10/30/18

Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole


Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole is a great dish to make and freeze to have for meals after you come back from a vacation. That's exactly what I did before I flew out to Charleston to meet my twin and our two friends.

Of course you can make regular enchiladas by rolling the tortillas, but layering them in a casserole saves time. I used a rotisserie chicken breast, but you can use ground beef or even crumbled tofu. This dish turned out pretty well, but lacked in texture. I think adding corn and/or sauteed onions and peppers would have improved it.

Rotisserie Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This is not an exact recipe ;)

19 ounce can enchilada sauce
8-10 corn tortillas
14.5 ounce can of refried beans
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breasts
2-3 cups shredded cheese
fresh parsley, chopped
pickled banana peppers

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) In a small baking dish pour a bit of the sauce. Then layer tortillas/refried beans/chicken/cheese/sauce.
3) Repeat to make 3 layers ending with the cheese and enchilada sauce.
4) Bake the casserole for 30 to 40 minutes and serve topped with parsley and banana peppers.

Not pictured: sour cream is a great topping as is salsa, guacamole and a bit of lime juice.

To freeze, allow the casserole to cool down completely, cut into pieces and freeze.

Thanks Kate and Anna for suggesting this :)

10/24/18

Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley


Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley takes minutes to make and can be vegan if that's your preference.

A few days ago I turned steamed cauliflower and chicken broth into a super quick soup right in my blender. What made this soup extra special were the toppings!


Pureed Cauliflower Soup With Za'atar And Parsley

Ingredients
steamed cauliflower
chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste
chili oil
za'atar
chopped parsley

Directions
1. Puree cauliflower and chicken broth in a blender. Season with salt and pepper. You want to start with two parts cauliflower and 1 part chicken broth and then add more liquid as needed.
2. Heat the soup in a small saucepan and pour into bowls.
3. Drizzle the soup with chili oil and top with za'atar and parsley.

10/22/18

Apricot & Tangerine Zest Biscotti: Hostess Gift


Are you looking for a perfect hostess gift? Apricot & Tangerine Zest Biscotti are not only easy to make, but make a perfect hostess gift that can be snacked on immediately or saved for a day after the party. Plus, you can make them a day or two ahead.

A few weeks ago I signed up to take Domenica Marchetti's workshop about food preservation on the beautiful Star Bright Farm. This Saturday, I drove to the farm with Domenica the day before the workshop and stayed in the guest house Helen and Mark, the owners of the farm, graciously made available for us. I wanted to bring something as a token of appreciation and decided to make one of Domenica's recipes from Ciao Biscotti (and also bring a bottle of wine). My parents taught me to never ever show up empty-handed.

I adapted Domenica's Orange and Pistachio recipe, but used dried apricots instead of pistachios, tangerine zest instead of orange, and almond extract instead of orange extract. 

This recipe used a new-to-me technique of whipping the egg whites separately, then adding sugar, and only then adding the egg yolks. 

Instead of packing the biscotti in a tin or a bag, I put them in one of my favorite oxo products: POP container!

These were a hit ;)


Apricot & Tangerine Zest Biscotti
Adapted from Ciao Biscotti and reprinted with the permission from the author

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egggs, separated
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
zest of 3 tangerines
3/4 cups vanilla sugar
1 cup diced dried apricots

Directions (I rewrote them in my own words. Domenica's directions are more thorough!)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Oil a large baking sheet.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl using a whisk.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks with honey, olive oil, almond extract and tangerine zest.
5. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, whisk egg whites until foamy. Slowly whisk in the sugar, until the mixture becomes thick, glossy, and sticky.
6. Incorporate the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture, and then add the flour mixture and the dried apricots. Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, mix till all the ingredients are combined.
7. Separate the dough into two parts and form two logs on the baking sheet approximately 2 1/2 inches wide by 12 inches long.
8. Bake the logs for 20 minutes, then gently slide onto a cooling rack using a an offset spatula (I actually used two large fish spatulas) and cool for 20 minutes.
9. Lower oven temperature to 300F.
10. Slice the logs into 1/2 inch pieces and bake for about 8 minutes on each side.
11. Cool biscotti completely before storing in an airtight container.

You can use whichever extract you like and mix in other types of dried fruit or nuts or use a combination of all of the above!

PS No pumpkins were harmed in the makings of the biscotti ;)

10/15/18

Vegan Split Pea Soup In A Pressure Cooker Adapted From SkinnyTaste


It finally feels like Fall, which means it's soup weather (although for me, almost any weather is soup weather). If you are like me and love split pea soup, you'll want to make my vegan version of SkinnyTaste's Split Pea Soup in a pressure cooker! I added potatoes, because that's what my mom always does, took out the meat, and added a few extra spices.

Remember when slightly over two years ago I received a PowerPressureXL to play with in my kitchen? I've loved that pressure cooker and used it often, but a few months ago noticed that the non stick coating started to come off. Luckily, the company has rebranded itself into PowerQuickPot, updated its pressure cooker model and now has a stainless steel insert! I received the new model and tested it out by making the split pea soup.

Vegan Split Pea Soup In A Pressure Cooker Adapted From SkinnyTaste

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery ribs, peeled, diced
1 large Russet potato, peeled, cubed into 3/4" pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons bourbon smoked paprika
1 pound dry green split peas, washed well
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
chopped parsley for garnish

Directions
1. Set the PowerQuickPot to a saute setting. Add olive oil, allow to heat slightly, then add carrots, onion, celery and potatoes. Saute for 5 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, other than parsley, and mix to combine.
3. Set the PowerQuickPot to the bean setting. {Note, the bean setting was for 20 minutes. I used a quick release after 15 minutes.}

Adjust the seasoning and serve topped with parsley. Keep in mind the soup will thicken as it sits in the fridge.

This will be lunch today and tomorrow and the day after!

Thanks PowerQuickPot for my new pressure cooker! I'm giving the older version to a friend and sending her a link to a stainless steel insert.

Note: I received the PowerQuickPot as a gift. I'm not being paid for this post. All opinions are my own.

10/9/18

Quick & Easy: Fried Egg, Sweet Plantains & Avocado


Some meals are planned. Others are thrown together in minutes. At least that's how I cook.

Yesterday, I had a day off, lunch was put together in minutes from a bunch of random ingredients I had on hand.

Quick & Easy: Fried Egg, Sweet Plantains & Avocado

1. Defrosted cooked white beans became a white bean dip with a bit of salt, bean cooking liquid, chili powder, and fresh basil.

2. Fried egg.

3. Frozen and baked plantains from the night before were reheated in the same skillet with the fried egg.

4. Cut up tomato and avocado were sprinkled with a bit of salt.

5. Everything got a bit of a freshness kick from the lime juice.

Quick and easy!

10/2/18

Travel Tuesday: Burlington, Vermont


Earlier in September I flew to Burlington, Vermont for a mini solo vacation. I needed a break from DC, and was looking forward to a getaway full of cooler weather, new experiences, great food, and relaxation. I got it all, but the cooler weather.

This is a quick recap with some photos and a list of things I did, saw, and ate. Most of these recommendations came from my friends and social media followers, and I am here to return the favor and share them with you.

Vermont has been on my list of places to visit for a while, and I finally checked it off! The flight from DC was slightly over an hour and not too expensive. I stayed at an AirBnb close enough to the center of the city and walked to most places. Uber was my other mode of transportation and couldn't have been easier.

Food
1) Honey Road (pictured above): This was probably my favorite meal by far. I was able to get a table outside around 5 pm and had a hard time deciding which dishes to order, because I wanted all of them! I ended up ordering hummus, whipped feta, lamb meatballs, and a charred octopus. Plus a cocktail. And dessert. I did not regret a single bite.

2) Willow's Bagels: perfect late breakfast spot. This place was recommended by a receptionist at the yoga place where I dropped in for a class (which was something I've never done on a vacation: highly recommend). I really liked that the bagels were thin and extra toasted. The smoked salmon and the yellow sliced tomatoes were dreamy!


3) Hen of the Wood: start with an oyster happy hour ($1/each), then move over to the chef's table for dinner, as I did. I loved seeing how the food was being prepared. My favorite dish was the toast with hen of the wood mushrooms, bacon and an egg. Again, I had no trouble getting a seat because I was there on an early side and solo.



4) Misery Loves Company: no photos because it was getting dark when I had dinner at this must restaurant with Carey. It was a great way to end my trip: sharing dishes, wine, and dessert and chatting about food, relationships, travel, etc.

Things to do
Shelburne Farms: I Ubered there from the city and it was beyond worth it. I took the tour of the farm and learned about sustainability, sampled cheese, saw beautiful cows, and had lunch. The tour also included the beautiful inn and garden. So picturesque!

Shelburne Vineyard: a quick Uber ride from the farm, this vineyard is not to miss. Sample the wines, walk around, and enjoy the nature.


Sangha Studio: drop in for a class or two and pay what you can. The studio provides mats and blocks.

Spirit of Ethan Allen: take a cruise around the lake!

Green Mountain Railroad Dinner Train: this was the first time I've ever taken a dinner train. I was nervous about sharing a table with strangers. I then was nervous about NOT sharing a table with strangers and having an entire table to myself, but the beauty outside of the windows, the food (I was surprised at how good it was!), and the grand service, made me happy I took this adventure.

Other mentions: take a tour of Citizen Cider, catch a movie at the Merrill's Roxy Cinema, walk through the farmers market.
Happy travels everyone!