Crudites Platter with Real California Milk Dipping Sauces

This holiday season, get your vegetable and dairy fix with Real California Milk dipping sauces! I know it’ll be a favorite at my holiday get-togethers.

Do you ever walk by the produce stands at farmers’ market and wish you could buy ALL of the vegetables? That is a problem I have a little too often.

Eyeing some of my favorite items like romanesco, watermelon radishes, and endives, I know it wouldn’t be ideal to incorporate all of them all into a single recipe, like say, pasta, or even in a traditional salad.

But I have a solution for all of your vegetable lovers out there - crudites! Crudites are a simple raw vegetable platter eaten by the French as an appetizer, typically with a dipping sauce. How healthy is that?

On a recent visit to Farmers’ market, I was inspired to finally buy all of the vegetables I wanted because I could easily serve them as crudites and pair them with two Real California Milk dipping sauces. Both with sour cream, but one with Dry Jack and one with cottage cheese. All amazing products from my home state that make for the easy, tasty, and convenient snacks!

After prepping the veggies on a Sunday, my husband and I had a full platter of healthy snacks to finish up by Wednesday. Thanks to the delicious Real California Milk dipping sauces, we thoroughly enjoyed eating raw vegetables between meals. Three to four servings of vegetables per person, per day = no problem! Amazing considering only 9% of Americans eat enough veggies.

Equally as cool as getting in my veggies, my husband and I were certainly getting in our recommended servings of dairy per day. Did you know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three servings of dairy foods each day?

That’s because dairy is nutrient-rich and when consumed as part of a healthy diet, it may help prevent diseases like osteoporosis, hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Note: one serving = 8 oz of milk, a 6-8 oz container of yogurt, or 1 ½ oz. of natural cheese.

So while Real California Milk dairy is tasty, fast, and convenient, it can also help you be your healthiest self! Not a bad combo of nutritional benefits in my opinion! So what are you waiting for? Dive into your Real California Milk dairy this holiday season!

Crudites Platter with Real California Milk Dipping Sauces


Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 8


Zesty Dry Jack Dipping Sauce
⅓ cup Real California Dry Jack cheese, grated
¾ cup Real California sour cream
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 anchovy, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula & Cottage Cheese Dipping Sauce
½ cup Real California cottage cheese
¼ cup Real California sour cream
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 oz arugula
¼ cup chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 rainbow carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch thick sticks
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small head romanesco, cut into florets
1 endive head, trimmed, leaves separated
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise, ¼-inch thick
½ lb green beans
½ lb snap peas
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small watermelon radish, sliced ¼-inch thick lengthwise, cut into quarters
1 bunch red radishes
1 bunch green onions, light and dark green parts, trimmed

Add all ingredients of Real California Milk Dry Jack Dip to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired. Add dip to a medium bowl. Set aside.

Prepare Real California Milk Arugula & Cottage Cheese Dip by adding all ingredients to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste if desired. Add dip to a medium bowl.

Add dipping bowls to the center of a large platter. Arrange crudites around bowl until visually pleasing! Enjoy!



Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast with Romanesco Broccoli and Potatoes

This Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast with Romanesco Broccoli and Potatoes is so healthy and delicious that it could make your head spin. Plus it has a little kick of sriracha and birdseye chilies if you're into that kind of thing! 

I adapted this recipe from an episode of Simply Ming. He used cauliflower instead of romanesco broccoli, but I decided to go with romanesco broccoli because it’s such a funny looking brassica. I also added a bunch more chilies, combined the vegetables with the marinade, and added a mix of daikon and Japanese turnips we had growing in our garden. Feel free to play with this recipe as I did! I had fun making it.

Did I mention that it’s a one-pot meal? The basic ingredients and easy prep definitely make this recipe a keeper for any night of the week. 

Chicken, veg, and potatoes? Yes, please!

Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast with Romanesco Broccoli and Potatoes

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4

1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one orange
4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, 1/4-inch slices
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 head romanesco broccoli, broken into florets
4-inch piece daikon and/or Japanese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 Yukon gold potatoes, ¼-inch slices
10 birdseye chilies, roughly chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450°. Make the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the sriracha, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the orange juice.  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and add to the marinade.

Heat a cast iron pan large enough to hold chicken over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add chicken (reserving marinade) skin-side down and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes until the skin is a golden brown. Turn chicken over and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

To the same pan, add the red pepper, red onion, carrots, celery, romanesco broccoli, daikon, potatoes, and chilies and toss to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved marinade and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until vegetables have softened, but are still al dente.

Return the chicken to the pan on top of the vegetables and place in the oven. Pour over remaining marinade. Cook about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165F. Serve right from the pan. 

Fusilloni Pasta with with Tomatoes, Cauliflower, Arugula, and Salami

I like pasta made of all different shapes and sizes. But recently, I’ve really been digging whole-grain pasta. We’ve all had whole-wheat spaghetti in the past that was terrible, right? Well, I'm happy to report that the pasta world has come a long way as far as innovating ways to make one whole-grain noodles healthier and tastier. 

