Portlandia Cookbook – Summer Market Salad with Jalapeno Dressing

Portlandia summer market salad with jalepeno dressing

Portlandia is a delightful show with a combination of absurdity (the CSA fruit that turned into a spaceship!) mixed with true to life moments about life in Hipsterland or just Portland, Oregon. The show has a special place in my heart particularly because of the episode where they watched every single episode of Battlestar Galactica back to back, forsaking their jobs, sleep, showering, and all other things, AND THEN GAIUS BALTAR SHOWS UP.

I have lived that life (minus the appearance of one of my favorite characters in my house to watch the show with me, sigh). This is Christopher and I when we watched an entire season of BSG in one weekend:

Three weeks of my senior year


Although I thoroughly enjoy the show, the last thing I expected to see in Food and Wine’s July issue was a recipe from the Portlandia Cookbook.  Apparently, this is a real thing, to be released October 28, 2014. You can pre-order or creep on it here, if you wish.

I was supremely skeptical of what sounded like a gimmick cookbook, but the recipe for this Summer Market Salad sounded delicious and simple. What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything with jalapeno, cilantro, and lime.

It’s really really good, you guys. The elements of the salad – the slightly charred corn, sweet with a hint of smoky, the tomatoes, the sugar snap peas – are all sweet, while the dressing is spicy and tangy.

This is a super easy salad to throw together, and it manages to capture the essence of the summer farmer’s market. You grill the corn and jalapeno, on a real grill or a grill pan, then use it to make a quick dressing with lime juice and cilantro. You toss the dressing with heirloom tomatoes, sugar snap peas, scallions, and the remaining corn. The recipe says it takes 45 minutes, but it only took me 35. The only thing I would change is to add an extra ear of corn to the salad.

I was making this as my main, so I grilled a quick chili lime marinated chicken breast to add some protein and heft to the salad. If you want to do the same, I’ve included my marinade recipe below.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if this is what the recipes are going to be like, I’m actually excited about the Portlandia Cookbook.



Chili Lime Chicken Marinade

(An Allison Recipe)


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt


  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bag. Add the chicken breasts. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. Brush a grill pan with canola oil. Place the chicken breasts on the heated grill pan, and cook for 10-15 minutes over medium high heat, flipping halfway during cooking. The length of time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Summer Market Salad with Jalapeno Dressing  

(Food and Wine, July 2014) Recipe by Graci Parisi

My Notes:

  • Seriously, use an extra ear of corn.
  • If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can probably use a blender. I did have a mini food processor, so this is untested.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked (EDITOR’S NOTE, USE TWO. You won’t regret it!)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound mixed heirloom tomatoes—halved, quartered or sliced, depending on size
  • 2 ounces sugar snap peas, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and brush the grate or pan with canola oil. Lightly brush the jalapeño and corn with canola oil and grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Peel, seed and chop the jalapeño. Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob.
  2. In a mini processor, combine the 2 tablespoons of canola oil with the olive oil, lime juice, scallion whites, chopped cilantro, jalapeño and half of the grilled corn kernels. Pulse until a chunky dressing forms. Season with salt.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the snap peas, scallion greens, the remaining corn and half of the dressing. Toss to coat and transfer to a serving platter. Spoon the remaining dressing over the salad and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  4. MAKE AHEAD:  The jalapeño dressing can be refrigerated overnight.




The Easiest Dessert You’ll Ever Make – Plum Tarts with Honey and Black Pepper, Bon Appetit – July 2014

plum tart with honey and black pepper

Hi there, I am a tart and I was made in five minutes

Hello, it’s summer. You’re outside all day, avoiding mosquitoes and sunburn but trying to live it up. You have some friends over and decide you want something nice for dessert. You have a thousand peaches and plums but you don’t want to spend more time than necessary inside. What do you do?!

(a) eat your weight in ice pops instead

(b) go get some fro-yo

(c) go, hey, I think I have some puff pastry in the freezer, and make fabulous individual tarts in 25 minutes.

I think all of those are solid choices, but, really, this recipe (OPTION C)  is just great.  Anyone can make it, even if you don’t consider yourself a cook, and you absolutely will not mess it up unless your oven timer or eyes break.

It’s really simple, to the point where it’s a little reminiscent of late night bacon, but that’s okay. It’s summer. Let’s throw some things together and feel fabulous.

Plum Tart with Honey and Black Pepper

The easiest thing ever

Plum Tarts with Honey and Black Pepper

(Bon Appetit, July 2014) – Recipe by Dawn Perry

My Notes

  • Buy some puff pastry and keep it in your freezer. Next time you want a quick dessert, this is it.
  • If you’re watching calories, you’re in luck! One square is only 90 calories. This is basically health food.
  • I used about 3 tablespoons of sugar instead of four.
  • I like the nectarine tarts better than the plums, but both were good.
  • The black pepper wasn’t weird. I’m sure you’re thinking “that sounds weird” because I definitely thought that, but it was very subtle and un-weird. You can skip if it you don’t believe me.


