Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint

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~ Recipe Below ~

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Asparagus is here. Flooding local markets everywhere. It looks so fresh, bright, green and crisp that you can hardly look away! So when thinking of how to prepare mine I thought this recipe would be perfect. Half way through cooking I realized a grill pan was needed, If only I could read the recipe through before diving in. Being grill pan-less I roasted mine in the oven instead. It was still delicious and I may even dare say a bit too lemony. If you are in possession of a grill pan you should definitely give it a go. Grilling always ads a nice flavor to vegetables and I have a feeling mellows out the tartness of the lemon a bit.

Once you have finished eating a lunch solely consisting of spicy, lemony asparagus keep the leftovers in the fridge. I chopped up the rest later on for a fabulous pasta dinner. Mix the chopped asparagus with a cooked pasta of choice and add in a splash of olive oil and grated parmesan. Grill, or roast, and enjoy! ~

Asparagus with Lemon, Chile + Mint ~ Adapted from the What Katie Ate cookbook

Fine salt

10 oz Asparagus spears, ends trimmed

Small bunch fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon, recommended in thin strips (I did a few then used a grater on the rest)

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Grated parmesan and lemon wedges to serve

Half fill a pot with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add in the asparagus and cook for two minutes. Remove and drain, then place the asparagus to a bowl of ice cold water for five minutes. Drain again and pat dry. In a small bowl mix the mint, lemon zest and juice, red pepper flakes and a little salt and freshly grated black pepper. Remember that the parmesan is salty so you will only need a very small pinch of salt.

For the grill pan-less:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the asparagus in an oven safe dish and pour the mint mixture over. Toss to coat. Then roast in the oven for 12 to 18 minutes. Maybe less time depending on your oven. Until the asparagus is warm. I’m sure placing them on a lined baking sheet would also work well.

For the grill pan-ers:

Heat your grill pan over high heat until smoking. Spray with a little oil then add the asparagus. Turn the heat down to medium and add half of the mint mixture. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the asparagus is lightly charred, then turn over the asparagus and add the remaining mint mixture. Once the other side is cooked transfer the asparagus to a serving dish and add any mint mixture left on the grill pan.

Blueberry Muffins with Lemon + Olive Oil

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It is fifty degrees here in New York City, and I thought this lovely temperature deserved some celebration! Plenty of winter still awaits, but for the moment, lets bring in the sunshine with these tasty treats! Great for a hearty breakfast on the go or with a mug of hot tea, the lemon gives off a nice little zest and there are so many blueberries in each and every bite you can’t help but smile. 🙂

~ Recipe below ~

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Blueberry Muffins with Lemon + Olive Oil ~ adapted from cannellevanille

1 cup oat flour*

3/4 cup millet flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour*

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp lemon zest (I made them heaping teaspoons)

1/2 cup natural cane sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries (I used frozen here)

*The original recipe calls for 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup almond flour. I used what I had on hand and thought they still came out very tasty but I would recommend trying these as well)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl combine the lemon zest and sugars and rub them together with your hands to release the oils, it smells wonderful! Add the 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the pure vanilla extract, olive oil and coconut milk and mix until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined as well, lastly mix in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into your paper lined tin. I like to fold my parchment paper into cups, though you have to hold the paper in place until you fill it with the batter. Sprinkle a little bit of natural can sugar on top.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You may have to bake the muffins for longer depending on the size of your muffin molds.

Let them cool before eating and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. They taste great the next morning after being warmed up for 20 seconds in the microwave.

~ Enjoy ~

Oven-Roasted Quinoa + Spiced Apples, Carrots, & Red Onions

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Warm and nutty quinoa mixed with fresh lemon and parsley paired with roasted spiced vegetables. A lovely combination of unusual flavors, the bite of the red onion with the sweetness of the apple all tied together with a hint of cardamom. Serve as a side dish with chicken or fish.

