Turkey Lamb Minty Tahini Meatballs

I love Molly Baz’s Cook This Book. Everything I’ve made is delicious. I tweaked this a bit to (a) make more and (b) make it a little healthier (hence the half turkey), and it turned out great! Adapted from Molly Baz, Cook This Book, Minty Lamb Meatballs.

Makes 24 meatballs

Here’s what you need:

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups fine breadcrumbs or panko (I had whole wheat bread crumbs)

4 tablespoons tahini or Japanese sesame paste (neri goma)

3 teaspoons ground cumin

2.5 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 cup chopped mint leaves

1 pound ground lamb

1 pound ground turkey

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in the bread crumbs, tahini, cumin, salt, and olive oil, and combine.

3. Grate or crush the garlic into the bread crumb mixture.

4. Stir in half of the mint into the bread crumb mixture, then add one pound of meat and gently combine. Add the rest of the mint and meat, and mix (with a spoon or hands) until fully mixed (but don’t overmix).

5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll the meat into 24 balls. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes. Flip the meatballs, and bake another 10-20 minutes, until cooked through fully.


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Vegan Causa Limena

I came across this recipe from a favorite food online food publication called Taste. When the aji amarillo came in the mail (I bought this from Amazon and it was great), I used what I had (meaning I modified a bit) and the result was delicious. Adapted from Vegan Causa Limena.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 pounds potatoes (small variety, like yukon gold or red skin; I also threw in half of a Japanese sweet potato)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons aji amarillo

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I only had salted, and suggest not adding extra salt if your can is salted, but if you have unsalted, I’ll note where to add another teaspoon of salt in the recipe below) (you can replace with garbanzo beans instead)

4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I had 2 tablespoons vegan and 2 tablespoons tartar sauce, so I used that)

3 green onions, thinly sliced (or you could do red onion instead, about 1/4 cup)

generous handful cilantro, including stems, finely chopped (or you could replace with 1/4 cup celery, finely diced)

a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped (or you can skip)

Here’s what you do:

1. Cover the potatoes with approximately 2 inches cold water in a pot. Place the pot over high heat, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Then allow the potatoes to cook, uncovered, for approximately 25 minutes, until the skin starts to split.

2. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool until you can handle (about 20-30 minutes).

3. While the potatoes are cooling, make the bean salad: after draining/rinsing the beans, mash the beans with a potato masher or a fork. Then stir in the mayo, green onions, cilantro and parsley. Taste, and add salt if needed. Place in the fridge.

4. When the potatoes have cooled, remove the skin, and using a potato ricer, or a masher, or an egg slicer, or a fork, mash up the potatoes.

5. Stir the salt and 1 teaspoon aji amarillo into the potatoes until combined. Then add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time, and stir to combine. Do the same with the lime juice.

6. Taste, and add additional salt and the rest of the aji amarillo (if you want it).

7. In a pan, spread the potato mixture in an even layer and smooth. Then, spread the bean salad in a second layer on top.

8. Refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. When ready to eat, cut into squares or slices and enjoy!

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Wrinkly Potatoes

This one’s for you, Nicki!

These potatoes take about 20 minutes to make, have the perfect consistency, and are perfectly seasoned. Serve with a chimichurri dip; chop up and add to a salad or omelet or scramble (the photo is an egg white scramble with corn and wrinkly potatoes, topped with some avocado smashed with garlic salt, and some tomatillo salsa); or just eat on the side. From the LA Times.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 pounds tiny potatoes, rinsed

1 tablespoon coarse salt

2 cups water

Here’s what you do:

1. Place the potatoes, salt and water into a pot. Stir and cover.

2. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer, mostly covered, until all the water has evaporated, about 20 minutes.


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(Vegan) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently came across this recipe via Taste, a great food e-magazine. I’m sometimes wary of vegan baking recipes if they over-add ingredients. But this one doesn’t–it’s simple and straightforward, created when the author had trouble finding eggs. Full disclosure: I made mine with milk chocolate chips, so they weren’t fully vegan, but if you use dark chocolate, they will be.

