Colors of Summer

If you know me, you know I generally loathe summer. It’s too hot and humid, and dangerous for my health as it often triggers my lupus. I burn easily. I also am a mosquito magnet, getting huge welts that last for days. I whine a LOT. But the thing that gets me through? Beautiful food!


Summer meals are pretty meals, even the desserts! Below, find a highly adaptable tortellini salad. The recipe calls for jarred sun-dried tomatoes and marinated artichokes, but toss in seasonal tomatoes and a pickled fresh favorite instead. And those expensive pine-nuts? Simply sub in your favorite nut, like walnuts or pecans. 


So you went to the farmers market, got super excited, and purchased more veg than you can keep fresh? Don’t worry! Roast those veg and use them in other ways. Roasting will transform the flavor profile and extend the life of any vegetable. Roasted tomato soup, anyone? Divine!


Lastly, I promised more popsicle recipes. Voila…rose popsicles! Delish. Because of the alcohol content, they don’t freeze rock solid. In fact, they are a bit creamy. And dreamy. And bonus, there is no added sugar. I’ve found that with wine, a 1:1 ration of wine: juice works well. With hard liquor, it’s more like 1.5 oz liquor: 1 cup juice.


Enjoy the bounties of the summer and stay safe. Cooking at home is one of the best ways to do this. Take your family to the farmers market, go pick blueberries, and make popsicles on your own for a fraction of the cost. Bon Appetit!



Tortellini salad with tomatoes and artichokes


Serves 4-6




1 (20-ounce) package fresh tortellini

1 (15-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped

1 (6-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped

5 ounces fresh baby arugula or greens of choice

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted or nut of choice

Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

The vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced (or pressed)

1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning


Cook the tortellini. Cook the tortellini according to package directions in a large stockpot of generously-salted boiling water. Drain the tortellini in a strainer, then rinse with cold water until the pasta has cooled.


Make the vinaigrette. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl (or shake together in a mason jar) until combined.


Mix everything together. In a large mixing bowl, add the tortellini ingredients and vinaigrette. Toss until evenly combined.


Serve immediately, garnished with extra Parmesan cheese. Or transfer to a food storage container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


Adapted from 



Roasted vegetables


Set oven to 425. Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with heavy duty foil. Coat evenly with cooking spray. Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces. Dump like veg into piles on baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, something that tastes good. Olive, avocado, or grapeseed are possibilities. Sprinkle with Kosher salt. Toss with your hands until coated, but not swimming in oil. Spread into separate vegetable piles, leaving room between each piece. If they touch or overlap, they will steam and not roast. If you’re new to roasting, keep an eye on it. They can burn quickly. But don’t open oven too often, or the temperature will drop. 


Eat roasted veg over rice, tossed into a fresh salad, or even on a grilled cheese sandwich. Endless possibilities. And a bonus is that you don’t really need a dressing or sauce. The flavor of roasted vegetables is intense, deep, and addicting.


General Roasting Times for Vegetables

Cooking times are for roasting vegetables at 425°F. 

Root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots): 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how small you cut them

Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash): 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how small you cut them

Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): 15 to 25 minutes

Soft vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers): 10 to 20 minutes

Thin vegetables (asparagus, green beans): 10 to 20 minutes

Onions: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them

Tomatoes: 15 to 20 minutes


Grapefruit rose popsicles


Makes 8-10, depending on popsicle mold




1 cup 100% grapefruit juice


1 cup rose of choice


4 thinly-sliced strawberries




Stir the juice and rose together in a 2-cup Pyrex pourable mixing glass. Pour into molds, leaving some space at the top for expansion when freezing. Add two slices of strawberries to each one. Insert sticks according to mold. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Enjoy!