Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fried Egg over Kale and Quinoa


Fried Egg over Kale and Quinoa


Go-to meals. Everyone has them. It usually tends to be made up of comfort foods, or simply  a quick, satisfying meal. Or a meal that you make when you don't really have anything else left in your pantry. This is my go-to meal. And it just happens to meet all of the qualifications listed above! I usually eat this at least 3 times a week. Although, I usually mix up the ingredients a bit to keep things interesting. As long as it includes quinoa and an egg and hot sauce, I couldn't be happier!


Fried Egg over Kale and Quinoa
Adapted from Fake Free Food

1 tbsp olive oil
1 to 1 ½ lbs kale, stem removed and chopped
½ large onion, thinly sliced
10 – 15 white button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
4 farm fresh eggs
1 cup cooked quinoa, seasoned to taste

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add the kale and turn to coat in the oil. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. As the kale begins to wilt, add in the chicken stock and simmer until it evaporates gently turning the kale to cook it down further. Season with the salt, pepper and red pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. In a non-stick skillet, fry all 4 eggs to your desired doneness. Top will a little ground black pepper on each side. On each plate, place ¼ cup quinoa, ¼ of the kale and one egg. Top with hot sauce and serve warm.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Best Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies Ever (Levain Bakery Copycat Recipe)

Best Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies Ever 
(Levain Bakery Copycat Recipe)




I didn't just name these cookies the "Best Ever" to make you try my recipe or read my blog. They literally are the best cookies I have ever made. The inspiration for these cookies came the other day when my lovely friend Susanna introduced me to Levain Bakery. I don't know whether to thank her or not though…




My life has forever been changed by these AMAZING cookies, but now I will be forever unsatisfied with every other cookie I eat! Nothing can compare to the magic they work at Levain. Although, in my humble opinion these cookies come pretty darn close. Try these out first, and then make the trip to Levain (or get them shipped to you). I promise it'll be worth it!




Best Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies Ever 
(Levain Bakery Copycat Recipe)
Ingredients
  • 2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar – not packed too hard. Just spoon it in the cup(s) and press down lightly when full, sweeping off any extra that runs over.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups AP flour – Spoon and Sweep method. (feel the dough, it should be moist, kind of like cold cookie dough in a tube.. but not super sticky, so you can portion the cookies with your hands)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder ( I don’t fill the tsp fully, hence the 3/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks 
  • 1 cup walnuts (Toast the nuts for more flavor)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated. Add in vanilla.
2. Add salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Slowly add flour. Gently fold in chocolate chunks and nuts.
3. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into about 14 equal portions.
4. Place each on sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven 16-23 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish you like the middles (I baked mine for about 20 minutes and they were PERFECT), until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat, in an airtight container. To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yucca Fries

Yucca Fries




I have again been inspired by the culture of my neighborhood here in NY! I must admit that I really had no idea what a yuca was until I made these fries. Apparently it is the "tuberous root" of the yucca plant. Who knew they'd actually be edible, let alone tasty! Cause they sure are ugly...




I found them to be nice and starchy, quite like a potato, hence the fry challenge. I'll have to look into other ways of preparing it cause it was quite interesting! Honestly, I like these fries more than regular potato fries...give 'em a shot!




Yucca Fries
Recipe adapted from Chilebomb.com


Ingredients
1 medium yucca
1 Tbsp olive oil
Seasoning (I used chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika)


Peel waxy skin off yucca with a vegetable peeler and slice into 4-5 inch lengths with about a 1/2 inch thickness (don't worry about being too specific). Preheat oven to 450 F. Drop yucca into a pot of boiling water and cook until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Drain and dry fries with a paper towel. Coat yuca with olive oil and whatever seasoning you desire. Spread yuca evenly on a baking sheets and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce or a squeeze of lime or however you like!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes


Carrot Cake Pancakes


Oh my word. I think this might be one of the best things I have ever made/eaten. Now that is a huge statement considering my love for food. And I have to admit there were several factors at play to cause this bold assertion. Maybe it was the never ending day at work, or maybe it's because I'm feeling a little love-sick, or maybe its the cloudy sky out my window…but whatever the case, these pancakes came just in time to rescue my not so memorable day. 


