Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kale and Chickpea Sauté with Roasted Cherries

Sorry for going AWOL.

My computer has been having problems. I know this is the excuse that everyone gives for everything (homework going missing, not getting your mom that edible arrangement), but the wifi on my computer has been on the fritz the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, I was finally fed up and decided to take it to the Apple Store. Can we talk about how the apple store on 5th Avenue is open 24 hours and that you can pretty much bring your computer in whenever you want.

One of the many perks of going to school in New York, my friends. Shameless plug of NYC schools.

Anyways I brought it in and at first, the guy thought that the entire logic board had to be replaced, which meant I would not have had my computer for a whole week (eek). Then, all of a sudden, the guy started typing some things in and boom, it was fixed. I honestly believe computer software is a thing of mystery. I cannot tell you how often I type some things into a keyboard and it miraculously solves my problem.

Computers are a mystery.

You know what is not a mystery? This amazing kale and chickpea sauté. My mom usually makes the kale with chicken, but since I am a pescatarian, I’ve crafted the kale recipe to fit dietary stuff. I also used cherries instead of the usual grapes, because cherries are only in season for so long, but feel free to substitute grapes for cherries and just remove the honey. You can find pepperdew peppers (cute little red and yellow peppers) in the antipasti section of the grocery store (aka where the olives and stuff are). A plate of this with some quinoa or a sweet potato will blow your socks off. Not even kidding about this one.

Kale and Chickpea Sauté with Roasted Cherries

  • Olive oil
  • One medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp nonpareil capers
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4-6 pepperdew peppers, chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, add the cherries, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to combine. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway, until the cherries look soft and brown.

Drizzle some olive oil in a pan with high sides (such as a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic, and onion, and sauté until the onion is soft, around 4-5 minutes. Add the kale and sauté until the kale begin to turn a bright green and begins to wilt, around 3-4 minutes. Lower the heat and add chickpeas, capers, and the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and cover over low heat for 10-12 minutes or until the kale becomes tender. Add the lemon, cilantro, and pepperdew peppers and stir to incorporate.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, add the vinegar and heat over medium-low heat. Cook and reduce for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on it, until the vinegar coats the back of a spoon. Once reduced, add the balsamic and cherries and toss to incorporate. Serve with rice or a sweet potato.

Yum Yum. In my tum.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Brussels Sprout and Tempeh Toss with Honey Sriacha Sauce

Let’s talk about the vegetable known as the Brussels sprout.

When I was a kid, I loathed them. Being a traditional German, my grandfather used to love them in the traditional German way: boiled with salt and pepper. Something about a thing that looked like a small cabbage boiled until the skin turned a faint yellow was not appealing to me. Plus, have you ever smelled overcooked Brussels sprouts? It’s not pretty to say the least.

As they say in the commercials, “there must be a better way.”

That’s when my dad discovered the beauty that is Brussels sprouts fried with pancetta. And let me tell you, those things legitimately disappeared. Like they had some sort of magic that made them teleport from the plate into my belly. I could legit eat a whole bowl of those in one sitting. I am unfortunately not making this up.

However, once I became a pescatarian, I had to figure out other ways to eat what has become far and away my favorite vegetable. I figured out so many way to roast, shred, and toss Brussels sprouts to fit my diet. All of these recipes will hopefully make it onto the blog at some point. However, this one is probably one of my absolute favorites. I always have sriracha and honey around, sriracha because what college student doesn’t have sriracha and honey from my mom to feed into my tea addiction.

Seriously, a full cabinet of tea, friends. No joke.

This recipe is simple, easy, full of protein from the tempeh, and delicious. I make this (or a variation) at least once a week. I am not lying if I didn’t tell you that you will inhale these Brussels sprouts. The “stir fry” gets more flavor the longer it sits in the sauce, so how about you do that (and do not burn your mouth on four Brussels sprouts like I did). The wait, I promise you, is so worth it.

Brussels Sprout and Tempeh Toss with Honey Sriacha Sauce

  • 1 package of tempeh, cubed
  • 10 oz Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp sriracha
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet (with aluminum foil for a quick cleanup), toss the tempeh and Brussels sprouts with olive oil and generous amounts of salt and pepper and spread them out so they evenly cover the surface of the pan. Roast in the over for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the tempeh becomes golden brown and the Brussels sprouts become tender.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey and the sriracha. Once the Brussels sprouts and tempeh finish in the oven, toss them in the honey and sriracha mixture, making sure all pieces are coated. Let sit for 15 minutes until the flavors are absorbed. Serve with plenty of brown rice or farro.

Chomp Chomp.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Food play dates are the best play dates.

My friend Ilana visited me from Boston last week and, let me tell you something, she is a boss. Plain and simple, folks. And it's not because she's from Boston (SOO punny). She’s currently published in Huffington Post and on Buzzfeed. She planned a successful campaign for a positive portrayal of women in the media. And she loves the Bachelor as much as I do. 

That equals success in my book.

Anyways, I always seem to cook when we are together (which is totally fine by the both of us). I can’t tell you the amount of hours we have spent together, eating and talking and eating some more. And the girl’s got a massive sweet tooth, so basically I can try out any new baking recipe ideas I have on her.
It’s a win win.

