Simple 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce | Farmers Market Series

Tomato season is here! As an Italian, I can appreciate the season of tomatoes. They’re such a versatile ingredient and come in many different shapes, sizes, and even colors. I love roasting cherry tomatoes to bring out more of their natural sweetness. Heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous for salads and sandwiches. Plum tomatoes and vine tomatoes are perfect for homemade sauces. Tomatoes are never better than while at the peak of their season. The same goes for any other fruit or vegetable but tomatoes seem to be juicier and sweeter from August to September while they’re thriving. With that said, today’s farmers market recipe is a very simple and easy tomato sauce. Make it on weeknights, make it on the weekend. Double, triple, or even quadruple the batch and freeze the extras for quick dinners in the coming weeks.

Farmers Market Tomato Sauce.png

What’s great about this recipe is that the other two main ingredients are also at the peak of their season right now: basil and garlic. The basil is so aromatic at this time which makes it perfect for using in homemade sauces. Its potency will lend lots of great flavor to the tomatoes. Garlic is also growing like crazy now which means it's inexpensive and fresh. I call this recipe 3-Ingredient because the others should be basics you have in your pantry. Olive oil, salt and pepper should always be stocked in your kitchen. Nothing puts me in a panic more than realizing that I just used my last drop of olive oil. So to keep that from happening, I’ll usually buy a new bottle of olive oil when I’m a little under half-way through with my current one.

There are a lot of variations of olive oil at the grocery store and it can be intimidating, especially if you’re just getting started in the kitchen or haven’t used olive oil regularly up till now. Being Italian, olive oil was always something we had on hand. We use it for everything from sweating onions to drizzling over salads. We use it straight up to dip bread, we use it in baking. It’s a basic kitchen ingredient and that’s the same for a lot of other cultures too: Spanish, French, Greek, etc. It’s also really good for you, especially in its raw form (not cooked). I always go with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You want to stay away from anything that labeled or considered "light." Extra virgin is of the best quality and a standard option for overall use. I won’t go crazy and buy $50 bottles but I generally like my olive oil to be made in Italy, Greece or Spain and never more than one location. Surprisingly, you can find oils that have 2+ places attributed to their creation. Not good. I have, however, found a brand made out of California that's really good. Bon Appetit has a helpful article to buying olive oil as a beginner if you're interested.

Farmers Market Tomato Sauce 1.0.jpg

Now that we’ve got ingredient information out of the way, let’s talk sauce. Like I said, this is essentially a 3-ingredient sauce: tomatoes, basil and garlic. While you prepare the sauce, get a pot of water boiling and cook your desired pasta. I used Fettuccine because we love big noodles in my house and it's a heartier pasta. Fettuccine pairs well with the fresher sauces too. First step: heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season generously to taste (the S&P is your only chance to season the sauce) and bring to a simmer. Step 2: Let the sauce simmer for about 15-minutes until the tomatoes have released their juices and the bitterness has cooked out. Step 3: Toss with the fettuccine and serve. That’s it! Super easy, ridiculously quick and SOOO delicious.

NOTE: If you decide to increase this recipe and make a double, triple or even quadruple batch, increase the cook time. This is very important. Adding more tomatoes means they need extra time to cook. I would add 15-minutes for every extra “batch.” So if you double this recipe, cook 30-minutes. If you quadruple the recipe, cook for at least 60-minutes. The key is to keep stirring it every 15-minutes or so to keep the bottom from burning and tasting it along the way to see if it’s ready. And to be clear, you can absolutely cook this sauce longer than the required time. Cooking tomato sauces longer make the flavors develop more which creates a richer, sweeter, more delicious sauce. The time reflected in this recipe is the minimum suggestion for the best result. Happy cooking!

Farmers Market Tomato Sauce 4.0.jpg

Simple 3-Ingredient Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 medium-large Tomatoes, diced
½ cup Basil, roughly chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Salt & Pepper
1 lb. Fettuccine

Directions:
1 - In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes have released their juices and are no longer bitter.

2 - Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine or your choice of pasta, according to package directions. Drain and toss with the tomato sauce. Serve.

