5/16/18

Summer Chicken Soup. Meal Prep In A Pressure Cooker.


Let's talk about soup: I love it. Whether it's a bowl of cold summer borsch or a steaming bowl of split pea soup, soup provides nourishment, is great for leftovers, and can be eaten for any meal of the day. Yes, I occasionally eat soup for breakfast.

Over the weekend, I made a version of Pinch of Yum's Instant Pot Summer Soup and am so happy with the results. 

Let me tell you about this Summer Chicken Soup


The base of the recipe is a combination of chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. I used crushed tomatoes with basil to increase the flavor.

There's no need to saute carrots and celery before adding them to the pressure cooker. To make things easier, I did not even peel the carrots.

You can use whichever spices you like the most. In addition to onion powder and salt, I seasoned the soup generously with sumac, which intensified the deep red color of the soup.

I did not have farro, so used brown rice.

As far as the chicken goes, I actually used 2 large chicken breasts with the bones. They were less expensive and provided even more flavor to the soup. Plus, you shred the chicken and can easily discard the bones before serving the soup.

Originally I thought about using frozen corn, but am so glad I ended up incorporating fresh corn because it added a nice texture to the soup.

I topped my bowl of Summer Chicken Soup with strained yogurt, fresh cilantro and Parmesan.

Note that the brown rice (or whichever grain you use) will expand in the soup as it sits in the refrigerator. Not to worry: add a bit more chicken broth when reheating the soup.

Tell me what's the latest soup you ate!

5/14/18

Meatless Monday: Three Bean Salad & Breasts: The Owner's Manual


Oh hi! It's another Monday.

A few weeks ago my friends from Meatless Monday offered to send me a copy of Dr. Kristi Funk's Breasts: The Owner's Manual book and another one to give away to my readers.

Readers...are you out there? I'm hosting a giveaway on my instagram only, so head over there for a chance to win the book!

I've not read the book yet, but one of the things Kristi advocates is reducing meat, and so over the weekend I made Kristi's Three Beans Walk Into A Salad...recipe and will be having leftovers for lunch. This recipe is incredibly easy, can be customized with addition of other ingredients you like, and will be perfect for a picnic!

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Kristi Funk and Chrissy Roth, Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist

Three Beans Walk into a Salad… 
Serves 6
Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans (rinsed well)
  • 1 can kidney beans (rinsed well)
  • 1 can chickpeas (rinsed well, save chickpea liquid)
  • 1 avocado cut into half inch cubes
  • 2 Persian cucumbers chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano (preferred) or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 to 3 T of red wine vinegar
  • 1-2 T chickpea liquid
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 
Directions:
Combine beans, veggies and avocado and toss gently. Add oregano, then toss, add chickpea liquid, then red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Chill the beans before making this if you are planning to eat it right away. Or you can make it (minus the avocado), chill for an hour, then add the avocado right before serving.


NOTES: I added one diced yellow pepper, a quarter of a chopped onion, and fresh basil. I chose not to add oregano because it's not my favorite.

I was surprised I did not miss having olive oil in this salad.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book, but am not compensated for this post.

5/7/18

Skinnytaste Easy Bagels With Everything But The Bagel


How about an everything bagel for breakfast? Guess what? You can make your own!

Yesterday my friends Sylvie and Jazmin came over for brunch (with Sylvie's adorable daughter), and I decided to finally make Gina's (aka Skinnytaste) Easy Bagels after seeing them on her instagram countless times.

I admit I was a bit scared. What if they would not turn out well? Oh, I remembered, I had wholewheat bread with seeds and nuts in the freezer: I could use that instead.

No need! The bagel dough, consisting of flour, Greek yogurt, baking powder, and salt, came together super easy. I doubled the recipe and made 8 bagels.

Unlike Gina, I used full fat Greek yogurt in the dough and a whole egg to make the egg wash. I egg-washed the bagels only on the top and sprinkled them generously with Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel. The bagels took longer to bake than the recipe suggested, but rose nicely and smelled and looked incredible!

I highly recommend halving and toasting the bagels before slathering each half with scallion cream cheese, and adding layers of smoked salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes.

These were much lighter and delicate than the bagels you'd find in your grocery store or coffee shop. They were also smaller, but perfectly sized for not feeling stuffed.



Brunch menu:
bagels with scallion cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes

roasted red skinned potatoes and onions

Jazmin's salad with peppers, goat cheese, red onion, avocado, and a dreamy balsamic and lime dressing

Sylvie's rose and watermelon (which we did not have time to eat, and I'm very happy to have kept)



5/2/18

Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes


Looking for a fun way to use leftover chicken breasts? Don't want to turn on your stove? Well, then you must make my Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes.

The photo above is before I added mayonnaise. Of course if you don't love mayonnaise, you can leave it out and use olive oil and lemon juice instead or maybe yogurt, but I LOVE mayo and use it all the time.

Chicken Salad With Mango, Cucumber & Radishes
Ingredients for 1-2 servings 

1 cooked chicken breast, cubed
1 mango, peeled, and diced
1 Persian cucumber, diced
3 radishes, diced
1 avocado, diced
salt & pepper to taste
mayonnaise (as much or as little as you want)

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 

4/30/18

Meatless Monday: Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Dukkah & Parsley


Happy Meatless Monday! Over the weekend I made Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Dukkah & Parsley using a recipe I learned from Vered Guttman

I've tried roasting a whole cauliflower before and was disappointed with the results. Turns out, I was missing a key step: you need to cook the cauliflower before roasting it!

At the event I attended at Sixth & I last week, Vered demonstrated how to cook the cauliflower in salted water with turmeric until it's tender before letting it cool and only then drizzling it with olive oil and roasting it at 400F for about 30 minutes!


Game changer!

I used a yellow cauliflower from Washington's Green Grocer, making the final product super yellow ;)

Also, I'm now obsessed with dukkah! It's a combination of herbs, spices, and nuts. This particular one has toasted hazelnuts, coriander seeds and cumin, to name a few, and is great with roasted vegetables, yogurt, or avocado toast!

4/27/18

Weekend Inspirations: Ranunculus


TGIF! Yesterday after work I picked up a bunch of ranunculus at a farmers market to beautify my weekend. I highly recommend you do the same!

4/24/18

Guide To A Girls' Weekend In LA: Travel Tuesday

Guide To A Girls' Weekend In LA: Travel Tuesday

It's been almost a month since I flew to Los Angeles to spend a long weekend celebrating my birthday (our birthday?) with my twin sister Anna and our friend Kate, whose birthday is just two days prior to ours.

We've traveled together before to Austin and Mexico City and approached this trip in a similar manner: 

1) pick an area to stay
2) book an airbnb
3) make a list of restaurants
4) make a list of cultural sites
5) come up with a hashtag for the trip (#TresAmigasLA)
6) text each other what to pack
7) enjoy

Thanks to my friend Mary, we booked an airbnb in the Echo Park neighborhood and absolutely loved it. Cute little house, tons of cacti, quiet, yet walking distance to many restaurants and not too expensive Uber or Lyft ride away from other points of interest.

Yes, after some back and forth, we decided not to rent a car and had no regrets about it.

Now on to food! Overall, 90% of the meals were absolutely fabulous. In no particular order, below are some of the highlights. 

SQIRL
Luckily my friend Esi got to Sqirl earlier than us and stood in line! This is such a cute, fast moving, delicious smelling place. You'll have a hard time deciding what to get, but cannot go wrong with  their famous Crispy Rice Salad with a side of bacon. I could eat this daily!


When traveling, it's fun to find places that weren't originally on your list, and even more fun when your travel companions are happy to get a random meal in because the food/drinks sound awesome. That's exactly what happened when we walked by SAWYER and saw that they had a $14 happy hour special for half a dozen oysters and a glass of rose! We ordered three of the specials and a few other dishes and enjoyed the stunning restaurant with high ceilings, beautiful flower arrangements, and a bathroom the size of my kitchen.


Another fun thing to do while traveling is setting up play dates with friends living in that city. One of Anna's friends came over for Rose and watermelon in the backyard of our airbnb and gave us two stellar recommendations for Venice Beach area: GJUSTA and DUNE

Below is my breakfast from Gjusta which consisted of toast, the juiciest tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, smoked white fish, labneh, pickled onions, capers, cucumbers, and radishes. It was so good, I tried recreating it at home. 


In Dune, I ordered sabich sandwich: fried eggplant in a pita with pickled vegetables, another egg, tahini dressing and shoestring potatoes. I felt transported to Israel.


Kate saw Chrissy Teigen's tweet about NIGHT & MARKET and we loved the creative food in this super loud, colorful, hectic, and party-for-your-taste-buds restaurant. We went to Song because it was closer to our airbnb. Below is their crispy rice dish. Dreamy!


In other-than-food things not to miss:
The Broad: get your free tickets in advance
The Getty: go for the art, or simply stroll through its gorgeous flower filled garden
Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House: take the tour
Art Deco Architectural Tour




Cannot wait for our next trip!!

4/23/18

Meatless Monday: Asparagus, Broccoli & Chevre Frittata Adapted From Ellie Krieger


Spring is finally in the air! Why not make a frittata to celebrate? I adapted Ellie Krieger's recipe by using dill instead of chives, adding broccoli, using more chevre (goat cheese) and topping the final dish with tomatoes.

This frittta is easy to make, can be served hot or at room temperature, and makes for great leftovers.

Plus, the title is fun: ABC (Asparagus, Broccoli, Chevre)!


Meatless Monday: Asparagus, Broccoli & Chevre Frittata Adapted From Ellie Krieger
Adapted from Ellie Krieger's recipe on Washington Post 

Ingredients for 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, thick ends discarded, the rest cut into 1" pieces
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped and washed well
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
7 large eggs
1/4 cup milk (use whatever fat % you like)
salt & pepper to taste
4 ounces chevre (goat cheese) broken into big pieces
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 tomatoes, sliced

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in an oven proof pan. Add asparagus, broccoli, and leeks and saute for 8 minutes on medium heat. Stir in parsley.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour over the vegetables.
3. Cook frittata over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. You want the eggs to set around the edges but not in the center of the frittata.
4. While the eggs are cooking, preheat the broiler and position the oven rack 4 to 6 inches from the top.
5. Arrange chevre chunks on top of the frittata and broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Don't burn!
6. Top the finished frittata with dill and tomato slices.

4/19/18

What To Do With Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts: Cajun Rub


Do you wonder what to do with skinless boneless chicken breasts? If you, like me, just can't get yourself to eat the supposedly more flavorful and definitely less expensive chicken thighs, and instead buy skinless boneless chicken breasts and then fear ending up with dry as rubber protein, I have an incredibly easy, juicy, and flavorful recipe for you.

Yesterday I twitted for suggestions on quick and easy recipe ideas to make with chicken breasts, and the Watermelon Board people gave me a great idea for Cajun chicken! I did not have the ingredients to make the watermelon salsa, but absolutely loved how the Cajun spice mix worked out.

What To Do With Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts: Cajun Rub
Slightly adapted from Watermelon Board

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons bourbon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon salt
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions
1. In a small bowl combine the first 7 ingredients. Save half of the spice mix for later and pour the other half into a shallow dish.
2. Coat chicken breasts with the Cajun rub on both sides.
3. Heat oil in a nonstick pan and saute chicken breast for 5 minutes on each side. Cover the pan and cook chicken breasts on medium heat until they reach 165F degrees. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts, it could take 5 to 15 minutes.

SO much flavor. The chicken breasts were juicy and perfectly tender on the inside. You can use them as the main course or mix into salads. I served mine on a bed of white bean puree with radishes, feta, white onion and basil. Sort of random, but it worked.

4/16/18

Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper


Need a quick and easy dessert you can make in advance? I present Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper. I used the recipe for the biscuit part from Food Network, but spiked up the strawberry mixture with rose and added thyme and black pepper for a modern and savory touch.

If you aren't as adventures as I am when it comes to dessert, stick to the original strawberries + sugar mixture.

Boozy Strawberry Shortcake With Thyme & Black Pepper
Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients
For the biscuit part
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar in the raw

For the strawberry mixture
3 cups strawberries, diced
2 cups rose, or more as needed
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
black pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. 
3. Add heavy cream and mix to combine. The mixture will look a bit clumpy. Don't worry.
4. Add the mixture into an ungreased 8" baking pan, sprinkle with sugar in the raw, and bake for 25 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, macerate the strawberries in rose and thyme for about 20 minutes.
6. Strain the strawberries (drink the wine) and add black pepper to taste.
7. Once the biscuit part is baked, take it out of the oven and allow to cool on a cookie rack. Cut out round shapes using a biscuit cutter and layer a mixture of strawberries and freshly whipped heavy cream.


I really liked how easy this recipe was. If you have a large sweet tooth, you will want to increase the amount of sugar and make sweetened whipped cream, but as I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the savory feel of this dessert.

If you want to make this dessert in advance, keep all of its components separately and toast the sliced biscuit before serving.