Tuesday, July 26, 2016

keep it warm

This is certainly not the cutest meal I've made in my life, but it was perhaps one of the most satisfying. Tons of flavor in that fish patty, sandwiched by a warm comforting roll slathered with Sriracha aioli, all cleaned up with silky smooth greens in an earthy tahini sauce.

I replaced the capers in the original recipe because I had the inspired (or crazy, you call it) idea to chop up some Castelvetrano olives into my egg salad the other day, and I so enjoyed how it provided a slight bite and crispness to vary up the texture, but a strong amount of richness that I thought would be well-replicated in this fish patty. I was right. I think the capers would have been too strong with all of the warm spices in there, but the olives were just perfect.

If you're going the no- or low-carb route, I would toss the greens with their sauce, and then serve the patty on top. Still plenty to work with there.

Tilapia-Olive Kebab Sandwich
slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem
serves 4

1 lb. tilapia, skinned
1/2 c. panko
1 large egg, beaten
10 Castelvetrano olives, minced
2 green onions, finely chopped
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 T. lemon juice
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 of your favorite sandwich rolls

1. Cut the tilapia into very small dice, and then mix well with the panko, egg, olives, onions, zest, juice, and spices. Shape the mixture into 4 patties, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Pour enough oil into a frying pan to form a thin pan on the bottom, and place over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 6-8 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Serve the patties on your favorite sandwich rolls, perhaps with some Sriracaha aioli on top for good measure.

Sauteed Chard + Kale with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem
serves 4

For the sauce:
3 T. tahini
4 T. Greek yogurt
2 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 T. water

For the greens:
6 oz. rainbow chard
6 oz. lacinato kale
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. pine nuts

1. Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce, and set aside.

2. Remove the center stems from the chard and kale, and slice them into 3/4-inch ribbons.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, and add the greens in handfuls, waiting for each to slightly wilt before adding more. Salt and pepper, to taste. When cooked to your liking, move all of the greens to one side of the pan, and brown the pine nuts on the other side.

4. Divide the greens among four serving plates, top with about 1 T. of the sauce, and scatter with pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

you can make it on your own

This is my favorite kind of meal - a build-your-own bowl full of goodness that otherwise requires little to no cooking. Yes, you could definitely cook your own rice, quinoa and beans, but all of these items come in frozen or canned iterations that are just as good as the from-scratch versions. Then, you combine with your favorite raw vegetables, use the stove for just the smallest amount of time to saute some well-marinated shrimp, and if you're feeling fancy, fry up some bananas to garnish.

I must admit here - I meant to get plantains. I couldn't find them. I saw the little itty-bitty bananas, and somehow convinced myself they were plantains, so I left with them. Whatever. They still work.

I removed a few ingredients - the extra butter and coconut milk in the original recipe felt a little too rich for me, especially since there was already a sweetly rich marinade which could be used to cook the shrimp in. Gild the lily if you must!

Honey Garlic Shrimp Bowl
slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest
serves 4

1 lb. raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. honey
4-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 t. ground ginger
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 t. cumin
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 baby bananas, peeled and halved
2 T. butter
1 c. cooked brown rice
1 c. cooked red quinoa
1 c. diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
1/2 c. cooked black beans
1 avocado, sliced

1. Whisk the olive oil, honey, garlic, ginger, jalapeƱos, cumin and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, and toss well to combine. Cover the bowl, and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour the shrimp and marinade into the hot skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp until pink and opaque through, about 7-10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt the butter. Fry the banana halves until golden-brown, about 2 minutes each side.

4. Divide the rice, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, black beans among 4 bowls. Divide the shrimp over top, and garnish with the fried bananas and avocado. Serve immediately.

all at once

I wanted to make some summer-appropriate peach pancakes for breakfast this morning, but the peaches have been so good that I've been eating them out of hand, sparing none for anything that calls for cooking them.

I may still hit the farmers market tomorrow for another pancake breakfast, but in the meantime, a long-Pinned recipe called my name this morning - Cinnamon Polenta Ebelskivers. Well, really, they're meant to be regular pancakes, but I couldn't bear the thought of cooking only two pancakes at a time in my 10-inch nonstick pan, and figured that if I ebelskiver'ed them, they'd be on the plate much faster. My patience wears thin these days.

These are certainly not your light, fluffy, dessert-like ebelskivers, but rather, they're hearty nuggets of coziness, full of fall flavors, but bursting with a pop of seasonal blueberries, added at the last minute on a whim.

Cinnamon Polenta Ebeskivers
slightly adapted from Food & Wine
serves 2-3

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
6 T. cornmeal
1 1/2 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 c. almond milk
1 large egg
2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. blueberries (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a measuring cup, beat the egg, then whisk in the buttermilk and olive oil. Whisk the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, leaving small lumps.

3. Set an ebelskiver pan over moderate high heat and spray it with vegetable oil spray. When the pan is hot, spoon 1 heaping T. of batter into each cup, and top each with two blueberries. Cook the pancakes until the bottoms are browned and bubbles appear on the surface, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the bottom, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve the pancakes warm with melted butter and maple syrup.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

gonna eat a lot of peaches

There is a shocking amount of joy that comes from making, serving, and eating this peach crumble, topped perfectly with what this California girl can only describe as an oatmeal pizookie. It is also a pure and wonderful coincidence that this was made on National Peach Ice Cream Day. Never mind that the peach was under the cookie, and the (vanilla) ice cream served on top.

I only regret that the photo doesn't capture my excitement for this perfect summer dessert. This was a back-up photo I took before bringing the pan over to our dear friends CJ + Lisa's house for a much-overdue catch-up session. The plan was to capture it in action, on individual serving plates, a la mode, but the clamor (and shocking joy) of their two little boys asking for peaches and ice cream was too much for my heart to bear, and I couldn't justify taking the time to pick up the camera before presenting them with their portions. Sorry, but really, not sorry.

Peach Marzipan-Oatmeal Cookie Crumble
slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest
serves 12

1 T. butter
4-5 medium peaches
1 1/4 c. brown sugar, divided
2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. melted coconut oil
2 eggs
2 T. vanilla extract, divided
4 oz. marzipan, rolled into small balls

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and add the butter. Add the sliced peaches, and sprinkle with 1/4 c. brown sugar. Cook for 3 minutes, then stir the peaches, and cook another 2 to 3 minutes or until caramelized and soft. Remove from the heat, and add 1 T. of the vanilla. Toss well.

3. In a large mixing bowl, add the oatmeal, whole wheat flour, remaining 1 c. brown sugar, baking soda, salt, melted coconut oil, eggs and remaining 1 T. vanilla. Stir until combined and the dough holds together. Mix in the marzipan balls.

4. Sprinkle the dough directly over the peaches. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the cookie is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite ice cream.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

all i need

I've gone way, completely off Whole30 since July 1st. Like, fully derailed. My aspirations of staying gluten-free and dairy-free after this last round were left in the dust of two weeks of small town eating and craft service tables.

But as annoying and eyeroll-inducing as this sounds, I feel so intensely better when I do eat Whole30, especially since I don't have to endure the self-imposed guilt of over-snacking because I'm actually satisfied by the meal I've just had.

This Orange Mustard Chicken is case-in-point. Perfectly cooked chicken drumsticks with a side of roasted potatoes and broccoli that self-basted in the drippings of the roasting chicken on the rack above them. Not terribly orange-y, but plenty mustard-y, and just a good combo of flavors and textures.

Orange Mustard Chicken
slightly adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
serves 4

1/2 c. spicy brown mustard
1/4 c. orange juice
1 T. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. salt
3 lbs. skin-on chicken drumsticks
1 lb. teeny tiny potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 oz. broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1. Combine the mustard, orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken drumsticks, and mix well to coat. Refrigerate in the marinade for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.

2. When you’re ready to roast the chicken, heat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle position.

3. Combine the potatoes and broccoli in a 13x9 baking dish. Place a wire rack on top of the dish. Lay the marinated drumsticks in a single layer on the wire rack.

4. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, and then remove the rack to toss the vegetable mixture in the chicken drippings. Replace the rack, then flip the drumsticks over and rotate the tray 180 degrees.

5. Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the skin is browned and an instant-read thermometer reads 170 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Serve immediately with the roasted vegetables on the side.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

ducked off

I originally wanted to do a duck breast recipe, but when all Whole Foods could offer was a few duck leg quarters, I told myself that this couldn't be that much different, and why not, let's go with it.

That decision turned into a giant wormhole of doubt, anxiety, and too many pages of Google search results. For the most part, I learned this was going to take way longer than my original duck breast recipe, and I was annoyed.

Luckily, neither of us were particularly starving for dinner, so I figured I could experiment with combining a few of the recipes I found, and just throw it in the oven to braise, and watch the Dodgers game until it was done.

Turns out, roasting only 2 duck legs doesn't take that long at all, and we were eating by the 7th inning stretch. The chard was alternately meltingly tender at the bottom, and chewy-crisp at the top, and frankly, I didn't care what the tomatoes did just so long as I could use some up from the insane crop our Sweet 100 plants are busting out with at the moment. And now we have duck fat for future breakfast potatoes to boot!

Roast Duck Legs with Braised Chard + Cherry Tomatoes
serves 2

2 duck leg quarters (about 1 lb. total)
8 oz. chard leaves, halved lengthwise
1 c. cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a 12-inch cast-iron pan, cook the duck legs, skin side down, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and brown the second side, another 3 minutes. Remove the legs to a plate, and discard all but 1 T. of the duck fat.

3. Add the chard, tomatoes and broth, and cook for just a few minutes until the chard is wilted and flat against the pan. Return the duck legs to the pan, skin side up, salt and pepper to taste, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165 degrees.

4. Let rest for 5 minutes, tented in foil, and then serve.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

throw some bacon on it

Calling all gluten-avoiders who love onion rings! These consist of only onions and bacon, and they will 100% change your life.

My father-in-law found a recipe for bacon-wrapped onion rings online, and it didn't take long to decide that it was going on the menu for their Third of July barbecue. There were a few complications that came making these on the grill, so this is more a list of considerations than a full recipe, because honestly, you don't really need a recipe for this.

This will only lead to certain disaster. You do not have nearly enough square footage on your grilling surface to make these fast enough to serve your crew. Also, they'll go from crisp to charred in the blink of an eye. Instead, just bake them in the oven (over a wire rack if you prefer to have the grease drip off) at about 400-425 degrees until they're done. Also, you don't need to skewer the rings like you see in the photo above. You've just wrapped it within an inch of its life - that bacon ain't going anywhere.

Use sweet Vidalia onions for both flavor and their squatness. You'll get more evenly-sized onion rings there than if you use a perfect spherical onion. Slice them about 1/2-inch thick to start so that the bacon has something to grab on to, but how many rings you choose to leave is up to you and your preferred bacon-to-onion ratio. Reserve the middle bits for chopping and sauteeing later.

Have more than you think you need. If you don't use it all, throw it in the freezer for future breakfasts (or barbecues). You don't want to be caught with too little bacon here. And don't use any of that flimsy, thin-sliced, mostly fat, grocery store-brand stuff. It doesn't have to be thick-cut, but a good substantial slice that's not too fatty will save you a headache while you're wrapping your onion rings.

Make this for dipping. Mix mayo with as much Sriracha as you can stand. Dip to your heart's delight.