image courtesy of Prime Grill and Pelican Publishing Company

image courtesy of Prime Grill and Pelican Publishing Company

I’ve always been pleased to see so many non-meat alternatives for vegetarians dining at Prime Grill in NYC.

Chef David Kolotkin is as creative with apps and salads as he is with beef entrees. And with a fish section including rich entrees, like Teriyaki Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Cauliflower Curry Puree and  Red Snapper en Papillote, there’s really something for everyone at Prime.

My favorite fish dish nods subtly to Middle Eastern ingredients in this recipe for Falafel Crusted Salmon. I love the way Kolotkin takes advantage of the nutty texture of chickpeas here.  Combining pulverized legumes with a bit of panko breadcrumbs guarantees a crunchy crust on these quickly seared, moist fillets.

Looking for new ideas for your holiday cooking?

Don’t forget to enter the Prime Grill Cookbook give-away! Scroll down to find the deets and be sure to leave a comment at the end of that post.

Falafel Crusted Salmon

4 servings

From The Prime Grill Cookbook by Joey Allaham and Chef David Kolotkin

Special equipment: parchment paper

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy)


  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4, 7-oz. salmon filets
  • 3 tbsp. extra-light olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, place the chickpeas, cilantro, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, jalapeno, panko, cumin, and egg.
  3. Combine until the mixture is finely chopped and well mixed.
  4. On a clean sheet pan, place a sheet of parchment paper and place the mixture on top.
  5. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and role the mixture using a rolling pin, so that the mixture is tightly packed about 1/4-inch thick.
  6. Gently place the four pieces of the fish fillet on the parchment paper and using a sharp knife, “sketch” the shape of the fillets.
  7. Remove the sketch of the crust, peel off the top layer of the parchment paper, and place mixture on top of the corresponding salmon filet.
  8. Remove the parchment paper and set the filet aside.
  9. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a non stick pan on high heat and sear the salmon fillet with the crust-side down for two minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Using a fish spatula, gently flip the fillet and remove from fire.
  11. Finish the salmon fillets in the oven for four to five minutes or until desired temperature.
  12. *Serve this dish with the Arugula and Fennel Salad or the Cobb Salad.


Chef’s Tip:

When you sear fish or meat, always sear the presentation side first. This will help you achieve a perfect color on the presentation side. When flipping the filet to sear, flip gently so that the crust adheres to the filet.

* Recipes may be found in The Prime Grill Kosher Cookbook

Simply Baked Salmon Salad

Simply Baked Salmon Salad

Contributed by Katy Morris

One (and we really mean just one) of the many reasons we flock to the The Granola Bar is that there really is something for all Westporters there.

Early morning, frothy cappuccino after dropping the kids off at school? Check. Fresh, simple, locally sourced seasonal ingredients? Check. Breakfast at lunchtime? Refreshing, healthy smoothie pick-me-up? Creative sandwiches (like one of our faves, the House Bubby) and plenty of other kosher-friendly, vegetarian, and even gluten-free choices? Check, check, check.

So maybe we are just telling you stuff you already knew…

In that case, you’re in luck, because there are some more things cooking in their kitchen that you might not have heard about yet!


TGB University

Co-founders Julie Levitt and Dana Noorily, along with talented Head Chef Jes Bengston, have recently joined forces with professional nutritionist Esther Blum (author of “Cavewomen Don’t Get Fat”) to launch the first series of their TGB [The Granola Bar] University. This fall, they are offering you a chance to attend one of Esther’s six informative lectures to learn all about paleo and vegan eating at the restaurant/cafe.

As a spin off, they will also be introducing a well-defined and creative paleo-only section of their menu. Be sure to check back on their website for specific dates and sign up information to take part in the series, as well as learn about the new menu.


TGB Farm-to-table Pop-up Dinners

Earlier this summer, Chef Jes headed to our beloved Westport Farmers’ Market for some local fixings from which she crafted an elegant six-course dinner menu for eighteen local attendees. The feedback was so great they are already planning their fall and winter series, so be sure to keep up with their Facebook page posts for how to reserve your seat! And yes, kosher-friendly options will, of course, be on offer.


TGB on the Go: From Soccer Fields to Classy Wedding Brunches


When we first wrote about them in March, their idea for launching a Food Truck was still taking off; but by now, it’s hit the open road, Jack. “The Granola Bar’s Food Truck has been out and about serving breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for local corporations, staff, birthday and graduation parties all summer long!” says Dana.


And there’s no stopping them now. Although as of now there is no plan to have a permanent Food Truck location, they will be at Coleytown Middle School’s soccer field every Saturday (hungry, young athletes and soccer moms alike will love this!) and will also be attending food festivals as they arise (they were even asked to be a part of the first Annual CT Food Truck Festival in North Haven this July). In addition, they are more then willing to travel outside of CT for private parties or events! You can always track their tire marks by checking their Facebook or Instagram feeds.


quinoa, kale and blueberries

quinoa, kale and blueberries

And if you are looking for a fantastic caterer for your Bubby’s 80th or your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, definitely consider TGB. Their catering services have taken local celebrations by storm, like the recent garden birthday party they catered where they served up plenty of seasonal-inspired options including pistachio-crusted salmon over spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds and goat cheese (a take on this dish is provided for you below!), dried fruit and avocado quinoa salad, and strawberry shortcake trifles. Contact Dana directly at for more information.

