to say that the past few days have been an adventure would be an understatement! friday evening our nephew, nico was born in LA!!! we had been anticipating his arrival for over a week now, so when he finally made his arrival we were up late texting back and forth for any updates on how the little guy and his parents were doing! my parents texted us a few photos of him in his little hospital hat all swaddled up in a blanket, his eyed closed, and his cheeks pink and puffy - we were, and are, forever smitten by him. really, just too delicious for words.
saturday was spent doing more of the same - waiting around for texts and photos to come in, any glimpse of that little babe! thanks to the miracle of facetime, we were able to see his little face in real time, and hear some of his precious coos and cries.
frank and i can't help but think about how this will be us in just a few more weeks. bringing our babe home from the hospital and living in those moments that i know are somewhere between being absolutely amazing, while simultaneously feeling completely delusional. and while i'm still in the phase of thinking that somehow all the baby prep will get done and we'll be somewhat ready for him, i have been thinking about how our dinner routine, among everything else in life, will forever change!
so many people have said that batch-cooking and freezer meals are the way to go for when the baby comes, because you have zero time to make meals. i'm not one for planning ahead (maybe you've realized that from the paragraph above), nor am i one for cooking ahead of time - at least when it comes to freezer meals. and to be honest, we have a a junior refrigerator that's basically the size of my toe, and doesn't fit much at all. but when i received kristin donnellly's new book, modern potluck the other week, and was flipping through some of her recipes, i thought that so many of them would totally work as big-batch cooking that could last all week - without having to freeze anything! this book is perfect for everyone, but i found it potentially inspiring for new parents! the contents of the book include: snacks & dips, main course salads (so genuis!), 9x13-Inch pan casseroles, supporting-role salads (another favorite chapter!), baked & savory, and desserts. besides the salad i'm sharing today, her middle eastern seven-layer salad is all that i'm thinking about, along with her spice-roasted carrots with lentils and yogurt, and her late-summer vegetable enchilada pie are all on my to-make list!
*the giveaway: one reader will win a copy of kristin donnelly's, modern potluck, along with a chicago cutlery 8-inch chef kinife, AND a chicago cutlery woodworks 12x18-inch bamboo cutting board! (cutting board pictured below.)
*to enter : please leave a comment (with a working email address, please!) sharing what your favorite summer potluck meals are - ones you've made, or even ones you've eaten! giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry overseas friends!), and will close august 9, 2016 at 5pm EST. good luck, everyone!
***UPDATE - if you left a comment yesterday, August 2nd, please re-submit, as my comments section was not working. the comments are up and running now, and i will see all entries! thank you so much, and i'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!
vegan caprese salad | v & gf
a vegan caprese was never in my vocabulary, nor did i know it was a thing! but the beans here almost have a melty quality that totally lend themselves to a fresh mozzarella replacement! the dish uses vegetables that are most ubiquitous this time of year: tomatoes and basil! the flavor really comes from the stewed garlicky beans, and the sweet tomato juices from fresh summer tomatoes. kristin includes lemongrass in the ingredient list, but i left it out because i couldn't get my hands on any. i also added a few greens to my dish, as well as oregano blossoms for garnish. oh! and this dish, served on toast, A+!
from Kristin Donnelly's Modern Potluck
| serves 8-16 |
- 4 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans (or 6 cups cooked beans from about 2 1/2 cups dried) rinsed and drained
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass (from 1 stalk, optional)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, sliced into rounds or wedges
- flaky salt, for garnish
- basil leaves, torn, for garnish
- in a medium pot, combine the beans with the garlic and bay leaves. cover with water and simmer over medium-low heat until the beans lose some of the canned flavor, 15 to 20 minutes. drain well and discard the garlic and bay leaves.
- in a bowl, gently toss the beans with the lemongrass and 1/4 cup olive oil; they will fall apart a bit and that's okay. season generously with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- spoon beans onto a platter and arrange the tomatoes on top. drizzle with more olive oil and garnish with flaky sea salt, basil, and a few more grinds of pepper, then serve.
Kristin notes: the salad can be assembled prior to a potluck, as the tomato juices will flavor the beans. she prefers to add the basil just before serving to make sure it doesn't darken. the salad can be refrigerated overnight. bring to a cool room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving.