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Archive for December, 2011

The holiday time is definitely one filled with lots of good food! For me, Christmas Eve always brings back memories of eating lots of Chinese food and going to the movies. So when a colleague of mine suggested we go for dinner to one of her favorite Asian fusion restaurants in Bensonhurst, I couldn’t resist. Adam and I made our first trip to this Brooklyn neighborhood for dinner with my foodie colleague and her family at Longevousjoy. She had raved many times about this small restaurant with unique flavors and very interesting sounding dishes…“octopus donuts”, “melted cheese curry beef”, “kickass fries”, and “bloodyhell hot noodles”. I was slightly skeptical to say the least. With all of these very odd sounding dishes, I let her take the lead and order her favorite appetizers and small plates to start us off.

Octopus donut topped with soy/mayo sauce and bonito flakes

Tuna tataki salad

Spicy tuna sliders

Stuffed squid with crab and asparagus

Salmon sushi

Supreme california roll

My favorites were the stuffed squid and the spicy tuna slider. The stuffed squid was filled with a very fresh crab/mayo/asparagus mixture and the tuna slider was like an inside out spicy tuna roll. Very unique! The salmon was very fresh on the sushi and the California roll was what you would expect. We also enjoyed some unpictured dumplings which were actually some of the best dumplings I’ve ever had.

Curried beef with rice and melted cheese

The waiter said this beef dish was his favorite and my colleague and her husband said it was their standby entree. I was a little apprehensive taking my first spoonful but the beef was so tender…melted in my mouth! The curry sauce was delicious and I guess I should have known that melted cheese on anything will just make it better. A very joyful meal!

I’ve been known to enjoy a happy hour now and again (remember those amazing Brussels sprouts from The Vanderbilt?!?) But this week I decided to invite my friend over for happy hour at home instead…which also meant dinner. I think she thought this was a better deal and happily accepted my invitation. No happy hour is complete without a small bite to wet the appetite, and I did my best to live up to the sprouts with a caramelized onion and blue cheese crostini.

I caramelized two onions with a butter/olive oil combo (you need the oil so the butter doesn’t burn and you need the butter for that delicious flavor), thyme, and salt. I let them go over medium heat for about 30 minutes and then topped them on some toasted baguette slices and sprinkled on some blue cheese. A winning happy hour combo! For the main, I use this recipe to make an Asian salmon and green bean dish: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/five-spice-glazed-salmon-sesame-green-beans.aspx. This recipe is so simple and quick so it is perfect for your own weekday happy hour-at-home night.


To go with the fish and beans, I roasted some acorn squash wedges in olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon at 400 until nice and tender. My happy hour friend doesn’t normally like squash…let’s just say she ate her fair share of this sweet squash! Success!

Once Friday rolled around again, Adam and I realized we hadn’t had a traditional chicken and veg shabbos meal for some time. Having restocked our kosher chicken supply, it was back to the traditional shabbos dinner for us…of course I had to put my own twist on it.

Roasted root vegetable salad

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

8 shallots, halved

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped

1 turnip, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Dressing

2 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp honey

handful or two of baby spinach

Preheat oven to 425 and combine turnip, carrots, shallots, and parsnips in a bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in oven until tender about 40 minutes. Mix together all dressing ingredients. Combine warm vegetables with dressing and spinach. The warm veg will slightly wilt the spinach.

While I did enjoy happy hour at home very much, It left me missing The Vanderbilt’s brussels sprouts. So I satisfied this craving using this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. And satisfy my craving they did!

Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic reduction and dried cranberries

Now I know you are all thinking, “Where’s the chicken?” The chicken came in the form of a panko crusted chicken breast.

Panko Crusted Chicken Breasts

4 chicken breasts, pounded thin

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat chicken breasts evenly in dijon mustard. Mix together bread crumbs and spices and dredge chicken. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 20 minutes.

I made a quick sauce for the chicken by mixing together some trader joe’s mango butter, dijon mustard, and rice vinegar. It did the job and went very well with the chicken. No shabbos meal is complete without dessert and it being so mild here in NY we decided it was time for a visit back to Ample Hill Creamery. Such creative flavors with all homemade ingredients.

Half festival of lights and half butter pecan brittle

Festival of lights would be in honor of Channukah…cream cheese ice cream with pieces of homemade raspberry rugelach. The other half of our pint of deliciousness was brown sugar ice cream with homemade pecan brittle (the house favorite). Happy New Year Everyone!!! Hope it is filled with fun and food!

