The end of the summer produce season is here, and that means that we sometimes get a lot of whatever is left in the fields in our CSA box. These items are not always the easiest to cook with and thus inspire new pickling projects, sauces and other creative uses. Here I took red jalapeños — the main ingredient in classic sriracha — and instead of blending them fresh and fermenting them, I decided to roast them to build flavor. Be sure to seed the peppers — there is a nice, mellow burn even without the seeds.

Roasted Sriracha


  • 2 cups red jalapeños, washed and seeded
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 cup water


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Wash and seed jalapeños. Peel garlic.
  3. Toss in oil and put in a roasting pan.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft.
  5. Scrape vegetables and residual oil into a blender.
  6. Add brown sugar, rice vinegar and 1/8 cup water and blend until smooth.
  7. Add more water as needed.
  8. Store in the refrigerator in a sterilized glass canning jar.
  9. Enjoy!


This soup is creamy without having dairy because of the smooth quality of blended, roasted cauliflower. The leeks add a savory element while the roasted cauliflower adds complexity. Finishing the soup with walnut oil brings out the nuttiness of the dish.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup


  • 2 heads cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
  • 4 leeks, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups broth
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Walnut oil


  1. Turn the oven on to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash and cut cauliflower into 2 inch slices.
  3. Put on cookie sheets and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Roast in the oven until soft and just browned, about 25-30 minutes.
  5. Wash and chop leeks.
  6. Heat 1/8 cup olive oil in a large soup pot.
  7. Add leeks and stir until soften, about 10 minutes.
  8. Add cauliflower and sauté for 5 minutes.
  9. Add vegetable broth and salt and pepper.
  10. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes
  11. Let soup cool. Blend in a blender until smooth.
  12. Reheat soup and serve with 1 teaspoon of walnut oil on top.
  13. Enjoy!


This recipe was developed straight out of our Community Supported Agriculture box this week. For those of you who aren’t aware of the CSA model, we purchase a share of a local farmer’s crops at the beginning of the season. In return, each week we receive a box of fresh, local, seasonal, organic produce. Our farm does a great job of mixing up the items in the box and giving us a nice variety. We get a lot of produce each week, but we basically stop grocery shopping in the summer and rely on the bounty of the fields to keep us fed. It is a terrific system.

Last week we got a melon and a big bunch of basil. As soon as I saw these two ingredients, I thought of this dish. I have always loved melon with salt and pepper (a trick I learned my grandmother — it amplifies the flavor of the melon in incredible ways!). I added mozzarella to complement the melon with some richness and I added the brightness of the basil to balance the dish.

Melon, Mozzarella & Basil Salad


  • 4 cups honeydew melon, cubed
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 1/2 cup basil, thinly shredded
  • 1/8  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse melon, deseed, peel and chop into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Chop mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Wash, dry and shred basil.
  4. Put all ingredients into a bowl.
  5. Add olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Toss, being careful not to tear the cheese.
  7. Enjoy!



I wanted to develop a cocktail with the jalapeño syrup I just created. Mixing a little spice with the sweetness of mango and the earthy flavor of tequila sounded like a potential hit. I added in some lime juice and triple sec for balance, and realized I basically have a margarita! This recipe makes two drinks.

Mango Jalapeño Margarita


  • 1 shot Jalapeño Soda Syrup
  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 shot tequila
  • 1 shot triple sec
  • Ice
  • Soda water


  1. Prepare mango.
  2. Add mango, soda syrup, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec to a blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Put ice into two glasses.
  5. Add 2/3 cup mango mixture to each class.
  6. Top with 1/3 cup soda water and stir.
  7. Enjoy!


I have been experimenting with soda syrups recently, and I wanted to try out a jalapeño based syrup. Jalapeños have a great level of spice and a bright, vegetal flavor. The combination of the jalapeño flavor and the sweet syrup creates a refreshing drink when mixed with soda water. Enjoy with spicy food or on a hot afternoon — the heat of the peppers actually cools you down!

Jalapeño Soda Syrup


  • 4 jalapeños, seeds and white membrane removed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Prepare jalapeños. Slice in half, seed and remove membrane, and score on the diagonal.
  2. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan.
  3. Add jalapeños.
  4. Bring to simmer over medium heat.
  5. Cook until the liquid has reduced to half, about 1o minutes.
  6. Pour one shot of syrup over ice in a large glass and top with soda water.
  7. Enjoy!

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Try this refreshing cocktail with a little kick on a hot afternoon. The lime cuts the sweetness of the cherry and the pepper gives it a welcome bite.

Black Cherry Black Pepper Rickey



  1. Put ice into two tall glasses.
  2. Put one shot of syrup into each glass.
  3. Put one shot of gin into each glass.
  4. Put juice of one lime into each glass.
  5. Top with soda water and stir.
  6. Garnish with one maraschino cherry.
  7. Enjoy!

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It’s that time of year again — fresh fruit is abundant and lazy Saturdays require a tall cool drink. I developed this recipe because I wanted to experiment with cutting the sweetness of cherry with the spice of black pepper. Try this non-alcoholic drink or a version of a lime rickey that uses the syrup.

Black Cherry Black Pepper Soda Syrup


  • 2 cups black cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 limes
  • Soda water


  1. Wash, stem and pit cherries. Put into a medium sauce pan.
  2. Add sugar and water.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Mash cherry with a potato masher.
  6. Simmer until liquid has reduced to half a cup.
  7. Strain liquid into a mason jar. Let cool.
  8. Put 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Add pepper.
  9. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Add to cherry syrup. Let cool.
  11. Put ice into two tall glasses.
  12. Squeeze the juice of one lime into each glass.
  13. Put one shot of syrup into each glass.
  14. Top with soda water and stir.
  15. Enjoy!

I recently had chia seed pudding at a terrific restaurant in San Francisco and was totally smitten. I love the stuff! It is healthy and light, but filling and satisfying. It is amazing to see the story of the chia seed in the United States: it evolved from a gag gift to a highly trendy superfood. Though I tend to dislike trends, I am fully on board with chia seed pudding!

Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding


  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh fruit & nuts


  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Let sit for 15 minutes. Stir once or twice during that time.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Serve topped with fresh berries, bananas, sliced almonds and walnuts.
  5. Enjoy!


creamy corn dip



This recipe was inspired by another recipe that was inspired by Mexican corn on the cob, or elote. I love elote. The tanginess of the lime and the crema, the saltiness of the cotija cheese, the spiciness of the hot sauce and the sweetness of the corn is the perfect combination. I wanted to bring that complexity to a simple appetizer — something tangy, fresh, creamy and delicious!

Creamy Corn Dip


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 4 ounces can of green chile
  • 16 ounces of corn, fresh off the cob is best, but frozen works too
  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon jalepeno, finely minced
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 small avocado, diced


  1. Heat the veggie oil on medium-high heat in a medium-sized sauce pan.
  2. Finely mince the shallots.
  3. Sauté shallots in oil until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add chili powder and paprika. Cook 2 minutes more.
  5. Add green chiles and salt and pepper. Stir. Cook 4 minutes more.
  6. Add corn. Cook 3 minutes more for fresh; 5 minutes more for frozen.
  7. Take off heat and let cool.
  8. Add greek yogurt, lime juice and cheese to a blender. Add cooled corn mixture and blend for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth but still chunky.
  9. Pour into a serving dish. Stir in jalepeno and cilantro.
  10. Dice avocado. Add as garnish.
  11. Serve with corn chips.
  12. Enjoy!



I was inspired to develop a creative mac & cheese recipe because the local cookbook store, Omnivore Books (how lucky am I, by the way, to be living in a place where there are such things!), was hosting a mac & cheese contest this past weekend. I wanted to take the recipe in a different direction, and I started my brainstorm by shifting the type of cheese from classic cheddar to blue. I also wanted to add some additional ingredients, and I immediately thought of pears. From there, I needed to round out the flavors by adding caramelized red onions. The combination was headed in the right direction, but was still too sweet. I decided to deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar to help balance it out. 

Blue Mac & Cheese with Pear & Balsamic Red Onions


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups large macaroni
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 ounces gruyère
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar
  • 2 ounces blue cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice red onion.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-low heat.
  4. Add onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  5. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar, cook for 5 minutes, and then remove from heat.
  6. Cook macaroni according to the directions on the box, reducing cooking time by 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
  7. Thinly slice pears.
  8. Grate gruyère and cheddar cheeses. Break apart blue cheese into small chunks.
  9. Melt butter of medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan.
  10. Add flour and stir to combine.
  11. Add milk when the butter-flour mixture is slightly browned and has taken on a toasty smell.
  12. Add cheese, stirring until melted.
  13. Add macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until evenly coated.
  14. Butter medium-sized casserole dish.
  15. Layer onions on the bottom of the dish.
  16. Top onions with a layer of sliced pears.
  17. Pour pasta over the pears.
  18. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with panko so that it is evenly coated.
  19. Bake in the oven until the bread crumbs are browned, about 30 minutes.
  20. Enjoy!

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