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Oven-Roasted Quinoa + Spiced Apples, Carrots, & Red Onion

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 medium carrots

1 medium apple

1 medium red onion

1 1/2 tbsp EVOO

i cup quinoa, rinsed

zest of 1/2 a lemon + 2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl stir together the cardamom, coriander, pepper, and 3/4 tsp of the salt. Peel the carrots, slice in half length wise then into one inch pieces. Half and core the apple and slice into one-inch cubes. Half and thinly slice the red onion. In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, add the carrots, apples, red onion and EVOO. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine.

In a 8 or 9 inch baking dish add the rinsed quinoa and spread into an even layer. Place the quinoa and the vegetables in the oven. Toast the quinoa until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes, then pour 2 cups of water over the quinoa and loosely cover the dish with a sheet of aluminum foil. Cook the quinoa until it looks fluffy, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff with a fork, re-cover with the foil and set aside.

Meanwhile continue to roast the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until onions start to blacken around the edges and the carrots are tender. About 30 minutes total.

Transfer quinoa to a serving dish, stir in remaining 1/4 tsp salt, the lemon zest and juice, then parsley. Serve with vegetables.

* I wrote this recipe down at some point in the last two years and can’t remember where it came from.

~

Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

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Last night I went to bed with today all planned out in my head. I was making a toasted quinoa dish with indian spiced apples and veggies. As you can see that isn’t how things happened. Instead I bring you one of my go-to meals. Easy and satisfying.

Recently I started reading again.. for the first time in a long time. I have a tendency to collect books I want to read and the beautiful untouched pages couldn’t be ignored any longer. Unlike most 20-somethings out there I spend my extra cash on random kitchen gadgets, plates and bowls, french patterned spoons… and cookbooks. So almost a year after purchasing ‘My Berlin Kitchen’, by Luisa of the blog The Wednesday Chef, I cracked the book open and began to read. It ignited a passion in me, opened my eyes again to everything I want to do with myself. It is easy to forget the things you enjoy when dealing with the ups and downs of day to day life. I laughed, my heart sank and flew as I read through the chapters of Luisa’s journey, and I was swept away by the tasty recipes that I have now added to my own tremendous pile of scribbled recipes. Like Luisa and so many other wonderful f00d-loving people I want to make a real effort to finally cook all the recipes I have collected over the past 5-6 years. Everything that I took time to keep around because something about it seemed special and tantalizing.

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This pasta is light and has a summer edge from the lemon, perfect for when you need something that isn’t take-out. Fast to prepare, you can use any veggies you happen to have on hand. The olives are what brings the pasta to life.

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Simple Lemon Pasta with Spinach + Green Olives

Brown rice pasta

spinach + corn (I used frozen)

A good extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

olives (I used jalapeno stuffed green olives)

fresh lemon juice

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta, any variety will do, according to package directions. Chop up your olives in the meantime. I tossed my frozen spinach + corn in the microwave for a second before mixing with the strained pasta. Add desired olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a decent amount of parmesan cheese to top it off.

Enjoy on a stoop or porch in the summer sun.

Pear, Speculoos, Oat & Lemon Zest Muffins

A Star Muffin.

A tasty combination of awesome in one compact muffin. Are you ready?

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This is a time for warmth and comfort. For flavors that and a little heat and zing to your average ho hum day. As January comes to a close Spring begins its slow creep forward from the shadows. Their is a smell of hope in the air..it may be slight..and disappear at times like tonight when the weather drops down below freezing again..but alas it exists. With the combination of cinnamon, pear, lemon and that magical concoction known as speculoos you are sure to jump right out of bed in the morning just to have a bite.

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Pear, Speculoos, Oat & Lemon Zest Muffins

makes 10 small muffins or 6 large muffins

1 pear, diced (roughly a cup)

1 large egg

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3.5 tbsp coconut oil

2 heaping tbsp speculoos spread

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup millet flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour/almond flour mix

1/2 cup oats, plus more for topping

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl mix the flax and water and set aside (for 5-10 minutes). In a Large bowl combine the millet, brown rice and almond flours, oats, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, flax egg, vanilla extract, coconut oil (make sure the coconut oil is not solid), light brown sugar, and speculoos spread until fully combined with no lumps. Stir the lemon zest into the wet ingredients last. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, once combined gently stir in the diced pear. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with parchment paper and fill with batter. Sprinkle muffin tops with extra oats before placing in oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. If you decided to make 6 larger muffins they will need more baking time, at least 30-35 minutes.

~ Enjoy, and as always..stay warm ~

Curry & Lemon Roasted Vegetables with Hummus

Welcome Fall. My first dish of the season not eaten cold. Hearty Veggies with a lemon twang and topped with a creamy goodness. YES. Welcome Fall.

Purple potatoes are a million and one times better then your average yukon gold. Their dark mysterious skin gives way to vibrant tie-dyed insides that not only taste great but up the cool-ness level of your dinner a few notches.

Curry & Lemon Roasted Vegetables with Hummus

{any vegetables you have on hand will work}
I eggplant, halved length-wise & chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, halved & chopped
3-4 large carrots, chopped
2 large leeks, halved length-wise & chopped
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp red curry paste
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the chopped vegetables in a baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together all other ingredients until combined and the curry paste is completely dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until everything is coated. Sprinkle with additional salt/pepper if desired. Roast for about an hour, until all vegetables are soft and cooked though. Eggplant may get a bit crispy around the edges.

Serve over salad, pasta, rice or as a side dish. I spooned mine over a bed of fresh spinach and topped with a generous spoonful of smokey baba ganoush (hummus is also equally delicious).

~

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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. SautĂ©ing 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. 

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.

A Lemon Chutney with Red Radish

Lemons have been my latest obsession. lemonslemonslemons. I LOVE LEMONS. They are amazing in savory to sweet food, a little sprinkle of zest or squeeze of fresh juice and your dish is transformed from average to extraordinary.

With this chutney you can throw a dollop on top of rice, or vegetables, BUT it is best over some goat cheese on toast.

Lemon Chutney with Red Radishadapted from 101 cookbooks

1/4 cup finely chopped white onion (or shallot)

3 small lemons, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil + more for brushing

1 tbsp honey (to taste)

1/4 cup finely chopped radishes

sea salt and black pepper to taste

fresh herbs – I used sage, but basil and/or mint would be great if you have

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice 2 of the lemons about half an inch thick, remove seeds with the tip of a knife. Discard the thick white parts at either end of the lemons. Brush both sides with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning every ten minutes or so until they get tender. You don’t want them to begin to brown. Set these aside to cool. If you want less of an oniony taste you can soak the onion or shallot in a bowl of cool water for a few minutes. Add the cooked lemons to the bowl of a food processor with the onions (drained if in water), and honey. Pulse till coarsely chopped and then add half of the juice from the remaining lemon. Continue pulsing until you have your desired chutney consistency. Season with salt and pepper and add more honey or lemon juice to taste as needed. At the end you can pulse in the radish, I didn’t blend these in too thoroughly to add a bit of a crunch. Let sit or refrigerate for a couple hours. Add some herbs right before serving.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

Have you had enough squash yet? I admit I’m about ready to give it a rest for a while..BUT this, this is something differnt. A fresh look on squash with a citrus zing. Butternut squash is the new soup staple, from spicy purees to stuffed ravioli it’s everywhere. However there are many other varieties out there just waiting for your love and care! Welcome acorn squash.

I went for a sweet take with hints of citrus and ginger topped with a soft honeyed goat cheese. Now don’t be scared, but you can eat the skin. When cooked long enough it becomes soft and gives the dish an earthy flare.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

One acorn squash, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzle

1/2 tsp ground ginger

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

ground sea salt

1 tsp dark muscavado sugar

sesame seeds

8 ounces of honeyed goat cheese (regular is fine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, then slice and set aside. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients except sesame seeds, salt, and goat cheese. Lay the squash out in a pan or baking dish (grease if necessary) Pour sauce over the squash, grind a little sea salt on top and bake for around 30 mins or longer. When the squash is cooked through and the edges are beginning to brown they should be done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the honeyed goat cheese.

I was able to find honeyed goat cheese at my local grocer, to make it yourself simply stir honey to taste into a soft goat cheese.

I ate this simply with a salad but it would make a wonderful side dish.