Essentials, Food

How to Make the Best Sandwiches

ola-mishchenko-600012-unsplashWe all know that sad lunch feeling: another turkey sandwich, another salad. But sandwiches and salads don’t have to be sad — you just need the right ingredients to liven them up.

Build a Better Sandwich

florencia-viadana-723345-unsplashBread

Get your bread fresh from a bakery or grocery store each week if you can. It will make your sandwiches much tastier and more hearty, keeping you full and satisfied.

Meat

If you’re a meat eater, always go to the deli counter of your local store for freshly sliced meat. This will usually be tastier than packaged options, and you can choose the amount you want depending how many sandwiches you’re making.

Cheese

You can also pick up cheese at the deli counter. Grab at least two different varieties at once so you can switch things up during the week.

Greens

Wash your greens when you bring them home, or buy pre-washed greens, but note those are generally more expensive than bulk greens. Spinach, arugula and romaine lettuce are good go-tos, but we like to buy whatever is on sale so we’re constantly trying new greens!

thomas-martinsen-105809-unsplashTomato

Go for the freshest seasonal tomatoes when possible. Use your sharpest knife to slice them thin so they don’t slip out of the sandwich. Season with a little salt & pepper. Hint: keep the knife out to make a tomato relish while tomatoes are still in season to savor that sweet taste all year long.

Condiments

Mayo, Mustard & More

We know some kids (and adults) prefer ketchup on everything, but for sandwiches mayo and mustard are best.

Having a good mayo on hand is key; you can spruce it up with some fresh herbs, lemon juice or hot sauce. That way, you’re constantly getting slightly different flavors on your sandwiches.

For mustard, always have a Dijon and a spicy brown on hand. Those will pack the most punch for your sandwiches.

lauren-mancke-63448-unsplashAcid

A good rule of thumb for any kitchen is to always have some citrus on hand. Lemons are the most common, and you can use a bit of juice to brighten up the veggies for your sandwiches and salads. A squeeze of citrus also helps keep avocado from browning!

Red wine vinegar is what makes sandwiches at old-school Italian delis so delicious (along with the best quality meats, cheeses and bread, of course!) A little oil and vinegar provide tons of flavor, and the oil gives you a good dose of healthy fat. Use your olive oil bottle so you don’t drench the sandwich.

jonathan-pielmayer-89798-unsplashPickles, Peppers & More

Pickled EVERYTHING will make your sandwich pop. A little sour zing is always a good thing, especially when it’s pickled hot peppers. Always have at least two pickled vegetables on hand.

Assembly

Assemble any wet ingredients (aka veggies and pickles) last, or as close to eating as possible. If taking to school or work, wrap tightly and bring plenty of napkins.

You don’t need much more for excellent sandwiches! Tag us @quoconow with your best pics.

Get chopping!

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Cooking, Food

Favorite Summer Foods

It’s really almost September?

While our tummies keep rumbling for corn, crab and more, let’s review our favorite foods from this summer — all easy to make at home with the freshest ingredients and simple kitchen tools!

What were your favorite summer dishes? Did you make anything gorgeous? Let us know in the comments!

Wishing you a happy, healthy, hearty Labor Day!

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It’s not too late! More summer cooking ideas:

Grilling Tips
Summer Salads
Best Produce Recipes

Cooking, Food, recipes

The Best Summer Produce Recipes

Yellow, green, blue and red: has your summer been colorful so far? Are you seeing the brightness through the rain?

We’re riding this tasty rainbow as long as possible, with our favorite recipes using summer’s best ingredients.

The good news? The ingredients alone taste so good, you barely have to do any work! The perfect recipe for summer relaxation.

What we’re eating

ACS_0121August is peak time for some of nature’s best delights. Right now our kitchens are full of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, cherries, peaches and plums.

What we’re cooking

On days when it’s too hot (almost every day), it’s simple salads and cold soups. On more ambitious days, we start in the morning when the kitchen is at its coolest!

Here are some highlights from our summer menu:

Appetizer

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

An easy crowd pleaser and a great excuse to pretend you’re in Italy! We never need help stimulating our appetites, but if you do snack on these with a Negroni, Aperol spritz or prosecco. Saluti!

