Dinner, Salads, sandwich, sides

Grecian bowl of yummy!

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So I love me some “Buddah Bowl” which is basically a big bowl of healthy vegetarian stuff topped with tahini dressing and eaten with good conscious. There are some great options here and even carts dedicated to the art of “The Bowl”. I love eating this way and it feels substantial and healthy. There isn’t really a recipe, it consists of a guideline mostly and you do your own thing with what is fresh and tasty and personal preference.
1. Choose some veggies, carrots, beets, whatever you like, cooked or raw.
2. leafy greens, kale, romaine, spinach, etc.
3. Grains, quinoa, couscous, rice, barley, whatever revs your engine.
4. Protein time! Tofu, tempe, goat cheese, beans. Usually non-meat but same idea can be applied using meat as well.
5. Fatty McGee, I.E. Dressing, avocado, oils etc.
6. Toppins, olives, crushed corn chips, garlic, herbs, nuts, endless possibilities!
So the run down of my Greek version is this:
1. Celery, sundried tomatoes, celery, shallots.
2. Organic lactinato kale, shredded and massaged. Are you sick of kale yet? Haha! I still like it, but you can use spinach.
3. Toasted Israeli couscous
4. Lentils I cooked myself with a bit of salt, onions, and garlic. Sheep milk feta.
5. Tahini garlic dressing, here is the recipe
6. I used some nicoise olives, and flat leaf parsley.
Assembly is really up to you, I like to put my greens at the bottom and put a bit of dressing, then I like to vary the temperatures of the toppings, my lentils were warm, I think that adds interest to each bite. This is a great method to know for office lunches, picnics, and even dinners at home. You can use up leftovers you have on hand and make an entirely new meal! Folks around these parts pay upwards of $12 dollars to eat these at restaurants, and they are good, but you can totally control the quality of your ingredients while saving some bucks! Bon appetite!

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Uncategorized

A call to all my past resignations or why women should throw each another a bone.

I strategically spotted the open booth still un-bussed from the previous set of tea drinkers…a moment to read the Willamette weekly while my bombastic 2 and half year old could play in the play area and be happily distracted while I caught up on snarky articles. I needed to transport our smoothie, and my kombucha….I managed…went to put the water class from the prior custys back in the bus tub, which they themselves should have done, but as I placed the glass into the lower bus tub God forbid…it drops and breaks, a J. Crew Khaki clad Granola-turned Yupptard, type A shouts “Easy! There are kids here!” as if I could control a bout of distracted mom clumsiness and already being embarrassed, further embarrassing me not to mention interrupting others with her anti-glass shard manifesto. I waved over the counter guy who awesomely presented the bottled smoothie I had purchased earlier like a vintage Bordeaux, he swept it up, Yupptard McGee (not her real name) hollers down at him as if he is a servant and promptly goes off on a tyraid of how dangerous it is to break glasses with children present. I looked at her and said “It was an accident, we mortals have those sometimes”, realizing perhaps that I had noticed her and she felt the need to further the overreaction she walked over to me and said “I was just taking about what would happen when things like this would happen when I used to work at restaurants”, I shot her a direct look and said “Mother to mother, maybe you should be less judgmental, I wasn’t trying to feed your kid glass”. Then using my hand made a shuffle along motion to her, waving her away as she had done to the counter help, she was rendered speechless. It felt great, I hate to admit it, not as great as if we women could support one another and perhaps show kindness to each other, but pretty damn good. I had let a few of these “types” do this to me before (I hate to stereotype but we have an over abundance of these in the NE),I had a mom chew me out over email for sending her daughter an email for my daughters birthday to her work email (the one she chose to have published in the school directory), I had another accuse my daughter of making it so her daughter wouldn’t go to ballet because Ava had said there was a “scary guy” at her lesson, which there was a dude trippin out on acid in a trench coat talking in a “Redrum” voice after ballet one day and Ava was just relating her experience. Ugh, we are all in the same boat, I really thought I would never face worse “judgey” folk then in Utah, but unfortunately it’s a human condition not a state ordained one. Nearly losing my Dad in February has made me think about life differently, we fail to live in moment, instead waiting for tomorrow or longing for yesterday, we nit pick each other trying to differentiate or make ourselves “different” then one another, when really we are all the same. We all love our kids and want them to do well, as mothers it’s hard to remember our own personal identities, we all feel isolated and lonely sometimes….why not just try to relate? Try to be kind in a world that isn’t? We all don’t have to be best friends, or friends at all, but if you see another mom maybe give them a thumbs up, maybe a smile…..women are amazing, talented, strong! If we all could band together and treat each other like we would like to be treated we could change the status quo for the better. Maybe just maybe we could reach our full human potential by being humane to each other. It’s easy to be mean and jaded, it enlightening to have faith in the human race, and love for others. From now on I am going to go out of my way to appreciate other women and to try to pay it forward.

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Dinner

Drunken Noodles

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I have cooked for a few drunks in my day….and this recipe right here is a great one if you want to have a great meal to accompany beer or cocktails. Traditionally in Thailand these are served to late night patrons to help wake them back up. This dish is spicy but you can prepare it to your own liking. My favorite drunken noodles are at the the “I like Thai” cart and are all of $5, but when I don’t want to drag my nearly three year old son downtown I have found a pretty close second place version that serves at least 4 other noodle munchers. I have access to many Asian markets and pick my ingredients up there, they are usually cheaper and better quality but most of these items can be found at your local supercenter du jour. After you have done your prep this dish comes together quickly, so if you do your mise en place the night before you could make this in front of your guests and even invite them to help, or just let them watch your stir fry ninja skills!
You will need:
12 oz bag rice flake noodles, soaked in lukewarm water for 10 minutes and drained.
2 Tbsp. Thick soy sauce, this is a sweeter, thick version, if you can’t find this use hoison.
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. Fish sauce
1 Tbsp. Thai chili garlic oil, if you can’t find this use sambal or sciracha, if you have an ulcer or can’t do spicy and keep it nicey then use less or none at all, they are still good.
3 Tbsp. Peanut or Canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced.
1 shallot, sliced.
2 eggs, whipped.
1 Cup fried tofu cut into bite-sized pieces, you can omit this or use non-fried.
12 medium sized shrimp, cleaned.
1 red bell pepper cut into bite-sized pieces.
1 Cup packed fresh basil leaves.
Method:
Heat a wok or the biggest skillet you have over medium high heat, whisk Thick soy, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili oil and fish sauce together and set aside. Add peanut or canola oil to skillet and cook garlic and shallot until light brown, add eggs and scramble together, add shrimp and tofu, cook shrimp for 2 minutes then add, drained noodles, bell pepper, sauce mixture, stir fry five minutes, add basil cook two minutes or until some of the noodles are a bit crisp on the edges, serve with an ice cold lager or IPA.
Totally acceptable for those who don’t indulge in alcohol as well, and you can substitute different proteins and sauce combinations, once you learn the method it is quick and easy! เพลิดเพลิน (enjoy in Thai)

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Dinner, soup

30 Minute Lasagna Soup

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What a week! I haven’t been in the kitchen much, as my sister Kristina was in town and I made her go eat all the places I love and some that I haven’t tried. We went to Aberdeen, WA to visit the Kurt Cobain memorial and I watched “Hellraiser” for the first time on the big screen at Cthulucon and it was followed by a Q&A with the one and only “Pinhead”. It was awesome, I am always impressed with the diversity and participation in Portland’s niche scenes. Well back to “real-life” and weeknight meal preparation, I decided that I wanted to do a version of Lasagna soup, I love Lasagna but it is time consuming and not the healthiest of dishes. This soup has all the flavor of the classic but a bit more health and time conscious.
You will need:
8 Cups stock
32 oz can whole tomatoes, hand crushed, juice and all
1 medium onion, peeled, diced.
2 ribs celery, small dice.
2 carrots peeled, small dice.
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced.
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained.
4 oz Hot Italian sausage, I used Papa George’s
4 oz lean ground turkey
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups casserole lasagna noodles, if you can’t find those broken regular lasagna works or choose shape of choice.
2 cups chopped spinach
a few sprigs fresh Basil
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese, I used Asiago
4 oz chevre, or you can use ricotta
In a large pot or dutch oven brown sausage and turkey over medium heat, add garlic, onion, carrots and celery, sweat the veggies for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, stock, beans, and oregano, bring to a boil, add pasta cook 10 minutes, turn down to medium heat and add spinach cook five minutes, check for salt (mine didn’t need any) and pepper to personal preference. Serve topped with fresh basil, both cheeses and enjoy!

