I’ve made this amazing “Chickpea Salad” from The Pioneer Woman twice in two weeks. Does that tell you something? I did make a few changes to her recipe, but nothing too drastic. It’s a great side dish, or even main dish, since there’s protein in the garbanzos and feta. So delish!
I made it yesterday, holding back on the avocadoes and dressing until just before tossing it and serving it today at a picnic. So you can easily make it ahead of time.
2 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 6 oz. feta, cubed (omit for a vegan version) 4-5 baby cucumbers, (or 1 English cucumber), cut into half moons (about 1 1/2 cups) 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (optional – Kumy doesn’t like raw onions, so I didn’t add this.) 2 avocados, cubed 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
FOR THE DRESSING: 1/3 cup olive oil 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 1 Tbsp dried Basil 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp sugar 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Mix all veggies, beans and feta in a large bowl. If making ahead, don’t add avocadoes.
Mix dressing ingredients in a mason jar, close lid and shake like crazy.
Drizzle dressing over and toss well.
Note for photo: my avocadoes were quite ripe, and were very creamy.
I don’t often make pie crusts from scratch, but when I do, I have the best luck with this recipe.
Traditional Pie Crust:
1 3/4 cup flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup vegetable oil 3-4 Tbsp cold water
With a fork, stir together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in vegetable oil and mix gently until the mix is quite crumbly.
Dribble in 3 Tbsp of cold water and gently start mixing it in. The dough will start to stick together and start to form large lumps. If it isn’t, add the rest of the water.
Lay out a section of waxed paper that is twice as wide as it is tall and fold it in half. Unfold it and dump the pie dough onto the bottom layer. Form a flattish 6″ circle. You don’t want to beat it up – just pull all the loosish bits together. Fold the top over and begin to roll it out in a rough circle.
Keep your pie pan handy, and keep rolling until your circle is roughly 1/2″ – 1″ bigger than the pie pan. Remove the top layer of wax paper and “roll” the crust around the rolling pin. Unroll the crust over the pie pan, gently tugging and pushing down so the crust is well-seated in the pan.
Fold the edges up and under themselves, cutting off any extra-long bits and adding them anywhere your crust isn’t quite long enough. Then you can either use a fork to create a ridged edge, or you can crimp the edge with your hand. It’s easier to see than read – here is a video showing how to crimp a pie crust.
Prick with a fork all over the bottom and bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. No chilling – and no baking beans or whatever. Just pop it in the oven and bake it. You want the edges of the crust to just begin to darken. You’ll also smell a cooked flour aroma.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Add filling. (If you’re using the crust for a filling that needs to bake, just fill it first and follow the baking times for baking a filled pie.)
Graham Cracker (or other cookie) Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers or BelVita Honey and Nuts cookies (3 packs of 2 cookies each) 1/3 cup melted butter 3Tbsp of sugar (1 1/2 Tbsp if you are using Belvita Cookies.)
Mix in a bowl, then dump into a pie pan, gently spreading the crumbs with the back of a spoon, going up the sides of the pan as well. (Doesn’t have to be perfect – partway up is fine.) Bake for 10 minutes at 350, remove and let cool before filling.
I bumped into Artisan Bread with Steve on Youtube when I was looking for new bread recipes, and have been pretty addicted ever since. I am especially crazy about his turbo loaf that you bake in a cast iron skillet – since it’s ready in about 3 hours from start to finish – and has wonderful texture and flavor.
I love Steve’s videos: they’re very helpful, to the point and not video extravaganzas. He’s just a real guy baking great bread. Just look for Artisan Bread with Steve on youtube. He actually has a website, too: nokneadbreadcentral.com and has published couple of cookbooks that would be agreat Christmas gift for anyone who is interested in easy homemade bread.
I am including basic bread with sesame seeds that we really like, but you can add anything you like to the bread: chopped olives and rosemary, chopped walnuts and honey, or Feta with dill or whatever you can imagine*. I add lighter items like herbs and sesame seeds right at the start, and heavier things like cheese and olives after the first rise.
