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!



Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Chanterelle Mushrooms

Want to know one of my innermost secrets? Go shopping with me in the produce section in Fall and Winter when fresh chanterelles are readily available and you will see a little twinkle in my eye!

I'm a sucker for these mushrooms that grow mainly in Fall and Winter. Because they're a little expensive, I like to reserve them for special occasions. But to be perfectly honest, nothing gets my cooking gears going like planning a elegant dinner with these golden fungi!

So what was the special occasion for my delicious chicken and chanterelle recipe below? Receiving a new 12" ICON griddle in the mail from J.L. Hufford, of course!

Perfect for this one-pan recipe, the ICON griddle is chemical-free, so it doesn't impact taste. It's also an amazing alternative to cast iron cookware. Designed to cook like a traditional cast iron pan, ICON pans are made in the USA, are 30% lighter in weight, have stay-cool handles, and do not scratch delicate cooktops and countertops. Their durable design allows you to sear, fry, sauté, and bake food in temperatures up to 800F. Did I mention you can use them on your induction cooktop?!

I had so much fun making this recipe in the ICON griddle. The wide surface area of the 12" pan allowed enough space for me to cook the chicken to crispy perfection in just one batch of cooking. The chanterelles also found the griddle to be a great vessel for soaking up all the flavors. With only one pan used, the clean up couldn't have been easier!

Want to order ICON products for your kitchen? Visit J.L. Hufford's website to find your favorite pan! You can also simply purchase this 12” griddle HERE on their website and Amazon. Use the discount code 20OFFICONDA to receive 20% off your order!

Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs with Chanterelle Mushrooms

Time: 1 Hour
Serves 4

2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp butter, divided
½ cup shallots, finely chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
4 sprigs thyme
1 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
¾ cups dry sherry
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup crème fraiche
1 tbsp lemon juice
Tarragon leaves, for garnish
Lemon wedges for serving

Season the chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 3 tbsp butter in a 12” ICON griddle over medium-high heat. Nestle the chicken thighs skin-side down in the pan and cook for about 6 minutes, without moving the chicken, until golden brown. Turn the thighs over and cook for 6 more minutes until browned on the opposite side. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook the chicken, turning every 6 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate. Cover and keep warm.

To the same pan, add shallots, onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Stir occasionally and cook over medium heat until softened, scraping up any browned bits, about 6-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add chicken broth, sherry, heavy whipping cream, any accumulated juices from the plate of chicken thighs, and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms have soaked up most of the cooking liquid.

Remove the pan from the heat and pick out any large thyme sprigs. Stir in crème fraiche and lemon juice. Return the chicken to the pan, nestling into the mushroom mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Serve on plates and garnish with tarragon leaves and squeezes of lemon.



Passion Toast: Lox with Real California Milk Queso Fresco!

Real California MIlk queso fresco pairs perfectly with lox toast and slices of tomatoes, onions, tarragon, and a squeeze of lemon! A healthy snack idea that incorporates dairy!

What do I when gifted a large bag of ripe passion fruit? Try it out in various recipes, of course!

I absolutely LOVE bagels with lox, Real California Milk cream cheese, and capers. After diving into the flesh of the first passion fruit I’ve tried in a while, I realized the pulp has some caper-like similarities in appearance, but it’s sweet and the colors are so pretty. Could this tasty fruit work as a substitute in one of my favorite snacks, I wondered?

Never shy to experiment, I decided to make some lox toast with a lovely Real California Milk queso fresco I had on hand. Pairing the queso fresco and lox exceeded all of my expectations in the flavor department, and you know what? The passion fruit pulp totally worked with garden grown tomatoes and tarragon! Yum yum.

This quick snack with Real California Milk queso fresco was actually way too fun to make. Not only does the finished dish highlight dairy’s versatility with all the delicious ingredients it can be paired with, but it also shows how dairy can make the snack even healthier. Fun fact: one serving of cheese contains 45% of your pantothenic acid, which helps your body use carbohydrates, fats, and protein as fuel. How cool is that?!

Passion Toast: Lox with Real California Milk Queso Fresco


Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 2-3

4 oz Real California Milk queso fresco
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp tarragon leaves, chopped plus additional to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 petit sweet baguette, halved lengthwise, quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz smoked salmon
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp passion fruit pulp (about 2 medium fruits)
Lemon wedges (optional)


Preheat broiler to 500F.

In a medium bowl, add queso fresco, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined.

Lightly brush baguette slices on all sides with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Transfer baguette slices to the oven on the top rack and broil until lightly toasted, about 1-2 minutes. Flip over on the other side and cook until golden, about 1- minutes longer.

Spread queso fresco mixture over toasts. Top with tomato slices, lox, and red onions. Garnish with dollops of passion fruit pulp and tarragon. Squeeze with a wedge of lemon if desired and season with salt and pepper to taste.



Remy’s Grahams Berry and Nectarine Crumble with Marshmallow Crème

I’m guessing most of my readers don’t know that it is Huckleberry season in California. You may not even know much about huckleberries, except Tom Sawyer’s friend was named after them in those well-known adventures written by Mark Twain.

Luckily for you, I am here to shed a little light on a berry-yummy fruit that is super fun to wild forage!

Huckleberries grow in the Northwestern United States and along some parts of the Pacific Coast. They’re actually pretty similar in flavor, shape, and size to blueberries. Not much is known about their nutrition, but since they’re berries, they have to contain antioxidants that are healthy for you, right?

My husband Adrian and I tried growing what we thought were authentic huckleberries in our garden a few years ago. They grew AMAZINGLY and we made serious amounts of jam with them. But we found out in the middle of growing the prolific plant that it was not a “true” huckleberry. In fact, it’s impossible to establish them from seed and they only grow in the wild, which makes them pretty special!

Fast-forward to a week ago when Adrian and I received a recommendation to hike at Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve in Oakland, CA. Having no idea that huckleberries grew there, we were a little curious to see several groups of hikers wild foraging around bushy brambles when we arrived.

After asking one hiker to clarify what the fuss was all about, we quickly learned that huckleberries grow locally AND are in season! The generous hiker gave us an extra sandwich bag, and we were able to forage a pint of huckleberries over the duration of our hike. It was sort of a dream come true.

With this big adventure under our belts, we wanted to make a big dessert! I immediately thought of a marshmallow crème that I’ve been wanting to incorporate with a Remy’s Grahams crumble and seasonal fruit. Remy’s Grahams make for the tastiest snack, so I knew they would make for the tastiest crumble!

Made by The Safe + Fair Food Company, Remy’s Grahams are a snack you can trust. The brand makes clean label, nut-free snacks, dessert mixes, and mac and cheese. You will not only feel great about giving them to your little one (and of course enjoying them yourself), but also feel safe to bring them into any situation where other children (or adults!) may have a food allergy.

So how was that crumble? It paired SO perfectly with the marshmallow crème, which is essentially a heavenly cloud of yum that should be served straight away into your mouth.

Ready for the recipe yet? It won’t disappoint!

Remy’s Grahams Berry and Nectarine Crumble with Marshmallow Crème

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves: 4-6


3 (1 oz) bags Remy’s Grahams
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp honey
5 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp cinnamon

2 ripe nectarines, cut into wedges
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter

1 cup fresh huckleberries or berries of choice
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Whipped Marshmallow
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup glucose
¼ cup water
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp granulated gelatin
3 egg whites


Preheat oven to 300°F. Add graham crackers, flour, salt, and sugar to a food processor and pulse for until graham crackers appear crumbled.        

Add graham cracker mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Stir in melted butter, honey, zest, and cinnamon until well combined. Add crumble in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, add nectarine wedges, brown sugar, lemon juice, and stir to combine. Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan and add nectarine mixture. Stir nectarines occasionally until coated in syrup, about 4-5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, add huckleberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Lightly mash berries with the back of a fork. Set aside.

Marshmallow Crème
In a small saucepan, add sugar, glucose, water, and salt. Stir to combine and simmer until the temperature reaches 240°F. Remove from heat.

Combine ¼ cup of the glucose syrup and granulated gelatin in a small bowl. Stir to bloom the syrup and pour back into the saucepan. Whisk to combine.

In a stand mixing bowl, whip egg whites on medium-high for 1-2 minutes to form soft peaks. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle the glucose syrup into the egg whites until all of the syrup is added. Increase the speed of the mixer to high and whip until the mixture has thickened and is slightly warm.

To Serve
Spoon marshmallow crème into bowls. Top with nectarines, berries, and graham cracker crumble. Serve immediately!



Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken with Chilies

Ketchup - it’s what’s for dinner! Okay, okay, it’s not only what’s for dinner. But did you know that ketchup is amazing in stir-fry dishes?

Ketchup is best used in sweet and sour recipes that can range from being super quick and easy, like this NYT Recipe for Stir-Fried Chicken with Ketchup, or still easy but with complex flavors, like the one I adapted from Chef Andrew Zimmern below! You may be surprised, but ketchup successfully builds an incredible sauce that’s tangy, bright, and delicious!

In making a stir-fry with ketchup, it’s important that I trust the ketchup I’m using. I adore Primal Kitchen’s Organic Unsweetened Ketchup because it’s not only organic, but it also contains ingredients I can trust. It’s even Whole30 Approved and Paleo Friendly! Plus, the color of the ketchup has a beautiful red hue and the ketchup flavor just pops! 

If you love Thai flavors, you’re going to enjoy this dish! In addition to ketchup, Thai ingredients like lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and turmeric are utilized to really make this dish exotic. The peas and carrots also add a nice healthy touch and a satisfying texture!

So what are you waiting for! Get your Primal Kitchen Ketchup (stir-fry) on!

Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken with Chilies


Time: 1 Hour
Serves 6


Pickled Tomatoes
1 tsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
2 tsp coconut vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 tsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sambal ulek
1/8 tsp shrimp paste
1/2 tsp salt
3 medium vine ripe tomatoes, quartered

Bangkok-Style Stir-Fry
10 fresh birdseye chilies
4 lemongrass stalks, tender inner white part only, roughly chopped
8 shallots, chopped (2 cups) 
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs  
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup lightly packed mint leaves, coarsely chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, prepare the pickle by stirring together the sweet soy sauce, vinegar, light brown sugar, sambal, shrimp paste, and salt. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Allow pickle to marinate for at least 20 minutes. 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chilies, lemongrass, shallots and garlic. Puree, scraping the mixture off the sides as needed, until smooth, about 4-5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the turmeric, cinnamon and 1 tsp kosher salt. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add half of the chicken thighs and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes total; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the pureed chili mixture to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up any browned bits from the chicken, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add Primal Kitchen ketchup, vinegar, sugar and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the skillet with accumulated juices and simmer over moderately low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot of salted boiling water, cook the carrots until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain. Add the carrots and peas to the chicken and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mint and season with salt. Transfer the chicken to a platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve With steamed Jasmine rice and pickled tomatoes.



Real California Cheese Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas

What better way to support strong bones & a healthy body than to get calcium and protein into your diet with...CHEESE! Check out my “Real California Cheese” Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas for a sophisticated spin on quesadillas!  

If you’re a cheese lover like myself, you’d know that the key to the perfect quesadilla is the cheese! Instead of using just one kind of cheese for quesadillas, I like to use a Real California Milk shredded Mexican cheese blend for the filling. This blend typically combines the tart flavor of Monterey Jack, the rich flavor of sharp cheddar, and the mild flavor of Colby Jack. Getting to experience a blend of cheeses really adds flavor and variety, not to mention extra cheesy goodness!

