Spicy cauliflower and chickpea salad

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A nice, warm winter treat (though this is good cold, too)! I know cauliflower is making a comeback, as it should! I’m particularly fond of it roasted, a little charred, smoky, but still sweet. This has just the right amount of spice without being overwhelming. Enjoy it with some tapas, bread, and a glass of wine (that’s what I’m going to do right now. Oh yes, and binge watch Project Runway).

Adapted from: Simply Nigella

Prep time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer or 2 for dinner

Ingredients

1 small head of cauliflower

3 tbsp. regular olive oil

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 can (approx 400 gms.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

2 tbsp. harissa

2 small, vine ripe tomatoes

Salt, to taste

Bunch of cilantro OR parsley, chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or 425 degrees F. Trim the cauliflower into small florets. gobi1
  2. Whisk the oil, cinnamon and cumin seeds together in a bowl. Tip in the cauliflower and toss to coat. Pour the contents into a baking tray or dish and bake for 15 minutes.gobi2
  3. In the ‘dirty’ bowl that you used for the oil, add the harissa, tomatoes and chickpeas and mix together well. chickpeaharissa
  4. When the cauliflower has done its 15 minutes, take it out and add the harissa, tomatoes and chickpea mixture to it. Mix everything and put it back into the oven for another 15 minutes.roastedcauliflower
  5. Once the cauliflower is tender, sprinkle with salt. Garnish with cilantro or parsley leaves and serve!chickpeafinal

Sugar snap peas with breadcrumbs, chili and garlic

Happy spring! Apologies for the radio silence, lovelies….what can I say? First year on the TT is kicking my butt. But believe me, I’m determined to make time to blog again. And just slow down.

This week in my CSA, I got a beautiful bunch of sugar snap peas–bright, green, sweet, and crisp. In fact, when I was trimming the peas, they actually exuded this sweet fragrance. How amazing is that?

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This recipe, which I read and slightly adapted from food52.com, is super fast, super easy, and super delicious. It blew me away and I hope you enjoy it too. It makes a great side, light lunch, or appetizer. And now is the perfect time to enjoy them! I love how the crunch from the breadcrumbs complements the crunch of the peas. The heat from the cayenne and slight tanginess from the lemon zest work really well together here too.

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SUGAR SNAP PEAS WITH BREADCRUMBS, CHILI AND GARLIC

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 (as a side)

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups sugar snap peas, ends trimmed

Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or red chili flakes

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or any breadcrumbs)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium saucepan on low heat. When the oil is hot, add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add the garlic clove, cook for another minute, then turn off heat. Put into a mixing bowl and zest the lemon into the mixture and add the cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. Set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan, add another tbsp. oil and add the sugar snap peas. Saute for about 2 minutes, until they are still bright green but cooked through. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Mix everything together; squeeze some lemon juice on top. Serve immediately.

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Baked potato with chive sour cream

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Happy Thanksgiving, lovelies! As we stuff ourselves, let’s not forget the historical basis of Thanksgiving: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/33781-no-thanks-how-thanksgiving-narratives-erase-the-genocide-of-native-peoples

I am on my way to a pesctarian Thanksgiving feast at a friend’s house, and we are all bringing a dish to share. I offered to make mashed potatoes, but after some humming and hawing, I realized I am much more in the mood for a baked potato: the crisped, charred skin, soft interior, and a dollop of deliciousness in the form of a chive sour cream. Inspired by Nigella’s recipe, I lightened up the sour cream with some Greek yoghurt. You really can’t tell the difference. Use Idaho or any other Russet potatoes  – they are the best potatoes for baking because of their high starch content (Yukon Gold’s are the best for mashing).

While this is a great Thanksgiving side, sometimes it can also be a really comfy meal in itself. The best part is: once you pop them in the oven, you have an hour and fifteen minutes to do whatever else it is you need to do (in my case, writing a letter of recommendation for students – ’tis’ the season)!

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Hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, fun evening with lots of good food and wine.

Prep time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients

6 Russet or Idaho potatoes, washed, scrubbed and dried with a towel

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt

1/3 cup chives, snipped with a scissor

1 tsp. whole grain mustard

1 tsp. salt

A good grinding of white pepper

Metal skewers for the potatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Clean the potatoes and skewer them. Once the oven is at the right temperature, place the skewers directly on the oven rack (this makes for the crispiest skin, rather on than a baking sheet or foil).
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, make the chive sour cream. Mix the sour cream, yoghurt, mustard, salt and pepper into a bowl. Snip the chives into the bowl. In another bowl, snip about 6 strands for garnishing at the end and keep separate.chivesourcream
  4. When the potatoes are done (about 1 hour, 15 minutes), remove them from the oven. Take them off the skewers and cut a cross in the top of each of them and slightly squeeze them so they open out and place them into a bowl.
  5. Garnish the potatoes with the extra chives. Serve the potatoes with the chive sour cream on the side and have people help themselves. bakedpotato

White bean, garlic and basil spread

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In continuation of my quest for hearty, delicious lunches, here is a quick and delicious white bean spread, perfect on a wholegrain toast with some avocado and tomato. The basil flavor really comes through and makes this pop as a dip or spread. I had it today for breakfast and now, I want it every day.

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 15 oz. can (approx. 425 gms) white, cannelini, or great northern beans

10 basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (don’t worry–its going in the food processor)

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Drain the can of beans and rinse well, until the foam disappears from the beans. Add to a food processor. whitebeansrinsed
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into your food processor and blend everything until smooth. Add more water if you want a smoother or creamier consistency. whitebeanprep
  3. Taste and adjust for sourness, salt and pepper.beansblender
  4. Eat as a dip with pita chips or use as a sandwich spread. Bon appétit! whitebeantoast

Late summer cucumber and poppy seed salad

cucumber7Summer is on its way out in much of the US, but here in southern California, it rages on. I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen (a new kitchen) after the tumult of packing, moving, leaving, mourning…but finally I feel settled in my new pad and I promise I will be blogging more regularly.

One of my favorite summer foods is the cucumber. I love cucumbers in gazpachos, Indian style, with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and in this salad, where they gain a sharp, sweet pickled quality and are a wonderful accompaniment for a barbeque, burgers (veggie/not), or with a sandwich for lunch. This salad is from one of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks (Ottolenghi), which I turn to on a regular basis to shake things up. I love the way the ribbons of red chilli look in the bed of green.

It’s bright, punchy, and easy. Also, it keeps for a day or two, particularly if you separate the dressing from the cucumbers until you are ready to eat.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

6 small cucumbers (Persian if you can find them – they are crunchy, seedless, and delicious)

1 red chile/red chili (depending on where in the world you are) – remove seeds if you don’t want the heat

3 tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro

4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (substitute white wine vinegar if you prefer)

4 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. poppy seeds

2 tsp. superfine sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Wash then chop off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut them in half lengthwise and slice them at an angle. I like the pieces to be a bit chunky, about 1/2″ thick. Add the chopped chile/chili.cucumber2

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2.  Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and gently mix everything, making sure that the cucumbers are well-coated with the dressing.cucumber53. Taste – the cucumbers should be sharp and sweet, pickle-like.

4.  Serve immediately, or if you are refrigerating, drain off some of the liquid and save it in a separate container. Then, just before serving, pour it over the cucumbers.

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Happy eating! PS–I missed you.