Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baby Kale Salad with Roasted Garlic Dijon Dressing

A while ago I posted a recipe for raw kale salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. I make kale a lot, but I find that especially the curly kale (which is what I used for the salad in that post) can be tough and a little chewy to eat raw. It's best served sauteed or baked. However, tuscan/lacinto/dinosaur kale, which is much softer, is way better for the purpose of eating it kale. The nutrients are unlike any other green, & I personally love the taste. So my newest discovery, baby kale, made me obviously verrrry happy. My mom & I split a Costco bag of Earthbound Farm Mixed Baby Kale which is a combo of different kinds of baby kales. Obviously I can't buy this huge bag everyday, so I was pleased to find a new product at Trader Joe's this week- 8 oz. package of organic mixed baby kale, baby spinach, & baby arugula. (Needless to say, baby kale is much easier to clean than it's curlier, more grown counterpart). I find the best way to utilize this product is to make a salad with it, because it'll wither and wilt away in 2 seconds if it's sauteed. So I came up with this salad using the mixed baby kale. The additions to the salad are the same as my last post, but the dressing can't be beat. The dressing and idea of the salad can obviously be used on any lettuce or green.

-Mixed Baby Kale
-1/2 diced mango
-1/4 cup pecans (toasted, optional)

-4 cloves roasted garlic (I happened to have had already roasted garlic, but the alternative is easy- just saute finely minced garlic in a little olive oil until golden brown. Add the garlic to oil while the pan is still cold & saute over medium high heat with a little sprinkle of salt- adding the garlic to a hot pan will make it more likely that the garlic will burn quicker.)
-2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
-1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (depends how strong you like the dressing)
-1/2 tsp. sugar
-salt and pepper

-In the bottom of a large salad bowl, add the dijon, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and whisk well. Stream in the olive oil while whisking to make an emulsion. Season to taste.
-Put the washed kale straight into the dressing, and toss well. Add the mango and pecans.

Skip the romaine or iceberg & try something different for your salad!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Killer Granola

"They" say that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I am not one to talk, as it is rare that I have a balanced breakfast (or Rosie usually ends up eating whatever I prepare for myself), or I get in a quick breakfast while she is eating her own. I love granola and have always been meaning to make my own and finally did. I usually buy the brand Bare Naked granola, but at $4-$5 a bag it can get a bit pricy. Not only did it make my apartment smell amazing, but now I have a quick breakfast for yogurt in the morning and don't really have to worry about it! This recipe hails from Giada at, adapted by yours truly. She uses unsweetened cranberry juice but I substituted that for a water/OJ mixture. She also used a different nut mixture/ratio. The recipe is so simple overall, and I highly recommend it. Plus it stores great. Any of the nuts I used can be replaced for whatever you like/have at hand. The craisins can also be replaced with raisins if that's what you prefer. To make it extra sweet, add some chocolate chips once cooled completely:

-1/3 cup pure maple syrup
-2/3 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup orange juice
-1 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. salt
-2 cups old fashion oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
-1/4 cup unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
-1/8 cup chopped pecans
-1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/4 cup flax meal (or wheat germ)
-1 cup craisins (can use raisins too)

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees
-In a small saucepan, add the maple syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, water, orange juice, and salt over medium-high heat and stir or whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
-In a large bowl add the oats, all the nuts/seeds, and flax. Mix until incorporated.
-Pour the maple mixture into the pat mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
-Pour onto a greased, rimmed baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
-Remove from the oven, add the craisins, toss, and spread out again.
-Bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden brown and "dried" out (in other words, it should no longer be mushy or soggy from the wet mixture).
-Let cool COMPLETELY before storing in an airtight container, breaking it up if you need to.

It's great for breakfast like I said- yogurt or even just with milk and fresh berries. I personally love it with froyo. Try it! It won't disappoint!

Makes about 5 cups granola


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Phyllo Wrapped Maple Dijon Salmon with Dill Sauce

Salmon is definitely one of our favorite go-to dinners, & one of my very first blog posts was puff pastry wrapped salmon, baked, topped with cucumber dill mayo. Since then I've posted many salmon ideas. I loved the idea of the puff pastry wrapped salmon, and it was indeed delicious, but I decided to experiment with phyllo dough this time. The pro is that it's lighter, & flakier. BUT Phyllo is way too delicate and temperamental to use on a regular basis (on my opinion), but there is a first for everything and I've been meaning to play around with it for a long long time.. and this was very successful if I may say so myself.