L-R Julie and Dana, owners; with Chef Jes

L-R Julie and Dana, owners; with Chef Jes

We are always looking for new ways to offer light and delicious seasonal food. It is so awesome to serve fresh kale that was picked the morning it is delivered!” exclaims Dana.

Thank you to Dana and Jes for these fabulous late summer-inspired recipes…and we also want to wish a special Mazel Tov to Julie on her recent summer wedding!


Julie's wedding cake was lovingly baked in house and carefully transported to NYC by Chef Jes.

Julie’s wedding cake was lovingly baked in house and carefully transported to NYC by Chef Jes.

The Granola Bar, Westport, CT,  is open Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm and Sundays, 8am-4pm. Eat-in, take-out, delivery and catering always available.

Baked Salmon Salad Over Seasonal Greens

one serving

Baked Salmon Salad Over Seasonal Greens

Just as school begins and busy Moms get even busier, The Granola Bar shared this super easy salad that you can throw together no matter how short on time you are.

Apples and dates point to Autumn while the light and easy ingredients keep us on track to enjoy the last weeks of summer.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy).


  • 2 c spinach
  • 3 oz baked salmon (salt and pepper to taste)
  • ½ c julienned apples
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons lemon dressing
  • Dressing
  • 1 fresh lemon (juiced)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure olive oil


  1. Bake salmon at 350 degrees for 15 minutes
  2. Toss remaining salad ingredients
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad


With just a few ingredients the freshest greens from your farmers' market will really shine here. And how 'bout these early season green apples? Grab 'em while you can!

zucchini flowers (1)

Fiori di zucca or zucchini blossoms are a delicacy in Tuscany but with the farmers’ markets heaped with towers of zucchini here in the U.S. it’s easier than you may think to bring this very Italian dish to your own table.

If your favorite market vendor doesn’t sell these sunny, edible flowers, ask her to gather them for you. They are the flower at the end of the plant from which zucchini grows. Better yet, pluck them from your own vegetable garden or that of your best friend.

Be sure to prepare these as soon as possible after they’ve been picked.

Zuke Flower

Blossoms are delicate and won’t last more than a couple of days in your crisper section of the fridge. Look for flowers still on their stems. This indicates that these plants are male and they’ll be larger (insert size matters jokes here if you must) which means more cavity space to fill with creamy ricotta. The flowers should feel firm and velvety without any wilting. They should look bright orangish/yellow and perky. Stems should be moist.

When we landed in Aspen a few weeks ago, we headed directly to the farmers’ market to pick up our fruits and veggies. With only 40 minutes until closing, the pickins’ were slim.

zucchini flowers

Okagawa Farm had a few piles of zucchini blossoms left after a busy market day. “I’ll sell you all of these for $5.00, ” Jenna said “but you need to sauté or fry them within a day or they’ll be droopy and past their prime.” I turned to E. and K. with that imploring look of “are you in this with me?” and they nodded.

stuffed and breaded

Cooking in a vacation home means making compromises and getting creative. Not wanting to buy a 5 pound bag of flour for our batter, we made breadcrumbs from a leftover baguette. We purchased a soft mild queso fresco at the market instead of making a second stop in search of good ricotta.  My pics show these stuffed blossoms with a squeeze of lime as the slightly salty cheese begged for some citrus.


I suggest you go the traditional route and buy the best ricotta cheese you can find. Mild and sweet ricotta is really the best partner with the floral undertone in the blossoms. The beer and flour batter will coat these velvety blossoms with the perfect light and even crust.

While our blossoms were indeed, delicious, try the recipe below. You’ll love the way the warm creamy ricotta oozes out of the folds of these crisp orange fiori.

And best of all, you’ll save yourself airfare to Firenze. Go ahead- Eat your veggies from tip to tail! 

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

4 servings

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Zucchini blossoms are a summer delicacy found and treasured on menus in Tuscany. They are easy to make and addictive to nibble on.

This recipe is dairy and vegetarian.


  • 1 cup good quality ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 tsp.grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Blossoms and Batter
  • 12-16 zucchini blossoms, rinsed in cold water and patted dry
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 ounces lager style beer or club soda
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying


    Stuff the blossoms
  1. Be sure your blossoms are as dry as possible. Place them on a lined cookie sheet- this will be your work surface Remove the pistils from each blossom.
  2. Gently mix all filling ingredients in small bowl.
  3. Gently pry blossoms open. Place 1 Tb. of cheese mixture in each blossom.
  4. Batter and Fry
  5. Pour 2 inches of oil into a deep pot and heat to 350 degrees.
  6. Make a batter of flour, salt and beer by whisking together. A few lumps are ok but don't over mix.
  7. Dredge each filled zucchini blossom in batter, gently shaking off the excess batter.
  8. Slowly place in hot oil for 2-3 minutes. Turn once. Blossoms should be golden brown.
  9. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula. Dust with sea salt or more chopped mint.
  10. Serve immediately.
  11. Buon apetito!


Zucchini blossoms are very delicate and perishable. Prepare them on the same day of purchase or the day after.

Stuff, fry and serve immediately.

Note that my photos here do not reflect this actual recipe. I made them with breadcrumbs and egg cause that's what I had on vacation!







contributed by Katy Morris

Don’t let the thought of adding more heat to your kitchen deter you from baking this summer!  The bounty of local fruit in farmers’ markets is truly irresistible, making summertime the perfect time to express your creative genius. 

Pro-bakers anxiously await summer’s arrival, a time that allows them to conjure up seasonally inspired baked treats like fruit-filled pies and muffins, fresh veggie quiches and more. We’ve turned to some of our favorite experts for tips, tricks, and a peachy recipe for all you muffin lovers out there.

Oh, the Options!

Huckleberry- Christine

Christine Cote of Huckleberry Artisan Pastries, who excitedly anticipates summer’s arrival each year, says that it can also be a challenge because bakers “want to choose the best and brightest ways to present all the wonders of summer.  It’s not an easy choice. The variety of options is staggering…it’s a lot like choosing between children!


Should this year’s perfect strawberries be paired with tart, crisp rhubarb, and baked in a buttery crumble, or would feather-light shortcake, and vanilla kissed whipped cream be the better choice? Then, seemingly before strawberry nirvana has even taken hold, it begins to wind down, and ruby red raspberries magically appear for their day in the sun. And on it goes…”


Let the Natural Flavors Shine Through

Christine is a pro and meticulously plans ahead to ensure she can have her recipes ready to go when summer hits. One of the most important things she considers is how to enhance the peak -of- season flavors of the fruit.

“Anything that I do to fruit should accentuate what is already there. It is easy to get carried away [with other ingredients] and mask the wonderful natural flavors with too many additions to the recipe.”

Mid-summer mixed berry pies from Huckleberry Artisan Pastries

Mid-summer mixed berry pies from Huckleberry Artisan Pastries

Some of her recommendations for these strategic pairings include combining candied ginger to complement the sweetness of peaches, lemon juice to accentuate the bright flavors of blueberries and honey to enhance the sweetness of tart fruits.


Pam Nicholas of Izzi B’s Allergy Free Baking, who has been taking advantage of the strawberries and blueberries at local farmers’ markets couldn’t agree more. She advises to do as little as possible to the fruits and veggies to let their flavors to shine.

Izzy B's strawberry shortcake

Izzy B’s strawberry shortcake


“For our strawberry shortcake, we start with fresh strawberries, a little bit of beet sugar and a squirt of fresh lemon juice,” she shares. “Then we put it all into a pot with a lid and as soon as it simmers, we remove the berries and let the juice from the berries reduce the beet sugar.” By letting it cool and then adding in the berries at the end, this allows the berries to retain their fresh taste and texture.

One of Izzi B’s bestsellers this year has been their blueberry muffin (which are, just like the rest of the baked goods coming out of their kitchen, free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, nuts, casein, preservatives, trans-fats, refined sugar and cholesterol, as well as vegan, kosher-certified and celiac friendly…phew!), and she’s let us in on one of the secrets that makes it so good:

“Even though we start with fresh blueberries, we wash and then freeze them before baking. First,  we can keep them throughout the year; and second, which is our little secret, we put them into the batter at the very last minute, still frozen, so that way they don’t bleed into the batter. When you bite into them, the berries burst in your mouth and make you smile!” says Pam.


Working in the Heat

Early Apples in July

Early Apples in July


Pam also highlights the challenge bakers face given the heat and humidity. When possible, she says, try to bake in a temperature controlled kitchen.

“Sometimes, the answer to high humidity is adjusting the oven time and temperature. Sometimes reducing the quantity of liquid is necessary.” Sometimes, it’s best to keep the heat outside.

Last week when Pam purchased some white peaches at the farmers’ market, it was simply too hot to turn on the oven, so she decided to roast them al fresco instead. “I put them in a roasting pan cut side up and stuffed them with a gluten-free oat topping and slow roasted them on the grill. I served them warm with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato [or ice cream]  and never added any heat to my kitchen. It was perfect. YUM!”


Make the Summer Bounty Last for Future Baking

Yes, we know that the season is short, but with some effort and preparation, we can enjoy our favorite summer produce even as the temperature begins to drop, thanks to some simple tips from Christine and Pam (in fact, Pam still has frozen sweet potatoes and acorn squash from last fall that she uses in place of eggs!).


Izzy B allergen free apple crumb pie

Izzy B allergen free apple crumb pie

Freezing is the easiest and most common preservation method for your summer bounty, and for a good reason. It is by far the best way to ensure you capture the essential flavors of the fruit.  When a fruit or veg is frozen, its fiber breaks down and it loses water. This alters the texture and doesn’t make it great for eating raw; however, this makes it no less desirable for cooking since the fibers are broken down in that process anyway.

Among the best things to freeze are berries (check out our recent Peach Seasonal Snippet for other key advice for freezing fruits). Christine emphatically clarifies that “air is the enemy,” when it comes to storage/freezing so “be sure to insulate your edibles as well as possible.”

