Quinoa Salad

Dare I say it? Is summer officially here? With Memorial Day come and gone, I think it would be fair to say that spring is in the past and we are now on our way to beaches, tank tops, farmers markets and Summer Shandy! This past weekend held a few firsts for the season....first trip to the farmers market, first time playing bags in the backyard, first time wearing shorts (excluding while at the gym), and first time making this quinoa salad! A friend introduced this recipe to me a while back and it quickly became a favorite summer go-to. The fresh flavors, healthy ingredients, and deliciousness make it the perfect addition to any summer menu.

Quinoa Salad

As we move forward into the summer I am excited to announce that our breadth of content will be expanding! Since SMAK first began, I have tended to stick to the basics...stories and recipes. While this has been great, I have come to realize that there is so much more that I could write about that I have been steering clear of...cooking tips, restaurants, bars, cooking shows! 

"food isn't just something you eat - it's a lifestyle, an experience. come along on a journey as we talk a little culinary SMAK!"

SMAK's homepage says it all, yet I have missed so much! So from this point on, expect some of the same, recipes, stories, but expect the unexpected! New restaurants and bars opening in the city? You've got it! My favorite coffee shop down the street? You've got it! My take on the latest episode of MasterChef? Yup, that will be here too! 

Until next time (which may be sooner than you think)...happy eating! 

Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: 2 cups quinoa 3 bell peppers , chopped 1 red onion, chopped 1 can black beans 1 can corn 1 bunch cilantro, chopped 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered olive oil lime juice salt, to taste cumin, to taste

Ingredients:

  1. Cook quinoa as directed on packaging.
  2. Chop ingredients as directed above. Mix quinoa, peppers, onion, black beans, corn, cilantro and cherry tomatoes in large bowl.
  3. Season with olive oil, lime juice, salt and cumin, to taste.
  4. Refrigerate and serve.

 

chorizo breakfast tacos

phantogram. sweet music to my ears. i know i just posted a few of my favorites, but i cannot stop listening to this band's newest album, voices. my best friend introduced me to the group about 4 years ago and they have since been one of my consistent go-tos when listening to music. this electronic rock duo draws inspiration from icons such as the flaming lips, sonic youth, david bowie and prince. voices is the groups sophomore album, following in the footsteps of the debut album, eyelid movies. let me ask this of you: click this LINK and listen to "mouthful of diamonds" while you continue reading the rest of this entry. you'll thank me! when my roommates and i first moved into the apartment back at the beginning of january, the upstairs unit was empty. the landlords had purchased the building with the hopes of moving in, but first had to wash their hands of their current apartment. i've always thought it interesting how you can instantly connect with certain people. we immediately knew that we could be friends with these people. so we selflessly advertised their apartment in hopes that they would move into the unit above us. and to our luck, about a month later, they moved it!

it is so much fun to be able to have people so close that you can hang out and have fun with, eat dinner, have some drinks. it makes the nights after a long day a work just a little more enjoyable. we've already had them over for brunch (vanilla bean french toast) and are hoping to make saturday brunch a regular occurrence.

enter breakfast food:

chorizo breakfast tacos

so sometimes you make things that you love. and then you find other things that build off of that. remember my recipe for chorizo tacos? this one essentially turns those into breakfast food! chorizo breakfast taco, say hello to my tummy!

a few months ago i purchased a cookbook on a whim, mainly because i thought the pictures and typography were awesome. yes, i know, a perfectly respectable reason to spend money. so when i came across max and eli sussman's newest cookbook, best cookbook ever, i bought it. on the spot. yay for spending money! i don't regret it in the least though because it brought me to this delightful breakfast gem. try it out. make a bloody mary or two. or as these brothers do, chow down on these tacos after a massive night of partying!

until next time...happy eating!

chorizo breakfast tacos serves 4

ingredients:

1 lb Yukon golden potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice kosher salt extra-virgin olive oil, as needed 1/2 lb Mexican chorizo 8 corn tortillas 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 8 large eggs 2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems 4 oz cotija or parmesan cheese, shredded

instructions:

  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add cold water to cover. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately drain in a colander set in the sink and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to paper towels and let drain, changing towels if necessary, until the potatoes are very dry and completely cool.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. If your chorizo is very lean, drizzle a little olive oil into the pan to prevent it from sticking. Add the chorizo, spread evenly around the pan, and cook without stirring until nicely caramelized on the bottom, 3-5 minutes. Stir to get the uncooked parts in contact with the pan and continue cooking until all the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. If the pan looks try, add more oil and heat over medium-high heat. Spread the potatoes evenly around the pan. Cook, stirring and turning gently with a spatula, until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add to the bowl with the chorizo and mix gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Pour off any excess fat in the pan into a small heatproof bowl and reserve. Place the pan over medium heat. One at a time, add the tortillas and fry on each side until they soften and blister slightly, about 30 seconds per side. If the pan dries out, add a tiny bit of the reserve fat (or olive oil). Keep the tortillas warm by stacking them and wrapping them in a kitchen towel as they come out of the pan.
  5. In a small nonstick frying pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add a scant teaspoon of the butter and swirl the pan to mix the fats. Crack an egg into the pan and cook until the white is just set, about 3 minutes. Slide the egg carefully onto a platter. Repeat to cook the remaining eggs in the remaining butter, adding more oil as needed.
  6. To assemble the tacos, place 2 warm tortillas on each plate and spoon a few tablespoons of the chorizo and potato mixture in the middle of each tortilla. Top each with a fried egg and radish slices. Finish with a big pinch of the cilantro and a sprinkle of the cheese. Serve right away.

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauce

sunday afternoon and what am i doing? well, i just made kale, apple, lemon juice! and now here i am, sitting on my bed listening to music and working on my blog. honestly, i couldn't think of a better way to spend the day! i even have so amazing things planned for after this post is finished...say hello to more writing! i probably should be heathy and go for a run, but i am not so certain that is going to happen. we can only hope. so earlier this week i teased you about playing around with active dry yeast. there is no active dry yeast in this post. so you're just going to have to wait a few more days to see what i was talking about!

here we are, entering my favorite time of the year, fall. i love just about everything about it. however, there is one downfall - no fresh vegetables, fruit or herbs from the garden. once the frost hits, it's donezo! this past week i wanted to find a way to use some of our tomatoes and basil from the garden. i really did not want a summery dish - i very easily could have made a caprese salad. been there done that, go away.

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauceinstead, i went out a bought a spaghetti squash and a few other ingredients and made this amazing pasta alternate! i'm not too sure why someone wouldn't want to eat pasta...whatever floats your boat. but none-the-less, i absolutely loved this meal. it's easy, quick and delicious!

i have a few more posts that i've been working on, so keep your eyes open for more posts coming later in the week!

until next time...happy eating!

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauce

ingredients: 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 3 tablespoons sliced black olives 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste

instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350° f. lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. cook and stir onion in oil until tender. add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
  4. use a fork to shred the squash and place in a medium bowl. toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. serve warm.

lemon dill salmon with cauliflower purée & grilled asparagus

door county

door county, oh how i love thee.

seriously though. you could pay me a starbucks salary to live in a 1 room cabin on the shores of sister bay, cook for SMAK, and writes books for your reading enjoyment. go ahead, twist my arm.

firei spent this past weekend with the parental units and family friends, the larsons, at their home in sister bay. the weekend was plumb full of bloody marys, playing cards, fall fest antics, more bloody marys, campfires, and midnight walks through the woods. to say it was a much-needed escape would be putting it lightly. i could have stayed an entire week.

lemon dill salmon with cauliflower puree & asparagus

earlier in the week, i took it upon myself to make dinner for my parents. the only trick? no recipe. i was not allowed to open a cookbook. nor could i go onto my favorite food blogs and snatch a tasty recipe. i, thomas scott, had to make this on my own. using some of the friendly mentoring advice that angie previously bestowed upon me, i came up with this healthy weeknight meal!

i was pleasantly surprised to see how much i enjoyed this meal and the combination on flavors. my problem in the kitchen is this: i know what i like, what flavors i enjoy, but i lack confidence in throwing them together on my own. to this i say, snap out of it! if you're in the same predicament, i repeat myself, snap out of it! know what you like, what flavors go well together, and be confident in it. if it doesn't work out? so what. now we know what does and doesn't work! there is a lack of definitive measurements for this reason, use this as a guideline for your next meal. take inspiration from my recipe, but make it your own.

so until next time...happy eating!

lemon dill salmon

ingredients: fresh lemon juice shallot, sliced dill salmon filets

instructions:

  1. preheat oven for 400° f.
  2. rinse filets and place on piece of parchment paper.
  3. slice shallot and place atop filet with sprinkling of dill and squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. tuck the parchment paper around the filet creating an enclosure.
  5. cook in oven for approximately 12 minutes, or until done.
  6. let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

cauliflower purée

ingredient: 1 head cauliflower handful chives, chopped 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste

instructions:

  1. bring water to boil in pan.
  2. boil cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. place all ingredients in blender or food processor and mix.

grilled asparagus

ingredients: bunch asparagus olive oil sea salt

instructions:

  1. toss asparagus, olive oil and sea salt in zip lock bag.
  2. grill for 8-10 minutes, rotating occasionally.

pasta with pesto cream sauce

well this is awkward...i feel as though SMAK is some girl i went on a date with and never called back...

my excuse? um.... i lost track of time. i had to go to the doctor. i took a sabbatical. i lost my computer. i moved to a foreign country and was without internet service. i forgot how to cook?

4 months. i have gone 4 months without putting a single picture, recipe, post, not even a whimper onto SMAK. what in the world happened? i don't know what to say. i could try to come up with excuses. clearly i have tried, but all seem pathetic and contrived. so instead of coming up with some reason for my 4-month absence, i will own up. i didn't call back. i didn't even send a text message! all i can ask is to let me back into your inboxes and kitchens. let me make your mouths water with intense anticipation.

let me be your SMAK!

