12/13/17

Gluten Free Carrot Latkes For Hannukah



Happy Hannukah! Yesterday for the first night of Hannukah I made Gluten Free Carrot Latkes. Why? Because I was out of potatoes :)

Using carrots has a few benefits: you don't need to squeeze out any liquid as you would with potatoes, there are most likely fewer carbs, and the color is so pretty!

Gluten Free Carrot Latkes For Hannukah
Makes 5

Ingredients
vegetable oil for frying
2 carrots, peeled, grated
1 small shallot, grated
1 egg white {I had it left over from making challah over the weekend}
pinch of salt, or more
pinch of cayenne, or more
Ranch dressing {I did not have sour cream!}
fresh dill, chopped

Directions
1. Heat a cast iron skillet. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Heat.
2. Meanwhile, as the oil is getting hot, combine grated carrots and shallots with egg white, salt and cayenne.
3. Drop the mixture carefully into the hot oil making little latkes. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side depending on the size. 
4. Season with salt as the latkes come out of the oil. 
5. Serve IMMEDIATELY with a side of Ranch and sprinkled with dill.


Here's to everyone getting at least one miracle this season.

12/11/17

Salad Inspired By Pantone's Color Of The Year Greenery


I love playing in the kitchen and creating food that is simple, colorful, and fun. Over the weekend I made a salad using produce from Washington's Green Grocer and inspired by Pantone's 2017 color of the year: Greenery.

Salad Inspired By Pantone's Color Of The Year Greenery
Bibb lettuce
avocado, sliced
cucumber, peeled and sliced
Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
Castelvetrano olives
Romanesco
olive oil
kosher salt

No cooking required! Arrange the first 6 ingredients on a platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Maybe I'll create another salad for Pantone's 2018 color of the year: Ultra Violet.


12/7/17

TBT: Food Tour of Lisbon with Lazy Flavors


Going to Lisbon? Love food? Looking for a fun way to spend 4 hours, learn about food and history of Portugal, and get hundreds of steps in? Then you need to sign up for one of the tours offered by Lazy Flavors

One of the first things I did after booking airline tickets and hotel for a solo vacation in Lisbon for Thanksgiving, was finding a food tour. I found Mariana, the owner of Lazy Flavors, through one of my sister's friends and contacted her to see if I could join one of the tours. Because of the schedule conflicts, I could not join a group tour, but Mariana offered a one on one tour and was gracious to host me in exchange for an honest review on my blog. 

I was game!

I highly recommend arranging a food tour of any destination you are visiting as close to the beginning of the trip as possible. That way you'll get a great understanding of the city, find areas you'd like to explore further, and meet a local.

Mariana customized the tour for me when I mentioned that I wanted to visit one of the markets, and was very quick to respond by email to multiple questions I had.

Mariana picked me up at my hotel and we went next door to Confeitaria Nacional established in 1829! There, over pastries and coffee, Mariana told me that Portuguese sweets are commonly made with eggs and almonds. This particular bakery is known for their King's Cake that many residents buy for Christmas after standing in line that wraps around the block. 

Over the next 4 hours we visited Time Out Market, went on a tuk tuk ride to the neighborhood of Alfama (my favorite) where I tried fire roasted chorizo and ginginha (sour cherry liquor) sold by an old lady, then made our way back into central Lisbon for a cheese tasting, and a stop at a store that only sells tinned fish.

Time Out Market is a great place to visit whether you are staying in a hotel or an airbnb. Part of the market is devoted to produce, fresh fish, flowers, and other ingredients you can pick up to bring back to your airbnb and turn into a meal. The other part is prepared food, restaurants, and kiosks where you can buy food to eat right there. That's where I tried Lisbon's famous egg tarts at a Manteigaria. Every time the tarts come out of the oven, the little cafe rings the bell! 

I returned to the market one other time during my trip for fresh oysters. 

At the cheese store where we had our cheese tasting, with a very large glass of wine, I learned that most of the cheeses in Portugal are made from sheep or goat milk. Queijaria Nacional is a great place to pop into in between wondering around the city for a quick bite. The service, food, and decor were outstanding. 

Before dropping me off at my hotel, Mariana bought a bag of roasted chestnuts: this was the first time I've ever tried them. Lisbon's sidewalks were filled with people roasting chestnuts on little carts. The chestnuts were hot, dense, and filling! The aroma was the best part. 

Thank you Mariana for a wonderful tour of the city. I'll be sure to sign up for one of the cooking classes if I'll come back to Lisbon.

Stay tuned for another blog post about all the other things I did in Lisbon. I had the best time and am excited to share all my experiences with you to help you plan your trip!

12/4/17

Arugula, Apple, and Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Three-Cheese Crostini


I'm back from vacation and back to cooking and trying to eat slightly lighter, which is why the first recipe I made from Valerie Bertinelli's new cookbook was Arugula, Apple, and Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Three-Cheese Crostini.

I received a preview copy of Valerie's book and am impressed by the gorgeous photography, including Valerie herself who looks about 30 years old, helpful tips about ingredient substitutions and steps you can do ahead of time.

I've watched Valerie's show on Food Network for some time now and find her recipes simple, approachable, and quite appealing. The cookbook, called Valerie's Home Cooking, has the same feel to it.


Arugula, Apple, and Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Three-Cheese Crostini

Reprinted with permission

Ingredients
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups baby arugula
1 head Bibb lettuce, torn
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds chopped and reserved
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
8 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette bread slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Whisk together the shallot, citrus juices, honey, mustard, salt, and white pepper; let stand for 2 minutes. Add the extra virgin olive oil in a slow, stead stream, whisking until blended. Set aside the dressing.
2. Toss together arugula, Bibb lettuce, apple, fennel bulb, and walnuts in a large bowl. Set aside the salad.
3. Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and lightly brush the tops with olive oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven.
4. Stir together the cheeses, lemon zest, and black pepper in a small bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon of the reserved chopped fennel fronds. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto each toasted bread slice, and return to the oven. Bake until the cheese slightly melts and the bread edges are crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Add the dressing to the salad, and toss. Divide the salad evenly among 4 plates, and serve with 2 crostini.

My variations:
1. I forgot to pick up feta in the grocery store: used grated Parmesan
2. I don't have white pepper: used black pepper
3. Sliced my baguette into thinner slices to make them easier to eat
4. Added tangerine segments


This was a great light lunch. I can't believe there was a time when I did not like fennel! 

I will be posting another recipe from Valerie's book soon: stay tuned!

Disclosure: I received the cookbook free of charge but am not compensated for this post. All thoughts/opinions are my own.

12/1/17

TGIF: December


TGIF!! I'm back from Lisbon where I had such a great solo vacation. I'm planning on blogging about it and sharing with you all my favorite impressions, but for now I wish you a great December and a lovely weekend. {If you are as impatient as I am, you can go see all my vacation photos on instagram.}

Buy yourself some flowers, because having a bit of nature in your home is so uplifting! I added a few fennel tops to my bouquet. 

Tell me if you have any exciting plans for the last month of 2017.