Farmers Market Tomato Sauce 3.0.jpg

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Back to school is starting this week and will continue all month long for many people. Whether that means bringing your baby to pre-school for the first time or heading back to a college campus, chances are time is not something to be wasteful with anymore. Gone are the long days of summer where dinner can be dragged out over a few hours. Weeknight cookouts (if you’re lucky enough to have those) will become a distant memory and budgets get a little tighter. Everyone loves a meal they can prep in under 20 minutes and it’s even better if it saves you a buck. That’s what’s so great about this Chunky Chicken Salad.

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches.png

Two words: Rotisserie Chicken. I wasn’t a huge fan of these for a long time because breaking them down isn’t fun. One week this summer, I managed to make one $7 Rotisserie Chicken act as the protein for two different dinners plus there was enough left over from both meals to feed two adults for lunch for 5 days. $7 essentially provided 14 servings at least. That’s impressive. One meal was the Southwestern Chicken Pita Pockets that I shared a few weeks ago. The second was this delightful Chunky Chicken Salad. Both recipes need about two cups of cooked chicken which is about what one Rotisserie Chicken will yield. The remaining ingredients are pretty inexpensive and can be used in many other different ways as well.

Another perk of this Chunky Chicken Salad is that it’s no-cook! All of the ingredients get mixed up and spooned onto bread. Simple, easy, quick! Dice up carrots, celery and cucumbers. You don’t have to get crazy because this is a chunky salad but you want them to be small enough so that the sandwich isn't a challenge to eat. Adding cucumbers to the classic carrot-celery combo adds a refreshing touch. I always like to include grapes in my chicken salads if they look good ad the store. Their sweetness takes the chicken salad to another level and gives it a more dynamic flavor profile. Instead of just tossing the ingredients with mayo, add in a touch of relish for a tiny zing. It’s a small extra step that makes all the difference. These sandwiches are quite tasty, and pack well for lunches. The only time you’ll spend on this dish is how long it takes you to prep the ingredients and mix everything together. I used an Artisanal Bread from the farmers market but any kind you prefer will work. Try toasting the bread before hand if it’s not too sturdy so it can handle the salad well.

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches 1.0.jpg

Chunky Chicken Salad
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked Chicken, chopped or shredded
1 small Carrot, diced
1 Celery Stalk, diced
½ Cucumber, diced
1 cup Grapes, halved
½ cup Mayo
1 tsp. Relish
8 slices Artisan Bread

1 - In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the chicken, carrot, celery, cucumber, grapes, mayo and relish. Spoon onto the bread and serve.

Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches 2.0.jpg
Chunky Chicken Salad Sandwiches 4.0.jpg

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Simple Green Salad | Farmers Market Series

Earlier this summer as the produce was slowly growing in, picking up ingredients to challenge myself for this series was limited. We had a late start to spring and once it came, it was more like dog days of summer weather. If I’m being honest, those dog days never left. It’s been one 80-100 degree day to the next with small breaks here and there. With that said, our produce season went from bare to bountiful what seemed like overnight. I took trip after trip and stopped going because we were tiring of asparagus. After taking a month or so off from my Sunday morning market adventures, I returned to see that there was produce but still not a ton. Most of the vendors who would typically sell produce were selling plants and flowers for early planting. Before turning around feeling once again defeated, I decided to head to this one vendor all the way in the far corner of the market.

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Simple Green Salad.png

This particular vendor is my favorite during summer and fall seasons. They have the most produce out of anyone and it’s always fantastic. From farther away, it still looked like they were only selling plants, flowers and herbs for planing. But as I got closer I could see the far table full of produce. Finally! What I had been waiting for since March was finally here! All kinds of leafy greens, radishes, spring onions, root veggies and more. There were barely two long folding tables full of veggies but it was more than I had seen since the previous fall and I was ready to dive in. It was these veggies that inspired a simple green salad. Fresh green leaf lettuce gets tossed together with bright cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, spicy radishes, and scallions. To keep the dressing from overpowering the veggies, mix together a simple vinaigrette with equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I wanted to pair the salad with something hearty but still light enough for those hot summer days. Another vendor close to this one sells all kinds of great mushrooms. The portobello caps were a fantastic deal and looked amazing so I decided to grab a few for Grilled Portobello Burgers. They marinate with balsamic vinegar before grilling up pretty quick on the stove or outdoor grill. We never actually filled our propane tank this summer so I’ve been going crazy using my grill pan. It works just as well, the only difference is you don’t get a smoky, charred flavor like on the grill. The cook time varies depending on the size of the portobello caps. The result you’re looking for is grill marks on both sides of the mushroom and for it to be slightly softened. It needs to be sturdy to act as the main meat of the burger and mushy mushrooms aren’t appetizing anyway. For the condiment, whip up the simple garlicky mayo. A clove of garlic minced or grated mixes into about a quarter cup of mayo. You can also use Veganaise to keep things 100% veggie-based.

