Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

It's that time of year again...time for the Super Bowl! As usual, I, along with all other Philadelphia fans, am still recovering from the heartache/migraine (to put it mildly) that was the regular season and pretending that I totally believe my own lies when I say that next year will be different. To be fair, the Eagles were so bad this year that it would just be impressive if they got any worse (but don't get any ideas, boys).

In the meantime, I'm happy to sit back and watch some (hopefully) good football. Add in fun commercials and a free concert (with a Beyonce appearance!), and it should be an enjoyable Sunday evening all around. As part of my annual tradition, I approach the Super Bowl with one big goal in mind: eat lots of tasty food.

This year, I decided to try a recipe that I've seen floating around a bit. I know buffalo wings are the big game day snack, but since I don't eat them, I tried to make my own version of the spicy treats. These buffalo cauliflower bites are absolutely delightful! They are crispy, spicy, and perfectly pair with a creamy sauce or dressing. Almost good enough to make you forget that your own team, once again, did not make the playoffs this year.


What will you be eating on game day?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Recipe ReDux: Horseradish Cream Sauce

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2015 ended on a high note and that this year has so far brought nothing but joy, happiness, and of course, delicious food. I’m kicking the year off with this month’s Recipe Redux, and the theme is: A New Ingredient for the New Year. As usual, I had to think about which ingredient to choose from the mile long list of ingredients I want to try. Ultimately, I settled on an ingredient that is not technically new to me, but one I’ve never actually worked with despite eating it my whole life. What is this mystical ingredient? Horseradish.

Let me start out by saying that for most of my life, horseradish meant either Passover or gefilte fish (neither of which are particularly great associations for me), and I always imagined horseradish as the stuff that comes in jars, either a weird off-white, very blah color, or else mixed with beets to make an almost neon purplish-pink. Needless to say, I was fairly unimpressed with horseradish. It wasn't until college that I discovered cheddar cheese with horseradish in it. Total game changer. My entire life suddenly seemed so dull and empty before that moment. I was soon stuffing the horseradish cheddar into everything I could think of, and when I went back to the store for a refill, I almost cried in disappointment to see that they had sold out.

From that point on, I slowly, very slowly, started incorporating horseradish into my life. It really wasn’t until this past year that I officially declared a love for this most bitter root. This love became a full blown obsession the other week when I went to Vedge for dinner and ordered the Dutch Caramel Apple for dessert. Among other components, this dish featured a sweet, creamy sauce that was clearly dessert, but also very clearly made with horseradish. I’m fairly convinced the Vedge uses voodoo magic in most of their dishes because there is simply no other explanation for how good their food is. This dessert is definitely on the voodoo list.

So I finally decided to try some horseradish in the kitchen. Inspired by a plate from Abe Fisher, I decided to pair it with my homemade baked beet chips after I found some particularly beautiful looking yellow beets at the store. As I learned from the jars of horseradish sauce I grew up with, horseradish and beets are just made for each other. This sauce gets its creaminess from soaked cashews and maintains that distinct horseradish bite without making you want to cry (which will happen if you try to grate this stuff by hand). I imagine it would be great on fish (especially of the gefilte variety), and I plan on spending the rest of my week finding out what else it tastes good with.

What new ingredient do you want to try out this year?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tomato Cannellini Soup with Spinach

Happy Chanukah everyone! We’re currently smack in the middle of this oil-centered holiday, and I’ve certainly had my fair share of latkas at this point. In an effort to lighten things up a bit (which can be hard to do during a holiday where traditional foods include fried potato pancakes, jelly filled donuts, and chocolate), I’m turning to lighter, simpler foods that can be quickly thrown together.

While the weather is only crisp rather than the more December appropriate cold, my heart still turns to soups this time of year. There is something so comforting about a big bowl of steaming hot soup. Add in a crusty roll of bread and I am in absolute heaven.

This soup is bright in both colors and flavors. The tomato base provides a slightly acidic undertone, the beans bulk it up, the spinach gives it a pop of color, and the spicing provides some heat. Basically, everything I could possibly want in one bowl. The best part is, it’s so ridiculously easy to throw together that you can totally make this for dinner tonight.

What foods do you make to lighten things up?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Recipe ReDux: Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is "Creative Quick Breads." My immediate reaction to that was “Ok….what’s a quick bread?” Times like this it’s obvious that I have zero culinary background. As I soon learned, quick breads are breads (and cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, etc) that are leavened without yeast. I grew up on cornbread almost every weekend, love making banana bread, and definitely have a soft spot in my heart for both muffins and pancakes. Turns out, all of these things are considered quick breads. I love quick breads!

I also love the combination of bananas and peanut butter. I’ve never been a fan of jelly or jam (something about that sticky, super sweetness just really turns me off), but I sure did grow up eating peanut butter banana sandwiches. Lately I’ve been on a powdered peanut butter kick and really wanted to play around with it. If you’ve never heard of it, powdered peanut butter is basically pressed and dehydrated peanuts. The great part about it is that you get all the peanut butter flavor (and protein!) with almost none of the fat. I highly recommend trying it out if you haven’t already. As with regular peanut butter, I look for brands where the only ingredient is peanuts. Some brands have added sugar, so I try to stay away from those.

Anyway, I decided to make some muffins using my favorite flavor combo. Why? Because holiday season is coming up, and when we’re prepping the big meals for days on end, who wants to think about making breakfast in the morning? These muffins can be made waaaay ahead of time and frozen. Either take them out the night before to thaw in the fridge, or give them a quick zap in the microwave for instant satisfaction. Make these now, and your holiday guests can wake up in the morning to hearty, delicious muffins that took you almost no effort at all.

I decided to add both chia seeds and walnuts to my muffins because I love to load up my breakfasts and I prefer a little crunch in my baked goods. Both of these are totally optional, or you can replace them with your favorite nuts or seeds.

What’s your favorite quick bread?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Mushroom Lentil Burgers

This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is all about freezer meals, which is fitting because I was just talking to my friend the other day about freezing foods and how many foods are freezable. Personally, I use my freezer whenever I can get away with it...which usually results in an over stuffed freezer full of random things. Oops.

You see, I love to make extras of most things and freeze the leftovers to have on hand. This works wonderfully for soups, stews, smoothies (they keep better in the freezer than in the fridge), cookies, and cakes. I love pre-portioning things out into single servings so that if I need dinner or if I need to pack a lunch for the next day, I already have food ready to go, all it needs is a little defrosting time (if it’s going with me for lunch) or a quick zap in the microwave to have a hot meal in minutes. This works especially well for me when I know a busy period of time is coming up soon and I can stock up in preparation.

Now I’m experimenting with slightly more intentional freezing. I’ve also been experimenting with veggie burger recipes. What I’ve discovered is that making a double batch of veggie burgers is just as time intensive as a single batch, so why not make extra, then freeze the leftovers for quick sandwich meals in my future?

This burger recipe treats mushrooms a little like ground meat. Throw it together with some lentils (for protein) and oats (for binding power) and a some delicious flavorings, then shape and bake. These burgers feel hearty when you bite into them, but are full of vegetable goodness, and even hold their shape pretty when when eating them.

What do you use your freezer for?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tomatoes with Oregano and Lime

Tomatoes are one of my all time favorite foods in the world. Right now, when fresh tomatoes are at every farmer's market, I go out of my way to buy them every few days. They taste sweet and juicy and I just can't get enough of them.

I told you about that time my friend and I got tons of free greens from the farmer's market. What I didn't tell you is that I also discovered my new favorite way to eat tomatoes. One of the farmers had slices of tomatoes to sample with lime juice, oregano, and salt. Oh, My. Goodness. The tangy lime, the sweet juicy tomato, and the hint of salt and oregano just go together perfectly.

What I love most about this recipe is that it lets the tomato shine in all its tomato glory. It's simple, delicious, ridiculously quick to throw together, and a great side dish to any summer meal. Feel free to mix up the measurements to your preference.

What's your favorite way to eat tomatoes?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux: Roasted Carrots with Carrot Green Pesto

This month's Recipe ReDux theme is Fresh from the Garden and it's all about freshly picked goodies. While I don't have a garden of my own at the moment, I dream about the day when I own a home with a backyard and a vegetable garden full of deliciousness. Until that day, I get my fill of fresh produce by visiting farmer's markets whenever I can. 

While the weather this time of year is not my favorite (I'm a winter baby, deal with it), the produce most certainly is. Berries, nectarines, watermelons, zucchini, cucumbers, string beans, okra, tomatoes - the list of wonderful summer produce goes on and on. But one thing that I don't think gets as much attention this time of year as it should is the humble carrot.

Carrots are available all year round, and for me, at least, they are most associated with the beginnings of soup or chili. But in the summer you get a two for one deal; carrots and their bright, fresh greens. That's right, much like radishes, turnips, and beets, carrot greens are perfectly edible! 

My favorite thing to do with the greens is to make a pesto and serve it along with roasted carrots. It's the perfect pairing; the greens are grassy and just a little bitter, while the carrots are creamy and sweet. They just perfectly compliment each other. I've also made crostini with carrot green pesto topped with sweet, roasted cherry tomatoes which was equally delicious.

Side note, the next time you're at your local farmer's market, check to see if they have any greens to give away. I recently stopped by the Union Square farmer's market with my friend Jenny and we watched in horror as the vendor ripped off the greens from a bunch of beets at the buyer's request. It turns out, many people opt to take off the greens from their produce, and the vendors are happy to give them to you. For free. And all you have to do is ask. This is basically how I scored an insane amount of beet and carrot greens last week and have been slowly making my way through them every since.

Anyway, the point is, the next time you see a bunch of carrots with some gorgeous greens, don't throw them away! Use those carrots and their greens to get the biggest bang for your buck.