Pittsburgh

this past weekend i flew out to pittsburgh, pa to visit my best friend of 20 years. crap. 20 years? thinking about knowing someone for that long, outside of your own flesh and blood, seems absurd. but none-the-less, shizz happens - megan and i first met and the bright young age of 5, our mothers called each other to make sure that it was appropriate for us to have play dates, and we've been making creepy crawlers and drinking wine ever since!

pasta with pesto cream sauce

megan took me to pittsburgh's strip district, a neighborhood teaming with markets and shops. italian groceries. jewish groceries. stores fronts with tchotchke knick knacks and steelers memorabilia. everywhere. i have never in my life seen so many people wearing sports gear. hats. shirts. jerseys. shorts. tattoos. a little overboard for my taste.

meg & tom

we had planned on spending the evening in without the slightest idea of meal choices. megan and i will quite frequently text each other asking what to make for dinner. so clearly decisiveness may not be our strong suit. while meandering through an italian market, meg picked up a bag of cavatappi. "i bet this would be great with some kind of cream sauce." a few seconds later i was sifting through recipes on my iphone and discovered this easy recipe for pasta with pesto cream sauce.

this meal, along with a bottle of red wine, or two...three, was the perfect way to spend a saturday night with my best friend!

so grab your best friend and try this out yourself and until next time...happy eating!

pasta with pesto cream sauce servings: 8

ingredients: 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons pine nuts 2 cloves garlic, peeled salt and pepper, to taste 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup grated parmesan (additional) 12 ounces pasta 2 whole tomatoes, diced

instructions:

  1. cook pasta until al dente.
  2. add basil leaves, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to a food processor. turn on and drizzle in olive oil while ingredients mix. continue blending until combined, adding additional olive oil if needed. set aside.
  3. heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. add pesto and stir.
  4. drain pasta and place in a serving bowl. pour pesto cream over the top. toss to combine. add diced tomatoes and toss quickly. top with parmesan cheese. serve immediately.

steamed cauliflower with lemon butter sauce

a little side dish to brighten your day...

steamed cauliflower

I made this quick and easy side dish to go with my hot smoked salmon that I recently posted. There were a lot of firsts in this meal and all were delectable as my 3-year old niece would say! Just thinking about it now is making my mouth water. That, and the fact that I am currently halfway through a six-day BluePrintCleanse. Holy moly am I struggling! I am limited to six juices a day and water. I think I can technically have some green tea, but I wanted to use this as an attempt to ween myself off caffeine. "How is it going?" you may be asking. Well, let's just say that it is quite possibly the most difficult test of willpower that I have ever endured. I want food...now.

There will be a complete breakdown of my six days on SMAK, no worries there!

And here I am, writing about food, watching the newest season of MasterChef, watching as my family enjoys food all around me - Chipotle, corn, chicken, pork chops, spicy sweet chili Doritos. I want it all. But for the next 3 days, I will leave that all to you wonderful people.

Until next time...happy eating! (Eat a little extra on my behalf!)

steamed cauliflower with lemon butter sauce

1 cauliflower head, about 2 pounds 2 tablespoons butter 1 small lemon (juice and zest) 1 tablespoon chopped parsley salt, for steaming water

  1. Trim the cauliflower: remove leaves and leaf stalks. Turn head over and trim out the center fo the core, but not so much that the florets fall apart.
  2. Head about 2 inches salted water in the bottom of a steamer. Put whole head in the steamer basket and cook just until sharp knife can pierce it with a slight resistance, 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the head. Don't over cook; it will continue to cook from residual heat.
  3. While the cauliflower cooks, heat butter in a small saucepan until it just begins to brown. This will not take very long - watch closely so it doesn't burn. Zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Add to browned butter. Chop parsley and add to butter.
  4. When the cauliflower is done, remove to serving dish and spoon sauce over. Slice into quarters to serve.

Toast with Avocado and Egg Whites

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day.Eggs, sausage, pancakes, orange juice - I just love everything about it!

Unfortunately though, sometimes we don't have the time we need to make an elaborate breakfast, especially during the work as we rush off to get to work on time. When I lived in New York I worked down the street from a little café called The Blue Dog Café. They had the most delicious egg white and avocado sandwich that I would get from time to time.

So, the other day I recreated it. It was as delicious as I remembered!

Toast with Avocado and Egg Whites

This really is a delicious, simple and healthy breakfast option for anyone on the go!

Until next time...happy eating!

Toast with Avocado and Egg Whites

whole grain bread butter avocado 2-3 egg whites salt and pepper

  1. Separate the egg whites and cook, seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Thinly slice an avocado.
  3. Toast a slice of bread.
  4. Lightly spread butter on the toast and top with the egg whites and a few avocado slices.