RAINBOW CHOPPED SALAD WITH ISRAELI COUSCOUS

2014-08-03 19.06.37

VIBES: CHILDISH GAMBINO “URN”

Im not going to lie. I definitely just made this recipe up. After a few weeks of traveling, craft services, on set catering and mediocre room service, I was craving something really fresh. I had dinner recently at a really great Moroccan spot in Los Angeles, and have been obsessed with incorporating some of those flavors into my home cooking. Ive also been searching for meals to pack for long flights. Airport food is typically SO bad, and I travel often for my day job. It keeps well at room temperature and gets better overnight in the fridge. Leave out the feta cheese and its completely vegan.

RAINBOW CHOPPED SALAD WITH ISRAELI COUSCOUS

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous

Pinch salt for water

1/3 cup diced purple onion

1/3 cup diced green pepper

1/3 cup diced orange (or red) bell pepper

1/3 cup diced cucumber

1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

handful of chives, finely chopped

salt and black pepper to taste

VINAIGRETTE

4 TBSP red wine vinegar

1TBSP greek yogurt

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp honey

pinch of salt and pepper

Boil water, add salt and couscous. Cover, reduce to simmer for about 8 minutes (or cook according to package directions) Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile chop all vegetables, set aside.

Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and whirl until emulsified, or you can also whisk the ingredients together by hand.

Assemble salad by combining, cooled couscous, chopped veggies and vinaigrette. Top with crumbled feta and chopped chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chill in fridge.

 

 

 

WARM LENTIL SALAD + ARUGULA

VIBES: WU TANG CLAN “HEATERZ”

I have a slight obsession with all things lentil. Ive had this dish countless times at one of my favorite spots; Lucky Strike.  One day I realized I just needed to learn how to make it at home. A super healthy quick meal. Add grilled fish or chicken for another layer of flavor.

WARM LENTIL SALAD + ARUGULA

1 cup  green lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 cups  water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (dried is ok too)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
Crunchy sea salt, for serving
Fresh arugula, washed and chilled.

In a medium saucepan bring lentils water and bay leaf to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp of salt and cook another 5 minutes, until tender but not mushy.

While lentils cook, warm 1tbsp oil in a skillet over medium low heat.Add onions, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme,1/8 tsp salt, and cook until vegetables are softened. About 8 minutes.
Prepare the vinaigrette. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, remaining salt, water and olive oil. Whisk until it emulsifies.

Drain lentils in a colander and discard the bay leaf. Dump into skillet with vegetables, add vinaigrette. Cook over low heat stirring gently until heated through. Add splash of red wine vinegar and serve warm over a bed of fresh arugula. Top with a pinch of crunchy sea salt.

Recipe adapted from (Patent and the Pantry)

HOMEMADE PASTA

2014-07-20 19.56.10-1VIBES: RADIOHEAD “ALL I NEED”

This is a nice little Sunday project. I recently acquired a super cheap pasta machine, so i set out to see how hard this was. My interest in fresh pasta began at  Posada Margherita in Tulum. I thought it was so bizarre that some of the best pasta Ive ever had was in… Mexico?? (and yes I’ve traveled through most of Italy) Good food is good food.

The Kitchn has a great fresh pasta tutorial. Most of this recipe is adapted from them with adjustments for a food processor vs. hand kneading.

FRESH HOMEMADE PASTA

2 cups of all purpose flour, more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs

Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Pulse a few times to combine. Crack the eggs on top of the flour. Process for 30-60 seconds, until dough comes together and forms a ball.If sticky add flour, if its too dry and pebble like, add more water. Repeat until dough comes together. Remove dough from food processor, shape into a ball. Rest dough in bowl covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.

Note: At this point, the pasta dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let it come back to room temperature before rolling.
Divide the dough into four equal portions. Dust the portions with flour and cover with a clean dishtowel. Make sure to keep all pasta dusted with flour. You do not want the dough to stick to anything. Flour all surfaces including your hands when handling the dough.
Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting (usually marked “1”). Flatten one piece of dough into a thick disk between your hands and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat once or twice. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, and press it between your hands again. With the pasta machine still on the widest setting, feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers. Feed it through once or twice more until smooth. If desired, repeat this folding step. This helps to strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked.
Begin changing the settings on your roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll the pasta two or three times at each setting, and don’t skip settings (the pasta tends to snag and warp if you do). If the pasta gets too long to be manageable, lay it on a cutting board and slice it in half. Roll the pasta as thin as you like to go. Ive tried both thicker and thinner, and i prefer the pasta as thin as possible since it tends to puff slightly when cooked.
Cut the long stretch of dough into noodle-length sheets, usually about 12-inches. If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping. If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. Toss the noodles with a little flour to keep them from sticking and gather them into a loose basket. Set this basket on the floured baking sheet and cover with a towel while you finish rolling and cutting the rest of the dough.
To cook the pasta immediately, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta until al dente, 4-5 minutes. To dry, lay the pasta over a clothes drying rack, coat hangers, or the back of a chair, and let air dry until completely brittle. Store in an airtight container for several weeks. To freeze, either freeze flat in long noodles or in the basket-shape on a baking sheet until completely frozen. Gather into an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Dried and frozen noodles may need an extra minute or two to cook.

MOMS “SUNDAY” TOMATO SAUCE

2014-07-20 20.17.16

VIBES: PROCOL HARUM “WHITER SHADE OF PALE”

This might be the first recipe I ever learned, passed down from my Mom, hers is always better. “Sunday” sauce as we called it, was a staple in my house growing up. My Mom, a feisty Irish woman- who cooks like a feisty Italian woman (its a NJ thing) Always had a huge pot of tomato sauce simmering on Sundays. I like to serve as a simple Spaghetti Pomodoro- with fresh basil and shaved parmigiano reggiano. You can also puree in the blender for pizza sauce, use it for lasagne or baked ziti, the possibilities are endless.

MOM’S SUNDAY TOMATO SAUCE

-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 TBSP olive oil
-1 large carrot, finely diced
-2 stalks celery, finely diced
-1 medium onion, finely diced
-2 28oz cans of peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes
-splash of good red wine or rose
-1/2 cup water
-1 Tbsp cane sugar
-Red pepper flakes to taste
-Salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (leave red pepper flakes out if you don’t like heat) Sizzle garlic and pepper flakes for a minute until fragrant. Add diced onion, carrot and celery. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, wine, sugar and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 1 hour until sauce thickens. Taste and adjust spices accordingly. Simmer for another 30 minutes and remove from heat. Toss with fresh pasta, chopped basil and parmigiano reggiano.

MANGO STRAWBERRY + BLUBERRIES AND CREAM POPSICLES

2014-07-14 13.09.10

VIBES: Blood Orange “Bad Girls”

I know Im OD’ing on ice pops lately, but its summer, and theres so much great fruit. And certain ‘houseguests’  keep devouring them as soon as I make them, so theres always room for a new batch. Here are this weeks pops. Pretty, no?

MANGO + STRAWBERRY PALETAS

-2 Fresh Mangos, peeled and chopped into chunks
-Handful of strawberries sliced
-Sugar to taste
-Juice of 1/2 lime

Puree chopped Mango with lime juice and sugar. Add mixture to molds and slide the strawberry slices to the edges of the mold. Place them on the edges of the mold. Freeze for 1 hour then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for another 3-4 hours and then unmold. Wrap in wax paper and store in freezer.

BLUBERRIES AND CREAM PALETAS

-1 pint of fresh blueberries, rinsed, stems removed
-1/4 cup of cream
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-sugar to taste

Puree Blueberries, lemon juice and sugar in blender. Adjust sugar to desired sweetness. Note that Blueberries will freeze a bit sweeter than how they taste in the puree. Strain blueberry puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove skins. Meanwhile drizzle a bit of cream down into the sides of the molds. It should collect at the bottom. Mix remaining cream into blueberry puree, be careful not to mix too much, the streaky effect is what you’re looking for. Carefully pour mixture into molds. Mix with a chopstick or knife to get desired streaky look. Freeze for 1 hour then insert popsicle sticks. Return to freezer for another 3-4 hours and then unmold. Wrap in wax paper and store in freezer.

OVERNIGHT RAISED WAFFLES

2014-07-10 13.05.31

VIBES: BOBBY WOMACK “Across 110th Street” + STEVIE WONDER “Superstition

Last week it occurred to me that I needed a waffle iron, Like couldn’t live without one for another minute. So off to Target and $18.99 later (yes I bought the cheapest one) thats how these waffles happened. The waffle-in-the-box route wasn’t going to work for me, I  decided to try this overnight recipe which uses yeast to create light dough thats crispy on the outside. Warning: There is a lot of butter in this recipe, so you will want to take 4 spin classes after.


OVERNIGHT RAISED BELGIAN WAFFLES (via smitten kitchen)

-1/2 cup warm water (about 105 to 110 degrees, so not too hot)
-1 packet (1/4 ounce, 7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
-2 cups milk, warmed (again, not too hot
-1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm
-1 teaspoon table salt
-1 teaspoon granulated sugar
-2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
-2 large eggs
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-Oil or melted butter for waffle iron
-Powdered sugar, syrup or berries for serving

The night before: Pour warm water in the bottom of a large bowl (allow room for dough to double in size while rising). Sprinkle yeast on top and let it dissolve and foam for 15 minutes. Stir in milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise overnight.

The next morning, whisk in eggs and baking soda until smooth. Heat waffle iron and coat lightly with butter or oil. Ladle in 1/2 to 3/4-cup batter per waffle batch. The batter will be very thin and will spread a lot in the pan, so err on the side of underfilled until you figure out the right amount. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately, or freeze and reheat in waffle iron or toaster later.

NOTES: The recipe calls for this dough to be left out overnight, Ive left it out and kept it in the fridge overnight and I prefer the flavor when you refrigerate it. If you leave it out, it does take on a more complex flavor, so its up to you. I used 1/2 almond milk and 1/2 skim milk which worked well. And I might try with less butter next time. They taste great- but its ALOT of butter!

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PASTA PRIMAVERA

VIBES: BJ THE CHICAGO KID “DENIAL”

I first had this dish at a chain restaurant in a shopping mall in New Jersey. Yes.. Fine dining at its finest. When I have a great dish, wherever that may be, I obsessively try to recreate the recipe at home. So heres my interpretation of New-Jersey-Mall-Restaurant-Pasta-Primavera 🙂

PASTA PRIMAVERA

-1/2 lb of barilla thin spaghetti
-water for boiling pasta
-olive oil
-1 TSP of red pepper flakes
-4 garlic cloves diced
-1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
-1/2 cup zuchinni- julienned
-1/2 cup red bell pepper – julienned
-1/2 cup yellow squash – julienned
-1/2 cup carrots – julienned
-1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
-Handful of grape tomatoes halved
-1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
-1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
-salt and pepper to taste
-pat of butter
-1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan or pecorino romano

Bring a 5.5. quart pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook for 5 of the recommended 6 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain pasta and set aside. Meanwhile prepare all the veggies, chop, dice, julienne. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan (you can also use a wok or the pasta pot). Add the red pepper flakes and swirl for 1 minute. Add Garlic and onion and cook for another minute or two until fragrant. Add zucchini, squash, carrot and red bell pepper, add a few tbsp of the vegetable broth toss around making sure to evenly cook all veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Add pasta, a few tbsp of the pasta water, the fresh herbs, and pat of butter and swirl in pan until everything comes together. You should have a nice little brothy sauce in the pan as well, but should not be soupy. Just enough liquid in the pan to coat everything and bring the flavors together. Add grated cheese and serve immediately.

BANANA BREAD

VIBES: LITTLE DRAGON “RITUAL UNION”

Such a great way to use a pile of over-ripe bananas. You don’t even need a mixer.

BANANA BREAD

-4 TBSP Butter, melted, cooled to room temp

-3 ripe bananas

-1 egg, beaten

-2 heaping Tbsp 2% greek yogurt (nonfat is fine too)

-1/4 cup white sugar

-1/2 cup light brown sugar

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp cinnamon

-2 cups all purpose flour

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-Optional 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F, and butter a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Peel the bananas and in a large mixing bowl, mash them with a fork. Stir in the sugars, yogurt and then the egg, mixing thoroughly. Stir in the butter (make sure it is cooled to room temp) add vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Fold the dry ingredients gently into the wet, mixing very gently just until you no longer see any streaks of raw flour. Add the optional chocolate chips or bake as is. (Do not over-mix, or the banana bread will be tough!)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the bread is just starting to come away from the sides of the pan.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto the rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. The bread has a lovely, crisp crust when it’s fresh; if you wrap the leftovers tightly in foil and eat them the next day.

 

HOMEMADE SAZON

 

VIBES: LIONEL RICHIE “RUNNING WITH THE NIGHT”

Listen. No one wants to eat a bunch of MSG and artificial coloring. Most of my latin recipes call for Goya Sazon which is flavorful, but contains a bunch of ingredients that are NOT-GOOD-FOR-YOU. “Red 40” is not the move. More and more, I’m making everything from scratch. Its easy, its cheaper and its not bad for you. Dance around the kitchen listening to Lionel Richie while making this and everything is lovely.

HOMEMADE SAZON SEASONING
1TBSP Salt
1TBSP Ground Pepper
1TBSP Ground Annato Powder
1TBSP Ground Turmeric
1TBSP Ground Cumin
1TBSP Ground Coriander
1TBSP Garlic Powder
1TBSP Onion Powder
1/2 TBSP Oregano – Crushed to form a dust

Combine all ingredients, store in an airtight jar and you’re ready to go!

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SUMMER CORN SALAD

VIBES: TOTO “GEORGY PORGY”

The motivation here was to cook something for the Fourth of July without actually having to cook. This combo of ingredients really just happened because I had this stuff in the fridge. (and I liked the color combos) You could easily swap the cilantro for basil, or add black beans. Lemon instead of lime. You get the picture.

FRESH SUMMER CORN SALAD
-4 ears of corn on the cob, cooked
-1/4 cup small red onion diced
-1/4 cup chopped cilantro
-1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
-Handful of cherry tomatoes halved
-Juice of one lime
-drizzle of olive oil
-splash of apple cider vinegar
-salt and pepper to taste

Shuck corn, removing husks and silks. Bring a large (5.5. quart) pot of water to a rolling boil. Add corn and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, chop and dice onion, bell pepper, tomato and cilantro. When the corn has cooled, cut off the cob. Combine all the veggies in a bowl and add lime juice, olive oil, splash of vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss together and serve.