11/19/14

Carrot Salad With Miso Ginger Dressing Inspired By Chez Sasha


Lately I've been mildly obsessed with mild yellow miso paste...haha get it? Mildly ;) I've made Miso Brussels Sprouts with Dried Cherries and Pine Nuts and Miso Dressing for Roasted Acorn Squash. And I still had quite a bit of the paste left.

Then I saw a fun recipe for Massaged Kale Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing and Garlic Chips on Chez Sasha's blog. Sasha (or Alexandra) and I have been friends on social media for several years now, and I like her recipe ideas because they tend to be simple to make, creative and pretty. I decided to use her dressing recipe as the base for my own creation.

Carrot Salad With Miso Ginger Dressing Inspired By Chez Sasha

Ingredients
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon mild yellow miso paste
1 garlic clove, microplane'd
1 tablespoon mirin
2 teaspoons grated ginger (again, just like for the garlic I used a microplane)
juice of 1/2 lime
salt to taste
carrots, peeled and then peeled again to make ribbons
black sesame seeds (another latest obsession)


Directions
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Taste. You may want to add a bit more lime juice or salt or miso depending on your taste buds.
2. Pour the dressing over ribbon'ed carrots and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.


Of course this dressing would be good on many other things including avocados, fish, chicken, or any salad. Keep in mind it's super garlicky. If you are not a fan, cut down on the amount of garlic. Or just go for it: helps to keep vampires away.


What else should I make with the remaining mild yellow miso paste?

11/17/14

Vegetarian Pumpkin Curry With Peppers: Perfect For Cooler Weather & Meatless Monday


It's cold. It's raining. It's grey out. When the weather turns into such grossness, I crave warm meals that I can eat while curled up on a couch. Think soups, chili, bowls of bubbling cheesy polenta, or in this case a curry.

When coming up with a title for this curry, I completely forgot the name of the main ingredient, and called it a pumpkin. It's actually a red kuri squash. Use whichever squash or pumpkin you have on hand. You may have to cook it a bit longer or shorter depending on its texture, but otherwise you should be all set.


Vegetarian Pumpkin Curry With Peppers: Perfect For Cooler Weather & Meatless Monday
Serves ~ 4

Ingredients
1 red kuri squash, or any small pumpkin or squash, halved, seeds removed, peeled {I loved OXO peeler for this task}, then diced ~ you want about 4 cups of final diced "pumpkin"
olive oil ~ enough to barely cover the bottom of the Dutch oven
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoons ancho chili
1 teaspoon salt
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1" ginger knob, peeled, minced
1 can (~ 14 ounces) coconut milk
1 cup defrosted peas
juice of 1 lime
to serve: rice, fresh cilantro



Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add diced kuri squash and sauté for 10-15 minutes or until it turns slightly golden brown.
2. Add all the spices and salt and sauté for 5 more minutes.
3. Add peppers, garlic and ginger and more oil if needed and sauté for another 5 minutes.
4. Pour in coconut milk, mix everything and bring to a simmer. Cover the Dutch oven and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
5. Add defrosted peas and lime juice and heat through.
6. Serve over rice garnished with cilantro.


This was a super easy meal to make and perfumed my entire condo with warm and spicy scents. Keep in mind the curry will thicken as it sits, so you may want to add a bit of water when you reheat it the next day. I'm freezing one portion and hope it will be good out of the freezer.


What do you like to cook/eat in the cold rainy weather?

11/12/14

Ready For Thanksgiving? Try Miso Brussels Sprouts With Dried Cherries & Pine Nuts


It's two weeks and a day before Thanksgiving!!! Are you in a panic mode? Are you excited? Could you care less?

This year I'm flying to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with Rachael, aka La Fuji Mama, and her family. I'm PSYCHED!! It's been five years since the one and only time I met and hung out with Rachael, but we've stayed in touch, and I cannot wait for the #fujimangoreunion. Yes, we have a hashtag for our get together.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because I like to share ;) And also because this Miso Brussels Sprouts With Dried Cherries & Pine Nuts recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving, and the use of miso reminds me of Rachael who has spent some time in Japan and has promised to make me a few Japanese dishes when I come to visit!