I also use Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s trick of tossing in a handful of ice cubes on the bottom of the oven at the start of baking to add a little steam.
13 oz warm water 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1 1/4 tsp yeast 3 1/2 cups flour (Steve uses bread flour, but I’ve had great luck with AP flour, too) 1/4 cup sesame seeds divided (optional)
Warm a medium-sized metal bowl with fairly hot water for a few minutes. Then dump the water and add 13 oz. warm water, salt, yeast and about 1/2 the sesame seeds. Stir just a bit with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Add flour and stir with the handle of the wooden spoon until all the dry flour is gathered up in a nice shaggy mess. If you need to, add a spoon or so of water to help gather eveyrthing up.
Cover with a clean towel and put in the oven with the oven light on. Let rise for 90 minutes. Make sure your oven rack is in the middle.
Uncover and stir again with the wooden spoon handle to collapse the dough a little.
Once the dough is reduced, sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds over the dough and around the edges. Turn the dough around to get sesame seeds everwhere. Then do the same thing with a spoon of flour if desired.
Spray your cast iron skillet with cooking oil, and place the loaf in the skillet. Cover with a cloth and let it rise for 15 minutes on the counter. After 15 minutes, start preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Let rise 15 more minutes.
Put skillet in hot oven, toss a handlful of ice cubes to the bottom of the oven and let bake for 40 minutes. So good and so easy!
*If you’re adding other ingredients, add them after the first rise. Just flatten the dough in the bowl and evenly sprinkle 1/4 of whatever you’re adding over it. Then just fold the dough over and repeat the process until you’ve used everything up.
This is a tangy and delicious cabbage and noodle main dish salad, based on Hannah Che’s recipe from The Vegan Chinese Kitchen Cookbook. It’s perfect for a late summer evening supper, because it’s easy, super fast and has a dressing that is unbelievably good – plus it’s gluten-free and vegan. If you can’t get Napa cabbage, Romaine lettuce works, too.
INGREDIENTS 1/2 head Napa cabbage, cut in half lengthwise 1 small cucumber, seeds removed and julienned, or cut into little bite sizes 1 tsp kosher salt
1 medium carrot, julienned 1 scallion, cut into 1/8″ rounds (both white and green part) 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro 1/4 chopped cashews or peanuts 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded, halved and cut into thin slices
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce 3 Tbsp rice vinegar (cider vinegar would also be fine, I think) 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce (or Hoisin Sauce for a vegan version) 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar 2 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Cut cabbage lengthwise a few times, then cut very thin slices. Add cabbage and cucumber into a colander and toss with the salt. Leave to drain.
Start water boiling in a small saucepan, add noodles and cook 5-10 seconds. Drain and rinse with cool water. Cut noodles into smaller sections with a scissors. If you are using other noodles, cook as directed on the package, then drain and rinse with cool water. You want to end up with about 1 1/2 cups cooked noodles.
Mix dressing ingredients well in a small bowl. Taste and add more soy sauce if you think it needs it. Add dressing to noodles and toss to combine.
Gently press cabbage and cucumber to remove some of the water. You can also squeeze it gently in your hand. Place in a large bowl, and add noodles, carrots, scallions and cilantro. Toss in a large bowl and top with nuts.
Last night, as I started making Mushroom Ravioli with Spinach from JuliasAlbum.com for a potluck at a friend’s house, I realized that what I thought was ravioli in the freezer was actually Chinese Dumplings and the mushrooms were sludge.
But I did have some nice pasta, fresh spinach and a giant zucchini from my neighbors Amy and Steve, so I switched it up and made Pasta with Zucchini and Spinach. It was delicious and bonus point: another way to enjoy excess end-of-summer zucchini!
1 lb Trottole or any other nice chunky pasta, cooked al dente 1 Tbsp olive oil 3 Tbsp butter a sprig of Rosemary and a few sprigs of Thyme, or a generous pinch of dried Rosemary and 1/4 tsp dried Thyme. 4-5 cups thinly sliced Zucchini (If really large, cut into quarters first.) 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes 5 oz. spinach (I’d be happy doubling this.) 4 cloves of garlic, smashed or 1 generous tsp garlic powder 1 large pinch red pepper flakes 1 tsp kosher salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente stage and drain, saving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
In a large frying pan, heat butter and olive oil on medium heat with Rosemary and Thyme. Add zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes with the oil they came in. Sauté for several minutes, until the zucchini have broken down quite a bit and are mostly translucent. They will reduce a lot in volume. Remove herb stems.
Add garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Then add spinach in batches, continuously stirring and folding so the spinach wilts.
Add in the pasta and 1/4 cup of pasta water to start and stir to coat the pasta with the veggies. Add more pasta water if it seems too dry. Check seasonings and serve immediately.
For a vegan version, skip the butter and just use olive oil.
I am practicing making Vietnamese and Thai Spring Rolls and once I’ve got it truly mastered, I’ll add the recipe. But I have to share this Peanut Dipping Sauce now, because it is just so good.
We’ve been using it as a dipping sauce for baby cucumbers and carrot sticks and it is absolutely irresistible.
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled 2 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar is fine, too) 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce 4 pieces of palm sugar (about 3 Tbsp) or 2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar 1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil 1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy – both are fine) Warm water as needed
In a large mortar and pestle, start by smashing the garlic cloves. Add vinegar, soy suce and palm sugar, and stir, crushing the palm sugar until it’s mostly broken down. Or just add the brown sugar.
Add sesame oil and peanut butter and mix in the mortar bowl, until smooth and creamy. Add warm water a teaspoon at a time until the consistency is a thick but smooth sauce. Check flavorings and add a little soy sauce or sesame oil if it’s tasting too sweet.
Can keep refrigerated for a week. You may need to add a little more warm water to loosen it up after it’s been in the fridge overnight.
If you don’t have a large mortar and pestle, you can always crush the garlic and just mix everything in a small bowl.
Palm sugar adds a wonderful flavor, but if you can’t get it, just use a little less brown sugar. (Brown sugar is sweeter than palm sugar.)
This is a really interesting recipe from the New York Times, that replaces the oil in the dressing with the buttery fats from ripe avocadoes. I have made this a few times and tweaked it to a recipe that we just love. I used mini cucumbers, which stay really nice and crunchy, but you could also use regular cucumbers, scooping out the soft, seedy part. It’s bright, colorful and delish!
1 lb. mini cucumbers (6 small) 1 package grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise (2 cups?) 2 very ripe avocados Juice of one medium lime 1 tsp Kosher salt 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp cumin powder
Peel cucumbers in alternating strips and slice into 1/2″ slices and place in a medium serving bowl.(You can also just halve the cucumbers lengthwise and slice into 1/2″ half circles.) Add tomatoes.
Mix juice and spices in a small bowl, and toss with veggies.
Just before serving, cut avocadoes into 1/2″ cubes and toss fairly vigorously with the salad. The avocadoes must be really ripe, so when you mix them in they break down a bit and coat the other veggies.
Check seasonings and serve. Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.
With the arrival of Fall weather, I’m starting to think of stews again. I made this stew a while back and it was delicious! One of those recipes that you save in your inbox so you remember to make it again – rich, hearty and super flavorful.
Looking at the recipe recently, I realized it could be made vegan super easily – by substituting Seitan for Pork. Or you could honestly leave the meat out altogether and just enjoy it as a hearty veggie stew!
