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Our blog

Sun Basket Celebrates Father’s Day

Here’s to the dads in our lives who helped make us who we are. Sun Basket’s executive chef, Justine Kelly says that it was her father who inspired her to become a cook. “He has a curious passion for food that he passed on to me,” she says. “He loves to try new things in the kitchen and he taught me that it’s ok to experiment. Cooking with him is always fun. He bought a pasta machine in the 80’s and though it took him a while to get the hang of it, he stuck at it, and he showed me that I shouldn’t give up when the going gets tough. Working alongside him in the kitchen taught me a lot more than just recipes.” 

This year, Justine and her Dad will spend Father’s Day cooking together, and their favorite 6-2-1-1 garlic vinaigrette will be on the menu.

The Kelly Family 6-2-1-1 Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard  
1 garlic clove, crushed

In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beyond Burgers: Four Foods  You Didn’t Know You Could Grill


Summer grilling doesn’t just mean burgers and steaks, there’s a whole world of wonderful things you can cook over a fire including fruits, lettuce, even cheese.

A few things to keep in mind before you light the coals: You can cook these on either a gas or a charcoal grill, but a gas grill will give lend a less smoky flavor, which depending on what you’re cooking may or may not be what you want.

Foods with lots of natural sugars (AKA fruits) can quickly go from a lightly charred to burnt, so don’t stray too far from the grill.

A clean grill is especially important when switching from meat to more delicately flavored foods. Give the grates a good brushing to scraped off any lingering bits of charred burgers before you start cooking something like peaches.

Avocados—Cut into quarters and remove the pit, but do not peel. Season lightly with salt and cook over medium high heat until warmed through.


Drizzle with lemon or lime juice just before serving.

Haloumi—This sheep’s cheese from Cypress has a  high melting point, which makes it ideal for grilling.


Brush it lightly with olive oil and grill until lightly charred with the cheese begins to soften.

Peaches and other stone fruits—Cut the fruits in half and remove the pits, brush lightly with a neutral oil, and cook them over the dying coals or a medium-low gas flame.


For a quick dessert, pour a bit of bourbon, molasses, or maple syrup over the warm fruit and top with vanilla ice cream, or use the grilled fruit slices in a salad with peppery arugula, fresh tomatoes, and a sherry vinegar dressing.

Chicories, romaine, and other leafy greens—Grilling is a great way to tame the sometimes bitter nature of chicories such as romaine or endive, and it turns romaine into a lovely, silky warm warm vegetable that soaks up dressings. Cut heads in half lengthwise, brush lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down until lightly charred and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes, Turn and grill the other side about 1 minute longer.


Transfer to a platter and dress with a mustardy vinaigrette, sprinkle with a feta or blue cheese, and serve while still warm.

Summer Grilling, But Hold the Beef!

We used to think that a summer burger made without beef wasn’t a burger at all. That was before we tasted Chef Justine’s burgers made from ingredients like tofu, turkey, quinoa, and chickpeas. Her terrific outdoor summer grilling recipes offer far more character than you’d expect  from a burger that’s missing the beef. With accompaniments like a drip-down-your chin spicy mayonnaise, you’ll forget about ordinary ketchup. And don’t ignore the side dishes like her delicious sesame-flecked oven fries. Pair them with one of our burgers and you’ve got a meal perfect for an easy-going summer night.

Here are four of our favorite beef-less burgers that we’ll be grilling this summer.

A Delicious Chickpea Burger Reminiscent of Falafel

This vegetarian-friendly burger would also be appreciated by carnivores at your dinner or picnic table. 


Falafel-meets burger in this fun-to-eat chickpea patty seasoned with zesty Middle Eastern flavors.

A Protein-Style Burger Inspired by In-N-Out

If you’re a big fan of In-N-Out’s protein-style burger, this bun-less ground turkey burger is perfect for the carb-and-protein conscious folks looking for a healthier alternative to beef.


Topped with a touch of sriracha mayo and avocado slices, you won’t even miss the bun.

A Tofu Burger to Top All Burgers

For any burger lovers skeptical of tofu, this Hodo Soy burger lives up to our claim of mouthwatering must-haves.


Complemented by the tasty sweet chile mayo, this tofu burger packs as much flavor as it does protein.

A Meaty Burger Without the Meat

Chef Justine’s quinoa and bean burger is a satisfying burger filled with the Mediterranean flavors you love.


With baked sweet potato fries as its partner, this burger is a healthy and flavor-filled summer favorite.

We highly suggest grilling one of these delightful burgers for your summer parties, picnics or barbecues.

Zest for life (and dinner, too)

When life gives you lemons, get cooking!

