Inspired Brunch


I thoroughly enjoyed cooking this Saturday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market this weekend. I decided to expand a pickled onion and strawberry salad I created last strawberry season and and a sweet potato and sausage hash done in an “Inspired” way. 🙂 I decided to make a sweet and sour pork sausage with a savory sweet potato hash to go with the salad for a seasonal and flavorful weekend brunch.

Check out the recipes below. You can also catch me in action with the short video by Lena Farms on Facebook with some quick tips on uses for apple cider vinegar. As always, share your thoughts!


Pickled Onion and Strawberry Salad
Serves 4-6

1 cup of chopped strawberries
1 cup of sliced onion (1 small)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. strawberry ghost pepper jam
1 cup shredded arugula
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper


Sweet and sour pork sausage with Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 4-6

Main Ingredients:
1/2 lb. cubed smoked sausage
1 1/2 medium sweet potato cubed (2 cups)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 cup water
1 tbsp. olive or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms
1 pinch of salt

Sweet and sour sauce ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. pineapple ghost pepper jelly

1. Add apple cider vinegar and jam to a medium-sized bowl and mix well with a fork until well blended.
2. Cut an onion in half then peel each half. Slice each half thinly and add to the vinegar mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Peel and rinse sweet potato. Using aggression and a sharp knife (haha), cut sweet potato in half, then into thirds before dicing into small cubes.
4. Clean green onion stems and bulb bottoms well under running water and then cut off rooted ends (can be replanted). Thinly cut ends up to where the stem turns green.
5. Add oil and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes then add sweet potato. Add 1/2 cup of water . Add paprika, pepper and rosemary and mix well. Let cook for 6 minutes, shaking the skillet or stirring occasionally.
6. Cut sausage in half longwise, then in half again to make cubing the sausage easier.
7. Add potatoes and onion to a small bowl and place sausage in same skillet with 1/4 cup of water and let sausage cook for 3-5 minutes until water evaporates. Add potatoes back in and if potatoes are undercooked (still hard) add a splash of water.
8. In the bowl from the potatoes, add balsamic vinegar and jelly and mix well with a fork until blended. Add to sausage and potato mix and stir well. Cook for 3 minutes until liquid evaporates and remove from heat. Add a pinch of salt it desired.
9. Rinse and slice strawberries and add to the bowl of pickled onion.
10. Rinse and chop parsley and arugula and add it and seasoning to the bowl. Mix well.
11. Plate both and enjoy.

Seafood Salad



Seafood is an easy go-to in my book and with so many flavors that can be added to it, what’s not to love? In observance of the Lent season, I wanted to offer up this quick 10 minute dish that is both flavorful and filling. It refrigerates well and is wonderful with mixed greens.

Quick tip: if you are not a fan of leftovers, it helps to be prepared with individual bags of frozen shrimp. I typically buy 5 lbs and break it down into single (5-6 shrimp) double (10-12 shrimp) or full pound bags for a larger dish. It it easy to then cook shrimp for 5 minutes and cut up the fruit and veggies of choice for a quick meal. Trader Joe’s has the adorable and perfectly portioned teeny tiny avocados that come six to a bag, so you can always make this dish as you go in single or double servings.

Also, if you are unfamiliar with mangoes and how to cut them, check out this quick YouTube video to learn how to pick and cut them:

Check out the recipe below.

Seafood salad with spicy sesame dressing
Serves 2

2 cup pieces, Mangos, raw
1 medium, Avocado
0.50 tablespoon, Oil – Sesame
0.50 tbsp, Honey
2 Tbsp (15ml), Low Sodium
1 tbsp, Rice Wine Vinegar
6 oz, Shrimps (about 10-12)
9 oz, Crab Delights, Imitation Crabmeat (1 1/4 cup)
1 tsp avocado oil
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and devine shrimp ( or defrost frozen shrimp.
2. Add avocado oil to medium skillet over medium heat. While it heats season shrimp with salt and pepper and onion powder. Add to heated skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side then remove pan from heat.
3. While shrimp cools, add vinegar, oil, sriracha an honey to a medium bowl and mix well with a fork. Rough chop the imitation crab and add to dressing.
4. Cut avocado in half long wise and score the avocado longwise and the across making small cubes. Gently with a spoon, scoop into the bowl.
5. Rinse mango. The center of the entire fruit is a pit so similar to cutting the avocado, cut a strip longwise from either side around the center and score and cube the fruit like the avocado. Push the skin inside out so fruit stands like buildings. Cut in small cubes off into the bowl.
6. Add in shrimp and lightly season with salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon.
7. Enjoy!