2 ½ pound boneless pork roast, cut into 1″ cubes Or, for a vegan version, use 2 lbs. Seitan cut into cubes 1/4 cup flour 2 ½ tsp salt 1 ½ tsp black pepper 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 small leeks, white and green part thinly sliced 1 cup chopped shallots 4 large garlic cloves, minced 1 cup white wine 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4″ pieces 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1″ cubes 2 cups chicken or veggie stock 1 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 bay leaves 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried oregano 1 tsp dried thyme 10 oz button mushrooms, halved Chopped parsley for garnish
In medium bowl, toss pork or Seitan cubes in flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper.
Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Place one half on the pork or Seitan in an even layer in the dutch oven. Do not overcrowd. Brown for two to three minutes. Turn each piece and brown for two to three minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining pork or Seitan, transferring to plate when browned.
Add leeks, shallots, and garlic to dutch oven and saute for two to three minutes until the leeks are wilted. Add wine and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove browned bits.
Add carrots, potatoes, chicken or veggie stock, tomatoes, vinegar, bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, two tsp salt, and one tsp pepper to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, mixing well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
Add pork to the stew, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. (If using Seitan, see note below.)
Add mushrooms and continue simmering for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately garnished with chopped parsley.
Note: I believe Seitan can be added in the last 5 minutes of cooking, since it’s basically just being rewarmed. The gravy and delicious flavors will be coat the Seitan so it should be fine. (I’ve never cooked Seitan for a long time in liquid, like in a slow cooker though I’ve seen some recipes for it, so you could definitely try it.)
Feeling absolutely starved this afternoon and I remembered I had a big bag of Cauliflower Florets in the fridge. I’ve been wanting to roast Cauliflower and found a truly wonderful recipe on Food52.com.
2 large heads cauliflower. broken into florets or 1 large bag cauliflower florets 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, divided 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) Zest of 1 lemon 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley
Set oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl mix ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Add cauliflower and stir well to coat. Pour into a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is starting to get nice brown bits.
Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and add panko and ¼ tsp salt. Gently sauté for several minutes until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Reduce heat and add lemon and garlic. Gently sauté a couple more minutes and remove from heat.
Put cauliflower in a serving dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Sprinkle parsley over and serve. So good!
After visiting Kumy’s Mom at the beginning of last year, we were reminded how incredibly delicious Pakistani food is! We were also lucky enough to learn how to make Daal from Mummy’s cook, Mustafa, who is an amazing cook.
It’s a fairly easy recipe, and uses a “bagaar” to add flavor. It was one of the first things we made when we got back. I’m happy to say it was just about as good as Mustafa’s and a welcome reminder of our visit back “home”.
1 cup Masoor Daal (small, round, split red lentils) 1/2 cup Moong Daal (small, oval split yellow lentils)
4 cups water 2 tsp crushed garlic 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (add more if you dare – it was originally 1 1/4 tsp – but that was too hot!) 1/4 tsp turmeric 3/4 cup diced onions 3/4 cup diced tomato (Can also substitute 1 can of Rotel Tomatoes for the tomato and jalapeno.) 1/2 jalapeno, diced, optional 1/4 cup cilantro, rough-chopped, optional
Bagaar: 2 Tbsp oil 1 1/2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 1 1/4 tsp whole cumin 3 dry red chilis/peppers (small, round ones, but you can use two long red ones instead.)
Wash both daals well, swirling and rinsing until the water is mostly clear. Add to a large pot. Then add water, garlic, salt, cayenne, turmeric, onions and tomatoes. Cook 30-40 minutes.
Whisk well and add water to get a thick gravy consistency, as needed. You can also use an immersion blender to puree the daal, but be careful not to over do it. Add Jalapeno and Cilantro, and cook 10 minutes more.
In a small frying pan, heat the oil and add the rough-chopped garlic, cook for a minute and then add the dry red chilis/peppers and cumin seeds. Cook 30 seconds more and pour oil mixture right into the daal. Stir to combine and serve with basmati rice or Naan. Can also add a squeeze of lemon when serving if you wish.