Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beet and blueberry salad

Beets are one of my favorite fall vegetables. When pickled, I can eat jars and jars of them. In this dish they retain their earthy, sweet aroma accented by the fresh blueberries

4 small beets
1 pint blueberries
1 mango
6 oz goat cheese
12 oz spring greens mix

0.5 cup blueberries
0.25 cup maple syrup
0.25 cup red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
black pepper

Wash and wrap the beets in aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for an hour. Allow to cool and peel. Dice.

Peel and dice mango. Wash and drain blueberries. Blend 0.5 cup blueberries with the maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper to taste.

Chop the greens and toss with half of the vinaigrette. Distribute onto four plates. Top with mango, blueberries, goat cheese chunks, beet cubes, toasted pecans, and a little more of the dressing. Serve.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thai rice noodle soup

I have prepared two versions of this, using chicken in the first and tilapia with green beans in the second. Both were delicious and served perfectly. If you desire a slightly fishy flavor, and some veggies. Add fish toward the end and green beans at the beginning in place of the chicken.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 tbsp red Thai curry paste
8 oz chicken thigh meat (or 10 oz green beans and two tilapia fillets)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
3 tbsp fish sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk
6 oz rice vermicelli noodles
1 lime
red onion
hot pepper flakes

Crush the garlic, grate the ginger, and mix with curry paste.

Cut the chicken thigh meat into small pieces. Heat the oil and add the curry paste mix. Cook for a few minutes, until spices extract.

Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Mix in rice vermicelli and cook for 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with chili flakes, lime, red onion, jalapeno slices, and cilantro.

Roasted vegetable medley

I received some yellow squash, green beans, and beets from a friend's overflowing garden. They made an unbelievably tasty and healthy set of meals.

yellow squash
green beans

Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with foil. Wash the beets and wrap with foil. Place onto baking sheet. Wash the green beans and remove ends. Toss with a bit of oil, salt, and black pepper. Distribute onto foil-lined sheet in a single layer. Cut the yellow squash into 1-inch pieces. Toss with a bit of oil and salt.

Bake the beets for an hour. Cool and peel. Dice.

Bake the green beans for about 30 minutes. Flip once.

Bake the yellow squash for 15 minutes on each side. Do not crowd on the pan.

Toss vegetables with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, mixed with garlic if desired. Salt to taste.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Udon noodles with kale and carrots

Many foodies are into zoodling these days...and the alternative veggie noodles are indeed a healthy choice. While I haven't tried zoodling, it seems anything should work better then a vegetable mandolin for preparing julienned veggies in large quantities. I used to shred, cut, slice, dice, and stab my fingers every time I tried shredding hard vegetables on a mandolin or on a grater. Until I discovered the julienne peeler. I use this appliance very happily for a number of dishes...without ever adding parts of me to the dish by accident.

1 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp soy sauce
0.25 tsp fish sauce
4 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp Sriracha
6 oz Udon noodles
1 bunch of Kale
2 carrots

Remove the leaves of the kale from the hard ribs. Chop carefully and massage with a tsp of sesame oil.

Julienne the carrots using the julienne peeler.

Boil the udon noodles per package instructions and drain.

Mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, peanut butter and Sriracha. Toss with carrots and Kale, then add noodles and mix well. Serve. Top with scallions sliced at an angle, pepper flakes, or hot chili slices.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Garlic sticks

When I was an undergrad, there was this pizzeria called Neil and Otto's a few streets from the college. On long nights of cramming for exams, we used to order garlic sticks from them. They came with nice dipping sauces, and were delicious, greasy, salty, cheesy...and kept away all vampires all night. And the next day as well. The pizzeria has since closed, but I was craving some late-night snacks of the kind, so reproduced the delicacy here.

1 cup flour
0.25 tsp yeast
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pizza spice
2 tsp oregano
3 large cloves garlic
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp butter

Mix the yeast, salt, pizza spice, and flour. Add the water and mix in. Cover and allow to sit overnight.

Cut dough into two equal pieces on a well-floured surface. Roll into balls and stretch into a circle after letting it rest for 10 minutes. Place onto parchment paper pieces.

Preheat oven to 425F with a pizza stone in it.

Melt the butter and mix into it the crushed garlic. Spread it on top of the pizza dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake until golden on top. Allow to cool on a cookie rack. Sprinkle with oregano.

Slice into sticks and serve with ranch sauce and your favorite, sweet cherry tomatoes.

Burger buns

Hamburgers are one of those food items I prefer to eat at restaurants, rather than preparing them myself. But I am going for a veggie burger in the near future, and...because bread is my favorite, I wanted to have a perfect bun recipe first.
These buns are light, but sturdy. They will hold up well under a pile of toppings..

3 tbsp milk
1 cup water
2 tsp yeast
2.5 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
3.3 cups flour
1.5 tsp salt
2.5 tbsp butter

Mix the water, milk, and sugar. Microwave until warm, and dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to bloom.

Preheat the oven for two minutes, to get a good bread proofing temperature.

Mix the flour with the salt, rub butter into flour between fingers, to create a crumble. Stir in the yeast mixture and one beaten egg until dough forms, using a kitchenaid mixer. Mix for 10 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and return into the lightly oiled bowl. Allow to proof in the oven for an hour.

Cut dough into 8 portions. Shape them into a ball and place onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rise for another hour in the oven.

Set a baking pan with water into the oven and preheat it to 400F. Brush tops of rolls with egg wash made from the other egg. Bake for about 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Cool on cookie rack.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kale veggie wrap

This was such a surprisingly delicious twist on kale, that I had to repeat the recipe several times in a one-week period. The key is really the aioli and the cheddar cheese as it melts into the crispy kale.

2 cups of kale leaves
2 whole wheat wraps
2 eggs
1 jalapeno
8 cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp minced onion
3 tbsp mayo
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp sriracha
3 oz cheddar cheese

Spray a pan with vegetable oil and lightly brown the shredded kale, turning occasionally.

Cut the tomatoes in half and cook them on low heat until they dehydrate a little. I place them skin-side-down, and do not turn them.

Cook the onions and the sliced jalapeno until softened slightly

Mix the mayo with the crushed garlic and the Sriracha. Shred the cheddar. Fry two eggs.

To assemble, heat the wrap in a pan and place the kale and shredded cheese in the center.

Spread with the aioli and top with the tomatoes, peppers and onions. Top with one fried egg on each wrap. Fold and serve hot.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Garlic and sage gnocchi

These potato dumplings are not unique to Italy, and in Hungary we eat them with poppy seed, caramelized breadcrumbs, apricot jam...and typically other sweet toppings. Consequently, it took me a little while to get acquainted with the savory versions of the dish. But my favorite, to this day, remains the pumpkin filled gnocchi with a pear cream sauce that I had at Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton, NJ.
This one is a quick and easy savory gnocchi, that used some herbs from my garden.

about 1 pound gnocchi
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup minced sage leaves
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
black pepper

Bring water to a boil and separate the gnocchi pieces into the boiling water. Boil until pieces float to the top and stay there for a minute. Drain.

Meanwhile, Heat the butter and add the crushed garlic.

Heat in a pan and add the sage leaves. Stir in cooked gnocchi and top with shredded cheese and black pepper. Season with salt, if necessary.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Quick beef curry

If you have a craving for curry, and no time, and no option for take out (and believe me, this happens in Vermont)...this is your way out! A quick beef curry, with all the flavor and very little of the hassle.

2 tbsp oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1 red potato
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp spicy curry powder
1.5 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups beef broth
1 tbsp starch
1 cup frozen peas

Brown the meat in the oil. Meanwhile, dice the potato into 0.5-inch cubes.

Puree the onions, jalapeno and the garlic in a food processor or blender. Add to the browned meat.

Add the spices to the mixture as well, cook for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Mix in the potatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the beef broth with the starch mixed in. Add the peas and simmer on low until potatoes are cooked.

Serve with naan bread or on top of rice.

Rice noodles with chicken

This is actually so easy to make and so delicious. The rice noodles have an entirely different texture from wheat ones, they are so fresh and slightly chewy. The chicken pieces were improvised on this, but they were absolutely delicious.

1 package rice vermicelli
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup mirin
2 tbsp sambal chili sauce
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
2 large carrots
4 green onions
0.5 cup chopped basil, cilantro, and mint mix
0.5 cup chopped peanuts

6-8 chicken thighs
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp sesame oil

Mix the soy sauce, maple syrup, and sesame oil. Marinate the skinless, boneless chicken thighs in this mix.

Prepare the rice noodles per package instructions. Basically soak in hot water until desired softness is reached. Drain.

Grate the garlic, mix with the chili sauce, mirin, fish sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar and herbs.

Julienne the carrots and thinly slice the scallions. Toss with the peanuts and mix in the noodles and the sauce. Toss for a long time, until well mixed.

Sear the chicken thighs in a hot skillet until cooked through and browned on the outside. Use just a little oil in a nonstick pan. Slice and serve on top of the noodles.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Caramelized corn side dish

This year I planted an assorted herb and leftover seeds garden in various pot and containers I found around the house. The basil, rosemary, beans and sage did really well. Sage from seed outdoors! However, one larger container got the leftover seeds and some mint. The mint overtook the entire pot rather quickly. Luckily, I enjoy mint very much. This recipe celebrated the victory of mint in my mini garden.

16 oz frozen sweet corn kernels
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup chopped mint

Thaw and drain the corn. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the corn.

Cook on high heat, stirring frequently, until the corn kernels are turning brown.