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This past week Adam and I vacationed back home to Toronto. It was a great week filled with lots of family and friends and of course, food! We were so happy to see everyone and caught up in conversations, hugs and kisses, that I completely forgot to use the camera I reminded Adam about 5 times to pack. Whoops! Bad food blogger! Well I can tell you that I went to some of my favorite Toronto restaurants…Japango for a the freshest sushi lunch, Fresh for some excellent vegetarian eats, and friend’s and families’ houses for delicious home cooking. I was also looking forward to comparing the amazing Neapolitan pizza Adam and I enjoyed at Keste. So we went to Queen Margarita Pizza and I must report, it couldn’t hold a flame to Keste’s perfect crust and sweet tomato sauce. Our whole table (and their were quite a few pizza aficionados among us) were quite disappointed.

Still being Channukah, it was very nice to light the candles and celebrate with our family and friends. But one thing that was missing last week was some latkes. Arriving back to our BK home, I knew it was my duty to put some latkes on the table before Channukah’s end. I know I said I’m more a traditionalist when it comes to the golden discs of fried potato, but I decided to venture away from the white potato and try my hand at some sweet potato pancakes. Seeking inspiration from this blog, some sweet potato cakes with maple-yogurt-rosemary topping were born.

Sweet potato cake with yogurt topping

Sweet Potato Cakes with Yogurt Topping

2 sweet potatoes, boiled in the skin until tender

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp milk

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2-4 tbsp flour (I needed towards the higher end)

salt to taste

Let sweet potatoes cool and then remove the skin. Mash pulp. Mix in remaining ingredients, adding more flour so that you can form little cakes. Preheat non stick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Form mixture into cakes and fry a couple minutes on each side until golden brown and firm.

Frying the sweet potato cakes

For the yogurt topping, mix together about 3 large spoons of greek yogurt, a large pour of maple syrup, and some dried or fresh rosemary. The flavor of these cakes were really good and went so well with the yogurt, but they definitely need a lot more flour than you think so don’t hesitate do add some more. To go with the orange potato cakes, I made a baked tofu and sauteed kale, red onion, and mushroom dish, all with flavors designed to compliment the stars of our Channukah dinner.

Baked Tofu Steaks

1 block of extra firm tofu, sliced cross wise into 8 pieces

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp soy sauce

Place tofu on paper towel lined plate and place another layer of paper towel on top. Put a heavy skillet on top of tofu and let stand for about 20-30 minutes, until a lot of the water has been pressed out. Mix together remaining ingredients and let tofu marinade for as long as you can. Place on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.

The kale, onion, mushroom mixture was simply sauteed and topped with soy sauce and maple syrup. Our latke craving has now been satisfied! Happy Holidays!

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One of my cousins used to live in New York and would constantly rave about his favorite Italian restaurant. I heard of the gnocchi pillows, delicious chicken, and flavorful red sauce. After trying to make reservations many times, I finally succeeded and Adam and I headed to the West Village for date night at Piccolo Angelo’s. The opposite of your trendy NY restaurant, this family run, tiny Italian spot feels warm and inviting the second you step in. The smell of garlic and basil mixed with the sound of warm greetings by the staff to all the regulars makes you feel hungry and relaxed right away.

Of course I had extensively researched the reviews and studied the menu like I was studying for a final exam before going, so Adam and I were pretty sure of what we were going to order. Our server was so friendly and helpful and made our decision even easier.

Pumpkin ravioli with butter, sage, rosemary, and parmigian cheese sauce

We shared the pumpkin ravioli in a butter, sage, and parmigian sauce to start. Perfectly cooked homemade pasta filled with not too sweet pumpkin in a light butter sauce with fried sage…you should all be drooling over your keyboards by now! The appetizer size was perfect as it was quite a rich dish (although Adam claims he could eat plates and plates of this…and I bet he will on our next visit!)

I am a tomato sauce lover…when it’s good, I can basically eat it with a spoon. So I knew I needed something with that. I had read many a review about the softball size meatballs and they did not disappoint.

Meatballs the size of my head! In a marinara sauce

I literally could not even finish one! But oh boy were they good! Perfect texture and that sauce was what every red sauce should be. Adam went with the eggplant rollatini.

Eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and tomato sauce on top with a side of parpadalle

Also a big portion, also delicious…just good italian home cooking. With a side of homemade parpadalle in an arrabiatta sauce, this restaurant knows how to use tomatoes!

I owe my cousin a big THANK YOU for constantly raving about this restaurant. This is definitely the place for unpretentious, deliciously large portions of good italian homecooking…just like your grandmother used to make (if she was Italian that is!)

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Remember when I made those delectable tilapia tostadas? If you don’t, you should definitely take a look back and check them out. Well, with more tilapia purchased this past week, we were in the mood for tacos once again. These baked tilapia tacos with a cilantro/lime/chipotle sauce were just as good. Unlike the tostadas, the corn tortillas were used fresh and loaded up just enough so that you can easily eat them by hand…and eat them we did!

Tilapia Tacos (Adapted from Cooking Light)

Sauce

3 tbsp greek yogurt

3 tbsp mayo

handful of chopped cilantro (or parsley for you cilantro haters out there!)

squeeze of lime

tsp of adobo sauce

salt and pepper

Mix all sauce ingredients together and set aside

4 tilapia fillets

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

purple cabbage, sliced

guacamole (I did classic avocado, tomato, cilantro, garlic, cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper)

corn tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees and season tilapia with spices. Bake for about 9 minutes and then flake into small pieces. Spread the sauce on the bottom of the tortillas and top with cabbage, tilapia, and guacamole. Eat and enjoy!

To go with the tilapia, I made a simple kale salad, again similar to one I’ve made in the past. A mix of shredded kale, shredded brussels sprouts, pecorino cheese, and dressed simply with lots of lemon and olive oil. A perfect fresh side for the tacos!

The second new recipe of the week was inspired by a pumpkin and shrimp curry recipe I happened across in a Bon Appetit magazine. Being obsessed with all things squash and pumpkin, I immediately bookmarked it. Finally, the night was upon us and a tofu and pumpkin curry was born! I changed things up quite a bit from the original and I think I may have converted my husband to a gourd lover!

Tofu-pumpkin curry

Tofu and Pumpkin Curry

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 head broccoli, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 can pumpkin puree

1 butternut squash, chopped, peeled, and roasted (roast squash at 400 for about 30 minutes until tender)

1 block tofu, chopped and roasted (roast with squash)

1 cups vegetable broth

1 can light coconut milk

3 tsp curry powder

1 1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 lime, juiced

1 handful cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic, broccoli, red pepper and saute until soft. Stir in tomato and pumpkin puree and cook until pumpkin is brown, about 10 minutes. Add broth, coconut milk and seasonings and simmer for 20 minutes. Add squash, tofu, lime juice, and cilantro and simmer until squash and tofu are warmed thru.

Bulgur with apricots, raisins, and celery

The traditional way to serve a curry is with rice, but we decided to go crazy and serve it with bulgur. To match the flavor of the curry, I sautéed some celery in a little oil and then added the bulgur, some raisins and dried apricots, cinnamon, vegetable broth, and simmered everything covered until the bulgur was tender, about 15 minutes.

A nice change from the usual rice or quinoa we tend to gravitate towards in our household, the bulgur made a nice partner for the bright orange curry.  Happy Cooking!

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There was a plethora of cheese in our household last week…which is definitely not a bad thing! With some leftover no knead bread on it’s last leg, grilled cheese seemed like the perfect dinner. I came across this recipe: http://www.closetcooking.com/2010/03/caramelized-apple-grilled-cheese.html and immediately began drooling at my computer screen. I pretty much followed the recipe beginning with the delicious sauteed apples in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Sauteed apples...I chose not to peel them

Our apartment smelled exactly like apple pie (I seem to have some sort of obsession with this dessert, if you remember my ice cream). The sweet apples went so well with the strong old cheddar and crusty bread. With some leftover green soup from our previous dinner party, it was the perfect comforting and fast weeknight meal.

Caramelized apple and old cheddar grilled cheese

Besides discovering my new favorite way to use up cheese and day old bread, I discovered a new favorite restaurant. James Restaurant, located in Prospect Heights, is such a cute and homey neighborhood spot, situated right in the middle of a residential street. Upon walking in and discovering Kerri Russell was also dining here, I was even more excited for my meal. My dining partner and I had such a hard time deciding what to order…everything sounding so delicious. I know I’ve probably said that before but honestly…look at the menu! I could have been happy ordering absolutely anything! In order to try as much as possible, we opted to share two appetizers. The much raved about spinach salad, and the shrimp with polenta.