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (one 14-oz. package or half of 17.3-oz. package), thawed according to package directions
  • 1 pound red plums, apricots, or peaches, pitted, cut into ½” wedges
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut pastry into six 4” squares, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Top with plums, leaving a ½” border. Sprinkle with sugar; season with a few grinds of pepper.
  2. Bake tarts, rotating pan halfway through, until edges of pastry are puffed and golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt just before serving.
  3. DO AHEAD: Tarts can be baked 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature.



End-of-Summer Eggplant Bake – Food and Wine, August 2014

End-of-Summer eggplant bake

Cheesy, eggplant goodness

Eggplant and I have a tenuous relationship. My first introduction to it was in college, when my roommate Kaitlyn made me eggplant parmesan. This was when I first realized eggplant was not the enemy, but could be a delicious marinara and cheese covered friend. On the other hand, I’ve had giant chunks of eggplant appear in side dishes and been unappreciative of the eggplant’s texture.

Kaitlyn’s love for eggplant extends far beyond eggplant parmesan, so when this issue of Food and Wine appeared in my mailbox a few hours before she came over, it seemed like fate. I was a bit concerned because there were no pictures of the finished dish in the magazine, possibly indicating it was a D-level recipe, so I bought an emergency backup of goat cheese and pita crackers. These proved to be unnecessary.

This is a good kind of eggplant dish. If you consider eggplant to be a good friend, one you’d text little eggplant emoji’s to ironically, you’ll adore this eggplant bake. The eggplant chunks are tossed in olive oil and roasted with spring onions or scallions, with a little bit of butter, then topped and baked with lemon ricotta  and bread crumbs. Roasting the eggplant gives it a silky texture, and the bread provides a good crunchy contrast.

I will say, if you have never had eggplant before and consider it to be a frightening purple enemy, this might not be a good gateway dish. It is very prominently eggplant. I suggest you find a nice friend or roommate to make you eggplant parmesan instead.

eggplant bake food and wine

Photo by Con Poulous

End-of-Summer Eggplant Bake

(Food and Wine, August 2014) – Recipe by Jessica Koslow

My Notes:

  • The recipe had a GLARING ERROR and did not have parmesan cheese on top. I remedied that.
  • I preferred the eggplant that had been cut into smaller chunks. It had roasted nicely and had a better flavor and texture.
  • I used a teaspoon of dry parsley instead of the tablespoon of fresh.
  • If you want to pat yourself on the back for being smart, line your baking sheets with aluminum foil. No pan cleaning, and you can fold the eggplant inside the foil to transfer it to your baking dish.


  • 2 large eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 spring onions or 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 ounces country white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. On 2 baking sheets, spread the eggplant in an even layer. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the spring onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions to the eggplant and dot with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes longer, stirring, until the eggplant is tender.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Lightly grease a 2-quart, 2-inch-deep baking dish. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the baking dish. Dollop with the ricotta mixture and scatter the bread on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.
MAKE AHEAD The roasted eggplant and onions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Chamomile Peach Tarts – Martha Stewart Living, June 2014

chamomile peach tart

Tart madness

On my tier of “greatest fears,” right after wrongful imprisonment, death by mosquitoes, and coffee shortages, exists the fear of “not having enough food for people. ” So when I had a mini party at my house, I spent weeks agonizing over the quantities required.

This is how I ended up making enough dessert for each person to have a third of a pie.  I know. I made that lemon basil pie, a blackberry pie, and these chamomile peach tarts. Don’t worry, there was also pasta salad, grilled meat, so much corn on the cob we had nine ears left, and a two cheese plates.

I like to blame this ridiculousness on my Italian heritage.


Martha Stewart Living did a beautiful spread on desserts featuring savory ingredients, from which I pulled all desserts for this party. The Chamomile Peach Tart was voted on by my friend Kaitlyn, so you have her to thank for bringing this delightfulness into your life.

If you have never made a tart and are intimidated, this can be your gateway tart. The crust is made in your mixer and has four egg yolks, and is so easy to work with that when I ran out of tart pans I free formed a tart. There is no custard to stir and strain, instead the filling is sweetened sour cream. To keep it truly simple, you could leave out the chamomile poaching altogether and just top it with sweetened fruit. THERE, now you are a tart master.

If you are ambitious, the chamomile poached peaches are subtle but lovely. I started the night before, poaching them in sugar, water, and loose leaf chamomile buds. After the poaching, you let them sit overnight, soaking up the gentle chamomile flavor.

Assembly of the tarts is straightforward. Bake the shells, add the sweetened sour cream, and top with the sliced peaches and cooked down chamomile syrup.

If you loathe chamomile tea and think it tastes like socks,  it’s a truly subtle flavor in this recipe, but I think you can skip it and be fine, or substitute black tea. The recipe is very versatile.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lovekin

Chamomile Peach Tarts

(Martha Stewart Living, June 2014)

My Notes:

  • I assumed taking the skins of the peaches would be easy, like removing their little jackets. WRONG. These are terrible to peel. Keep a paring knife handy.
  • I used loose, dried chamomile buds for the peach poaching, and cut apart teabags from the Wegmans “Just Tea” chamomile tea for the crust. I wanted a full flavor for the peaches, but wanted the tea very fine in the tart shell.
  • If you know me at all you know I did not find fresh chamomile flowers for serving.
  • Lacking square tart pans, I tried to use six mini tart pans. That was definitely not enough, and I ended up making a GIANT free formed tart.



