Posted on January 23, 2013
If you want to find your passion, surrender to your heartbreak. Your heartbreak points towards a truer north, + it’s the difficult journey. — “How to Have a Year That Matters”
Speaking to so many different people lately who are out of sorts, or, more specifically, trying to find their way home. Whether they’ve lost jobs they’ve never really wanted or they’re forced to uproot their lives to move to a new city halfway across the world, the air feels nomadic. We’ve become itinerant, our year an Odyssey in miniature. Already this year presents so much change, unrest, indecision and flux, and we can either choose to drown in the mess of it or swim our way to shore.
So I’ve been thinking about change, great, earth-shattering change. The change of loud songs and kaboom, and I’ve been thinking about risk and change and love and life and what that all means. For me.
And this weekend I had a friend come ’round and we passed the time watching old horror movies, the black and white kind, and feasted on these yummy kabobs. Talking about our mutual chrysalis.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron (Serves 2; 450 calories/person)
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
8 brussels sprouts, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, fine dice 2 of them and smash and grind the third into a paste
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 bunch mint, fine dice (2 tbsp)
1 bunch parsley, fine dice (2 tbsp)
4 wooden skewers
Pre-heat the oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Set aside. Chop all your veggies as noted above and set aside. Place the cauliflower, carrots and brussels sprouts on the skewers, alternating vegetables as you like. If you have leftover veggies, don’t sweat it — chop them up finely and add them to the chickpea mixture later. Drizzle the skewers with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast them for 12-15 minutes, until they’re slightly charred and crisp.
While the kebabs are roasting, drizzle olive oil in a pan with medium heat and sauté the onions, 2 cloves of garlic, a little salt and remaining vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
Add the rinsed chickpeas, turmeric, cumin and curry, as well as a few tablespoons of water to the pan and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. The sauce should thicken and become fragrant.
While the chickpeas are cooking, add the parsley, mint and garlic paste to the yoghurt and mix well (the recipe calls for adding the parsley at the end but I loved it in the sauce). Set aside.
Once the kebabs are done, divide the chickpea mixture between two plates, add the kebabs and drizzle the sauce over both plates. ENJOY!
Posted on December 24, 2012
Years ago we used to shout Merry Christmas from the rafters without apology. Along the way, the shouts were squashed to a timid murmur, and everyone now pantomimes Happy Holidays. I don’t actually remember when the shift occurred, but it was slight, imperceivable, and although stores felt comfortable hocking Christmas wares in October, everyone still dutifully obeyed the holiday greeting.
MERRY CHRISTMAS. MERRY CHRISTMAS. MERRY CHRISTMAS. EVE.
As I type this, I’m curled up on a warm couch with my kitty, nibbling on honey rolls. Readying myself from my annual Connecticut sojourn where I plan to eat my weight in cookies, beef and all sorts of terrific, culinary delights of which my dear friend Liz has in store for me. I plan to eat like it’s 2099, and in preparation I feel it’s wise to be a tad virtuous (hmm, we may want to nix the honey rolls).
Enter this yummy heirloom apple salad. Words cannot express how much I adore this salad. You won’t feel deprived, rather, you’ll find yourself digging in, fork first. The vinaigrette provides a sharp, fresh tang against the the pungent cheese and sweet potato. In all candor, this is a lot for two people, so I’d recommend this salad as a side for four, a generous portion for 3.
Hopefully, this will divert my attention from the magic bars in the freezer!
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1 clove garlic
1 bunch arugula (2 cups)
1 head green leaf lettuce (4 cups)
1 small shallot
1 celery stalk
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4oz blue cheese
1 baby sweet potato
1 bunch tarragon (3 tbsp)
First, put a small pot of water to a boil. Peel and dice your sweet potato, then chop the celery. Next, dice the apples, then chop the tarragon. Finely chop the shallot, and set it aside in a small bowl with the apple cider vinegar. Lastly, smash and chop the garlic until it resembles a paste, then add it to the vinegar with the shallot.
Next, toast the almonds in a dry pan over high heat. They only need to toast for a few seconds — be careful not to burn them! Remove the almonds from the pan, then roughly chop them.
Add the diced sweet potatoes to the boiling water. Blanch them for 4-7 minutes, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Then, drain the sweet potatoes and rinse them under cold water. While the sweet potatoes are blanching, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the apple cider vinegar, shallots and garlic with the olive oil, chopped tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Next, wash the lettuce and arugula, then shake off the excess water. Finely chop the greens together, then set them aside in a large mixing bowl. Add the apples, half of the almonds, celery, half of the blue cheese and sweet potatoes to the mixing bowl with the arugula and lettuce. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to dress the salad. Divide the salad between two plates and garnish the remaining blue cheese and almonds. Enjoy!
Posted on November 16, 2012
A few months ago I performed the arduous, yet satisfying task, of cleaning out my closet. This can be a cruel afternoon replete with hopeful tears (it’ll fit one day!), denial (just because I haven’t worn it in two years doesn’t mean I’ll never wear it!), rage (what possessed me to waste my hard-earned money on Christian Louboutin shoes, which are in fact the most uncomfortable shoes ever made!) and regret (that would’ve been cute had I been 27). And on this particular Saturday, I got downright surgical, shoving old sweaters into bins and ill-fitted dresses into bags, and I noticed that I have a predilection (some would say addiction) to the color BLUE.
A WOMAN BELIEVES IN THE COLOR BLUE. IN BLUE WE TRUST. ETC, ETC.
After I acquiesced to the fact that I’m only truly comfortable in greys, blacks, and tonal shades of my beloved blue, I felt relieved. As if the world had been set to rights. Liberated from the cruel pinks, oranges and other blasphemous colors that make one feel like Free Willy, etc.
And then last week I found myself scrolling the pages of the site, and much to my chagrin, everything was a variation of the colors orange, black and brown. From babka cakes to pumpkin pancetta risottos, I’m all fall, ALL. THE. TIME. While I believe in cooking seasonal, I do believe in slight variation (my greys + blacks to my blues), so I came home and fixed the most luscious of risottos. The nuttiness of the walnuts melds beautifully with the creamy rice, which is cut by the sharpness of the cool pesto. You will absolutely love this dish, and I’ve already polished off much of it for dinner.
For the risotto
1 quart* chicken stock
1 cup arborrio rice
1 shallot, fine dice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the basil walnut pesto
1 cup basil, packed
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/4-1/2 tsp truffle salt, to taste
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
*1 quart is the equivalent of 32oz or 2 lbs
In a food processor, blitz the walnuts, pesto, garlic, salt and pepper, streaming in the olive oil until you achieve a thick paste. You don’t want your pesto to be soupy or too oily, rather you want a voluptuous chunks that will hold up to the satiny, hot risotto. Once your pesto is a paste, set aside.
In a large sauce pot, bring the stock to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Keep this pot next to our sauté pan, as you’ll need to continuously ladle from the stock to the skillet, so proximity is pretty key.
In a large sauté pan (translation: a skillet that can hold 3-4 quarts), sauté the shallots and salt on medium heat until translucent (1-2 minutes). Pour in the rice and cook until the rice is translucent and browns slightly, approximately 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low. You do not want burned onions or rice, so if this starts to happen ladle in liquid immediately. Do you want to sob over burnt risotto? My guess is NO WAY, NO DAY.
Add the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir, and stir, and stir, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Keep ladling in the liquid in increments until all of the water is absorbed and the stock is thick and creamy. Remember, risotto isn’t a dish that will cook itself, it requires dedication, so be prepared to stand in front of the stove stirring for 20-30 minutes. I’ve been blasting Interpol and old-school U2 in these sorts of parallel parking scenarios.
Once all of the water has been absorbed, stir in the pesto until the risotto transforms into a verdant green. Mix for a good minute serve pipping hot. Add salt/pepper to taste, and cheese if you desire.
Posted on November 4, 2012
Believe me when I say that this is the sort of salad you’re going to eat with your hands. After a few servings, I confess that I dove straight in, wrapped kale and spinach leaves around the seasoned, buttery pita and it was GLORIOUS. Who knew that salad could be this addictive? Have this much flavor? Welcome to Yotam Ottolenghi’s + Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem, a remarkable tome that is not only a visual feast for the senses, but a heartfelt letter to their homeland. Within this cookbook you’ll not only be amazed by the diversity of the cuisine and its layered influences, you’ll fawn over the exquisite photography and recipes YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO MAKE. Thumbing through the book I encountered their baby spinach salad and knew I just had to put my leaves to use. While I’ve taken some liberties with the ingredients (I consider dates an “exquisite”, an ingredient I don’t typically use, so I nixed it from the recipe and replaced it with dried figs and cherries), I assure you this flavor is full-on. This is a terrific side dish to the kibbeh I made yesterday, or add a bit of protein to make it a main.
INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s + Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem.
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 oz/100g mixed dried tart cherries + sliced figs
2 tbsp/30g unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small pitas, roughly torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup/75g whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
5 ounces/150g baby spinach leaves/tuscan kale mix
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt + pepper
Put the vinegar, onion, cut figs and cherries in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away any residual vinegar and discard.
Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach and kale leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the figs, cherries and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.