Cool a little and add the chopped, fresh mint. Serve warm and fresh!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Salad Nicoise

A salad that is worthy of being called a meal. Include potatoes, eggs, some source of protein, and some fresh vegetables. Serve with a zingy salad dressing.

8 oz mixed greens
0.5 lb asparagus
10 small potatoes
a handful of cherry tomatoes
4 eggs
6 oz salmon fillet

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp basil
0.5 tbsp capers
2-3 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard

Distribute the washed greens onto two plates. Make sure they are in bite-size pieces. Chop the tomatoes on top and place in one corner of the plate.

Bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour off water, remove from heat, and set aside for another 15 minutes well-covered. Cut into bite-size pieces and add to salad plate.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Distribute the asparagus spears onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes. Chop into 2-inch pieces. Add to salad plates.

Add the eggs to water, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Move eggs into cold water. Then peel gently. Slice into quarters and add to salad plate.

Season the salmon with salt and black pepper and sear on all sides for 3 minutes in a skillet. Add to salad plate.

Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, mustard, syrup and minced herbs and capers. Season with salt and pepper. Top salad with this dressing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Asian-style chicken salad

This was an easy alternative to an earlier spicy chicken salad I posted. The cucumber makes this so fresh and delicious.

1/2 curly-leaf lettuce
1 medium greenhouse cucumber
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup mint leaves
3 rotisserie chicken breasts
1 scallion

1.5 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp peanut butter
1.5 tbsp chili bean sauce
1.5 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp vinegar

Wash the cucumber and scrape out seeds. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then slice into 2-mm slices.

Mince the cilantro and mint leaves.

Clean the lettuce leaves and set in a large bowl. Slice the scallion and to the cucumber along with the herbs. Stir.

Remove the meat from the chicken and dice. Mix all ingredients for the sauce. Toss chicken pieces with the cucumber mix and with a third of the sauce.

Mix the leaves with another third of the sauce. Top the leaves with the chicken and drizzle the remaining sauce on top. Serve!

Easy pumpkin waffles

Pumpkin waffles in summer, it's not exactly a seasonal breakfast. But, I have an explanation: leftover canned pumpkin. Since I got a kitty who needs some pumpkin in her food once a day for fiber, I'm regularly left with canned pumpkin. And I hate to waste food. So, pumpkin waffles for breakfast it is!

1.25 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ginger
0.25 tsp cloves
0.25 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
0.5 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat the waffle iron. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix pumpkin with the eggs, then stir in the butter and the milk. 

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until just combined. Cook immediately in the waffle iron, adding about 3/4 cup at a time.

Serve hot, or cool for a moment on a cookie rack before serving. Putting the slices in a toaster adds an extra amazing crunch to the outside.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mango salsa

First off, you must be aware that all mangoes are not created equal. The most easily accessible mangoes in the US are the Tommy Atkins mangoes...at least in the Northeast. It so turns out, that the Alphonso mangoes (which are yellow/orange) are lower in fiber and sweeter. I also find them generally more flavorful. So, if you can find it, I recommend locating this type for any mango recipe.

2 Alphonso mangoes
1 cup black beans
1 cup yellow tomatoes
3 jalapenos
1 lime
1 medium red onion
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Dice the onion into small pieces. Seed two of the jalapenos, and dice into small pieces. Dice the third one with the seeds in (I like my salsa spicy!). Mix the onions and jalapenos with a pinch of salt and the olive oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Chop the cilantro leaves. Peel the mangoes and cut off from pit. There are very easy strategies to accomplish this. Dice the mangoes into small pieces.

Mix all the ingredients into the onion and pepper mix. Squeeze in the lime juice. Season with salt and a tiny bit of sugar, if necessary. 

Chickpeas with cilantro

A delicious side dish and great for digestion. So fresh and summery, and one of the few dishes I make in which chickpeas get to play the central role.

0.5 lb chickpeas
1.5 tbsp salt
2 quarts water

3 oz cilantro
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp turmeric
0.25 tsp salt
black pepper
1 large red onion

Soak the chickpeas in the salty water overnight. Then rinse off the brine and add water. Simmer until soft. Drain.

Dice the red onion into small pieces.

Add all the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Mix the chickpeas with the onions and the dressing. Store for an hour for optimal outcome. They can be refrigerated for much longer.

Bean curry

This was super delicious with a piece of naan bread, piping hot with some cold yogurt on the side.

0.25 cup extra virgin olive oil
0.25 cup ginger
1 onion
1 plum tomato
3 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
0.5 tsp turmeric
0.25 tsp cayenne
8 oz tomato sauce
3 cups of red kidney beans
0.5 cup cilantro leaves

Add the onion, ginger, and garlic to a food processor. Process until pureed.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion puree. Cook for a minute. 

Mince the jalapenos and add to the pan. Cook for another minute.

Dice the tomato and add the spices and the tomato to the pan. Cook for five minutes.

Add the cooked beans and enough water to cover them. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve topped with fresh minced cilantro.