Veg Forward Meals



I decided to cleanse my palate with a couple vegetarian dishes this week and decided on a chickpea and millet salad with an array of sliced veggies in a citrus vinaigrette. This dish took 20 minutes to make and will hold up well in the fridge this week. I decided to use canned organic chickpeas and at 99 cents at Trader Joe’s, it was an easy yes to pay and extra 20 cents for the organic option. Regardless it is still important to rinse any canned beans to remove extra salt from your dish.

As a second meal this week, since I am still craving avocado and have the fixings, I’m thinking another round of veggie bowls are in order with some black beans, sautéed mushroom, onion and peppers with cilantro rice, sour cream and fresh guacamole. The rice, beans and sautéed vegetables can all be prepared ahead of time where the only thing to make is fresh guacamole per serving which takes all of three minutes.

Check out the recipe below for the chickpea and millet salad. If you are interested in the veggie bowl dish, I have posted a similar recipe in my A Bowl of Fun post.

1/2 cup millet dry
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup sliced asparagus
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced yellow or red onion
1 14 oz can organic chickpeas
4 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped orange mint (or reg. mint)
1/2 cup sliced mushroom
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (2 juicing oranges)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toast millet over medium high heat for 2 minutes by gently shaking the pot and flipping the millet with a fork or spoon. Add water and bring to a boil and then reduce heat, top it (to cook like rice) for 15 minutes.
2. While the millet cooks, wipe mushrooms (about 4) and slice thinly and set aside. Peel and dice a small onion and add about 1/2 cup and mushrooms to a small skillet. Sauté over medium heat for three minutes to soften.
3. Rinse asparagus. Take one spear and bend lightly until it breaks naturally. Use this as a measurement to cut remaining spears. Thinly slice asparagus on an angle and set pile aside.
4. Rinse and dice one to two small tomatoes and set aside. Rinse and chop parsley and mint.
5. Add onion and mushroom mix to a medium-sized bowl and other vegetables. Once millet is cooked and still hot, add on top of the veggies and mix well. The steam with help soften the vegetables.
6. Open and rinse the can of chickpeas and add to the bowl. Rinse and roll the lemon and oranges and cut each in half. Add the herbs and juice oranges and half a lemon directly over the mixture.
7. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste. (Start with 1 tsp. of sea salt and a coarse black pepper.)
8. Enjoy!

A Bit Of Light


With life getting in the way, sometimes a light dinner is called for. This dish took 10 minutes to make and was both light and satisfying. I has also made a pitcher of cucumber infused water with basil and lemon earlier in the week which was quite refreshing. The shrimp in this dish can easily be substituted with a piece of seared fish or canned tuna that can be spruced up with fresh herbs, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Check out the recipe below.

Serves 2

1/2 lb. shrimp
1 lemon
1 tbsp. chopped green onion
1 small cucumber diced
1 cup diced tomato
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Peel and devein shrimp if whole. Set aside in ice water until ready to use.
2. Rinse and peel cucumber and cut in half. Cut in half horizontally, then make three long strips to make a small dice. Repeat with remaining half.
3. Rinse and score tomato before dicing it. Add tomato and cucumber to a medium-sized bowl.
4. Rinse and chop green onion and add to the bowl. Rinse lemon and cut in half before squeezing one half over bowl.
5. Place a pan over medium heat and add oil. Place shrimp on a paper towel and pat dry. Season with half of the seasonings and add to hot pan.
6. Season other half and let cook for 2 minutes before flipping he shrimp. Let cook for 2 minutes then squeeze in fresh lemon juice (seeded side up). Let cook for another 2 minutes and remove from heat.
7. Plate in bowls and serve.


