summer vegetable pasta


As I've said before, one of my favorite things about New Jersey in the summertime is the endless amount of farm stands you pass by on any given country road. Fresh corn, peaches, berries by the basketful (including the opportunity to pick them yourself!), and one of my favorites, vine-ripened tomatoes.

Tomatoes get an iffy response from a lot of people. They'll pick them off their sandwiches, out of their salads, or make a face when they pass by a tray full of colorful heirlooms. To that and them I say, CRAZINESS. Tomatoes, lycopene-rich and full of vitamin C, these summer beauties are a nutritional powerhouse and can be packed with amazing flavor. If you've only experienced a pinkish, mealy, mushy variety, trust me: you don't know what you're missing.

While we were originally inspired by this recipe from the wonderful July issue of Whole Living, we diverged in several senses: This recipe keeps the "sauce" raw, letting the tomatoes merely rest for an hour rather than simmering or sautéing them. (We cooked them slightly, along with the yellow summer squash, which we added.) We also used a regular whole wheat spaghetti rather than farro pasta, though I am interested to try an ancient grain-based pasta!

Our version of this easy, summer dinner (who wants to spend long hours in the kitchen when there's still daylight at 8pm?!) starts with cooking your pasta according to the instructions. Any pasta shape will do!

While the pasta cooks, in a separate pan combine the olive oil and garlic until fragrant, then add the thinly sliced yellow squash (zucchini would also be good!), stirring frequently.

Next add in the tomatoes, about four medium-sized ones, roughly chopped. (A good trick is to chop your tomatoes first, slightly salt them and set them aside until needed. The salt not only enhances the flavor, but draws out some or most of the liquid, making them easier to cook with!) Next, stir in the almonds for some added crunch. (Note: the original recipe calls for blanched Marcona almonds. While delicious, this variety is often harder to find in your normal grocery store.)

By the time your pasta is ready to be drained, your super simple sauce of sautéed summer vegetables should be ready! Serve immediately and top with fresh basil (fresh from cute Colin's garden!), chopped or whole, whichever you prefer. We chopped!

The freshness of the vegetables made this otherwise simple dish SUPER flavorful. Definitely one to try again, with any variety of seasonal add-ins!


a princeton picnic


Green Girl Eats mobile edition! Beautiful summer days (or rather, the last day of spring) call for bike rides and outdoor mealtimes. Yesterday evening, cute Colin and I took a short ride into Princeton, NJ hoping to find some good food. (We pictured some good coffee, as well, but alas, we chose the night that Small World closes up shop for their staff meeting. Darn! Next time, Nolas.)

While we managed to make it to Witherspoon Bread Company in time for a Parisian baguette and an almond twist pastry (most of which were eaten too quickly for an appealing picture opportunity), we decided to also stop by Olive's for some Mediterranean food to go. Olive's is a takeout market located on Witherspoon Street (just a few steps down from Small World) that specializes in sandwiches, salads, and baked goods, as well as carrying a variety of of imported Greek specialties. (Cute Colin, any remarks on that last mention?)

For our dinner on-the-go, the remaining portion of or baguette tucked safely into my basket, I had Olive's Santa Monica Wrap, a warm pita with hummus, avocado, and fresh bean sprouts. Cute Colin had a falafel sandwich with hot sauce, hold the onions, please!

With one super-sweet nectarine, as well as a refreshing shared can of Pellegrino Aranciata, it was just the thing we needed for tasty nourishment and the extra boost of energy to pedal back to the car.

We did, however, discover one rather bold dinner guest, who rudely invited himself to partake in our leftover baguette. And to think, of all the times I hoped an animal would hop into my bike basket, if only I knew: all it would take was a fresh piece of bread!


lunch break post


Even though 10:34 is a little on the early side for lunch, it makes slightly more sense when you've been (accidentally) up since 5am.

Call this my veggie-laden brunch, all this crisp green goodness should keep me going until a more normal meal-break time around, say, noon.


beanwood in bordentown, nj


After a small apartment search in tiny Bordentown, we decided to stop for breakfast at Beanwood, the local coffee shop. Opened in 2009, the shop brews beans from another local shop, Small World Coffee, and has over time progressed to more offerings and an extensive Latin-inspired menu. All of Beanwood's menu is made with real, authentic, minimalist ingredients making for more vibrant, pure, made-from-scratch goodness. And their Americanos and iced coffees are perfect.

(Also worth trying is their "healthy lemonade" made with real lemon juice and pureed apples and includes no added sugar. Refreshing!)

Cute Colin with our cute coffee, mine iced, his hot. Because he's hot.

My breakfast, a spinach and feta omelette with a side of grilled, homemade sweet bread. SO GOOD.

Cute Colin's decadent French toast with homemade sweet bread and a side of syrup and fresh fruit. 


ploy siam


Alright. Okay. OFFICIALLY. I am obsessed with Thai food.

Though my experiences with it have been limited, I am head-over-heels for the dish pad peaw warn. Seriously. It's my new favorite (international) food. If I had to pick my last meal on earth, this would be it.

So all fawning aside, we tried a new Thai restaurant the other night, Ploy Siam in Robbinsville, NJ. Snazzy place (without being too expensive), super-beautifully detailed interior (the mood lighting made for semi-dark pictures), attentive service, and aaaawesome food.

We started the meal with Thai stick, which is crispy fried string beans, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and onion. Basically, a perfectly executed Thai-spin on tempura: so good. 

I got my favorite, as mentioned, pad peaw warn: sweet and sour sauce with mixed vegetables and pineapple. Yum and yum. Cute Colin went with one of his favorites, musamun curry (next time with NO mushrooms!) with EXTRA spice. Level 4! I stuck with Level 1. When it comes to spice, I know my limits.

We ended the meal with a traditional Thai dessert: mango sticky rice. HOLY. The most amazing combination ever of sweet sticky rice, fresh perfectly-ripened mango, and coconut milk sauce. Plus, perfectly shaped into an adorable little heart.

Do you think they knew we're in love?


local nj dinner


Just a picture of what turned out to be a very satisfying dinner of stir-fried, local vegetables: crisp, light, and fresh. (And some Israeli couscous, my fave.)