grilled shrimp with melon, cucumbers and mozzarella

Image: Olaiya Land


I hope you won’t mind that I’ve been keeping my blog posts short and sweet lately. We’ve been having an absolutely perfect summer and I find myself constantly itching to be outside rather than planted in front of my computer. The dreary, grey weather we have for 9 months of the year leads Seattleites to lose their minds in the summertime. The normally reserved (and somewhat grumpy) population is all smiles and small talk and walking-around-town-with-extra-spring-in-their-step when the sun is shining. It’s basically impossible for us to stay inside one second longer than absolutely necessary. 

Image: Olaiya Land
Image: Olaiya Land

This glorious summer weather is also why I’ve been posting simple, low-prep recipes. I don’t know about you, but I want to cook everything on the grill when it’s warm out. I’m loath to heat up my little kitchen when it’s already hot. And there’s something about cooking outdoors that seems so right for long days and balmy nights. 

Feeling the cool breeze on your skin and the heat from the grill, watching the flames dance under the grate and the smoke waft through the air--it all has an elemental quality to it that reminds me people have been cooking this way for thousands of years. The simplicity of preparing a meal over a fire has a certain grace that allows me to slow down and be present in a way cooking in my appliance-filled kitchen does not. 

Image: Olaiya Land

So my plan for the summer is simply to post the best of what I’ve been cooking for myself here on the blog. I made this Grilled Shrimp with Melon, Cucumbers and Mozzarella a few weeks back and loved how it turned out. I’m a big fan of contrasting sensations and flavors, so what made this dish for me was the spice of the chile against the crisp cucumbers and creamy mozzarella and the smoky grilled shrimp paired with the sweet-tart melon. It's got all the flavors I want in a light, summer salad.

I hope you’re enjoying the long days as much as we are in Seattle and that you get the chance to cook out-of-doors at least once this year!



Image: Olaiya Land

Grilled Shrimp with Melon, Cucumbers and Mozarella

  • ¼ to ⅓ medium ripe honeydew or other melon, seeded and skin removed
  • 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Piri Piri, Aleppo or other ground dried chile, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • ¼ serrano chile, very thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 small Persian cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds or ribbons
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella or about 12 bocconcini-sized balls (about 4 oz. total), torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ lb. medium to large sustainable shrimp (I used size 16-20 wild gulf prawns), shelled
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, torn if large
  • Special equipment: metal or wooden skewers

*Notes: If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in hot water while you prep the salad. (This keeps them from burning on the grill.)

- If you don’t have a grill or don’t feel like grilling the shrimp, you can also poach them according to the directions in this recipe

- I think this salad is delicious with or without the mozzarella. 

Image: Olaiya Land

Thinly shave or slice the melon about ⅛-inch thick. Arrange the melon on a serving platter or divide between individual plates. Halve one of the limes and squeeze a little lime juice over the melon. Melons vary greatly in terms of sweetness and acidity, so taste your melon and season accordingly. You want a nice balance of sweet and sour. Set aside. 

Zest the other lime with a microplane and set the zest aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of the zest, the olive oil, a pinch of chile, a generous pinch of salt, the garlic and the serrano (if using). Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. 

Place the shrimp in a small bowl and toss with a little of the chile-lime vinaigrette. Place the cucumber and torn mozzarella in the medium bowl with the rest of the vinaigrette and toss to cover. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. While the shrimp, cucumber and cheese are marinating, preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat. 

When the grill is quite hot, skewer the shrimp and grill on each side for 45 seconds to 2 minutes, pressing down on them with a set of grill tongs to make sure they get some nice char. The time will vary depending on the size of your shrimp. You want them to be just a tiny bit translucent inside when you take them off the grill. They’ll continue to cook off the heat and be perfectly done instead of overcooked and rubbery. If you’re unsure of their doneness, pull one of your skewers and cut into a shrimp with a paring knife to check.

When the shrimp are done, carefully remove them from your skewers and add to the bowl with the cukes and mozzarella. Toss to coat, taste and adjust seasoning again, if necessary. 

To serve, very lightly salt the melon. Spoon some of the mozzarella and cucumbers over the melon then top with shrimp. Sprinkle a little of the reserved lime zest over the shrimp then scatter the mint leaves over the top. Serve immediately.

Image: Olaiya Land

spicy shrimp deviled eggs

Image: Olaiya Land


I’m currently in the middle of wading through a mountain of dishes, clothing and furniture destined for the garage sale I’m holding tomorrow. I’m not the tiniest bit ready, so it should be interesting to see how it all comes together! Somehow these things always seem to work themselves out so I’m sure it will be fine. (And if my sale isn’t the most neatly organized and well-planned on the block, the world will probably keep turning.)

In addition to pulling together a last-minute garage sale, I’m also preparing to launch a new Paris culinary tour for September. Registration will be open next week, so check back then for details! You can also sign up for the First To Know List to receive early access to all tours, workshops and retreats.

Image: Olaiya Land

Despite having accidentally scheduled way too many projects for myself this week, I didn’t want to leave you without a recipe! So thought I’d share the Spicy Shrimp Deviled Eggs I made for our Fourth of July BBQ. These are spicy and creamy and just a touch sweet from the shrimp. They're perfect for all your summer picnics and outdoor gatherings!

