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.

Enjoy!

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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.

Enjoy!

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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:

For the bang bang sauce (DOUBLE EACH INGREDIENT FOR SHEET NEW METHOD):

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 PACKAGE EXTRA FIRM TOFU FOR NEW METHOD

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.

FOR THE NEW METHOD: FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS FOR SHEET PAN ROASTING THE CAULI AND THE TOFU. DON’T ADD ANY SALT, AND FEEL FREE TO SUB THE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR FOR THE CORNSTARCH.

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.

Enjoy!

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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:

Salt

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.

Enjoy!

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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.

Enjoy!

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Kenyan Chapati

I’m posting this recipe both to share, and for myself, so I don’t forget the ingredient ratios, or the tips my beautiful mother-in-law, Janet, taught me when we first made this together. Chapati is a traditional flaky Kenyan bread that accompanies any good meal, basic or extravagant. It’s used to sop up stew, to be eaten alongside grilled goat, or even, in our house, to be rolled with peanut butter and jelly. It’s a deliciously flakey bread, sort of a cross between a really good flour tortilla and Indian naan, that seems to get softer after it’s been cooked and sits in the fridge for a day. Full disclosure: it’s time consuming. But, it’s so worth it. The below recipe is an amalgamation of what Janet taught me, this recipe on Big Oven, and my own trials and errors.

Here’s what you need:

3 cups bread flour (or 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat bread flour) plus several scoops more during kneading

Additional all purpose flour or bread flour for dusting as you roll

1.5 cups warm water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons oil, plus another 2 tablespoons oil, plus more oil for brushing and cooking (it’s best to use something neutral, but I only had olive oil and it still tasted great!)

Here’s what you do (note that my recipe is based on using a standing mixer, but you could replicate by hand):

1. Place the three cups of bread flour into the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook attached.

2. In a separate bowl, dissolve the sugar, salt, and two tablespoons of oil in the warm water. Stir to combine.

3. Mix the liquid into the flour until combined. Then, turn the standing mixer on to a low speed and allow the dough to knead for about ten minutes. Add additional scoops of flour as you go to make the dough less sticky. You can periodically turn off the mixer and scrape down the dough as needed.

4. Add the next 2 tablespoons of oil to the dough, and continue kneading until the dough is soft, about another 5 minutes. Again, you can periodically turn off the mixer and scrape down the dough as necessary.

5. Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 40 minutes to one hour.

6. After the dough has rested, divide the dough into 10-15 pieces. Dust a flat surface with flour, and do the first step of preparing the chapatis:

Roll the piece of dough into a flat shape. Brush lightly with oil. Then, roll inwards to form a rope-like shape. Finally, roll the rope into a coil-like shape. Press down with your hand. Place the dough on a lightly-oiled baking sheet, cover with a towel, and repeat.

7. Once all the pieces are coiled and pressed, you are ready to do the final roll and cook. First, spray or lightly oil a cast-iron skillet or other heavy, non-stick pan, and warm over high heat for 5 minutes. While the pan is warming, prepare the first chapati. Take a coil, and roll it out flat and round.

8. Turn the heat down to medium-high, and place the chapati in the pan. You are first going to “dry out” each side. Cook the first side for 30 seconds. The chapati will look almost like it’s getting “wet,” and may start to bubble a bit. After 30 seconds, flip the chapati. While the second side is cooking, brush the top lightly with oil. You will probably notice the chapati beginning to puff up even more. After those second 30 seconds are up, flip the chapati again, and cook for 2 minutes, so that the underside is lightly golden. While the chapati is cooking, brush a light layer of oil on the up-side. (Also, roll out your next chapati so you can begin cooking it once this one is done.) Once the 2 minutes are done, flip the chapati, cook another two minutes, and then place on a paper towel lined plate and cover with foil to keep warm. You may have to play with the temperature slightly as you go (turn up a little or down a little) to avoid burning, and you may have to increase or reduce the cooking times slightly.

This sounds like a lot, and has a lot of tips. Here’s how the rhythm looks in simple terms, once the pan is heated:

  • Roll chapati flat
  • Place in pan for 30 seconds
  • Flip, wait another 30 seconds, brushing top with oil while waiting
  • Flip, allow to cook for 2 minutes
  • While cooking, brush oil on top, and roll next chapati
  • Flip, allow to cook for 2 minutes
  • Move cooked chapati to plate and cover with foil
  • Add the next rolled chapati to the pan for 30 seconds and so on …

Enoy!

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Chickpea and Kale Pomodoro

For a slightly spicy, very satisfying tomato dish, excellent over brown rice, give this a try! Adapted from Food & Wine.

Here’s what you need:

1/2 cup olive oil

5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

28-ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes

1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

One bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Chunk of parmesan cheese

To top: Freshly grated parmesan cheese and thinly sliced basil

Here’s what you do:

1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over fairly low heat. Add the garlic and stir occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, fennel, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

3. Stir in the kale and cook over low heat, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook another 3 minutes. Add the parmesan chunk.

4. Cover the pot, and cook on low for another 25 minutes so the flavors can meld.

5. Season with salt, and top each bowl with parmesan and basil.

Enjoy!

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