Creative director, food and prop stylist based in Portland, Oregon. Ashley is well known in the community as a food writer that leans towards simple recipes with big flavor that highlight seasonal and local produce.
Summer time is the epitome of the no-recipe, recipe style cooking that I like to do. Where I lean on high quality proteins, in season vegetables and fruit, some good cheeses, plain yogurt for sauces, and always adding in herbs at the end.
And while I am loving all of the new produce that is popping up at the farmers market, I am patiently/un-patiently waiting for tomato season. So until then, I am taking my love for a traditional caprese salad and creating fun alternates. For example, this strawberry caprese that my whole family went wild for.
But to make a little bit more of a meal out of it, I added prosciutto to this fig version. And while you can (and should), grill up some bread, this is lovely served just as is. My kids like a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar over theirs. Just like the strawberries, the figs can be replaced with any other fruit. I especially love stone fruits in this combination, leaning on plums, apricots, peaches, pluots, you name it! So good.
So use this recipe, as a no-recipe, recipe. Serving for one, just do 1 mozzarella ball, add prosciutto, or leave it out. Add a fruit, maybe a variety. Always drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then please add handfuls of basil.
Fig, Mozzarella + Prosciutto Salad serves 4 small plates
Ingredients 4-6 Figs (stone fruit also works really well), cut into wedges 2-3 fresh mozzarella balls 3 ounces prosciutto handful of fresh basil olive oil freshly ground pepper flaky salt
Steps Start by hand tearing fresh mozzarella and scattering around the platter. Think of these as large bite size. Then create little prosciutto bundles and tuck those around the torn mozzarella. Add in the fig wedges. Drizzle olive oil over top, the more the better. Add freshly ground pepper and flaky salt. Lastly add fresh basil.
This can be served as is, or serve alongside grilled bread, or large sturdy crackers. Might be nice to have a small bottle of balsamic near by for those that like that, my kids sure do.
This is one of my favorite go-to, wildly quick, meals at home. You can warm up the stock if you prefer it not cold, however I enjoy the chilled version as the weather gets warmer out. If you like a bit more heat, add in some Serrano peppers to the stock mix, like Bon Appetit does. I prefer to use chili oil at the end to control the heat for everyone at the table. If radishes are not your thing, swap those out, I’ve done a version with English cucumbers that I loved. Kimchi juice is used to help make the stock, feel free to add some kimchi as a topping as well, delicious!
Cold Soba Noodles with Peas and Radishes 4 servings
Ingredients 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen, just be sure to thaw out if using frozen) Kosher Salt 1/4 cup kimchi juice 3 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon chili oil 2 cups vegetable stock 6 ounces dried soba noodles 2 cups pea shoots 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
Toppings: (options) toasted sesame seeds chili oil scallions soft boiled eggs serrano chile additional pea shoots kimchi
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously, add peas and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water. Let cool, then drain. Set aside.
Whisk together kimchi juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, chili oil and vegetable stock in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. *This can be left cold, at room temp, or warmed up, whatever tastes best to you.
Bring the reserved water back to a boil and add another big pinch or two of salt, cook soba noodles according to package, and transfer them to a bowl of ice water. After a minute, drain.
Add chilled soba noodles to the stock, along with pea shoots, radishes, and peas.
Serve with a good drizzle of chili oil or sesame oil, and then add those toppings!
May is finally here! One of my most absolute favorite months of the year. The weather begins to warm up, flowers are blossoming, there is new produce at the markets to get excited about (like strawberries!), and Mother’s Day Weekend. We normally keep it pretty simple around here over the holiday weekend. My kids bring me coffee in bed, sometimes a little earlier then I would prefer, we eat breakfast, and more often times then not, head out for a hike. My husband and the kids will BBQ something, while I make up a dessert.
This year I’m making a version of one of my favorite Streusel Cakes that can be adapted using many different fruits and fruit spreads. It is perfect served for dessert, but I also love it for breakfast/brunch with tea and coffee. In partnership with Bonne Maman I paired fresh strawberries with Bonne Maman INTENSE Strawberry Fruit Spread. It has more fruit and 39% less sugar than regular preserves, and is full of large pieces of strawberries throughout the spread. It makes this cake the perfect amount of tart and sweetness. As mentioned, use this streusel cake as a base, I can’t wait to make a version of this cake using Bonne Maman INTENSE Blueberry Fruit Spread and Bonne Maman INTENSE Apricot Fruit Spread later this summer.
Strawberry Streusel Cake One 9” Cake
Strawberry Puree 6 ounces strawberries 1/3 cup Bonne Maman INTENSE Strawberry Fruit Spread 2 teaspoons cornstarch 2 teaspoon vanilla
Cake Neutral oil, for pan 3/4 cup sugar 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2” cubes 1 cup sour cream (whole fat yogurt could be used) 1 large egg 1 tablespoon vanilla
Crumble 2 teaspoons turbinado or Demerara sugar
Steps Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and oil a 9” springform pan and set on top of a baking sheet.
Using your blender, make the strawberry puree by combining the strawberries and the Bonne Maman INTENSE Strawberry Fruit Spread. In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch and vanilla, and add to the blender. Continue to puree until smooth and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in the cubes of butter, and using your hands, rub the butter into the flour until you get coarse crumbs. You can also use a pastry blender if you prefer. Set aside a 1/2 cup of this mix for the crumble and put into a medium bowl, make sure you have some of the butter chunks. Add in the sour cream, egg and vanilla into the large mixing bowl with the flour mixture, and mix well. This will be thick!
Add a little over half of the cake batter into the pan. As best you can, press the batter down, and then up the sides about 1 inch. This will be very sticky, but I promise it will all work out. Add the strawberry puree over top, leaving a 1” rim. Cover the puree with the remaining dollops of cake mixture, scattered around. You can try to smooth out this batter, but I prefer to leave as dollops so the strawberry can peak through the top.
Add your turbinado or Demerara sugar to the medium bowl with the reserved dough. Mix together with a fork. Sprinkle over the cake.
Place the baking sheet, with springform pan into the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before removing the springform pan and slicing.
Is there really a soup season? I’m not sure in my house there really is, as each season brings on new ingredients that yield such different and flavorful soups. So I’m a soup season all the time sort of girl. But I guess you could say, we are in soup season, so here you go. My current favorite soup. Made so quickly, and simply. Never have I loved sweet potatoes more. This recipe comes from one of my favorite food writers, and there isn’t much I changed about his recipe. I promise, you’ll love it.
Sweet Potato, Chicken + Rice Soup serves 4 small bowls
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken things 1/3 cup jasmine rice, rinsed 3-4 garlic cloves, sliced 2” ginger, peeled and sliced kosher salt 2 small sweet potatoes, 1/2” sliced rounds 1/2 lemon, juiced, remaining 1/2 sliced 2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan, bring 5 cups water, chicken, rice, garlic, ginger, and a big pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10-12 minutes until rice is puffed.
Add the sliced sweet potatoes and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are ender, about 15 more minutes.
Remove the chicken, shred, and return to the soup. Stir in the lemon juice, sliced lemon, and soy sauce. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Sometimes I like a little more soy sauce, sometimes I want extra lemon.
Serve topped with lots of cilantro and freshly ground pepper.
Overall we have had a pretty mild winter, until this week, where the temps are dropping and the snow is a constant. There have been a few snow days, keeping all four of us, and Bob, home. And while on most mornings, I lean on green smoothies, these colder temps are making me crave something warm and filling.