Miso Brussels Sprouts With Dried Cherries & Pine Nuts
Serves 2-3

Ingredients
olive oil to coat the skillet
2.5 cups trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts {make sure to wash them really well}
1 tablespoon yellow miso paste
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
a few pinches red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Directions
1. Heat a large skillet. Add oil and allow to heat. Add Brussels sprouts and miso paste and mix to combine. Sauté the sprouts covered for 10 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and continue sautéing the sprouts uncovered for 5-7 more minutes, mixing occasionally, until they have turned a lovely bronze color: do not burn.
3. Add dried cherries and red pepper flakes and heat through.
4. Serve topped with pine nuts and chopped cilantro.


You can serve this as a side dish or make a full meal by serving it over rice. I loved the saltiness from the miso paste and the sweetness from the dried cherries. Despite my mediocre photos, the recipe turned out really pretty!


What are you making for Thanksgiving? Who are you visiting? Who's coming over?

11/5/14

Breakfast Tostada With Sabra's Basil Pesto Hummus & Fried Egg

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sabra Dipping Co, LLC. for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


When it comes to breakfast, as I've mentioned before on this blog, I'm definitely more of a savory girl. This past weekend I created a recipe using Sabra's Basil Pesto Hummus that takes minutes to make, looks impressive for a party of 1 or 5, and is a fun mess to eat.

This post is more about a combination of flavors/colors/textures than an actual recipe. Play around with whichever ingredients you have in your kitchen and use this idea as your guideline.


Breakfast Tostada With Sabra's Basil Pesto Hummus & Fried Egg
Ingredients for 1
olive oil
2 corn tortillas
1/4 cups Sabra's basil pesto hummus
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced kalamata olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 fried egg
1/2 avocado, sliced  


Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and one at a time saute each tortilla on both sides until golden brown.
2. Spread half the hummus on the first tortilla and top with half of the tomatoes, olives, feta and cilantro.
3. Top with the second tortilla and repeat Step 2.
4. Top with a fried egg and served with avocado slices.


Not only was this a gorgeous and satisfying breakfast, but it's also pretty healthy...ok, other than sauteing the tortillas in oil.


Make sure to like Sabra on Facebook for more great products and recipe ideas!
Visit Sponsor's Site

11/3/14

What To Bring For Brunch: Easy Smoked Salmon Lettuce Cups


A few weekends ago I got together for brunch with my friends Christina and Sarah. Christina was making waffles and Sarah was bringing bellinis, so I wanted to bring something savory. My dish needed to be easy to transport, something that would not take hours to make, and of course delicious. The night before my brunch, I was at Costco with my friend Cecilia, and she pretty much came up with this awesome brunch idea!! I have the best friends.

What To Bring For Brunch: Easy Smoked Salmon Lettuce Cups


Ingredients
Boston lettuce leaves, to be used as cups
hot smoked salmon, flaked
cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
Kirby cucumbers, diced
goat cheese, crumbled
olive oil
salt

optional: lemon juice, dill

Directions
Add flaked salmon, tomatoes, cucumbers and goat cheese to Boston lettuce leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a bit of salt.

Optionally: drizzle with a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle with fresh chopped dill.


These cups not only look pretty, but they tasted great too. They were easy to eat and could be served pretty much for any meal of the day.

10/31/14

Giveaway: Win Your Own Mosaic Book Of 20 Instagram Photos

Giveaway: Win Your Own Mosaic Book Of 20 Instagram Photos

A few weeks ago I got a chance to create a book of 20 instagram photos. This was so easy!

First, I downloaded Mosaic app on my phone. Then I chose 20 of my instagram photos. Then the book was delivered to my door in four days!!

I chose some of the photos from my trip to Italy this past June.

Below are the results.

Disclaimer: Mosaic provided a code for me to create a book for FREE and is letting one of my readers win a free book of their own!!! I was not compensated for this post. Scroll down for the giveaway!