Happy Weekend and XO,


Image: Olaiya Land

Spicy Shrimp Deviled Eggs

  • 6 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ lb. medium to large sustainable shrimp (I used size 16-20 wild gulf prawns), preferably with shells on
  • 6 tablespoons best quality or homemade mayonnaise
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon very thinly sliced green onion (dark green part only)
  • 2-3 tablespoons thinly sliced or roughly chopped spicy pickled peppers
  • Small sprigs savory or tarragon or additional sliced green onions, to garnish

*Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled and the filled deviled eggs will keep, covered and refrigerated, for one day if you want to make them in advance. Garnish just before serving. 

- I used Mamma Lil's pickled peppers, but any spicy sweet pickled pepper will work.

- Any additional filling that doesn’t fit in your hard-boiled eggs makes a decadent egg salad that’s fantastic on a slice of toast.

Image: Olaiya Land

Fill a medium saucepan ⅔ full of water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Gently add the eggs and cook for 13 minutes. Drain the hot water and run cold water over the eggs, or place them in an ice bath, until they feel cool to the touch. Peel the eggs and set them aside. (Can be done up to 2 days in advance.)

Fill the same saucepan about halfway full of water and place over high heat. Salt the water until it tastes like the ocean then add the peppercorns and bay leaves. When the water comes to the boil, add the shrimp. Adjust heat to cook the shrimp at a bare simmer until cooked through (just past the point of translucence). Cooking the shrimp at a gentle heat will help keep them from turning tough and rubbery. Check the shrimp often as they cook, cutting into one with a paring knife if necessary to check for doneness. The time will vary depending on the size of the shrimp. Mine took 4 minutes.

Drain the poaching water from the shrimp and run them under cold water or place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. When the shrimp are completely cool, peel them then dry thoroughly. Roughly chop and set aside.

Image: Olaiya Land

Cut the hard boiled eggs in half and scoop the yolks into a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise, cayenne, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mash with a fork or, for a smoother filling, puree the yolk mixture with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Add the green onion, pickled peppers and chopped shrimp. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. 

Spoon the shrimp filling into the halved hard boiled eggs. Chill for at least 30 minutes before topping with herb sprigs or green onions and serving. 

Makes about 6 servings.

turmeric frittata with peas, shrimp and fresh herbs

turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land
turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land

Hello friends!

I hope you’re enjoying the start of spring. This might be my favorite season in the kitchen. I love all the delicate flavors the season bring us: The faint nuttiness of fresh asparagus. Spicy-sweet wild strawberries no bigger than the tip of your pinky. Tender morels, smelling of the forest floor. 

The shortness of the season renders these spring delicacies all the more appealing. Here and gone in a few short weeks, their ephemeral nature makes rhubarb and pea greens much sexier than their heartier cousins, apples and kale. 

turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land

We’re still in no-man’s land when it comes to produce--winter fruit and veg is starting to feel boring and heavy, but all the treasures of springtime have yet to make an appearance at the market. But I couldn’t help jumping the gun just a bit with this recipe. I decided we needed a breath of spring air in the kitchen and splurged on a pound of fresh peas from California (produce nirvana) to make this frittata. 

I had some of the Sunshine Dust my friend Sherrie sent me hanging around, so I whisked that into my eggs to make this frittata extra healthy. The spicy mix of turmeric, ginger, lemongrass and peppercorn brightened up the whole affair and gave it a little more zing. 

turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land

Now, I’m on something of a frittata kick. It's a cinch to throw together and happily accommodates almost anything you have knocking around in the fridge, making it an ideal weeknight supper. Throw in some of the beautiful spring produce headed our way and it will be the star of your Sunday brunch.

Happy Weekend and XO!


turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land

Turmeric Frittata with Peas, Shrimp and Fresh Herbs

  • 6 large eggs
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sunshine Dust (or ½ teaspoon each of ground turmeric, ginger and black pepper)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pink peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 scallions, white and green part, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup shelled English peas (from about 1 lb. unshelled peas)
  • ½ pound medium or large shrimp, shelled
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped basil, tarragon and mint, plus extra to serve
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (I like to use a semi-aged goat cheese like Bûcherondin or Caña de Cabra)

*Notes: This frittata recipe is super flexible. Make a vegetarian version without the shrimp. Try it with or without the turmeric, with different herbs, veg or cheese. The variations are pretty much endless!

turmeric frittata. image: olaiya land

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with a generous pinch of salt, the Sunshine Dust and the pink peppercorn. Set aside.

Preheat your broiler. Place an 8- to 10-inch nonstick, cast iron or carbon steel sauté pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of the butter. When melted and sizzling, add the scallion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes more. 

Add the reserved tablespoon of butter. When melted, add the shrimp, herbs and another pinch of salt. Cook for 30 seconds, then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Cook for 3 minutes (to form a crust on the outside of the frittata) then turn the heat to low, cover and cook until almost set around the edges, but still a bit runny in the center, 8-12 minutes more.

To finish, place the frittata under the broiler and cook until the top is puffed slightly and the cheese just turns golden brown. Rest for a few minutes before garnishing with reserved fresh herbs and serving. Can be served warm or room temperature. 

Makes 3-4 servings.