summer salad


Good news. You can make healthy food even better with two small tricks. One? Cut the vegetables into adorable shapes like half moons. Two? Make this super easy dressing and pour it all on.

Last weekend I stayed at The Gilded in Newport. The food was so amazing that since checking out I have asked for two of their recipes... and they have actually emailed them to me. At some point in the near future I will absolutely be making their chocolate chip cookies, but until then I make a version of their incredible tomato salad. 

Their tomato salad was a bit different than mine. I refused to go to more than one grocery store (TJ's doesn't have fava beans) and needed to amp it up a bit to be more filling. The real reason this salad is amazing is the dressing. It is so light and flavorful without being too much of anything. You don't feel like you are eating a bowl of cilantro. I can see myself making a dressing like this for many years to come. 

Changes I made:
- Swapped fava beans for chick peas. This was "fine" because I had the chick peas on hand, but the salad really needs something light, and crisp. Fava beans would be perfect but the chick peas meant I didn't go to another store.
- Added chicken sausage. I will put chicken sausage in just about anything. I love it. This boosted the salad to be just a touch more filling.
- No onion. Pretty much just because I was too hungry and forgot. I would do this next time if I remembered, but it was still pretty great without it.

What makes this salad so amazing? It's the combination of the herby, light dressing with the yogurt on the bottom of the dish. I was doing everything I could to scoop up that goodness and be a member of the clean plate club. Do not skip the yogurt.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend together using a food processor / immersion blender / whatever you want. It is worth doing this mechanically because it really changes the texture of the dressing.
  2. Chop and prep the rest of your salad ingredients. Mix well to coat with the dressing. Let rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  3. Right before serving, spread a dollop of yogurt in the bottom of each dish. Lightly salt the yogurt and then top with the dressed salad
Shopping List
Approx 3 tbsp roughly chopped mint (12 g)
Approx 3 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro (12 g)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
5 tbsp lemon juice
1/3  cup olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
¾ tsp coarsely ground black pepper


1 cup garden tomatoes, halved
4-5 radishes, halved & thinly sliced (half moons)
1/2 cup limas/favas
3 mini cucumbers, peeled and chopped into cubes or half moons
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

For the love of old windows... and old friends


I was in Newport for the weekend - which was lovely. 

It was such a special occasion celebrating one of my oldest friends. Although 11 years might actually not be that long, we have certainly done a whole lot of living in those 11 years. Learned a whole lot of lessons. Mostly good ones, which is nice.

The weekend was spent mostly outdoors which is my favorite place to spend time. So few pictures were taken that it is challenging to write a post about it - but I've found myself recently passing on past posts to others... and given that, any post is a good post. 

Slept At: Gilded Hotel
This place was aggressively quirky and cute with a super loud design decor. I tend to skew more towards traditional, New England looks but this was very bold - and wonderful. But the best part might be the hospitality. There was a great tea selection (I'm an old woman at heart) and peaceful little courtyard with a fountain. The homerun of it all was really the homemade chocolate chip cookies that magically showed up at the right time - even 1 am when we got home from the events. 

The next morning there was this thing called "small plate breakfast" which could be annoying - but was actually really wonderful. I've already emailed the hotel for the tomato salad recipe. It was delicious. Turns out if you put tasty food in very small plates people will love it. Even the super small diced watermelon.

Socialized At: New York Yacht Club, Harbour Court
The event was at the NYYC. From any of my research and all the signs, I know that phones are not permitted anywhere and cameras are not cool either. There is apparently a small loophole if you go outside and down the very steep hill. So that is what we did. 

I love a good house with history, plus a giant flagpole and sweeping views didn't hurt either. The passed appetizers were delightful. I absolutely consumed more than my fair share of deviled eggs and roasted golden beets. Would also like the recipe for those beets. 

