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brussels

I’ve embarked on a new food adventure, which is a challenge to myself to cook 5 recipes in 5 days using one main ingredient. I’m calling it Made Weekly. I’m not sure how many weeks I can keep it up, but it’s just week one so we’ll see. First up? Brussels sprouts!

Check out my first two recipes on my new tumblr:

Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts and Tofu
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

lentil salad

I highly recommend having cooked beans or lentils on hand whenever possible. Here’s why. I made lentil burgers the other night, and ended up with more lentils than I needed. Those little puppies came in handy today while I was roaming around my apartment, starving, wondering what on earth to eat for lunch. (I do a lot of roaming around now that I work from home, mostly so I don’t become permanently affixed to the couch, a withered shell of myself, fingertips glued to the keyboard).

What resulted was a quite tasty, very healthy salad, composed entirely of “stuff I had lying around,” including but not limited to, carrots, onion, kale, cilantro, pine nuts, and labneh (though greek yogurt would do). I threw some salt, pepper, cayenne and coriander for seasoning, plus a splash of red wine vinegar for some tang. Took about 10 minutes start to finish, and I have no complaints!

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We’ve all had a crush on someone who is objectively, at a minimum, funny-looking. All logic should steer you clear of this individual, yet, through some combination of actual magnetism and hormones running amok, you find him (or her) sexy ugly. Our friends may mock us mercilessly, but we can’t be dissuaded from the notion. After all, imperfection is attractive. And I would apply that notion, above all, to food.

You can definitely go too far with this line of thinking — if it looks like dog food, it’s probably not going to be particularly appetizing. But I’ve never been one to idolize incredibly perfect dishes plated entirely with tweezers. I respect the craft, but wouldn’t choose it for myself. My food is, like me, a bit messy. Even when it’s perfect.

Puff pastry is a favorite vehicle for basically anything, though I rarely use it because it is approximately 1000% butter. But in hunting for some recipe inspiration recently, I decided I would like to make a savory tarte tatin, with caramelized onions instead of apples. And with the remaining scraps of puff pastry, I made a leftovers lunch by topping it with a roasted butternut squash and kale salad I’d made a few days prior. (And goat cheese, for good measure).

Two imperfectly perfect meals, with one buttery crust! Recipes after the jump.

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A note on the title. I felt like this should be billed as some kind of crap Semi-Homemade post in order to be honest, but look, not only is it not realistic to make fresh pasta for ravioli on a regular basis (or ever, if you don’t want to get homicidally angry at a pasta machine), but this cheater version tastes really good. It seems bizarre to employ a prepared food from a completely different cuisine to make ravioli, but somehow it jus works. The secret (or totally non-secret) is wonton wrappers! Or as a friend accidentally texted, wanton wrappers. Just naughty enough.

We had a bit of a ravioli party, all inventing our own frankenstein ravioli shapes and devouring the results. I highly recommend this activity for a fun dinner party or for kids (not that I have them). It’s easy and really satisfying when you’re done!

This time around, beet filling was the choice, but then my mind started racing, thinking about all the delicious fillings one could use instead. Winter squash, pumpkin, a whole egg yolk (zomg), herbed ricotta, NUTELLA, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention sauces, which in this case consisted simply of brown butter with fried sage, but could again run the gamut from pesto to bolognese. What I’m saying is, get creative. You basically can’t fail.

In the photo, I served the ravioli over some purple kale, sauteed with lots of garlic and red pepper flakes.

Instructions after the jump!

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This is one of those hybrid recipes that had me wondering, why have I never seen this before?

I am a huge fan of both zucchini bread and corn bread. I can eat both in embarrassing quantities. And both are pretty foolproof. The zucchini acts as extra protection from dreaded dry cornbread syndrome, and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days (best toasted with butter). You can tell how anxious I was to start eating this while it was still warm from the oven given that this is the closest I got to a good picture. Oof.

If you’re hitting the end of the summer with a surplus of zucchini (for those of you lucky enough to have space for a garden), or if, like me, you are a sucker for a quick bread, try this one.

The weather has been shockingly pleasant this past week in New York, and it’s feeling like fall is around the corner. It’s just starting to cool down enough at night to warrant a sweater, and the humidity has backed off considerably. So of course, I’m dreaming of fall ingredients. I bet this bread would be delicious with another savory vegetable, like yams, or you could add some spices and a bit more sugar and take it to the sweet side with apples or pears (and pecans!). I have to admit, although I complain virtually without pause about the New York weather, I do appreciate living somewhere that has real seasons. The transitions from one to the next form natural chapters out of life, and I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting fall.

The recipe can be found on epicurious. I reduced the amount of sugar by about a 1/4 c. but made no other modifications.

And keep an eye out for more Skillshare classes coming up too!

 

I have been so remiss, what with catering a giant birthday party (more on that later), suffering through a summer cold, and getting sunburned in Southern California. But I have news! I am teaching a class (with Mark doing cocktails of course) on the basics of a vegetarian pantry and how to build not-boring salads. We’ll finish with a no-cook meal that highlights a ton of amazing seasonal produce and I am so excited.

The awesome folks at Kitchensurfing are hosting at the Ger-Nis Culinary and Herb Center, a totally amazing teaching kitchen space in Gowanus. So basically what I’m saying is, take my class! Click here!