For the most part, I’ve always liked oatmeal, but never really thought it was anything that special, more so just a healthy warm breakfast that I will occasionally make, but never order at a restaurant (unlike my dad who orders it at every breakfast while I roll my eyes). While I was searching for a new soup recipe, I stumbled upon a porridge recipe that used multi-grains and most intriguing, poaches their raisins in a tea mixture. So here we have it, my most favorite bowl of porridge I have ever eaten. And the best news, my kids devoured it and asked for seconds.
Use any mixture of grains that you have on hand, no need to do a special trip to the store. And while I really like the bananas on here mixed with coconut and maple syrup, feel free to mix that up. Apples and pears would be delicious. Normally I would have toasted the coconut, but what can I say, I was hungry! But if you have more patience then me (which most do), then I suggest you lightly toast your coconut.
If raisins are not your thing, which I hear you, most of the time they are not mine either, then try dried cherries, or apricots.
Multi-Grain and Coconut Porridge with Poached Raisins serves 4
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (alternatively you can use any milk, but I love how this thickens the porridge) kosher salt 1 cup total, mixed grains (oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, farro) 1/4 cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes, plus more to garnish 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more to garnish fruit to top: bananas, apples, pears, mango
1/2 cup raisins (I used golden, but the traditional raisins will work great too) 3 tablespoons maple syrup kosher salt 3 bags black tea, or earl grey
steps: Scoop 2 tablespoons of the coconut cream from the canned coconut milk into a small bowl, add a pinch of kosher salt, whisk together and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat add your mixed grains, coconut flakes, maple syrup, remaining coconut milk, and 4 cups of water to a boil. Reuce heat to simmer, and let sit cooking, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour, until the grains are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, bring raisins, maple syrup, pinch of salt and 1 cup of water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium. Cook for about 15 minutes until the raisins are put and half of the water is gone. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and let cool.
To serve, add porridge to your bowl, top with coconut cream, poached raisins with their syrup, fruit, additional toasted coconut flakes, and maybe a bit more maple syrup.
New Year New Me? Do you guys make New Year’s Resolutions? I actually really like it. I tend to take the no pressure approach, meaning, if I gave it a good solid month, then that was better than nothing. Over the last six months I have dedicated as much time as I can to prioritizing my health and fitness. Attending a workout class about 4 times a week. This came about for many reasons, obviously health and fitness are very important, but this really was me trying to take an approach to calm my anxiety. And what I realized after a week of attending a 60 minute workout class was how much calmer I felt. The stress isn’t gone, but it has calmed my thoughts. I’ve been a better parents and partner both to my husband, my friends and colleagues as well. So yes, I love the idea of starting fresh, and putting a little extra focus on yourself, even if it only lasts through the spring.
With more fitness being incorporated into my week, we have also been stepping up our vegetable game at home. Making them a priority for as many meals as possible, and often having them be the main entree. I ran across this recipe over on Bon Appetit and immediately had to try it. I made very few changes, as most of their recipes are already very dialed in. We loved this one so much, that since making it the first time, I have tried this method out with broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms and even tofu! I hope you enjoy.
Hot Honey Brussels Sprouts serves 4
1 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon hot sauce (I loved Frank’s for this as it has a good amount of vinegar) 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 3 tbsp. unsalted butter 3 scallions, thinly sliced 1 tsp. lemon zest
Steps 1. Preheat oven to 450 with a baking sheet warming inside on the bottom rack. In a large bowl, toss together have Brussels sprouts with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place halved sprouts, cut side down on hot baking sheet and return to oven for 20-25 minutes, until deeply (don’t be scared by this) browned. 2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring honey to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, stirring often for about 3 minutes until amber color. 3. Remove saucepan from the heat and add vinegar, hot sauce and pepper flakes, whisking together. Return to medium heat and add butter and 1/2 tsp. salt, whisking constantly. It will get glossy and bubble, keep whisking until slightly thickened (you want it to coat the back of a spoon), about 4 minutes. 4. Place roasted Brussels sprouts in a large bowl, add hot honey glaze and scallions, tossing together. Transfer to a plate and garnish with lemon zest.
Last week while I was recipe testing for a few upcoming photoshoots I quickly threw together this raw brussels sprouts recipe for lunch. And as I continued to multi-task, eating while standing, cooking, doing the dishes, I noticed how the salad got better and better as it sat, molding the flavors together. When Lola got home from school that day and was looking for a snack, I had her take a quick bite. Next thing I knew the whole bowl was empty and she has since claimed it as one of her favorite salads I have made.
We both liked it so much that it currently is a Thanksgiving contender. I’m hosting my family this year for Thanksgiving, there will be 9 of us in our new house. I’m excited to cook a big meal in the kitchen, but work has me traveling right up until the day before, so I have been carefully planning recipes that make the most sense for our menu. This salad, took at most 15 minutes to put together. Toasting the walnuts while thinly cutting the sprouts. Which you could also do using a food processor. And as I mentioned, the flavors got better as the salad rested, so this would be a perfect one to prep out earlier in the day and let sit in the fridge until time to serve.
Brussels Sprouts & Walnut Salad serves 6
Ingredients: 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed 1/2 lemon, juiced Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper 3/4 cup olive oil 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped 1 cup pecorino cheese, grated
Process: Thinly slice sprouts and place into a large bowl, add lemon juice, big pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss all together and let sit for 5-7 minutes. *Make sure your walnuts have been toasted and cooled
Add olive oil to the salad, and toss together. Mix in toasted walnuts and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings per taste with more lemon juice, olive oil, salt or more cheese!
Almonds or pine nuts work as a great alternative to the walnuts, just lightly toast and chop
Substitute half of the Brussels sprouts for chopped broccoli
I do believe pumpkin pie is my favorite pie. There is not too many pies where I would want to go back for a second piece. Don’t get me wrong, apple, you are fantastic. Cherry, you are really great too. But pumpkin, I want 3 slices of you. I want to eat you with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Have for that mid-afternoon pick me up. And with a glass of wine after dinner.
Jake’s parents grow Kabocha Squash and so over the last few years I have been experimenting with different ways of cooking up this alternate squash. Delicious as a soup, really good roasted and served over farro with a chimichurri sauce, and most importantly, perfect as a tart or pie.
This weekend I was doing some cooking, with low ingredients on hand as I had just returned from a photoshoot week. I had flour, some butter, a little cream, and this squash. Preheated my oven to 400 degrees, sliced up the squash, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and roasted until creamy, about 60 minutes. Once cooled I removed the seeds, put all of the flesh into my food processor and began to puree. Now I knew I didn’t need all of this squash for the tart so I reserved some for later. Next I added in some egg, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Made a quick and easy tart crust, saving one in the freezer for another time. In the oven she went. Now I can’t say for sure that Kabocha is a better filling then pumpkin. But I can say, that it was rich with flavor, creamy, and just the perfect way to use up this squash that has been decorating my table for the last few weeks.
For dinner that night, I boiled up some Rigatoni, and warmed up the squash puree, adding in some stock, and a little pasta water. Mixed it all together, topped it with some parmesan and there was dinner.
Kabocha Squash Tart makes 1 tart
Basic Tart Dough Recipe 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tbsp granulated sugar 1 tsp kosher salt 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes, cold 1/2 cup ice water plus 2 tbsp
Process: Add flour, sugar and salt into food processor and quickly pulse, then add the butter and continue to quickly pulse until large pieces form. Slowly drizzle the ice water while you are pulsing.
On a lightly floured surface, dump the dough and crumbs and begin to gently and quickly pull the dough together. Divide the dough into two, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. *Put the second disc in the freezer for another time.
