two coast kitchen

food, photos, and fantastic adventures


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Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls


fresh spring rolls | two coast kitchen
When the sun starts to shine and the weather warms up, the warm hearty dishes of winter get pushed to the back of my brain and I start to crave light, cool, fresh dishes. Meals that highlight veggies that are in season and don’t require me to stir a big pot over a hot stove for hours are right up my alley.
fresh spring rolls | two coast kitchen
This is another super flexible recipe. You may add whatever veggies you like, change up the protein, or make them vegetarian.

fresh spring rolls | two coast kitchen

It is important to have all of the components of the spring rolls ready before you assemble. J and I tend to set everything out on the table in an assembly line, make one fresh roll and eat it immediately. We make and eat as we go. You could try and assemble them all first and then eat them. If you are successful with this, I applaud you.
fresh spring rolls | two coast kitchen

A tightly wrapped fresh roll is key. Use the first few to get the hang of the assembly and wrapping. By the third, you will be a pro. Continue reading

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Mediterranean Cauliflower Couscous

Mediterranean cauliflower couscous
Over the past few months, I have seen cauliflower couscous pop up here and there on different food blogs I follow. I always kind of shook my head thinking “cauliflower can’t replace couscous, I mean, how can a veggie taste like a pasta!?” Then I made it last week. Like the saying goes, don’t knock it til you try it. It was SO GOOD. Totally hit the spot. I served it along side some lemony herb roasted chicken. Perfect spring dinner.
crispy chickpeas
I recommend starting the chickpeas first as they take the most time. While they are cooking, prepare the cauliflower, make the dressing, and chop up all the veggies.
Mediterranean cauliflower couscous
All the salad ingredients ready to go (minus the roasted red peppers, they were hiding when I took the photo).
cauliflower couscous
Cauliflower starts out looking like this…
cauliflower couscous
And ends up like this! Cauliflower resembles couscous more in texture than in flavor. However, adding a delicious dressing will make both regular couscous and the cauliflower version sing. I recommend you pick up a head of cauliflower and make this recipe ASAP.
mediterranean cauliflower couscous
Veggies ready to go.
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Herb Pesto, Two Ways

herb pesto, two ways
Now that the weather is FINALLY starting to get it’s act together (I mean really… snow in April!? Not cool.) the farmers markets are starting to pop up around town. If you have a farmers market near you and you haven’t stopped by, I highly recommend it. Fresh local produce is amazing, not to mention you are supporting local farmers in the process.

herb pesto
Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to brighten up a dish. However, sometimes it’s hard to find small bunches of herbs at the market or in the grocery store. I never need a WHOLE bunch of parsley for a dish, just a handful. These two pestos are a great way to use up leftover herbs so they don’t go to waste. When you mention pesto, basil automatically comes to mind. However, a pesto can be made with a variety of herbs. Since basil can be sad looking and expensive out of season, parsley and cilantro are perfect stand-ins.
herb pesto
These pestos can be used as a marinade for meat or tofu, a dressing for roasted veggies, grain salads, or regular salads. Mix some pesto in with greek yogurt for a delicious dip for pita or veggies. Spread some on toast and top with eggs in the morning. Mix with warm pasta. The opportunities are endless. Continue reading


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Tomato Sauce and Baked Meatballs

baked meatballs & tomato sauce
Meatballs are an ultimate comfort food. Every culture has their spin on the meatball, and I don’t blame them – they are delicious! Add them on top of a bed of pasta, put them in a sandwich roll with some sauce and cheese, serve them as an appetizer, you name it. You really can’t go wrong when meatballs are on the menu. Pair them with some homemade tomato sauce, and you got yourself a meal.

Originally I was going to make fish tacos for dinner last night, but a fresh baguette found it’s way into our lives and I had to take advantage of it. I thought about doing a variety of crostini for dinner with a salad, but that baguette was calling for something saucy, something that could be sopped up using the bread. I knew I had a large can of crushed tomatoes in the cabinet – bingo. Homemade tomato sauce and some meatballs to go along with it.

This is a pretty simple homemade sauce. Things can be added or subtracted from the recipe and it will still taste wonderful. I have made the sauce without the wine with no complaints. But if you have wine, use it. Then you have a bottle already aerating and ready for dinner. This receipe makes a lot of sauce. You can cut down the measurements if you want, but I recommend making the full recipe and freezing what is leftover. Then you have homemade tomato sauce ready to go next time you make pasta, lasagna, etc.

onions & garlic
Onions and garlic sauteing in olive oil. Stir them frequently, you don’t want them to brown too much!
onions, garlic, and wine
Cooking off the wine until almost all the liquid is gone.

Add canned tomatoes, turn heat down to low, stir, walk away. When you think about it, stir the tomato sauce. Have your stove set to the lowest setting where the sauce is still simmering. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors will develop.
meatballs
Meatballs ready to go. I have made meatballs on the stove top, but I thought I would try out baking them in the oven. Let me tell you – the oven method is awesome! It frees you up to do other things like make a salad and salad dressing, load the dishwasher, dance around the kitchen when Beyonce comes on your Pandora station, set the table, you know… all the the important things.
baked meatballs
After the 20 minute cook time, the meatballs looked great on top, but a little soggy on the bottom. I flipped them over, turned the broiler on, and let them brown up on the bottom for a few minutes. I left the rack in the middle of the oven so they weren’t super close to the heat.  This isn’t a necessary step, but I’m glad I did it. Top with a little parmesan cheese, have some crusty bread on the side and you are good to go.
baked meatballs & tomato sauce Continue reading


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Steak Salad

steak salad

Steak salads are something I am drawn to at restaurants. It’s one of those salads that can work as a meal that fills you up, yet you don’t feel stuffed, just satisfied. However, steak salads can be on the pricey side, and for that price I never feel like I get enough steak! Give me more meat! Yeah, I said it.

This salad comes together SUPER quick. The meat doesn’t call for any extra marination time, and there is minimal chopping involved. This is a perfect weeknight meal. Since it is still freezing in Pennsylvania, I used a grill pan on the stove, but this can be done on a regular grill as well. If you don’t feel like making your own dressing (however I highly recommend it) and have a jar in the fridge, feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

When this salad comes together and you get a bite of all the components, this salad really sings. The sweetness from the grilled onion, the creaminess and tang from the blue cheese, the smokey grilled steak… I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty amazing you guys. Pair this with a glass of red wine, and you are good to go.

steak salad
Coat the steak in olive oil and Worcestershire.

onions for steak salad
Brush both sides of onion with olive oil. I love this silicone pastry brush. It is dishwasher safe so cleaning it is a breeze. You can find it at Ikea. It comes in a two pack with a larger brush.

onions for steak salad
Grill onions. Check out those grill marks. That’s where all the flavor is. Grilling red onions brings out their sweetness.

steak salad
Grill that steak! Only takes a few minutes on each side. When you first put the meat on the hot pan, it should stick. That’s okay, don’t try and move it! The meat will release from the pan after a couple minutes. When the meat is done, put it on a cutting board and cover it with foil. Letting the meat rest will let the juices redistribute throughout the meat and will reduce the amount of juices lost when cutting. This will give you enough time to prep the lettuce and tomatoes. Continue reading