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried chamomile blossoms (from 10 to 12 tea bags)
  • 3 ripe peaches, halved and pitted


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 teaspoons chamomile tea (from 8 bags)


  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Fresh chamomile flowers (unsprayed), for serving


  1. Peaches: Bring 6 cups water, sugar, and chamomile blossoms to a boil in a medium pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil gently until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 1 hour. Strain out solids, then return liquid to pot and return to a simmer. Add peach halves and cover with a parchment round. Let simmer 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let peaches cool completely in liquid. Refrigerate, covered, until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  2. Remove peaches from liquid, peel, and cut each half into fifths. Pass liquid through a fine sieve and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Return peaches to remaining liquid. Transfer 1 1/2 cups liquid to a pot; bring to a boil and reduce until syrupy (about 2 tablespoons), about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Crusts: Meanwhile, combine butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, then flour, salt, and tea; mix until dough just starts to come together. Dividing evenly, press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of two 4-by-13-inch rectangular tart pans with removable bottoms. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake crusts until golden brown, pressing down centers of tarts if puffing up, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. Filling: Stir together sour cream and sugar in a bowl and spread in bottom of crusts, dividing evenly. Remove peaches from liquid and blot dry. Dividing evenly, arrange peaches over filling; drizzle with reduced syrup. Serve immediately, topped with chamomile flowers.

Lemon Basil Custard Pie with Red Berries – Martha Stewart Living, June 2014

brought to you by NOT lemon basil

brought to you by NOT lemon basil

I have been officially defeated by lemon basil.

I looked everywhere  for it:

  • Wegmans
  • Whole Foods
  • Giant
  • Trader Joe’s
  • H-mart
  • Lotte Market

I finally had to admit defeat, after backing into a large ice chest of squid on ice at Super H-Mart and muffling a shriek (GIANT SQUID and I are NOT friends). I could not think of a single other place to look for stupid lemon basil. Googling it  only resulted in seed packets. Somehow lacking the patience to buy and grow my own lemon basil, I settled instead for crying “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, MARTHA?!” and trying to find a substitute.

The recipe has three major components – the pie crust, the custard, and macerated red berries. The custard is the most intriguing part, and is made in two steps. The cream and milk, along with the alleged lemon basil, are brought to a boil on the stove before sitting in the fridge overnight. After the basil and cream have spent a lot of time together and became best friends, you remove the basil, return the milk/cream to the stove, then whisk in eggs yolks for a silky, rich custard. From there, you pour the custard into the pre-baked pie crust and bake it.

I wanted to keep both the lemon and basil notes, so I zested a medium lemon (producing about a teaspoon of zest) and used two sprigs of regular basil. If you also fail to find lemon basil, do try to find the mildest basil you can. Italian basil can be a bit spicy. You should probably not use that. If you grow basil on your balcony but always forget to water it, and it has managed to hang on but developed a super spicy taste out of spite, you should probably not use that either.

This pie is completely worth the agony of the fruitless herb hunt and terror of the squid. The custard is luscious, with gentle herbal undertone of basil that brighten and add depth to the rich custard. The red berries on top, tossed in sugar, complement the baked custard with a delightful freshness.

As far as the “red berries” go, I stuck with raspberries and strawberries, making no effort to find flowered currants or elderberries. One ridiculously elusive ingredient is enough for any recipe.


Photo Credit: Jonathan Lovekin

Lemon Basil Custard Pie with Red Berries

(Martha Stewart Living, June 2014)

My Notes:

  • You can 100 percent substitute a teaspoon of lemon zest and two sprigs of mild basil for lemon basil
  •  My cornstarch/egg yolks mixture never got truly pale, but I whisked for two minutes exactly and all went as planned.
  • No one should judge you for failing to locate elderberries. If they do, they should be banished.
  • My pie dish was occupied by a blackberry pie, so I used a tart pan. It worked just fine.



  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 lemon-basil sprigs, plus more, with flowers, for serving
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt


  • 10 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces fresh raspberries, halved or cut into thirds if large (about 2 cups)
  • Fresh elderberries or currants, kept in clusters (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Crust: Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Add ice water; pulse until dough just starts to come together. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold over edge, then crimp. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line pie-crust with parchment and fill with weights or dried beans. Bake 25 minutes, then remove parchment and weights and continue to bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Filling: Meanwhile, bring milk, cream, and lemon basil just to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep at least 2 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Return milk mixture to a simmer; remove lemon-basil sprigs. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then whisk in cornstarch and salt until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into piecrust; skim any foam from surface with a spoon. Bake just until set in center (if browning too quickly, tent edges with foil), about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
  5. Berries: Gently toss strawberries, raspberries, and elderberry clusters with sugar in a bowl. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Spoon berries and juices over chilled pie, top with lemon-basil flowers, and serve.