Rules
1) You must live in the US
2) You must have an instagram account
3) You must leave a comment
4) I will choose 1 random winner next Friday (Nov 7)
 
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

10/29/14

Aglaia Kremezi's Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts

Back in June I wrote about a culinary cooking vacation I took last year with my friend Cecilia. We flew to GREECE to attend a culinary program on the island of Kea: Kea Artisanal. It was a wonderful experience: we learned a lot, drank quite a bit of Greek wine, made our own olive oil and met wonderful people.

Well, guess who's in town!? One of the owners of the Kea Artisanal: Aglaia Kremezi. Aglaia is on a book tour in the US promoting her newly published Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts cookbook. I received a preview copy of the book and also had a chance to have a Q&A with Aglaia over lunch.

The cookbook is for anyone interested in Greek cuisine, specifically vegetarian dishes. There are plenty of simple recipes for beginner cooks as well as recipes that might take a few hours for advanced cooks. For my first trial of the book, I decided to go with something easy.


Grilled Feta, Tomato, and Pepper with Olive Oil and Oregano (Bouyourdi) {Copied with permission from the publisher}

Bouyourdi hardly needs a recipe. One or two slices of good tomato, a lavish slice of feta cheese and pieces of bell and hot pepper are doused with olive oil, generously sprinkled with oregano, and grilled in a very hot oven. Bouyourdi is brought to the table directly from the oven, often in individual clay pots, and enjoyed with plenty of fresh crusty bread to sop up the scrumptious oil. Although served as a meze in Greece, it can also be a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish for the whole family.

Serves 4

1 large vine-ripened tomato
4 slices feta cheese (about 2/3 pound / 300 g total)
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into thin rings
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or a few pinches Maras pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
About 1/2 cup (120 ml) good olive oil
1 tablespoon Greek oregano, or more to taste
Thick slices of fresh, crusty bread

Preheat the oven to 430F (220°C).

Spread a double layer of paper towels on a large dish. Core the tomato carefully, slice horizontally into 5 to 6 pieces, and spread them on the paper to drain.

Oil a shallow 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) baking dish, or four individual ramekins, and spread the tomato slices at the bottom, reserving 4 nice slices for the top. Sprinkle with some jalapeño and bell pepper slices. Arrange the feta pieces on top, place one tomato slice on each piece of cheese, and finally place 2 or 3 bell pepper rings on the tomato. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and the remaining jalapeño, and transfer to the middle of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the feta turns a light-golden color and the oil is sizzling. Serve immediately with warm bread.
Grilled Feta, Tomato, and Pepper with Olive Oil and Oregano (Bouyourdi)
Bouyourdi hardly needs a recipe. One or two slices of good tomato, a lavish slice of feta cheese and pieces of bell and hot pepper are doused with olive oil, generously sprinkled with oregano, and grilled in a very hot oven. Bouyourdi is brought to the table directly from the oven, often in individual clay pots, and enjoyed with plenty of fresh crusty bread to sop up the scrumptious oil. Although served as a meze in Greece, it can also be a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish for the whole family.
GLUTEN-FREE
Serves 4
1 large vine-ripened tomato
4 slices feta cheese (about 2/3 pound / 300 g total)
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into thin rings
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or a few pinches Mara? pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
About 1/2 cup (120 ml) good olive oil
1 tablespoon Greek oregano, or more to taste
Thick slices of fresh, crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 430?F (220°C).
Spread a double layer of paper towels on a large dish. Core the tomato carefully, slice horizontally into 5 to 6 pieces, and spread them on the paper to drain.
Oil a shallow 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) baking dish, or four individual ramekins, and spread the tomato slices at the bottom, reserving 4 nice slices for the top. Sprinkle with some jalapeño and bell pepper slices. Arrange the feta pieces on top, place one tomato slice on each piece of cheese, and finally place 2 or 3 bell pepper rings on the tomato. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and the remaining jalapeño, and transfer to the middle of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the feta turns a light-golden color and the oil is sizzling. Serve immediately with warm bread.
- See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/reading-around/aglaia-kremezis-mediterranean-vegetarian-feasts#sthash.E6sYkX6g.dpuf
Grilled Feta, Tomato, and Pepper with Olive Oil and Oregano (Bouyourdi)
Bouyourdi hardly needs a recipe. One or two slices of good tomato, a lavish slice of feta cheese and pieces of bell and hot pepper are doused with olive oil, generously sprinkled with oregano, and grilled in a very hot oven. Bouyourdi is brought to the table directly from the oven, often in individual clay pots, and enjoyed with plenty of fresh crusty bread to sop up the scrumptious oil. Although served as a meze in Greece, it can also be a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish for the whole family.
GLUTEN-FREE
Serves 4
1 large vine-ripened tomato
4 slices feta cheese (about 2/3 pound / 300 g total)
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into thin rings
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or a few pinches Mara? pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
About 1/2 cup (120 ml) good olive oil
1 tablespoon Greek oregano, or more to taste
Thick slices of fresh, crusty bread
Preheat the oven to 430?F (220°C).
Spread a double layer of paper towels on a large dish. Core the tomato carefully, slice horizontally into 5 to 6 pieces, and spread them on the paper to drain.
Oil a shallow 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) baking dish, or four individual ramekins, and spread the tomato slices at the bottom, reserving 4 nice slices for the top. Sprinkle with some jalapeño and bell pepper slices. Arrange the feta pieces on top, place one tomato slice on each piece of cheese, and finally place 2 or 3 bell pepper rings on the tomato. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and the remaining jalapeño, and transfer to the middle of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the feta turns a light-golden color and the oil is sizzling. Serve immediately with warm bread.
- See more at: http://www.womanaroundtown.com/sections/reading-around/aglaia-kremezis-mediterranean-vegetarian-feasts#sthash.E6sYkX6g.dpuf
 



Sorry for the instagram photos: the ones from my camera did not turn out. This was such a delicious brunch dish. I loved the warm feta with roasted tomatoes and crusty bread. I used poblano peppers because that's what I had on hand, and they were SUPER SPICY. If you are not a huge fan of heat, go with regular peppers.

This dish would be great served over polenta. Or with a poached egg on top.

Note that the mini pots are the ones I brought back from Kea :)

Q&A with Aglaia

Which smells/scents bring back memories of cooking as a little girl? Aglaia said she remembers the smells of Sunday cooking when her mom would prepare veal cooked in lemon. She also remembers helping her mom to peel artichokes and sweet peas. When she peeled artichokes, her fingers would turn black and her mom taught her to rub her fingers with lemons to get rid of the color.

Who inspired/taught you to cook? Aglaia helped in the kitchen from an early age starting with washing the dishes. She learned to cook from her mom and grandmother. Although Aglaia's sister grew up in the same environment surrounded by people who loved to cook, Aglaia is the one who ended up with that same love of cooking, while her sister doesn't like to cook.

What's the biggest misconception about Greek cuisine? Greek cuisine in the US is very different from Greek cuisine in Greece. It's heavier and uses a lot of Crisco and margarine: something you would never find in a true Greek household. Also, some of the dishes that are popular in the US restaurants, gyro for example, are not typically served in restaurants in Greece.

What are some of the things you must have while in the US? Not surprisingly, Aglaia likes to eat at Chinese, Japanese and Indian restaurants while in the US...something she doesn't get while in Greece.

What are you working on next? Aglaia is going to be publishing monthly essays in a Greek magazine and is working on a collection of seafood and bread recipes. Can't wait to see those!

If you live in DC, come by Zaytinya tonight from 6-8 for a book signing and to meet Aglaia.

 

10/27/14

What To Make With Miso: Roasted Acorn Squash With Miso Dressing & Black Sesame Seeds


Happy Monday!! Are you ready for an easy side dish you can make for tonight's Meatless Monday dinner? I think you'll really like my Roasted Acorn Squash With Miso Dressing & Black Sesame Seeds.

Over the weekend I picked up a random container of mild yellow miso paste. Although I love miso soup, I've never cooked with miso. I turned to my FB page to ask for suggestions and loved the link my friend Nicole posted for Teaism's Miso Glazed Sweet Potatoes. I've had those potatoes at Teaism several times and was excited to give the recipe a try by putting my own spin on it.

First, I used acorn squash instead of sweet potatoes. Second, I used rice vinegar instead of mirin. And lastly, I served the dish straight out of the oven instead of cold.

What To Make With Miso: Roasted Acorn Squash With Miso Dressing & Black Sesame Seeds
Ingredients
1 acorn squash, well scrubbed, halved, seeds removed, cut into 1/2" slices
olive oil
salt & pepper
for the dressing
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon mild yellow miso paste
2 tablespoons tahini
splash rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
to garnish
black sesame seeds

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Drizzle the acorn squash slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the slices once.
2. Whisk together ingredients for the dressing.
3. Serve roasted acorn squash slices straight out of the oven drizzled with miso dressing and garnished with black sesame seeds.




I really liked how this dish turned out. The black sesame seeds provided a great little crunch and color contrast. The miso dressing would be good on SO MANY THINGS and was a great salty counterpart to the sweet acorn squash!!

What would you have done with miso paste?

10/24/14

How To Decorate A Pumpkin Without Carving: Use Nail Polish!


Pumpkins. Pumpkins. Pumpkins!!! Good lord, pumpkins are everywhere. A few weeks ago I saw a gorgeous idea for decorating a small pumpkin using nail polish on Say Yes blog. I loved it. No need to carve. No fear of the pumpkin rotting. You can use whichever colors you like or match your décor AND the entire project takes about 10 minutes (including drying time!).

As luck would have it, the order of produce I received from From The Farmer last week included an adorable white decorative pumpkin. The stars aligned perfectly!


Here's what you do:
1) Fill a disposable bowl with warm water (make sure the bowl is deep enough for you to dunk the pumpkin).
2) Drop some nail polish into the water using whichever color combination you like. The nail polish will at first sink, but then will magically rise to the surface of the water. Put enough nail polish to cover the surface of the water. Use a toothpick to swirl the colors.
3) Dip your pumpkin! You can dip the entire pumpkin or half the pumpkin. I had to dip mine twice first lower half, then upper half (letting it dry in between and adding more nail polish).
4) Let the pumpkin dry completely.


Isn't it GORGEOUS??? I love how it turned out. Dipping the pumpkin into the bowl with nail polish messed up my manicure: wear disposable gloves if you have them.


Thanks Say Yes for an awesome idea and From The Farmer for the adorable white pumpkin.

How do YOU decorate your pumpkins?

10/22/14

My First Smoothie In My New Blendtec: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


Last month I wrote about a lovely gift the people from Blendtec sent me in the mail. So far I've used my brand new Blendtec to make soup, salsa verde and hummus. Then last weekend I decided to make a smoothie.

If you know me well, you know that I'm not a fan of bananas. Alas, it seems like most smoothies use bananas as the base. I decided to take my chances and not use bananas.

So what happened?

My First Smoothie In My New Blendtec: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Ingredients
2 apples, quartered, core removed
2 oranges, peeled, quartered
3 collard green leaves, stems removed, torn into pieces
1 cup ice
a drizzle of honey

Directions
Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend till smooth.


The Good: Blendtec did an awesome job handling apple skins, orange membranes and the tough collard greens: the smoothie was super smooth :) It also had a gorgeous color.

The Bad: there wasn't enough sweetness to offset the "green" flavor of the collard greens.

The Ugly: I drank one glass and had some leftovers for next day. The leftover smoothie mixture separated while sitting in the refrigerator and was rather unpleasant.

So, help me out! What are YOUR favorite ingredient combinations for smoothies that taste good, are good for you and do not have bananas?

Disclosure: I received this blender from as a gift from Blendtec. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.