Sunday, January 17, 2016

Zuppa Toscana

A post...at last!

Wow, I just downloaded a batch of food blog pictures going all the way back to last February! I'm not sure I can remember what all went into those recipes, but I do hope to get a few new recipes up this year (rather than the one per year I've been averaging lately :/). This recipe comes from Budget Bytes, a food blog I like that posts easy, cheap, generally healthy recipes. I have modified the steps a bit, and the amounts, as I find that blogger tends to make her recipes on the smaller side, and we generally like to have left-overs. This soup is SO flavorful; this is quickly becoming one of my favorite cold night soups. This made enough for 5-6 hearty servings.


Ingredients
(Makes 5-6 large servings)
-4 hot Italian sausage links, casings removed (I definitely recommend getting "hot" or "spicy" for the flavor. The cream will help cool the spiciness down)
-6-7 red potatoes, washed and cut into bite size pieces
-one bunch of kale; wash, rip spines out (thanks to Amy for showing me this trick!), and tear into bite size pieces
-2 C cream or half and half
-one onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, finely diced
-1 (15 oz.) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
-½ tsp smoked paprika
-4 cups chicken broth
-salt and pepper to taste

Steps
















1. Remove casings from sausages. Add a little EVOO to a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausages and cook, breaking into small pieces as they cook.


2. Once sausages are mostly cooked, add in your onion and garlic. 
3.  Add the beans, smoked paprika, chicken broth, and half and half to the pot. Place a lid on the pot and let it come up to a simmer over medium heat.


4. Add your potatoes (cut up into bite sized pieces). Let the pot simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
5. Finally, add your kale and let cook under desired level of wiltiness. I cooked mine for about 5 more minutes.

6. Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Strawberry Feta Salad with Candied Pecans

Super simple salad that's great for a hot summer night. This isn't much of a recipe, more like combining several things, but the flavors are really nice.


Ingredients
-Arugala and/or baby spinach
-Handful of strawberries, sliced
-Half a shallot, julienned
~2 oz crumbled feta
-Chicken tenders (cook according to package)
-Poppy seed dressing, such as Paul Newman's

Candied Pecans
-1 C pecan halves
-1.5 TBS brown sugar
-1.5 TBS water
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp vanilla

Steps
1. Cook chicken tenders according to package.
2. While tenders are cooking, make candied pecans. To do that, combine brown sugar, water, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl; mix to combine. Heat 1 C pecan halves in a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes while stirring frequently to prevent burning. Once the nuts are toasty, remove from heat and pour the sugar mixture into the skillet and stir to coat the nuts evenly. Transfer the nuts to foil or parchment paper and let cool in a single layer.



3. Next toss your salad greens with poppy seed dressing. Top the greens with sliced strawberries, feta, shallot, pecans, and sliced chicken tenders.




Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cilantro-Avocado-Lime dressing

So I am obsessed with Trader Joe's Cilantro Dressing. I LOVE it on fish tacos (which we've made on the blog before). Unfortunately Trader Joe's is an hour away from our house, so I don't get to go as often as I'd like. This past week we were wanting to make fish tacos without driving an hour, so I decided to try and make my own cilantro dressing. Lucky for us, it turned out great. This is super yummy and I think would be great on salads, as a dip, sandwich spread, and so on. And of course it's awesome on fish tacos.




Ingredients
-5 oz container non-fat Greek yogurt
-juice of 1-2 limes
-2 T EVOO
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-2 large handfuls of cilantro (just trim the bottom stems off)
-1/2 avocado
-salt and cayenne to taste

Steps
1. Blend all of the above in a blender! If you'd like it a bit thinner in consistency, add more lime juice and/or EVOO.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hot & Sour Soup with Cilantro Noodles

I can't believe it's been 3 months since my last post! Fall semester was...crazy...but crazy in a good, busy way. Although I haven't been posting, we've still been cooking, and we have hit upon a couple awesome new recipes, so I'll try to get those up in the next coming weeks.

To start out the new year right, though, I wanted to post this recipe. It has quickly become my husband's and my favorite soup recipe. The broth is incredibly complex and flavorful and packs just the right amount of heat. This is the type of soup that will totally warm you up on a cold winter night. There are several ingredients, but because we cook a lot of Asian inspired food, we tend to have many of these on hand. But besides some chopping, this recipe is actually surprisingly easy, and with two people cooking it comes together in about 30 minutes.


(makes about 5 servings)
Ingredients
-8 C chicken broth (sub vegetable broth if making vegetarian/vegan)
-2 T brown sugar
-2 inches of ginger (~3 T), grated
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 T Sriracha
-4 C shredded green cabbage (about 1 whole small head)
-1 package sliced shiitake mushrooms
-1 package extra-firm tofu, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-1 serrano chile, sliced
-1/4 C rice vinegar
-juice of one lime
-1 T cornstarch

Noodles
-3-4 package ramen noodles
-2 T minced shallots
-1/2 C fresh cilantro
-1 T sesame oil
-1 T canola or vegetable oil
-2 T soy sauce

Steps
1. Combine broth, brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, and Sriracha, serrano in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
2. Bring another medium to large sized pot to boil with water, and cook ramen noodles for 3 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
3a. Add cabbage, mushrooms, tofu to soup and simmer for about 5 minutes.

3b. While the soup is simmering, add sesame and canola oil to the pot you boiled the noodles in. Get the oil hot, then add your diced shallots and saute for about 2 minutes. Then, deglaze the pot with the soy sauce, and add the noodles, tossing to combine. Once the noodles are done, add the cilantro, turn the heat off, and put a lid on the pot and set aside.
4. After the soup has simmered for 5 or so minutes, whisk together the rice vinegar, lime, and cornstarch. Add this to the soup to thicken it a bit. Boil the soup for another 1-2 minutes.
5. Serve soup with cilantro noodles and garnish with diced red bell pepper (my picture of the big soup pot shows the red pepper already added, but we've learned adding it in last keeps it nice and crunchy).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Easy Quinoa Salad

I made this super easy salad over the weekend. I'm planning on serving it over a bed of baby spinach along with a hard-boiled egg and I think it will make for some yummy lunches this week.


Ingredients
-1 C quinoa, cooked as directed
-1 red pepper, diced
-1 large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
-1 handful of raisins
-2.5 oz of dried cherries
-1 bunch of green onions, diced
-Juice of one lemon (about 1/3 C)
-1/4 C EVOO
-1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Steps
1. Cook quinoa as directed.
2. While quinoa is cooking, dice your pepper, green onion, and walnuts. Add to a large bowl and throw in raisins and cherries.
3. Once quinoa is done, add to the bowl.
4. Whisk your lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper and pour over salad. Toss well to combine and chill for 10 minutes before serving.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easy fish tacos

This might be the perfect summer dish. We've made a version of these before, but you can't always get fresh halibut from the fish market in Santa Barbara! We used Trader Joe's battered halibut this time, which is really nice and makes the recipe super easy. Last time we garnished our tacos with pico de gallo, but this time we did a mango salsa. However, we still used Trader Joe's Cilantro Dressing (which is insanely good) for our fish taco sauce. In my last fish taco post I offered a substitute for the dressing, which I hadn't tried. I recently tried a sauce made with sour cream, chopped cilantro, lime, and salt, which was very good and I think would be a nice substitute if you don't have a TJ's nearby.




Ingredients
-frozen battered white fish, like halibut, tilapia, or cod
~6 tortillas
-packaged slaw
-TJ's Cilantro Dressing

Slaw
-mango, diced
-handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
-1 jalapeno, finely diced (use less depending on your spice preferences)
-juice from 1.5 limes
-1 red pepper, finely diced
-1 red onion, finely diced
-salt and pepper to taste

Steps
1. Cook fish as directed.

2. While fish is cooking, assemble the mango salsa by mixing all salsa ingredients together.
3. Once fish is done, heat tortillas for a few minutes in a skillet or the oven.
4. Assemble tacos with fish, slaw, dressing, mango salsa, and a squeeze of lime.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Roasted Corn Salad

I keep forgetting to take pictures of this, so this is just a shot of the left-overs, but you get the idea. Corn has been super cheap and in abundance at the grocery store recently. Couple that with awesome summer weather and basically we've been making this salad/salsa about every week. It's super easy and very fresh and flavorful. If you're not grilling, you can boil the corn (which we've done when rain cancelled our grilling plans). We have combined it with black beans and served the bean/corn mixture over lettuce as a light supper.

Ingredients
-4 ears of corn (in husks if grilling)
-1 red pepper, diced finely
-1/2 red onion, diced finely
-1 bunch cilantro, diced finely
~1/3 C feta cheese (optional if making vegan)
-2 jalapenos, diced finely (optional)

Dressing
~1/4 C EVOO
-juice from 2 limes
-salt and pepper to taste



Steps
1. Run corn (in husks) under running water for a minute.
2. Grill in husks for about 15-20 minutes, rotating at least once. Our internal grill temperature was about 350, and we did direct/semi-direct heat. If boiling, you'll want to clean the corn and boil for about 20 minutes.
3. Slice corn off husks and combine with other salad ingredients. Whisk dressing together and toss with dressing.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tofu Banh Mi

I LOVE banh mis, so when my friend Liz posted this vegetarian version on Facebook I got super excited. The original recipe is from here, but I have slightly adapted it, and I like to serve broccoli slaw on top and on the side. These sandwiches are so yummy that we've been making these almost once a week.


(makes ~3 sandwiches)
Ingredients
Marinade
-2 T soy sauce
-1 T sesame oil
-1 T rice vinegar
-2 T maple syrup
-pinch red pepper flakes
-pinch of sea salt

-1 lb extra firm tofu
-sriracha sauce
-1 large loaf of French bread

Optional toppings
-Broccoli Slaw (minus the cherry tomatoes)
-red pepper
-avocado slices
-red or white onion slices


Steps
1. Slice your tofu into six pieces (i.e., slice in half along the longer edge, then slice those two halves in thirds). Place your tofu slices in between a dish towel or paper towels and set something heavy on top for about 30 minutes to remove some of the excess water from the tofu.
2. While you're waiting for your tofu to drain, you can make the broccoli slaw (though I left out the tomatoes for this and smashed the avocado slices on the bread as a kind of spread).
3. Make your marinade by combing all marinade ingredients in a dish (I just used the empty tofu package).
4. Dunk your tofu slices in the marinade and slosh them around so they get well coated.
5. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray some cooking spray on the foil. Place your tofu slices on the foil and baste the tops with a bit more marinade.
6. Cook tofu slices for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping once after 15 minutes. At the 15 minute point, baste tofu slices again with remaining marinade.


7. Once your tofu is cooked you can assemble your sandwiches. You can put anything in them, but we have been enjoying: red pepper slices, broccoli slaw, avocado slices, and sriracha.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Massaged Kale Salad

Huge thanks to my good friend, Amy, for making this salad and turning me on to its deliciousness! Also, big thanks to Amy for showing me that by "massaging" raw kale you can make it taste just like quickly blanched kale. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand to make this the way Amy did, so I'm posting both her version and mine, which I improvised with what we had on hand. Both were great and I'll definitely be making the her version soon. Basically I think you can take the base of this salad and add all types of different toppings (e.g., cranberries, seeds, nuts, etc.).