Phyllo Wrapped Maple Dijon Salmon with Dill Sauce

-2 wild salmon filets, skin removed with a paring knife (if any)
-1/4+2 tbsp. cup pure maple syrup
-2 tbsp. light & creamy Dijon mustard (if you don't have just use regular Dijon with a little bit of mayo)
-1 tsp. dried minced garlic

-Season the salmon filets with salt & pepper lightly on both sides, and place in a dish. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the salmon. Turn the salmon to coat with the marinade on both side. Let marinate for a few hours in the fridge.
-I used 4 sheets of phyllo dough, 2 per salmon filet. If you unwrap the phyllo more than a few hours before using, cover completely with damp paper towel and refrigerate.
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and spray a baking rack & set atop a baking sheet
-Gently take the 2 sheets of phyllo, and place the salmon filet in the center. Wrap up the long sides, and then wrap the short sides under the filet and place on the baking rack. Do the same to the other filet(s). Brush the "packages" with melted butter/Earth Balance/margarine, and sprinkle with salt & black pepper.
-Bake for 20-25 minutes until the salmon is cooked through (slide a knife through the center and it should go through smoothly) and phyllo is golden brown
-Serve with dill sauce

Dill Sauce:
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-2 tbsp. finely chopped dill
-1 small garlic clove, grated or minced very finely
-salt & pepper
-pinch of sugar
-1 tsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
-small splash of water, just to thin the dressing a tiny bit, DON'T add too much
-Whisk together or add everything in a mini food processor
-Cover & refrigerate until serving


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chinese Chicken Peanut Stir Fry with Gingered Cabbage & Farro

My repertoire of Chinese-style recipes is about to explode. So it's high time That I unwind them here. It's definitely my favorite style of food (to eat & to cook), dating back to my first dinner out to Chosen in '94 when I turned 6! Anyway, whether it be beef or chicken or tofu, making Chinese food from scratch can't compare to the take out boxes (as in, it's better!). Let's get right to it. Farro in a chinese chicken stir fry? If you've never had farro go buy (brand: Roland, look for unpearled or semipearled). It's an awesome whole grain, the likes of wheatberries, and cooks like pasta. Its Italian but I use it a lot to substitute for brown rice when I need a switch-up.

-1/2 cup farro (for 2 people) cooked in a pot of boiling salted water for about 20 minutes until tender/al dente and then drained.

-2 chicken breasts, cubed
-2 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
-1 tbsp. sesame seeds
-1 tsp. roughly chopped parsley
-sprinkle of garlic powder, salt & pepper

--In a large Ziploc bag, mix together the flour, spices, parsley, and sesame
--Add the chicken and shake to coat. Set aside

Prepare the sauce:
--In a small bowl whisk together:
-2 heaping teaspoons brown sugar
-1/3 cup water
-1 teaspoon each rice vinegar and Tamari sauce (I cant live without San-J low sodium tamari sauce. It's my go to soy sauce)
-2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in about 3-4 tsp. of the mixture in a separate bowl and then add back to the sauce. Whisk together.

Prepare the vegis & the garnishes:
-3 cups shredded cabbage, washed and dried (napa, savoy, bagged, whatever)- it wilts down
-3 scallions, sliced
-1 tbsp. each of minced fresh ginger & garlic. Set aside

-Chop 2 tbsp. dry roasted peanuts & some mango
-Orange zest (for finishing the chicken)

-In a large sauté pan heat a tbsp. of canola oil & a tsp. sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the cubes of chicken in a single layer, let them sauté for a few minutes until browned before flipping them to cook on the other side. Don't move them or else they won't develop a good "crust". Add more oil as needed if the chicken is too dry. Transfer to a plate when the chicken is done but don't turn the fire off

-Immediately add the ginger, garlic and scallions to the pan and stir, letting sauté 30 seconds to a minute before adding the cabbage. Stir well, adding a pinch of salt, and sauté until its wilted and tender, about 3-4 minutes. When it's done, transfer to a bowl (I had the farro prepared in 2 bowls already, so I just added the cabbage right on top)

-Add the chicken back into the pan, an pour the sauce over it, swirl the chicken to coat, until the sauce thickens. Zest some orange zest right into the chicken, then add the 2 tbsp. chopped roasted peanuts & stir. Add on top of the farro and cabbage (I like all my chinese food together in one bowl). Alternatively you can add the chicken into the cabbage while it's wilting, adding the sauce into the cabbage/chicken mixture to make one homogenous combo. Whichever way you'd rather (I prefer the sauce just on the chicken)

Top with chopped mango (if you'd like) & serve!

If you have never thought outside of the box as far as your chicken goes, now is your chance! This was delicious if I may say so myself!!!! & easier than it seems. The key is to get all your parts & accompaniments as prepared as you can before starting to cook.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Caramelized Onion Tart

I love me some Puff Pastry ... it's very easy to use and totally convenient because God only knows I'd never attempt to make my own! My very first blog post was an homage to puff pastry, and here is another post of a deceptively simple appetizer (or main, whatever). The topping is even so flexible and can be used for all sorts of things. I make caramelized onions a lot, & especially on pizza. I had bought a bag of onions, not realizing that I already had a bag of onions at home. So, I decided to make caramelized onions & then decide afterwards what I'd use them for. I decided on the following options:
1. Caramelized onion pizza - we weren't gonna be home for dinner so that was out
2. Caramelized onion "jam"(just as a topping for bread) - not very practical
3. French onion soup - maybe if it wasn't 98 degrees out
4. Caramelized onion tart! YES!

To make caramelized onions the best, you need about 20 minutes to a half hour, and some patience. I used about 4-5 medium sized onions, sliced thinly in semicircles. Add some olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat (use a pan with large surface area so the onions saute the best). Normally when quick sauteeing onions, you'd wait until the oil is heated through before adding the onions, but you don't want to burn these onions, they cook low and slow basically. So add the onions as soon as you add the oil & stir to coat. Season with salt & pepper and saute until softened for a few minutes. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, and 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and stir. The brown sugar intensifies the sweetness of the onions as they cook. Stir well for a few minutes on high heat and then lower the heat to medium. Let saute for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and very soft, stirring well every few minutes, making sure the onions aren't burning.

Preheat the onion to 425 degrees. In the meantime, unfold a thawed sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface, and roll out all the sides to a large square and place on a baking sheet. Whisk 1 egg and brush on the whole pastry, leaving a 1/2-1" border. Brushing the egg wash all over helps seal the pastry in the oven so that it doesn't get soggy from the topping. Let the onions cool a bit before adding them to the pastry. The onions shrink down from a ton to about a cup or 2! Add all the onions to the pastry, leaving about 1/2"-1" border all around. Fold over all the sides and crimp with a fork, then brush the new exposed borders. Bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Hope you enjoy your puff as much as I do!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"

Cauliflower mashed potatoes? Cliche, you say... The dieters way to feel as though he/she is eating mashed potatoes is to commonly throw cauliflower into the mix. Well I'm not dieting per se but I had a head of cauliflower and 2 red potatoes so I figured I'd do something different besides for what I usually do which is plain old roasted. I was going to make roasted cauliflower soup but let's face it- it's just too hot. I used the 2 potatoes (small ones) just to give the mash a bit of body, and added some chopped herbs in at the end.

Roasted Cauliflower Herbed Mashed Potatoes

-1 head cauliflower (or a bag of frozen), roughly chopped, soaked, & dried
-5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
-2 peeled and cubed red potatoes
-salt & pepper
-olive oil
-Chopped herbs of choice (I used fresh parsley & dill)
-1 tsp. Lemon or lime juice

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prepare a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray
-arrange the cauliflower, potatoes, and garlic cubes scattered on the baking sheet. Toss liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper until coated. Roast for about 20-25 minutes
-When everything is cool, add to the food processor and purée. I streamed in a bit of olive oil to make it more smooth. However you can leave it chunky if that's how you prefer it.
-Add the roughly chopped herbs and the teaspoon lemon juice and season with more s&p if needed.

It can be a warm side to any protein, steak chicken or fish, and honestly it can even be served cold as a party dip for vegetables or crackers (if you let it purée enough it takes on the texture of chummus). Garnish with more herbs and enjoy this light mash where really you don't miss the potatoes! Plus it's a great trick for sneaking in some vegis into your kids!

Keep cool & have a wonderful Shabbos!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Two Chicken Recipes

I have been very into "2 of __" lately on my blog posts, so I will just continue that trend for now & offer up 2 chicken recipes! Perfect for Shabbos, or even during the week. One was an accident, through which I came up with a great recipe (if I may say so myself). & the second is from my new "The Whole Foods Cookbook" (unrelated to the store) by Levana Kirschenbaum.

My first recipe is a mixture of all the flavors I love- fresh herbs, garlic, lemon, capers, & tomatoes. I accidentally opened a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes for baked gefilte fish as I couldn't find marinara sauce. Then, I found the marinara and didn't want to use the canned tomatoes for it! So, here I had chicken on the counter waiting to be dressed up & so here it is:

Lemon Caper Tomato Chicken
-4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
-olive oil
-salt & pepper
-1/4 cup white wine
-1 28 oz. can fire roasted (or regular) tomatoes (whole or crushed, not stewed or sauce)
-8 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
-3 tbsp. capers
-fresh parsley & dill, finely chopped
-1 lemon, halved (1/2 for juice, 1/2 for slices).

-Preheat oven to 375.
-Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with pam
-Season the chicken with olive oil, salt & pepper and add to the pan skin side down when hot.
-In the meantime grease a large baking dish with Pam. Arrange the thin slices of half the lemon in the dish. Cook the chicken just a minute or 2 on that one side and then transfer to the baking dish but don't turn off the fire. Scatter the garlic cloves around.
-Immediately deglaze the pan with the white wine, & stir up all the bits. Bring heat up to high & let reduce a bit. Add juice of half a lemon, continue to stir. Add tomatoes (if they were whole, break them up in the pan), capers, herbs, & salt, pepper. Stir until it comes together into a sauce, and thickens a bit. If you want, you can dissolve a tbsp. of cornstarch in a little water to make a slurry and add that to the sauce. It will thicken it nicely.

-There are 2 options now, you can bake the chicken as is at 375 for 30 minutes (tented loosely with foil) & then add the sauce on top of the chicken and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or so, or add the sauce on immediately, & bake right away for 1 hr, rotating the pan half way through. I want to try it the first way next time, as the chicken shrunk much more than usual, & I think it was because of all the acidic flavors. Regardless, it was very good. The garlic cloves roasted in the oven, & became deliciously soft & spreadable!

Chicken in a Pot (adapted from Whole Foods Cookbook)
I was a bit skeptical about this recipe at first, & I made it today so I still haven't tasted it but my awesome friend Shevy (shout out!) convinced me to do it. I needed something quick, as I had to take out new Shabbos food this morning due to a certain "leaving food out all night" fiasco. It's deceivingly easy, yet smelled so good. It's just chicken, water, some spices & literally whatever vegis you have on hand. I only had onions & celery so that was that but I am told (S!) that potatoes work wonders on the broth. Levana writes options for fennel (the one vegetable I can't wrap my head around), mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, garlic, you name it. I was reassured that it wouldn't be like boiled chicken from chicken soup. The recipe was for 2 whole chicken cut in eighths, but I obviously was only making 1/3 of that for us. I will post the original recipe though.

-2 chickens, cut in eighths
-3 cups water
-2 tsp. turmeric
-(here is my addition: chopped parsley, juice of half a lemon, salt, & pepper)

[for 2 pieces, I did 1 cup water, 1 tsp. turmeric]

-Add everything to pot, cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium for 1 hr (since I only had a couple pieces, I lowered it to medium-low because it was still boiling on medium).
-Remove the chicken and as many pieces of the vegis as you can, and boil the broth until it reduces to a nice sauce (you can do the cornstarch method here too. I found since I only used onion and celery, it wasn't thickening quickly, so I did it and I got a silky sauce. It will coagulate in the fridge but will be fine tonight once heated up again). The chicken had that falling off the bone look, & smelled delicious, so based on that I am vouching for it and posting it!

Hope it's good :-)

Good Shabbos!