Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad

Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad |

Guys, I started graduate school. Things have been busy. It still feels a bit surreal, that in less than 5 years I'm on track to be Dr. Buckley. I still don't feel like I'll ever be smart enough to live up to the title, and try to hold off thinking about it because there is a lot of work to be done between now and then. Nevertheless it's all super exciting. I get to read like 300 pages a night, most of which is actually super interesting, and all of which I'll actually integrate and use in the profession. 

Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad | Kneading Home

Though it's barely a recipe, this is the first that I've made in the new apartment. Finding my way around the new kitchen has been a bit awkward. The day after we moved in I had my first bout with my new electric range. You see, I've been anxious about having to switch to electric since we signed the lease. Everyone told me how finicky it is, how it takes forever to heat up and provides limited control for temperature. Cast iron also takes forever to heat up, so when I turned on the stove for the very first time to make crispy fried eggs in my cast iron I took everyone's advice and turned it all the way up to high. The pan smoked, as it usually does, the fire alarm went off. No biggie. Setting the fire alarm off while cooking is something most apartment dwelling cooks are used to. But then it kept going off. Until I heard fire trucks, and sirens which eventually lead to a knock on my door by three fire men and the doorman completely dressed in fireman garb, gas masks, oxygen tanks and all. It was one of the most mortifying moments of my life. Needless to say, I steered clear of the stove for a solid week after the incident and our smoke detector is now fitted with a perfectly sized piece of aluminum foil we put up every time we cook. 

We've made this salad now a handful of times. It's simple and perfect for savoring those last juicy peaches of the season. One of my favorite things about Chicago is the Farmer's Markets. There's one within biking distance of our apartment almost 7 days a week. I'm in heaven pretending winter is never going to come! 

Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad | Kneading Home
Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad | Kneading Home

Grilled Peach + Burrata Salad
Serves 2-4 as an appetizer

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 peaches
3 big handfuls arugula
~1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon pine nuts
4 oz burrata* 
freshly ground salt + pepper to taste

Heat the balsamic over medium heat until just barely simmering. Stir occasionally until the mixture thickens to the consistency of syrup and reduces by two thirds. It will take around 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Quarter the peaches then cook over the grill just until grill marks appear. Flip the peaches, cooking both sides. 

Toss arugula with olive oil and a generous amount of freshly ground salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts, peaches, and burrata then drizzle with balsamic and serve. Option to serve with a toasted baguette or a slice of toasted sourdough.

*If you can find an authentic italian deli, that would be your best bet for finding great burrata. Otherwise I usually get mine from Trader Joes. If you can't find burrata, high quality mozzarella stored in liquid could work. 



Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt

Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt | Kneading Home

We are officially Chicagoans. I must say packing then unpacking my kitchen was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever experienced. I think between Nate and I we uttered the words "If I have to unpack another (insert expletive here) mason jar I'm going to kill someone" at least a dozen times. But hey, at least all my kitchen stuff is being put to good use? 

Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt | Kneading Home

Parts of living in the city feel seamless; I live five minutes from whole foods and trader joes. Pumpkin is loving the dog friendliness of it all and is getting tons of walks. Everything is so accessible. I could go to a farmer's market 7 days a week if I wanted to. The energy of the city is right outside my door. It's good.

But parts feel more difficult, readjusting to a new space, without jobs, without community, without connection. I attach so much of my identity to that of a yoga teacher, so I wonder who I am if I'm not teaching. I wonder if and when life here will feel normal. I panic when I hear the voice in the back of my head questioning whether or not we've made the best decision. Whether this will ever feel like home.

Then I find a yoga class and even though the teacher is a stranger and the studio is new and I'm in a different city in a different region of the country, I feel my breath and almost instantly I'm brought back home again. What a gift this practice is. That no matter where I am or what I'm doing I can bring myself back. I find more often than not my intention for class is "to come back home to myself". Rumi says "When you feel a peaceful that's when you are near truth". And I think that's beautiful. 

Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt | Kneading Home
Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt | Kneading Home

One of the last things I made before the we packed up the kitchen were these quesadillas. They are filled with more vegetables than the ones you ate as a kid. And don't worry, asparagus and blueberries may sound like a completely odd pairing but it totally works. I wish I could take all the credit but it's totally a recreation of a quesadilla I had in a restaurant recently. These quesadillas are good, in a funky, super interesting, fresh summery kind of way. 

Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt | Kneading Home

Shaved Asparagus & Roasted Blueberry Quesadillas with Herbed Yogurt
Makes two quesadillas

for the yogurt: 
2/3 cup greek yogurt (I use Fage 2%) 
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
2 small garlic cloves, minced
pinch of salt

2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 pound asparagus
4 spring onions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
large pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
2/3 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
1/2 cup crumbed goat cheese
4 tortillas

Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 425 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Combine all the yogurt ingredients in a small prep bowl, stir, cover and refrigerate while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Cook blueberries on baking sheet for about 5 minutes until some are just beginning to burst. Set aside to cool. Using a vegetable peeler, Y-shaped ones work best, shave the asparagus. Don't worry about making the shavings perfect, they can be different shapes and thicknesses. Toss the shaved aparagus in a bowl with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Dice the green onions, set aside about 1/4 cup for topping, then toss the rest in with the asparagus and combine. Heat a fry pan over high heat. Cook the asparagus for about five minutes until slightly browned. Set aside.

Warm two tortillas at a time in a fry pan. Top one tortilla with half the cheddar and goat cheese. Top the cheese with half the asparagus. To the asparagus with half the blueberries. Then top with the second tortilla. Cook on medium until slightly crispy. To flip, don't risk disaster by transfering quesadilla to a plate. Top with another plate and invert. Finish cooking both sides until crispy and slightly browned. Repeat. To serve, top quesadillas with yogurt, and green onions. 


Broccoli, Quinoa, & Feta Fritters

Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home

First I want to say thank you for all the love and support we've received regarding our move to Chicago. Seriously, thank you. We are so excited. Other than that, we've had a pretty low-key week. Pumpkin and Nate ordered coats that arrived in the mail yesterday, pretty cute

Over the past couple of weeks I've attempted meal planning, where Nate and I tag-team meal prep and we buy all the ingredients sunday afternoon. You know, plan ahead so we don't end up saying "screw it, lets go to Sharky's". Dinner gets complicated when you work 3 nights a week. Is it weird that I gauge success based on how many meals we've cooked at home that week? Thank you, Pinterest

Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home
Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home
Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home

I tested these fritters several weeks ago but perfected them last night. I'm a big fan of fritters. They are an especially tasty way to eat vegetables and whole grains. They make a tasty little appetizer for a crowd, or a perfect meat-free main for a week night. I'd imagine they'd also be a pretty easy way to sneak a pound of broccoli into a kid (shhh, I won't tell!). They also feel very springy, if artichokes don't qualify as a meal, I assure you artichokes with a side of fritters definitely do! 

So these guys are about 80% broccoli and quinoa which means they are loaded with health benefits. Hello fiber. Hello protein. They have chopped green onions for zest and lightness and crumbled feta for salty creamy flavor. Serve them with a few generous slices of avocado, a dollop of greek yogurt, and a sprig of fresh cilantro and you've got dinner. 

New to cooking with quinoa? Check out this great article to learn more about the science behind this super food.

Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home
Broccoli, Quinoa & Feta Fritters | Kneading Home

Broccoli, Quinoa + Feta Fritters 
Makes about 12; serves 4-6 as a main 

For the fritters:
1 cup uncooked quinoa 
1 2/3 cup water
1 pound broccoli 
4 spring onions, diced 
6 oz (~1 heaping cup) crumbled feta 
1/3 cup grated parmesan 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or flour of your choice) 
3 large eggs 
coconut oil for frying

For garnish: 
fresh cilantro 
greek yogurt 

Warm water in a small saucepan, meanwhile using a fine mesh strainer rinse your quinoa. Place quinoa in water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking prepare the other ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Chop broccoli into 1/2 inch florets. Cook broccoli in the boiling water for 4-5 minutes until bright green and a fork easily pierces through the pieces. Remove from water immediately as not to over-cook and transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Toss cooked quinoa, spring onions, feta, parmesan, and salt with the broccoli. Add eggs and flour and stir until completely combined.  

Pour just enough coconut oil to very thinly coat the bottom of the cast iron skillet. We're talking 1-2 tablespoons max. By now your skillet should be very warm. You can test it but splashing a little drop of water in the hot oil - it should sizzle. Scoop a heaping 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and using a spatula, shape the batter into patties, then press down to compact the batter as it cooks. Repeat with remaining fritters.

Only when the bottom of the fritter is very dark brown, almost burnt, flip it over and cook the other side; cooking about 4 minutes on each side. If you flip it before this it will probably fall apart and the inside will be soggy. You want to get that nice crispy dark sear. Once both sides are cooked, remove from skillet and place over a paper-towel to absorb any excess oil (if your pan is hot enough, there really shouldn't be much). 

Repeat with remaining batter, adding oil as needed. Serve fritters with a dollop of greek yogurt, sliced avocado, and a few sprigs of cilantro. 

Gluten-free option? I see no reason why you couldn't use gluten free flour instead of all-purpose. Whole wheat could even work, though it may affect the taste. As you probably know, in addition to its many qualities, quinoa is naturally gluten-free! 

These are definitely best on day 1. If you are going reheat them, avoid the microwave and either warm them in a frying pan or wrap them in foil and throw them in the toaster.