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

scant 1/2 cup vegetable oil

4.5 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste

5.5 tablespoons peanut butter

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (full disclosure that I was low on this ingredient, so I also used some rye flour and cake flour)

generous 1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 ounces chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Here’s what you do:

1. In a bowl, mix together the sugars, oil, water, and vanilla until smooth. Add the peanut butter and mix until fully smooth.

2. Add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. Stir in the chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool and firm at least 2-3 hours in the fridge.

3. When you are ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with two layers of parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop about 6-8 balls of cookie dough onto the sheet, leaving some space around each ball. Press down lightly on the balls to flatten a bit (I used half an egg slicer, but you could also use a masher or even a fork). Bake 15-18 minutes, until the edges have firmed, even if still soft in the middle.

4. Allow to cool and firm up. Then enjoy!

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Roasted Cabbage

This recipe uses few ingredients, doesn’t take much work, and yields a really delicious result.

Here’s what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 head of green cabbage

1 yellow onion

salt or garlic salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 cup water

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a cast-iron skillet, spread around 1 tablspoon of the olive oil.

2. Cut the cabbage in half, then into quarters. Cut out the rough stem, and then cut each piece into a couple of wedges. Nestle the wedges together in the skillet.

3. Cut the onion in half, and then in thin slices. Scatter the onion around the cabbage.

4. Sprinkle the cabbage generously with salt or garlic salt. Then sprinkle the turmeric, mustard seeds, and coriander over the top. Drizzle the second tablespoon of olive oil over the cabbage. Pour the water in the pan.

5. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove, stir so the spices get incorporated and the softer bottom leaves move to the top. Sprinkle again with salt, and cook another 25-30 minutes or so until all the cabbage is tender, but not too limp.

This is great chopped up and mixed into anything, or on its own, or filled with rice and rolled up like a little burrito!

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Sour Cream Spinach

All you need are a few ingredients and about 10 minutes to put together this delicious dish. Not only good on the side, but also on a sandwich with some fried eggs, multigrain bread, and a bit of gruyere or feta cheese. Adapted from the NY Times Essential Cookbook.

Here’s what you need:

1 3/4 pounds spinach (baby or regular)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon grated onion

Here’s what you do:

1. Rinse the spinach, and place in a large pot with the salt and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until just tender (about 3-5 minutes), tossing now and then with tongs.

2. Remove the spinach from the pot and chop the cooked spinach (if you want). Place the spinach in a bowl, and top with the sour cream and onion. Stir to combine, and add more salt if desired.


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Bang Bang Cauliflower

This is a little spicy but also a little sweet, and would probably be delicious with broccoli, tofu, or even chicken. It was so good that everyone in my house ate it, even the 2 year old! Adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s “Ramsay in 10.”

UPDATE: Yesterday, I made this by cooking the cauli and a pack of extra firm tofu in the oven using this method (SHEET PAN ROASTED BASIC TOFU AND VEGGIES), although I coated the tofu in some of the gluten free flour instead of cornstarch, and then I doubled the recipe for the sauce, and finished it all in a saute pan, and I think it was better than the first time. I also noticed that it was less spicy the second day. The steps/ingredients for the NEW METHOD are noted in ALL CAPS below.

Here’s what you need:


2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce or Chinese chili garlic sauce

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon Sriracha

For the remainder:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets, plus tender green leaves reserved (if any)


1 tablespoon rice flour (I only had a gluten free flour blend that contained rice flour, so I used it, and it worked great) (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

2 tablespoons sesame oil (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

1/2 onion, thinly sliced (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

3/4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

2 cloves garlic, crushed (DOUBLE FOR NEW METHOD)

Here’s what you do:

1. Make the bang bang sauce: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

2. Make the cauli: Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a pan or wok. Toss the cauliflower with the rice flour. When the oil is hot, add the cauliflower and cook about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally (adding additional oil or cooking spray, and/or reducing heat slightly, to avoid burning). If you have tender leaves reserved, add them now and cook another 3 minutes. Then turn down heat to low.


3. In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. When warm, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and cook until onion softens, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Stir in the bang bang sauce and turn off the heat.

4. Add the sauce to the cauliflower, and continue to cook over low heat for another 4-5 minutes until cauliflower is tender and the sauce is thick and sticky. [SAME FOR THE NEW METHOD, EXCEPT YOU NEED TO MOVE THE CAULI AND TOFU TO A SAUTE PAN, AND THEN ADD THE SAUCE.]

Serve over freshly steamed brown rice and enjoy!

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Red Lentil Coconut Curry Soup

A simple and delicious recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Here’s what you need:

2 cups split red lentils

7 cups water

2-3 medium carrots, peeled and small diced

2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons butter or oil

4 green onions, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons golden raisins

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 can coconut milk

Optional: chopped cilantro for garnish; plain greek yogurt for mixing into the lentils

Here’s what you do:

1. Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear. Place in a large pot with the water and bring to a boil.

2. Once the water is boiling, add the carrots, 1/2 tablespoon ginger, and the salt. Cover and reduce to a simmer, and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, in a dry pan over low heat, toast your curry powder until it starts to become fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.

4. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the remaining ginger, green onions, and raisins, and stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir for another minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the toasted curry powder.

5. After the lentils/carrots have finished softening (see Step 2), add the tomato/curry paste and the coconut milk to the lentils. Stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, at a low simmer, another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking. Season with salt and pepper to your taste as needed.

When serving, I like to mix in some freshly chopped cilantro and a scoop of Greek yogurt.


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Drunken Beans

These are hands down my favorite beans. So good, in fact, that my self-proclaimed, bean-detesting husband couldn’t stop eating them. Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Here’s what you need:


1 pound (about 2.5 cups) dried pinto beans, soaked over night in cold water in the fridge, then rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 poblano or pasilla peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup tequila

1 bunch cilantro

2 bay leaves

1 cup Mexican lager

1/4 cup tomato paste

Here’s what you do:

1. As mentioned above, soak your beans in cold water overnight. They will plump up significantly. You may need to add more water once or twice.

2. Cook your onion, poblano/pasilla, garlic and a generous pinch of salt in olive oil over medium-high heat, about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the tequila, turn off the heat, and allow to evaporate, about 3-4 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

4. Turn the heat back to high. Stir in 3.5 cups of water, the bay leaves, a teaspoon of salt, the beans, and all the cilantro. Bring to a boil uncovered.

5. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook until the beans are softened, about 1 hour.

6. Remove from the oven, and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the beer and tomato paste and bringing to a simmer. Allow to simmer about 30 minutes, until beans are softened, and flavors are melded.


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Jewish Apple Coffee Cake

I checked out The Essential NY Times Cookbook from the library, and while I wasn’t drawn to the sweets in the dessert section, the ones listed under “breakfast” were quite enticing. I literally threw this one together the other night with a few changes, and it was so good that it’s already gone. Even my son who doesn’t like apples and doesn’t usually like cake ate it right up!

Here’s what you need:

3-5 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8 inch thick chunks (you want four cups of apples) [NY Times said you could also use peaches or plums]

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup neutral oil

1/2 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)

3 eggs and 1 extra egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 cup orange juice (one orange will get you there)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1/2 cup almonds or pecans (optional)

Here’s what you do:

1. Toss the apples together with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a Bundt pan.

3. Sift the flour, remaining 2 cups sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil, sour cream, eggs, orange juice, vanilla and almond extract. Mix with a spoon until combined.

4. Spoon one third of the batter into the pan. Wet your spoon and smooth out the first layer. Top with half of the apples, leaving aside any excess moisture. Try your best to keep the apples from touching the sides, but not a big deal if they do a bit. Top with another third of batter, wet the spoon and spread again. Top with the remaining apples and sprinkle the nuts. Then, add the remaining batter, smooth again with a spoon.

5. Bake the cake about 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If you notice the cake getting too brown around 40-50 minutes, cover with foil.

6. Remove from the oven, allow to cook to lukewarm, and then remove from the pan.


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