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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Month Through My Lens: May 2014

two coast kitchen
I thought the margarita photo was a good opener for my May installment of Month Through My Lens. We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with some margaritas and crunchy black bean quesadillas. See photo below for the food portion of the meal.
crunchy bean quesadillas
This recipe was posted on thekitchn.com, a blog I love. It is from the cookbook Love Your Leftovers by Nick Evans. It is vegetarian, totally filling, delicious, and a perfect match for our Cinco de Mayo margs.
two coast kitchen
View from our deck.
farmers market
Fun fact: did you know I work part time for a bakery? I sell their bread and other baked goods at farmers markets around town. Their bread is amazing. Smelling like bread after work is not a bad thing.
two coast kitchen
The result of working at the market is that sometimes I impulse shop at the market for dinner! The result one night was spinach pasta with Alaskan smoked salmon, cream sauce, parsley, and lemon.
two coast kitchen
My little plant friends I bought at the market. They are now happily living in larger pots on our balcony.
two coast kitchen
Fixings for fresh rolls. Recipe to come soon! 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.
Continue reading


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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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Month Through My Lens: April 2014

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A glimpse into my April adventures.
During a visit from my parents, we walked around the town of Bellefonte. Here are some photos from our excursion.
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brunch
Brunch at home complete with mimosas, fruit, eggs, lox and bagels/toast.
NYC
Stayed the night in NYC to visit J’s parents. Street view in the Village on the way to meet my sister and her boyfriend for lunch.
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Outside Blue Ribbon Sushi 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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Bessie’s Passover Sponge Cake

Bessie's Passover Sponge Cake
Every year, my mom’s side of the family gets together for a big Passover seder. On average, there are 50 family members that attend, and it turns into a big holiday/family reunion. We all pitch in and spend Friday and Saturday making different dishes for the seder. A while back, the family put together a cookbook of all the family recipes, including photos that date back to the 1920’s, and illustrations by my cousin Mark.
Wolsk Family Cookbook
Bessie is standing on the far right. This cover photo was from 1922. Bessie stands with her two brothers and her parents. Bessie was the matriarch of the family by the time I was old enough to remember Passovers. She was an amazing lady, and is always dearly missed during our family seders.
sponge cake
The past three or four years, I have taken over the task of baking the sponge cake. We still use Bessie’s exact recipe for it has never failed us and is the perfect ending to our seder. The recipe is simple to put together and a delicious kosher treat for your seder, during passover week, and really, anytime. You just have to get your hands on two unique ingredients: matzoh meal and potato starch, and you are good to go!
sponge cake pans
You can find really long loaf pans (even longer than the pan on the left) to bake this as one loaf. Or divide it into two pans. Remember to cut parchment paper so it lays flat on the bottom as seen above. Continue reading


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Month Through My Lens: March 2014

State College sky
Every month, I will do a round up of photographs that may have not made it into previous blog posts. Even though this is primarily a food blog, you will get a glimpse through my camera lens of my every day happenings. Enjoy!

rustic sourdough loaf
I made my first loaf of bread with my sourdough starter. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Orlando
J and I traveled to Orlando, FL to join his brother, sister in law, and two nieces for some sun and spring training baseball games.

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We went to three spring training games, all at different stadiums. The Atlanta Braves’ stadium was the only one in Disney World.

sunset
View from our hotel room in Orlando.

greek salad
Grainy cell phone photo of my delicious Greek Salad. Now that is the correct ratio of feta to veggies.

PSU hockey
Penn State vs. Wisconsin men’s hockey game in the beautiful new Pegula Ice Arena.

daffodils
Trying to bring some spring into the house.

pool
A game of pool on a Saturday night.