As a Californian, I buy products with the Real California Milk seal because I know our state’s dairy products are produced the right away and are of the highest quality. When you buy cheese with a Real California Milk seal, you’re assured that you’re purchasing cheese made exclusively with Real California Milk by real cheese makers.   
Lucky for me (and you), I developed the perfect combination of quesadilla ingredients to knock your socks off AND to highlight Real California Cheese. The icing on the cake? Real California Fromage blanc! I had some extra in the fridge and thought, why not? It totally made this dish special.

Although the Real California cheeses have my heart, the epazote pesto also makes this quesadilla pop.  If you can’t find epazote, you can exclusively use fresh basil instead.

Pro Tip: before using adding the basil to the food processor: remove the stems and make sure it’s completely dry!     

Real California Cheese, Mushroom & Pesto Quesadillas

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4


1 cup fresh epazote leaves
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup pine nuts
3 medium fresh birdseye chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mushroom Quesadillas
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
5 small dried birdseye chilies, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts only, finely sliced
10 epazote leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups spinach leaves
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
12 oz Real California Milk shredded Mexican cheese blend

To Serve
Lime wedges
Sliced radishes
¼ cup Real California Milk fromage blanc

In a small food processor, prepare the pesto by combining the epazote, basil, extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, birdseye chilies, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. Set the pesto aside.

Heat 1 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add half the mushrooms to the pan with ½ the garlic, ½ the chilies, ½ the green onions, and ½ the epazote leaves. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté mushrooms until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate. Repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Return all mushrooms to the sauté pan over medium heat with additional olive oil if needed. Add spinach and stir until spinach wilts, remove from heat. 

Lay out tortillas on a large plate or work surface. Spread about 1 tbsp pesto over each tortilla, followed by 1/3 cup shredded cheese and ¼ cup of the mushroom mixture. 

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add open-faced tortillas, one at a time to the skillet and allow cheese to melt slightly. Fold tortilla over with a spatula to form a quesadilla and press down lightly. When the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned, carefully flip the tortilla over on the other side. Press down lightly and continue cooking for about 1 minute, until the tortilla is browned on the opposite side. 

Transfer quesadillas to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding additional olive oil if necessary.

Serve quesadillas on plates and garnish with remaining mushroom mixture, small spoonfuls of fromage blanc, pesto, and radishes. Squeeze over lime wedges if desired. 

If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for Chicken Mole Verde Tacos, Mushroom Tacos with Fried Eggs, and Health(ier) Chicken Enchiladas!



Open-Faced Grilled Veggie Sandwich

When it comes to sandwiches, I most definitely do NOT discriminate. All shapes, sizes, temperatures, and textures all are welcome over here at Diet Assassinista. Although perfect for any (and every) meal, sandwiches are also great to keep in mind for your outdoor adventures. Whether it’s pre, mid, or post-adventure, they have the ability to pack in nutrients, fill you up, and keep you full.  
I made this open-faced veggie sandwich in collaboration with Alite’s Outdoor 101. It is the perfect guest to bring to a BBQ, picnic, or any adventure involving the great outdoors. It only takes minutes to prepare and is customizable to everyone’s individual liking! What better way to celebrate all that nature has to offer than chowing down on some delicious and nutritious food. 
Different veggies cook at different times so the key to success with this recipe is paying attention to which vegetables cook first and removing them from the hotter spots on the grill.
Outdoor 101 Protip: if you plan on making this meal in the field, consider mixing the balsamic honey dressing at home and pouring it into a bottle for easy transport.