Speaking of freezing, if you are headed to the beach or a summer picnic with cupcakes or something similar, stick them in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you go so your icing doesn’t melt off in the hot sun.


Time to get Baking! 

Brianna Baker at Steam

Baker and Co-owner of STEAM Coffee Bar, Brianna Pennell, says that summer definitely “inspires lighter and healthier baking,” – something that just happens to be her specialty!

This year, she ended up with over twenty pounds of homegrown rhubarb from her own grandmother’s garden, which she has been gently simmering with a bit of simple syrup, vanilla beans and some fresh ginger slices to make her popular strawberry-rhubarb crepes and muffins (these guys are selling out almost daily!).

Brianna was kind enough to share her brand new Vegan,Paleo and Gluten-free Blueberry-Peach Muffin recipe with us – check it out below!


Bakers mentioned in this post:

Huckleberry Artisan Pastry is a weekly vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market, Westport, CT. Christine is happy to take special orders. Contact her at Christine Cote <>

Izzy B Allergen Free Baked Goods is a rotating vendor at the Westport Farmers’ Market. They do not have a storefront but they regularly fill special orders at their Norwalk, CT. bakery. They are certified kosher and their products are free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, all nuts, and casein.

Steam has two locations in Westport, CT. Steam is committed to supporting local growers and vendors in their own community. Here’s what we wrote about Steam. Click on their website for more information. Briana Pennell bakes all sorts of treats for both locations and is happy to fill special orders. She loves to bake gluten-free treats like the muffins below.


Blueberry Peach Muffins- Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegan

12 muffins

Blueberry Peach Muffins- Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegan

These summery muffins shine with berries and peaches from the local farmers' markets.

Thank you Brianna Pennell, owner of Steam Coffee Bar in Westport, CT, for this recipe and inspiration.

These muffins are pareve (non-dairy), vegan, paleo and gluten-free


  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (or 2 T flax to make vegan)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean seeds, scraped)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced peaches, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin cups
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  4. Add wet to dry and mix well
  5. Add fruit
  6. Scoop mixture into muffins tins, filling about ¾ of the way
  7. Top muffins with more diced peaches (you can also sprinkle more coconut flakes on top too)
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes (*Note: if not using eggs, bake for an extra 15-30 minutes at 300F)
  9. test with toothpick. Muffins will be moist but not wet
  10. Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a cooling rack


*Vegan baked goods require more time in the oven. If using eggs, the time listed here is correct.

Originally Posted in “Summer Baking with Advice from the Pros

gazpacho (1)

I picked up about a dozen tomatoes from one of my favorite farms here in CT as I was heading home from an early morning walk at the beach today.  I am happy to go out of my way  to see what’s being offered at Stahursky Farm.


Single words burnished into weathered plaques inform passersby about what has been picked from the field that morning.


The long time owners of Stahursky Farm are octogenarians (maybe older). The 10 acre farm has been in their family in Westport, CT. since 1927.

Less than a quarter of a mile down the road, traffic whizzes by as shoppers pull off the Post Rd. to buy “local” tomatoes at the mega Super Stop and Shop.


I deposited my $7.50 after weighing the perfectly ripe tomatoes and rainbow colored peppers.

August peppers Westport farm

This is the same scale I’ve weighed my veggies on since I made the best wrong turn down this road 25 years ago.  These gents keep the same cash box on the same rickey table since I can remember.

The honor system survives.

The farmer doesn’t look up from his work to check on my weighing or paying.

farmer- off Long Lots

A few weeks ago, I was worried that these old timers were no longer with us. They were late in opening their farm stand this season. Today’s sign indicated that they only had tomatoes and peppers to sell.

They’ve slowed down, but I’ll continue driving to the other end of town to deposit my singles in their cash box for as long as they keep on keepin’ on.

By the time I pull into my driveway I’m already dreaming of this gazpacho recipe. It’s the easiest  and most delicious one I know. If it’s time for chilled soup, the summer’s heat is on.

It’s time to keep the prep simple.

Stahursky Farm is located at 42 Maple Avenue North, near the Long Lots School in Westport, CT. Hours are variable, as you might imagine.

Thank you Alison Richman and Tonya Monti, Rabbit’s Garden in Aspen, for keeping us well fed and healthy while visiting our Rocky Mountain dream a few weeks ago.


Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

6-8 servings

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Here's THAT easy gazpacho recipe you've been looking for. Be sure to use the very best, peak of the season, farm fresh tomatoes.

Thank you Allison and Tonya, Rabbit's Garden, Aspen, CO., for this recipe.

This recipe is vegan, raw and pareve (non-dairy).


  • 1 English cucumber, rough chopped
  • 3 medium Heirloom Tomatoes, rough chopped
  • ½ each red & yellow bell pepper, rough chopped
  • ½ red onion, rough chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper- seeded and chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 4 scallions, rough chopped
  • handful basil-chopped
  • handful cilantro- chopped
  • ½ C balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 limes, juiced
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • ¾ C good quality, extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Water, tomato juice or V8 juice*


  1. Chop all ingredients and marinate with balsamic, lime, olive oil & red wine vinegar for at least a day.
  2. Pulse in blender, food processor or VitaMix.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add water or tomato juice to achieve texture you like (or eat thick).
  5. Chill and serve in bowls topped with chopped basil, cilantro or scallions.


