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Portobello Bean Buckwheat

December 30, 2013

Buckwheat is one of those underutilized grains in the standard culinary world. Despite claims from my roommates that buckwheat smells like hair dye while cooking (rest assure, I don’t really agree with this assertion), the grain has quite a pleasant taste. It’s distinctive nuttiness sets it apart from the bland prevalence of other grains, allowing it to add its own flavor to the dish in which its being utilized.

Here, I pair it with a simple saute of soft black beans and chewy baby portobellos. I throw in a few savory seasonings, and finish it off with one of my favorite toppings—a few slices of creamy avocado. You’ll find it doesn’t take much effort to turn this grain into a shining meal.

Portobello Bean Buckwheat

(Serves 3)

-1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
-1 tsp. Italian seasonings
-1 scant tsp. cajun seasoning
-1 cup black beans
-3/4 cup buckwheat groats (kasha)
-1 avocado, diced
-Smoked paprika for garnish, optional

Combine buckwheat with 1 & 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed and buckwheat is soft.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and spices, and saute until mushrooms are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add beans, and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Toss with buckwheat.

Sprinkle salt atop avocado. Top buckwheat and beans with sliced avocado. Garnish with paprika, if desired.

Baked Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

March 21, 2013

Salmon with Creamy Dijon Dill Sauce

Another salmon recipe coming your way. This one’s surely graced the blog before, but seeing as though it’s a definite go-to of mine, I felt it worthy of a second post.

There’s something about yogurt (esp. Greek) that turns recipes into effortless creations. Overnight oats, stuffed baked potatoes, and this “cream sauce”, formed from a handful of ingredients stirred together in a bowl, are all great examples. Here, yogurt makes a surprisingly smooth, rich-feeling sauce without any heavy cream or butter needed. Another reason why the ingredient shines in my kitchen – it’s a trickster in all the right ways.

When it comes to the kitchen, there are definitely good occasions to be tricked and bad ones. Finding an empty pizza box put back in the fridge – killer. Discovering your cupcake is stuffed with peanut butter mousse – win. I’d say turning low-fat yogurt into a successful, creamy sauce undoubtedly goes on the plus side. You tell me your thoughts after giving this one a try.

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Pickled Carrots and Ginger

March 17, 2013

Pickled Carrots

Whenever I go over to my friend Katie’s house, she’s always cooking up something interesting. A few weeks ago, it was fried pickles with a spicy aioli sauce. Last week, I was sampling fresh pickled carrots she popped out from the fridge and jarred pickled green tomatoes from last fall’s crop. Both briny occasions were delish in distinctly different ways.

Like myself, Katie grew up with two foodie parents, so naturally we get along quite well. She is the one to convince me why fiddlehead ferns will be an essential crop of our small, urban garden. And why the banning of raw milk is downright silly.

Katie lives, with ten others, in an old, colossal Philly row-home.  Equipped with more bedrooms than I can count, and a Butler’s staircase leading to the kitchen, they’ve fittingly deemed it “The Mansion”. If I could handle that style of living, you know I’d be there living and cooking with Katie. Dawn to beyond midnight, someone’s always stewing something on the stove of The Mansion. I could definitely get into that.

Anyway, as I’ve said, there’s been a lot of pickling going down after Katie got her boyfriend a whole book on the subject. His latest project: homemade sauerkraut. They introduced me to the fact that fresh pickles (aka, the kind that don’t involve any canning), are actually incredibly simple to make. Naturally, it didn’t take long till I was at home making my own.

After sifting through the internet, most recipes I found stuck strictly with dill. However, for me it was the cumin in Katie’s carrots that made them stand out, which is how this recipe was born. I ended up combining the two flavors, and then added some ginger to create one heck of a winter-themed pickle. If you can handle the heat — which does get dulled by the pickling process — the ginger slices make a great after-dinner, digestive-aiding treat.

For more on the subject, check out Katie and Greg’s post on DIY pickling!

Click here for recipe…

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips

March 13, 2013

Kale Chips

I was pretty much appalled when my friend came over and asked me what exactly kale was. In my world, it’s nearly impossible to understand how someone could not have ever tasted, or at the very least read about, this ubiquitous green.

I did grow up in a family that gardened and harvested a ton of kale, and who also insisted on eating it all times of the day, everyday, breakfast included. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t expect every person to call that normal. But after 2012, when kale became the the Jennifer Lawrence of the food industry, I just didn’t see how her question was possible. I guess it wasn’t too much of a disappointment when she didn’t fall head-over-heels for these kale chips. However, I can happily say I got her to eat not just one, but six of them — even with a potato chip option on the table too.