What really gives this sandwich a leg up on flavor is the combination of goat cheese and balsamic honey dressing. Talk about a sweet and salty match made in heaven!! Now go hit the trails so you have an excuse to treat your tastebuds :)  

Open-Faced Grilled Veggie Sandwich

Serves 4
Time: 20 Minutes

In Collaboration with Alite Outdoor 101

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
6 small red spring onions, sliced lengthwise (or 1 small red onion, quartered)
4 ciabatta rolls, halved
4 tbsp aioli
1/2 cup garlic and herb goat cheese, divided

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, oregano, 1 tsp salt and black pepper to taste. Whisk dressing to combine.

Brush vegetables with the dressing and set remaining dressing aside.

Add the vegetables to an oiled grill over medium-high heat and cook on each side, until tender, about 5-10 minutes.

Move any vegetables that cook first to the cooler side of the grill to keep warm.

Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and slice peppers, zucchini, and spring onions into small pieces.

Brush each ciabatta half with 1 tbsp aioli and 1 tsp goat cheese. Add rolls to the grill, cut-side down, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Divide vegetables over the bread and top with remaining goat cheese.

Return ciabatta rolls to grill and cover for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Transfer the sandwiches to plates.

Spoon over reserved dressing and you’re ready to serve!

If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for Greek Salad with Seared Salmon, Tofu Banh Mi, and Indonesian-Flavored Pork Lettuce Cups!



Roasted Trout with Herbs and Summer Squash 

I remember the first summer that Adrian and I grew squash back at our community garden when we lived in San Jose. To say the plant grew abundantly and thrived is an understatement!

Our squash story is simple and predictable, but it goes like this: Mid-summer, we left our garden alone for about a week so we could visit friends and family in Southern California. When we left town, the zucchini were too small to use up in a recipe, so we decided to let them grow a little more.

When we returned home, however, the zucchini were unrecognizable! Their growth was so freakish that each zucchini (and there were a lot!) had to have weighed at least 1.5 to 2 pounds. Some were 3 pounds. Adrian and I just looked at each other with equal parts amazement and bafflement. How did this happen? How are we going to use up all of this zucchini?

I'll just say that we made a lot of zucchini soup that year, and I honestly think I still need a break from that recipe! Since that summer, we learned to plant...less squash (!) in general, to harvest it much sooner, and to add squash blossoms to our meals to keep the crop yield down a bit.

This summer, it's yellow squash that's driving us up the wall. I swear that we blink and the squash double in size. While they're hard to keep up with, we can't really complain that we have so many vegetables at our fingertips.

So what's a yellow squash recipe that I can't get enough of in summer, even if I'm nearly squashed-out? This roasted trout recipe! It is so simple, so quick and easy, and so healthy! It's bright like summer and will leave you, your family, and your garden very, very happy!

Roasted Trout with Herbs and Summer Squash

Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 4

1 lb medium summer squash or zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, sliced ½-inch thick
1/3 cup chives, roughly chopped
3 vine ripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch tarragon leaves
1 small bunch thyme leaves, roughly chopped
4 (6 oz) trout fillets
1/8 tsp fennel pollen
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lemon

Preheat oven to 450F.In a large mixing bowl, add zucchini, chives, tomatoes, and garlic. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and set aside. Add tarragon and thyme to a small bowl and lightly brush with olive oil.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and add trout to the center, skin-side down. Season the trout with fennel pollen, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the tarragon and thyme on top of the fish. Scatter zucchini mixture around the edges and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over the fish and the vegetables.

Bake the fish for 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 145F.



Real California Milk Charcuterie Board

Say cheese! I am a BIG fan of Real California Cheese! As a Californian, I am proud to partner with Real California Milk to promote local cheese artisans who have perfected the art of cheesemaking.

I eat cheese in everything from salads, to sandwiches, and tacos because it’s not only delicious, but it is also a nutritionally rich way to add calcium, protein, and minerals that help support strong bones and a healthy body. One of my favorite cheesy meals is actually the most simple: a charcuterie board! I built this charcuterie board with three amazing Californian cheeses: a dry jack, a blue cheese, and a triple creme cow’s milk cheese.