*Allison likes to use V8 juice as it makes it a bit spicier. She only adds it after blending.



Originally Posted in “Here’s THAT Easy Gazpacho Recipe
Aspen Community Garden

Aspen Community Garden

Every spring we have the same conversation about any summer trip we have planned. “Why would we leave our beautiful spot at home just as the trees and gardens are blooming? What could be better than our very own farmers’ market?  Why don’t we just stay put and enjoy listening to a hodgepodge of free summer music from our tattered lawn chairs? Let’s greet old friends and sip chilled Sancerre from paper cups!”

But off we go because we love a change of vibe and scenery.  And because summer reminds us to re-visit places we’ve already been, we headed to Aspen again.

Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River

It’s so easy when you know where to find the best veggie wraps after a big hike, when you can recall the name of that good humored fly-fishing guide (who doesn’t mock our twice a year fly fishing expeditions), where to find the best vegetarian plates after climbing a creaking flight of steps in our favorite bookstore.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Pyramid Bistro

Vietnamese Spring Rolls at Pyramid Bistro

Regular readers of this blog  (thank you) may remember that I covered lunches and dinners in Aspen a couple of summers ago. Not much has changed so if you are preparing for a trip or know a like-minded eater who is, let them know about these posts. Having covered the vegetarian and kosher friendly food scene already, I felt sure that I would use my camera  for family shots and scenery ONLY. HA!

Riding bikes in Aspen is a THING. The roads have bike lanes and the drivers are patient.  We slip our bikes into bike racks along the town’s historic streets , taking the the cue from the rows of other unlocked bikes. We leave them unlocked and walk away unconcerned about security.

Aspen Community Garden

On past rides we’ve been curious about a large fenced garden that we passed across a field of perfectly orange poppies. This time, we rode down that narrow path to explore it up close.

Garden of Eatin

Garden of Eatin



In some ways, I felt like an intruder. This community garden is for all to plant and enjoy but there is an intimacy and community bonding aspect that I was aware of as I wandered the vaguely marked squares of irises, poppies, rosemary, squash blossoms and scallions.



Some tend to their plots with meticulous attention to every stray weed, some allow their intrusion.


It was a vibrant and peaceful plot to explore.

photo courtesy of Plato's, Aspen

photo courtesy of Plato’s, Aspen

I was sure to reserve dinner at Plato’s, one of my favorite spots in town. It’s Bauhaus design, with curved floor to ceiling glass walls, place diners within earshot of the rushing Castle Creek below. Sweeping views of Aspen, Highlands and Buttermilk mountains are breathtaking.

Dusk between Plato's and Mozart

Dusk between Plato’s and Mozart

Located at Aspen Meadows, the location of the Aspen Institute and the home of the Aspen Ideas Festival, it’s a perfect campus to wander around.  Finish dinner early enough and walk the winding paths to the Aspen Music Tent where you can catch the second half of whatever magnificence is being performed that evening. Lawn seating is encouraged and free.

I’ll take Mozart for dessert any time.

Chef Aaron Schmude, Sous Chef at Plato’s for only 3 months when we met him, is a young and extraordinary talent. “I am fortunate to have a garden on the side of our patio where we can pick herbs and small lettuces.  Aspen is very local oriented, and it is easy to source produce from around the valley.  Beautiful, rich wild salmon comes from Alaska,” he explained.

We loved his cooking so much that I returned on a subsequent eve in order to catch the natural light on their porch before the sun descended behind the purplish peaks.

Platos' Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Platos’ Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Chef Schmude shared two recipes with me. If fish fumet doesn’t freak you out (and it shouldn’t), let me know and I’ll share his recipe for Olive Oil Poached Wild King Salmon.

Hoping to keep things simple, I’ve chosen to share Schmude’s Roasted Beets and Radishes Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse.

Plato's Beets and Radishes with Whipped Goat Cheese

Plato’s Beets and Radishes with Whipped Goat Cheese

If you can’t imagine using a whipped cream charger to achieve this frothy goat cheese delight, simply plate the salad with your favorite local goat cheese and you will be MORE than just fine! If you’re up for making the mousse with the iSi Cream Chargers as it is written in this recipe, click here to find it at Amazon.

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse

2 servings

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Mousse

This Beet and Radish Salad highlight a great range of bright summer colors and textures.

Thank you, Chef Schmude, for this delicious treat.

This salad is kosher and dairy. Make it pareve (non-dairy) and vegan by leaving off the goat cheese.


  • 2 spears roasted white asparagus
  • 1 spear shaved raw asparagus
  • 4 cherry bomb radishes
  • 4 slices watermelon radishes
  • 3 beets, scrubbed and quartered- set aside to pickle. See below.
  • 2 baby roasted beets *
  • 4 slices shaved raw beets
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 tablespoon roasted pistachios
  • S/P
  • Pickling
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups champagne vinegar
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • Dressing:
  • 5 roasted shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dijon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 champagne vin
  • 4 cups grapeseed oil
  • Goat cheese mousse**:
  • 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
  • 3 cups local chevre
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • s/p
  • CO2 charge


  1. To pickle the beats, heat all ingredients in pickling solution until sugar dissolves. Use a strainer and pour over quartered beets. Allow to cool.
  2. Toss salad ingredients with the dressing, season
  3. Charge the mousse in an iSI container, using a Whip-It CO2 charge
  4. plate


* Roasting beets: Scrub beets and cut off greens (reserve and wok with garlic another time). Season with EVOO, salt and pepper and encase them in a silver foil packet with ends crimped. Roast in 375 degree oven for 25-40 mins, depending on size. You should be able to pierce them with a fork. Remove from oven, unwrap and cool. Their peel will slip off easily.