Ingredients (Amy)
-1 bunch kale
~3 oz feta
-1 apple, chopped into bite size pieces
-handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-2 T red wine vinegar
-1 T EVOO

Ingredients (as pictured)
-1 bunch kale
~3 oz blue cheese
-1 apple, chopped into bite size pieces
-handful of pecans, roughly chopped
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-2 T red wine vinegar
-1 T EVOO
-Quorn Chik'n Tenders (you could use real grilled chicken if you prefer)

Steps
1. Start cooking Quorn Chik'n Tenders as directed.
2. Remove spines from kale, wash kale, and dry kale thoroughly.
3. Tear kale into small pieces and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle kale with 1/2 tsp sea salt and massage kale with your hands for about 2-3 minutes, or until reduces in volume by about half.
4. Whisk EVOO and red wine vinegar together in a small bowl and pour over kale.
5. Add in chopped apple, blue cheese, pecans (or walnuts and feta if making Amy's version) and toss well.
6. Top with sauteed Quorn tenders.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Maple glazed baked tofu, garlic baby bok choy, and cashew rice

I've done variants of recipes involving tofu, bok choy, and rice a few times before (e.g., here and here), but this was really good so I thought I'd post the newest incarnation. The most novel part of this recipe is the way I cooked the tofu. I used a new marinade and tried baking it, and I thought it turned out great. The other nice thing about this recipe is that it comes together in 30 minutes.


Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
-1 package extra firm tofu
-2 packages baby bok choy
-boil in bag rice
-handful of cashews, roughly chopped
-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
-1 T butter
-1 T sesame oil
-2T soy sauce
Marinade
-2 T soy sauce
-1 T sesame oil
-1 T rice vinegar
-2 T maple syrup
-pinch red pepper flakes
-pinch of sea salt

Steps (Preheat oven to 400)
1. Make your marinade by combing all marinade ingredients in a dish (I just used the empty tofu package).
2. Slice your tofu into four equal pieces (i.e., slice in half along the longer edge, then slice those two halves in half). Place your tofu slices in between a dish towel or paper towels and set something heavy on top for about 5-10 minutes to remove some of the excess water from the tofu. 
3. Dunk your tofu slices in the marinade and slosh them around so they get well coated.
4. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray some cooking spray on the foil. Place your tofu slices on the foil and baste the tops with a bit more marinade.
5. Cook tofu slices for 30 minutes, flipping once in the middle.
6. While your tofu is cooking, slice your garlic cloves and chop the ends off your baby bok choy.
7. Once you've flipped your tofu after 15 minutes (and basted again with more marinade), get your pot going for your rice (the kind I use has to boil for 10 minutes).
8. When your tofu has about 5 minutes left, heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add 1/2 T sesame oil and saute your garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the baby bok choy and then drizzle with 1/2 T sesame oil and 2 T soy sauce. Saute your baby bok choy for 4 minutes (or less...it starts to wilt very quickly).
9. Hopefully your rice is done about now. Add in 1 T of butter and the handful of cashews and stir.
10. Take your tofu out of the oven. Serve the tofu and bok choy over the cashew rice and drizzle any remaining marinade over everything.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tomatillo and Sweet Potato Soup

I had never cooked with tomatillos before, and then a friend made us some amazing enchiladas with a homemade tomatillo sauce. Soon after, I found and tried a store bought version of this soup that was so good I decided to try to recreate it at home. The end product was I think even tastier than the store bought version.



Ingredients
-10-12 tomatillos, husked and halved
-8 large cloves garlic
-6 large cherry tomatoes, halved
-1 red onion, chopped
-2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes (I recommend using Japanese sweet potatoes, which are sweeter than regular ones, if you can find them)
-4 C vegetable broth
~3 T EVOO
- 1-2 C water (depending on how thick you want soup)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
-1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped 
-creme fraiche (optional, leave out if making it vegan)
-homemade cheesy croutons (optional, leave out if making it vegan)
Cheesy croutons
-Toss 4 slices of bread, roughly torn into bite size pieces, with 1 T EVOO. Toss again with shredded cheese and garlic powder. Toast at 350 until golden brown, stirring periodically.


Steps
1. In a large roasting pan, combine the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes and drizzle with about 2 T of EVOO. Then roast in the oven at 450° for about 35-45 minutes. 


2. While those are roasting, peel and chop up the sweet potatoes. Put the 4C broth in a large pot, and then boil the sweet potatoes in the broth for about 45 minutes. 

3. As your sweet potatoes and tomatillos are cooking, sauté onion in a little bit of EVOO for about 5 minutes or until golden. 
5. Once the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes are done, quickly blend in a blender or food processor. 

6. Add the blended tomatillo mixture and the sautéd onion into the pot with the sweet potatoes, and and season with salt and pepper. Let mixture simmer for about ten minutes, then mash up the sweet potato in the pot with a potato masher. At this point you can add more water if you'd like a thinner consistency. Additionally, if you'd like a smoother consistency you can blend everything with an immersion blender or transfer everything to a regular blender. I used an immersion blender. 
7. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and top with cilantro and cheesy croutons. 


Monday, February 4, 2013

Broccoli Salad

Thanks to my good friend, Lauren, for this fresh, delicious, and easy salad recipe! You know it's good if my husband, who proclaims to hate broccoli, goes back for seconds. This was still really good two days later.




Ingredients
-1 package shredded broccoli slaw (pre-packaged)
-1 chopped cucumber (I used an English hothouse cucumber)
-1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
-1 chopped avocado
~1/2 bunch roughly chopped cilantro (I just cut the top leaves off with a scissors)
Dressing
-fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon or about 1/3 C)
~little less than 1/4 C EVOO
-1 T dijon mustard
-1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp pepper

Steps
1. Toss everything together in a large bowl!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mango Guacamole

Need a last minute Super Bowl snack? Let me suggest this recipe. Guacamole was already pretty much my favorite dip ever, but then I tried a version with mango added in, and it took guacamole to the next level. The sweet, tangy mango is the perfect accompaniment to the creamy avocados. Thanks to Aaron and Liz for sharing this recipe with me!


Ingredients (Super Bowl sized)
-4 ripe avocados
-2 ripe mangoes, diced into small pieces
-1 lime, juiced
~1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
-3 jalapenos, de-seeded and finely diced
-1 white onion, finely diced
-salt, pepper, garlic powder (all to taste)
-chips for dipping

Steps
1. Mash your avocados in a large bowl.
2. Stir in diced onion, mango, cilantro, and jalapeno.
3. Add juice of one lime.
4. Season with salt (I used about 1 tsp), pepper (I used about 1/2 tsp), and garlic powder (I used about 1 tsp)

Tip: Save the guacamole seeds and keep them in the dip until your ready to serve; the seeds help stop the dip from browning.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Vegan Peanut Tofu with Baby Bok Choy

This super yummy recipe came from my friend and colleague, Elise, and she originally got the recipe from This Can't Be Tofu! by Deborah Madison. I modified the recipe just slightly and served it with steamed baby bok choy; my recipe for that can be found here.


Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings)
-1 pkg firm tofu (pressed)
-2 T canola or peanut oil
-2 scallions, sliced diagonally
~1/4 C chopped cashew
-Rice (I used the 10 minute boil in bag kind) or noodles

Peanut Sauce
-1/4 Cup soy sauce
-1/4 Cup peanut putter (I often use a little more)
-2 T rice wine vinegar
-2 T sugar
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
-1 clove garlic, minced
-2 scallions, chopped (I forgot these)
-1/3 Cup water

Steps
1. Press your tofu for about 30 minutes. I do this by cutting it into about 6 slices and then sandwiching the slices in between a dish towel. Next I place something heavy (like a stack of books) on the tofu to press out the water. Once drained, cut the tofu into bite-size pieces.
2. While tofu is draining, make the peanut sauce. To make sauce, put all sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend.
3. Heat oil in skillet. Fry until golden, then flip over and fry until golden on other side
4. Pour peanut sauce over tofu. Simmer until the sauce thickens to desired consistency. Don't let it get too thick because it will thicken a little after you take it off the burner.

5. Scatter scallions and cashews over top. Serve over noodles or rice and with a side of baby bok choy.