Two New Obsessions + The Perfect Summer Marinade

DSC_0195Last month I wandered into Williams-Sonoma in need of a new paring knife.  The Shun’s unusual blade and gorgeous wood handle caught my eye, but I almost passed it by as the price was almost double that of the other paring knives.  I asked the sales associate if Shun was really twice as good and she was emphatic about the quality.  “Try it,” she said.  “You’ll be back for the chef’s knife in a week.”  She was wrong.  I told my family I wanted it for Mother’s Day, so technically I waited two weeks.  Not only do they feel amazing in your hand, they are as sharp as a surgeon’s blade.  (So sharp, in fact, that after my first week with the paring knife I had Hello Kitty Band-Aids wrapped around three of my fingers.)  Now that I have the chef’s knife, all I want to do is chop things.  I literally cannot wait to make dinner just so I can get my hands on the knife.  I’m obsessed.DSC_0205Weck Jars are my other new obsession.  I’ve been stashing leftovers and decanting pantry staples into them, loving how they look stacked up and that they are dishwasher safe and chemical free.  Yesterday I put the knife and one of my new jars to good use by making a favorite summer marinade.  It’s a flexible recipe for just about anything you throw on the grill, and it does double duty as a dressing for simple greens or grilled veggies.  Herbs are the only things ready to eat in my newly planted garden (the strawberries are close!), so I snipped basil, parsley and a smidge of thyme to use in the recipe, though most any combination of herbs would do.DSC_0227

Lemon Garlic Herb Marinade

makes 1 1/4 cups

  • 2 lemons, zested then juiced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and/or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl or add all ingredients to a jar and shake to emulsify.

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all photos via the aesthete and the dilettante

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Fennel and Mint

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If you’ve been craving bright, fresh, seasonal ingredients that taste like Spring, I have the perfect salad for you.  Sweet strawberries, creamy avocado and crisp shaved fennel are layered on delicate bibb lettuce leaves and dressed with a lime-ginger-mint vinaigrette.  Finished with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of sea salt, this salad makes a light, satisfying lunch or delightful first course for a Spring inspired menu.

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Strawberry Avocado Salad with Fennel and Mint

serves four

  • 1/3 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzle (replace honey with 2 teaspoons agave if making vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves torn into large pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, fronds removed and shaved thin with a knife or on a mandolin
  • 2 avocados, halved and sliced thin
  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced
  1. Whisk oil, lime juice, honey, ginger, shallot and mint together in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Layer fennel, strawberries and avocado on lettuce leaves on four plates and dress with vinaigrette.  Drizzle each salad with honey and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.  Garnish with fresh mint.

DSC_0405recipe and photos via the aesthete and the dilettante