5/21/15

Get Ready For Hummus Day: Yellow Squash Roll Ups With Sabra Chipotle Hummus, Tabbouleh & 2 Sauces


There's a National Day for everything from pancakes to cookies to tacos. I usually roll my eyes at such a thing and move along, but when my friends from Sabra asked me to develop a recipe for National Hummus Day that happens to be today, May 21st, I said yes. After all, I've formed a great relationship with this hummus brand (which includes awesome people like Ilya and Stephanie) over the last several years and they did send me a few** samples. {** a zillion!}

Make sure to check out Sabra website TODAY for a coupon!

Disclaimer: Sabra provided samples and compensation for the recipe development, but all opinions are my own.


Once I received this assignment and a zillion samples, I started thinking about what I can make. I've seen ideas for hummus dressing, hummus deviled eggs, using hummus on pizzas and in sandwiches and even mixing it into pasta: all great ideas!

I thought about adding hummus into lamb meatballs or maybe using it to thicken a vegetable soup, but then was inspired by Lebanese lunch my friend brought me:


What a feast! I used leftover tabbouleh and tzaziki and combined these two ingredients with yellow squash and chipotle hummus to make roll ups!

I used hummus in two components of the dish: roll ups and spicy tomato sauce!

Yellow Squash Roll Ups With Sabra Chipotle Hummus, Tabbouleh & 2 Sauces
Makes 5 roll ups

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
large yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 3/8-1/4" pieces
salt
Chipotle hummus (you'll want about 5 tablespoons)
1 cup tabbouleh, drained (you want to drain tabbouleh in a fine sieve so that it doesn't add too much moisture into the roll ups)
1/2 14 ounce-can drained chopped tomatoes
the middle of the Chipotle hummus (See the photograph below for this to make sense! Don't worry if you get some of the hummus when scooping out the chipotle part)
tzaziki
fresh basil


Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Sauté yellow squash slices seasoned with salt for 5-7 minutes on each side and then lightly pat them with paper towel to remove excess moisture.


2. Spread each slice with chipotle hummus and top with a thin layer of tabbouleh. Roll up! Use a toothpick to secure the rolls, but PLEASE make sure to remove the toothpicks before eating.


3. Puree the chipotle "middle" from the Chipotle Hummus with tomatoes to make the first sauce and use tzaziki as the second sauce.
4. Top the roll ups with fresh basil before serving.


I really liked how this dish turned out: it was spicy and fresh and full of color. The tzaziki was definitely the key in cooling me down ;)


Happy National Hummus Day!

5/18/15

What To Do With Ramps: Ramp & Almond Pesto


A few weekends ago I visited Dupont Farmers Market with my friends and decided to pick up a bunch of ramps. I think I've only had ramps a few times in my life but have never cooked with them. My friend Cecilia suggested I make pesto, and that's exactly what I did.

What To Do With Ramps: Ramp & Almond Pesto
Ingredients
7 ramps: leaves and white parts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
olive oil
salt to taste


Directions
1. Puree ramps, almonds and Parmesan cheese with enough oil to reach your desired consistency. Season with salt.


Things to do with Ramp & Almond Pesto:
spread it on sandwiches
mix it into mayonnaise
add it to egg or tuna salad
use it instead of tomato sauce on pizza
 
I added mine to pasta with roasted asparagus and radishes and topped it with ricotta and basil.


Happy Monday!!!

5/14/15

Eat Right For Your Sight: Quinoa, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad


Sight is one of the most important senses I have. It allows me to see the faces of people I care about as well as good looking strangers, experience the beauty of new cities I visit, spot architectural details of both modern and ancient buildings, and of course appreciate the vibrancy of the food I make and photograph.

I remember the first time I put on glasses and how things came more into a focus instantaneously. I could see individual leaves, not just trees. I could read signs that before were rather blurry. I've been wearing glasses for more than half of my life and would be lost without them.

Some people, however, unfortunately lose their vision as a result of Macular Degeneration.

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in people over 55 in the Western world. Despite the number of people and families this disease impacts, there is still an overwhelming lack of awareness on how to slow the progression and live with AMD.

I first heard of AMD a few weeks ago when I received a preview copy of Eat Right For Your Sight Cookbook. I was asked to share a bit of information about this awful disease on my blog because eating certain foods rich in beta carotene, lutein, Omega-3 and Vitamins A/C/D/E and zinc can help you see all the people that you love longer.

Here's a great table from the book that shows examples of the foods that are good for your sight. Luckily, I love many of them already: tomatoes, salmon, oranges, peppers, grapefruit, sunflower seeds and dried apricots.


Turns out that Georgia O'Keeffe suffered from Macular Degeneration and experienced one of the most common signs of it: seeing an area of darkness in the middle of her vision.

That sounds terrifying!

Now that I've probably scared you, let's get to what you can do. This book, as well as The American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) is a great resource for learning more about this disease.

Eat Right For Your Sight is a collection of recipes for Small Bites, Soups, Salads, Main Courses, Side Dishes, Desserts, and Healthy Drinks that will satisfy your desire for delicious food that will at the same time benefit the health of your eyes. The cookbook has highly known contributors including Lidia Bastianich, Ina Garten, and Jacques Pepin! It also includes a helpful list of ingredients to have in your pantry and metric conversion charts.


I decided to combine some of the ingredients from the Celery, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad with Toasted Quinoa Salad to make Toasted Quinoa, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad.

Toasted Quinoa, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups of cooked quinoa (I used tricolor quinoa because it's pretty and cooked it in salted water for about 20 minutes. BEFORE cooking the quinoa, make sure to toast it in a dry skillet until the seeds start to pop and the aroma hits your nose.)
olive oil
1 grapefruit, segmented (make sure to save the grapefruit juice)
1 avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
flaky salt 


Directions
1. Drizzle quinoa with a bit of olive oil and some of the grapefruit juice. Add in a thin layer to two plates.
2. Arrange grapefruit segments and avocado slices on top of the quinoa. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and grapefruit juice, sprinkle with flaky salt and parsley.


Doesn't this look pretty? This salad is not only delicious, but is quite filling and it's good for you!!!

You can eat it as is or serve it topped with roasted shrimp or poached salmon. Your eyes will thank you!


Disclosure: I received a free preview copy of the cookbook but am not compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own. 

  I'm Blogging for Eye Health, #EatRightforYourSight

5/11/15

What To Do With Leftover Pancake Batter: Kimcheesy "Pizza" Pancake


A few weekends ago I made pancakes with mango and bourbon maple syrup. They were delicious. Even though I halved the recipe, I still had some of the batter leftover. Instead of throwing out the leftover batter, I saved it in the fridge and turned it into Kimcheesy "Pizza" Pancake the next day.

WHAT!? Pizza made from pancake batter!? With Kimcheese!? What's Kimcheese!? Calm down ;) I basically used the leftover pancake batter and topped it with kimchee and cheese!

I realize this combination of flavors may not be for everyone, but I liked it and that's why I'm sharing it with you here ;)

What To Do With Leftover Pancake Batter: Kimcheesy "Pizza" Pancake
Ingredients
olive oil
leftover pancake batter
kimchee, chopped into bite pieces
shredded cheddar (or any other cheese you like)
chopped parsley

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet that can go under the broiler.
2. Preheat the broiler.
3. Whisk leftover pancake batter and pour it in a thin layer into the skillet making sure to cover the bottom of the skillet fully. Heat the skillet with the oil on the stove.
4. Once the surface of the large pancake solidifies slightly, top it with kimchi and cheddar cheese and let it cook for a few minutes.
5. Put the skillet under the broiler until the cheese bubbles.
6. Slide the pancake out of the skillet, top with parsley, cut into wedges and eat immediately.


You don't even need a fork for this: just use your fingers! I loved the combination of the slightly sweet pancake batter with the spicy kimchee and sharp cheddar.

I bet this would be awesome with an egg on top ;)


Happy Monday!!!

5/6/15

Lemony & Spicy Lamb Loin Chops & LambJamDC


How do you feel about lamb? I happen to like it. A lot. Although I don't tend to cook lamb often at home, I tend to order it when dining out.

This past weekend I created a recipe for Lemony Spicy Lamb Loin Chops at home because of several reasons:

1) I was invited to attend a VIP event leading to the DC Lamb Jam
2) I was asked to JUDGE DC Lamb Jam (I said YES within a minute)
3) I received a shipment of lamb loin chop courtesy of American Lamb

If you happen to be in DC Friday May 15th and/or Sunday May 17th, love lamb, want to try creations by some of the DC chefs and find out who is the LAMB KING (alas it appears there are no women chefs participating), get your tickets now!

VIP EVENT:
Experience an intimate night with two previous Lamb Jam Champion Chefs as they lead you through grilling American lamb 101, serve four unique dishes paired with artisan cocktails as well as local beer and wine, and enjoy the wonderful outside patio space at The Occidental Grill & Seafood.

LAMB JAM DC:
Lamb Jam Grand Tasting Includes:
16 of the most talented chefs from the DC area
Beer and wine from DC’s top breweries and winemakers
Interactive photo booth
DIY lamb spice rub station
Butcher demonstration

BENEFITS GO TO:
DC Central Kitchen is America’s leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.


Most of the people think of rosemary, garlic and lemon as the perfect companions for lamb. I agree with this to an extent. You see, I'm not a huge fan of rosemary. I don't like eating something that reminds me of evergreen trees. The recipe I created was partially inspired by the herbs I bought earlier in the weekend: thyme, parsley and rosemary. I also decided to make the marinade heavy on the lemon flavor and add a bit of Korean chili flakes for a great level of spiciness.