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Salads, sides

Easter egg radishes sashimi style

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This recipe is a fun lil’ play on Japanese sashimi, I used “Easter egg” radishes a bit of ponzu, lemon zest, and dill. I like to prepare produce like you would animal protein and the result is quite tasty. I would serve this like any salad along side a protein and starch. I used a mandolin to get the radishes nearly paper thin and it gives a nice mouth feel with a bit of crunch. I admire Japanese design in general, the goal seems to be not to over complicate, but to use the best stuff you can get your hands on, in this case lovely radishes. If you have a mandolin this recipe takes all of about five minutes to prepare and is quite sexy for a plate of radishes….try it I think you’ll like it.
You will need:
1 bunch of radishes, or half a large daikon could be used as well and is very traditional.
zest of one lemon
a few springs of dill
2 Tbsp. Ponzu, it contains bonito so if you are going the vegan route use a high quality, light temari.
a drizzle of finishing oil, I used olive oil, but sesame would be tasty.
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Method:
slice radishes thinly, I used the thinnest setting on my mandolin and they were almost see through, you can do this by hand if you are Morimoto or Nobu, but if you are a mere mortal like myself you may need a mandolin, if you don’t have one and fancy yourself the cookin’ type I would suggest you invest in one, they are rad. Place radishes on platter in an overlapping circular fashion, drizzle on ponzu or temari, oil, and top with zest and dill…eat! Super easy and a fun way to eat radishes.

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soup

Greek-style Chickpea soup

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This simple recipe is a great way to enjoy chickpeas. Very popular in Greece, the ingredients and preparation are simple. The trick to flavor is the use of olive oil and slow cooking to produce a rich, and full flavored soup. This is what I like to call “refined peasant food” it’s cheap, accessible, healthy, and feeds a small army. Perfect with crusty bread, this dish can be served anytime of year, might I suggest you use Greek olive oil to get the full flavor. I used Organic canned chickpeas to cut down on cooking time and to make approachable for quick preparation on a weeknight after a long day at work. This is one of those things that is even tastier the next day and is great to make in large batches and freeze. Make it vegan friendly by using Veggie stock.
You will need:
1/2 Cup Greek Olive oil
2 medium onions, diced.
4 cloves garlic, minced.
2 ribs celery, diced.
2 carrots, peeled, diced.
1 #2 russet potato (medium),peeled, diced.
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed.
1 15 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed.
1 quart good stock, Vegetable or chicken.
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cracked ground pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Greek
2 T. Fresh dill
2 T. Fresh parsley
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Cups water
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Method:
Pour half the oil into a dutch oven or whatever vessel you cook your soup in, over medium heat, when oil is starting to bubble, add onions,red pepper flakes and garlic. Caramelize over medium low heat 30 minutes or until soft, golden, and sweet. Add carrots, celery, stir. Add chickpeas,potato, tomatoes, water, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper and stock. Turn heat to medium high, when the soup begins to simmer, turn heat to low and cook 1 hr, add fresh parsley and dill, drizzle remaining oil over the top of each serving and serve with lemon wedges. I like to blend mine with a emulsion blender, making sure to leave some texture, this leaves the soup with a velvety finish. I served mine with Chevre smeared baguette slices, but you can choose your own breadventure.

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Dinner

5-ingredient, one pan Chinese Broccoli Chicken

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I like to call this one “Chinese take-out fake-out” because no one will know it isn’t from a restaurant. Ridiculously easy there is no excuse not to cook this for your family any night of the week. It is all cooked in the oven, on the same pan so clean up is a breeze and you won’t believe how delicious this simple recipe is.
You will need:
1.5 Lbs skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 bunch of broccoli (about 4 cups) florets, cut into bite sized pieces
3 tbsp. high quality Chinese oyster sauce, found in the ethnic food aisle in your grocery store, I buy the Lee Kum kee premium.
2 tbsp. Canola oil
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Method:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, on a sheet pan place broccoli on one side, and chicken on the other, drizzle on the oil, then using a clean hand toss the broccoli and chicken with oil till well coated. Place in oven and cook 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and broccoli is tender, the broccoli and chicken will give off a bit of liquid,
pour on oyster sauce and coat all the chicken and broccoli. Pile on a plate and garnish with sesame seeds, serve with steamed rice or starch of choice. In the words of G. Love, “Yeah, its that easy” enjoy!
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Salads, sides