Kabocha Squash Filling 2 large eggs and 2 egg yolks 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg 1 1/2 cups roasted squash puree 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Process: Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the middle and lowest positions. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan, then trim the edges flush with the rim. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Line the chilled tart shellwith heavy-duty foil and fill with enough pie weights to come three-quarters up, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the oven's lowest rack until the edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights, then bake until the bottom just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
In the mean time, with a food processor, combine eggs, vanilla, sugars, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the squash and run until smooth. Slowly pour in the cream while the machine is running. Combine until no more streaks of cream appear.
Pour the filling into the warm crust, smoothing the top. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle rack until the edges start to puff and crack and the center sets, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut kabocha squash into 4 chunks and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 45-60 minutes until flesh is soft. I like to use a cake tester to check root vegetables and squash for doneness.
A few years ago we bought a piece of property not too far from our current house with a dream to build. And after some very long delays, we are all moved in, slowly unpacking and decorating as we go. The dining room became my priority. It is attached to the kitchen and I always saw it as the gathering place. Whether that was during the week while I am cooking dinner, or when we have friends over.
I worked with my friends at Room & Board, for their emphasis on quality and modern design, to help put all of my ideas together for how I saw this room flow. First up the dining table. The flow of furniture throughout the kitchen and dining room would always be tied back to Walnut wood. We went with walnut for it's beautiful high quality dark finish. I also knew that I wanted a marble or quartz top for a few reasons. One being, I have two kids, and I didn’t want a beautiful wood table that I would constantly feel nervous about caring for. With the marble quartz composite top I can simply wipe it down after each meal knowing that it requires little to no maintenance. Who doesn’t love a little peace of mind! Second, this table is now used as my work surface for a good majority of my photos. Which if you are in the photography, styling, blogging world you will understand how great that is to have such a large surface to work with.
Dining Table: Walnut base made in Vermont Marbled white quartz composite top made in Minnesota
A few other tables that I love: This is beautiful if you have a smaller kitchen Or if you are looking for a taller table I also really like this table
We love our Walnut chairs (also made in Vermont!) as they are so comfortable and make the space look great. I’ve known for sometime that I always wanted to have a bench at the dining table, and I am so happy we went with this style. It works great at our table, and frequently gets moved around for additional seating in the family room when guests are over. Next on my list, so we can have a bench for the dining room and living room is this style. It is absolutely beautiful.
I’ve known for some time that I always wanted to have a bench at the dining table, and I am so happy we went with this style. It works great at our table, and frequently gets moved around for additional seating in the family room when guests are over. Next on my list, so we can have a bench for the dining room and living room is this style. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Another favorite element in our dining room are these shelves. As a cookbook collector, I wanted to have the books displayed nicely but also close to the kitchen. We are talking about adding additional cubes to keep making this unit taller. These solid wood stacking cubes are made in Pennsylvania. Gotta love it!
These bar stools are one of my favorites elements in the kitchen. They are comfortable and look sleek. More kitchen photos revealed next month!
As we slowly start styling the remainder of the house, these are a few favorite items that have my eye.
Thank you Room & Board for your partnership. I always love working with companies that have an emphasis on making their products in the U.S. – this was one of the main draws in working with Room & Board for us: more than 90 percent of their products are manufactured in the U.S! They work with family-owned companies (which is very important to me) around the country which allows Room & Board to bring you the best craftsmanship and fastest delivery with the least environmental impact. I cannot say enough great things about them and their products.
School is back in session and summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t stop us from cooking up a feast with friends and family. And these hot and spicy fried chicken sandwiches are at the top of my favorites list. Served along side some fresh watermelon, grilled corn, lemonade for the kids and cold beers for the adults. Summer perfection!
For this recipe I partnered up with Colman’s Mustard using both their dry mustard (which is a pantry staple) and their prepared mustard that has a nice kick to it. This classic fried chicken sandwich now has a real punch to it with adding Colman’s Mustard. Click here to save on their products.
Hot And Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich Serves 4
1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon light brown sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs
Mustard Sauce 1 garlic clove, grated 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons Colman’s prepared mustard 2 tablespoon chopped chives 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Pinch of kosher salt