Hummus with Cucumber & Tomatoes

Hummus with Pitas
Hummus with Tomato Cucumber Salad & Pitas – by @smittenkitchen

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite go-to websites for inspiration on a lazy weekend. This particular recipe of hummus smothered with a summery cucumber-herb-tomato-onion salad looks particularly delicious and perfect for my upcoming Sunday: a late afternoon lunch with friends and a good bottle of white wine I’ve been saving for some time. Recipes like this are also perfect if you’re doing a Greek style dinner. I’ll roast a leg of lamb for a big group and also have some falafels with Tzatziki sauce for my vegetarian friends. Relaxed and yummy, just the way I like it.

Honey Dijon Chicken Sandwich

Dijon Chicken Sandwich
Lunchbox’s Honey Dijon Chicken Sandwich

One of our most savory sandwiches is this chicken breast sandwich – it’s sliced thinly by Susan on our slicer so it’s super soft – nice touch! We typically put it D’Angelo’s fresh sourdough along with French feta, arugula and a generous drizzle of our honey grain Dijon. Yesterday we tried it on a soft baguette with organic baby spinach & provolone and were hooked once again. It’s super simple but as we’ve found: simple works. Our new mantra at Lunchbox.

Spicy Lentil Wraps with Tahini Sauce

Spicy Lentil Wrap for catering & delivery
Spicy Vegetarian lentil Wrap by @thekitchn

The Kitchn is a wonderful blog and they had a summer post outlining the best food for the beach. The post is full of great suggestions. One of their recipes for a vegetarian Spicy Lentil Wrap caught my eye and it’s perfect. Wraps need a bit of zing and this one has that. I added a bit of turkey since I wanted more protein but what a delicious recipe. If you love tahini as much as I do check out the Vegetarian Falafel Salad I posted in June. Tahini is definitely a fave!

Two Lovely Coconut Mojito Recipes

Coconut Mojito Recipes
Coconut Mojito by @kitchenplaygrnd

My book club loves an island style Mojito with fresh mint and lime – but using coconut water in this Coconut Mojito Recipe from The Food Network Kitchen is a genius idea and on my list of summertime cocktails to whip up when friends come over.

I also found this recipe which uses Cream of Coconut from a great blog The Kitchen Is My Playground. I think this recipe may have the more intense flavor I’ll be looking for so I’m excited to try it as well. Enjoy!

While we’re on the subject, here’s a great smoothie recipe from Goop on my blog as well that features a touch of coconut.

Food 52’s 50 Best Salads

Thai Salad with Veggies
One of the Many 50 Salads from @Food52 Featured On Their List

Food 52 is full of wonderful recipes, but this collection of Their 50 Most PopularSalads is a favorite post. I keep it on my bookmarks bar for inspiration. I first tried the above Thai-inspired dish – Forbidden Rice Salad with Thai Lime Coconut Vinaigrette. The range is impressive and not a single recipe is likely something you’ve seen before. Their Crunchy Cucumber & Avocado Dish, below is truly unique.

Cucumber & Avocado Salad
Cucumber & Avocado Salad from @Food52

And I’m definitely trying Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette. How could you not?

Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette
Toro Bravo’s Radicchio Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette

Tender Weeknight Chicken Dinner

Tender Chicken Breast Lunch
Guaranteed Tender Chicken Breast by @MelissaClark of the New York Times

A simple easy weeknight dinner but better yet – a perfect technique you can use again & again. As described here by Melissa Clark of the New York Times, just pound out those breasts to an even consistency, add some salt and acid to ensure a quick brine & keep your juices in – and you’re in the home stretch: your simple dinner can now be uniformly cooked in a much easier fashion and with juiciness & flavor to boot. Melissa’s suggested recipe, here for your consideration includes the use of a lime-spice rub and a delicious zingy cucumber salad. From The New York Times food section, it’s one of those basic recipes you can always refer to for prepping your chicken breast – be it for grilling, sauteeing, or baking. Winner, winner chicken dinner. For another great chicken recipe that I love, check out my post on Salt Vinegar Chicken from the Lunchbox blog.