Main

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

This looks like a long ingredient list, but you probably have a lot of these things on hand. Don’t worry; no need to make your own pasta sheets (unless you want to!) Hate mushrooms? Leave them out and make the rest as is. If you want, use peeled fresh tomatoes instead of the canned ones.

Or

Avocado-Basil Zucchini Noodles with Chile-Lime Shrimp & Corn

Easy, breezy and a perfect summer dish. Throw the corn and shrimp on the grill to make it even easier!

Or

GZ’s Ultimate BLT

Show off summer’s finest with a classic BLT. Bonus: watch your family and friends’ eyes light up with joy when they realize they’re getting bacon for dinner. Pick up a few beautiful heirloom tomatoes for a hearty thick-cut slice on each sandwich, and buy extra avocado for any veg pals.

Side

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob

Once you try Chef Tyler Florence’s trick for corn on the cob, you’ll never worry about boiling again. The easiest recipe makes delicious, slightly crispy corn. Use your favorite seasoning: simple good butter and sea salt; cayenne and sea salt; or cinnamon and sugar.

Dessert

Plum-Cardamom Crumble with Pistachios
We’ll keep saying it until the leaves fall – there’s nothing better than summer stone fruit desserts, and this plum-cardamom crumble is perfection on a plate. The leftovers are great for breakfast with Greek yogurt!

Find out what else is in season and keep your kitchen stocked!

Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, recipes

5 Easy Summer Salad Recipes

Panzanella_cropped

Who doesn’t love a delicious salad? Easy, healthy and heat-free, make these salads ahead and refrigerate for cool relief all week.

Plus it’s a great excuse to try your tools: tongs, olive oil bottle, garlic skin remover, garlic mincer.

Heirloom Tomato and Cornbread Panzanella
Literally translated to “bread salad,” this is the easiest, and perhaps tastiest, summer salad and a fun one for kids to help with too.
Tip: You can use any dry crusty bread or toasted cornbread, as mentioned here! Skip the oven and use leftover stale bread (the traditional way!)

Grain Salad with Olives and Whole-Lemon Vinaigrette
Easy, hearty, flavorful – and great as leftovers! This actually gets better as it sits, which is true for all these salads.
Tip: Once you’re comfy making grain salads, you can add in whatever leftover ingredients (cooked meat, tofu, any veggies and even fruit!) you have to create your own recipe. You can also sub in any grain you have on hand or already cooked!

Kale, Apple and Walnut Tabbouleh
There’s probably no better go-to for salads than Philadelphia-based chef Michael Solomonov, since salads are a specialty and major part of Israeli cuisine. This is a great dish for breakfast or any time of day!
Tip: No sumac? No problem! Just omit it for a still-delicious recipe.

Cucumber Salad
This couldn’t be easier: a perfectly refreshing, 5-ingredient salad that’s a summer all-star!
Tip: The thinner you slice the cucumbers, either on a mandoline or carefully by hand, the more they’ll absorb the flavors.

Campanelle Pasta Salad
We love this version of pasta salad with pretty campanelle noodles and hearty tuna in olive oil. You can omit the tuna if you’re veg!
Tip: The secret to a great pasta salad? Don’t overcook the pasta.

Box 3, Cooking, Food, recipes, Tools

Tools 101: Silicone Baking Mat

You have new kitchen toys, hooray! Now, what the heck do you do with them?

This series features some ideas to get you cooking – and eating – asap!

Meet your silicone mat

This mat is a super handy alternative to parchment paper, perfect for baking and roasting. While you can use oil as well, the mat does its part in helping food not stick so you don’t need as much oil. Trust us, nothing sticks to these mats.

Here are some ways to use it!

Recipes

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

Get crunching with this addictive snack. Spice it up with cayenne or keep it simple with sea salt. Either way, so good!
Get the recipe.

Roasted Salmon

The easiest, tastiest weeknight meal. You can adjust based on what you like on your salmon! Lemon and herbs is always a good bet.
Get the recipe.

Roasted Cauliflower

Perfect to have around to add to salads, bowls and more throughout the week! Also delicious simply seasoned with salt & pepper.
Get the recipe.

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

From kale chips to cookies! We never said you couldn’t treat yourself! The mat allows easy clean up because the dough won’t stick.
Get the recipe.

