Caprese Paninis

Caprese Paninis

Sarah and I have been making lunches together for quite some time. And yet…we hardly ever make sandwiches. A classic lunch food, completely ignored!

I completely love sandwiches (what’s not to love about food layered between slices of bread?) and yet, I struggle to feel at all original or creative when it comes to making sandwiches at home.

But as I picked four bright red tomatoes off the vine growing in my front yard, inspiration struck: caprese salad inside a sandwich! Because what could be better than tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil all together?

This sandwich was super messy. Not going to lie about that. But it was also amazingly delicious and very simple!

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Open Face Lentil and Greens Sandwich

Open-Face Lentil and Greens Sandwich

So last week I went to New York City with my husband to celebrate our 5-year anniversary.

Let’s just say it was a fairly glorious week. I ate my weight in delicious foods: pizzas, croissants, bagels, salmon, mac and cheese, many glasses of wine, chocolate of all kinds. And while I brought my computer along—with the best of intentions to write a post or two in between museums and Broadway shows and bike rides to Coney Island—instead I spent a lot of time kicking back and reading somewhat silly dystopian fantasy novels (guilty pleasure). It was, as I already mentioned, glorious.

I’ve been having kind of a hard time cramming myself back into reality. The doing dishes and the folding laundry and the weeding. The eating of things that are not slices of pizza the size of my entire head.

So I thought I would start slow here. I thought I would ease back into the kitchen with something incredibly healthy (because I would like to fit into my clothes) and pretty simple, something that makes a great lunch day after day and helps me to feel more like myself (and less like an overstuffed lobster).

That’s right. The lentil sandwich. Don’t turn up your nose at this! Listen, it may not sound intuitive (not like, say, cake truffles), but the tangy yogurt, nutty crunch, and salty cheese stirred into those lentils will please any palate! Like a lentil-y pesto on bread. Yum.

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Panko Lentil Burgers with Fried Eggs

Panko Lentil Burger with Fried Egg

It’s Spring. And Spring is the only sane time to be grilling (because Summer…so hot!).

This year, I swore I would make sure our grill got cleaned and actually learn how to use a charcoal chimney so I could make you some delicious burgers and kebabs. But…I haven’t done it yet. I’ve been a little too busy planting tomatoes and peonies and peppers and rhubarbs.

So instead, I am making lentil burgers for Memorial Day, which you should definitely make, too, but on your stovetop (because…too soft for the grill grate). We can still have burgers! Grill be darned!

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Eggs Florentine with Smoked Salmon and Asparagus

Eggs Florentine

Did you know that the Kitchn is hosting a cooking challenge this month? That’s right, time to get out of that rut you’re in and try something new!

The first week was breakfast week. And I have definitely been in a breakfast rut, so…good timing! I realized that I typically eat sweet and grainy breakfasts. I hardly ever eat eggs or vegetables before noon! So when it was time to set goals for breakfasts future, that was mine: eat more veggies and eggs for breakfast.

I kind of cheated on one of the “assignments” and didn’t actually look up any new recipes to try. But, hey, I did write down a few ideas I wanted to work into the morning lineup! And the first one that made the cut was eggs florentine.

I must admit that I love runny yolks any way they come, and eggs florentine has long been one of my favorite eggy treats. It’s so rich and sumptuous! I decided to model this dish after the fancy breakfast I usually order when I go to Eggspectation, so I added in a few slices of smoked salmon and a side of blanched asparagus. You know…so I could look myself in the eye after licking my plate clean (because at least I ate some vegetables with all that buttery hollandaise…).

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Tabbouleh Pitas with Feta

Tabbouleh Pita with Feta

Dear Great Country Farms CSA Share,

I guess I owe you an apology. You were right. There is a place for cucumbers in my life. Like in tzatziki. And gazpacho. And tabbouleh, which I also hated prior to this summer.

We have an uneasy friendship, don’t we, CSA share? For weeks, I’ve wanted to stop being bombarded by cucumbers and just get onto the tomatoes and corn and peppers already. But I must admit…you probably knew best. You have forced me to try new things, things I never would have considered if the top shelf of the fridge wasn’t buckling under the weight of all those cukes.

So…sorry for badmouthing you behind your back. Here’s one final cucumber recipe…take it as a peace offering.

Love, Melissa

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Veggie “Gyros” with Tzatziki Sauce

Veggie Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Day 3 of working through cucumbers like they are going out of style.

Which, of course, they aren’t. Because there are still 6 of them in my fridge. Eek!

But this combination is one I will be returning to over and over, even when I am not desperate to put an end to a plague of cucumbers. Tangy, herby tzatziki sauce is so easy to make—and much healthier than I realized! It’s full of protein from Greek yogurt, vitamins from the cucumbers and herbs, and just a smidge of heart-healthy olive oil. Gotta love the Greeks!

Combined with hummus and a fistful of fresh chopped veggies, this vegetarian wrap (these only vaguely resemble proper gyros…but I like the name anyway) is nutritious and amazing. And delicious! The most important quality.

My carnivore husband has requested that I bring this meal back, and called it an excellent compromise between his culinary wishes and mine. That might sound like a mouthful, but I promise you, it was high praise!

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CSA Week 7: Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

When we first started getting cucumbers in our CSA box, I thought maybe I could ignore them. I have never really liked cucumbers (am I the only one who thinks they taste odd and somewhat bitter?), and I can count on one hand the number of times I have bought one on purpose.

But ignoring them turned out to be a terrible strategy…they just kept multiplying. Each week for the last four weeks, the CSA box has been incredibly heavy…full of pounds and pounds of cucumbers!

I tried giving them away. But seriously, how many people are suffering from a shortage of enormous cucumbers? That barely made a dent.

So, it’s time to get serious! My friend Sarah (who, bless her, did take a cucumber off my hands) suggested tea sandwiches. She made the first round herself, to convince me. And I must admit, they weren’t half bad! I loved the way the sharp, fresh chives accented the cucumbers and brought a little life to this old classic.

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