7/8/19

Tomato, Mozzarella & Cherries Salad


I have a big announcement: this blog will now become a Meatless Monday blog!

KIDDING! :) It does appear that I've been mostly posting Meatless Monday recipes, so why not continue?

This past Saturday, my friend Sylvie gave me a bunch of home grown tomatoes and basil and took me to Costco where I bought fresh mozzarella balls which I then turned into this beautiful salad!


Tomato, Mozzarella & Cherries Salad
tomatoes of all shapes and colors, sliced or quartered as needed
fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
cherries, pitted and halved
fresh basil, torn
olive oil
salt
rose
fresh mint

Place tomatoes, mozzarella, and cherries onto a plate in a pleasing manner.

Top with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt.

Pour rose into a glass and add a few mint leaves.

Have a great day!

7/1/19

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Salad Adapted from skinnytaste


If you are in need of a side for your 4th of July get together, or need a fresh idea for using a head of cauliflower you have sitting in the fridge, I highly recommend Cauliflower Salad Adapted from skinnytaste.

I, for one, love cauliflower, and eat it often. I also, however, love potatoes. This salad is good as is, but I'll never give up my love of potatoes!

Here's how I ended up making this recipe:

A few weeks ago, my mom sent me a link to Gina's, aka skinnytaste Low Carb Potato Salad. She said that even my dad liked it! Then, my twin Anna made the salad and said it was delicious.

Not wanting to be left out, I decided to make a batch of Gina's salad, but with a few changes:

1) I used only 4 eggs instead of 6
2) I used whole grain mustard instead of yellow mustard
3) I used cilantro instead of dill
4) I used cucumber instead of celery
5) I used bourbon smoked paprika instead of regular paprika

Helpful tips:

Make sure you cool the cauliflower completely before adding it to the other ingredients. I was impatient and added warm cauliflower to the mayonnaise and it watered down the salad.

The salad gets better as it sits in the refrigerator over night. 

6/21/19

Corn Salad With Sesame Dressing


One of my favorite summer salads is a combination of raw corn with cherry tomatoes, avocado, olives, and herbs drizzled with olive oil and seasoned simply with salt and pepper.

Earlier this week, however, I stepped out of my comfort zone and made Corn Salad With Sesame Dressing slightly adapted from Savory Simple's recipe. The star of Jennifer's recipe is the sesame dressing: I want to put it on everything!

Because I very rarely make salad dressings, I was happy to see how easy it was to make Jennifer's sesame dressing. I substituted a few ingredients based on what I had in my cupboard, left out a few, and added garlic. 

Below is my version of the dressing that I drizzled over a combination of raw corn, grape tomatoes, green pepper, red onion, and basil.

Sesame Dressing Adapted from Savory Simple
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons roasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 smashed garlic clove

In a small blender puree all the ingredients until smooth.

This dressing is also great in a cucumber and red onion salad. It'd be great in a chicken salad or drizzled on top of sauteed or roasted vegetables. 

6/18/19

How To Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Chicken Dinner With 2 Salads


Need a fast dinner that will satisfy your taste buds but not make you feel like a ton of bricks? My Chicken Dinner with 2 Salads is perfect for that. Whether you are cooking for one, two or 4, this meal comes together in minutes on a weeknight or can be a great way to get together with a friend Sunday night to catch up.

I primarily eat boneless skinless chicken breasts (other than my occasional craving for wings), and have found a great way to cook them that doesn't dry them out.


How To Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. In oven proof skillet (I prefer cast iron) heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom.
3. Pat chicken breasts with a paper towel and season with salt and paprika on both sides (or use whichever spices you like).
4. Cook chicken breasts in a skillet for 3-4 minutes on each side and then bake them in the oven (in the skillet) for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size, until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Rest the chicken breasts for 5 minutes before slicing on a diagonal.

Roasted Beet, Granny Smith Apple & Red Onion Salad
I saw this salad on Domenica Marchetti's insta story and knew immediately I'd have to try it. It was awesome.

Combine sliced roasted beets with sliced Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced red onion, and drizzle with olive oil and champagne vinegar. Season with salt and top with fresh dill. 

Raw Corn Salad With Tomatoes And Radishes
Combine raw corn kernels with chopped cherry tomatoes, radishes, arugula, and torn fresh basil, and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in a bit of lemon juice and season with salt.

To drink: I recommend Sauvignon Blanc.

Dessert: chopped strawberries and whole blueberries topped with home made whipped cream and shaved dark chocolate. 

PS a special shout out to oxo for sending me their crazy impressive corn prep peeler: it works incredibly well! (I was sent a sample; no money was exchanged!)

6/3/19

Roasted Vegetables With Turmeric Oil


Oh Hello Monday! It's been about a week that I've returned from my vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico, and I'm slowly getting back to cooking.

Over the weekend I made Roasted Vegetables With Turmeric Oil using beets and sweet potatoes from Seasonal Roots. I teamed up with Seasonal Roots to receive one box of their produce each month and to share with you an idea of what to make with their seasonal vegetables, fruit, berries, etc. I receive no compensation for these posts, but if you are a first time customer, you can get a discount of $15 from the yearly fee by using the code mangotomato

The inspiration for this dish came after I saw my friend Lisa post a photo of a gorgeous watermelon and tomato salad using turmeric oil recipe from Bon Appetit

I combined roasted, peeled and cut up beets and sweet potatoes with roasted cauliflower, drizzled them with still warm turmeric oil, and topped with salt and fennel fronds!

This dish is great served at room temperature and stores well in the refrigerator. Add a bit of quinoa, and you have a full meal!

NOTE: I recommend you actually peel and dice sweet potatoes before roasting them instead of roasting them whole and then peeling and slicing them.

5/17/19

TGIF: Let There Be Cake


I'll be honest: sometimes I choose books by the cover and wine by the labels. More often than not, these decisions are actually pretty good.

Last night at a dinner at Brothers & Sisters, my friend Sangeetha and I chose The Next Vacation cake because both of us are looking forward to our respective vacations. This strawberry and cream cake was the perfect way to end our dinner: not too sweet with slight sour and salty notes and with strawberries from California.

TGIF friends. Wishing you a sweet weekend. 

5/6/19

Ottolenghi Inspired Pan Sauteed Asparagus With Almonds And Capers


Last week I checked out Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, Simple, from my library, and was intrigued by the Roasted Asparagus with Almonds, Capers, and Dill recipe. Because my oven was acting out, I don't keep butter on hand, and I had Parmesan left from another recipe, and a few lemons, I created my version of Ottolenghi's dish.

Ottolenghi Inspired Pan Sauteed Asparagus With Almonds And Capers

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted in a dry skillet
3 tablespoons capers
lemon zest
dill
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Directions
1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper and saute until your desired level.
2. In a small skillet, heat the remaining oil and quickly saute capers.
3. In a platter, serve asparagus topped with almonds, capers, lemon zest, dill, and Parmesan. 

This dish is great served hot but also keep well as leftovers. It can be a great starter to the meal or as a side served with protein.

5/2/19

Dinner in 30 Minutes: Sweet & Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups With 2 Vegetable Sides



If you only have 30 minutes and need to get dinner on a table that's delicious, fun, and impressive, I give you Dinner in 30 Minutes: Sweet & Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups With 2 Vegetable Sides.

This idea came about after I randomly bought one pound of ground pork at my grocery store. After a quick Google search for ground pork recipes, I found Delish's Sweet 'n Spicy Pork Lettuce Wraps and with a few edits turned it into a full meal.

Turn on the music and get cooking!

The key to making an entire meal in 30 minutes is to chop whatever needs to be cooked first, and then prep the rest of the ingredients while the others are cooking. 

Dinner in 30 Minutes: Sweet & Spicy Pork Lettuce Cups With 2 Vegetable Sides

Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for snow peas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground pork
snow peas
salt
1/4 cup hoisin sauce, more if desired
1 tablespoon sriracha, more if desired
Bibb lettuce
rice noodles
cilantro
carrots, peeled
daikon, peeled
Russian sunflower oil
smoked almonds, chopped

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
2. Start boiling a large pot of water on the stove.
3. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add ginger and garlic and saute for about 3-5 minutes on medium heat without burning it. Add pork. Saute until the pork is no longer pink. This will take a while.
4. Meanwhile, coat snow peas with oil and season with salt an roast for about 15-25 minutes depending on how crunchy you want them to be.
5. Grate, or use a fancy peeler, carrots and daikon, drizzle with Russian sunflower oil, season with salt, and add cilantro.
6. Back to pork: add Hoisin and sriracha. Mix to combine. Heat through.
7. Cook rice noodles according to directions. 
8. Add rice noodles to the lettuce cups, top with pork mixture, cilantro and chopped almonds. 
9. Serve with carrot/daikon salad and roasted snow peas.

Leftovers are awesome for lunch next day! 

4/30/19

Taco Bamba Tongue Nachos


Not a recipe today, but a shout out to Taco Bamba's Tongue Nachos I had a few weekends ago.

I grew up in Russia where my mom pressure cooked tongue all the time, and I still order it whenever I see it on the menu (I've yet to cook it myself).

When I saw an option for tongue nachos at Taco Bamba, I decided to give this dish a try. Large enough to share as an appetizer, it was a perfect portion for a lighter dinner paired with a side of guacamole.

Don't expect oozy melted cheese. The crispy chips are topped with tender chunks of tongue, followed by salsa verde, crema, cotija, and pickled chiles. I wish this would appear in front of me right now.

Have you tried tongue?

4/22/19

Vegan Spicy Smashed Chickpea Salad Recipe


This Vegan Spicy Smashed Chickpea Salad Recipe is adapted from and inspired by a post I saw on Cup of Jo earlier last week. Smitten Kitchen's recipe was inspired by a sandwich on 'wichcraft menu, and I further changed it by swiping the black olives for the green ones, adding the adobo sauce, and using chives instead of parsley.

Vegan Spicy Smashed Chickpea Salad Recipe
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups cooked chickpeas, lightly smashed with a fork
8 large green olives stuffed with sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1-2 teaspoons adobo sauce from chiles in adobo can (use hot sauce or sriracha as an alternative)
olive oil
salt
radishes
wasa crackers

Directions
1. Combine the first 5 ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil and mix to combine. Season with salt. 
2. Serve with radishes and wasa crackers.