Easy Peasy Cranberry Sauce

If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that I’ve been busy preparing for Thanksgiving and Page’s Birthday right after. We are hosting Thanksgiving , which means that I will be doing most of the cooking. I spent most of the day writing out my menu, dividing up tasks I can accomplish throughout the next few days. Today I tackled prepping my desserts which just means I weighed the dry ingredients put them in bags, labeled, and sealed them. Now all I have to do is add the wet ingredients and bake. As you can see I’ve learned over the years that cooking a large meal like this requires a lot of forethought and staggering of duties. So today one of the other things on my to do list was to make this cranberry sauce! It takes 10 minutes, you throw everything in one pot, a little bit of stirring and you’re done! So easy and super delicious and definitely an upgrade to the canned stuff. Trust me once you make this you will never go back to the canned stuff!

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

12oz organic cranberries fresh or frozen

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

Zest of 1 organic orange

Juice of 1 organic orange

1/2 teaspoon of allspice (optional)

Directions:

Place cranberries, cinnamon stick, orange zest, sugar, water, and juice in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring as the cranberries begin to pop. The sauce is done once it thickens about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, serve immediately or place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Crispy Pork Larb!

Crispy Pork Larb

Crispy Pork Larb

This is one of those dinners that is both healthy and delicious.  Trust me when I tell you when you take one bite of this you will be forever grateful that I started this blog–yes it’s that good!  For those of you who do not know, larb is a thai street food.  It’s so good that it’ll make you question how we do street food in America.  It’s bright, fresh, and full of the umami flavors that will make you go Mmmmmm… If you don’t fancy pork, no problem, you can try this with ground chicken, turkey, or even lamb and beef.  Check out my recipe for Chicken larb here.  This is one of my favorite ways to use ground meat, it’s so simple that this meal almost makes itself!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of ground pork

3 large cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1/4 cup of diced red bell pepper

1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves

1 head of romaine lettuce, leaves removed to use as cups

1/2 cup of sliced persian cucumbers

1/3 cup of fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon of a good quality fish sauce, I used red boat

2  tablespoons of soy sauce

1/4 cup of water

Sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons of cooking oil of your choice

red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Heat oil, garlic and red bell pepper and cook until garlic is fragrant–about 15 seconds.

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Add in ground meat season with sea salt and cook until brown about 5-7 minutes.

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Once brown, add in soy sauce, fish sauce, water and red pepper flakes if using.

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Cook until liquid evaporates and pork is brown and crispy about 2 minutes. Add in lime juice, toss well, remove from heat.  Add the meat to the lettuce cups, top with a generous amount of the fresh herbs, cucumbers, red onion, red pepper flakes, and a squeeze of additional lime juice, enjoy! So good!

 

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Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

 

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini  Sauce

Fried Cauliflower Florets with Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

Whenever I eat out at a Mediterranean restaurant, I find it hard to not just compose a meal from the appetizer menu.  With things like lentil soup, lemon and garlic potatoes, hummus and pita bread, fattoush salad, grape leaves, and fried cauliflower on the appetizer menu, who needs a full entree!  I often find myself struggling not to order one of every thing on the appetizer menu.  I usually settle upon the potatoes or the fried cauliflower.  The fried cauliflower is amazingly simple.  Unlike most fried things that come dusted in flour or some other type of breaded base, this doesn’t.  This recipe calls for only one ingredient, cauliflower!  The tahini sauce is great with this, but the cauliflower is pretty amazing on its own.  Your kids will love these cauliflower florets, mine did!

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower

2 cups of grape seed oil or another high temp oil

Sea salt to taste

Ingredients Creamy Garlic Tahini Sauce

4 tablespoons of tahini paste

8 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of lemon juice, more if you like

2 cloves of garlic grated

Directions: Pre-heat the oil to 320F in a deep fryer.  Add ingredients for the tahini sauce to a small bowl and mix until well combined and creamy, then set aside. If you want this to be extra creamy, place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy, then transfer to a bowl.

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Cut the cauliflower into florets.

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Add the cauliflower florets to the deep fryer.

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Fry until golden brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with sea salt, serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Herbaceous Grilled Lamp Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Herbaceous Grilled Lamb Chops

Last weekend I visited a Persian market.  The market filled me with all sorts of food inspiration, but it mostly left me with a strong desire to eat lamb.  I guessing that desire came from the cooked foods section, which had fresh lamb kabobs and shawarma. The market also housed a rather large meat department, it had lamb in every form, hooves, hearts, livers, basically every part of the lamb that a better cook than I am could possibly want to cook. A far cry from the selection at my local Whole Foods! I feel like I hit the lottery if they have stewed lamb meat once every 4 months.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to be able to walk into your local market and find, um..choices?  Like ramps in the spring time, in California–but I digress.  Let’s just say, I left the Persian market with market envy.   I shop at Whole Foods so often that when I go into a conventional grocery store, I’m always amazed at how inexpensive things are.  Haha..call it reverse sticker shock! Thank you Whole Foods!  Surprisingly, I did not leave the Persian market with lamb.  I did find some great spices, some pomegranate molasses, and a few other great items.  I left with my new finds and a mission to cook these lamb chops.

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Ingredients:

1 lb lamb chops

2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon lemon powder, can sub with lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: To a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, lemon zest and oil, mix well.

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Dry lamb chops, season generously with sea salt. Rub the lamb chops with the herbaceous garlic paste.

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Place lamb chops on a hot grill, and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lamb chops are cooked to your liking.  Remove from grill, serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

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Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

Spice rubbed Salmon with lemon cream sauce

Spice Rubbed Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce

I love salmon, especially perfectly cooked salmon. When cooked correctly salmon is moist, tender, and oh so satisfying.  Most recipes for salmon include dill, lemon, garlic or some variation of those three ingredients. I’m a big fan of garlic and lemon, but dill is just not a flavor I’m in love with.  Besides, salmon is not a fragile fish, it can hold up to more bold flavor profiles.This particular salmon recipe is proof of that.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb salmon fillet

1/4 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon of onion powder

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon of avocado oil or coconut oil

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Lemon cream sauce (optional)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream –can sub with yogurt

1/4 teaspoon of tabasco

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 425F. Mix the ingredients for the lemon sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Dry salmon fillet with paper towels, drizzle with oil on both sides, then salt, place on a foil lined bake sheet and set aside. In a small bowl mix together the paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin.

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Sprinkle the spice mixture over the salmon,

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Place the salmon in the oven for 8-10 minutes depending on how thick your fillet is.  My fillet was about 1/2 inch thick and it was done in 8 minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon sauce and enjoy!

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Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing--DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing–DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

My latest obsession is salad.  Crispy and crunchy vegetables with a drizzle of oil, and a splash of citrus or vinegar–what’s not to love?  Salads are a great way to get in a few servings of fresh vegetables in their raw state.  As much as I love salads, they can become a bit boring if you don’t mix things up a bit.  The easiest way to do that is to switch out the vegetables and the dressing.  I often make caesar salads with romaine lettuce, but sometimes I switch out the romaine and replace it with baby kale, or lacinto kale.  It makes for a hearty salad and an especially delicious twist to the standard caesar  salad, we are all used to.  I’ll post the recipe I use for the kale caesar another day, but today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite creamy caesar salad dressing.  It’s my go to dressing, when I crave a creamy salad dressing.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic pasted

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of anchovy paste

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup grape seed oil

5 teaspoons of olive oil

3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

black pepper to taste

Directions:  To a small bowl add the grated garlic and lemon juice, allow to sit for 10 minutes.  If you have a hand mixer like I do, add the lemon garlic mixture, (after it sits for 10 minutes), and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix until the mixture thickens–about 1-2 minutes.

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Transfer to an air tight container and chill until ready to use.

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If you don’t have a hand mixer,  whisk worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture.



While whisking, drizzle grape seed oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified.


 Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated:

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Lemon Infused Oil-How to Make Infused Cooking oil with a Slow cooker or Sous Vide circulator

 

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon  Infused Oil

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon Infused Oil

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making infused oils.  I buy them all the time, but they are a little on the expensive side, so making my own seems like the better value.  Infused oils are a great way to layer flavor in almost anything, be it  a salad, warm or cold, or as a highlight to fish,  potatoes or a finish to a hummus.  The process is super simple–especially if you use a slow cooker or a immersion circulator.  I had originally planned to make this with my immersion circulator, but I didn’t want to exclude a lot of you from making it.  So I borrowed my mom’s crock pot, so that I could adapt this recipe to fit the needs of a slow cooker.  Sous vide and slower cookers have a lot in common, both cook food at low temperatures.  Immersion circulators offer the option of cooking at even lower temperatures than slow cookers.  If you have a slow cooker that has the option of allowing you to set exact temperatures then you’re ahead of the game.  If your slow cooker only has a low, medium, high, or warming settings, don’t fret, you can make this.  My mom’s slow cooker has a high, low and warm setting.  I went online and did some research on what exactly those setting are and found out that the low temperature setting on slow cookers is 200F, the high is 300F and warm is 145-165F.  I planned to set my circulator to 131F for 3 hours for this recipe, so the warm setting on my mom’s slow cooker was more than sufficient to match that. In fact it was sufficient enough to allow me to shave off a few minutes from the 3 hour cook time.  I did not, because I was busy doing other things while the oil was in the slow cooker, but if you’re anxious, you could take 15 minutes off of the cook time.  I made this lemon infused oil in both my immersion circulator and my moms slow cooker–set a timer for 3 hours for both.  The results were identical.  The lemon was nicely infused in both oils.  I used avocado oil, but this can be done with olive oil, grape seed oil, or any oil that you choose.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup of avocado oil–or oil of your choice

peel of 2 medium sized lemons

Directions for slow cooker:  fill slow cooker with water and set to 131F,–if your slow cooker has an exact temperature setting– or set it on the warm setting–low if your pot doesn’t have a keep warm setting. Place oil in a bag, then add lemon peels–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the slow cooker and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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Directions for Sous vide:  Fill a pot or container with water, then set the circulator to 131F and wait for the water to come to temperature. Meanwhile add the oil and lemon peels to a bag–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the water bath and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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At the 3 hour mark, carefully remove the oil from the water–remembering that even at 131F-165F water is very hot.

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Transfer the oil to a clean container–removing all of the peels–you can leave one or two for decoration if you’d like.

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The lemon oil is ready to use. There are so many uses for this oil.  Drizzle a little on avocado toast, or on roast chicken–the uses are endless and always delicious!

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