I have made this a few times now and I am really liking it. The original recipe from The New York Times called for brussels sprouts. I tried that the first time and it was good, but I like it better with just kale and a little romaine. I am a little off seasonally, this was something from the Winter, but I haven’t posted in a very long time, so I am catching up! I think it would also be terrific with strawberries or pitted cherries to make it more summery!
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little more for cooking the cheese
The juice of 1 fresh squeezed lemon (or about 2 Tablespoons)
large head of thinly sliced lacinato kale, with the ribs removed before slicing and discarded
about half a head of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
Comice or Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced
8 ounces of Halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped toasted unsalted almonds
Sprinkle some kosher salt on your smashed and minced garlic and with a knife smash the salt into the garlic and make it a smooth paste. Let it rest for a few minutes and then add it to a large salad bowl.
Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, and a few grinds of black pepper to the bowl and whisk to combine.
Add sliced kale to the dressing and massage it into the kale to help soften the leaves. Set aside.
Set a medium non-stick pan on medium heat with a little oil. Pat your halloumi dry with a clean towel. Add the cheese to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until it is golden brown all around. Transfer the cooked cubes to a towel-lined plate to absorb the oil.
Add the romaine lettuce and sliced pears to the kale mixture and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but go easy on the salt as the halloumi is salty. Top the salad with cooked halloumi and toasted almonds.
My husband and I had lunch at a terrific little Mexican restaurant over the weekend where there was a lady making homemade corn tortillas. We decided we needed to bring home some of the homemade tortillas, they looked so fresh and delicious! We bought 2 dozen and I instantly said I would make something with mole sauce with them. We keep looking for mole sauce on menus, and it is hard to find. We dined in the past at a restaurant in Chicago that had a lot of different mole dishes, my favorite one was cheese enchiladas with three different kinds of mole sauce. I know, cheese enchiladas are definitely not the healthiest, but they were sooooo good! First I thought about chicken enchiladas with mole sauce, but then I decided that would be too heavy for a summer meal, so I decided on chicken mole tacos with the cute tiny tortillas we just bought. Mole sauce is such an amazing conglomeration of spices, chile peppers, nuts and a little dark unsweetened chocolate! Daunting to make, the ingredient list is long, but it really wasn’t that difficult and you make a large batch once and can eat the leftover sauce many times in the future as the sauce freezes well.
Chicken Mole Tacos
Servings: 6 taco servings with sauce for several more dishes
4ouncesdried pasilla chiles(stem removed, seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed)
1ouncedried negro chiles(stem removed, seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed)
1ouncedried ancho chiles(stem removed, seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed)
1ouncedried chipotle chiles(stem removed, seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed)
4 cups unsalted or low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1 tspdried marjoram
3.1ounces dark Mexican chocolate (or just unsweetened dark chocolate), chopped
large whole chicken – cooked with the meat shredded
2 cobs of corn, cooked and shucked
sharp cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice) grated
tortillas of choice
Fresh guacamole (optional)
Fresh chopped cilantro(optional for serving)
To make the mole sauce, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the onions and sauté until golden brown and just starting to caramelize, approximately 12 minutes, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat to medium and add the pumpkin seeds, almonds, garlic, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, whole star anise, and whole cloves to the saucepan. Sauté until garlic becomes fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add the dried chiles to the pot and stir to combine. Sauté for approximately 2-3 minutes or until chiles start to soften.
Add the chicken broth, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, raisins, marjoram, thyme, and oregano to the saucepan and mix well. Bring to a low boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until chiles are very soft, approximately 30-35 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes and then remove from heat.
Add the chocolate. Allow sauce to cool for about 10 minutes and the chocolate to melt.
Transfer the sauce mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to the reserved pot. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Shred the cooked chicken and combine it with approximately half of the sauce mixture. Cook on low to heat up the chicken and integrate the sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce for later use (I freeze it in small tupperware containers).