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Garden Salad 3.0.jpg

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Simple Green Salad
Burger Ingredients:
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
2 Portobello Caps
1 Garlic Clove, minced
¼ cup Mayonnaise or Veganaise
2 Hamburger Buns
2 Lettuce Leaves
2 Tomato Slices

Salad Ingredients:
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce, roughly torn or chopped
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
½ Cucumber, halved and sliced
1 bunch Radishes, sliced (or appx. 10 radishes)
3 Scallions, chopped
4 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

Directions:
1 - Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Pour into a plastic sealable bag or a bowl with the portobello caps. Let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise or veganaise and the garlic in a small bowl to create a garlic mayo.

2 - Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Take the portobello caps out of the bag or bowl and place cap down. There’s no need to pat dry. The balsamic vinegar will caramelize slightly for a nice, rich flavor. Let the mushrooms cook about 6-10 minutes per side* until softened and grill marks have formed. Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, spread a little garlic mayo on the bottom half of each bun. Place the Portobello over the mayo and top with lettuce and tomato. Serve!

3 - While the portobello burgers are cooking. Prep the salad. In a medium to large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes and scallions. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and drizzle over the salad. Top with Parmesan Cheese for garnish and serve alongside the burgers.

*NOTE: For the mushroom’s cook time, it varies depending on the size of the portobello cap. Larger caps will take longer time to soften. Smaller ones will cook quickly so be vigilant and don’t be afraid to peek and see if grill marks have formed occasionally.

Grilled Portobello Burgers with Garden Salad 1.0.jpg

Club Sandwiches with Cucumber-Tomato Salad | Lighter Recipes For Summer

We are officially in the dog days of summer. August is traditionally the hottest and most unbearable of the summer months, not just for Chicago, but all over it seems. The big scary bugs are out like crazy and you feel like you need a shower for being outside five minutes. There’s also things like back to school which means back to sports and after school activities. While I don’t have kids of my own, living with two teenagers gives me a unique perspective of organizing dinner times around busy schedules and the importance of quick dinners. I also can appreciate a meal that doesn’t heat up the kitchen on a hot day. Who wants to sweat even more at the end of summertime? Bring on fall already!

Turkey Club Sandwiches with Cucumber-Tomato Salad.png

I’m always impressed by the triple decker sandwiches from diners and casual restaurants. They’re satisfying without weighing too heavy in your stomach. They’re also much less intimidating to create than you’d think. They do take a minute to assemble but that’s ok because it allows enough time for the cucumber tomato salad to marinate. By the time the sandwiches are together, dinner is ready to go. The only reason the kitchen might get heated up is if you’re cooking the bacon that same day. I did and it only added a few extra minutes to the prep time. I actually had the bacon going as I was preparing the vegetables for the salad. The cucumber-tomato salad is a simple version of a classic. Soaking the onion in water (you can add a splash of vinegar too) will keep them from overpowering the other ingredients. I love onion flavor but I don’t like when the onions are strong. Red wine vinegar and olive oil mix together for a simple dressing, everything marinades for about 15-20 minutes and you’re set!

Cucumber Tomato Salad 1.0.jpg

As much as I love triple decker sandwiches, I don't love that they can be so huge my mouth can't fit around them. It’s a joke in my family and with my friends, also my dentist, at how small my mouth is. Not kidding, he uses the kid-sized tools during my visit. It’s embarrassing. If you're ever out to eat with me and I accidentally take too large of a bite, be prepared to fill the conversation for the next five minutes. The great thing about these club sandwiches is that they pack in a lot of ingredients but they’re not towering so high that it’s an Olympic sport to fit in your mouth. A little cheese, a decent amount of meat and just enough veg to keep things fresh. And of course, you can’t forget the mayo!