Now I am obsessed with carrot cake, so naturally any variation on it is up for high criticism. It takes a brave little pancake to challenge my passionate love for the classic carrot cake. WOW. I was simply blown away by the sheer awesomeness of these pancakes. Plus they're way healthier than carrot cake! I better boost up my exercising so I can eat these every day…


Carrot Cake Pancakes
Makes about 6 - 4 inch pancakes

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup yogurt (I used low fat plain)
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup grated carrots
handful of raisins and chopped walnuts or pecans

Plus - butter and syrup of course!

Blend flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and soda in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together egg, yogurt, milk, and sugar. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, add carrots, raisins and nuts. Heat a skillet to medium low heat. Grease skillet with cooking spray or butter. Drop batter into pan by 1/4 cup. Cook pancakes on one side until the top starts to bubble and edges start to cook (about 3-4 mins). Flip pancakes over and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden. Stack your pancakes on a plate and drench with butter and syrup!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chocolate Molten Cakes


Chocolate Molten Cakes


As a follow up to our Indian feast, Devika brought over some ingredients to make these little chocolate molten cakes! This alone proves how well she knows me. I am always drawn to anything chocolate molteny at restaurants. They just seem so high-class and decadent, I simply can't resist!


This was my first time attempting to make something molten, and I am pleased to report it was far, far easier than I anticipated! Which is great, but also quite dangerous because now I know how to whip them up whenever I want…


Chocolate Molten Cakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more to butter the molds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour

In a small bowl, melt butter and chocolate in the microwave, stopping every ten seconds so as not to burn chocolate. In another bowl, beat together eggs, yolks and sugar until light and thick. Beat chocolate and butter and pour into egg mixture. Quickly beat in flour until combined. Lightly grease four 4 ounce molds, custard cups, or ramekins. Divide batter among molds. (At this point you can refrigerate desserts until you are rear to eat, but bring them back to room temp before baking.) Preheat oven to 450 F and bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for 10 seconds. Gently tap cake out of mold, serve immediately. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tandoori Cauliflower


Tandoori Cauliflower


If you hadn't noticed by now, I really enjoy roasting things in the oven. The roasty-toastiness of the oven is so simple, but can greatly enhance something as simple as cauliflower. Now one day in the far off future when I finally get my own barbecue you probably won't get me to stop obsessing over the charcoaly-smokiness of the grill. One day! But for now I am content with my oven roasting.


This cauliflower is packed with flavor. If you usually look at the white, boring lump of cauliflower and always think "BLAND!" you must try this recipe. (I know you do, cause that used to be me!) But seriously, I could eat cauliflower all day long if I always made it like this. 


Tandoori Cauliflower

1 medium head of cauliflower
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin

Cut cauliflower into medium sized florets. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, ground ginger, lemon juice, salt, oil, garam masala, and cumin. Add prepared cauliflower to yogurt mixture. Coat florets and let marinate for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread cauliflower out evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning florets at least twice while baking. Serve hot.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Curried Lentils


Curried Lentils


Lentils are a definite staple in Indian cooking. I didn't really realize how extremely healthy and nutritional they are until I just now looked at the nutrition facts! They are packed with protein and vitamins, and leave you feeling very satisfied with very low carbs and no fat. After doing a little research in them apparently they are also good for heart health, stabilizing your blood sugar, increasing your iron, and lowering cholesterol! Move over quinoa! These lentils are going to be the next staple in my diet! Feel free to enjoy these lentils either hot or cold. I liked them both ways!


Curried Lentils

1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add broth, lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer covered fro 30-35 minutes. If mixture seems dry add more stock or water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Garlic Roasted Potatoes


Garlic Roasted Potatoes


I have to admit that I'm not usually a huge fan of potatoes. They tend to either be filler food, or turned into something disturbingly unhealthy. So, I thought I'd give them a makeover from their usual greasy-fried look. And I must say, I quite enjoyed eating these potatoes! Especially with the mint chutney in place of ketchup. I felt good eating these potatoes and was able to maintain my classy ladyship all the while.


Garlic Roasted Potatoes

5 medium red potatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh thyme
pepper
salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut potatoes into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl with the olive oil, garlic, thyme, pepper, and salt; toss until potatoes are well coated. Spread potatoes onto a large baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until browned and crisp. Flip several times during cooking to ensure even browning. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mint Chutney


Mint Chutney


This post will begin my four post series inspired by the wonderful flavors of India! I was very fortunate to grow up smelling the amazing aromas of authentic Indian cooking by my across-the-street neighbors. Even more fortunate though was that I got to eat that good smelling food. Coincidently, my lovely neighbor Devika is also interning in NY this summer! So, since we have graduated from making forts in the woods and playing tag, we decided to make ourselves a feast of Indian food instead!


This mint chutney is one of the most distinct flavors I experienced at their house. It is sweet, and spicy, and tangy all at once! It's perfect for dipping or spreading on sandwiches and wraps. Hopefully one day I'll try my hand at samosa making, because those would be perfect with this chutney! 


Mint Chutney
Recipe adapted from eCurry

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 cups fresh mint leaves
3/4 small purple onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (Optional)
2 hot green chili peppers, or to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2-3 Tbsp water, or as needed
2-3 Tbsp grated coconut, optional
Salt to taste

Remove tough stalks from herbs. Blend/puree all ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency. Use as a dip or spread.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spicy Kale Chips


Spicy Kale Chips


These funky chips seem to be one of the latest and greatest discoveries in health-food world. And now I know why. Oh my yum. No words can express how much I loved these chips. EVERTYHING is great about them. Down right cheap, super fast prep/cook time, explosive flavor, way healthy, the list goes on and on. 


This is something you can get addicted to and feel good about it! They are rather spicy though so if you're like me and end up eating the whole lot of 'em, make sure you have a nice big glass of water and some starch on hand to soak up the heat. They look rather fragile but they are surprisingly sturdy and would be great with a thin, light dip. I hope you like them as much as I do!


Spicy Kale Chips
Adapted from Spark Recipes

1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Dash of salt
1 medium bunch of kale

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a small bowl mix together Sriracha, salt, and olive oil. Tear or cut kale into 2 inch squares. Spread kale out evenly onto two cookie sheets. Drizzle with the sriracha-oil mixture. Using your hands, massage the oil mixture onto all kale pieces. Bake for 20-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rolo Cake Mix Cookies


Rolo Cake Mix Cookies


This weekend I had the great joy of visiting my lovely friend Deb and her new husband Jonny in Boston (congrats you two)! They were sweet beyond belief and gave me an awesome tour of the city (which included many delicious eating adventures!). And of course, a trip is not complete without making something yummy! So, Deb and I whipped up these super simple cookies in her adorable, miniature kitchen, and boy were they tasty!


The thing I love most about these cookies is, of course, the rolos. Not only are they great to chew on while making the cookies, but when you break open one of these cookies and see the oozing caramel, you will experience happiness beyond belief! The other thing I love about these cookies is that they only take 4 ingredients! So if you're looking for an inexpensive, but a definite crowd-pleasing cookie, stop sitting here reading this and go buy yourself some rolos!


Rolo Cake Mix Cookies
Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff

1 box Devils food cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
Rolos (about 25)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix together cake mix, oil, and eggs. Take a small ball of dough and wrap it around a rolo (just enough to go around the rolo so the caramel can spread throughout the cookie). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

We got a little creative with the rolls...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Quinoa with Roasted Red Pepper and Broccoli


Quinoa with Roasted Red Pepper and Broccoli


When I came to NY this summer, I brought two foods with me. The first was almonds, because I'm obsessed with them, and they just make the perfect, pick-me-up snack. (Plus, I find most nuts to be way overpriced at grocery stores and preferred to get them before I left in bulk at Costco.) 