The final product has a lot of strong flavors that all work together beautifully.


Lemony Spicy Lamb Loin Chops
Ingredients
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
3 loin lamb chops
kosher salt to taste
olive oil for sautéing
1 tablespoons butter (optional)
chopped parsley for garnish


Directions
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Add lamb loin chops and marinade in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight.
2. Take the chops out of the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Remove the chops from the marinade and season with salt. Cook the chops for 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on how raw you want them to be inside.
4. Meanwhile, bring the remaining marinade to a boil in a small sauce pan. If you like, add a bit of butter and continue to simmer the marinade until it thickens.
5. Serve the chops drizzled with the reduced marinade and topped with fresh parsley.


Ta da! I had the lamb chops with roasted potatoes. This was quite a messy piece of lamb to eat: I recommend you pretend that you are a cavewoman (or a caveman) and eat it with your hands as opposed to trying to neatly cut the chops with a knife.



I even liked the lamb cold the next day straight out of the refrigerator!

Thank you American Lamb for the lamb loin chops and the invitation to participate in the fun DC events!

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the VIP lamb event and be a judge at the DC Lamb Jam. I'm also bringing two of my friends to the events. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

5/4/15

What To Do With Cauliflower: Bake It! Baked Cauliflower In A Cheesy Sauce


Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. I met a few out of town friends for brunch, bought myself gorgeous tulips and washed all the hardwood floors in my condo. I also cooked lamb: more on that later this week.

Isn't it funny how things work out sometimes? A few weeks ago I received a Thermapen to test out in my kitchen and was looking through my collection of cookbooks for a recipe that would test out the qualities of this high end instant thermometer. I did not find anything that called my name meat-wise, but did find a drool-worthy recipe for baked cauliflower. No, this recipe doesn't require an instant thermometer: I'll have to use it elsewhere.

I made a few changes to the original recipe such as adding a bit of heat with chipotle chile powder and a bit of crunch with panko crumbs. I realize it's a zillion degrees out now, but you may still want to make this Baked Cauliflower In A Cheesy Sauce side for your Meatless Monday dinner tonight.

What To Do With Cauliflower: Bake It! Baked Cauliflower In A Cheesy Sauce
Slightly adapted from The Book of Steak

Ingredients
1large head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut into florets
2/3 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, diced
3 tablespoons flour
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
chipotle chile powder to taste
2/3 cups shredded cheddar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup panko crumbs

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook until al dente. Drain.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F.
3. Pour the wine and add a bay leaf to a saucepan. Boil until the wine reduces by half. Add the milk, butter, and flour and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth. Continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
4. Take the saucepan with the wine/flour mixture off the heat. Remove the bay leaf. Add 2/3rds of the cheese mixture (after mixing the two cheeses together), mustard, parsley and chipotle chile powder. Season with salt and black pepper.


5. Pour a bit of the cheesy goodness into a baking dish, top with the cauliflower, and drizzle the rest of the cheese sauce on top.
6. Combine the rest of the cheese with the panko crumbs and sprinkle on top.



7. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve garnished with fresh parsley.


How beautiful does this look!? Your house will smell incredible. The cheesy wine sauce in this recipe would also work with pasta, potatoes, or mushrooms. I can even see it in a rice/chicken casserole. Definitely experiment with it.


I'm not sure why, but the dish was more saucy/liquid'y than I expected. Maybe next time I'll add more flour or bake the cauliflower for a longer amount of time. The sauciness did not bother me though. My favorite part of this dish was the upper crispy cheesy layer!


What have you been making with cauliflower?

What recipe should I make to test the instant read thermometer? {Please don't say roasted chicken.}

4/30/15

Blackberry Pancakes With Bourbon Maple Syrup & Fresh Mango


You know what my favorite day of the week is? Saturday! It's the beginning of the weekend. I usually can sleep in and then have an entire day of lazying around or fun things planned with friends. Occasionally I even manage to do something productive.

Last Saturday I woke up at 10:30 after a late night of salsa dancing. I got out of bed, moved over into the living room and planted myself on the couch to check all my social media {I'm an addict}, and see what was on Food Channel.

That's when I saw Nikki's tweet about wanting pancakes. Although typically I'm not a huge fan of sweet things for breakfast or brunch, the power of suggestion took a hold of me. I wanted, no I needed, pancakes.

Alas, I did not have milk or buttermilk. Nor did I have a pancake mix. Google to the rescue! I found a recipe for pancakes that used water and decided to give it a try.

Blackberry Pancakes With Bourbon Maple Syrup & Fresh Mango


All you do is make your pancake batter. I used a bit of butter in a nonstick pan and the poured some of the batter in individual puddles. Once the batter began to bubble on the surface, I added 2-3 blackberries to each pancake, and then turned each pancake after a minute and let it cook for another few minutes.

To make these pancakes extra special, I drizzled them with warm bourbon maple syrup, sprinkled them with powdered sugar (using oxo's baker's dusting wand) and served cubes of fresh mango on the side. The awesome mug that held a large amount of coffee was a birthday present from my twin who thinks I swear too much :0 And of course I love flowers and plants, so one was nearby.


This was such a successfully delicious Saturday late breakfast. I had some of the batter leftover even though I made only 1/2 of the recipe. Make sure to check the blog next week to see what I did with that leftover batter.


Have a great weekend!

4/27/15

Meatless Monday: Whipped Lemon Ricotta & Avocado Toasts


Raise your hand if you love avocado toasts! Do you have yours raised? I surely do. I love smashing avocado on toast or crackers or buns and sprinkling a bit of salt on top. Sometimes I also add a bit of sriracha or lemon juice or even chopped pistachios.

Yesterday for a light lunch I took the idea of avocado toast and elevated it to something even better by using a base of whipped lemon ricotta!! You have got to make this for breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner. This Whipped Lemon Ricotta & Avocado Toasts idea is perfect for Meatless Monday.

Meatless Monday: Whipped Lemon Ricotta & Avocado Toasts
Ingredients
ricotta, drained in a sieve for a few hours {use full fat ricotta!}
lemon zest
olive oil
salt
WASA crackers or toast 
avocado, halved, pit removed, sliced
radishes, sliced
chili oil 


Directions
1. Put ricotta, lemon zest, a bit of olive oil and salt to taste in a food processor and whip it up until ricotta is incredibly smooth.
2. Spread ricotta mixture on WASA crackers and top with avocado and radish slices. Season with salt and drizzle with chili oil.
3. Serve these with a simple salad of watercress and radishes dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.



I'm back to using my tripod and think the photos are so much more in focus: agree?


Happy Monday!

4/23/15

Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad: Grilled Potato Salad With Black Beans And Goat Cheese


I love potatoes! Mashed. Fried. In soups. Roasted. Simply boiled.

I love potatoes in salads with mayonnaise and hard boiled eggs or with cucumbers and tomatoes and olives and fresh herbs. But sometimes even I know that not every dish requires mayonnaise.

Last weekend I decided to make a lighter version of a potato salad with grilled potatoes. Because I don't have a grill, I used my Panini maker. If you don't have either one, you can sauté or roast or broil your potatoes.

This salad is great for warm days, eating outside, and can be made for one or for a crowd.

Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad: Grilled Potato Salad With Black Beans And Goat Cheese

Ingredients
Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed, sliced into 1/4" rounds
olive oil
salt
sumac
black beans (I cooked mine from scratch, but you can use canned ones)
crumbled goat cheese
fresh basil

for the dressing
1 part lemon juice
1 part olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
lemon zest


Directions
1. Drizzle potato rounds with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and sumac. "Grill" in a Panini maker for 15-20 minutes. Make sure your potatoes are completely cooked through!!
2. Layer potatoes on a plate with black beans, goat cheese and basil.
3. Whisk all ingredients for the dressing and drizzle on the salad.



It's best to eat this salad as soon as the potatoes come out of the Panini maker because the dressing gets absorbed better and you get a great contrast between hot potatoes and creamy cold goat cheese.

Happy almost weekend!!

4/20/15

Watermelon Salad With Goat Cheese And Pistachios Inspired By Crate & Barrel Towel


It's Monday! Are you ready for something sweet, savory, spicy and utterly delicious!? Then you must make my Watermelon Salad With Goat Cheese And Pistachios. This salad started with an adorable watermelon towel I bought at Crate & Barrel {no, this is not a sponsored post: I simply love that store and have too many of their items in my condo!}.

Once I purchased the towel yesterday, my typical watermelon craving kicked into a higher gear! So, I went to the store and picked up a wedge of watermelon {a large watermelon is too heavy to carry home} and a few other random items: pistachios and cilantro.

Once home, I was going to eat watermelon as is, but then decided to make a salad. This is similar to the popular watermelon, feta and basil salad, but I used goat cheese and cilantro and added a few other fun ingredients.


Watermelon Salad With Goat Cheese And Pistachios Salad

Ingredients {decide on your own quantities!}
watermelon cubes
crumbled goat cheese
pistachios {I used these and they are incredibly addictive!}
cilantro
sumac
olive oil

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients. Eat. {For the sake of photos, I made a composed salad by layering ingredients.}

The sweetness of the watermelon was a great contrast to the creamy slightly salty goat cheese, crunchy pistachios and the lemony notes of sumac. This would be incredible on a hot summer day!

By the way, did you notice my photos becoming blurry? I recently stopped using a tripod and it appears that it was a mistake ;(