This Thanksgiving, skip the time-consuming casseroles and soggy cauliflower. Turmeric & Za’atar roasted carrots are a perfectly spiced side dish that only takes about five minutes of prep!
Guferati is a spicy, earthy green bean dish originating from India. The recipe requires one pan and takes less than ten minutes to cook. I like to eat it with lots of curry and naan!
I just got back from Vegas, and it was hot as f%^#*@((%. I totally forgot what Vegas summer is like, and I think I almost died. There is no escape. It’s like being under a blowdryer. It’s that feeling of when you open the oven and it burns your face. It’s like your body is turning to dust and also you’re pouring a waterfall of sweat at the same time. But!!! I had so much fun. I got to go shopping with my grandma and spent probably three days worth of work on sandals. My grandpa took me to breakfast at the golf club on multiple occasions. I went to the second tiki bar of my life (the first being in Bergen, Norway, fun fact), and I drank all kinds of rum drinks and laughed with my friends. Then, I woke up with my first Vegas hangover. I breathed in a whole lot more cigarette smoke than I have ever wanted to. I also got lost in my own hometown, and I was offended. When did Vegas change the roads?? And, I found a lovely specialty coffeeshop near my childhood home, which didn’t even open until after I moved away! Continue reading “Thai Cucumber Salad”
(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013. The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!
There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads. It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg. I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance. I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”
I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately. I just work and cook and do a little yoga. Is this what post-grad life is?? I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns? Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing. Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay? Raise the roof? I don’t know how to be young anymore. Help!!!
In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet! And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops. So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!
On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes? I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!! I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.
I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes. Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days. I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week. I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.
For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did. Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore. In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone. When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor. Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing. It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt. I would dip anything into it. If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.
Also! This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch. Ok? Ok!
Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Ingredients for the Salad
2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped
Ingredients for Dressing
1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons. Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor. Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.
To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley. Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste. Start with half the dressing and add more as needed. Serve immediately. To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios. Add the pistachios right before serving.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils
Let’s play a quick game of Family Feud where we take lots of creative liberties! In this scenario, I am both Steve Harvey and the audience. The topic in question: What does Sara put on top of food when she doesn’t want her meal to be a basic bitch?
If you answers were to put an egg on it, cover it in yogurt, or douse it in ketchup, you would be correct!! And for bonus points: drench it in zhoug sauce. Have you ever tried this stuff? It’s so good I could eat it with a giant soup spoon. Zhoug is a Yemenis hot sauce made out of peppers + herbs usually served with falafel. I used to only eat it on shawarma, but now I use it on everything. Every once in a while, I will make a big batch for the week to marinate chicken, add to a little mayo for sandwiches, or dip veggies in.
For Easter yesterday, we had a big family dinner with ham, scalloped potatoes, marinated asparagus, rolls, and a carrot salad that I can’t wait to post soon! Oh, and the aforementioned traditional strawberry shortcakes 😬 I wore one of my absolute favorite spring dresses and drank Moscow Mules while my little cousin looked for Easter eggies. After, I took Bell on a long walk during sunset and then watched Hitch while destroying my tongue on a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs that were on sale. It was a perfect day! And now I have a bunch of ham for sammiches, and I’m putting zhoug on those sammiches, don’t try and stop me!!
A few years ago, when SSL was a baby blog, I was really into these recipes touting descriptions such as “low-fat”, “sugar-free”, “healthy”, blah, blah, blah everything that I now hate. Seventeen Magazine and Pinterest had me convinced that these ingredients were healthy for me even though I could actually taste the chemicals in them. Not that I don’t post healthy recipes anymore, but now instead of using a bunch of processed shit (like low-fat Cool Whip ugh), I make recipes that are naturally healthy and wholesome and don’t have ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oil! Anyways, at one point, I had posted this recipe for “healthy potato chips with low-fat garlic aioli”, and even though that description gives me shivers now, the recipe was actually pretty decent. The greatest offender in the ingredient list was low-fat mayo which…I don’t know I guess could be worse?? And, the picture was taken with probably an iPhone 4 and was blurry. I’ve come a long way since then, but the other day, I accidentally came across the recipe and decided to recreate it! This time, I decided to make the potatoes wedges, because there’s more surface area for crispiness, and I added the zhoug sauce, because potatoes need it. Also, I’ve included some ~hip~ new tips to make those potatoes super crispy without deep frying, so this is perfectly healthy for a weeknight meal yay!
