9/17/18

Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe


In need of a quick and easy vegan comfort food recipe!? I have you covered with Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe.

Did you miss me? I had a really fun vacation in Burlington, VT and then came back and got a cold and stayed home for an entire week. Oy.

After my vacation, I wanted something healthy but still comforting (you know how hard it is to go back to normal life after so much fun and good food and sleeping in and seeing new things). I decided to use red lentils from my pantry, dinosaur kale from my refrigerator and a few extra ingredients.

I basically did very little prep and dumped everything in my pressure cooker.

Vegan Miso And Coconut Milk Red Lentils With Dinosaur Kale Recipe
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups red lentils
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 bunch dinosaur kale, ribs removed and discarded, torn into pieces
2 cups miso broth
3 garlic cloves, chopped
13.5 ounce can coconut milk
chili powder, to taste

toppings
chopped tomatoes
olive oil
lemon
yogurt, optional

1. Add all ingredients other than toppings into a pressure cooker.
2. Stir to combine.
3. Set the pressure cooker to 8 minutes on beans/lentils setting.

Serve topped with chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil or a spoon of yogurt or sour cream. A squeeze of lemon juice brightens up this dish really well. Fresh herbs will be good too.

8/30/18

Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad


If you are looking for a healthy meal that is made in less than 20 minutes and is not only colorful, but also has a ton of flavor, make my Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad.

I used defrosted cod, but feel free to use fresh fish. Also, I made my own Cajun spice, but you can buy a jar in your grocery store. If your Cajun spice doesn't have salt, add it to the mix.

This recipe will transfer you to a warmer climate (oh wait...it's a thousand degrees in DC!) and make you feel like you are on vacation. Don't hesitate to have a tropical boozy drink with this dish.

Cajun Spiced Cod With Charred Corn Salad

olive oil
cod 
Cajun spice

corn, charred, kernels cut off (I charred mine directly on the flame of the gas stove, but you can use a grill or a broiler, or simply cut off the kernels and saute them in a skillet)
tomatoes, diced
avocado, diced
red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
jalapeno, chopped
lime juice to taste
olive oil
salt & pepper

melon slices

1) Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Coat cod on both sides with the Cajun spice and saute for 2-4 minutes on each side depending on the size of the fish.
2) Combine corn, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno in a bowl and dress with lime juice, olive oil and salt & pepper.
3) Serve the fish with a side of the charred corn salad and a few slices of melon.

8/27/18

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad


Raise your hand if you need to reset your eating after a weekend of tater tots, cake, Mexican food, ice cream, hot dogs, and zero exercise.

Oh, is it just me!? 

I present you with Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad aka big ass salad. This salad uses leftover baked red skinned potatoes and all the summer produce you have on hand. If you happen to be a hater of mayonnaise, use olive oil, which will make this salad vegan!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Meatless Monday Salad

baked red skinned potatoes, cubed
fresh corn kernels
tomatoes, cubed
Persian cucumbers, cubed
cilantro, chopped
pickled red onions
salt and pepper to taste
mayonnaise

The pickled red onions really make this salad! As far as how much of each ingredient to use, I say do as you wish. I had about the same amount of potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. If you want this to be more of a potato salad, add more potatoes!

8/22/18

Plum Almond Cake From Domenica Marchetti


Yesterday as soon as I saw Domenica Marchetti share a link to her Plum Almond Cake recipe on Leite's Culinaria, I decided that I would make it. Yes, another cake.

Miraculously, I had all the ingredients needed for the cake at home! {I did have to make my own almond flour from the slivered almonds, but that was really easy.}

Speaking of miraculous, and this has nothing really to do with the cake or the blog, but DEAR MEN: PLEASE STOP GHOSTING!!!! I suppose this also applies to women who do that. It's cowardly, unkind, and rude, and karma, hopefully will get you. I'm still waiting for that miracle of finding ♥.


Ok, back to the cake. I followed the recipe a hundred percent, and the results were stellar. My condo smelled sweet from the ripe plums, sugar, and almond extract. The cake had a tender inside and crusty outside, and took only minutes to put together. 


Above is the before photo: you add the simple batter to the spring form pan, the plop the halved plums, and top with the mixture of almonds, butter and sugar!

The photo below is the after. Please follow the instructions and allow full 20 minutes for the cake to cool. I did not, and mine broke in a few places, but still tasted awesome warm topped with sour cream!!! 


I had leftovers for breakfast with iced coffee.

Let there be cake!

8/20/18

Quick & Easy Pickled Red Onions With Sumac


One of the ingredients I always have on hand are onions. I add onions to soups, salads, thinly sliced into sandwiches, main dishes, and side dishes.

