fettuccine with pesto and burrata


So - I pretty much only eat pesto based meals these days... But that is what happens when the tomatoes are ripe and the basil is plentiful. A few weeks ago I bought a giant pot of basil from Aubuchon for $7. Since then I've been swimming in basil. I can make two batches without barely making a dent.

Saturday - Cod with basil mint pesto
Sunday - no pesto
Monday - parmesan seared cod with zucchini pesto
Tuesday - bfast sandwich
Wed - bfast sandwich
Thurs - no pesto. it's a miracle
Friday - lunch and dinner
Saturday - lunch and dinner

After several different iterations of pesto based meals, I came upon this combination during a work from home day lunch. It is one of those meals, that make you say talk to yourself about how good it is. I know because I did just that. I think I proceeded to remake this meal about three more times. It is a pure home run of knockout flavors and textures and summer. Here are some notes:

  • Pasta // While I'm not one to avoid gluten regularly, I did use gluten free pasta here. It is by no means the same as fresh pasta... but it is not that far off from regular boxed pasta... and a million times more enjoyable than whole wheat pasta. You can just keep that to yourself.
  • Pesto // I've been known to make shortcuts on traditional pesto purely because I'll just forget ingredients. When I made these two fish dishes, I casually forgot the nuts and the lemon juice - both are pretty important if you are trying to be traditional. In this case, I stuck to the standard I first made back in 2012.
  • Tomatoes // I'm normally very generous with my tomatoes... but it'll be hard to get me to give away any of these beautiful black cherries. They are so amazing. I can't get enough of them.
  • Burrata // I believe nearly all meals would be made better by burrata. It was pretty disappointing to realize what a serving size of buratta is... I think they want you to share one ball between four people? Ludicrous. In this case, it makes sense to just use a half ball for one person. You could do less if you are trying to be healthy or something like that.
  • Plating decor // After plating the main ingredients (pasta, tomatoes, burrata), I sprinkled a bit of basil and lemon zest over the top along with a bit of Himalayan pink salt.

As a testament to how quickly this will come together, I managed to make it and eat it all within about 23 minutes. That includes the boiling of the water, cooking the pasta, and running to the garden for the basil. If we are being honest, I actually did the last 5 minutes of it during a conference call. It should have been a video call but nobody needs to watch me eat my lunch.

  1. Using a food processor, prep and make your pesto. Follow this recipe here. I used walnuts for this pesto.
  2.  Cook your pasta to your preferred tenderness. I like it a little al dente for summer salads like this. Toss the cooked and drained pasta in a few tablespoons of pesto (per person). No rules here, if you want more pesto, just do it.
  3. Plate the pasta with some freshly cut garden tomatoes and a half ball of burrata. 
  4. Drizzle the plate with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with basil, lemon zest, and a bit of salt. 
Shopping List
grated parmesan
lemon juice
cherry tomatoes
pasta of your choice

Parmesan seared cod with pesto zucchini and lemon zest


On Saturday, I casually whipped up this seared pesto-y cod dish. It was great. Well on the way home from work last night, I realized I was either having cod for dinner.... or it would end up in the trash. The benefit of buying fresh fish is that you could put it in the freezer.... but I'm not always the best at digging things out of the freezer... so cod for dinner it is!

Juts like the first round of this meal - so many of the ingredients came from my garden. While I'm not opposed to making the same dinner twice, I enjoy the challenge of making something different without a whole lot of effort. I bought this "zoodler" in July on Amazon and had barely used it. I think in my heart of hearts I knew that I only wanted to zoodle sweet potatoes into french fries.... and not as much zucchini into healthy spirals. But- I'm swimming in zucchini now so this is where we are.

A few notes:

  • Fish // This was a 4 oz filet again... and I still think this is the perfect serving size.
  • Zoodles // I am absolutely an amateur zoodler. But, I "zoodled" the zucchini and then took a slightly extended sunset walk while they rested. I saw a video online about how you need to let zucchini drain since it's so wet? I'm not sure but I enjoyed the walk.
  • Pesto // This is the same pesto as I used on the seared pesto-y cod dish. I also used it on two breakfast sandwiches. A bit garlicky for breakfast sammys for some reason but not as obvious on fish. 

  1. Using a food processor, prep and make your pesto. I was only cooking for 1 and not measuring so my ingredient amounts are less than helpful. But combine, a handful of basil, 3-ish leaves of mint, 1 clove of garlic, and maybe 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Pulse until it begins to form a paste. Then add in the olive oil while the processor is running. Stop adding oil when you are at the consistency you prefer.
  2. Set your skillet to a high heat with a bit of olive oil. Pat dry your fish with a paper towel and then press into a dish of flour and parmesan (About a 50/50 ratio). Flip and press in both sides of the filet one or two more times. 
  3. Add the fish to the skillet and let cook for about 3-4 minutes on either side depending on thickness. This fillet was pretty thick. Remove when the fish flakes as you fork it. Need more information? Google how to cook white fish.
  4. Make your zoodles... and then toss them in the pesto. Optional? Add some capers. I let mine sit for about 10 minutes while I made the fish and they really softened nicely. 
  5. Plate your fish and zoodles then zest a bit of lemon above it all. Enjoy! 
Shopping List
white fish fillet
grated parmesan

Cod with basil mint pesto and garden tomatoes


The garden has been slow going this summer. Each week I think it's going to be the week all the tomatoes turn red... but not yet. I was able to pull out a handful of cherries, grapes, and romas but not the treasure trove I'm excited for.

Meanwhile, I was texting with a girlfriend that I had over for this amazing fish dinner and sent her a few other favorite quick winners. Looking back over the meals there are some really common elements. I always cook with a white fish. I normally use a pork product, perhaps some tomatoes... and cheese is practically a guarantee. That being said, I need to learn how to cut back on the pork and added salt... so tonight's dinner just has cheese. Baby steps folks.

I really love this super simple dish. It is not exactly as easy as this nicoise roasted fish but it is not too far off. There are pretty much 3 steps. 1 - make the pesto. 2 - sear the fish. 3 - cut the tomatoes. Not bad right? I pulled all the fresh ingredients from my garden so I only had to pick up the $3 cod fillet at the store. While I theoretically understand a fillet serving size is 6-8 oz, I always want it smaller. I often go with 4 to 5. In this case, I went with 4 because I had just stuffed my face with some gluten free tortilla chips. All about the balance guys.

Some notes about this recipe:
  • Tomatoes // pick a variety of colors for flavor and look. If this was only red cherries you wouldn't be as excited. In this case, I had some yellows, a red roma, and my new black cherry tomatoes. They are really quite great.
  • Cutting style // It would be easiest to just cut the tomatoes in half and move on, but try to slice them thin-ish. This one makes it lie flatter on the plate for plating ... but also means the pesto really sticks to everything in an amazing way.
  • Pesto // I love fresh pesto. I went nut free on this one ... pretty much because I forgot. But the main goal here was to use some of my plentiful basil. 
  1. Using a food processor, prep and make your pesto. I was only cooking for 1 and not measuring so my ingredient amounts are less than helpful. But combine, a handful of basil, 3-ish leaves of mint, 1 clove of garlic, and maybe 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Pulse until it begins to form a paste. Then add in the olive oil while the processor is running. Stop adding oil when you are at the consistency you prefer.
  2. Set your skillet to a high heat with a bit of olive oil. Pat dry your fish with a paper towel and then press into a dish of flour. 
  3. Add the fish to the skillet and let cook for about 3-4 minutes on either side depending on thickness. This fillet was pretty thick. Remove when the fish flakes as you fork it. Need more information? Google how to cook white fish.
  4. Slice your tomatoes and then mix them with a few spoonfuls of the pesto. 
  5. Plate your tomatoes, then fish, and then drizzle more of the pesto on top. 
  6. Enjoy!
Shopping List
white fish fillet
grated parmesan
garden tomatoes

summer so far


I'd like to understand why the month of February doesn't move as fast as July. It absolutely flew by. It feels like only a week ago (or maybe two), I was cooking and prepping for this massive party. But in actuality, it's been a month since then. A great month at that too.

I absolutely live for the long days of Summer when you can catch a sunrise, enjoy a full day, dinner on the deck, and take another walk because sunset is just late enough for all this to happen. I try to cram a lot into my summer days like podcast walks, garden time, and blueberry picking - when the timing is right. Normally by this time in the year, I'm in full on tomato mode but the weather this year hasn't been hot enough for the tomato babes. So we are still in the green phase - but it's okay because I can just sit all day and wait.

While the weather hasn't been super compatible with growing tomatoes, it has been good for other things like blueberry picking and casual kayak rides both of which I did on a recent short staycation. Every time I take a day off work, I realize that I need to be better about doing it with a bit more regularity. It's almost as though I let myself get too far into "emotional vacation debt" because I'm not sure what to commit to exactly. So when I take a couple days off... they feel incredible and my "vacation debt balance" gets a boost. That might be a poorly constructed analogy but give it a shot. My love of Summer really puts a magnifying glass on this need. The summer of 2015 was the best because I took six months off. Never been more fulfilled, healthy, and balanced - even though it might have been a bit challenging on the actual bank account balance.

Here are a few pictures from the last month or so ish. I could fill this with sunrise pictures but I'm trying to be diverse and toss in a few other Summer moments. But my sunrise walks make me feel like I'm squeezing out a few more ounces of sunshine before I trap myself in an office.

[1] sunset boat ride through Scituate Harbor. My dad graciously circled the lighthouse so I would get the right lighting for the shot.
[2] I take a picture like this a few times a year. I'm not in as good of a shape as I have been... but still able to make it work. There is something about a handstand that always makes me feel so great.
[3] My garden this year is doing well - but I feel like I'm seeing cone flowers everywhere. My sister planted a bunch but this is a snap of some at the North River Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield
[4] dusk on a hot summer day along Museum Beach in Scituate.
[5] I swear you'll never regret getting up for sunrise. Best case scenario? Bright colors and beautiful views. Worst case scenario? It's cloudy and you get to have some hot coffee in a nice quiet spot before everyone else is up.
[6] The sunflowers this year are so tall. Like so tall. This is one of the early ones that planted itself from last year's seeds. Love seeing it against the American flag.
[7] I have absolutely had less blueberry donuts this summer - but fully managed to have 3 during my birthday vacation.
[8] I frequently see people taking their small dogs out kayaking or paddleboarding in the marsh - so I really wanted to see if Ruby would be interested. She wasn't. She politely sat with me after a lifted her in but the entire time was ready to leap out and flip me for sure. I'm not giving up - but this was pretty fun.
[9] I already did a post on our Vineyard trip [here] - but it was probably one of the best 18 hours of the summer. It was an incredibly long day but totally worth it. Getting to Edgartown light with my brother was super sweet.
[10] In the span of 5 days, I managed to go picking three times. Once by myself (2+ lbs), once with my sister (4+ lbs), and once with my dad (2+ lbs).
[11] My friend Sarah has been home on maternity leave this summer so I've had the opportunity to snuggle this cute baby more than once. He is beyond cute - and when he fell asleep on me? Heart breaker. 
[12] I can be incredibly lazy and just not want to leave the neighborhood beach but I pushed myself a couple mornings to get out there. Snapped this one on a random weekday morning just before sunrise in the harbor. Love these picturesque boats.
[13] I officially kayaked to this beach that I've been thinking about for a year. To be clear, it is not far, nor that intimidating but I always couldn't muster the courage to make it. So on the day before my birthday, I mustered the courage and made it. It's so perfect. I'll absolutely be back again soon. The shells there are different from the other beaches in town.

blueberry ricotta cake


This recipe has been sitting on my kitchen counter for over a month - so it's good that I finally got to it I guess. The original recipe called for raspberries but there is no good reason for that - especially when you have perfectly ripe and freshly picked blueberries. I was on vacation for a few days and went blueberry picking three times. So, I have a few to spare.

This cake is a homerun on about a million levels but I'll give you a few examples. It's so easy to make. It's incredibly light and fluffy. It's perfectly customizable. As I was making this I was tempted to toss in some slivered almond and swap out the almond extract for coconut. I feel like there are countless ways to just use this simple ricotta cake base. 
 While the original recipe called for a round cake pan, I only had two loaf pans around. Here are my thoughts on that. The round pan is better for presentation sake. Like think about going to a brunch and bringing it like that. But - the loaf pans are better for durability. This cake is so incredible moist that the loaf slices hold together a bit better. It's less fragile and easier to transport. I know this because I put it in my bike basket and dropped one off at my parents house.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a baking pan with nonstick spray. 
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. 
  4. Then fold in butter, followed by 1 cup frozen berries. 
  5. Distribute the batter into your chosen pan(s). Original recipe was 9 in round pan, I went with 2 8 inch loaf pans.
  6. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
Shopping List
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1½ cups ricotta
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup frozen blueberries

nicoise fish with edamame farro feta salad


I had a bunch of ladies over for dinner one night recently. I was racking my brain a bit to figure out the optimal menu for the occasion. When we go out to a restaurant, we often all end up getting burgers - but that just didn't feel right for a fun summer girls night. I debated kabobs or chicken but those either seemed like a lot of effort or just a bit weak for some fun lady time.

So, we landed on my favorite fall back - a simple white fish dinner. So good. I went straight to Food52 and found this recipe but modified it a bit to make it even easier. While I love a good seared fish (like this baby), baked fish is so incredibly easy especially when you are having guests. You really just put it in the oven ... and then take it out.

Not to beat a statement down even further, but this meal is incredibly easy to make. Here are a few notes:

  • Time // All of the prep is complete in less than 5 minutes. 5 minutes! I spent the most amount of time picking out red and yellow tomatoes to make sure the meal was colorful. 
  • Farro // I am a huge fan of farro these days - and this was a great side for the dish. It only takes about 30 minutes to cook but super hands-off. You don't have to measure any water like for rice or quinoa - just treat it like a pasta.
  • Alternate prep // The next time I make this meal I could absolutely see myself using the same ingredients but differently. I could sear the fish with a good crust and then sauté the tomato olive mixture in a pan. A good blister on the tomatoes would be nice.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, olives, and capers in a bowl. 
  3. Grate the garlic using a hand grater onto a cutting board or bowl. Sprinkle heavily with kosher and combine into a paste then mix in olive oil. This might be a bit confusing but trust me it's worth it. When you are done just mix into the tomato/olive mixture to help distribute the garlic all over everything.
  4. Pat the fish dry. Season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
  5. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish and then arrange your fish fillets so they all have a bit of room. Pour the tomato/olive mixture over the fish. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the baking dish.
  6. Bake the fish for about 15-25 minutes depending on filet thickness. You'll know its done when the fish flakes easily. 
  7. Plate the fish over the grain of choice (farro for me) and serve with a lemon wedge.
Farro Side
  1. Cook the farro as directed on the package
  2. Add in feta and edamame
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt for flavor.
Shopping List
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 6-ounce cod (or other) fish fillets, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2-3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 lemon, halved, plus more for serving

Farro Side
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