Potato Wedges with Zhoug + Garlic Aioli
2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 c. flavorless oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut potatoes into 8 wedges. Place potato wedges in a bowl of cold, salted water. Let soak for a couple hours over overnight. This will make the wedges super crispy!
Preheat oven to 400*F. After soaking potatoes, drain and add to a pot of boiling water. Boil for about 6 minutes, or until you can just pierce potatoes with a fork – they should not be mushy. Drain well.
Toss potatoes with oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip potatoes and cook for another 20-25 minutes until crisp. Serve with aioli and zhoug!
2 c. cilantro
1 c. parsley
2-5 jalapenos, depending on spice preference*
3 cloves garlic
Zest + juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. olive oil
In a food processor, combine cilantro, parsley, jalapenos, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is chopped up. While the processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined. Serve.
*Sometimes I use 2, which doesn’t yield a super spicy sauce. I’d say my favorite is 4. If you’re super sensitive to spice, just use 1. You can take the seeds out if you prefer, but I leave them in!
1/4 c. mayo or plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 c. parmesan, shredded
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, combine mayo or Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cayenne, parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil. Serve.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Cutlass Cruiser by TOPS
Clearly, I’ve been having a moment with BLTs lately. This is the second BLT-related post in the past month, which some may claim is incredulous, but I think is completely justified since bacon + bread + in-season tomatoes = heaven. Also, can we take a moment to literally laugh out loud, because in that same Basic BLT post, I went on and on and on about how there are just some foods, such as BLTs, that should be left alone (I believe the direct quote was “BLTs should be BLTs and nothing more”) and then I turn around and turn a classic into a salad. Blasphemy. Who gave me this kind of power?
To make up for my intense hypocrisy, I may even forgive you if you decide to say, put something like turkey on your BLT, which I still believe is just a club sandwich, so if you’re going to get that far, you might as well add some good swiss to the mix. However, I do ask that you maintain your dignity while doing so. If I happen to come across a BLT utilizing ridiculous ingredients such curry powder or sauerkraut as an act of outright defiance against my Rule of Simplicity, we’ll have a problem here, people.
Since it’s Labor Day weekend a.k.a. probably the last BBQ weekend of the year (at least for us colder cities), I thought I’d share this salad recipe, which goes perfectly with Tri-tip and grilled corn, burgers, or brats. It only takes about 15 minutes to mix up, which leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your last late-night patio session of the summer before the fall creeps in. I’m already starting to miss summer and the fresh food that comes along with it, but I can’t wait to share some wonderful fall-inspired recipes that I’ve been testing lately. I hope you love pie, spices, and savory food straight out of the oven, because there’s plenty of that making its way to my little corner of the internet. Also, probably some good sweater and Tahoe pics, since you know I love sharing my fun trips and outfits with you all ♥ Stay tuned for more!
I hope you have an amazing Labor Day weekend with your friends and family!
XO Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: Life Itself by Glass Animals
A few weeks ago, my mom and grandma came into town, and we spent our days antiquing with my aunts and cousins. Through my years of antiquing, I have become absolutely obsessed with candlewick glass (although I now lovingly referring to it as bubble glass, because it’s much cuter, and I didn’t actually know it was called ‘candlewick’ until my aunt mentioned it a couple days ago). I have now compiled a whole china cabinet full of candlewick glass, because my aesthetic is an 80 year old in a 20-something’s body unless I’m picking out clothing, in which case I normally fit into the 60s or early 90s decades. But I digress. Candlewick is where it’s at, and although I’m probably too old to play tea party, I can almost guarantee that I will find an excuse to have one in the near future if only to utilize the
four eight tea cups and saucers I have accumulated over the years. But for the time being, I’ve been using it in much more practical ways, like for Thai coleslaw for example.
You may have noticed that the theme around SSL as of late has been all-things-spring, especially if you read my post “Little White Blossoms“, which is kind of hilarious considering that today in Reno, all we had was little white snow flakes…But no matter. I have already decided that it’s spring, and spring equals BBQs which equals coleslaw (and grilled corn and potato chips and watermelon and….stop me while you can). I’m not quite sure why Reno is bringing back the snow and cold weather, but I do know that the spring semester is almost over and that I’m completely on board to BBQ all summer long.
