MUJADARRA

 

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VIBES: Sheila E “A Love Bizarre

This is a new weekly staple at our house. Im so into easy recipes with minimal ingredients. I pretty much always have lentils, brown rice and onions on hand and that’s the basis here. You could serve this as a side dish or a main course. I like to serve it with a quick pickled cucumber salad. It would be nice with a spiced roasted chicken and some sautéed greens, but I’m perfectly happy with a bowl of this on its own.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups water

1 cube knorrs vegetable bullion

1 cup french green or brown lentils / rinsed

1 bay leaf

kosher salt/ fresh ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

4 large purple onions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley or mint)

lemon wedges for serving

 

Bring water and bullion cube to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. You can also use chicken or vegetable stock. Add rice, lentils, and bay leaf and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rice and lentils are tender, 35–45 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let sit 5–10 minutes (there should still be some broth remaining). Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Set rice mixture aside.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cumin seeds and toss to coat. Cook, stirring often and adding water to pan as needed to prevent burning, until onions are golden brown and soft, 20–25 minutes.

Mix half of onion mixture and half of herbs into rice mixture; season with salt and pepper. Top mujadarra remaining onion mixture, and remaining herbs, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

NAAN and TZATZIKI

 

VIBES: Little Dragon “Pretty Girls”

Tzatziki is so easy. Who knew. Naan is a bit more involved, and Im not sure if my version is better than my favorite indian takeout spots. But I had fun making this recipe. For me its all about the process. Take it a step further, add grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and onion and and make a gyro.

HOMEMADE NAAN  (for step by step instructions with pictures head over to Half Baked Harvest)

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup hot water (but not boiling, just hot tap water)

3/4 teaspoonactive dry yeast

3/4 cup warm milk

1 cup greek yogurt

melted butter, ghee or olive oil for brushing

fresh cilantro, garlic or other herbs for topping

In a medium size bowl, or 4 cup glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in the warm water (about 105 degree F). Add the dry yeast to the warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to froth and rise.

Add the flour, baking soda and baking powder to a large mixing bowl.

When the yeast is foamy and smells like bread add the warm milk and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients right into the middle of the dry and begin mixing the wet with dry using a wooden spatula. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to finish mixing. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. It should be sticky, but should form a ball and be soft. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place 1 hour or if not using right away overnight in the fridge.

When ready to cook divide the dough into 8 equal balls and using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into an oval shape. It should be about 6-8 inches long and about 1/4-inch thick, but no thinner. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.

Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want a hot pan). Brush both sides of the naan with melted butter and if desired sprinkle on any spices you like such as cumin and garlic. Place the naan on the hot skillet, cover with a lid and bake for 1 minute, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Brush with a bit more butter if desired, then sprinkle with a little kosher salt, fresh cilantro (I used cilantro) or other herbs. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve. These are best eaten fresh, but will keep in a ziplock bag for a few days or in the freezer.

TZATZIKI

2 cups homemade yogurt or Greek yogurt
2 medium cucumbers, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely miced
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
salt

Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl and chill for an hour in the refrigerator. Easy!

 

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.

MISO SOUP

VIBES: CHANGING FACES feat JAY Z + R KELLY “ALL OF MY DAYS”

This is a super quick vegetarian miso soup.  Typically you’d make a dashi broth, which involves using shavings of preserved/fremented fish flakes. I wanted to create a completely vegan version, so here we are.  5 ingredients, fantastic.

QUICK MISO SOUP
-4 cups water
-3 tbsp white miso paste
-1 sheet kombu (dried seaweed)
-2 green onions washed, stems trimmed and chopped
-1/3 cup cubed tofu (firm)
Heat water in medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Add kombu and simmer for 10 minutes. The water should be just ready to boil but without bringing it to a full boil. In the meantime mix the miso with a few tbsp of water to create a loose paste and prevent clumping. Remove from heat and add miso and tofu, let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine. NOTE: DO not boil the miso it will strip the nutrients. Taste and add more miso if needed. Add salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste. Add green onions and serve.

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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VEITNAMESE SUMMER ROLLS

VIBES: The Smiths – This Charming Man

These are A M A Z I N G. Summer rolls. So fresh and so cleanclean.

Vegetarian Vietnamese Summer Rolls 

-1 Cup shredded carrot
-1 Cup shredded purple cabbage
-1 Cup shredded cucumber
-2 avocados halved and sliced into strips
-handful of cilantro leaves
-4 rice paper wrappers

Slice, shred or julienne carrot, cabbage and cucumber. Slice avocados. (You can hand chop, use a mandoline or one of these amazing julienne peelers) Soak rice paper wrappers in warm water until pliable- about 2 minutes) Transfer the rice paper to a dry cutting board. Layer sprigs of cilantro first, followed by carrots, cabbage, cucumber and avocado on top of the rice paper. Tuck top and bottom ends over the vegetables and then roll like a burrito, the rice paper should stick and hold together. Serve with dipping sauce of choice, I like sweet chili sauce. Makes 4 summer rolls.

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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.