Turkey Club Sandwiches with Cucumber Tomato Salad 4.0.jpg

Turkey Club Sandwiches with Cucumber-Tomato Salad
Ingredients for the Sandwiches:
12 slices Multigrain Bread (or your favorite sandwich bread), toasted
½ cup Mayo or Veganaise
8 slices Turkey Deli Meat (your choice)
8 strips Bacon, cooked and broken in half
4 slices of Tomato (or 8 slices if the tomato is small in size)
4 slices Muenster Cheese
4 Lettuce Leaves

Ingredients for the Salad:
½ small Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Cucumber, halved and sliced
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
1 - Prep the Salad. Soak the onion slices in water for 20-30 minutes. You can also add a dash of vinegar too. This will help mute the flavor so the onion isn’t as strong. In a medium-sized serving bowl, mix together the cucumber, tomato, and onions. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Drizzle over the salad and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2 - Prep the sandwiches. Place two slices of bread facedown. On each side of the bread that’s face up, spread a little bit of the mayo. On one piece of bread, layer a slice of turkey, two bacon halves, and tomato. On the other piece of bread, layer a slice of cheese, two more bacon halves, a slice of turkey and lettuce. Spread a little mayo on both sides of the third piece of bread and place on one of sandwich halves. Carefully, flip the other half over to make a triple decker sandwich. Secure with two toothpicks to keep in place and slice in half. Serve.

Makes 4 Sandwiches

Turkey Club Sandwiches with Cucumber Tomato Salad 3.0.jpg

Summer Nights at Three Embers at the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort

There are some meals that are so good they stick with you for a long time. Every single dish is memorable and your mouth salivates thinking about it. Unfortunately for me, the meal on my mind lately is almost a two hour drive away but worth every minute there and back. It’s the new summer menu from Three Embers at the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort and if it’s not on your summer bucket list, it should be. Located in Chicago’s North Shore area, Three Embers, the resort’s signature restaurant, celebrates Midwest cuisine with simple, locally grown and sourced, farm-fresh ingredients, while integrating influential flavors from various regions throughout southern Europe. My cousin and I had the pleasure to dine with other influencers at a special event to preview the new summer menu at Three Embers. It was a gorgeous night that was miraculously not suffocating given our current summer record and the company was fantastic.

**I was invited out to Three Embers for a special event with all food and drink provided complimentary. All opinions expressed belong to Lattes, Life & Luggage.***

Three Embers Restaurant Review.png

We started with cocktails and appetizers on the brand new Lakeside Plaza at Three Embers overlooking the resort lake. The Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort recently went through a $25 million transformation which includes the Lakeside Plaza featuring a dramatic wood-burning grill, plenty of outdoor seating and gorgeous views all around. The fountain in the center of the lake provides a peaceful ambiance and a great backdrop for photos! We were greeted with a Blueberry Coconut Lemonade (malibu, blueberry-coconut lemoncello, fresh squeezed lemonade), a drink that was made for me. It went down way too easy and I’m a picky cocktail sipper so that says a lot. Passed appetizers included the Lamb Croquettes with mint pesto, black mission figs and a goat cheese mousse and the Burrata with heirloom tomato, balsamic, basil and EVOO. Everything was tasty which should have prepared us for the five-course meal that came later but believe me when I say we were all blown away.

The Lamb Croquettes

The Lamb Croquettes

The Blueberry Coconut Lemonade

The Blueberry Coconut Lemonade

The pre-fixe menu began with the Honey Badger Glazed Pork Belly with miso sabayon, pickled blueberries, and bitter greens. It’s probably not a great idea to lead with the best dish but since we’re going in order of courses, that’s how it works today! The glazed pork belly was by far my favorite dish of the night. And that is not to say I hated the others. I loved everything but if I picked favorites, and I am, the pork belly wins. The meat was so tender it melted in your mouth. The flavors were out of this world. Sweet met savory in the best possible way. The meat had this beautiful caramelized crust that I will forever be trying to replicate at home. I should also take this time to mention the bread and butter. Three Embers has a pastry chef that makes all of their baked goods and pastries in house. The bread was so good, I should write a paragraph dedicated to it but I'll control myself. The butter was also a delight because it had honey and a little salt. Two things I will never complain about.