** Substitute your favorite local goat cheese if you don't want to whip it.



photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering in Stamford, CT

Fish tacos are one of our favorites meals in the summertime. These super healthy, low calorie tacos are wrapped in a crisp lettuce leaf and go perfectly with an ice cold beer!  Easy to make and perfect for 2 or 20, try these delicious wraps for your next lunch or dinner.

Grilled Fish Tacos & Spicy Slaw in Lettuce Wraps

4 servings

This taco recipe is super healthy and low in calories. It's easy to prepare everything except the fish in advance, leaving you free to enjoy dinner with your family and guests.

This recipe is dairy.


  • 2 C. chopped white onion
  • 3/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 5 Tbs. fresh lime juice, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 1 lb. tilapia or striped bass
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 C. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 head of shredded cabbage
  • 1 head Romaine or Bibb Lettuce
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
  • Lime wedges


  1. Mix onion, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano and jalapeno in medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper.
  3. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish.
  4. Arrange fish over the onion mixture. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Turn fish; cover and chill an additional 30 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine remaining onion mixture with Greek yogurt and shredded cabbage. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Brush grill with oil and heat to medium-high heat. Brush the fish with additional marinade and grill until opaque in center; 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  7. Coarsely chop fish with a fork and wrap in a lettuce leaf. Serve with avocado slices, cabbage slaw and a lime wedge. Yum!


photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

We are always impressed with the magic Six Main casts on their inventive vegetarian and vegan creations! While they press walnuts or cashews and transform them into ricotta, ice cream, or even “chorizo”,  we’ve been wondering what kind of summery deliciousness they’ve been whipping up now that their farm is bursting with ingredients that move from field to kitchen to table in a blink of the eye.

If you still haven’t made it up to the restaurant in Chester, CT, you can get a taste of Chef Rachel Carr’s cuisine by checking out her bright and oh-so summery salad recipe below.

But here is one more reason you might consider making the quick ride to this quaint New England town in CT…

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main


The restaurant-owned, organic Upper Pond Farm that “grow[s] food to support our bodies, community, and ecosystem,”* and provides Six Main with its organic fruits and veggies is selling at the Chester Sunday Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 10am-1pm through October 12th.

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

If you are looking for a fun day trip this summer or early fall, head up to Chester for some Six Main Sunday brunch (the “Six Main Benedict” made with lemon tofu hollandaise, oven cured tomato, Portobello mushroom, avocado house made gluten free focaccia and organic eggs sounds particularly enticing) and then stroll through the market to bring home some of their farm’s organic fruits and veggies for the week.

You can also peruse the other vendors’ offerings while enjoying the live music; pick up some fresh fish from The Local Catch, as well as various breads and cheeses (including from Mystic Cheese – used in our favorite Skinny Pines pizzas!).

photo courtesy of Six Main

photo courtesy of Six Main

And if you need some inspiration for creating a perfect late summer meal with your Farmers’ Market bounty, you are in luck; Rachel’s blog, “The Raw & The Cooked” is packed with unique vegan and vegetarian dishes like Kohlrabi “Scallops” and a Raw Vegan Kimchee & Green Salad with Ume Plum Vinaigrette.


Consider attending one of her many seasonal ingredient inspired cooking classes, held on Fridays from 11am-1pm. Be sure to sign up way ahead of time as her classes are small and fill up very quickly.

*quote from Upper Pond Farm Facebook Page

Want to read more about Six Main?

Click here to read what we wrote a few months back. Somehow I forgot about that BLOOD ORANGE cheesecake (vegan and pareve)!  Thank you, Rachel Carr, for another scrumptious recipe and for these gorgeous food shots!

Strawberry Mint and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

4 servings

Strawberry Mint and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

When summer ingredients are perfectly ripe and only hours from the field, the simpler the better. This 4 ingredient recipe epitomizes that pleasure.

Thank you, Chef Rachel Carr, for this delicious summer salad.

This recipe is pareve, vegan, non-dairy


  • 12 fresh local strawberries
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • Dressing
  • Zest 3 lemons
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup agave
  • ½ tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  1. Blend lemon zest, lemon juice, agave, mustard, and olive oil in a blender until fully incorporated. Fold in the poppy seeds by hand.
  2. Toss salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.


Red Flag on TLV Beach

Red Flag on TLV Beach

When hummus becomes a culture and freekeh is sold at Whole Foods, you know that the “New Israeli Food” has reached far and wide.

Freekeh, a chewy, nutty grain, has roots as far back as the Old Testament and is often cooked in the Middle East.  It’s not a coincidence that the 7 “species” mentioned in the Hebrew Bible are so much a part of the new Israeli cuisine.