I made this delicious dish with khorasan kamut, which is delicious with a slightly nutty taste, but still has the same buttery bite you expect from any other fusilloni. Kamut is actually really interesting because it’s nicknamed “King Tut’s Wheat,” since it was found in his tomb according to an ancient legend. Or maybe it’s just interesting to me because I also happen to have a degree in history! But no matter, people have been eating it for ages and it’s cool that it’s getting a revival in this day and age.

Nutritionally, kamut has more protein than modern wheat, and according to one study, if you replace kamut with modern wheat, it may reduce your risk for heart disease by lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and other inflammatory markers. Whether or not you’re willing to replace your grains with kamut because of one study, it’s still interesting to try out! Diversifying the types of foods you eat is always a good thing, and pasta is no exception. 

Fusilloni Pasta with with Tomatoes, Cauliflower, Arugula, and Salami

Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 6

1/2 head large cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch florets
3 medium roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz hard salami, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
16 oz fusilloni pasta
5 cups baby arugula, about 5 oz
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 425F. 

In a large mixing bowl, add cauliflower, tomatoes, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. 

Transfer cauliflower mixture to a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10 minutes. Add salami to cauliflower mixture with sage and garlic. Stir and continue roasting for 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is golden brown. 

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fusilloni and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and return pasta to pot. 

Transfer cauliflower mixture to the pasta with arugula and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir in enough of the reserved pasta water to moisten and season with salt and pepper.

Divide pasta between bowls and serve immediately, garnished with remaining parmesan cheese. 

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Quick gourmet meals in the middle of the week are my favorite! This one is done in as little as 35 minutes. Excited? I'll get you more excited! These vegetables are not only off the hook delicious, they also help to pack in 7g of fiber, and make the meal look pretty, wouldn't you say? At 500 calories, this won't break your calorie bank either.

Recipe credits go to Curtis Stone, but I did make a few adjustments in oil and the portion of the meat to bring the calories down from 650 per serving. I was also more realistic with the cooking time, because I'm nice like that.

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4 


4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 5 ounces, and 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Vegetables and Apples
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and place in the oven until very hot.

To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.

Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.



Thanksgiving, Leftovers, and Roasted Turkey Soup with Potato-Parsnip Dumplings

Adrian and I have soooo many delicious leftovers from Thanksgiving. So I figured, instead of just rehashing Thanksgiving dinner for the entire weekend, why not play with the leftovers?

First off, let me tell you what we did make for Turkey Day! For the past several years I’ve been making Tom Colicchio’s Herb-Butter Turkey with Gravy and his recipe works like a charm. BUT, since 2015, I have incorporated a dry brine from Serious Eats. If you've never heard of dry brining, you HAVE TO try it! It changed everything for me (unlike wet brining, which is messier and doesn't do much for tenderness at all in my opinion). I’ve never had a more tender turkey in my life. While some of your guests may not even look forward to the dried out turkey breast they know from past experience, they will surely want to be at your house every year if you utilize Tom’s recipe and the dry brine. Yum, yum, yum.

Next up, we made parsnip mashed potatoes, haricot vert, the best cranberry sauce EVER, and some amazing honeyed carrots. The mashed potatoes were so spectacular (just a little sweeter than regular mashed potatoes), and may I say, even a little more nutritious? The honeyed carrots were a new recipe we tried this year from Williams Sonoma. We weren't disappointed. Adrian and I could have died and gone to heaven after eating them. Seriously, look at this picture below!

Of course, when making something like a turkey, I want to use the whole bird in an effort to achieve some kind of sustainability, if that’s even possible on Thanksgiving. So I made a turkey stock from the New York Times. It’s super fabulous, and just made sense to make a soup with the stock and leftover parsnips and potatoes.

I was actually planning to make Ottolenghi’s vegetarian Parsnip dumplings in broth on this rainy day weekend, knowing I’d have some root vegetable leftovers. But since I already labored over the stove for 3 hours making a turkey stock, why spend more time on a vegetarian stock? So I decided to hybridize his recipe with my Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. I’ll make his version down the road for sure, but not this weekend! 

While this dish is quite different from Ottolenghi's with the shredded turkey and meaty stock, I am happy to have his inspiration. Adrian and I just finished eating our first bowls on our porch outside, watching the rain water our garden and listening to a Songs of Old Russia album. So perfect. This soup is sooo divine, and adding the shredded turkey brought on a whole new layer of yumminess. 

What an incredible few days off it's been! I'd love to have four-day weekends more often in my life. But then again, wouldn't we all? At least I know I can cook up some great things when I have time off. No better way to spend a holiday weekend.


Roasted Turkey Soup with Potato-Parsnip Dumplings

Active Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour   
Serves 4

1/2 lb russet potato, peeled and diced
1.5 cups parsnips, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup self-rising flour (see note)
1/3 cup semolina flour
1 egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups (2 quarts) homemade turkey broth or chicken broth
3 to 4 cups roasted turkey or chicken, shredded, both white and dark meat are fine
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

Boil the potato, parsnip and garlic in salted water until soft, about 10 mintues. Drain. Wipe moisture out of pan and return the vegetables. Add butter and sauté over medium heat for a few more minutes. Mash with a potato masher or ricer. Whisk in the flour, semolina, egg, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes.