Tahini Noodles

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I really love this recipe, like it in a unhealthy almost obsessed way….why? Because it so damn tasty! If you bring this to a potluck, I promise there will be nothing left over! With a few things that stay great in your fridge or pantry and a few items I bet you already have on hand, you are 20 minutes away from tasty! Did I mention it’s vegan? Well it is and it is tasty enough to show off for company with the ease of buying all the items in a decently stocked grocery store.
What you need:
1 lb of dry spaghetti
2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, thinly sliced and blanched
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 medium, red onion, sliced thin
for the dressing:
1/2 Cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 Cup tahini
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp agave syrup or you can use 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 Cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cracked ground pepper
2 tsp sciracha or to taste
Method:
In a large pot boil salted water and cook until pasta is cooked, about 10 minutes. While pasta boils add all of dressing ingredients to a blender or mix by hand until smooth and creamy. Add dressing to warm, drained pasta, carrots, onion, and green beans. I topped mine with Japanese togarahsi pepper (found in Asian market), black and regular sesame seeds, both are optional but delicous…easy, tasty, and quick this is one every cook should keep in their repetoire. Yum.
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Dinner, Uncategorized

Japanese Curry

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The other night we went down to Moon and Sixpence and had their amazing “Curry Chips”, I guess in Britain this is totally a thing…a really, really, great thing! Basically its delicious French fries with curry gravy, and it is about the best thing I have ever had as a drinking food. As I ate the curry it reminded me of one of my favorite comfort foods, Japanese Curry, less spicy and thicker then Indian or Thai curries, it seemed quite similar to the British style curry we were eating. The best curry rice I have ever eaten is at Hanamaru in my hometown, made by Miyako it is amazing, I can’t quite get mine as good as hers…but when the craving hits this is the next best thing. This curry is rouxed up, meaning it is thickened with butter and flour, and is delicious with short grain rice, I used some germinated brown rice to get a little more healthy benefits and it worked out great.
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You will need:
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut same size as carrots
2 onions, sliced
1 leek, tough outer leaves removed, cleaned, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger grated
1 small apple, peeled and grated
4 cups of water
2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp madras curry powder
1 Tbsp honey or to taste
2 Tbsp mild tasting oil like canola
1/2 lb meat or tofu, I used country style pork ribs because they have great marbling
Roux:
1/2 (2oz) stick salted butter
1/4 cup AP flour
1 Tbsp garam masala or curry powder
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp hoison sauce
Method:
In a large pot heat oil over medium heat, add onions, leeks, and garlic, cook down 15 minutes or so until golden, add meat or tofu, and ginger, cook 3 minutes or until ginger becomes fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes to 30 minutes until carrots are fork tender.
While your meat and veg simmer prepare roux by melting butter in a small saucepan, add flour, garam masala or curry. Cook 10 minutes over medium low heat, add tomato paste and hoison, cook five more minutes, then add a ladle of broth from simmering pan, stir until it becomes a paste then add roux to pot, stir well until thick and bubbly. Serve with short grain rice or starch of choice. Makes 4 servings.
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Salads

Roasted asparagus and beet panzanella

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The best cooks in the world know how to get the most bang for their buck. Italian panzanella is a prime example of repurposing ingredients. Panzanella utilizes leftover, even stale bread and makes it a showstopping salad. Panzanella is great because depending on what is in season you can use that produce to make different variations. Spring hasn’t quite sprung yet…but the beginning of asparagus season has and I bought some beautiful spears that I thought would be perfect roasted, I also had a few beets I had roasted off and peeled earlier, and a nice, locally made baguette that was past its prime. The result was easy, delicious, and a perfect example of waste not want not. Great for a potluck, I’m sure if you whip up a bunch it won’t last long. As always this is a guideline to make your own creation, use what you have and what you prefer, but I would suggest you try this combination at least once!
You will need:
1 day old baguette, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup parmesano reggiano, grated
4 small beets, cooked and sliced
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 oz crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan drizzle a few tbsp of olive oil, lay sliced baguette in one layer, drizzle top with a few more tbsp of oil, sprinkle with parmesan, a bit of salt, and some cracked pepper. Bake until golden about ten minutes. Put your toasted bread in a bowl and on the same sheet pan place asparagus with the rest of the olive oil, salt and pepper, and pepper flakes, place oven to broil, and when heated place asparagus under the broiler for 5 minutes, flip the spears and cook another 5 minutes or less, until tender and browned. Pour lemon juice over asparagus, and when it is cool enough to handle chop in to large pieces and pour them onto your bowl of toasted bread, making sure to get all the juice and oil in as well because this make your dressing automatically. Add your cooked and sliced beets and red wine, gently mix trying not to bleed your beets into the bread, top with feta, Mange!

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