A Bit Of Green Onion Sausage


With the dreary weather expected this week, I was in the mood for some jambalaya. I’ve posted before about my preference for traditional New Orleans styled jambalaya with seafood, sausage and a red sauce to boot. I decided to highlight some local green onion sausage that I picked up at Soprano’s supermarket in Livonia parish which is about 30 minutes or so from Baton Rouge on Hwy 190. My dad loves to find gems off the beaten path and Soprano’s green onion sausage certainly makes the list. The sausage is made in house and the store offers both fresh and smoked options as well as other flavor combinations. Green onion sausage is tasty and pretty easy to find, so try a brand that you like and give it a try.

I also picked up some fresh turnips, green onion and red potatoes from the farmers market to make a quick soup with some of the sausage as a second option for meals this week. With a little help from a kohlrabi salad mix (kohlrabi, kale, shredded golden beets) from Trader Joe’s and a quick pickle of shaved turnips and thinly sliced yellow onion, that will be a nice side to my soup meals. For some added sweetness, you can also grate or thinly slice a small red apple into the salad mix. Since I have previously posted a jambalaya recipe, check out the soup and salad recipes below.

Potato, turnip and Sausage Soup
Serves 4

1 cup diced red potato (2 medium)
1 cup diced turnip root (2 medium)
2 cups chopped turnip greens
1/4 lb green onion sausage
1 small yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 14.5oz can of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

1. Peel and thinly slice onion. Add to a medium pot over medium heat with olive oil. Once it begins to sizzle and brown (2 mins) add 1/2 cup of water to carmalize the onions.
2. Remove green tops from turnip roots and soak tops in water in a bowl or the sink to remove dirt.
3. Using a potato peeler, peel turnips until dirty skin is removed. Cut off skinny end and green stem end. The cut in half and dice into medium pieces. Add to the pot with onions and add remaining water and bring to a boil.
4. Rinse potatoes and dice into medium pieces and add to the pot.
5. Cut sausage in half long-wise before slicing thin and add to the pot. Add seasoning.
6. Rinse and chop turnip greens and green onion and add to the pot.
7. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Enjoy.


Kohlrabi and Kale Salad
Serves 1

1 cup salad mix
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. local honey
1 tbsp. thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp. thinly sliced turnip
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. In a bowl, add vinegar and honey and mix with a fork until dissolved. Add seasonings.
2. Peel and thinly slice a small onion (About two cuts worth). Add to the vinegar.
3. Peel dirty skin from turnip. Rinse peeler and then use to peel thin pieces into the bowl.
4. Let sit for 3-5 minutes then add salad mix and toss well with a fork.
5. Enjoy.


A Bit Of Peaches


With summer upon us, lighter dinner options are a must. I am a fan of salad because it’s versatile and a great way to try out new vegetables and incorporate new flavors. Peaches are in season and a great pop of sweet to a summer salad. I also like to pull a few herbs from my planters and go to town in salads and summer cocktails. In this case, it would be great to pair the two together. If you did not give the adult popsicles a try, this would be a nice dish to enjoy it with or a glass of wine. 😉

Peach and basil salad
Serves 1-2

2 cups of chopped arugula
1 cup of chopped lettuce
1 small peach diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup tomato
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped pecans (optional)

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. local honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

1. Rinse and chop lettuce and arugula.
2. Peel cucumber if preferred, then cut in half horizontally, then make three vertical cuts longwise (scoring the cucumber), then dice.
3. Rinse and slice tomato in preferred size.
4. Rinse peach and score it as if cutting off slices. Then cut in small chunks by cutting horizontally around the peach and removing chunks from pit.
5. Add ingredients to bowl, then top with feta cheese and pecans.
6. Rinse basil leaves then stack and roll to cut them into ribbons. Add to salad bowl or plate.
7. Add ingredients for dressing into a small bowl and mix until honey is dissolved.
8,. Add to salad and enjoy.