6/25/14

Super Duper Easy Recipe with Rhubarb: Rhubarb Syrup from TheKitchn


This is a super quick and simple post. If you can still find rhubarb at your grocery store or farmers' market, you MUST make this awesome Rhubarb Syrup from TheKitchn.

All you have to do is cook rhubarb with a bit of sugar and water and then put the mixture through a sieve. You'll get a gorgeous pink syrup that you can add to sparkling water or pour over vanilla ice cream or mix with a bit of vodka and serve over ice.

The "mush" that's left in the sieve is great on top of toast with peanut butter or with a slice of cheese.



How beautiful is this rhubarb syrup???



Thank you TheKitchn for a great idea!!!

What's your go-to rhubarb recipe?

6/23/14

What to Make with Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi and Potato Soup with Chili Oil and Chives


Who says you can't have soup in the summer? This Kohlrabi and Potato Soup with Chili Oil and Chives can be served hot, warm or chilled. It has the most incredibly smooth texture and a great contrast between the sweetness of the kohlrabi and the heat of the chili oil. Plus, it looks sooooo pretty!

What to Make with Kohlrabi? Kohlrabi and Potato Soup with Chili Oil and Chives


Kohlrabi and Potato Soup with Chili Oil and Chives
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and diced
2 golden potatoes, peeled and diced
32 ounces vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste
splash of milk
chili oil
chopped chives


Directions
1. In a soup pot, cover the cubed kohlrabi and potatoes with the vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are completely cooked through.
2. Puree the soup using a stick blender.
3. Do NOT skip this step: put the pureed soup through a fine sieve. This will ensure you get the smoothest possible texture. Seriously, do not skip this step or you'll get a bunch of stringy pieces of kohlrabi stuck in your teeth.
4. Finish the soup with a splash of milk and serve topped with chili oil and chopped chives.


This soup would be a great first course for a party and can be served in shot glasses: no spoons necessary! As I have mentioned before, you can serve it at almost any temperature you wish. The soup thickens up as it sits in the refrigerator, so you may want to thin it out slightly the following day.

If you choose not to add the milk, you'll have a great vegan soup!


Have you cooked with kohlrabi before? What did you make?

6/18/14

Red, White & Green Shakshouka: Arrivederci!


Guess what? As you are reading this, I'm getting ready to fly to ITALY!!!! This is a well welcomed vacation with good friends, and I cannot wait. Don't worry: I have a few posts scheduled for the time when I'll be away, and if you get bored, make sure to follow me on instagram for all the trip updates.

But let's get back to this Red, White & Green Shakshouka.  Not only does this recipe represent the colors of the Italian flag, but it's also a great dish to make in order to clean up your refrigerator before a trip and to have a substantial but not overly caloric meal.

Red, White & Green Shakshouka
Serves 2-4 depending on your appetite

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
salt & pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste
1 bunch red chard, chopped
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
2-4 eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta

optional: bread

Directions
1. In a large skillet heat the oil. Add zucchini and onions. Season with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes and sauté on medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
2. Add red chard and sauté until it has wilted.
3. Add canned tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer.
4. Make wells in the vegetable mixture and carefully drop an egg into each well. Cover the skillet and allow the eggs to get cooked so that the whites are opaque but the yolks are still runny.
5. Serve sprinkled with feta and an optional chunk of bread.

Arrivederci!!!!!!!!!!!!

6/16/14

Sweet Potato Balls with Sabra's Supremely Spicy Hummus

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



What do you get when you combine a baked sweet potato with corn, red pepper, onion and Sabra's Supremely Spicy Hummus? You get a super cute looking dish that is easy to make, fun to eat, and is good for you!

If you are afraid of the heat, feel free to use any other flavor of hummus or even go with the plain variety, but in that case add a bit of salt and pepper.


Sweet Potato Balls with Sabra's Supremely Spicy Hummus
Makes 14 balls

Ingredients
1 huge baked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
kernels from 1 ear of corn
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, diced
5 ounces Supremely Spicy Sabra Hummus
1 teaspoon salt
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup panko crumbs
to serve: salsa

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl combine all ingredients but panko crumbs and salsa.
3. Using a scoop, make 14 balls and carefully roll them in panko crumbs.
4. Place the balls on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Serve with salsa.
 




Notes:
1) These balls will be super light and tender: be careful when handling them.
2) If you want, you can sauté the corn, onion and red peppers instead of using them raw.
3) You can also form the mixture into patties instead of balls and sauté those in olive oil in a skillet or even fry them!

