Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thyme Lemonade

3oz limoncello
8oz seltzer, chilled
5-6 sprigs of thyme, crushed

1) Place crushed thyme in a tumbler-sized glass.
2) Add limoncello.
3) Pour seltzer over thyme.
4) Enjoy.

Review: I've somehow never had limoncello before. It's AMAZING. The thyme was subtle (maybe I need to add more?), but a nice flavor addition. This was a nice, summery drink on a hot day. Could be a new favorite for summertime (though margaritas will always have first place).
Adapted from:

Harissa Lentils & Cauliflower

1 cup brown basmati rice
5oz can harissa
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup red lentils
15oz can petite diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth

1) In a medium pot, cook rice according to package direction. Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender.
3) Serve lentil mixture over rice. Salt to taste.

Review: Another recipe based on open bags in the cabinet. This was a great way to use up that last bit of red lentils in the cabinet. And, a great opportunity to use harissa now that I can actually get the stuff (at Whole Foods). I made recipes before that called for harissa and substituted chile-garlic sauce. I now know that's a poor substitution. Harissa is a roasted red bell pepper based sauce, which is AMAZING and could be my new favorite sauce. It was a phenomenal addition to the tomato and red lentil flavors. It was tangy, tasty and just a little spicy. I wanted to eat this every day. The only thing I would do to improve it is to roast the cauliflower instead of cooking it in the sauce. BUT, cooking it this way is much faster and easier.
Adapted from:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Green Split-Pea Dal with Coconut-Turmeric Rice

1 cup dried green split peas, rinsed and picked through
1 Tbs coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown basmati rice
14oz can light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt

1) In a large pot of water, add the peas and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let sit for one hour.
2) At the end of the soaking hour, drain and rinse the peas. Then, saute the garlic in coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add the cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir for one minute. Add the vegetable broth and peas. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for one hour, or until the peas have broken down and most of the broth is gone.
3) Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, add the rice, coconut milk, water, turmeric and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook for length of time dictated on package (I use Trader Joe's quick-cooking brown basmati rice, 12-15 minutes). Stir before serving with dal.
4) Each serving should be dal spread on top of a bed of rice. Salt to taste.

Review: This was a labor of love and not a dish to make after work (which I did). This was phenomenally tasty. The dal was a fragrant, exotic dish that made my entire home smell like Indian food. It's typically made with yellow split peas, but I had an open bag of green split peas that needed to be used. The rice tasted like some of the yumminess I've gotten at Indian restaurants. I always wondered how they made the tasty rice and this must be it. It's not a strong coconut flavor, but it's more of an aftertaste with the turmeric. So, so good!!!
Adapted from:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lemon Quinoa Bean Salad

1 cup quinoa
1 cup corn
15oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice

1) Cook quinoa according to package directions.
2) Once quinoa is done cooking, transfer it to a large saute pan, adding the corn and beans. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients are heated.
3) Remove from heat and toss with cilantro, jalapeno and lemon juice.

Review: This is one of those dishes that is good either warm or cold - perfect for summer! I don't typically like a lot of lemon in my meals, as it tastes too acidic. However, it was perfectly balanced in this dish and didn't taste out of place. However, I'm already considering alternatives - what if I made this again but used roasted corn and lime juice?
Adapted from:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Warm Potato Salad

3 lbs baby red potatoes
8oz haricots verts, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
4 Tbs chopped fresh dill
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach

1) Cook potatoes in pot of boiling, salted water for 8 minutes, or until tender. Add green beans during last minute of cooking.
2) Meanwhile, whisk together the oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
3) Drain potatoes and green beans. Toss with oil/vinegar mixture and dill. Season with salt, if desired. Serve warm on a bed of spinach.

Review: This was tasty, but didn't wow me. It would make a great side dish, but isn't sufficient for a main dish. I do like the white balsamic vinegar and have few opportunities to use it. That was the biggest positive to this dish.
Adapted from:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kasha Stir-Fry

3 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs tamari
2 Tbs teriyaki sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chile-garlic sauce

3 Tbs coconut oil
2 cups peas
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
3 cups cold, cooked kasha
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs cilantro, chopped

1) To make sauce: Combine lime juice, tamari, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, chile-garlic sauce and 1 Tbs water in a small bowl.
2) To make stir-fry: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peas, cauliflower and salt; increase heat to high, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry another 30 seconds. Add kasha and season with salt. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
3) Push grains aside and pour eggs into clear spot in pan. Stir-fry until eggs are set. Remove pan from heat, stir in sauce and top with cilantro.

Review:  This recipe called for buckwheat groats. I put it off, since I had no idea of where to buy this ingredient. However, about a month ago we visited the Nepalese market in town and they had a bag of buckwheat. I cooked it up the other day and it looked nothing like the pictures on google (I had to look up the cooking instructions!). After quite a bit of research, I found that I had cooked buckwheat that still had the hull on it - which is inedible. It's used for making flour, which is not what I needed. So, it all went in the trash. This recipe also called for toasting the *hulled* buckwheat groats. This led to the discovery that you can buy pretoasted buckwheat, which is referred to as kasha, which is easily found in the Kosher section of the grocery store. Eesh. So, I bought kasha and refer to it as such in this recipe!! Notably, there are many references to kasha in Seinfeld - mostly discussing the smell. It smells a lot like potting soil, very dirty and earthy. It tastes pretty wonderful, though. I could easily have eating a bowl of this without the vegetables, just the kasha, sauce and eggs (breakfast?!). I did feel guilty in realizing I would need to reheat this at work for lunch, causing a huge stink in the offices. However, it's not as bad as my coworkers who microwave leftover fish!!!!!
Adapted from:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Green Curry Stir-Fry with Cashews

2 Tbs coconut oil
16oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 lb haricots verts, trimmed and cut into thirds
13.5oz can light coconut milk
3 Tbs green curry paste
2 Tbs lemon juice
4 Tbs tamari sauce
1 cup roasted, salted cashews
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt, if desired. Cover and cook 6 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to brown.
2) Uncover pan, stir in garlic and ginger, and saute 2 minutes. Add haricots verts and stir-fry 3 minutes.
3) Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, lemon juice and tamari in a small bowl. Add curry mixture to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
4) Garnish with cashews and cilantro.

Review: I chose to serve this up over sprouted red jasmine rice. It helped balance the heat of the curry. I also opted to use haricots verts instead of regular green beans, simply because I like them better. This was a delicious, spicy meal. There is something magical that happens when blending tamari with coconut (be it oil or milk). It's amazingly savory and tasty. That, combined with the heat of the curry, the saltiness of the cashews and the veggies - WONDERFUL.
Adapted from: