Monthly Archives: June 2013

Lentils with Roasted Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes

Summer meals often mean no-cook dinners, lots of salads and easy shortcuts. This recipe has all of those elements in mind for a perfect summer dinner or lunch. It can keep in the fridge for days and it will taste better as it stands. It’s flexibility is a key reason that I keep it around year after year!

Enjoy!

Lentils with Roasted Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes

Lentils with Roasted Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes

Closeup... hard to make lentils look pretty

Closeup… hard to make lentils look pretty

Lentils with Roasted Peppers & Sundried Tomatoes

Lentils with Roasted Peppers & Sundried Tomatoes

Lentils with Roasted Peppers and Sundried Tomatoes

Makes 4 entree size portions or 8-10 side

Ingredients

1 package Trader Joe’s cooked lentils
1 jar Trader Joe’s fire roasted yellow & red peppers (or two large freshly roasted peppers, peeled and seeded), diced
4 cubes Trader Joe’s frozen basil, defrosted (or 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chiffonade)
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s sundried tomatoes, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, grated (or 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s crushed garlic)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: Chives for serving
 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, breaking up the lentils with your hands.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
3. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 3 days… the flavors will marry nicely.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Warm Radish & Corn Salad

You never know how things are going to turn out when culinary cultures collide. These are spectacular!  Check out this mix of Russian and Mexican ingredients!

Warm Radish & Corn Salad

Warm Radish & Corn Salad

Warm Radish & Corn Salad

Warm Radish & Corn Salad

 

Warm Radish & Corn Salad

Makes 8 side salads

Ingredients

1 large bunch of radish
4 or 5 ears of corn, cooked (or 1 bag of frozen corn, thawed)
4 large scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons crema mexicana (or sour cream or creme fraiche)
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch smoked paprika
kosher salt, to taste
Optional: juice from 1/2 lime
 

Directions

1. Thinly slice radish (I made quick work of it with the food processor).
2. Remover kernels from cooked corn cob. Warm up.
3. Combine the thinly sliced radish, warm corn, scallions, creme mexicana, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika. Optional: add a bit of freshly squeezed lime juice.
4. Add kosher salt, to taste.
5. Serve immediately: warm or at room temperature. As the salad stands, the sliced radish will release a lot of water.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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An American’s Take on Curried Chickpeas with Basmati Rice

Growing up, the few times that my parents splurged for take-out, it was always Chinese. Pizzeria’s were a dime a dozen, but my parents didn’t consider pizza to be “real food”. There wasn’t much else offered in our mostly-Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. In the early 80’s there wasn’t a local place for Thai, Mexican, or Japanese. And Indian cuisine? Indian was far from a standard neighborhood joint.

Curried Chickpeas over Basmati Rice

Curried Chickpeas over Basmati Rice

Initially, I was very intimidated by Indian flavors. I think that I, along with many Americans thought that Indian food was all about hot and spice. Admittedly, I had a closed minded view of a beautiful and complex cuisine. As a young adult, I was introduced to amazing Indian cuisine, first at friends homes and then in the real world. While I still don’t appreciate spicy food, I love Indian flavors.

This recipe is mild and savory. It’s richness bring out the fantastic flavor of a simple chickpea. It will be delicious the day you make it and even better a day later, once the flavors have had a chance to meld.

Enjoy!

Simmering beauty

Simmering beauty

Curried Chickpeas

Curried Chickpeas

Curried Chickpeas (overhead)

Curried Chickpeas (overhead)

Curried Chickpeas over Basmati Rice

Makes 6 entree size portions or 8 side dishes

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s crushed garlic (or 4 large cloves, minced)
1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s curry powder
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves (you’ll remove them before eating) or a pinch of ground cloves
3 15oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Optional: Chopped cilantro and lemon wedges, for serving
Basmati Rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 1/4 cups water
pinch kosher salt

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and saute for 4-5 minutes on high heat, until the onion had browned a bit.
2. Turn heat down to medium-high. Add the garlic, curry powder, cinnamon stick and clove. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the powder has coated the onions and the remaining items have warmed through.
3. Add chickpeas, ketchup, salt, pepper and water to the skillet. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium/high heat.
5. Add basmati rice and saute. Allow the rice to become coated with the oil and slightly toast. About 3-4 minutes.
6. Add water and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to a simmer.  Let simmer for 35-40 minutes.
7. Uncover the chickpea mixture and increase heat to medium high. Let the sauce bubble and reduce for about 10 minutes (it should be sauce-y, not soupy).
8. Top rice with curried chickpeas and garnish with chopped cilantro and a squirt of lemon juice (it will really wake up the flavors).
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Baking requires a beautiful precision; a precision that I rarely have the patience for. This No-Bake Icebox Cake is my go-to dessert when I’m tight on time (always) and when the kids idle hands are dangerously close to becoming mischievous (always). Takes about 20 minutes to pull together and it’s a guaranteed hit for large parties (combine ingredients in a 10″ springform pan) and barbecues (individual cups). The creaminess of the whipped cream softens the thin cookies and becomes a wonderfully soft layered cake.

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

It’s a fool-proof recipe that can be modified based on the ingredients that you have on hand and what’s available at the store. If your store has chocolate cookie thins (also called wafers), bypass the lemon zest and swap out the lemon extract for vanilla extract and you’ll have a delicious Oreo-esque cake on your hands. You might also see ginger or orange flavored thins (Anna brand), which work very well in this recipe. Any flavor will work!

Perfect for a dinner party, kids party, or anytime… the springform pan can stay refrigerated for up to 2 days. Perfect for a picnic: throw those individual cups into a cooler in the morning and your individual cakes will be ready by lunchtime!

Enjoy!

Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Whip the cream to stiff peaks

Whip the cream to stiff peaks

Set up your base (individual containers here)

Set up your base (individual containers here)

Build your cake

Building our individual cakes

The dollop of whipped cream looks so pretty

The dollop of whipped cream looks so pretty

A tower of ease and goodness...

A tower of ease and goodness…

Lemon Icebox Cake (No-Bake)

Serves 8-10

3 cups cold whipping cream (heavy cream)
1/2 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
2 packages Trader Joe’s Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins

Directions

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy cream, sugar, lemon extract (if using) and lemon zest.
2. Turn mixer on LOW to combine ingredients (about 1 minute). Then raise the speed to MEDIUM/HIGH for another 3-4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Don’t over-beat it or you’ll start to make butter.
3. Place the cookies in a single layer on the bottom of a springform pan (or individual cups), covering as much of the bottom as possible.
4. In a thin layer, spread whipped cream over the cookies.
5. Add another layer of cookies and whipped cream. Repeat until your form(s) is/are filled. You will most likely have some leftover cookies and whipped cream.
6. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Five Olive Tapenade

During a recent girls night out at Paradou, I tried their olive tapenade. It was perfectly briny, piquant and salty… A lovely topping for a crusty baguette. Unfortunately, I can’t pop over to Paradou every time I want olive tapenade. The experience reminded me that there are a bunch of things that I make on a regular basis that I’ve never blogged about…. including tapenade.

Five Olive Tapenade

Five Olive Tapenade

Olive tapenade is great as a sandwich spread, as a veggie dip and we also use it as an add-in to standard pasta sauces. When having guests over, it’s a great substitute for your standard bread and butter before a meal.

As with most of my recipes, I love the ease and flexibility of olive tapenade. Six simple ingredients, a tall cup and an immersion blender… that’s all you need. For a less briny/salty flavor, rinse the olives very well. If it’s still too briny, add a piece of crusty bread and an extra tablespoon of olive oil. For a smoother, more liquid-y consistency, add a few more tablespoons of olive oil. LOVE garlic? Up the ante by throwing in a few more cloves!

Enjoy!

 

Olives, garlic, anchovy paste, lemon, basil & olive oil

Olives, garlic, anchovy paste, lemon, basil & olive oil (I use anchovy paste because every time I open an anchovy tin, I use a few fillets and then throw out the remainder of the tin. The paste can be refrigerated until needed.) 

 

Olives into the immersion blender cup

Olives into the immersion blender cup

 

I saved some of the briny water

I saved some of the briny water

 

Garlic, Anchovy Paste, Basil, Lemon Juice & Zest into the cup

Garlic, Anchovy Paste, Basil, Lemon Juice & Zest into the cup

 

Blend!

Blend!

 

30 seconds later...

30 seconds later…

 

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade

9 Olive Tapenade

Five Olive Tapenade

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients

2/3 pounds mixed pitted olives (I used 1/3 pound Fairway’s Pitted Five Olive Blend and 1/3 pitted kalamata)
1 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 3 anchovy fillets)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
5 large fresh basil leaves
zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
3 tablespoons good olive oil

Directions

1. Rinse half of the olives in cold water. (Rinse all of them for a less briny/salty flavor).
2. Place the olives, anchovy paste, garlic cloves, basil leaves, lemon zest and juice and olive oil into the cup of an immersion blender.
3. Pulse through the ingredients for about 30 seconds, until well minced.
4. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to a week.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

I’m not a breakfast person. This probably stems from not being a morning person. I used to feel bad about this, but then I got over it. While I may get nauseous eating within 4 hours of waking up, there are days when it feels like my kids need to eat within 4 minutes of waking up.

Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

I’m lucky that my husband (alternately known as “spouse”) usually takes on morning duties. As long as I’ve left some staples in the fridge, he’s happy to feed the kids. Mornings are also fast in our house, so there are rarely weekday mornings when there’s enough time for a warm breakfast. Morning meals usually consist of cereal/milk, yogurt with granola and raisins, fruit with cottage cheese, rice cakes with something spread on top… simple stuff that can be made quickly. 

Weekdays mornings are usually filled with multiple kids and/or adults oversleeping, last minute homework being done, fights over bathroom time, discussions about wardrobe selections, so it’s really rare that we ever have time for a warm weekday breakfast. Even less often, are times when I’m looking forward to making a warm weekday breakfast. So rare, that this may only be the third time that I’ve done this. Soft boiled eggs and toasted bread: it’s so easy that I might be encouraged to repeat this… next year.

Enjoy!

The soft boiled egg will be easy to peel as soon as it's cooled

The soft boiled egg will be easy to peel as soon as it’s cooled

Toasted Sunflower Seed Bread

Toasted Sunflower Seed Bread

Our selection of leftover aioli's (wasabi, dijon and lemon garlic)

Our selection of leftover aioli’s (wasabi, dijon and lemon garlic)

The kids make their own sandwiches

The kids make their own sandwiches

While I try to keep it "pretty" with the salad greens

While I try to keep it “pretty” with the carefully designed aioli design (that you can’t see) and salad greens

The kids also cut their own soft boiled egg and spread the yolks as "sauce"

The kids also cut their own soft boiled egg and spread the yolks as “sauce”

Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Soft Boiled Egg Breakfast Sandwich

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Soft-Boiled Egg Tartines with Green Mayonnaise

Makes 4 breakfast sandwiches

Ingredients

4 slices sunflower bread (or other hearty multi-grain bread or GF bread), toasted
4 large eggs
Favorite dark salad greens
Favorite Aioli or mayonnaise
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Place cold eggs into a small pot and cover with cold water. When the water boils, set a timer for 2 minutes.
2. Take the pot off the heat and put the eggs into an ice water bath (or run them under very cold water.
3. Gently peel the eggs (the yolks should still be runny).
4. Spread each piece of toasted bread with a thin layer of your favorite aioli or mayonnaise.
5. Add a thin layer of salad greens to the bread.
6. Holding the egg over the bread, slice each egg in half (lengthwise). Place the two halve onto the salad greens.
7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)

I recently posted a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble that I made with strawberries that we picked at Battleview Orchards in Freehold, New Jersey. While that was a great way to use up almost 2 pounds of strawberries, I still had about 5 pounds that needed to be dealt with. Strawberry Jam!

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

I started out with just about 5 pounds of strawberries and after they were hulled and quartered, it was down to slightly under 4 1/2 pounds. You can easily halve this recipe for a more manageable batch. If you don’t have access to fresh strawberries, check out my recipe for Off-Season Strawberry Jam.

There are two time consuming parts to this recipe. The hulling and quartering of the strawberries and the time to reduce it to a jam-like consistency. Feel free to find something else to do while the jam reduces (it will take about an hour) but the resulting pints of jam will bring happiness to your tummy for weeks!

Enjoy!

Strawberries picked at Battleview Orchards

Strawberries picked at Battleview Orchards

Almost 4.5 pounds of hulled and quartered strawberries

Almost 4.5 pounds of hulled and quartered strawberries

The remnants

The remnants

Zested Lemons... ready to be juiced

Zested Lemons… ready to be juiced

Lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar over strawberries

Lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar over strawberries

Peel two granny smith apples

Peel two granny smith apples

Coarsely shred apples into pot

Coarsely shred apples into pot

Ah... the beautiful beginnings of jam

Ah… the beautiful beginnings of jam

By the time it's done, the jam will have reduced by about half.

By the time it’s done, the jam will have reduced by about half.

8 pints (one not pictured)

8 pints (one not pictured)

I love that you can see the chunkier pieces of strawberry!

I love that you can see the chunkier pieces of strawberry!

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)

Makes 8 pints

5 pound of fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (resulting in about  4.5 pounds)
zest of 4 lemons
juice of 4 lemons
4 cups granulated sugar
2 granny smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Turn down to medium and let the strawberries gently bubble.
3. Place a small plate into the freezer (Just do it. Trust me, you’re going to need it)
4. Stir occasionally and let the strawberries reduce by about 1/2. This will take almost an hour.
5. Perform a gel test: Remove the plate from the freezer. Place a spoonful of the jam on the plate and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently press jam with fingertip; it should not be runny, it should wrinkle slightly. Here’s a picture of the gel test from my other Off-Season Strawberry Jam recipe.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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