How to clean

Use a soft sponge with warm soap and water. Dry with a clean dish towel or air dry.

Tips

  • Limit the amount of oil you use for your recipes; you really don’t need much! A great way to cut back on your oil intake. Instead, keep your olive oil bottle on the table for dipping bread.
  • If you do use parchment paper, make sure it’s parchment, and not wax paper. Wax coating will melt and can burn in a hot oven.

More info on Food52

Happy eating!

Basics, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Grilling, recipes, Tools

You Can Grill That!

Let your grill do wonders beyond burgers and dogs.

These are easy grilled foods for a party – or just for you! Not only does the grill work its magic in these recipes, but cleanup is super easy too so you can relax and enjoy.

Tip: Keep all your essential grilling tools (tongs, squeeze bottles, pastry brush, etc.) clean and handy for when the grill calls your name!

ACS_0115 (1)

  1. Pizza
    Perfect for al fresco summer dining, especially for groups, warm grilled pizza can be equally good and often better than a sad, soggy delivery pizza. That char really works wonders, and it’s super simple! Consider making a veggie one with no cheese for vegan/dairy-free friends and as a nice lighter option for everyone. Pair with a light red (chill it if you want!) or Lambrusco. The pizza can sit out for a bit, as long as it’s not boiling hot outside, so those who arrive late can still enjoy a piece (if there’s any left!) Use your sharpened knife or kitchen shears to slice it!
    Get the recipe.
  2. Grilled Lettuce
    This is an insanely easy way to impress friends and a great side dish for pizza! Channel your inner Giada with a colorful salad of grilled lettuces. All you need is your colander, cutting board, knife, tongs and olive oil bottle. You’ll just want to make sure this hits the grill before any meats, so your veg friends can enjoy without worry!
    Get the recipe.
  3. Avocado
    A quick few minutes on the grill, a little lime juice, salt & pepper creates individual guac bowls you can eat right out of the skin! Spice it up if you want with cayenne, paprika or hot sauce. No need for a huge bowl of guac to sit outside and brown in the heat when you can have a fresh, simple solution. (Also, yahoo for portion control!) Serve with tortilla chips and veggies of your choice.
    Get the recipe.
  4. Stone Fruit
    Warm dessert with no oven action? We’re in! There’s nothing like winding down a summer night with seasonal fruit, a scoop of vanilla or coconut ice cream (or whatever flavor you like!) and a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy the glory of peaches, plums and nectarines while they’re here!
    Get the recipe.
  5. Grilled Pound Cake
    If you have a cake-loving crowd (the best kind of crowd!) why not throw an already made cake onto the grill? This is basically impossible to mess up because most of the work is done! If you don’t have peaches, try another stone fruit or serve with any fresh berries you have on hand!
    Get the recipe.

 

Basics, Box 1, Cooking, Essentials, Food, Kitchen, recipes, Uncategorized

It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer

They’re here! It’s July and we’re talking tomatoes. If you can resist eating all your ripe tomatoes with just a little salt & pepper, here are our favorite summer tomato recipes.

Grab your serrated knife and cutting board for the easiest tomato action!

  1. Tomato Peach Salad with Basil
    With all seasonal ingredients, this tasty summer treat is a show-stopping salad.
    Tip: Add burrata or mozzarella for a more substantial dish.
  2. Easy Vegan Bruschetta
    A simple go-to snack or appetizer. Kids like it too!
    Tip: Don’t have basil? Use up any fresh herbs you have on hand! Set aside a few plain ones for the kids.

  3. Tomato Margarita with Fennel Salt (or just regular salt!)
    Try this summer sipper in the backyard or on the porch. You’re welcome.
    Tip: Not feeling the fennel? Plain salt will do! Still feeling a bit fancy? Try a mix of Old Bay and salt on the rim!
  4. Easy Gazpacho
    Tip: Use your garlic tools & oil pourer from Box 1 to make this recipe even easier. This is a fun, customizable recipe, so don’t stress!
  5. Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce
    Tip: You can make this in advance and leave it either chilled or at room temp for later! It actually tastes better the longer it sits.

Continue reading “It’s Time! Tomato Recipes for Summer”