Curried Hummus with Vegetables

 

Curried Hummus with Dipping Veggies
Curried Hummus with Veggies by @pinchofyum

Putting out a healthy & delicious snack before dinner is always appreciated by guests. If you fill up on cheese & crackers (I’m always guilty of this) then it’s harder to enjoy the main event. Veggies with Hummus are yummy but putting this slight twist on it – curry – makes it much more interesting. Tasty & light appetizer? Yes please! I’m also going to use this recipe in creating some new turkey sandwich wraps (!) to make them a bit more exciting.  Spreads are always used in wraps but a curried one would be so much better. Anyways, here’s the recipe for the curried hummus from Pinch of Yum. Check out her blog; it’s wonderful and full of tips on blogging and food photography as well; I’m completely inspired by her!

The Sandbox: My New Co-Working Space

Meeting Space for Corporate Meetings Catering & Group Lunch Delivery
The Airstream Meeting Room at The Sandbox

I absolutely enjoyed working at The Sandbox – Santa Barbara’s best co-working space. While I do most of my catering production in my commercial kitchen there is, of course, plenty of paperwork and marketing to keep up on. I often meet with Henry Rosas, a friend, and owner of Common Thread Digital. We plunk ourselves down at a spot with decent wifi and get to work on things we need to pound out.  We both work a lot from home but as we all know home is full of distractions.  I end up playing with my pets and making snacks and Henry walks his dogs and decides to do laundry.

But parking ourselves at The Sandbox (and receiving a quick tour from Kyle & Mark, the founders) was different. We settled into the co-working vibe and got down to serious work. Sharing space with other folks who were already immersed in their own projects set the tone and we joined into the existing culture of productivity. I managed to concentrate completely on a photo editing project I had procrastinated on; Henry completed some projects he had successfully avoided all week. While I had envisioned hanging out in their uber chic Airstream, above, we instead chose a large sunny window and were quickly hard at work in the quiet loft-like space. The rates are reasonable. We calculated that if this kind of environment could increase our productivity by double then it was well worth the cost of the visit.

Sandbox Santa Barbara Co-Working Space - Corporate Space Rental lunch delivery lunch catering
The Sandbox’s Airy Loft Style Co-Working Space

Your first visit/day pass is complimentary. A single day pass is $20 while a 10-day subscription out of the month works out to $17.90/visit. Other monthly subscriptions are also available; and you can also rent the space for meetings, events, movie nights – it’s full of possibilities. Considering how much you can focus and accomplish in this uber-pleasant space it’s a total value. They have coffee and water, of course, and the huge windows with their natural light offer quiet relaxation. While in the past I have occasionally used coffee shops to work on special projects, I honestly hadn’t realized how full of distractions they were: friends, beverages, chatty Kathies at nearby tables, wifi that can be spotty.

Henry and I are planning on returning frequently and working smarter (not harder) on getting things done in a more efficient manner. After a three hour session of focused production, we rewarded ourselves by zipping over to The Funk Zone (it’s a 10-minute stroll) and getting a tasty Cucumber Vodka Lemonade from 7 Bar & Kitchen – a wonderful reward for working through the afternoon on a hot summer Friday.

Chilled Melon, Lime, Mint & Chile Salad

Melon Salad with Mint & LIme by @Smitten Kitchen
Melon Salad with Mint & LIme by @smittenkitchen

This Melon Salad with Chile & Lime at Smitten Kitchen is wonderful for summer (I love the generous use of mint!) and has some surprise ingredients that make it better than average: lime juice, chile flakes & pepitas (!). I just made the classic prosciutto and melon dish and essentially used this recipe but left out the pepitas.  It’s a lovely recipe for summer and much more exciting than the typical fruit salad.  Enjoy. And if you love the summer melons and want to incorporate them into your dessert, check out this Watermelon Granita Recipe I posted on the blog recently.