To be honest, I’ve never really liked coleslaw although pulled pork is one of my favorite foods, and BBQs are my favorite kind of party. To most, coleslaw goes hand in hand…but for me? No thanks. I’m not necessarily interested in cabbage when it’s swimming in a pool of runny, sweet mayonnaise encased in a disposable plastic container. Sounds appetizing, right? I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but then I tried Thai coleslaw, and I was forever changed.
Thai coleslaw is not soggy or runny at all, but it is simple to throw together and goes perfectly with pork lettuce wraps (or anything else for that matter). This recipe has become kind of a big deal in my house, and although I can’t claim it’s an original, I have adapted the recipe to fit my needs accordingly. All you have to do is chop up the veggies, and you can throw the dressing on a couple hours in advance (which I prefer). Simple, delicious, and does not require turning on the oven in the summer heat. I would even go so far as to throw some grilled chicken or tofu in there and call it a weeknight, summery meal. (Okay, let’s be honest, I have done that before, and I stand by that decision. I have no shame in my game).
*Song of the Day: Pretty Pimpin by Kurt Vile
The other day while browsing Instagram, I came across a Food52 post about their new app (Not)Recipes. Basically, the premise of the app is that it is a place for cooks to share recipes, without measurements, that they make up on the spot when they’re too busy to bother with a super complicated list of ingredients and 100 steps until completion. A.K.A. My perfect dream app (which is saying a lot, because to be honest I’m not huge on having a bunch of apps on my phone). I immediately decided on my (not) recipe, put on my Lumineers CD, and got to work melding potatoes and cheese together in cute, tiny ramekins. Then I went to download the app, but damn it, my ancient, Mesozoic era iPhone (an iPhone 5, but whatever..) wouldn’t let me download the thing, because it’s too outdated (thanks Apple!). Plus, there’s no iPad version. Wah-wah. I was sorta bummed, because I cook without recipes all the time, but I guess not all hope is lost, because really, the whole point of writing a blog is that I can share whatever recipes I want, even if they’re not necessarily recipes. (P.S. definitely not saying anything bad about Food52 or Apple! I’m a big fan of both, although I wouldn’t mind if they made a version of the (Not)Recipe app for oldie-iPhones :-))
When I think of meals made without recipes, I think of potatoes au gratin. While this may not necessarily be a meal to most people, I have definitely eaten my fair share of potatoes au gratin for dinner on Sundays after long days of work and studying. Plus, I’m pretty convinced that if you add bacon, it qualifies as a meal (probably). However, I’m always a fan of potatoes au gratin as a side dish too. Essentially, cheesy potatoes are always a good idea.
With Easter around the corner, I was also hoping to post a nice Easter-y recipe. In my family, Easter always involves potatoes + cheese, and since I was already planning on making potatoes au gratin for my failed (Not)Recipes submission, it seemed like fate, or at the very least, convenient. Potatoes au gratin are perfect for Easter Sunday, but you could also add leftover ham as an easy weeknight meal. Definitely not a healthy dinner route, but sometimes potatoes, cheese, and ham are necessary for getting through life.
Growing up, my family always celebrated Easter with a nice brunch or dinner, and the Easter bunny left my brother and I presents on the bench on our front porch. We almost always got a VHS tape, new shoes, and some Easter candy in our baskets. Sometimes we would get a small toy to play with, and I distinctly remember getting a lime green Skip-It one year. My parents recently decided to move back to their hometown of Reno in the next couple of months, and today I found out that they accepted an offer on my childhood home. The sale is incredibly bittersweet, since my parents will be much closer, but I also will be losing the home that gave me the best childhood memories, such as hunting for Easter eggs or playing with my new Skip-It. Today has been kind of sad, but I know that I will always fondly remember cheesy potatoes on Easter, opening Christmas presents with my little brother, Thanksgiving family dinners, and all the amazing memories I had growing up with my friends and family in that home.
Thanks to Potatoes Au Gratin for the nostalgia!
*Note: When I made this recipe, I just threw all the ingredients together, but in the recipe I included some approximate measurements from potatoes I have made in the past. For this recipe, I used thyme and cheddar cheese, but the recipe can be adapted to use whatever ingredients you want.
*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers