11.29.2017

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I woke up Monday morning determined to eat well this week. After last week’s Thanksgiving escapades (creamed spinach 4-life!!) and extended road trip diet (which consisted of mostly bagels and coffee) I needed a restart. One strategic move that always works to improve my vegetable intake is preparing a handful of favorite dressings, all unique and packed with flavor, to have on hand. These three little jars are my ticket out of this carb jungle.

Each dressing can be made quickly and easily  by simply combining the ingredients in a lidded jar and shaking vigorously. Below are the recipes for Lemon-Tahini Dressing, Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce, and Mustard Vinaigrette. I love the Lemon-Tahini number over quinoa and roasted root vegetables. The Carrot-Ginger-Miso is especially good mixed into a stir-fry or tossed with dark leafy greens. The vinaigrette is good on lentils and simple salads.

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My 3 Favorite Dressings:

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:

1/4 cup tahini

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

2-3 tablespoons hot water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Tahini-Lemon Dressing can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

Carrot-Ginger-Miso Sauce:

1/2 cup miso paste, white or red

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup shredded carrot

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Carrot-Ginger-Miso Dressing can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks.

 

Mustard Vinaigrette:

2/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/2 a lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, halved

Pinch dried or fresh herbs – dill, thyme, cilantro, and oregano are my favorites.

Simply combine everything in a lidded jar and shake, shake, shake. Mustard Vinaigrette can be stored on the counter for a week.

 

DON’T FORGET! You get 20% copies of Feeding a Family using code FAF20 at this link. Give the gift of food and family this holiday!

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10.05.2017

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My latest recipe for Spicy Cauliflower-Red Lentil Burgers is up on Food52. Here is a little sneak peek…

The Veggie Burger That Turns into 3 Different Meals

Making weeknight dinners on a tight schedule is my thing (see: my book), and I never stop searching for simple, adaptable, satisfying zingers that lift me up at the end of the day. My favorite recipes are both familiar and surprising, highly adaptable, and have pieces that can be made ahead of time, leaving us with slightly re-jiggered leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchboxes and dinner.

These vegetable burgers fulfill all of my weeknight dinner criteria. To prove it to you, I’ve outlined ways you can adapt this recipe to satisfy your tastes (or what you have in the cabinet), ways to prepare pieces of it beforehand (nothing better than getting a head start), and ideas of how to transform leftover burgers into a second (and equally exciting) meal.

Click here for the full story and recipe. All photographs by Elizabeth Cecil.

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05.08.2017

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“Why, it is May!” said Toad as he climbed out of bed. Then he and Frog ran outside to see how the world was looking in spring.

This quote from Frog & Toad runs through my mind all the time these days. We are huge fans of the green and brown dynamic duo and I just love the one-liners in their stories. But yes, spring, asparagus, book events, green grass, flowers – it’s all happening! I am quickly stopping in here to share a super simple spring side dish, one that I made for our cookbook club meeting a couple of weeks ago. Our cookbook club read, cooked, and ate from The Silver Palate and I brought this Crisply Roasted Asparagus with Gremolata and Chicken Dijonnaise (which did not get a pretty picture but was DELICIOUS, you should make it. The main ingredients are mustard and creme fraiche so really, how could it be bad). Oh, and I finally ate the famous Chicken Marbella – two thumbs way up.

The weekend before cookbook club, I was up in Boston strutting my urban stuff at Olives & Grace.  Sofi, the shop’s fearless leader, was so welcoming and knows how to throw a party! I wish I took a break to snap photos of all my pals, new and old, who stopped by to say hello but I was having too much fun. A huge thank you to Sofi and everyone who came out to chow on falafel bites and buy a copy of Feeding a Family. I am so grateful.

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Crisply Roasted Asparagus with Gremolata

from The Silver Palate

Gremolata:

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon

2 teaspoons finely minced garlic

Asparagus:

1 pound medium-size asparagus, woody ends removed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 lemons, halved crosswise, for garnish

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1. To prepare the gremolata: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Cover and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400F.

3. Place the asparagus in a roasting pan in a single layer, facing the same direction. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with gremolata. Serve with lemon halves.

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03.22.2017

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Remember our cookbook club (fun NY Times story here / tips on how to start your own here)? Our last meeting, a couple of months ago now, was focused on Small Victories by Julia Turshen. We read, cooked, and ate from Julia’s new release and I’ve been meaning to share some of her words of wisdom with you as well as the recipe that I made that night – Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad.

Take it away Julia….

“There’s a theory out there in the ether that even the best cooks stuggle with cooking rice. I’m afraid I’ve suffered from poor rice cooking for a long time. The fail-proof method I’ve grown to love, especially for long-grain rice, with grains that are best when kept separate (as opposed to cozy short-grain rice, where the grains hug their neighbors), is to cook rice just as you would pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rice, and boil until the grains are tender (10 to 15 minutes for most types of white rice, 35 to 40 for more types of brown rice). When the rice is done, drain it in a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately with butter and salt, or let it cool and use it the next day for one of the best foods in the world: fried rice.

Leftover rice is best for making fried rice because the grains become very dry and then act as sponges for whatever flavors you combine them with. My favorite is cabbage kimchi, the fermented condiment that’s eaten with every meal in Korea. I came to love it when I worked on Kimchi Chronicles, the companion cookbook to the PBS program of the same name. Served with a simple scallion salad (a popular accompaniment to Korean barbecue), this is one of my favorite side dishes, and it makes for a wonderful, savory meal on its own if you top it with a fried or poached egg.”

PS. Next month our cookbook club is throwing it back and reading, cooking, and eating from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Chicken Marbella 4-EVA.

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Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad from Small Victories

Serves 4

 

Scallion Salad:

4 scallions, roots and dark green tops trimmed off

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Kosher salt

 

Fried Rice:

One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi, including juice

3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, plus more as needed

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt

4 cups day-old cooked brown or white rice

1 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more as needed

 

To make the scallion salad: Cut the scallions thinly on the diagonal or into small matchsticks. The best way to do this is to cut each scallion into three even pieces and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Put each piece flat-side down on your cutting board and cut into thin strips. Put the scallions, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and set aside.

To make the fried rice: Put a sieve or colander over a bowl and drain the kimchi. Reserve the juice. Finely chop the kimchi and set it aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onion just begins to turn translucent, about 5-minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the chopped kimchi, and cook, stirring now and then, until the edges of the kimchi become ever so slightly crisp and stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.

Crumble the rice into the skillet and stir throughly to combine. Add the reserved kimchi juice and cook, stirring, until the rice is warm and red through and through from the kimchi juice, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, drizzle over the soy sauce, and taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or soy sauce if needed.

Transfer the fried rice to a serving bowl (or portion straight from the skillet) and top with the scallion salad. Serve immediately.

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Come follow me on instagram – I’m doing a lot of fun Feeding a Family giveaways that I don’t want you to miss!

12.05.2016

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What’s happening around here? We cut our tree down / put our tree up, keep making / slurping Heidi Swanson’s Green Lentil Soup, and are playing Town Mountain’s I’m On Fire over and over and over. The winter trifecta. XO

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Green Lentil Soup: Curry Powder, Brown Butter, Coconut Milk & Chives from Super Natural Everyday

Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 1/2 cups green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

Fine-grain sea salt

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauce until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth. Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives.