Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

Pan Fried Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme

 

This recipe was born out of a pure need to get dinner on the table quickly.  I love cauliflower and on a normal day I would slice it and place it in the oven to cook, but time didn’t allow for me to do so recently.  Page was hungry and I did not have 20 minutes to spare.  The great thing about being rushed to get dinner on the table–yes there is a great thing about it–is that you need to keep it simple.  This recipe is exactly that–simple– it contains less than 5 ingredients and the best part? It only took 10 minutes!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of sliced cauliflower

2 cloves of garlic (smashed)

2 tablespoons of oil ( grape seed, or olive oil)

1 tablespoon of butter

5-6 sprigs of thyme

sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions: Heat a cast iron skillet until it smokes.  Add in the 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the cauliflower, and allow to cook for 5 minutes undisturbed.

Add the butter, thyme and garlic, take care when adding the thyme, the water in the thyme will cause the oil to pop.

Allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Once the cauliflower has browned and taken on some color,

Transfer it to a serving platter, season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy!

 

Lentil Soup With Cilantro and Lemon Gremolata

Lentil Soup with Cilantro Lemon Gremolata

 

My daughter loves lentil soup. It is one of her favorite meals. My version of lentil soup is not highly complicated, lentils, carrots, celery, onion, and a final squeeze of lemon at the end. When I ran across a recipe by Kenji over on the Serious eats blog adding a parsley and lemon Gremolata, I knew I had to try it! Let me tell you, hands down this is the best lentil soup that I’ve ever had or made! My daughter ate 3 bowls, (3 of her little mini bowls, but 3 bowls none the less), and she could not stop saying how yummy it was. I decided to use cilantro instead of parsley because I love the flavor of cilantro, lemon, and lentils—super yummy. If cilantro is not your thing, then by all means use parsley, this soup is good either way! If you know you’re putting this in your weeknight line up soak the lentils overnight, it will shave off 30 minutes of your cooking time.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45minutes-1hour

servings: 6

Here’s what you need:

Gremolata Ingredients:

6 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon zest

4 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup cilantro chopped (sub parsley)

Ingredients for Soup

1 cup of lentils ( I used French green lentils)

1 cup carrots diced

1 cup celery diced

1 medium onion diced

4 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

5 cups of good quality chicken broth( sub with veggie stock if you want to make this vegetarian)

1 lemon cut into wedges for squeezing.

Directions: Add the ingredients for the gremolata to a small bowl,

Mix well and set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven pan, add the onions, carrots and celery,

Sauté until onions are translucent about 5 minutes,

 

Add the lentils mix well,

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Add half of the gremolata. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes, your house should smell amazing at this point.

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Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

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Lower the fire and simmer until lentils are nice and tender around 45 minutes. Add water, if necessary, it wasn’t for me. Once lentils are tender, add the lemon juice, mix well then turn off the fire. Serve by ladling into soup bowls and topping with a dollop of the remaining Gremolata, a few squeezes of lemon juice, and enjoy!

 

 

 

If you don’t have it already, check out Kenji’s new book, The Food Lab, it’s full of useful cooking information backed by science.

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

 

We have a black bean tostada night once every 2 weeks.  It’s simple, and definitely a lazy girl dinner, because I open a can of black refined beans heat them then add them to a piping hot and crisp tortilla. I top the tortilla with cheese, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, and either a fresh guacamole or this Avocado Crema.  The result is a delicious and lazy dinner! Simple ingredients, but oh so good. My husband raves about this dinner every time we have it. The best thing about this is that you throw everything into a blender and a minute later the sauce is done. If you want to make this vegan, paleo or Whole 30 approved just omit the yogurt and replace with 1/4 cup of water.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado

3 tablespoons of yogurt–can sub sour cream

1/4 cup of cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime==more if you like

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

Sea salt to taste

Directions:  Add all the ingredients to a blender.

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Blend on high until smooth and lump free.

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Serve and enjoy!

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How to Make Queso Fresco Cheese

How to maker Queso Cheese

How to make Queso Fresco Cheese

This week I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen making things that I had on my “list of things I want to make”–yes I actually have a list. This cheese has been on that list for quite some time.  It’s so unbelievably easy to make that now I am left to wonder why it took me so long to try it.  It’s also a great way to use milk that would not get used otherwise. This cheese was a great addition to  my Peruvian Chicken taco’s that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 quart of whole organic milk

2 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice–can sub with vinegar

Sea salt to taste

Equipment:

cheesecloth

Sieve

Directions: Add the milk to a saucepan,

Heat the milk to 180F whisking to prevent the milk from scorching.

Once the milk reaches 180F remove from heat.

Add the lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until the curds separate from the whey. This happens almost immediately.

Allow the curds to continue to separate, let the mixture sit in the pot uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

 

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From here you can decide to just strain the mixture in a cheesecloth lined sieve, add salt to taste and be done–you’ll have a perfectly soft crumble cheese.

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Or you can strain, then squeeze out excess whey, add salt, form into a ball, and press into a firmer queso,

I placed my queso into a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, which I wrapped in my cheesecloth, and then placed a sealed water-filled 4-ounce mason jar on top for 5-10 minutes to squeeze out excess whey.  I placed these items over a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the whey.