Seasoning is one of a cook’s primary tasks. For a great meal, quality produce and proteins are only the starting points; the ability to season those ingredients well is what separates amateur cooks from pros. When it comes to seasoning, lemons are one of a cook’s primary tools.

A kind of culinary double-agent, lemons operate as both a flavor all their own—and a flavor-enhancer. They’re best loved for their fresh taste, and as the base for classics such as lemonade, lemon bars, and lemon meringue pie. But they have so much more to offer. Lemons are second only to salt in their ability to bring the flavors of other ingredients into sharper focus.

That’s why, more often than not, you’ll find a lemon in your Sun Basket. We use lemon juice in vinaigrettes, sauces, or we’ll simply squeeze one over a dish just before serving for a bright blast of flavor, whether meat, pasta, vegetables, our breakfast smoothies and even eggs. Lemon juice can cut through fat, and can save a dish with cream or yogurt from being too cloying.

But lemon juice is only the half the story. To ignore the zest is to disregard one of the most important parts of the fruit. Full of volatile oils, loaded with clean, sharp citrus flavor, the zest is a seasoning superpower.

A few key zesting (and juicing) points to keep in mind:

  • Because the volatile oils are at their most intense right after zesting, try to zest your lemons just before using.
  • Always zest before juicing, because trying to zest an empty lemon peel is well… just don’t.
  • Be careful to strip only the thin yellow skin from the fruit. The white pith that lies just beneath is usually unpleasantly bitter.
  • A rasp grater, such as a Microplane, is the best tool for zesting. If you don’t have one, carefully remove the zest with a vegetable peeler and then finely chop it.
  • Roll the lemon on the counter pressing with the palm of your hand before juicing. This helps break down the fruit and releases more of the juice.

Cracking the coconut

Sun Basket’s guide to the paleo movement’s favorite fat


If you’ve been to the supermarket lately, you may have noticed that coconut is having a moment. Evidence of the popularity of the hairy tropical fruit (not a nut) is in almost every aisle. You can now buy sugar, flour, butter, milk, vinegar, oil, and of course the ubiquitous water all made from coconut. Tip your hat to followers of the paleo diet, who have enthusiastically embraced coconut products as alternatives to dairy, soy, and grain, for the fruit’s rise to fame.

Coconuts have not always been so popular, especially with nutritionists. For a long time, health professionals were wary of its high levels of calories and saturated fats, but new research has spurred a closer look. We now are finding that the high levels of medium-chain triglycerides in coconuts may raise good cholesterol (HDL), and that they convert to fuel more quickly than the long-chain triglycerides found in animal fats, a finding that points to coconut’s advantage as a weight-loss tool. Coconut sap, which is used for vinegar and to make the popular coconut aminos, is low glycemic, contains a broad spectrum of B vitamins, and 17 amino acids. It also has a high mineral content (thank the volcanic soil where coconut trees thrive).

Here at Sun Basket, we’ve stocked our larder with some our favorite coconut-based ingredients.

Coconut flakes—Dried, unsweetened coconut, both shredded and shaved are a favorite addition to smoothie bowls, soups, stirfries and curries. Toasting the flakes, like we do in this recipe for shrimp coconut curry with purple sweet potato brings their nutty flavor to the forefront.


Coconut flour—Made from ground and dried coconut meat, coconut flour is rich in fiber, a great source of protein, and may help maintain proper blood glucose levels in individuals with diabetes. It has a very fine texture and is highly absorbent, which makes it a terrific gluten-free binder for these turkey meatballs with curried cauliflower.


Coconut milk—If you’ve ever cracked open a coconut, you may have wondered what happened to the milk. Coconut milk, like coconut oil is actually made from the meat. It’s grated and heated until it liquefies, and adds a delicious, dairy-free creaminess to our Burmese chicken aloo with Japanese sweet potato.


Coconut oil—This saturated fat (which means it’s solid at room temperature) is ideal for searing and sautéing. Coconut oil contains antioxidants and  lauric acid, which has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and may reduce inflammation.We love the subtle coconut flavor the oil brings to these Moroccan chicken wings with carrot and cashew slaw.


Coconut aminos—Naturally gluten-free coconut aminos have the same rich umami flavor but far less sodium than soy sauce. It delivers a terrific Asian flavor to the salad dressing in this baked salmon with bok choy and snow pea radish salad.


Coconut vinegar—When the coconut sap is fermented it becomes coconut vinegar. It’s cold-processed, which means it’s full of healthy probiotics. The flavor is surprisingly complex with notes of maple, vanilla, and rum. We like to use it as a paleo-friendly substitute for rice vinegar in our stir-fried beef with broccolini and snap peas.