Chefs love their depth of flavor, accessibility and ancient references. Many have taken a deeper and more experimental look at wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

Chef Shlomo Schwartz prepping shlushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktails

Chef Shlomo Schwartz prepping shlushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktails

I was lucky enough to catch a cooking class in NYC last week taught by Chef Shlomo Schwartz, a sabra (Israeli native) who was trained at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) in Brooklyn.

Shlomo now teaches at CKCA, owns his own kosher catering company called YOUR SOUL KITCHEN, and guides groups of enthusiastic 20 something’s through the tasty, ever changing, and extraordinarily creative culinary landscape in Israel.

cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za'atar pita bites

cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za’atar pita bites

The class I landed on with 10 other lucky cooks of all levels, was indeed called “The Melting Pot: flavors, people and stories that create the New Israeli Food”. We met at the Ramaz School, a convenient summer only outpost of the Brooklyn campus.

We gathered around stainless steel workstations with slushy watermelon cocktails in hand, (Red Flag on Tel Aviv Beach- blended watermelon, arak and muddled mint leaves) to listen to Shlomo’s intro and to receive our assignments.

Many hands separating kataif dough for Knafeh

Many hands separating kataif dough for Knafeh

After dividing up into groups of 2-4 we went to work chopping, sautéing, whisking and nibbling. Schwartz easily managed the group’s many questions and floated from station to station, demonstrating knife skills, best way to fry eggplant, how to elicit perfect creaminess from hummus all while sharing his passion for ingredients rooted in his native land.

Simmering Shakshuka for Chamshuka

Simmering Shakshuka for Chamshuka

Schwartz’s names for these dishes give clues to the origins and twists in each composition. Let me know if you need some help deciphering them. Here’s what we whipped up.

Amouse- Bouche- The Queen and King of the Desert- A New-Old Love Story: Cherry tomato and garlic confit with crispy za’atar pita bites and goat cheese.

Red Flag on Tel Aviv beach: Slushy watermelon, arak and mint cocktail (dangerous when you’re thirsty)

Sabich Salad

Sabich Salad

Sabich Salad- A Twist on Israeli Street Food: Iraqi-Jewish-Salad with fried eggplant, hard cooked eggs, green tehina, fresh parsley and garlic and sumac seasoned croutons

Fatush Salad

Fatush Salad

Fatush Salad: Shuk to Table: Forget Israeli, Arab, Mediterranean Salad. This is the real deal: chopped fresh market veggies and haloumi cheese with pita croutons

Freekeh Tabouli- Between Tel Aviv and Jaffa: Freekeh with fennel, celery , mango, red onion, fresh herbs, lemony tehina and more…. (see recipe below)

Chamshukah- Shakshuka over creamy hummus

Chamshukah- Shakshuka over creamy hummus

Jerusalem Machne Yehuda Chamshuka: traditional tomato and pepper stew with poached eggs, cheese and herbs over a bed of creamy hummus

Beets to Go: Carved beets with lemon-herbed couscous and roasted pistachios over yogurt sauce

and the grand finale…

Upgraded Knafeh: cheese pastry soaked in sweet syrup with vanilla ice cream, tehina cream, silan and nuts.

Drooling yet?

You can find Chef Shlomo  Schwartz at Your Soul Kitchen or teaching at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts. Check this kosher cooking school for a wide range of classes for professionals seeking certification or for enthusiastic home cooks by clicking here.

Mediterranean Freekah Salad

4 servings

Mediterranean Freekah Salad

Freekeh is an ancient grain made from young wheat that is harvested while still green and put through a roasting and rubbing process during production.

It has a smoky, nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. Today, as part of the dynamic and exciting trends in the Israeli kitchen, freekeh is a popular addition to many dishes in restaurants and homes around Israel.

This salad is dairy but may be made pareve (non-dairy) and vegan by eliminating the yogurt.


  • 1 1/2 Cups Freekeh
  • 3 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Fennel, Stems and Core Removed
  • 2 Celery stalks, Top and Leaves Removed
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Small Diced
  • 2 Mangos
  • ¼ Cup Confectioners Sugar
  • ½ Cup Chopped Scallions
  • ½ Cup Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, Stems Removed
  • 1 Cups Tahini
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Water
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Pomegranate Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 tablespoons Yogurt
  • Sunflower Seeds to Garnish


  1. Rinse the freekeh twice and drain well.
  2. Place the freekeh and the water in a medium size pot over a medium- high flame. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes (We want the freekeh to be cooked al dente). Drain the extra water and let cool.
  3. While the freekeh is cooling start making the lemon- tahini by placing the garlic cloves in the food processor and pulsing a few times until the garlic is chopped.
  4. Add the tahini paste, and start adding water while the food processor is running until it gets the desired consistency.
  5. Add the juice of 2 lemons and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. On a mandolin or with a sharp knife, shave thin slices of the fennel and place in a clean bowl. With a vegetable peeler, peel the celery (discard the first layer of strips) and continue “shaving” thin strips of the celery. Add to the fennel.
  7. Dice one mango into small cubes and add to the rest of the vegetables.
  8. Clean the second mango and place in the food processor. Add the confectioners sugar and blend until the puree is fully smooth.
  9. In a mixing bowl combine the cooled cooked freekeh, the fennel, celery, scallions and parsley. Add the lime juice, pomegranate molasses and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. To assemble the dish, spread 2 tablespoons of the tahini on the serving plate. Place the taboli over the tahini and create a firm pyramid shape. Drizzle the rest of tahini sauce, mango coulis and yogurt over the dish and garnish with sunflower seeds.


salsa close up

Contributed by Katy Morris

Juicy, refreshing, healthy, sweet peaches; what could be more quintessentially SUMMER than a perfectly ripe peach?