These salads are both a kind of preview and explanation for the theme of the class…they were both satisfying, hearty salads that I made with stuff I had laying around. Very summery and vegetarian. You could of course make these on purpose, but in my case they were a fridge clean-out kind of situation.

In the first, I made rice and mixed it with a chunky pesto / chimichurri / herb concoction. If you ever have multiple bunches of herbs laying around and no clue what to do with them, I highly recommend this solution. This particular version was mint + parsley + cilantro in generous amounts, blended with lots of lemon juice, olive oil, jalapeño for kick, and pistachios. I mean, I wanted to eat this stuff with a spoon it was so piquant. It literally justified using the word piquant. Imagine! It would be so good on grilled corn, or grilled fish, or really anything at all. In this case I mixed it with rice and topped the whole thing with a raw veggie salad, mixed with some extra lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The second salad is a kind of healthy taco salad I suppose. Romaine hearts topped with a veggie tofu scramble — zucchini, corn, crumbled tofu, and spices like cumin and cayenne. Top with crunchy tortilla chips and some cotija cheese and you’ve got yourself a salad. Love the hot + cold, soft + crunchy going on in this salad.

So in conclusion, take my class if you’re interested, and I hope it’s the first of many to come.

I imagine many people have terrible memories of eating green beans as children. Green beans from a can, mushy green beans, green bean casserole… these were never dishes foisted upon me, and for that I am grateful.

My mom’s method for cooking green beans is awesome. They have lots of garlic and soy sauce, and they’re cooked in a pan until crisp and tender but nowhere near mushy. I remember helping to snap off their little ends before she would cook them.

I don’t make green beans all that often at home and I’m not sure why. But I was at a barbecue recently and someone brought green beans, which I cooked in this manner, and was inspired to do it again at home. So this is another “method not a recipe” kind of post. You just rinse your green beans, remove the root ends, heat some olive or neutral oil in a large saute pan and toss in a bunch of chopped garlic. Cook it just a little bit but careful to not let it brown. Then toss in the green beans. Add a splash of water, cover the pan, and let them steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid, add a few tablsepoons of soy sauce, and let them continue to cook a few more minutes until any remaining liquid has boiled off. Taste for doneness and seasoning. Add some toasted sliced almonds for a nice crunch, if you’ve got them.

I broiled some tofu slathered in miso, soy, and rice vinegar and made some rice to go along with the beans. But this is a great side dish for your repertoire, and definitely try it if you don’t think you like green beans. It might just change your mind!

I’ve started to come around to this idea of being paid in trade. Walking out of the Turtle Bay CSA on Tuesday night, after a lovely evening of chatting with members and just hanging out, I was able to take a share of the produce as well. I grabbed some carrots, broccoli, lettuce, squash, purple basil, green garlic, eggs and yellow plums. Phew! What a great haul.

I hope I’m not getting redundant here but PUT AN EGG ON IT is a real thing. And I employ it frequently, as you can tell.

And there is actually a salad under that egg, using the lettuce, carrots, broccoli and green garlic from the CSA. Recipe after the jump!

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A friend of mine runs the Turtle Bay CSA, and asked me to stop by during their distribution tonight and share some recipes. I was thrilled, in part because of the reality TV-like challenge of it: I found out what was going to be in today’s share box last night, and came up with these recipes in the meantime. The stress! The pressure! OK, not really. Here’s the beautiful thing. Seasonal veggies are so easy to cook with. You know they’re going to be the ultimate tasty versions of themselves, so why mess with them too much?

Beets and carrots make a great raw salad, and what I realized was that I could make a second recipe out of the beet greens and carrot tops. So: beet & carrot salad and beet green & carrot top frittata (with zucchini). Done and done.

Recipes after the jump!

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This is the kind of sandwich you have to eat alone.

This is a finger-licking sandwich, a vow-to-never-buy-mayo-again sandwich, a stacked-too-high-for-human-mouths sandwich that requires some privacy in which to devour it. Luckily, I’m swimming in privacy these days.

Ingredients proceed thusly: thick, sturdy bread, toasted. (I made this loaf from a Bittman recipe for simple Italian bread. Very dense crumb, so perfect for piling high with toppings). Generous slather of homemade aioli. I learned this really cool trick from Serious Eats, in which you dump all ingredients for aioli into a cup, add a stick blender, push the on button, and 30 seconds later: aioli! It was miraculous. I used 1 garlic clove grated on a microplane, 1 T. water, 1 dollop of dijon mustard, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a pinch of salt, 1 egg yolk, and 1 cup of vegetable oil. BOOM. I mean, this is beyond ridiculously tasty. I don’t even LIKE mayonnaise. You can of course do this by hand with a whisk. There are many great tutorials out there but if you have a stick blender, praise Zeus, use it. Crispy lettuce. Thick slice of tomato (or if you’re feeling frisky, avocado). Sliced hard boiled egg. Chopped capers and pickles (I was gifted some lovely pickled ramps and fiddlehead ferns, which I used here with great delight). Black pepper. Sprinkle of salt. Squeeze of lemon. 

Proceed with caution, because trust me, this will get everywhere, but it will be so, so worth it.