I made this full-flavored soup using sweet corn from the farmer’s market. The fresh corn had a nice crispness to it, giving the dish a light touch to counterbalance the more savory elements. You can use any sausage you like; I used a spinach-and-feta one here.

This is down-home cooking, good for any time of year.

Ingredients:

3-5 grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 can kidney beans or cannellini
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
sausage (your desired amount), sliced
salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil

Saute the tomatoes and onion in a medium sauce pan. Add the beans–including the water from the can, which will form the base of the soup–the corn and the sausage. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and drizzle with sesame oil. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy!

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I had left over coconut flakes and bread, so I thought of combining them to create a scrumptious treat. Good for breakfast and snacks throughout the week. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 loaf of bread (I used honey apple oat bread here)
1/2 container of oatmeal
maple syrup
milk (I use almond milk here)
1/2 bag of coconut flakes

Grease a large baking dish, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Tear the bread into chunks and place in the dish. Pour the oatmeal over the bread and toss the ingredients. Add maple syrup according to your taste (I use about 1 cup here). Pour in enough milk to cover the bottom of the dish (about 2-3 cups). Place the coconut flakes in a layer on top of the other ingredients. Bake for about 30 min., then turn the heat off and keep the dish in the oven for another 10-15 min.

I woke up this morning and made this delicious treat. I had been kicking around the idea for a while. There was pancake mix lying around, and I wanted to do some baking with it.  I don’t really measure ingredients; I just eyeball it and go with what I think works.

This dish is easy to make, and it’s versatile to serve. You can eat it for breakfast and pack up the leftovers for snacks throughout the week. Each bite is pure love.

Ingredients:

1 buttermilk pancake package
2-3 cups club soda
1-2 cups milk (I use almond milk here)
1/2 oatmeal package
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1/2 bag coconut flakes
1/4-1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the pancake mix into a large baking pan, and pour in the club soda and milk. Add the oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and maple syrup, and stir all the ingredients thoroughly. Bake for about 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you stick a fork in it and the fork pulls out cleanly. Let cool. I recommend serving with cinnamon sugar butter on top and coffee on the side.

Enjoy!

The shrimp makes this dish light, while the whole-wheat spaghetti balances it with a grounding carb element. Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard are added for good veggie measure. Pair with a hearty red wine–you can never go wrong with Rex-Goliath–for a meal with a lot of bite.

I don’t include any measurements in this recipe. Feel free to use the amount you like per ingredient.

Ingredients:

garlic, diced
onion, sliced
grape tomatoes, sliced in half
Jumbo shrimp, with shells removed
Brussels sprouts, chopped
Swiss chard, sliced
whole-wheat spaghetti
salt and pepper to taste

Boil water for the pasta, and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Should take 8-10 min. Drain the pasta.

Sauté the garlic, onion and tomatoes in olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts and chard, and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until they become pink. Should take about 5 min. Add the cooked spaghetti, drizzle olive oil on top and toss the ingredients.

Enjoy!

I’ve recently read two of Denis Johnson’s books, and they’re not light, summer reading. They’re heavy-duty stuff, with loneliness written all over them.

Each book has its own style. Train Dreams is a laconic novella, while Resuscitation of a Hanged Man borders on stream of consciousness. The latter is about someone who’s barely hanging in there mentally. He loses his mind enough to attempt suicide, after which he tries to reenter the fray of human existence, but finds himself in the mad, mad world of Provincetown, where the so-called “normal” rules of behavior don’t seem to apply. What’s a man to do in such a confusing situation? Fumble his way through purgatory. Reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Train Dreams has a more objective perspective and streamlined prose. It deserves all the critical acclaim it’s received thus far. Johnson created a classic story of the American West: an everyman’s life of solitude, hard labor and muted heartbreak on the frontier. The ending is a knockout. The last paragraph is a perfect example of Johnson’s talent.

The “Old, Weird America” is in this book; the landscape and mindscape through which Bob Dylan has made himself legendary for tapping into. It’s that strange, haunting, semi-mythic place where life is hard and music runs deep; a high and lonesome world that’s worth coming back to.

I’m enjoying a peaceful Sunday, cleaning house, watching the Olympics and, of course, cooking. I created pad thai for lunch. This is a nontraditional recipe. I simply went with my tastes and intuition to build the flavors. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. Hope you enjoy, too.

Ingredients:

1/3 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, diced
3-5 mushrooms, sliced
2 sausages (I chose garlic and herb pork sausage), sliced
pad thai noodles (your choice how much you want to use)
1 head bok choy, stems chopped, with green leaves intact
curry, 2 cubes
sesame oil to taste (I used a very generous amount)
soy sauce to taste
pepper to taste

Submerge the noodles in water in a medium sauce pan, add the chopped bok choy stalks, cover and cook to a boil. When the water is boiling vigorously, add the green bok choy leaves and turn the heat to low. Turn off the heat when the noodles have achieved the right balance between soft and firm (should take about 2 minutes after you turn down the heat). Strain the noodles and bok choy, pouring cold water over them to stop the cooking process.

In the same sauce pan, sauté the onion, mushrooms and garlic. Add the sausage and the curry, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add the noodles and bok choy, sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper. Stir thoroughly, and turn off the heat.

Seafood is always apropos for summer because of its lightness. Louisiana fish fry breading brings flavor to the mussels here, and the red cabbage dish is both light and savory.

I recommend Kono mussels, a product of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori tribe.

Ingredients:

1/3 head of purple cabbage, sliced into fettuccine-like strips
1/2 red onion, sliced
Mussels (your choice how much you want to cook)
Louisiana fish fry breading
3 cloves garlic, diced
3-5 dashes balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 dashes sesame oil

Heat up grapeseed oil in a small saucepan, and sauté the red onion. Add the purple cabbage, and fill the pan with water to cover 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the top of the cabbage. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and sesame oil. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat, or until the sauce evaporates.

Heat up grapeseed oil in a small skillet. Cover the mussels in the breading (use a very small amount of water to get the breading to stick), and cook on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes per side of the mussels. Toss the garlic in to toast it while the mussels are cooking.

Serve the mussels on top of the cabbage, and drizzle some more sesame oil over the dish.

Enjoy!