Night Activities: Everywhere
One of the planning people wrote up a treasure map of sorts to keep everyone on track after the cocktail party. I honestly have no idea where we went all night mostly. All I know is that it was not too far, but far enough for my tender little feet in heels. They are highly accustomed to sneakers and Birkenstocks... not 3 inch heels on cobblestone streets. My how life has changed.
  1. Perro Salado --> adorable patio area with even cuter lights. absolutely must go here.
  2. The Fastnet --> Good amount of space plus there is darts... and the majority of the walls can be written on in chalk. Sounds fun right?
  3. Buskers --> Standard Irish pub
  4. Benjamins --> there are a lot of stairs to get to the great stuff - but there is this upper deck area that is wonderful. Go all the way to the tippy top. 

Morning Stuff: Assorted
I'm an early bird so I got in a lovely walk of the Newport streets before the actual brunch and the hotel brunch. Yes, I ate twice. The old houses are great in Newport but it is really the amazing older windows that I'm in love with. You simply cannot buy them like this anymore. 

The actual brunch was delicious. If I spent the entire last evening telling everyone about the roasted beets, I spent the morning talking about the kale and bacon quiche. It is by far the best quiche I have ever had. I have a renewed interest in figuring this out for my home life.  I do think the secret might be a lot of heavy cream. That's okay.

eggplant parm


Woah. I had no idea that these little bitty eggplants could be so delicious. I think I have always turned away from eggplant parmesan because of the eggplant. In hindsight that is truly ridiculous because nothing can be terrible when you cover it in cheese.

When I was planning my garden this year, I really wanted to include a patio baby eggplant. The patio baby produces plants that are much smaller than traditional plants. They are ideal for growing on patios (obviously) and for people who don't need a ton of large produce (single people). I did try to grow this same variety last year but it was largely unproductive.

The plant has been bursting with little eggplants for much of the summer but I didn't get around to really using them until this week. Until now I've been forcing them on people who come for tomatoes. You want some fresh tomatoes? Take an eggplant as a bonus item.

Making eggplant parm doesn't take a lifetime but it does have more steps than I'd otherwise subscribe to on a weeknight. You have to prepare each eggplant slice, fry it, and then bake the whole thing. It's just one step too many for me but I'm glad I made it happen. This was delicious. There are probably a million eggplant parm recipes out there but this is the one I started with. Like all of my recipes, I never really follow the instructions to a T.

A few notes:
Eggplant slices // Really stick with 1/2 inch slices. Anything less than this and I think they are too floppy and won't hold the breadcrumbs that well.
Double Dip // I double breaded the eggplant slices. It was worth it. In other words, egg --> breadcrumbs --> egg --> breadcrumbs --> fry it up.
Eggplant size // Since I was using a smaller variety of eggplant, I think mine also retained less moisture. As a result, I didn't need the full hour to pull moisture out (see below for more context). I do think this step is a game changer. I can't imagine making eggplant parm and it being soggy. No thanks.
Pasta // I served this over some linguine with more tomato sauce but you can do many other things. I might eat some of the leftovers in a sandwich or perhaps over some pesto pasta. Seems a bit wild, but I feel like it would be good.

Some bonus points for this recipe? Nearly all of the ingredients came from my garden or my neighbor's. I grew the eggplant and basil. The tomato sauce was made from my tomatoes over the prior weekend. It is literally just tomatoes, no onion, garlic, etc. So pure tomato goodness. The eggs for the breading came from my Aunt's chickens next door. Only ingredients that were bought? Breadcrumbs and cheese. So incredibly satisfying - and delicious.
  1. Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Brush off the excess salt when you are done so they aren't too salty!
  2. In 2 shallow dishes, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and milk in the other. Dip both sides of eggplant slice into milk/egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Repeat. Place on large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set back on baking sheet. Repeat until you've pan-fried them all.
  5. In a large casserole dish, add 1 cup of tomato sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle cheese. Repeat sauce, slices, cheese layers until you don't have any left. For the very top be more generous with the shredded mozzarella and sprinkle on some bonus parmesan cheese. 
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly crisp on top. If needed, you can pop it under the broiler to get cheese crispy.
  7. Serve hot and top with torn basil.
Shopping List
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
3 cups tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh basil leaves chopped
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