Kale

When baked into chips, I could easily eat a whole bunch of kale in one day. After being popped in the oven, the leafy bouquet you get from the store quickly dwindles down to fill just a medium-sized bowl. Aside from its decrease in size, it’s easy to forget you’re eating a whole bowl of healthy greens when snacking on something comparable to junk food. The friend I mentioned above might call me a weirdo, but I’d take kale chips over potato chips nearly any day of the week. They really resemble little of what you’d expect if given a bowl of steamed kale to compare. Although, I happen to love steamed kale too.

This recipe in particular helps to deliver an even further junk food vibe by adding a traditional salt & vinegar flavor combination. Sure, kale chips have been done a trillion times before. If you follow my blog or are any food-inclined person aside from my friend, you’ve probably heard of/tasted/baked them multiple times at this point. However, there are so many variations you can try that I find they never get old. Kale chips are simply one of life’s greatest snacks, in far more aspects than one. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of vinegar varieties.  The balsamic adds a slightly sweeter kick than with your traditional salt & vinegar chips, so if you want your kale to fully compare, consider using white vinegar instead.

Click here for recipe…

Marinated Tempeh Strips

March 9, 2013

Tempeh Strips

The first few months of 2013 ran out the door faster than my latest jar of peanut butter. I see a pattern similar to last year. I guess my mom was right  — the older you get, the faster life moves. And right now I’m sprinting.

For me, when time starts to go missing, I often resort to breakfast-for-dinners. Though in my mind, this is rarely a sacrifice. I love breakfast. You feel me? Good. We can probably be friends then.

In my dream world, I’d wake up every morning and whip up homemade blueberry pancakes. I’d heat up the syrup and toast up some walnuts. Sliced bananas and mangoes would sit on the side, and homemade OJ would be flowing from the juicer. In my dream world, every morning would have time for a two-hour breakfast.

Too bad my workweek mornings consist primarily of cereal, oatmeal and overnight oats. Don’t get me wrong, I love these dietary staples. But, they just don’t quite bring the romanticism of a homemade stack of pancakes or even a simple omelet.

Cereal will never make up my breakfast-for-dinner. A late night snack, maybe, but dinner, no way. Weeknights are short on time, but if I’m going to eat in, I should at least have a little time to get the stove going. This means eggs and lately, a ton of tempeh bacon. Tempeh bacon is actually what led me to this recipe. Searching for a new way to make it, I came across this, my new favorite tempeh sensation.

The marinade is wildly addicting, and can make me want to munch on the strips before they’re even cooked. Plus, it’s fairly simple. It has an Italian flair from the oregano and a saltiness from the tamari that lends itself well for everything from breakfast, to sandwich material, to a salad topper. I recommend making extra so you can enjoy this tempeh for other meals of the day too.

Click here for recipe…

Quick Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

March 5, 2013

Black Bean Soup

Very occasionally I make it out of the office before the sun’s completely down. That is a true sign that spring is on its way. Pretty soon, dandelions will be awakening and spinach will be sprouting. Those will be the days. Praise spring.

I’m still cooking up soups though to hold me through this winter. Soups are my cool-weather savior. I grew up slurping a lot of black beans in particular, so in this variety I find an extra sense of comfort. Hopefully it will bring comfort for you too.

The recipe below is deemed “quick” because the soup draws upon already cooked beans. Dried beans yield great results, but this is a fantastic time-saver for a warming week-night meal. Building its flavor from cumin, oregano and fresh cilantro, this soup serves as the perfect compliment to a slightly sweet side of cornbread. Spring is officially only a few weeks away (March 20), so make sure this one slips in their before then. Though really, that’s just an incentive to get your kitchen working. Black bean soup is of course worthy of a spoon far beyond March.

Click here for recipe…

Miso Marinated Salmon

March 1, 2013

Miso Marinated Salmon

The last time I went to my sister’s house, she sent me home with a five-pound bag of miso. Three little kids in the house she can handle, but ten pounds of miso, that’s what she calls a struggle. Guess that’s what you get when you order miso from the Internet.

Good thing she’s down to five pounds now, and I’m fortunately up five of my own. What would I do without a handheld weight of miso?

Here’s what I am doing with it: Miso Marinated Salmon. After you get the ingredients assembled, this becomes such a simple recipe to execute. Slightly (but only a pinch) sweet and a little salty, this becomes a transformative marinade for salmon. I’m itching to try it out on tofu or on some other protein-based forum.

Salmon

Though not pictured, I may suggest serving this atop brown rice. You could even snag a Tbsp. or two of the marinade to set aside (before adding the salmon) to drizzle over your rice. That’s an Asian pairing I will be cooking up soon. Considering I’m only ¼ cup down, I think I’ll have plenty of room left for more miso creations.

Miso Marinated Salmon

Any suggestions for how else to use the ingredient?

Click here for recipe…

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