Garden Tomatoes with Burrata Cheese

TomatoFinalMy garden is flourishing.  In fact, it’s not just flourishing, it’s growing enough food to feed a small army.  We are happy to share everything this mutant garden produces, except the tomatoes.

Have you ever tasted a super-ripe garden tomato that is one day away from turning to mush?

If your answer is no, you have not lived, my friend.
Perfection in a garden-grown tomato. No white, no chewy places, just super ripe goodness bursting with flavor.

After visiting one of my favorite Portland haunts with two of my favorite ladies and our husbands, I was inspired to find the biggest, ripest tomatoes and make a simple salad with quality ingredients.  Because flavorful, satisfying food doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.  It just has to taste good.

I’ve been a fan of the traditional tomato mozzarella salad for many years.  Who doesn’t love mild, slightly creamy fresh cheese paired with the bright acidic flavor of a ripe tomato with a touch of basil?

(Okay, if you hate tomatoes or cheese, this is admittedly not the recipe for you.)

For the rest of the tomato loving world, this recipe will change the way you eat your tomato mozzarella salad.  In fact, you might never go back to store-bought tomatoes or mozzarella again after tasting this.

Burrata is a shell of fresh mozzarella, stuffed with cream and cheese curds.  It’s creamy, decadent, silky smooth, and provides the perfect accompaniment to those sweet, ripe tomatoes.

There are six ingredients to this and it takes roughly seven minutes to prepare.  But it is so impressive and addictive, I have a hunch you can get that prep time down to five minutes.  I will say this, though.  The quality of the ingredients is in direct correlation to the fantastic taste factor.  Without the quality ingredients I’ll list below, you will take this dish from a 10 to a 5.  So, if you want to do your tomatoes justice, spring for the ingredients.  You  won’t regret it.

I intentionally did not filter or tweak the colors in any of the pictures because I want you to see how beautiful and ripe these tomatoes are. It’s possible.


  • 2 large, very ripe tomatoes from the farmer’s market or your garden. (Deep red, people. No orangey red.) Pick ones that are on the cusp of being too ripe.  You can also ripen them in a window sill for a day or two.
  • 1 ball of fresh burrata cheese (I found mine at Whole foods.)
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh basil, torn or roughly chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp organic olive oil
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • kosher-style sea salt


  1. Remove burrata from refrigerator, drain water, and set aside.
  2. Slice whole tomatoes one inch thick.
  3. Arrange tomato slices on a platter and top with basil, fresh cracked pepper, and salt.
  4. Place burrata in the center of the tomato slices. Lightly drizzle entire plate with organic olive oil.
  5. Serve and devour immediately.
  6. My husband and I ate this for dinner the other night.  Just this.  Nothing else.  Because we are adults who love good food and also don’t like expending energy on a 95 degree day unless we have to.

Toematoe Tomahhtoe,



Grilled Summer Salad

I’m all about inventive grilling.  I often slather a little oil on whatever food I have on hand and then throw it on the barbeque.  Mango, bananas, bacon, whatever.

So, why not salad?

Romaine lettuce provides lots of crunch, and holds up well over the flames.  The charred green onion is a throwback to one of my favorite traditional Guatemalan dishes, and adds depth, sweetness, and a little spice.  Top with tomatoes and Goddess dressing, and you have one of the best salads ever.  Of all time.

Also, if you’re looking to impress folks at a cook out or win over a friend or family member to Team Salad, this is The dish. It’s simple, surprising and full of flavor.

Don’t have a grill?  No problem!  Use a stove-top grill pan instead.


  • 2 hearts of romaine, sliced length-wise
  • 4 campari tomatoes, chopped (trust me, they’re worth the money!)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • olive oil spray
  • dried Italian herbs
  • dressing of your choice, though I prefer something creamy like organic Goddess dressing with extra white wine vinegar for some pucker


  1. Mist romaine halves and whole green onions with olive oil.
  2. Place romaine halves flat side down on the grill, and allow to char a bit.  Flip over and allow the rounded sides of the romaine to wilt and brown up.
  3. While lettuce is grilling and wilting, char green onions on the grill.
  4. When lettuce is charred and wilted, remove from grill and sprinkle with herbs, salt, pepper, dressing. Top with green onions and tomatoes.

Prepare to have a new favorite summertime dish!  You’ll need a fork and knife for this salad and it is well worth it.  Even veggie-hating littles will love this.

What lights your fire?

Kale Waldorf Salad

 This is my Gram.

She was a total fox, right?

She was full of snap and sparkle.  She had a sharp tongue and quick wit.  She lived a wild life before leaving this world at the ripe age of 91. In her younger years, she smooched plenty of cute boys, danced until dawn with a young Merv Griffin, Aaron Spelling, and Errol Flynn in San Francisco during WWII. She survived a near fatal car accident that resulted in a broken back, and a million other crazy things that would amaze you.  In her later years, Gram kicked a life-long addiction to alcohol, became the belle of her church singles group when she was in her 70’s after my grandfather passed away, and loved riding on the back of her church friends’ motorcycles in her leather Harley vest and boots. She was a complicated, outspoken, generous and amazing lady. I loved Gram then, and I love her still, brambles and all.

Gram was a devoted veggie lover. I’ve actually never seen anyone eat more vegetables without juicing them.  She ate a big salad for lunch every single day, and always ate salad at dinner, too.  And then she ate more veggies on the side.  She obsessed over vegetables, and salads in particular.  I’m certain her consumption of vegetables will be remembered for decades to come.

A few years ago, I found myself preparing a meal for most of my extended family for a small reception after Gram’s memorial service.  And since salad was her very favorite food group, I had to honor her, right?

Since 90% of the prep had to be done the night before, I needed to find something that could withstand overnight storage.  I needed to pull it out of the fridge and get it on the table in 10 minutes.  It also had to be something that I could eat and that my family would want to eat.  (Sometimes, we don’t always like the same things.  Shocking, I know.)

Kale definitely fit the bill. I knew that my mom would really like it, since she is my Gram’s daughter.  I knew my brother would probably try it, even though he really dislikes kale, just because he trusts my cooking.  I also have a previous track record of helping him overcome aversions to certain foods, like brussels sprouts.  My dad is ridiculously easy to please.  My cousin and his wife are mostly vegetarian, and are fairly food-adventurous.  As for the rest of the family, they would either try it to be nice, or discreetly move on to the chicken salad and veggie tray.

But all those reasons aside, I knew Gram would love this dish and enjoy every bite. I hummed her favorite 40’s songs while I prepped, and smiled when I served it in her favorite wooden salad bowl.



2 bunches of kale, de-stemmed and cut into ribbons

2 cruncy apples, sliced into little quarter-moon pieces (I prefer honey crisp or pink lady)

1/2 cup dried unsweetened blueberries or currants

1/2 cup pine nuts

3 Tbsp (heaping) stone ground mustard

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp basalmic vinegar

1/2 small lemon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

black pepper to taste


  1. In a VERY LARGE BOWL, place your prepared kale, apples, mustard, vinegars, mustard and lemon juice then mix well.
  2. Add dried blueberries, pine nuts and nutmeg
  3. Mix everything together using your hands and gently squeeze until kale starts to reduce slightly in volume.
  4. Taste it.  What does it need?  Pepper?  More nutmeg?  More baslamic vinegar?  Add it.
  5. Transfer to a sealed container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Making food that connects me to the people I love long after they’ve passed is a way for me to actively keep who they were to me alive and tangible, even through a dish as simple as a salad.  The power of food is incredible.  Thank you for letting me share it with you.


Veggie Lover for Life,


Grilled Kohlrabi and Apple Salad

Kohlrabi Apple Salad 1

I get seriously bored with food.  Can you relate?

I have a few tricks for food boredom.

  • Feel defeated and drink wine instead of eating food.
  • Give up entirely and eat Thai noodles or salami for every meal.
  • Eat frozen peas by the handful while standing in front of the freezer.
  • Roam the produce aisle or hit up a farmer’s market for inspiration.
  • Buy a piece of produce I’ve never even heard of and figure out what to do with it.

I bought the kohlrabi on a whim out of a compete and utter lack of kitchen inspiration.  I’ve had it a few times before at restaurants and knew the basic taste (broccoli-ish but way better), and that it was full of cruciferous goodness.  I also love a bit of sweetness with my broccoli, so I went with apple. Add the earthy crunch of the hazelnuts, tangy creaminess of the goat cheese with some fresh chopped herbs and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to give it a kick?  It’s a complete dish that hits every single taste and texture.

Kohlrabi Grilling

I tried this dish raw. It’s okay.  But it’s a million times better with just a touch of warmth and coconut oil.  I used my grill pan over the stove but I think an actual grill would make it much tastier.

Also, under-cook the apples.  The crunch is fantastic and provides just the right texture.


  • 1 large bulb of kohlrabi, sliced 1/4 inch disks (I use a mandolin for this, but a sharp knife and some excellent skills would work, too.)
  • 1 medium apple, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 leaves of chopped mint or basil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Coat sliced kohlrabi and apples in melted coconut oil.
  2. On a hot grill or grill pan, sear kohlrabi on both sides.  If you want a softer texture, sear until it turns translucent. I prefer it more cooked, but to each their own!
  3. Next, sear the apples. (If you have a grill or large grill pan, you can sear them at the same time with the kohlrabi.)  It should only take about 30 seconds on each side, but if you prefer soft apples, sear longer until they are translucent.
  4. Layer the apple and kohlrabi, alternating slice by slice.  Add a sprinkle of sea salt on top.
  5. Add goat cheese, hazelnuts, and herbs.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and eat immediately.

Kohlrabi Apple Salad 2

This does not refrigerate well, so you should definitely cook this to serve. Room temperature is fine, too.

So, there you have it.  My way to get out food boredom.  It worked this time, but who knows about next time?

Never a dull bite,