Pickled onions aren't only easy to make, but can elevate any dish and enhance its flavor.

Last weekend I made a quick batch of pickled onions without using any measurements and with an addition of sumac. It was so good and easy, I decided to make a second batch and to share the recipe with you.

Quick & Easy Pickled Red Onions With Sumac

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
juice of 1 tangerine
white vinegar
a few dashes of sumac

Place sliced onions into a small jar. Add juice of tangerine and enough white vinegar to cover. Add sumac. Add the lid. Shake. Refrigerate for at least a few hours.

I've added these onions to a pulled pork sandwich, tuna salad, and a big potato salad that I'll blog about later this week.

8/14/18

Peach Upside-Down Cake from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis


At the beginning of this year, I decided to make more recipes that will challenge my culinary skills. This past weekend, I did just that when I baked Peach Upside-Down Cake from Secrets of the Southern Table by Virginia Willis

I've been following Virginia Willis on social media for a while, and bought a ticket to a dinner she hosted in DC as soon as I saw it announced. The dinner was part of her book tour for the newly released Secrets of the Southern Table. I received a preview copy of the book from Virginia's publishers, and as soon as I tried the Peach Upside-Down Cake at dinner, I knew I'd have to make it. 

During the dinner I also tried and loved Virginia's shrimp and grits, but the highlight of the night was hearing about the new cookbook and the stories of Southern cuisine. Virginia researched the book for a year and shares stories of farmers, makers and growers, and immigrants who have impacted the food. You'll learn that Southern cuisine is not just okra, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken. The book includes recipes for dishes such as shredded beef arepas, Mexican chocolate pudding, tomato-ginger green beans, and chicken and butterbean paella.

But let's talk about cake for now!

This was my first time making an upside-down cake, and I was nervous. Would it come out as light and flavorful as Virginia's? Will it stick to the cast iron skillet? Will my friend who came over for her belated birthday celebration like it? Well, I had nothing to worry about.




PEACH UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE from SECRETS OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE by VIRGINIA WILLIS. Copyright © 2018 by VIRGINIA WILLIS. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Peach Upside-Down Cake
Serves 10

Southern peaches are something special. The trouble is, you pretty much have to live in the South to understand what the fuss is about, because peaches bought elsewhere are most often picked green and hard before shipping. 

When ag-entrepreneur Stephen Rose moved to Nashville in the summer of 2010, he made a disheartening discovery: No one was selling fresh, flavorful peaches like the kind he’d grown up with in Peach County, Georgia. He had an idea. He and his wife bought a 1964 Jeep truck and started selling big, beautiful, juicy Georgia peaches out of their cab in Nashville. Within five weeks, the city had consumed over ten tons of their brown-bagged peaches. Now the Peach Truck Tour travels through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania!

Pineapple upside-down cake is a Southern classic and is most often made with canned pineapple.

This version uses fresh peaches and is a vast improvement, in my opinion. You can use all-purpose flour instead of the cake flour, but the results will be a bit heavier and slightly dense.

4 medium peaches (about1½ pounds), unpeeled and cut into⅓-inch-thick wedges
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup cake flour, not self-rising
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons (½ cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream

Bourbon Cream (recipe follows)

1.Heat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (This step helps with cleanup.)

2.Toss the peaches with the lemon juice in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

3.Cook ¼ cup of the granulated sugar over medium heat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes, or until the sugar melts and turns a deep amber color. Remove from the heat. Immediately add 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir vigorously. Arrange the peach wedges in concentric circles over the sugar mixture, overlapping them as needed.

4.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup butter, and vanilla bean seeds on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until blended. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until blended and stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Spoon the batter over the peaches in the skillet and spread to cover. Place the skillet on the prepared baking sheet.

5.Bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the skillet on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen.

6.Carefully pour out any excess liquid from the skillet into a measuring cup and set aside. (It’s okay if you don’t have any excess liquid—it all depends on how juicy your fruit is.) Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate and drizzle with any reserved liquid. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges using a serrated knife. Top with bourbon cream and serve immediately.

Bourbon Cream

Makes about 1 cup

½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon bourbon


1.Combine the cream and bourbon in a large bowl. Refrigerate, along with a whisk, for at least 15 minutes. Once chilled, beat the cream with the chilled whisk until it holds soft peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.



The recipe was incredibly easy to follow and filled my condo with such a sweet aroma. I used only 3 peaches and vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean. The cake had no trouble coming out of the cast iron skillet and had crispy edges, while remaining tender on the inside.

I did not have bourbon and used orange flavored vodka for the topping ;)

The only downsize of this baking project was the mess I left in my kitchen!

8/6/18

Summer Eggplant, Zucchini & Pepper In A Pressure Cooker


Good morning! It's another Monday, and I have another Meatless Monday recipe for you. Don't worry, I eat plenty of meat ;)

Last night I was thinking about how to use summer produce I had in my refrigerator including an eggplant, red pepper, and a zucchini. I considered making ratatouille, but could not be bothered to saute all the vegetables in a skillet. Instead, I decided to literally dice and dump all the vegetables into my pressure cooker and call it a night. The results were awesome!

Summer Eggplant, Zucchini & Pepper In A Pressure Cooker
Serves 4-6

Ingredients
1 large eggplant, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
drizzle olive oil
1/3 cup chopped parsley, more to garnish

Directions
1. Add all the ingredients into a pressure cooker (other than the garnish parsley). 
2. Using the vegetable option, pressurize for 10 minutes.
3. Release the steam, taste, add more salt if needed. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley.

My condo smelled so good! You can serve this dish as a side, use it as a base for shakshuka, puree into a soup, or pulse a few times in a food processor to turn into a chunky salsa.

8/2/18

Broccoli Rabe With Hazelnuts & Feta


I don't know about you, but I love the slightly bitter taste of broccoli rabe. To me, it's a grown up version of broccoli, and is so much prettier with thinner stalks and beautiful leaves. Paired with other strong flavors, whether salty, sweet, or spicy, broccoli rabe's bitterness is lessened, and you end up with a quick and easy dish that can be a light meal in itself or a great side.

Broccoli Rabe With Hazelnuts & Feta
Ingredients
olive oil
broccoli rabe
salt
red pepper flakes
hazelnuts
feta, crumbled

Directions
1. Heat a non stick skillet. Drizzle in olive oil. Allow the oil to heat.
2. Add broccoli rabe to the skillet, season with salt and red pepper flakes and quickly saute until the vegetables are tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a different skillet, lightly brown whole hazelnuts in a bit of olive oil and season with salt. Even if your nuts are already toasted, this will wake up their natural flavor a bit more.
4. Plate the broccoli rabe and top with hazelnuts and feta.

You can drizzle this side with a bit of light honey or reduced balsamic vinegar in the end!

This dish is best cooked right before you will serve it. Don't make enough for leftovers as the broccoli rabe will become soggy.

Eat your greens!!

7/30/18

Shishito Peppers With Corn, Feta, Crema & Bourbon Smoked Paprika


This Shishito Peppers With Corn, Feta, Crema & Bourbon Smoked Paprika was inspired by a recipe Washington's Green Grocer posted on their instagram and insta story. 

I changed a few ingredients and absolutely loved it! If you love Mexican corn, you need to make this dish while the corn is fresh and sweet.

Shishito Peppers With Corn, Feta, Crema & Bourbon Smoked Paprika

Ingredients
olive oil
shishito peppers
fresh corn kernels
salt
feta, crumbled
bourbon smoked paprika
Mexican crema (or use a combination of Greek yogurt thinned out with a bit of lime juice)
chiffonade of basil (feel free to use cilantro)

Directions
1. Heat two skillets. Add olive oil. In one skillet add corn kernels and saute until golden. In another skillet, preferably cast iron, blacken shishito peppers.
2. Season corn and shishito peppers with salt and add to a plate.
3. Top with feta, bourbon smoked paprika, a drizzle of Mexican crema, and basil.

The photo looks messy, but I hope you will still try out this combination of flavors. 

7/25/18

Quick & Easy Entertainment: Piquillo & Artichoke Bruschetta


Looking for a quick and easy entertainment idea? Bruschetta fits the bill perfectly.

My friend Allison came over this past Monday for a night of The Bachelorette, and I thought it'd be fun to make bruschetta to go with vinho verde, hummus, brie, and other chips and dips.

You start with toasted sliced bread, add a topping, and dig in.

I usually think of bruschetta topping made with tomatoes, but this time around I picked up a jar of piquillo & artichoke bruschetta from World Market. {Fun fact: I used to work at World Market ages ago part time, and still love shopping there.}

Of course you can easily make this topping yourself by combining chopped piquillo peppers (or roasted red peppers) with chopped marinated artichoke hearts and a bit of olive oil.

Quick & Easy Entertainment Piquillo & Artichoke Bruschetta

Ingredients
baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/4" slices
olive oil
garlic clove, sliced lengthwise
piquillo & artichoke bruschetta topping
fresh basil, sliced

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Brush each side of sliced baguette with olive oil and bake for 3-6 minutes on each side, depending on how golden brown you want your bread.
3. Rub halved garlic clove onto each slice of toast.
4. Top each slice with piquillo & artichoke bruschetta and basil.

Easy summer entertainment!!