And as always, for more great ideas, Like Sabra on Facebook.
Visit Sponsor's Site
 

6/13/14

How To Make Pickled Green Beans Without Canning: Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans


Want a fun weekend project? How about making pickled green beans? This idea came to me because I've been getting quite a few bags of green bags from Washington Green Grocer {great service and well worth the $$}.

There are a zillion recipes for pickling green beans and just as many recipes for refrigerator pickled green beans. I did not want to follow any of them :) Look at me: such a rebel.

I just wanted to makes something up and see how that will go.

How To Make Pickled Green Beans Without Canning: Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans

Ingredients
green beans, ends snipped
white vinegar
salt
sugar
black mustard seeds
cumin seeds
red pepper flakes
garlic cloves, peeled


Directions
1. Fill a clean jar snuggly with green beans.
2. Pour enough vinegar to cover the beans.
3. Pour out the vinegar into a small pan and add sugar and salt to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour back into the jar with the beans adding the rest of the ingredients.
4. Tightly close the jar and let it cool. Refrigerate the green beans for at least a few days.



Thoughts:
This method is awesome because you don't really need to measure anything.
OMG the beans came up super vinegary and spicy.
Next time, I will use 2/3 part vinegar and 1/3 part water.

These are awesome as a snack, added to Bloody Mary or to a tuna or an egg salad.


Have you done any refrigerator pickling? What's your to go recipe?

Have a great weekend!

6/11/14

Lighter Summer Chicken Soup with Broccoli, Chickpeas & Milk


You guys! I want winter to come back. Or at least spring. It's hot and humid and sticky in DC already and summer is just starting (I use the Russian system of seasonality in which first day of summer is June 1st).

Despite the heat outside, I don't mind eating hot and warm food indoors as long as air conditioning is on a strong blast. That's why I loved creating this Lighter Summer Chicken Soup with Broccoli, Chickpeas & Milk. The idea to add milk to the chicken soup was inspired by a recipe I saw on my friend Rachael's blog.

Unlike the version of chicken soup that typically contains noodles, rice or dumplings, this lighter summer version is full of vegetables and get additional protein from the chickpeas.

Lighter Summer Chicken Soup with Broccoli, Chickpeas & Milk
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 peeled and diced carrots
2 peeled and diced broccoli stems
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 diced white onion
5-6 cups of liquid (I used a combination of liquid left over from poaching the chicken, liquid from cooking the chickpeas and water)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (use canned if you want)
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups shredded poached chicken (I used skinless boneless chicken breasts)
3 tablespoon milk (use full fat)
chopped cilantro



Directions
1. In a large soup pot heat the oil. Add carrots, broccoli stems, onion and salt and pepper and sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the liquid and bring to a boil.
3. Add chickpeas, broccoli florets and shredded chicken and simmer the soup for 5 minutes.
4. Add milk and mix to combine.
5. Serve the soup garnished with chopped cilantro.



I really liked this soup. It felt light but filling and was good after several days of sitting in the refrigerator.
 
To make a vegetarian version of the soup, use vegetable broth and cubed tofu.
 
Do you make soups in the summer?

6/9/14

What Do You Crave For Breakfast? Blueberry & Nectarine Pancakes with Blueberry & Nectarine Compote


Let's talk breakfast. During the week I eat breakfast in my cubicle. It usually involves something fast like Wasa crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon or peanut butter and jam. Occasionally, I eat leftovers for breakfast. I've even had a bowl of cold borsch first thing in the morning.

On weekends, however, the story is different. 90 percent of the time I prefer a savory breakfast: eggs, potatoes, bagel with lox. Once in a blue moon, though, I crave something sweet. That's exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I created Blueberry & Nectarine Pancakes with Blueberry & Nectarine Compote.

Note: please don't judge these pancakes by the photos: they tasted ten times better than I've managed to make them look ;)


Blueberry & Nectarine Pancakes with Blueberry & Nectarine Compote
Makes ~ 8 pancakes
Ingredients
for the pancakes
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoon melted butter, plus extra butter for the pan
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup blueberries
1 small nectarine, chopped

for the compote
1/2 cup blueberries
1 nectarine, diced
1/4 cup water
2-3 tablespoon sugar, depending on how sweet the berries and the nectarine are

topping
powdered sugar

Directions
1. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add an egg and incorporate.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix to combine without overworking the batter.
4. Whisk in the buttermilk, milk and lemon extract and fold in the lemon zest, blueberries and nectarine.
5. Heat the extra butter in a skillet and using 1/4 cup measure form your pancakes, sautéing them about 5 minutes on each side.
6. Meanwhile, make the compote by adding the blueberries, nectarine, water and sugar to a small saucepan, bringing the mixture to a boil, and then simmering the compote for about 5 to 10 minutes and slightly mashing the blueberries and nectarine.
7. Serve the pancakes topped with the compote and a bit of powdered sugar.