Three Embers - Lincolnshire 2.0.jpg
Three Embers - Lincolnshire 5.0.jpg

The pork belly was followed by the light and delicate Grilled Farm Vegetables with tomato jus, shrimp, and basil. The presentation was stunning - summer on a plate! This a perfect dish for dining on the patio during a warm summer night. Next we dug our forks into the Alaskan Halibut with risotto, charred leek, and preserved lemon. Risotto is a fickle friend and if you think about it, so is fish. If you cook it too little, you’re in trouble. If you cook it too much, you’re in more trouble. Both the halibut and the risotto were cooked to perfection. The halibut was flaky and light, not a morsel was dried out. The risotto was creamy and comforting, just how I like it. The charred leek and preserved lemon add a nice balance of flavors to an otherwise light dish. Don’t let risotto fool you. Even though it’s comforting doesn’t mean it will overwhelm the stomach in the heat of summer. Cooked well and with the right flavors, it’s an all-season side dish.

Three Embers - Lincolnshire 8.0.jpg
Three Embers - Lincolnshire 9.0.jpg

The last main course was the Veal Tenderloin with milk poached, ricotta dumpling and mushroom. This might have been the most tender piece of meat (other than the pork belly) that I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. I’m trying to think of words to describe this dish but all I can think about is my stomach growling even though I just had a very satisfying smoothie. Where do I even begin?! The veal tenderloin was cooked perfect. It had a crisp, caramelized crust and tender, juicy inside. The dumplings were gummy and delightful but 10x more irresistible dipped in the jus that covered the veal which was so flavorful every single taste bud was tantalized. This is about as hearty as you should get for a summer dish and Three Embers did not disappoint for a second.

Three Embers - Lincolnshire 12.0.jpg

Finally, we were treated to the Dessert Duo of Chocolate Pave with raspberry sorbet, rhubarb, and chocolate crumble and a Honey Creme Brulee with blood orange, pistachios, and white chocolate. It was interesting to go around the table and see which was everyone’s favorite. Not having a crazy sweet tooth myself, I was satisfied within a few bites but I still had the opportunity to appreciate the delicate quality of each dish. The Chocolate Pave was my personal favorite. The rich chocolate balanced beautiful with the tart raspberry sorbet. The Honey Creme Brulee was the kind of dessert that got better with each bite. It was very sweet but the blood orange and pistachios helped with the balance.

Three Embers - Lincolnshire 14.0.jpg
Three Embers - Lincolnshire 15.0.jpg

It was an incredible night with great company and outstanding service and food. The staff at Three Embers and the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort were very welcoming and it was a treat to be able to get away mid-week. Another reason I love Three Embers is because of their passion for locally sourced and farm-fresh ingredients. The resort has an on-site farm, greenhouse and apiary where they source much of their fresh fruits and vegetables as well as their very own honey! They’re making a wonderful contribution to the environment and anything they cannot source themselves, they try to source local from produce, livestock and dairy farms. It’s one thing to enjoy a great meal but another altogether to enjoy a great meal from a restaurant doing its part to impact the environment and support local businesses.

Turkey Sliders with Blueberry Compote | Lighter Recipes For Summer

Who doesn’t love to entertain in the summertime? Each season has its own unique perks to inviting people over and hosting them for dinner or brunch. Winter is all about comforting, hearty dishes that are sometimes indulgent but always delightful. Fall has that wonderful crisp air, the smells are intoxicating (who can resist pumpkin and all those spiced baked goods), and the seasonal produce is arguably the best all year. Spring is a light in the dark after a long, cold winter. The days get longer and warmer, there’s sunshine, everything becomes green again and all the seasonal produce is fresh and light. Summer is bountiful with an overabundance of produce from summer squash to tomatoes to berries to greens. There’s an excess of everything and the sun is shining late into the evening. The one downside (and all seasons have one), is that summer can get hot which is not ideal for heating up a kitchen. That’s why I love these Turkey Sliders.

Turkey Sliders with Blueberry Compote.png

Since we’re lazy and haven’t restocked the propane tank for our grill, I’ve been forced to do all the “grilling” inside. Normally, I like to use my grill pan as it’s become my favorite stovetop tool but for this recipe I used my cast iron skillet instead. Cast iron skillets are useful for many reasons. You can use them on the stove, in the oven and even on the grill, and they distribute heat the best out of any cooking tool. The trick is to heat them up before getting started. By preheating the skillet, it ensures an even cooking temperature for all your sliders so that they cook perfect every time. The grill is the ideal cooking method for summertime though. So if you’re taking these outside to cook up, use the same instructions but apply them to your grill instead! It’s so easy and you’ll have less clean up than I did.

Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 1.0.jpg
Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 2.0.jpg
Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 3.0.jpg
Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 4.0.jpg

Now for the sliders, I actually filmed the cooking process on Instagram stories a few weeks back if you want to check it out! The videos are saved to my highlights in the “Cooking at Home” category. First, get the blueberry compote started. A compote is like a syrupy jam. Fruit cooks over a low heat with sugar until you get a gooey, syrupy consistency. It’s looser than jam but chunky so not a full-fledged syrup. It’s a great way to use up fruit that might be on its last life instead of throwing it out. Once the compote is finished, move on to the turkey burgers. Mix the meat and create golf ball-sized meatballs before squashing them into patties. Cook these over a medium-high heat. You want to cook turkey hot and fast so that it doesn’t get dried out. Because these are little baby burgers and not full-sized, they’ll cook through quick over the high heat. Once the burgers are done, I like to toast the buns. It adds an extra depth of flavor and shows your guests that you’re willing to go the extra mile. Plus, it tastes fantastic.

Blueberry Compote IG Story (1).JPG
Turkey Sliders IG Story (2).JPG
Turkey Sliders IG Story (3).JPG

These sliders are perfect for summer entertaining because you can prepare them fast, you can prepare them in advance, they’re light but still super flavorful, they can be cooked outside to avoid heating the house, and they cook up in numbers! Double or triple the batch if you need to feed a crowd and serve them as a heavy appetizers along other summery bites like watermelon, pasta salad, Mexican corn and more! Another perk...sliders are finger food so no forks required. Perfect for that upcoming late summer graduation party you’re hosting soon.

Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 6.0.jpg

Turkey Sliders with Blueberry Compote
For the Compote:
1 cup Blueberries
1 tbsp. Sugar
Juice of ½ Lemon

For the Burgers:
1 lb. Ground Turkey
2 Scallions, chopped
1 large Garlic Clove, minced
1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parsley, chopped
½ tsp. Lemon Zest
4 Slices Gouda Cheese (each cut into four squares)
4 tbsp. Butter
Slider Buns

Directions:
1 - Prepare the compote. In a small saucepan, mix together the berries, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a light simmer over medium-low heat and cook until it becomes a gooey, jam-like mixture, about 8-10 minutes. If necessary, use a potato masher to break down the berries a little more if it’s too chunky. Take off the heat and let cool.

2 - Mix the burger meat. In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, scallions, garlic, panko bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest until well incorporated. Form into golf ball sized meatballs and smash flat to form a patty.

3 - Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Place the patties on the grill (you might need to work in batches) and cook 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. About halfway through the cook time on the second side, add two gouda slices so the cheese melts over the patty. Once the turkey burgers are all cooked, spread butter onto the inside of each slider bun and toast on the same grill pan or skillet over low heat for a minute or so.

4 - Build the sliders. Place the slider on top of the bottom half of the bun. Spoon a tablespoon or so of the compote on top of the of the slider and place the top half of the bun over it. Serve!

Turkey Burgers with Blueberry Compote 7.0.jpg

Prosciutto + Ricotta Pizza with Spring Onions | Summer Recipes

Pizza isn’t something that I get to experiment with very often. The two teenagers in my house are very opposed to anything BUT traditional pizza. I made a barbecue chicken pizza once and you would have thought the sky was falling with the reaction it received. Fortunately, that was not long after I moved in and they’ve since become a bit more open to experimentation. Just not when it comes to pizza. I was really craving a “white” pizza one night earlier this summer which inspired this recipe. To get away with it at dinner, I called it a flatbread instead. You’d be surprised what tweaking the language can actually do in this house.

Prosciutto + Ricotta Pizza with Spring Onions.png

A “white” pizza is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of a red sauce at the base, it’s a white “sauce” or in this case...cheese. Ricotta is an ingredient I fall more and more in love with. It has a mild flavor making it a perfect canvas ingredient. Use it as your base and build up. I love to mix it with herbs which is how this creamy and herby base came about. It’s a summery pizza, light but full of natural flavors.

Ricotta, unlike many other cheeses is not salty. Prosciutto, on the other hand, is super salty. They were practically made for each other! Add some sauteed spinach and onions, a little more flavor with additional herbs and a touch more cheese. A nice, pungent Parmesan on top rounds out the flavors well. The secret ingredient that will add brightness is the lemon zest. It’s hardly noticeable but brings a touch of acid to the pizza cutting the saltiness. This is a pizza that you’ll want to make year round, but especially in these last few summer days. And if the kids insist that they only want “real” pizza, just do what I did and tell them it’s a flatbread.

Lattes-Life-Luggage-Prosciutto-Ricotta-Pizza-7.0.jpg

Prosciutto + Ricotta Pizza with Spring Onions
Ingredients:
1 roll or package of store-bought Pizza Dough
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
4-6 Spring Onions, sliced
5 ounces Spinach
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
¼ cup Parsley, chopped
⅓ cup Basil, chopped
1 tsp. Lemon Zest
5 ounces thinly sliced Prosciutto (about 8-10 pieces)
1 tbsp. Chives, finely chopped
¼ cup Parmesan, shredded
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
1 - Preheat the oven to 425 degrees*. Arrange the pizza dough onto a rectangular baking sheet or pizza pan and brush with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set aside. (The shape of your pizza crust will depend on the store-bought version you buy. Mine rolled out in a rectangular shape.)

2 - Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Lattes-Life-Luggage-Prosciutto-Ricotta-Pizza-1.0.jpg

3 - Mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil and lemon zest until all of the ingredients are well-incorporated. Spread evenly over the pizza dough using a small rubber spatula. Be careful not to pierce or rip the pizza dough.

Lattes-Life-Luggage-Prosciutto-Ricotta-Pizza-4.0.jpg

4 - Top the ricotta mixture with the sauteed onions and spinach. Rip the prosciutto slices once or twice and arrange on top of the pizza. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chives. Bake 10-15 minutes until the dough is golden and the Parmesan cheese has melted. Cut into squares and serve.

*For the temperature, follow the directions according to your pizza dough. The directions for mine required a 425 degree oven but if your dough says differently, use that temperature instead. All of the ingredients are cooked except for the pizza dough so you’re baking it specifically for the crust.

Lattes-Life-Luggage-Prosciutto-Ricotta-Pizza-5.0.jpg

Summer Hash with Poached Eggs | Summer Dinner Recipes

The best part of summer cooking is the abundance of produce. Whenever I have a random bunch of veggies, I like to throw them together. One of the best ways to do that is with a hash. It’s easy to prepare and makes a delicious hearty meal without feeling heavy. A hash is also customizable. It consists of whatever you have on hand and anything you’d like. Its versatility in infinite.

This particular recipe is full of summer goodies. Zucchini and summer squash are taking over the farmer’s market lately. Have you seen the size of the zucchini? I should really remember to take photos sometimes. One of the vendors at my farmer’s market has zucchini that look the size of a large eggplant. This recipe only calls for a small-sized zucchini but if you love it, go crazy. I won’t judge. Yellow squash, aka summer squash, adds a nice burst of color to this otherwise green dish.

Poached eggs are easy to make. I used to be intimidated by poaching anything but it makes for a delicious egg. They become soft and velvety and that yolk spilling into the hash gives it a really rich flavor. Not a fan of runny yolks? Worry not! Simply leave your eggs poaching a little longer. The yolk will solidify like a hard boiled egg. Do NOT forget the vinegar. It helps the egg whites to coagulate which just means to solidify.

SUMMER HASH WITH POACHED EGGS
Ingredients:
1 Zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Yellow Squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ Red Onion, diced
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced
2-3 Red Potatoes, diced
6-8 Asparagus Stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
10 ounces Chicken Sausage, sliced
4 Eggs
1 tsp. Vinegar
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and half of the Italian Seasoning. Let cook about 10 minutes until they begin to soften.

2. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash and asparagus to the skillet with the remaining Italian Seasoning. Let cook an additional 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked through. Add the sliced chicken sausage and cook 3-5 minutes until warmed through and browned.

3. Meanwhile, poach the eggs.

  • Fill a large a saucepan ⅔ of the way with water and bring to a boil, add in the vinegar.
  • Crack one egg into a measuring cup or bowl. Gently slip the egg into the water. Repeat with a second egg. Don’t have more than two eggs in the water at a time because you don’t want to crowd the pot.
  • Let the eggs poach 4-5 minutes. Once the whites have solidified, you should be good. If you prefer a solid yolk, leave in a few extra minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon or strainer to gently remove the poached egg. Immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Serve the hash with a poached egg on top for each person. Top with cheese or chopped herbs if you wish.