Carolina shrimp with roasted garlic polenta and harissa jus

Spinach salad with Parmesan crusted shitake mushrooms, roasted onions, and balsamic

All the positive reviews on this salad didn’t do it justice…the crusty Parmesan cheese and soft mushrooms and onions with the balsamic and spinach…a perfect salad if you ask me! The shrimp was no slouch either..that sauce was definitely sopped up with a lot of brioche brought to our table. When it came to the mains, we were both torn between the amazing sounding (and looking) burger, chicken, and risotto. I rarely order chicken in a restaurant because I usually find it quite boring, but when the waitress told me it was her favorite dish on the menu, I immediately felt like chicken tonight! My friend went with the risotto…which I was happy about because I really wanted to try it too!

Pressed young chicken, chantrelles, spinach, spaghetti squash, miso vinaigrette

As you can see form the description, this was no boring chicken! It was so moist and the flavor from the miso dressing was so unique. Definitely a place to go when you’re craving some good bird. The risotto was also quite nice, but to be honest, I was very happy with my choice.

Butternut squash risotto with hazelnuts and balsamic

I can’t wait to go back to James to try their Sunday night, $30 three course dinners (how good a deal is that?!) and their Monday burger night.

So Channukah is almost upon us. Obviously, I think about the food.

My mom's potato latkes

The smell of potato latkes being fried on the stove-top definitely lets you know this 8 day celebration of lights is fast approaching. I love the rosti style latke made of shredded potatoes, egg, matzah meal (or flour), and salt and pepper. Simple and delicious, they are great topped with apple sauce or sour cream. We’ve also made some more “modern” takes on this fried potato pancake…shredded carrot and zucchini latke, sweet potato latke, parsnip latke…I guess the possibilities are endless. It’s definitely best to always include some regular potato in your latkes because it’s that starchiness that helps hold the strands of vegetables together.

But really…nothing beats the classic! I’m sure you will be seeing more fried food and potato goodness as Channukah nears!

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Last Friday, Adam and I met some fabulous friends for dinner at Peels, a southern-American style restaurant that really does have all the southern charm you would expect. Loved the romantic lighting and old school soda shop bar.  Our server was very good and helped us choose from the very delicious sounding menu. Since it was Shabbos, we needed a challah of some sort.

Parker house rolls with maple butter

These rolls were the perfect challah stand-in…rich brioche like dough that basically melted in your mouth. My only complaint, the butter was quite cold…I think I just had such high butter expectations after Dirty Candy’s addictive maple butter. We ordered two appetizers to share…corn dogs and quinoa salad (quite opposites, I know!)

Andouille corn dogs with spicy mustard

Warm quinoa salad with pumpkin, kale, and toasted pumpkin seeds

I wasn’t such a fan of the corn dogs but then again, I’m not much of a hot dog eater (more of a burger girl). The dough was very nice but it definitely had a kick to it! The pumpkin quinoa on the other hand was my kind of dish! Warm and comforting with the sweetness from the pumpkin and crunch from it’s seeds, a perfect winter appetizer. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling for the main…you know when you have no idea what food mood you’re in??? It kind of stresses me out! When the server described the fish special, he made it sound quite delicious so I went with it. And I was not disappointed.

Pan seared white fish over sauteed escarole with green olive salsa

The fish was cooked perfectly and finished with lots of delicious olive oil. There was also some finger licking good fried chicken and very light and fluffy potato dumplings ordered at the table.

Potato dumplings with wild mushroom sauce

Fried chicken with sweet potato mash

I was very happy that my fried chicken ordering friend hates sweet potatoes because that mash was out of this world amazing! I can’t wait to go back to Peels to try their raved about brunch! Now, no shabbos dinner is complete without dessert, so being on the lower east side of the city, we couldn’t help ourselves but venture over to the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. After trying many of their signature cones, I was in more of a cup mood. I asked the server for her favorite item and decided to go with it…

Vanilla topped with olive oil and sea salt

Sounds weird but strangely good right? That’s exactly how it tasted. The olive oil was amazing and the vanilla soft serve (well that goes without saying) and huge flakes of sea salt…this place sure knows how to create the perfect mix of salty and sweet (remember the salty pimp from previous visits?) Definitely not your everyday dessert!

Saturday we had some lovely friends who made the trek all the way from upper Manhattan to have dinner in our Brooklyn home. They also happen to purchase a brand new camera and took some amazing pictures for me (which I’ve used here) so I must thank them very much for this! I wanted to welcome them with a fine spread and started things off with a great green soup recipe my cousin shared with me.http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/very-green-broccoli-soup-recipe/index.htm

The only change I made was to top each serving with a drizzle of heavy cream instead of mixing it into the whole soup. I must tell you it does need a lot of salt! But quite delicious and healthy to boot! I was going with an Asian theme main portion of the meal and went with a favorite fish recipe in this household: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/miso-marinated-trout-with-lime-ginger-glaze-10000000226373/

I used salmon instead of trout and I promise you…this fish is always a hit! People who say they don’t really like fish will eat three pieces (a true story!) I made some simple steamed green beans dressed with lemon, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds as the green of this dinner and a peanut noodle recipe to complete the Asian theme.

Peanut Noodles (Adapted from Bite Me)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 red peppers, thinly sliced

handful of snow peas, sliced

handful of parsley, chopped

toasted peanuts or almond, chopped

sesame seeds, toasted

1/4-1/2 cup green onions, sliced

Combine all sauce ingredients together and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Set a side to cool slightly. Meanwhile, boil a package of whole wheat spaghetti and drain. Toss in a bowl with veggies, sauce and parsley and mix to combine. Garnish with nuts, sesame seeds, and green onions.

You could easily make the noodles into a one dish meal by adding some sort of protein like tofu or chicken (which we plan on doing with the leftovers). I was feeling in the cookin’ mood that day so I also made a totally unnecessary and totally non-Asian coleslaw to accompany the meal.

Basically, a mix of shredded purple and nappa cabbage, apple, mango, dried cranberries, candied pecans dressed in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, and olive oil. I really LOVE this coleslaw recipe and was happy to make enough to serve oh a mere 1o people (remember, there were only four of us at dinner). So I guess you know what Adam and I will be eating all week! If you’ve noticed from my meals, I’m much more of a cook than a baker but for this dinner party….I became an ice cream maker! With some freezer space available, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to use my good old Cuisinart ice cream maker. I had the idea to make an apple pie ice cream and after some googling, came across a recipe from We Are Not Martha that I changed up a bit to suit my taste buds.

Apple pie ice cream

The recipe has three parts: The custard, the apples, and the oatmeal crumble, but don’t let this stop you. It really is easy!

Apple Pie Ice Cream

Custard

1 1/2 cups almond milk (leftover from the thanksgiving leftover dumplings)

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

dash of vanilla and big shake of cinnamon

Apples

3 cups apples, chopped

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 brown sugar

1 tbsp flour

dash of cinnamon

To start the custard, combine the almond milk and sugar in a saucepan and heat until bubbles form along the side of the pan. Meanwhile, whip the egg yolks together. Once the milk/sugar mixture has heated, add half of it to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Once mixed, slowly pour it back into the saucepan with the other half of the milk/sugar mixture and cook on low, stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon. Add the cinnamon and vanilla and allow the custard to cool completely in the fridge.

To make the apples, mix all the ingredients together in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees covered with foil for about 35 minutes. Cool the apples and then combine with the custard in the fridge. You can totally make this in advance. When ready to make your ice cream, just pour into your handy-dandy ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. Now here’s where the oatmeal crumble part comes in. Use your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (min obviously came from Bonnie Stern) and bake cookies and then crumble about 5 or 6 into bite size pieces and add them to the ice cream for the last 3 minutes of freezing. Then place ice cream in container and freeze until it’s in a scoop-able state. Or you can simply eat it straight out of the canister…it’s that good! I also saved some extra cookie crumble to serve on the side.

Oatmeal cookie crumble...a great ice cream topper!

Oatmeal Cookies (Adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Best of Heart Smart)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups rolled oats

I would also normally add dried apricots, raisins, nuts, or chocolate but for the sake of apple pie ice cream, I did not.

Cream butter until light and then beat in sugars. Add egg, water, and vanilla and mix in. In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in oats. Stir flour mixxture into egg mixture. Drop batter in mounds on a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten cookies and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Apple pie ice cream topped with oatmeal cookie crumble

I was once afraid of my ice cream maker, but I’m happy to say I’ve conquered my fear and can’t wait to churn up my next batch! I’m eying a pumpkin ice cream recipe…stay tuned!

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We have finally finished all of our 13 pound turkey! Besides delicious turkey sandwiches, salads, and plates of leftover goodness, we were able to accomplish this feat by making some delicious turkey and dumpling soup. To start, with some helpful tips and advice from my thanksgiving guests, I created a very flavorful turkey stock. Into a large stockpot went the turkey carcass and leftover bones (after I picked off as much meat as possible), an onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and salt and pepper. I covered it all with water and let it simmer for a good four hours, skimming off the foam that collected on the top every now and then.