Tossed in salads, dipped in yogurt parfaits, baked in pies, blended in smoothies, chopped in iced teas, grilled, poached, heck – straight out of hand! There are so many ways to enjoy locally grown, luscious peaches this season.

 Here’s what you may NOT know:


Over 300 varieties!

Peaches are part of the “stone fruit” group, along with nectarines, cherries and plums, referred to as such due to their large, hard pits/seeds. They originated from China but spread around the world over many centuries and now grow in mild, warm climates throughout.

There are two main types: white and yellow, although there are many varieties of each color (there are over 300 varieties grown in North America alone!). Did you know that peaches are actually 87% water? And at only 50 calories for a medium sized peach, you get a generous dose of vitamin C, A, and iron.


What’s the difference between a white peach and a yellow peach?

Most peaches in America are yellow fleshed. Yellow peaches have a deeper yellow color with red blush spots and are more acidic and tart in taste. In contrast, white-fleshed peaches, which are more popular in Asia, are lighter in color and much less acidic (and sweeter).

peaches (1)

Freestone or Clingstone?

Peaches are either freestone or clingstone. You can easily remove the pit from the flesh in a freestone peach, so these are the ones you’ll be nibbling on out of hand. Pits of clingstone peaches tend to (you guessed it…) cling to the flesh, making it difficult to separate. They are softer and juicer than freestones. These are most popular for canning and baking and are easily found at local markets versus large grocery stores.


Katy shops peaches in Guatamala

Katy shops peaches in Guatamala

What should I look for when buying peaches?

We recommend buying peaches at least a day in advance of preparing and serving them. Stay away from bruised, wrinkly, and green ones at the market. When gently squeezed (use your whole hand versus pinching them with your fingers as they bruise easily), there should be a slight give of the velvety skin.

Be sure to give your peaches a good whiff – you want the ones that smell like you want them to taste. If there isn’t a tantalizing aroma it means the peach has not ripened yet. Also, note that the reddish blush does not necessarily mean it is ripe – that is just where the sun was shining most brightly on it when it was growing. The lighter the coloration of the peach, the less ripe it is.


How should I store and ripen them?

This really depends on how ripe the peaches are that you buy. If you happen to pick up a bunch of ripened peaches (as described above) but don’t want to eat them right away, put them in a plastic bag in your fridge, as the chilled temperature slows the ripening process. It’s also important to note that if you have some with bruises/spots on them, you should separate those from the non-bruised ones since the rot can easily spread to other peaches.

If you get ones that are not ready to be eaten, simply leave them on your kitchen counter, but keep an eye on them since they can go from ripe to rotten pretty quickly. If you need to speed up the ripening process, try putting them in a brown paper bag (with a few holes so the peaches can still breathe) for a couple of days.

Did you go peach crazy at the local market? No problem – you can freeze them for up to 6 months! Make sure you peel and slice them first and spread them out on a large tray before putting in the freezer. Once they are frozen through, you can throw them in a sealed plastic bag.


How should I prepare them?

Peaches are super versatile, which is one of the reasons we love them so much. When prepping them, simply wash them thoroughly as you would any other fruit. After slicing or chopping them, depending on the dish you are making, toss with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning.

If you are going to be making a pie, go with slightly firmer ones and they will keep their shape when baked. Does your recipe call for peeling them (like the one below)? Make a quick “X” with a sharp knife on both the bottom and the top of the peach and then blanch them for about 30-45 seconds to loosen their skin. Then “shock” them in a big pot of ice water to stop the cooking, remove them, and you should be able to peel the skin with your nimble fingers.

Want to pick your own? Here’s where we pick ‘em in CT:  Silverman’s Farm in EastonWarrup’s in Redding, Lyman’s Orchard in Middlefield.

This refreshing, oh-so peachy and only slightly spicy salsa is a perfect topping for grilled fish or chicken on a summer night. You know all about the timeless deliciousness of surrounding a bowl of fresh salsa with crunchy tortilla chips and with your favorite frosty refreshing beer in hand.

What fruit would you like to experiment with in your next salsa creation? We want to know!

Summery Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Summery Peach and Pineapple Salsa

Seasonal salsas are a great way to take advantage of the many fruits available at your local market. Make them as spicy as you like by adjusting (or eliminating) hot pepper.

This salsa is vegan and pareve (non-dairy).


  • 4 small ripe peaches, peeled (see above!) and diced
  • 3-4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • ¾ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • salt to taste


  1. Simply mix all together in large mixing bowl.
  2. Serve chilled.


See post (above) for instructions on how to peel peaches. It's easy!