Chachouka

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Chachouka ~ adapted from River Cottage Veg

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 large onion, thinly sliced in strips

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp paprika (hot smoked if you have it on hand)

a pinch of saffron strands

1 14 ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the cumin and onion and saute for a for about 8-10 minutes or until soft and golden in color. Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook on low heat for around 20 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers are soft and wilted. Add in the paprika, a little salt and pepper, crumble in the saffron with your fingers, and add the tomatoes with any liquid from cutting. Cook, stirring from time to time, for about 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Taste the pepper mixture and adjust seasonings if needed then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. Make two hollows in the pepper mixture and add an egg to each. sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for around 12 minutes depending on how you like your eggs cooked. If you like your eggs runny (the way this dish is meant to be served) then stop at around the 12 minute mark. Any longer and your eggs will be more set.

Enjoy ~

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Green Curry Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese

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Macaroni & cheese is one of my all-time favs when it comes to comfort food. Is there anything better on a bad day then a nice big bowl of macaroni and cheese? When food supplies are low I tend to whip this up quite frequently as an easy weeknight dinner. Mixing in different spices and vegetables every time to keep it fun! Here The classic dish gets dressed up with spicy green curry paste, fresh lemon and parmesan cheese.

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Green Curry Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese

1 3/4 cup dried pasta

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

olive oil

3 medium carrots, sliced

about a tbsp of soft cheese, I used a laughing cow wedge

1 tsp green curry paste

1-2 tbsp plain yogurt or milk

frozen spinach + corn

grated parmesan cheese

squeeze of lemon

sriracha

salt

Boil pasta according to box directions, I used quinoa shell pasta. drain pasta and set aside. Add minced garlic and about a tbsp of olive oil to the same pot. cook for one minute then add the spinach, corn and carrots. Cook until the vegetables are warm. Then add pasta back to pot with the yogurt or milk, green curry paste and soft cheese. I used laughing cow, you can use any type of cheese you like. Stir till combined and add more yogurt/milk if necessary to get the right consistency. If you want your macaroni to have a little more zing then go ahead and throw in a bit more green curry paste! Once everything is well combined and hot season to taste with salt, fresh lemon juice, and sriracha (if you like it a bit spicy). Serve with a lemon wedge and grated parmesan cheese on top.

Creamy Eggs + Leeks with Baby Hasselback Potatoes

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This yummy breakfast was made on a whim and serves one. For when you just need some solo-brunch time.

Feel free to make as much as you like, however! I didn’t use exact measurements and ended up throwing a bunch of things together as I went along. The plump sweet white corn combined with soft cheese, eggs, basil, and sautéed leeks is one hell of a tasty combination. All topped off with the slight saltiness of kalamata olives.

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Creamy Eggs + Leeks with Baby Hasselback Potatoes

5-10 small potatoes (I used a combination of red, yellow and purple)

Olive oil

Sea salt

Basil, dried or fresh

Coconut oil

1 colve of garlic, minced

1 leek, chopped

milk

2 eggs

basil, dried or fresh (I used dried)

chopped kalamata olives

Spinach + white corn (fresh or frozen, I used frozen)

freshly grated parmesan cheese

soft cheese (cream cheese, goat, I used laughing cow garlic and herb)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Scrub your potatoes, then slice thinly with a sharp knife just until you reach the bottom (so that all the slices are still connected). Place in a glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and basil. Toss lightly to coat and place in the oven while you prepare your eggs. Cook until potatoes are cooked through and the edges begin to brown.

In a small saute pan heat a small spoonful of coconut oil and add the minced garlic. Cook for a minute until brown and fragrant then add the chopped leek. Saute until leek pieces are soft and tender. In a small bowl whisk eggs with the chopped kalamata olives, basil, a pinch of sea salt, a large tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, and a few generous splashes of milk. Add egg mixture to the pan with the garlic and leeks, heat on med-low. Add spinach, white corn, and soft cheese to the pan and slowly scramble until eggs are cooked. Top with extra parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve warm with potatoes, preferably with a large glass of orange juice and enjoy the spring sunshine.

~

Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes

A lovely reason to buy more summer vegetables.

A quick and easy summer side dish that welcomes creative spice pairing.

Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes
 
1 medium eggplant, chopped into strips
8-12 radishes, washed and quartered
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
coconut oil
honey
coriander
salt & pepper
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and spread out the chopped eggplant, garlic and radishes evenly. Drizzle with coconut oil (you won’t need very much) then follow with a drizzle of honey. Season generously with coriander then salt and pepper. Toss to coat then arrange evenly on the baking sheet again. Roast in the oven for around 30 mins, times will vary. When the eggplant is cooked through with crispy edges everything is done, the radishes will remain a bit crunchy. Serve as a side dish with fish or roasted chicken and a small salad.  

~

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Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil

Is there a better name for a vegetable? For me, no. For others, probably. But when I saw fairy tale eggplant for the first time last weekend at the farmers market I immediately felt enchantment in the air. I waited for a moment to see if a unicorn would poke its head around the corner of the tent…..just a moment… Apart from their adorable miniature size fairy tale eggplant do not differ too much from your average eggplant. Wanting a refreshing summer dish, I found pasta the best way to go. Sautéing the eggplants with garlic and lots of spring onions. A touch of lemon zest over thin pasta noodles with lots of fresh arugula and basil and finished with a drizzle of cool olive oil.

Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil:
10-15 fairy tale eggplant
2-4 servings of pasta (I used pasta made with corn flour, any variety will work)
coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
chopped spring (green) onion, enough to equal 2 large handfuls
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
a pinch of chili flakes
fresh arugula
fresh basil
1 large tomato
olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Coat a medium-large skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the spring onions and chopped fairy tale eggplant and cook until the eggplants are soft and tender. Roughly 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally, they will loose their bright purple color. Stir in the lemon zest and pinch of chili flakes while the eggplants are cooking. While this is going on cook your pasta. When both are done turn off the heat. Toss the arugula in with the eggplant for a minute until wilted, add the pasta and toss everything together lightly. Transfer to a large bowl. Top with lots of fresh basil, chopped tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice to taste. Serve with a light salad and a lemon wedge. 

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Summer. Summer and Squash Blossoms. They go hand and hand, you can’t look at these bright flowers and not think of warmth and sunshine. I am trying to make the farmers market a Saturday morning ritual…but you have to get there before 10 am or it isn’t worth going (I don’t like having to hurt someone for that last bunch of radishes). With the 4th and traveling I haven’t been since May, crazy, and upon seeing another blogger posting photographs from the union square market I declared my farmers market-free days over. The seasons produce is in full swing. I came home with fresh arugula, basil, sunflower greens, summer onions, blueberries, yellow beets, rattlesnake beans, red currants, carrots, peppers, and on and on and on. AND squash blossoms.

I wanted to keep this simple. I have never cooked with flowers before and first timer ingredients are always a bit scary.

I only purchased 4 large blossoms and had a decent amount of filling leftover. Make a large batch of  filling and either make more stuffed blossoms or save it and spread on bread, sandwiches, or top off salads.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Summer Greens

For the blossoms:
4-10 squash blossoms
1 large clove of garlic, minced
*a few large spoonfuls of soft goat cheese (3-6 tbsp)
6-12 green onions, chopped
pinch of chili flakes
fresh lemon juice
coconut oil, for sautéing 
 
*I used goat cheese with pieces of kalamata olives mixed in. I loved the taste and flavor this particular cheese added. If you cannot find olive goat cheese or do not like olives just use plain goat cheese. Your blossoms will still turn out spectacular and tasty. 
 
Summer Greens Salad
Large handfuls of fresh:
spinach
arugala
sunflower greens
and a little basil if you have it.
 
A Light vinaigrette:
amount will change depending on how many people you are serving. 
roasted walnut oil
white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
 
In a medium sized bowl, mix together goat cheese, green onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, a dash of lemon juice, and a pinch of chili flakes. Taste and add more if needed. To prepare the squash blossoms, removed the stem, or baby squash from the end. Carefully remove the stamen or any seeds from the inside of the blossom. Try not to tear the petals though I found it to be inevitable at times. Rinse the blossoms delicatley in cool water and pat dry with a paper towl. with a knife or your fingers, stuff about a tsp of the goat cheese mixture into the bottom of the blossom and twist the top. Once all the blossoms are stuffed heat about 2-tsp to a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan (adjust your oil to the amount of blossoms you are cooking, you just want the bottom of the pan to be evenly coated). When the oil is hot lay the blossoms in the pan and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side. The tips of the blossoms will begin to brown when they are ready to come out. Pat dry with a paper towel if you wish. 
 
Wash and toss salad greens in large bowl. Whisk equal parts roasted walnut oil (any light oil or olive oil will also work) and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly toss the greens in the vinaigrette and top with cooked squash blossoms. 

This made a magnificent summer meal. As lunch or a light dinner.

I paired mine with smoked salmon and despite all of this New York City heat I was fully enjoying the fact that it’s Summer.

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Baby Bok Choy with Lemon & Garlic

Bok choy is amazing…but baby bok choy….that is a whole new level of vegetable. They are tender, light and crisp. Pairing beautifully with lemon and roasted to perfection they make a great side dish. Eat over rice, top with a fried egg, I even threw them in a salad the next day.

Lemon Roasted Baby Bok Choy

around 6 baby bok choy

juice of one lemon

coconut oil

1 garlic clove, minced

ground ginger

chili flakes

salt and ground pepper

I did not measure exact amounts for this dish, so feel free to use as many baby bok choy as you like. Trim the ends off of the bok choy, peel the leaves apart and rinse (don’t trim off the inner stalk). Put the bok choy in a baking dish. Pour in the lemon juice, drizzle with coconut oil, add a few good dashes of ground ginger, the minced garlic, a small pinch of chile flakes and salt & pepper. Toss until everything is evenly coated.

Cook at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can turn the bok choy over once or twice while cooking. You just want to make sure the leaves don’t turn crispy.

Summer Slaw Omelette

Do you recall the summer slaw from a few weeks back? That wonderful purple cabbage is back to greet you once more.

If you ever end up making this, which you should, you may find yourself unsure of a creative solution for leftovers….Have no fear..BAM..I give you the summer salad omellete.

Take leftover slaw (summer salad), any oil based tangy slaw will work. Over med-high heat in a small pan sauté freshly chopped garlic with coconut oil for a minute or two then added thinly sliced baby potatoes. Once the potatoes are cooked add a few large spoonfuls of slaw. Right before you finish stir in a couple handfuls of fresh spinach. You can season this as you go, though it doesn’t need much, a little ground black pepper goes a long way. Once cooked remove from pan and pour in a lightly beaten egg. I usually beat a little salt and pepper in mine before cooking. Wait till the underside is cooked then carefully flip. Lay your egg (crepe) on a plate, fill with summer slaw sauté and top with shredded parmesean cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s still not to late for soup.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Spring is around the corner, you can smell it in the air. I find myself daydreaming at work of beach towels and lemonade.

Unfortunately, at least here in New York, the weather has not completely caught up with my mind yet. So pull out that soup pot and take advantage of our last few chilly weeks. This soup is simple and warms you from the inside out, the ginger gives it a spicy kick and when topped with chopped pear the combo of chilled/sweet with spicy is quite pleasant.

This recipe was scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper at work, I cannot remember where I found the inspiration for this wonder, but will update if I come across it again.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Olive oil

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 minced garlic clove, or 1 to 2 tsp of already minced garlic

3 tbsp diced and peeled fresh ginger (use less if you don’s want your soup to have a kick)

1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash

1 peeled and diced apple (I used pink lady)

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

12 ounces coconut milk

diced pear

In a large soup pot heat about 2 tsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, then add the garlic, ginger, butternut squash, and apple. And continue to saute for another couple minutes. Add broth, and salt if desired, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for around 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Blend, then stir in coconut milk and add any additional spices to taste. Serve hot topped with fresh cut pear.

Have a lovely Sunday ~

Mother’s Orzo

From my mothers table

Everyone is always extra excited for dinner when we know my mother is making her orzo. A very simple and refreshing dish suitable for all varieties of taste-buds.

It is such a comfort to take my favorites from home and enjoy them up here…And to know nobody else will finish leftovers before I get to them myself doesn’t hurt either.

Combining the flavors of sharp salty feta, with crunchy seeds and tart lemon.

I enjoy my orzo topped with hot sauce and this dish is meant to be served warm to chilled.

Mothers Orzo

1lb Orzo cooked in vegetable stock

2 tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)

 1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

3/4 cup toasted pine nuts (walnuts and sunflower seeds are also very good)

1 bunch green onion, diced

1 bunch chopped fresh spinach (adjust amount to your preference)

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice (can add more if needed)

1/4 cup olive oil (or oil of choice)

salt and pepper to taste

Cook orzo according to package directions in vegetable broth with a little olive oil. Once orzo is ready, drain, then return to pot. Toss with basil, feta, nuts/seeds, green onion, and spinach. In a seperate bowl whisk together olive oil and lemon juice then toss with orzo mixture and season to taste. I end up using a little less oil at times.

Would be a great side dish with Salmon and is also perfect for warmer weather when you’re looking for a chilled dish ~