Category Archives: EVERYDAY EATS

Grilled Skewered Lamb with Garlic, Cumin, and Ginger

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It’s no secret that I really, really love food. But lately, it’s been challenging to know when to unplug.

That being said, I took a short blog-breather and brought this food scene offline (admittedly, instagram did not suffer). It was a great way to start 2013 without too many commitments. As a result, I attempted my first 21 day cleanse. I fell in love with juicing, wandered aimlessly around farmers markets, and have actually stuck to my new years resolution of lifestyling (diets are no fun).

But all good things come to an end, which is why I’m excited to end this blog hiatus. And I promise to never leave you again.

Grilled Skewered Lamb with Garlic, Cumin, and Ginger

I spent last weekend at my parents house in Marin. My mom and I were rummaging through piles of old Gourmet magazines, and came across a lamb recipe we hadn’t had in years.

One of the reasons I love food so much is that the best recipes are timeless, regardless of the decade. This recipe was published in the February 1993 issue of Gourmet and couldn’t be any more current. I know you’ll love it. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser for the onset of daylight savings time, spring, and barbecues.

You will need:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Chinese rice wine

1 1/2 tsp Asian toasted sesame oil

2 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds

1 1/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Twelve 10-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly

1 bunch of watercress, rinsed, spun dry, and the course stems discarded, for garnish

1. In a large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and the red pepper flakes, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Add the lamb well, and let the lamb marinate, covered and chilled, stirring occasionally for at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Thread the lamb loosely onto the skewers, reserving the remaining marinade, and grill the skewers, turning them and basting them occasionally with the reserved marinade, for 6 to 10 minutes, or until they reach the desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle them with the sesame seeds, and garnish them with the watercress. Serves 6. Try it with sweet-and-sour cabbage slaw! (recipe below)

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Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage Slaw with Hot Peppers

1/2 medium cabbage, cored and cut into very thin shreds

1 tbsp salt

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar, honey, or agave

2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

one 3-inch fresh hot red chili, seeded and sliced thin (wear rubber gloves) or 1 1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

3 medium carrots, cut into very thin shreds (about 1 cup)

1. In a large colander toss the cabbage with the salt, weight the cabbage with a plate and a 1-pound can, and let it drain, at room temperature for 3 hours.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar, ginger, and chilies, whisking until the sugar is dissolved, and add the cabbage and the carrots. Toss to combine, and chill for 4 to 8 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

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Sauteed Chard and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

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It’s been raining for days and I couldn’t be happier. Since the weather in San Francisco is so unpredictable during the winter and summer seasons, I get excited when it actually meets my expectations. I spent the majority of this weekend indoors alongside my cozy fireplace, in awe of the storm outside my windows. When it came to dinner time, or any-time snack time, I couldn’t resist this unforgettable grilled cheese recipe from my favorite blog-of-the-hour Sprouted Kitchen. I served this grilled cheese with a mug of carrot-ginger soup, which I picked up from the local grocery store. The combination was heaven, and I spent a total of 15 minutes in the kitchen. Perfect.

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Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

I have a long-time relationship with shrimp, and usually choose it over chicken. If you can find fresh local jumbo prawns from your local farmers market or Whole Foods, make sure you add it to your  shopping list.

This dish is great for entertaining, but also easy enough for a midweek dinner. I adapted this dish from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, and chose it especially for the green herb citrus sauce. I like to make things that are versatile enough to recreate again and again. This sauce is no exception, you truly could serve it with anything.

Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 green onions, white and light green parts, trimmed

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 anchovies (optional)

Juice of 2 limes

FOR THE SHRIMP AND EGGPLANT COUSCOUS:

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 cups diced globe eggplant (about 2 medium)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup diced feta cheese

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until fairly smooth with a few herb flecks. Put half of the sauce in a blow along with the shrimp and set aside to marinate for 1 hour, reserving the other half of the sauce.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and saute until the edges are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Cook the couscous according to the package insturctions. Transfer the couscous to a large mixing bowl and add the eggplant, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the basil, red pepper flakes, feta, and vinegar. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Cook the shrimp until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes maximum on each side; be careful to avoid overcooking them. Toss the cooked shrimp in the remaining herb sauce and serve with the eggplant couscous.

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Chimichurri Steak Salad

Let me start by saying this chimichurri sauce recipe will go with anything. Chimichurri is a parsley and garlic based dressing, enhanced by lime juice and your favorite chile pepper. It is delicious with steak, and is equally pleasing with roasted veggies. Seriously, it will make your most hated (healthy) veggie taste like butter.

This salad is a robust medley of New York strip steak, roasted zucchini & mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. The best part about it: you could easily customize it to your liking, since the chimichurri sauce is so versatile. A perfect meal for carnivores and vegetarians alike. Enjoy!

Chimichurri Steak Salad (serves 4)

You will need:

FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Set aside in a bowl; refrigerate up to two hours ahead.

FOR THE STEAK

  • 4 boneless New York strip steaks (6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1. Brush steaks with oil. Combine the cumin, salt and pepper. Rub over steaks; set aside.
2. Grill steaks, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 145°; medium 160°; well-done 170°).

FOR THE VEGGIES:

  • 5 yellow zucchini squash; sliced
  • 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms; sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

1. Heat the oven to 475°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Toss the squash and mushrooms in a large bowl with a generous amount of salt and pepper and the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss the mixture once, and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 10 minutes, or until the squash is brown and the mushrooms dark and slightly shrunken.

Combine the steak and roasted veggies over a bed of butter lettuce. Add fresh mozzarella bocconcini (balls), and drizzle the warm salad with as much chimichurri sauce as you like.

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Sweet Potato Hash Tostada

This recipe came to me while grocery shopping, as I  planned out my Sunday brunch menu. I had zero plan in mind, but I must say…this one left a positive impression.

Sometime I just visualize recipes and they happen, miraculously. I was inspired by some Japanese sweet potatoes, and decided they would be perfect for a breakfast hash. The end result was a breakfast tostada topped off with a fried egg. It’s everything you want in your breakfast fare: hearty, healthy, and full of yummy textures that make this dish stand above the rest. I can’t wait to make it again next weekend. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Hash Tostada with Leeks, Ham and a Fried Egg

serves 4

You will need:

1 package organic corn tortillas

4 eggs

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes; peeled and chopped into small chunks (you could do this the night before to save on prep time; just seal in a large zip lock bag and store in the fridge)

2 large leeks; cleaned, trimmed and sliced into thin half moons

1 cipollini onion; diced (I still had some left from the farmers market; so delicious as they are sweet and mild)

1 cup grated Gouda cheese (more or less…depending on your health preference/love for cheese)

6 sage leaves; minced

2 ripe avocados; sliced into chunks

4 slices black forest ham; diced

3 tbsp chives; minced

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place peeled, chopped potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle olive oil to your liking. Add sage, sea salt and freshly ground pepper and toss. Place seasoned potatoes on lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through. You will cook them a second time in the saute pan, so make sure not to overcook.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and drizzle olive oil. Add leeks and onion and stir. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until translucent and slightly brown. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Add ham and stir. Cook another 5 minutes, and add roasted potatoes. Cook potato hash another 15 minutes; and then transfer to an oven-proof baking dish. Turn oven down to 250° and place potatoes in oven to keep warm.

4. The last step is the most important, especially if you are hosting guests for brunch. This is where you fry the eggs perfectly and grill the tortillas over an open flame. Sound easy? It’s actually pretty simple once you try it out – and it will help your multitasking skills.

5. Build tostadas and serve. Start with flame grilled tortilla (just cook it over an open flame on the stove, turning a few times and making sure it doesn’t burn), and next add some of the potato hash. Then top with avocado, and add the fried egg (I like my eggs over-medium). Garnish with chives. Voila, breakfast is served!

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Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

I’m going to be honest with you. I did not feel like cooking last night.

I just returned from a week-long business trip to Toronto, and spent the day playing catch up. Cooking was not in the cards for me; however, I still wanted to eat something healthy and delicious for dinner. I needed to satisfy my post-workout animal hunger (you’ve been there).

Since I made sure to go to the farmer’s market last weekend, I was fully stocked with fresh vegetables. So, I decided to whip together a farm fresh quinoa salad. This was one of the easiest salads I’ve ever made, requires little equipment, and virtually no clean-up. It’s yummy and completely guilt-free, and I’m obsessed. Naturally.

It’s a lazy person’s perfect post-workout feast. Enjoy!

Farm Fresh Quinoa Salad

You will need:

1 cup cooked & cooled organic quinoa (according to directions on box)

1/2 pint organic quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 chopped english cucumber (no need to peel, makes it crunchier)

1/2 chopped ripe avocado

sprinkle of organic freeze dried corn kernels (like this)

1 large garlic clove, minced

chopped basil

extra virgin olive oil

aged balsamic vinegar (or any good quality vinegar)

sea salt to taste

1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, basil and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; drizzle to your liking. Season with sea salt to taste. Stir.

2. Slowly add the quinoa to the tomato mixture and stir. Keep adding until you achieve the right balance of quinoa to vegetables (aka eyeball it).

3. Top off with chopped avocado and sprinkle with freeze dried corn. Voila! Easy-peasy.

 

 

 

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Broiled Tofu Tacos

I’m excited about this post for two reasons:

1. I just got a new 50mm fixed lens; the photos in this post are seriously improved.

2. I’ve never used my broiler before, and the results were wonderful. It’s my new favorite cooking method (and fast, too!)

I originally found this recipe in my current favorite vegan book, Pure Vegan (also used here and here), but decided to transform it into tacos. It was really very easy: I followed the recipe straight from the book, and then stuffed it in a crunchy corn tortilla. It’s so good, very light, and healthy. I’m a little obsessed.

Broiled Tofu, Carrot, and Shiitake Mushroom Tacos

*serves 4

You will need:

1.5 pounds of carrots (peeling is not necessary)

1.75 pounds extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

3 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

1/4 cup peanut oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

5 green onions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted, for garnish

lime wedges for garnish

1 package corn tortillas, cooked over an open flame until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side)

1. Set an oven rack 4 to 5 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Cut the carrots crosswise into 3-inch lengths. Cut the pieces lengthwise to a width of about 1.5 inches. Cut the tofu into 1.5 inch dice. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

3. In a large bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, salt and ginger. Add the mushrooms and gently toss until evenly coated with the marinade. Transfer the mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet. Put the tofu in the bowl with the remaining marinade and toss to evenly coat.

4. Broil the mushrooms for 5 to 10 minutes, until gender, turning once about halfway through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Leave the oven on.

5. Add the carrots to the bowl of tofu and toss evenly to coat. Transfer the carrots and tofu to the same baking sheet, reserving the marinade.

6. Broil the carrots and tofu for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned, turning a time or two as needed. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, transfer to the bowl of reserved marinade. Add the mushrooms, green onions, vinegar, and sesame oil and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer to a large platter or smaller individual dishes and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds before serving.

Optional Step 7: heat corn tortillas over an open flame on your stove until lightly charred and crispy (about 1 minute per side), add tofu mixture and enjoy!

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