Once it was finished and strained, the delicious stock was turned into a turkey and dumpling soup…perfect for the cold weather. I have to admit this was my first time eating, let alone making, a traditional chicken or turkey soup and dumplings. It was super easy and very comforting and love that it was a perfect one pot meal.

Turkey and Dumpling Soup (Adapted from Cooking Light)

1 onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

6 cups or so of stock

leftover turkey, chopped (as much as you like)

2 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup almond milk

Heat a saucepan over medium high heat with some oil and saute onion, carrots, and celery until tender. Add stock and bring to a boil and simmer covered for about 10-20 minutes until all vegetable are tender. To make dumplings, mix together the whole wheat flour, parsley, baking powder, and salt and then add almond milk and mix until combined. One vegetables are tender, remove into a small bowl 1/4 cup of broth and add 2 tbsp flour. Form dumpling dough into small balls and add to broth with flour/broth mixture and leftover turkey and simmer for about 10 minutes until dumplings are done.

A hearty and tasty bowl of turkey and dumplings

The soup was still delicious the next day…I just added a little extra broth to it when reheating because it was a bit too thick. After all this turkey eating, I was feeling the need for some vegetarian eats. Luckily, my second date with my veggie dining partner had arrived! The location, Dirty Candy. I was really excited to try this very highly rated vegetarian restaurant. It’s not your traditional, healthy-tempeh-raw-granolaey vegetarian restaurant. The decadent and indulgent dishes are all based around different vegetables and they really highlight the flavor and best qualities of each vegetable. The menu is quite interesting and the title of each dish is simply…a vegetable. I had heard a lot about the jalapeno hush puppies with maple butter so we immediately ordered these upon seating.

Jalapeno Hush Puppies with Maple Butter

I have to say, after hearing the rave reviews, I was a little disappointed in these fried balls of cornmeal and jalapenos. I mean, they were good…but way to spicy for both me and my friend. We ended up picking out the jalapenos…and I normally am a spicy food fan. But that maple butter…there are no words! I was literally eating it with a spoon it was so good! For our apps, we shared the mushroom and carrot.

Mushroom: Portobello mousse, truffled toast, pear and fennel compote

Carrot: Steamed bbq carrot buns with cucumber and sesame ginger salad

The mushroom mousse tasted so purely of mushrooms and those carrot buns…I honestly couldn’t get over how sweet and carroty they were (I can’t think of any other way to describe them as tasting like the best carrots you’ve ever eaten!) Also, the plates were absolutely beautiful. We thought it couldn’t get any better…and then our main courses arrived. We both ordered the same thing because the description just sounded amazing. And let me tell you, I’m glad we both had our own portion of this dish!

Cucumber: Coconut poached tofu with shiso galangal sauce and salsify and hearts of palm salad

First of all…just look at that plate! We both were in awe of how delicious cucumber could taste. The sauce was so flavorful of pure cucumber, the tofu was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and that salsa was scrumptious! It was topped with a spiraled fried pickle that really added nice texture to the dish. I think this is the perfect restaurant to bring people who think they hate vegetables…Dirty Candy will change their mind!

Now that I had my meat and veggie fill, I was ready for some fish! We had a nice piece of salmon in the freezer and decided to try out a new Giada inspired recipe with it.

Foil Baked Salmon with Tomato-Garlic Salsa (Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis)

1 pound salmon

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp olive oil

half lemon, juiced

spoonful of capers

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except salmon). Place salmon on a piece of foil large enough that you could seal all the edges together (putting the salmon in a foil pouch) and top with salsa. Seal the foil around the salmon and place on baking sheet and bake in oven about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

The cooked salmon

Cooking the salmon in this way turns your oven into a steamer and all the flavor and juices from the tomato salsa gets locked inside, resulting in flavorful and moist salmon. We served the salmon with a new grain product from one of our fave grocery stores, Trader Joe’s. We bought a harvest grain mix which is a mixture of Israeli cousous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. Simply cooked in leftover turkey stock, it was very interesting with all the different textures.

Salmon served with harvest grain blend and sauteed kale with cremini mushrooms

Served with  sauteed kale and mushrooms with garlic, olive oil, and a little red wine. I think next time I make the grains, I would create some sort of salad, pilaf, or risotto to make it a bit interesting, but we wanted to try it simple and plain for the first time. I hope you all had a great week filled with delicious eats!

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