In a medium pot, bring broth to a simmer. Add shredded turkey and keep on very low heat to keep warm. Taste and adjust seasoning.

In another pan, bring some salted water to a light simmer. Using a teaspoon measurer, portion out dumplings and move to a plate. Add dumplings to the pot of simmering water. Once the dumplings come up to the surface, leave them to simmer for 30 seconds, then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.

Ladle the broth and shredded turkey into bowls. Place the dumplings in the broth. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Note: To make self-rising flour, combine 1 cup flour, 1 1/4 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt.



Roasted Pork Tenderloin Salad with Braised Fennel and Radicchio

I’ve been making the most delicious fennel-rubbed pork tenderloin thanks to Ian Knauer for several years now. I usually serve it over a lemony orzo risotto, but this time I decided to adapt the recipe into a salad when I had a little radicchio on hand from an impulse buy at the grocery store. 

Okay, so it wasn’t really an impulse buy. While I didn’t know exactly what I would do with the radicchio when I bought it, I knew something would come to me.  And that it did! Amazingly, our annual fennel plant we planted last year rebounded, and produced several more delicious bulbs this year. We also had some pomegranates sitting in the fridge from a friend’s tree. It made perfect sense that these sweet flavors would make a delicious pairing with the bitter radicchio, and could also be a good lesson in food history for all of you.

Believe it or not, I actually love radicchio for its bitter flavors. Full disclosure: I had my DNA analyzed a couple years ago and my genes did give me away as a person who likes bitter foods, which explains why I like black coffee and IPA! But you know what? People who like bitter foods tend to be healthier overall. This is because there are more phytonutrients in bitter produce than mild produce, which is due to the fact that modern agriculture bred these phytonutrients out in favor of sweeter produce with even less fiber. 

So what does this mean for us in the modern era? It means that it’s beneficial to test our palate, and even if we don’t like the flavors the first or second time, we can become accustomed to them, or even pair them with other ingredients to balance the flavors. So the next time you bite into a bitter vegetable, like radicchio or arugula, instead of turning up your nose, maybe think how you can make it yummy! Pro tip: Look for vegetables rich in deep colors like purple, green, red, orange, and blue. These pigments are full of antioxidants that can fight cancer and prevent heart disease. For more reading on this, check out this interesting article in the New York Times.

Below is the recipe. I hope you make it and enjoy it! It’s not too bitter in the end. I promise.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin Salad with Braised Fennel and Radicchio

Adapted from Ian Knauer
Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4


Pork Tenderloin
1 tsp fennel seeds
Kosher Salt
1 lb pork tenderloin
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into 1/2 inch wedges (reserve 1/4 cup fronds)
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicen broth
2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice

Radicchio Salad
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
2 tsp whole-grain Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small head radicchio, trimmed, leaves torn
1 small bunch chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle.

In a small skillet, toast fennel seeds over medium heat, bout 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool. Roughly grind seeds in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Pat pork dry, then sprinkle with crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. 

Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-proof heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes total, then transfer to a plate. Sauté garlic and fennel wedges in skillet until fennel is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add wine, stirring and scraping up brown bits, then stir in broth and butter. Nestle pork top of fennel and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145 to 150°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer skillet to stovetop (handle will be hot) and boil, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in lemon juice and reserved fennel fronds. Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl, prepare dressing by whisking olive oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add 2 tbsp of the braising liquid from the skillet and torn radicchio. Toss to combine and let sit 5 minutes to soften. Add braised fennel wedges, chives, pomegranate seeds, and toss again to combine. 

Thinly slice pork and serve over radicchio salad. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!



Taste the Rainbow! Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Garlic Rosemary Sauce


Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4

Eating an array of colors ensures that you are optimizing the nutrients that will reduce your risk for cancer and boost your immune system. Will eating a Big Mac do that? It sure won’t. So look for variety and color the next time you eat out or plan your meals for the week! Or, why not just make this little recipe? It’s delicious.

3 parsnips, peeled, wide ends halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.5 inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled, wide ends halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.5 inch pieces
1 medium turnip, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 small sweet potato, peeled, halved, cut into 0.5 x 1.51.5 inch pieces
4 medium shallots, whole, peeled
2 spring onions, whole, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic (purple if available), finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large baking dish, add parsnips, carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes, shallots, and spring onions. Toss with oil and salt and roast for 25 minutes. Toss again, adding rosemary and garlic. Roast vegetables until cooked through and browned.

Meanwhile, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until well-browned on each side (about 2-3 minutes) and your thermometer’s temperature registers at 145 degrees F. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Heat pan to medium and add 1 tsp oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds. Add wine and broth. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring up the brow bits on the bottom for about 5 minutes, until liquid reduces to a sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice, zest, and rosemary.

When the vegetables are done, add to a serving dish with pork medallions. Adjust seasonings and drizzle with sauce. Serve with warmed whole grain bread.