The second item was quinoa! It's kinda the same deal as with the almonds. You can find way more reasonable prices when you purchase it in bulk. Seriously though I cannot justify buying a teeny box of it for $8, no matter how good it is. I must admit though that it did take me a little while to get used to quinoa, but now I relish its complex, nutty flavor. The texture is kinda fun too! It is so versatile, and this is just one example of the many different quinoa recipes I like to make.


Quinoa with Roasted Red Pepper and Broccoli

1 Red Pepper
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 small head of roasted broccoli (2-4 cloves garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 F. Brush red pepper with canola oil. Place on baking sheet and roast turning every 15 minutes for about 30 minutes. Roast broccoli and garlic according to my previous post. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute onion until translucent. Pour in 2 cups of water, quinoa and oregano. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through. While quinoa is cooking, slice red pepper in half and remove stem, ribs and seeds. Dice into bite sized pieces. When quinoa is done cooking stir red pepper, broccoli, and garlic into the saucepan. Top with feta cheese, salt and pepper. This can also be made ahead and served cold. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Chip Plantain Espresso Bread

Chocolate Chip Plantain Espresso Bread


Have I mentioned that I love where I'm living in NY? It's so great here. There are literally ten, teeny-tiny grocery stores (if you can even call them that) per block. And all of them are so inexpensive! They have the coolest foods too. I am just so happy here!




Well three weeks ago I bought 10 plantains for $1. ONE DOLLAR!!! But they literally took 3 weeks to ripen. I'm patient though, especially considering the price. I waited until they were nice and black to make them into this yummy, moist plantain bread. If you don't have access to plantains though you can just use over-ripe bananas.




Chocolate Chip Plantain Espresso Bread


3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 over-ripe plantains, pureed (or about 1 1/2 cups)
1/8-1/4 cup freshly brewed espresso
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9 by 5 loaf pan. In a large bowl cream melted butter and sugar. Stir in eggs, vanilla, espresso, and pureed plantains. In a separate bowl combine flours, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add flour mixture into plantain mixture. Stir until just combined (don't over mix). Gently stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let bread cool at least 10 minutes before eating. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Orange Kale Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Orange Kale Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette




I whipped up this summery salad the other day with the lovely, fresh kale I bought from the farmers market! I have to admit that this is really the first time I have ever tried kale. I know shocking, especially since I'm such foodie! A bit ashamed...but we're working through that. I usually don't put dressing on my salad, but this dressing is homemade so I figured it was ok. If you're also new to kale, this would be a good way to start!




Orange Kale Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette


Fresh bunch of kale
1 Orange, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries (if you go to Trader Joes they have orange flavored dried cranberries! Delicious!)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts


Juice of 4 limes
2 tsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt


Chop or tear the kale into bite sized pieces. Top with orange pieces, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts*. In a separate small bowl, disk together lime juice, honey, olive oil and salt. Pour over salad. Enjoy!


*To toast walnuts: Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot spray lightly with cooking spray and toss walnuts in. Stir walnuts until they become nice and toasty! 



Monday, July 2, 2012

Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet




There's nothing more I love about summer than picking berries. You know life is just about perfect when you can walk barefoot out into the sunshine and pick a ripe, warm berry. Sadly, I'm missing all the beautiful raspberries and strawberries in my garden at home this summer. I now have to be content with walking outside on the concrete to pick a carton of berries off the little fruit cart on the corner. That little fruit cart has some pretty sweet deals though, so I am indeed content.




I can't take credit for the berries that made this recipe though. My lovely roommate donated them to me, and of course I was ecstatic to receive them! She even helped me eat the sorbet! Gotta love her.




Strawberry Sorbet


1 lb of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
1 1/2 Tbsp vodka


Blend strawberries in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir in sugar and salt until dissolved. Add lemon juice, water, and vodka and stir until combined. Pour into a shallow dish and freeze until it reaches desired consistency (2-4 hours). Stir occasionally while it is freezing. Enjoy!