It’s been so hot in the city this past week that I had no intention of turning on my oven (as much as I wanted to make zucchini bread. OMG you guys there are so many zucchinis for so cheap). I struggled to figure out something that was both sustaining and would not force me to turn on my oven for very long (and was not a salad. Too many salads in my life at the moment) In a spur of moment decision, I finally decided to go Vietnamese and make fresh summer rolls with shrimp. Healthy, flavorful and delicious. We then subsequently counteracted the healthy with a mountain of frozen yogurt topped with chocolate.

It’s all about the balance people.

These summer rolls are perfect for the, well, summer. It’s in the name, so you know it must be true. They are so so fresh and full of yummy things. And, with the peanut dipping sauce, you will inhale them before you even finish rolling them. I definitely am a culprit of that.

Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Peanut Sauce
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (you can also use smooth and add chopped peanuts after)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (I used honey)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp sriracha (optional)

Summer Rolls
  • 24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 rice paper wrappers (preferably circular)
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, washed, patted dry, and cut in half (in order to fit in the wrapper)
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, julienned
  • ½ red or yellow bell pepper, cut thinly into strips
  • 2 small bundles of bean thread noodles
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Make your dipping sauce first so the flavors will have a chance to mingle. Whisk together all of the ingredients until they are combined and no lumps of peanut butter remain.

In a small skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add them to the pan, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are pink and no longer translucent. Remove from pan into a bowl and let cool.

Fill a large, shallow bowl halfway with almost boiling water (I used my electric kettle for this one). Add the rice noodles and let soak for 10 minutes, or until they become soft, but not mushy. Strain the rice noodles and run under cold water until cooled.

Before you do this step, make sure all of your ingredients that go into your summer roll are fully prepared and laying next to where you plan to roll. Fill a cookie sheet or a 9x13 baking pan with warm water. Making one roll at a time, dip a rice paper wrapper into the water, making sure all the edges are immersed. The wrapper should come out of the water still slightly firm, without it fully folding on itself. Once you lay it on your cutting board, the rice paper will continue to absorb water, allowing to become soft and pliable for folding.

 Starting at the top 1/3 of rice paper, lay down the the lettuce, in order to prevent the other fillings from ripping the paper. Continue to add more of the fillings (cucumber, carrot, rice noodles, shrimp, and bell pepper) but be careful not to overstuff your roll.

To roll your summer rolls Gently pull away the edge of wrapper from work surface and roll over the filling. At the same time, use your forefingers to gather and “tuck” fillings together under the wrapper.

“Tucking” allows you to keep the fillings together, so that the roll remains firm and straight. Slowly start to roll away from you and tuck in your fillings. After one rotation, fold in the sides for a “closed ended” roll. Continue to roll until the rice paper ends, but remember to keep tucking as you roll.
Serve with the dipping sauce and eat immediately. These babies aren’t the best to keep around for very long, as the rice paper gets stale.

Freshness on a plate right here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shakshuka Pita Sandwiches

Food memories are the best.

And people, do I have a food memory for you!

One of the best trips I ever took was to Israel on birthright (shout out to Bus 120 woohoo!) It taught me so much about Israeli culture and the Jewish religion. And who cannot say culture without food? I know absolutely no one.

Basically, the gist of birthright meals is you get to eat schwarma and falafel EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. This, at first, seems like an amazing opportunity to eat all the meat and all of the pita and all of the veg. That is, until, it’s your fifth day in a row and you basically feel like you ARE that hunk of meat on a spit, roasting slowly over an open flame which is the Israeli desert heat.

Doesn’t Israel sound a lot like fun? Don't worry I’m only kidding… ok only partially.

But Israel really did get me hooked on all of the flavors of the middle eat. The baklava, the vegetables, even the pudding for breakfast (every chocolate lover’s dream) helped to expand my idea of what food is.

And so, here is a delicious product of that. Shakshuka is traditionally comprised of eggs baked in tomato sauce. However, since we are busy people doing busy things here in New York, it seems right to wrap it all up in a pita. While the “to go” concept of this did not work out so well (namely the sandwich fell apart in the first 10 seconds) it was nevertheless delicious and reminiscent of that trip.

Shakshuka Egg Sandwiches

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the sauce:
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 yellow peppers, hulled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalepeno, hulled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

For the sandwiches*
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 2 tsp  feta cheese
  • ½ tsp za’atar
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 large or 2 small mini pitas

*Note on the sandwiches: Smitten Kitchen (bless her soul) makes all of these at one time. For the college student I am, I choose to make the sauce ahead of time then reheat it in portions in a small skillet to make individual sandwiches. Therefore, this recipe will reflect the sauce for the entire recipe, but the creation of the individual sandwich. If you want to make the recipe for a crowd, follow the suggestions used on Smitten Kitchen.

Heat a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil in it on medium heat. Once hot, add the yellow onion and sauté for five to six minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic, and cook until slightly brown, about two minutes. Add all of the peppers, cumin, and paprika and sauté until the peppers have soften, around five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and about half a can of water, stir, and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When you want to make a sandwich, warm your pitas. Add a couple ladlefuls of sauce into a small skillet, so that the sauce covers the bottom of the pan and there is a fair but not excessive number of peppers. Make an indentation (or two) in the sauce and crack an egg in each. Cover with a lid and let the egg cook until the desired firmness is reached. After 3-4 minutes, they should have set whites with runny yokes. After 5-6 minutes, the yokes should be mostly set. Sprinkle with za’atar, feta cheese, and parsley, saving some of the feta and parsley if using as garnish. Cut the top off of the pita, and then spoon the sauce and egg into the pita. Garnish with reserved feta and parsley and eat.

Is this sandwich why they call it "The Holy Land?"