vinegar would work fine here too

Salt and pepper to taste


Throw the tomatoes, cheese, olives and basil into a bowl.  Add olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add more dressing or seasoning to taste.

What I love about this recipe is that it is so darn easy!  It’s the perfect dish to bring to a barbecue or pot luck or can be portioned out for a single meal.

The measurements shown above are merely suggestions.  Feel free to make this your own.  I personally prefer a balanced tomato to cheese ratio as each bite must have a piece of each before it enters my mouth.  Which is why I am obsessed with the Ciliegine Fresh Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe’s because it matches the size of the tomatoes perfectly :)

So for those of who have tomatoes coming out of your ears, here is one more recipe to add to your repertoire.  I promise you will love it.  I just can’t promise you it will make it to the dinner table before it’s half eaten.

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Pluot Crumble

Last summer we were invited to celebrate Fourth of July at my soon to be sister-in-law Koko’s house for a barbecue.  My mom always taught me to never show up empty handed, but being that Koko’s mom is a personal chef and Koko writes a very successful food blog, I was a little intimidated to bring a dish of my own.  I mean, their food is so amazing, I kind of felt like I was bringing sand to the beach.  But being the polite guest that I am, I began searching for recipes that would be fresh, festive and summery.

At the time, I had a house full of pluots and needed to make a dish that would help me diminish my supply.  I landed on this recipe because it used the most pluots of any other (1.5 lbs!) and it looked pretty simple to make.  The result was delicious!  And the crowd was impressed :)


1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chilled (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 pounds pluots (about 6), pitted and cut into eighths


1.  Preheat the oven to 365 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, salt, and flour.  Using a pastry blender, cut into the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Set aside half the mixture.  Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and 1 egg to the other half.  Mix until well blended.  Press into the bottom of a 9-inch shallow baking rush.  Bake until firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes.

2.  While the pastry is baking, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, the remaining egg, the cream, and the almond and vanilla extracts in a small bowl; set aside.

3.  Remove the pastry from the oven, and top with pluot slices.  Pour the cream mixture over the pluots, and sprinkle with the reserved butter-flour mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and bake until topping is golden brown and the pluots are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

It has been a whole year since I made this recipe and Freddie is excited that pluots are in season again.  He has been begging me to recreate the crumble ever since the barbecue.  Each bite literally melts in your mouth.  The tartness of the pluots pairs nicely with the cream filling and the crust is buttery and smooth.  I like to warm mine up just enough so that when you plop a scoop of ice cream on the top it starts to melt a little bit.  Absolute heaven.

Your turn:  What’s your favorite summer time treat?  Any barbecue recipes that you are looking forward to making this year?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

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Roasted Beets with Gorgonzola and Walnuts


Nothing says summer like bright colors, backyard barbecues and farm fresh veggies.  And even though the official first day of summer is still a few weeks away, I couldn’t help but get a head start on the festivities.

Last week’s link party yielded some incredible beet recipes (check out all the links written in the comments).  There were so many wonderful ideas, it was hard to decide where to start.  Luckily, I have quite a bit of beets in my fridge, so I can enjoy a bunch of different beet dishes :)

This is a recipe I have been dying to try.  Our friends and neighbors made this dish during the holidays and I have been dreaming about it ever since.  Believe it or not, with all the beets I get in my CSA box, I have never taken a stab at roasting them.  But now that I have reaped the benefits, I plan on preparing my beets this way more often.  They are so sweet and delicious!


2 pounds of medium sized beets, greens removed and scrubbed

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1.  Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap the beets individually in foil and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until a skewer can be inserted easily into a beet, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  If the beets are different sizes, remove the smaller ones from the oven as they become tender.

2.  While the beets are in the oven, toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3.  Remove beets from the oven, open the foil packets, and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Rub off the skins using paper towels.  Slice the beets 1/4 inch thick.

4.  Add beets to a large bowl and toss with vinegar, cheese and toasted nuts.  Serve hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

Recipe slightly adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

The roasted beets, cheese and nuts are a great combination.  The bitterness of the walnuts and sharpness of the cheese is a nice balance to the sweetness of the beets.  As yummy as this dish was on its own, this trio would also work well atop a bed of fresh garden greens.

We served the beets alongside a spread of grilled chicken, marinated flank steak, grilled veggies and mashed potatoes.  It was a true feast!  But then again, isn’t that what summer cookouts are all about?

Your turn:  What are some of the dishes you are looking forward to making (and eating) this summer?  I look forward to reading your responses :)

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