For a firmer paneer type cheese extend the time that the cheese is pressed from 10 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate if you don’t plan on using the cheese right away.  It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

 

 

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Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

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I love Korean barbecue, what’s not to love?  Grilled meat, pickled and fermented veggies…mmmh it’s a veritable umami bomb on a plate.  The fermented veggies alone are enough to get me into the door of a Korean restaurant.  I love banchan, savory sprouts, kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and daikon radish make the heaviness of the barbecued meats lighter.  I remember my first experience eating Korean food.  The week of my wedding my best friend suggested that we go to a Korean bath spa together.  She said it would be a great mini break for me to table the stress of planning a wedding, and at the same time get my skin nice and polished for the wedding.  I happily agreed, we had gone to many a spa together throughout our friendship, so why not make another happy memory with my best friend before I sailed off into wedded bliss, I thought.  The day before our appointments my best friend called to say that something came up at work and she could not join me, but she insisted that I go alone because I needed to destress, so I did.  The spa was unlike any other spa I had ever been to. After checking in, I was led on a guided tour of the steam rooms, jade rooms, and showers.  Everyone within the walls, except for the technicians, was completely naked and Asian.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.   First of all, I wasn’t at all prepared to be completely naked in front of anyone other than a technician. At all the spa’s  that I had ever been to everyone wore something, be it a robe, or bathing suit, but not this spa.  I also was not prepared to leave without having had my body polish.  I had read the Yelp reviews and this place was the best!  I wanted to sparkle and shine at my wedding and the only thing standing in the way of that happening was me getting naked, so I did.  I was sitting in the sauna with three women, and they could sense my unease.  They were so kind, they chatted me up, and when I felt comfortable one of them asked me how I found out about the spa.  I told them and they laughed.  I’m guessing that the spa didn’t get very many non-Asian patrons, which is too bad, nakedness aside, it was a great spa. The spa lacked the more polished elegance of a Burke Williams, but what it lacked in elegance, it made up for it other areas, namely the food area.  After getting my scrub, and detoxing in the sauna, I walked over to the jade rooms, and just beyond that was a bar and the scent coming from the bar was intoxicating.  The bar/restaurant had a full menu of soups with fermented and pickled veggies, JACKPOT! I grabbed a folded robe from a pedestal near the entrance into the bar–you didn’t think they would make us eat naked did you?–and sat down to a deliciously healthy meal.  If only all spa’s included this kind of service.  That was my first experience eating Korean food, and since then I’ve fallen in love with it.  This recipe is my take on chicken Korean barbecue.  I have to say that this chicken is delicious!  Better than the chicken that I’ve had at most restaurants that I’ve been to.  This recipe requires Gochujang–a spicy fermented chili paste. You may need to venture into an Asian market for the Gochujang.  I purchased a jar at my local Whole Foods, they had several varieties of it, I chose a garlic Gochujang.

 

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

1lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces

1.5 tablespoons of Gochujang

2 teaspoons of sugar–can sub with maple sugar or syrup

1 teaspoon of garlic grated

3 green onions chopped finely both whites and green parts

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of olive or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

sea salt to taste

Directions: Season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.

To a large mixing bowl or medium size bake pan add the remaining ingredients,

combine and mix well,

then toss in the chicken, tossing to coat the chicken completely in the marinade.

Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Grill the chicken on a hot grill, 5-7 minutes on each side, serve and enjoy!

 

 

Grilled Zucchini and Avocado with White Wine Vinaigrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Viniagrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Vinaigrette

T’is the season–for zucchini that is.  It is at almost every stand in my farmers market, piled into beautiful towers at my local Whole Foods, and in glistening plastic packages in my local Trader Joe’s.  There is no escaping it–not that I’d want to. Zucchini is one of those vegetables that if you plant it–you will be rewarded with an enormous bounty–so it’s no wonder that it is everywhere right now. So what do you do with an enormous bounty of zucchini?  Cook it. Pickle it. Give it away–even in secret as some of my neighbors have, by leaving an anonymous  bag full of zucchini on my doorstep.  It’s a good thing that I happen to like zucchini.  This recipe happens to be something that came about as an accident.  I was planning on making my favorite saute of zucchini and mushrooms but my plans and Page’s needs sometimes collide and I had to make an adjustment.  In this case, I had some deliciously ripe avocado’s that Page insisted that I serve her for dinner.  I had already begun to slice the zucchini so I had to cook it. So I decided why not just combine the two and make a salad of sorts. Boy, am I glad I did. I used a white wine vinaigrette, but this is great with a lemon garlic vinaigrette too!

 

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Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 large avocados, sliced

1/4 cup of feta cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil or grape seed

2 tablespoons of butter or ghee

sea salt and black pepper to taste

For Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

sea salt to taste

Directions: Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan.

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Once hot, add the zucchini slices to the pan and cook until brown–about 2-3 minutes on each side.

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Transfer the zucchini to a plate, season with sea salt and black pepper.

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Slice the avocado and arrange in a single layer on a plate.  Top the avocado with the grilled zucchini.  Sprinkle with feta if using, then sprinkle with parsley. Lastly top with vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!

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Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Chard is an under rated vegetable.  It’s one of those vegetables that doesn’t get it’s due.  Probably because it has to contend with other vegetables that hog the spotlight, like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I think that if more people knew how easy it is to cook chard, and how delicious it is, it would be a star in their dinner line up.  This recipe for chard is one of my favorite chard recipes.  It’s super easy, quick, and oh so delicious!

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Ingredients

1 bushel of chard about 4 cups chopped roughly

1 medium shallot sliced thinly

4 small cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, more if you’re so inclined

2 tablespoons of cooking oil

sea salt to taste

Directions:  Heat the oil along with the garlic and shallots over medium heat.

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Cook the shallots and garlic until shallots turn translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

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Add in the chopped chard, season with sea salt and saute until wilted.

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Turn the fire off and add lemon juice, toss then serve.  Yup that easy! AND So, so , so delicious!!

 

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