 

I loved the slight lemon flavor in the pancakes and having a burst of the blueberries in each bite. Of course you can make this same recipe with blackberries, raspberries, peaches and plums.

The compote is also great served on top of ice cream or mixed with a bit of champagne or sparkling water!

What's your favorite breakfast?

6/4/14

Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake


One of the lessons my parents taught me at an early age is to NEVER EVER SHOW UP EMPTY HANDED when visiting someone. I feel like this lesson is something that unfortunately not everyone has learned. And that's a shame.

Whether you are coming over to a dinner a friend is preparing, or stopping by for tea and dessert, make an effort to bring something thoughtful. It could be a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, a bar of fancy soap, or a dish you have made yourself or picked up at a store. This could cost as little as $5, but will show your hosts that you are happy to see them and appreciate the time they took to clean their house and prepare a meal.

A few weeks ago I came over to my friend Sylvie's house for homemade Vietnamese food, and decided to bring something she and her husband could have for breakfast the next day or something to go with their coffee or tea. That's how I came up with Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake.

Perfect Hostess Gift: Date, Walnut & Cocoa Nibs Cake
Adapted from Taste of Home Orange Date Bread
Makes 4 mini loaves

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla puree
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup roasted cocoa nibs


Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla puree and mix to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk.
5. Fold in walnuts, dates and cocoa nibs.
6. Lightly butter 4 individual loaf pans and sprinkle with flour. Divide the cake batter among the 4 pans and bake for 55 minutes.
7. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans.



I wrapped the cakes in plastic wrap and then in parchment paper and tied the bundles with pretty pink "ribbons" which are actually the handles of Ann Taylor Loft bags! Talk about recycling ;)



These cakes came out tender, slightly sweet and had great texture from the chewy dates and crunchy walnuts and cocoa nibs.

Tell me what YOU like to bring over when you are visiting friends!

6/2/14

Recipe for Georgian Khachapuri from Saveur

 
Last week I wrote about a great meal I had at Compass Rose. Inspired by the photos of khachapuri I posted on instagram, my friend Sylvie suggested we try making this Georgian dish ourselves and found a recipe on the Saveur website.
Although Friday is my typical salsa dancing night, I was happy to skip it in order to hang out with Sylvie and have one of our awesome food adventures. Also, I did not feel like paying extra to see people perform: when I go dancing, *I* want to be the one dancing.
 
But let's get back to the khachapuri. Khachapuri is a Georgian dish, and is basically a bread bowl in a shape of a boat filled with bubbly cheese and an egg.
 
Sylvie and I followed a recipe from Saveur pretty much to the t, so I will not retype it here, but I'll show you the photos and tell you what we did.
 
To make the dough was incredibly simple. Yeast, water, sugar, salt, olive oil and flour. The dough was so soft!! And it did a great job doubling in size:
 


The filling was very easy: Muenster cheese and feta.

Sylvie and I kept on saying "omg, this is SOOO MUCH CHEESE," while Sylvie's husband Marshall was sure we would be able to handle it ;)


Once the dough doubled in size, we divided it and rolled it out on parchment paper. We then added the cheese mixture on top, leaving a boarder and rolled the two longer edges toward the center to make the boat shapes.



{those are my new sandals above!}

The khachapuri baked in the 500 degree oven. It was pretty steamy in Sylvie's kitchen ;) I decided to leave out the egg, but Sylvie and Marshall both added an egg to their khachapuri.

Here's mine:


We were so pleased with the results!!! It's a pretty simple dish to make, but looks very impressive and is OH SO DECADENT!

We doubled the recipe and had a bit of the leftover cheese mixture. I also chose not to use the butter.

We had the khachapuri with a salad of lettuce, corn, avocado, tomatoes and Ranch dressing and a glass of white wine.

This was an incredible way to start the weekend!




Have you made a dish inspired by your dining out experience? Was it a success?