With any charcuterie board, I recommend selecting your favorite Real California Cheese first - check for the Real California Milk label! Then I recommend heading to the deli for charcuterie with a mix of textures, such as cured ham, pate, or salami. After, take a stroll down the produce aisle and select what’s in season! Finally, finish off your board with condiments like pickles, jam, and honey.

This week, Black Mission figs, raspberries, and strawberries were off the charts delicious, so I had to add them to my board. Boy did they pair well with the cheeses!

Visit the Real California Milk website’s Product Locator to find out where you can by artisanal cheeses made in California! 

Real California Milk Charcuterie Board


Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 2-4


Real California Cheeses
2 oz Real California Milk dry Monterey Jack cheese, cut into small slices
2 oz Real California Milk blue cheese, crumbled
2 oz Real California Milk triple creme cow’s milk cheese, sliced into wedges

2 oz Italian prosciutto, sliced thin
2 oz milano salami, sliced thin
2 oz duck liver mousse

Fruit and More
4 fresh Black Mission figs, sliced in half
4 large strawberries, sliced
1 small handful raspberries
2 tbsp blackberry jam
4 caperberries
Small baguette, sliced

For Garnish
Fresh sage leaves
Fresh rosemary
1 tsp honey

Arrange cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, jam, caperberries, and baguette slices on a cheese board. Garnish with fresh herbs. Spoon honey over fruit and cheese, if desired. 

Mix and match fruit, cheese, and charcuterie with baguette slices. Enjoy!

If you loved this recipe, you will love my recipes for  Easy Chicken and Blue Cheese Salad, The Real Deal Greek Salad, and Beet Rueben Sandwich!



Low-Carb Loaded Cauliflower Soup

When you think about summer meals, I bet you don’t always include soup on your menu. Soup can actually be the perfect meal for when there are cooling patterns in the temperature that leave us hungry for a warm and comforting meal. This is what the week of 4th of July looks like here in the San Francisco Bay area.  

I love cauliflower soup because cauliflower paired with bacon is the perfect blend of comforting and fresh. They’re a dynamic duo that’ll leave you wanting more, but also feeling good about yourself - and your waistband!

I am a huge advocate for the ‘all foods fit’ mentality towards eating, but as a Registered Dietitian, some clients, especially those with glucose intolerance, need to watch their glycemic index closely. Many studies show that low-carb diets can be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes, particularly those suffering from blood sugar dysregulation and insulin resistance.    

Incorporating low carb/high healthy fat meals into your diet can also greatly increase satisfaction.  Where some people go wrong with high fat diets is that they forget to include nutrient dense foods like vegetables. Cauliflower is the perfect way to add some extra nutrients without sacrificing flavor.  

Cauliflower is also a great vegetable because it is high in fiber, antioxidants, and choline. Choline is mostly made in the liver, but many Americans lack the extra choline needed from diet to help healthy brain development, muscle movement, and liver function.  

Throw this together for your next summer dinner, and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not ‘low carbing’ it up, try pairing with a side of crusty bread.  The best is day old sourdough. YUM! 

Low Carb Loaded Cauliflower Soup

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 4


10 slices thick-cut bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp butter
2 large heads cauliflower, cored, cut into ½-inch florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small bunch chives, roughly chopped


In a large unheated skillet, lay out half of the bacon slices without overcrowding too much. Cook bacon slowly over medium-low heat, flipping the bacon occasionally to allow browning on all sides. Pan-fry until crispy, about 8-12 minutes, and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining bacon. Allow to cool, and then chop into ¼-inch pieces.
In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir butter until melted. Add cauliflower florets and pour over broth. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Allow soup to cool slightly and then add whipping cream.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to reach your desired consistency, from very smooth to slightly chunky. Stir in ¾ of the bacon pieces and 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Garnish soup with remaining bacon, cheese, and top with chives. Serve immediately!