Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Bowls with Coconut Broth

The coconut broth for this soup? It's so good it almost doesn't matter what else you add to your bowl! In fact, I think it would be a great restorative all on it's own if you're feeling under the weather.  The rest of the time, you can add in noodles, chicken, and crisp veggies to make it a meal.  Feel free to play around with the toppings here depending on what you're in the mood for or have around the house -- this would be a great way to use up extra veggies you have in the crisper.

Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Bowls with Coconut Broth (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 4

1-1/4 cups coconut milk, divided
3 T minced lemongrass (I buy it in a tube, because I'm a cheater!)
2 T sambal oelek
6 bone in-skin on chicken thighs
1 cup chicken stock or water
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, scrubbed and each cut into 4 pieces
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, scrubbed and thinly sliced
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 T fish sauce
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp granulated sugar

To serve:
8 ounces wide rice noodles or other Asian-style noodles, prepared according to package directions
Thinly sliced cucumber
Minced fresh cilantro
Unsalted peanuts

1. Combine 3/4 cup of the coconut milk, the lemongrass, and the sambal oelek in a large Ziplock bag.  Add the chicken, seal well, and turn to coat the chicken in the sauce.  Place in the fridge for at least 8 and up to 24 hours to marinate.
2. Place the chicken stock or water, garlic, onion, carrots, and ginger in the Instant Pot.  Arrange the chicken in a single layer on top of the veggies, and pour any additional marinade on top.  Seal the Instant Pot, and hit the "Poultry" button.  Quick release the pressure.  (No pressure cooker? Cook in a slow cooker on low for 7-1/2 hours.)
3. Remove the chicken and shred into bite sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones.
4. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer.  Skim off as much fat as possible, and then add to a small saucepan with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk, along with the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.  Simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
5. Assemble the bowls: add a scoop of broth, along with noodles, shredded chicken, cucumber, cilantro, and peanuts.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Denver Sheet Cake

This cake is pretty much identical to Texas Sheet Cake -- I'm honestly not sure what the difference is.  But, the New York Times called it Denver Sheet Cake, so my mom and I had to try it out since my husband and I recently moved to Denver!  The cake base is tender, moist, and chocolate-y, with a glossy frosting and crunchy toasted nuts on top.  This cake travels and keeps well, and makes a lot -- so it's great for a potluck or another event with a crowd.  

Denver Sheet Cake (adapted from the New York Times)

For the cake:
1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
Generous pinch of salt
8 T softened butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
4 T softened butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 T buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt
1/2 pound powdered sugar
Chopped walnuts or pecans, to finish

1. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch cake pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine the butter and cocoa with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth, glossy, and beginning to bubble. Remove from the heat.
4. Fold the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.  
5. Scrape into the pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Cool completely.
6. Make the frosting. Combine the butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Whisk frequently until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and bubbling around the edges.  Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl (use either a stand mixer or electric mixer).
7. On low speed, add the vanilla, salt and sugar to the chocolate mixture.  Mix until smoothed.  Pour over the cake while still warm.  Sprinkle with nuts and let cool before serving.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Instant Pot Beef Curry with Sweet Potatoes

This beef curry is fantastically flavorful, and using sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes is a nice change of pace.  The sweeter flavor of the potatoes combines nicely with a savory-sweet-spicy curry sauce.  Plus, made in the Instant Pot, this recipe is super simple to prepare.  After cooking, the beef is fall-apart tender and full of flavor.  The original recipe is "paleo," so white rice is definitely verboten, but I'm a rule breaker so I think this curry is excellent over rice.  :)  You can switch out the Massaman curry paste for another one if you prefer or if that's what you have on hand -- I think red or yellow curry paste would both be great here (green curry might be a little odd).

Instant Pot Beef Curry with Sweet Potatoes (adapted from Nom Nom Paleo -- but warning, my version is not paleo!)
Serves 4

1-1/2 pounds beef chuck roast, brisket, or boneless short ribs, cut into large cubes
1 tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 T Thai curry paste of choice (I used Massaman curry paste)
1 cup light coconut milk
1 T soy sauce
1 T brown sugar
1/2 T fish sauce
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into medium slices
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
Thinly sliced scallions, to serve
Cooked Jasmine rice, to serve

1. Sprinkle the beef chunks with the salt and set aside while you chop the veggies and prepare the sauce.
2. Heat a generous drizzle of oil in the Instant Pot using the "Saute" function.  When it is hot, whisk in the curry paste and stir until fragrant and sizzling.
3. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, and fish sauce, and whisk to dissolve the sugar.  Cook for a minute or so, stirring, and then turn off the Instant Pot.
4. Add the beef cubes, sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots, and stir well so that everything is lightly coated with the sauce.  Seal the lid, and press the "Meat/Stew" function.
5. When the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, and then quick release any remaining pressure.
7. Serve over rice with scallions sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pizza Night!

Caramelized onions, fresh garlic, mozzarella, pepperoni, green harissa, and Manchego cheese!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Potato-Asparagus Tangle with Green Harissa

There are a lot of recipes that I say I'm going to make again, but never get around to it -- this is one of those I really have made quite a few times.  Part of what keeps bringing me back to it is the green harissa sauce -- it's fresh, green, and a little spicy in a totally addictive way.  I recommend making more than you need because it is also fantastic anywhere you'd use a hot sauce -- on eggs, avocado toast, even pizza!  The green harissa is tossed with roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, and fresh spinach for a hearty vegetarian salad, and then topped with an egg for protein and shaved Pecorino cheese for a hit of salt.  The combination is amazing!  The original recipe calls for poaching the egg, but any preparation with a runny yolk is good -- I've also made this with soft boiled eggs which is really pretty.

Potato-Asparagus Tangle with Green Harissa (adapted from Bowl + Spoon)
Serves 4

For the Green Harissa:
1 garlic clove
1 cup mixed leafy herbs (a mix of parsley, cilantro, and mint is excellent)
1/2 jalapeno (or a whole one if you like it spicier), seeded
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Generous pinch cumin
Generous pinch salt
3 T olive oil

To complete the dish:
1-1/2 pounds Yukon golds, cut into chunks
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus
1 cup arugula (lightly packed)
4 or 8 eggs (one or two eggs per person)
Shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, to garnish

1. Make the harissa.  Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mini chopper and process until finely chopped.  Add the oil and process again until well combined.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with foil.
3. Cook the potatoes until just tender, either in a pressure cooker for about 3 minutes or in boiling water.  Drain and let cool slightly.  Transfer the potatoes to one of the baking sheets, and toss with a generous drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned.
4. Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer on the second baking sheet, and roast 15 minutes.
5. Combine the roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus in a large serving bowl.  Toss with 2 generous spoonfuls of the harissa and toss to coat.  Add the arugula and toss again, adding more harissa to taste.  (Any leftover harissa will keep well in the fridge and can be used anywhere you'd use hot sauce.)
6. Poach (or fry, or soft boil) the eggs just before serving, for about 3 minutes.
7. Serve the potato-asparagus tangle topped with one or two eggs and a generous sprinkle of cheese.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beans and Greens Burrito with Lime and Chile

My sister-in-law got me the cookbook A Modern Way to Cook for Christmas, and I am loving it! The photos are beautiful and the recipes are really creative and inspiring.  Below is a recipe for fantastic Mediterranean-Mexican fusion burritos -- nothing authentic about it, but these are really delicious all the same.  Warm tortillas are stuffed with lime-spiked black beans, wilted kale, and simple versions of freshly made salsa and guac.  Salty feta is the perfect complement to these ingredients, and you can optionally add steamed brown or white rice if you like to make the burritos more filling.  This dish has a lot of components, so it's a nice one to make with other folks in the kitchen (or make some of the components ahead of time) -- but, the extra work is well worth it.  Yum!

Beans and Greens Burrito with Lime and Chile (adapted from A Modern Way to Cook)
Serves 4, easily multiplied

Fill warm flour tortillas with:

Lime-Chile Black Beans: melt coconut oil in a pot, and saute minced garlic and red chile until browned.  Add a small spoonful of smoked paprika, and then stir in the juice of one lime and one or two cans of black beans, drained and rinsed.  Season with salt.  Let bubble for 10 minutes or so, smashing some beans with the back of a spoon.

Lime-Oregano Kale: melt coconut oil in a large skillet, and add one bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped, along with a pinch of oregano, the zest of one lime, and a pinch of salt. Cook until wilted, stirring often.

A couple of handfuls of minced cherry tomatoes mixed with the juice of half a lime, chopped cilantro, and a little salt.

Two mashed avocados, mixed with  the juice of half a limechopped cilantro, and a little salt.

Steamed rice

Crumbled feta cheese

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Roasted Eggplant "Lasagna"

This recipe is a cross between eggplant Parmesan and lasagna, so it's pretty much one of the tastiest things ever.  Roasted eggplant subs in for the noodles in a typical lasagna, which adds an extra step --but it's totally worth it!  I've used ground turkey here, but you can definitely substitute in ground beef or meatloaf mix if you prefer, or even leave the meat out all together for a vegetarian version, since there's plenty of cheese for protein.  Leftovers reheat just as well as traditional lasagna, so this is a good one to take in for lunch and be the envy of your office!

Roasted Eggplant "Lasagna" (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, original recipe here)
Serves 6

1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 small bell pepper, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey
15- ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
A large bunch of fresh basil, divided
1 T dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella or burrata, diced

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with foil. Spray with oil.
2. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Spray with a light layer of oil, and sprinkle with a little salt.  Roast 15 minutes, and then set aside.
3. Meanwhile, start on the turkey sauce.  Heat a generous drizzle of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Add the bell pepper and garlic, and saute for another 3-4 minutes.  Finally, add the turkey and cook until it is no longer pink.
4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water.  Mince about 8 basil leaves, and add them to the pot, along with the oregano, salt, and fennel seeds.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer 10 minutes or so.
5. In a separate bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan. 
6. When the turkey sauce is done, remove from the heat and stir 1/2 cup into the ricotta mixture.  
7. Assemble the lasagna.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with oil.  Spread half the turkey sauce in the bottom of the dish.  Top with half the eggplant slices, and then spread with half the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle half the diced mozzarella evenly on top.  Then repeat the layers (meat sauce, eggplant, ricotta, fresh mozzarella).  
8. Spray a piece of foil with oil, and cover the lasagna (foil side down).  Bake 40 minutes.  Remove the foil, and place the lasagna under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  The timing for this will depend on how hot your broiler is -- the original recipe suggests 5-10 minutes, but mine would have become blackened lasagna if I'd left it longer than a couple of minutes, so check early and often!
9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.