Serve the chicken mole mix with fresh corn cut off the cob, shredded cheese, and guacamole along with warm tortillas and fresh cilantro for a garnish. Enjoy!
I made this with 6 dried guajillo chiles and 4 dried chipotle chiles because that was what I had on hand. It probably would be even better with the 4 different kinds of chiles in the original recipe.
I also simmered a little mole sauce with some shrimp for my poultry-hating teen. This was very good as well!
Nothing says summer like corn and tomatoes! Today I put together this salad to celebrate summer and all of its best flavors. If you don’t have to crack your own crab it will come together pretty quickly, but during the COVID-19 regulations my local store won’t crack and clean the crab right now, so I have learned to do it myself. It could be worse and you get faster each time you do it. The bonus for this recipe is that there is no actual heated cooking involved – which is wonderful on a warm day. Fresh corn on the cob is simply microwaved in the husk and then it is easily shucked after cooking (the silks don’t stick after the corn is cooked). I used cherry tomatoes because I didn’t have access to really good large heirloom tomatoes, but the salad would definitely go up another level with juicy heirloom tomatoes, so if you can find them use them. If crab is not your thing or you can’t find any, you can use shrimp, lobster, or even some rotisserie chicken already cooked at the store. Or leave out the meat, it will stand on its own pretty well. Another option is cheese, I have made it with queso fresco, feta or goat cheese. Make it to your liking and enjoy it!
1 dungeness crab (or about one large cup of cracked and cleaned crab)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons lime juice)
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
2 fresh ears of corn, unshucked
pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
one large avocado, sliced into bite-sized chunks
2 large mushrooms, sliced thinly
medium head of romaine lettuce, washed and ripped into bite-sized pieces
handful of fresh basil leaves, gently torn into large pieces
If your crab is not already cracked and cleaned, then do that yourself. It should already be steamed (cooked) from the store. Set the crabmeat aside.
Cook your corn in the husk in the microwave for about 5-7 minutes, depending on your microwave’s power level. Test that the corn is tender and let it rest in the husk while you complete the next steps. It will continue to steam a bit. (Another option is to grill your corn and give it more depth of flavor if you want).
Mix the lime juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper together with a whisk. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while stirring with the whisk. Set aside.
Prepare your tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and mushrooms.
Shuck the corn and cut the kernels off the cob.
In individual salad bowls arrange the lettuce. Top the lettuce with the other vegetables and finish with the crab and then garnish with the basil leaves. Let everyone spoon a little dressing on their salad and enjoy!
Yesterday I made Vegetable Yakisoba from The Woks of Life I made a few changes, such as using shirataki noodles instead of traditional yakisoba noodles, soy sauce and 1/2 freshly squeezed lime instead of ponzu sauce and added egg and bean sprouts for some protein. I think it is a very flexible recipe, so use whatever vegetables you have available and it is good with or without meat. Make it yours and as always, Enjoy!
2 – 7 ounce packages of shirataki konjac pasta (I used Miracle Noodle brand that I bought at Whole Foods)
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons mirin
The juice of 1 /2 fresh squeezed lime
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
oil of choice for cooking (a neutral oil is best, like safflower oil)
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1-2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions, julienned
toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Rinse the noodles in water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Mix the soy sauce, mirin, lime, oyster sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
Whisk the two eggs with a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl.
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the egg and cook. I like to make it a flat omelet and then slice it into long strips. Set the egg aside.
Turn the heat up to high, add a little more oil and cook the onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook a few more minutes.
Add the carrots, bell peppers and cabbage. Stir-fry for another minute or two.
Add the bean sprouts and the noodles and cook for 1 minute.
Add the egg and sauce mixture and stir for 1 minute.
Serve in bowls. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.
Very spring-like and delicious farro risotto. I found this on David Lebovitz’s blog, He is a very well-established and high-esteemed chef and pastry chef from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA and Zuni Café, in San Francisco, CA as well as an author of nine cookbooks. I am not sure how I came upon his website, I think I was trying to get sourdough cracker ideas (I have been making a lot of sourdough crackers with my sourdough discards!). Anyway, this recipe really has amazing flavor and is really just as easy as a simple traditional risotto, but it has a much better nutritional profile than risotto made with white rice. I did not closely follow his recipe, it was more of just an inspiration of using farro and a little decadent bacon in risotto. If you want to go vegetarian, leave out the bacon. If you want to go vegan leave out the bacon and parmesan (maybe use nutritional yeast instead?). Add whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand, it is a terrific blank canvas for seasonal ingredients. David Lebovitz used Radicchio and dried mushrooms, I used fresh spinach, fresh and dried mushrooms and fresh english peas, because this was available, in season and sounded good.
Mushroom, Spinach, English Pea and Bacon Farro Risotto
A moderately simple vegetable and whole grain risotto recipe with a little bacon that can be personalized with seasonal vegetables.
4 dried mushrooms
1/2 cup hot water
1 1/2 cups farro
4 pieces thick butcher-cut bacon (applewood smoked bacon is good for this).
1/2 sweet onion, cut into a small dice
1 pound sliced cremini mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of fresh shelled english peas
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt
2/3 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken broth or stock
10 oz fresh spinach
2 long sprigs of fresh thyme
about a Tablespoon fresh sage, cut in a chiffonade
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for garnishing
Put the dried mushrooms in a small measuring cup and pour 1/2 cup of hot water over them. Let them steep at least 20 minutes.
Cook the bacon in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. When it is cooked place it between multiple sheets of paper towel to remove as much grease as possible and set-aside. When cool, dice the bacon.
Meanwhile, warm the broth in either a pot or if you are lazy like me in a glass measuring cup in the microwave (one less pot to clean).
In a large deep dutch oven or skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions and cook over moderate heat stirring until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for a few more minutes, until softened. Remove to a bowl.
Remove the soaking mushrooms and finely chop. Add the mushrooms to the rest of the vegetables. Set aside the mushroom liquid.
Add a little more oil to the pot and add the farro and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine, give it a little stir and let it cook over medium heat until the wine is absorbed, about 2 or 3 minutes minutes.
Add the mushroom liquid, give it a little stir and cook until nearly absorbed.
Add about 1 cup of the warm broth to the farro mixture, give it a good stir and add the thyme. Cook until nearly absorbed (don’t constantly stir while the farro mixture is absorbing the broth). Repeat adding the broth about 1 cup at a time and just giving it one stir after each addition of broth to get the broth and the farro mixed until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions, for about 15-20 minutes (you may not use all the broth). Taste the farro at this point. If it is cooked al dente (fully cooked but still slightly firm to the bite) at this point, you are finished cooking it. If not, add a little more broth and check again after it is absorbed.
Remove the thyme sprigs. Add the cooked vegetables, chopped bacon, chopped sage and fresh spinach. Stir well. Add a little freshly ground black pepper, a little salt, and parmesan. Taste and add salt and more pepper to your liking. Turn off the heat.
Serve immediately, topping each potion with a sprinkle of parmesan. Enjoy!
Sourdough bread has become a nice distraction and challenge for me during this trying time. I have made this particular recipe three times now with minor tweaks each time and I think I have the process down enough to post it. The recipe is a conglomeration of several I have found online and greatly simplified so my son and I are actually willing to take it on. It is also a no-knead recipe, which I really appreciate since for some reason I detest kneading! I previously was getting dense loaves until I found this article from the Smithsonian Magazine that explained how you cannot just replace whole wheat flour for white flour in a recipe, you have to add a lot more water because the wheat flour will soak up a lot more liquid than white flour. The additional water made a HUGE difference in the moisture level and therefore the fluffiness of the finished bread. I love that the ingredients are simple and healthy – I have used only whole grains, fruit-sweetened cherries (no added sugar) and raw walnuts. There is nothing like fresh bread to lift our spirits during a quarantine, or really anytime, it disappears pretty quickly around here!
Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread with Cherries and Walnuts
16 ounces whole wheat flour (plus a little additional flour the next morning)
16.3 ounces room temperature water
3.2 ounces sourdough starter (unfed)
.4 ounces fine grain salt
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cherries (or cranberries, raisins, or currents with no added sugar)
1-2 Tablespoons wheat germ (the next day)
The evening before:
In a large bowl mix together your whole wheat flour, water, unfed sourdough starter, salt, cherries and walnuts.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place overnight.
The next morning:
Generously dust a clean kitchen surface with whole wheat flour. Scoop out the dough and place it on the surface, it will be very wet, more like a batter. Dust with more flour so you can touch it without sticking to it. Gently fold the edges of the dough from the outside in, to form a round loaf. Sprinkle some wheat germ (optional) on the top and bottom of the dough. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and a damp towel and let it rest, seam side down for 2-3 hours, until it has doubled in size. Note: Use a lot of extra flour under the dough because it will be very sticky and you need to get it off the surface and into a hot pot to cook it later.
Thirty minutes before you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 450 (maybe hotter, my oven runs very hot but this is the lower range from what I have read). Place a covered enamel Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid into the oven and allow it to heat for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven, take off its top, and carefully invert the risen dough into it, so that the seam side is now facing up, then put the top back on the pot and return it to the oven.
Bake for 35 minutes, then take the top off the pot and allow it to continue to cook until it is golden and crusty all over, an additional 5-10 minutes. Cool the loaf on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
This is wonderful with 2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest and 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary instead of the cherries and walnuts. Cranberries, currents, or raisins would also be very good instead of the cherries. Play with it and make it yours!
The original recipe called for 25-30 minutes in a 450-550 degree oven with the lid on and then 20-30 min with it off. My bread burns pretty easily at 450 and 475 once I take the lid off, so I can’t go any higher with the temperature and I cook it for 35 minutes with the lid on and only cook it with the lid off for 5 minutes, but ovens vary, so experiment.
The sourdough starter
Bread mixture the evening before baking
Bread mixture the next morning
Pouring out the dough and begin shaping it
Shaping the dough…
Coating the dough with a lot of flour and wheat germ
Wow, these are so easy and so good, so light and fluffy…I am just amazed! I am continuing my exploration of cooking with sourdough starter, and this is my second attempt at sourdough waffles. Last week I made them with my fairly new starter (Persephone) and they were good, but not quite as amazing as today’s version. Today’s finished waffles physically feel like they weigh half of what my usual waffles weigh and the taste is incredible – a thin crisp outer layer with a soft and airy filling. I feel like I am never going back…
Again, quite a bit of time has passed since I last added a recipe. I was busy, the world was still turning, life was normal…then BAM, COVID-19. So now I have A LOT of extra time and energy and I am returning to my recipe blog. I made an amazing soup yesterday from my favorite recipe blog, The Woks of Life. The layers of flavor, the aromatics, the warmth were all really terrific and comforting! I made some personal adjustments to the original recipe by adding more vegetables, using shrimp instead of chicken thighs (my son is still boycotting chicken- but it turned out too spicy for him anyway) and using plant-based shirataki noodles instead of egg noodles. If you want to make it vegetarian use vegetable broth instead of chicken, add salt instead of fish sauce and if you don’t eat shrimp you can eliminate it (maybe add tofu). I think it is a versatile recipe, add or subtract vegetables and proteins as you see fit.
I have made this several times now and the three of us have been enjoying it each time. I will have to say this is Korean-inspired Bibimbap based on a recipe from The Woks of Life. I made too many changes to call it authentic, but I am including it on this site because it is fast, easy, healthy and my family and I like it. I added additional vegetables, and have varied those vegetables based on what is in season and/or in my vegetable drawer at home. Today I left out the mung bean sprouts because I couldn’t find any at Whole Foods. I used carrots, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and spinach along with grass-fed lean ground beef. My son won’t eat kimchi, so I omitted that as well, but it would certainly be more authentic with it. One really nice thing about this is that I can cut-up the vegetables ahead of time (when it is convenient during the day or meal-prep them on the weekend) and then refrigerate them. When I am ready to make the dish all I have to do is throw some rice in the rice cooker and stir fry the prepped ingredients, pretty quick and easy. Enjoy!
cooked rice (lately I have been using white sushi rice, but use whatever kind you prefer, brown rice works well).
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
1/4 medium sweet onion, cut into wide strips
1/2 pound broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
12 oz fresh spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, diced
3/4 pound lean ground beef (organic grass-fed if you are inclined)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon sesame oil
oil of choice for cooking (a neutral oil is best, like safflower oil)
1/2 cup napa cabbage kimchi (I skip this)
2 Tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) – I skip this for the spice-phobe
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Prepare your rice (in a rice cooker if you have one).
Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the carrot sticks and stir fry the a couple of minutes, until tender but still a bit crunchy. Remove to a bowl. Repeat with the onion, and then with the broccoli. Note: You can keep each cooked vegetable separate, or mix them together in a large bowl. Cooking them separately seems to really help them stay crisp because they aren’t overcrowded in the pan and each different vegetable needs different cooking times. Whether you mix them after cooking is your style choice.
Add a little sesame oil and 1 Tablespoon of soy sauce to the vegetables and stir.
Add a little more cooking oil to the skillet and cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef to the mushrooms and garlic and cook until browned. Add 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and stir. Add in the cooked vegetable mixture, mix and re-heat for a minute or so.
While cooking the beef mixture, cook the 4 eggs sunny side up in a separate skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the rice evenly into 4 bowls. Top with the vegetable and beef mixture. Top each bowl with an egg and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Add a dollop of gochujang and kimchi to each bowl if using. Enjoy!
I mixed my vegetables and beef together and simply put it on top of my rice. If you want to serve it in a more authentic way, you would keep each vegetable separate and the meat separate and serve each in a separate section on top of the rice. I prefer to make it less fussy and have a quicker hot meal.
It has been a while since I wrote a blog entry. I feel like I have been making the same handful of dishes lately, this one included, but none are really perfected. But enough of being a perfectionist, it is time to post! This is from my favorite food blog site, The Woks of Life. I love their recipes! This one is based on their Gyudon recipe, which is a japanese dish of thinly sliced beef and onions in a slightly sweet and salty sauce and served over rice. I used less beef and added carrots, mushrooms and pea pods to add vegetable volume. Other times I have added spinach or baby bok choy. Use what is in season and available. My family really liked the flavors of this dish, I hope you do too. Enjoy!
Safflower oil (or canola or other neutral light oil)
1 large carrot, cut in small batons
1 pound of Shiitake mushrooms, sliced ( I had a few cremini mushrooms I added as well since they were laying around)
1 cup of snow peas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar (or whatever you prefer)
12 ounces of ribeye or beef of choice, sliced very thin
1 cup of low sodium vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or 1 Tbl of dark soy sauce and 1 Tbl of low sodium soy sauce – if you have both)
2 eggs, whisked with a little soy sauce and a little black pepper
1 scallion, chopped
sesame seeds (optional)
Mix the mirin, soy sauce and broth in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir-fry the mushrooms for a few minutes. Add the carrots and stir fry for another minute, then add the pea pods and stir fry for one more minute. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Add a little more oil and when heated add the onions. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, until softening and browning.
Add the beef and sugar and stir fry for a few minutes until beef is slightly browned. Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook simmering for 5-10 minutes to reduce the broth into a slightly thicker sauce.
Add the reserved vegetable mixture, and swirl in eggs. When eggs are cooked turn off heat. (Or cook the eggs separately as sunny-side up eggs and place them on top of finished bowls).
Scoop cooked rice in individual bowls and top with beef mixture. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!