quinoa + black rice bowl

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you’re probably noticing that the ingredient list for this recipe is really long.  you may be thinking that you don’t have enough time to make it.  but there isn’t that much prep work, and all the sautéing doesn’t take much time at all.  all-in-all you’ll be eating this rice bowl in a little over an hour.  another awesome thing about this dish is that you can change the ingredients around, and still have the flavors marry well with the sauce.

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the original recipe called for brown rice and red quinoa. however, i chose use black rice instead of brown, and regular quinoa instead of red.  i chose black rice because while brown rice is good for you, black rice has a whole load of antioxidants that brown rice doesn’t. plus, i think it looks prettier in the dish.  i chose regular quinoa because it’s all i had in the kitchen.  i also chose to use swiss chard in place of kale.  kale is everywhere this time of the season, i think it’s the only thing that actually grows around here in the winter.  i always try to use ingredients that are in season, but kale and i do not agree, hence, the chard.  additionally, i could see spinach, bok choy, or dandelion, or beet greens as a substitute in this dish.  i also added the toasted sesame seeds – in my humble opinion no salad is ever complete without some toasted nuts or seeds.  plus, i thought they would play off nicely with the ingredients as well as add some crunch and nuttiness.  lastly, i adjusted the sauce a bit.  the recipe called for a 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice to a 1/4 cup tahini.  after mixing the two i thought it was way too tart, so i cut the quantity of lemon juice in half.  i would taste as you go, and adjust the sauce to your liking.

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adapted from Gail Simmons for Food & Wine Magazine – March 2012

6 servings

:: for the bowl ::

1 cup black rice

1 cup quinoa

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, julienned

3/4 cup enoki, beech, and nameko mushrooms (or shiitake with caps thinly sliced)

1 small zucchini, julienned

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

fine grain sea salt

1 head of broccoli, de-stemmed and cut into small florets

4 large (or 8 small) swiss chard leaves, chopped

1 ripe avocado, sliced into chunks

1/2 cup mung bean sprouts

1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds

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:: for the sauce ::

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

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:: directions ::

  • prepare a medium saucepan for the black rice.  prepare rice according to the directions given on the packaging
  • prepare another medium saucepan for the quinoa. prepare quinoa according to the directions given on the packaging
  • in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on medium.  once the pan is hot add the onion – cook until translucent (about 5-6 minutes)
  • add the carrot and cook for roughly 4 minutes – until they start to soften
  • add the mushrooms, cover and cook until tender – about 4 minutes
  • add the zucchini, season with salt (i used about 3 pinches).  cook 3-5 minutes, until tender
  • transfer to a bowl
  • add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet.  add the broccoli, cover and cook, stirring a few times, over medium heat.  cook for 5 minutes
  • add the swiss chard, cook and stir a few times – about 4 minutes
  • season with salt and stir into the other vegetable mixture

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// for the sauce //

in a small food processor (you can also whisk the ingredients together, i only use the food processor because i like it super smooth) combine the tahini, garlic, olive oil, water, lemon juice, red pepper, and salt.  blend until combined and smooth

  • combine the quinoa and black rice in a large bowl – top with cooked vegetables
  • add the avocado, mung beans, and toasted sesame seeds
  • i wouldn’t recommend adding the tahini sauce all at one, rather, use it for individual portions

:: enjoy ::

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city. hudson. country.

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basil oil

here in new york winter is slowly creeping to an end. this is the time of year where if you squint hard enough you can see spring in the distance, but you can’t quite touch it yet. i am yearning for spring’s bounty of herbs, fruits and veggies. i miss its flowers, green grass, and tree buds. therefore, this recipe comes out of my need for something green, and fragrant, and alive! luckily, our local market supplies fresh herbs from gotham greens, a rooftop greenhouse a few miles away in greenpoint. as soon as frank and i opened the lid to the container our noses were filled with the most delightful smell! the smell of fresh, pungent herbs. at this point in the year there is nothing better.

lately my eye has been going to oils infused with herbs. i think i was intrigued when i saw a tarragon oil to garnish a soup. it was much different than a pesto; the oil was a delicate green color without a trace of herb leaves or residue. i left this recipe alone for fear that an oil infused with herbs would prove too difficult to make – especially in my little kitchen. but with frank’s help i was able to pull it off! the result is a lightly flavored oil, with a bright green hue. i would say that this oil is good for drizzling on bread, or on fresh mozzarella. we used it to top off our pizzas (a post to come later on…). basil oil, or any herb oil is not difficult to make. all you need is a food processor or blender, and fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, and lastly, some time and patience.

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recipe from Fine Cooking

:: makes 3/4 cup basil oil ::

1 cup good olive oil

2 packed cups basil

a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt

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:: directions ::

measure the oil and place in the refrigerator while you prepare your basil

bring a small pot of water to a boil while water is boiling prepare an ice bath for the basil

place the basil in the boiling water and blanch for 10-15 seconds

pour the basil into a colander and quickly transfer to the ice bath

once the basil is cooled (about 5 seconds) squeeze out excess water and transfer to your food processor

add oil and salt and blend until smooth

let the mixture sit for 30 minutes

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over a bowl use your fine mesh sieve (or cheesecloth) and gently push down the basil mixture with the back of a spatula to extract the oil

use right away or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator

:: enjoy ::

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(biscuit) cinnamon rolls

i’ve had my eye on  biscuit cinnamon rolls since discovering them on, Joy the Baker’s blog a while back.  the thought of a flaky, lightly sweetened biscuit, filled with cinnamon and sugar sounded super awesome to me.  however, the ingredients called for butter (lots of it!), unbleached flour, a lot of sugar, and buttermilk.  so, i thought one day i would muster up the guts to try and substitute some of those things for ingredients i can eat.  unfortunately, that day never came.  i did however, come across biscuit (style) cinnamon rolls on, The Urban Poser a couple weeks ago that awoke my cinnamon roll interests once again.  this time the recipe called for (among other things) almond flour, coconut oil, and honey.  all of which on are my “okay” checklist in terms of ingredients.  so i gave it a shot.

okay, i’m not going to pretend that these rolls came out perfect for me.  they didn’t. they were mostly a failure.  however, a wise woman told me to make this post anyway.  she reminded me that everyone makes mistakes, that we learn from them, and so do others.  that said, the fact that my cinnamon rolls came out disfigured and raw is in no way a poor refection on the original recipe.  i made a series of silly choices like: using hot honey when it should have been cool or room temp, i also should have made sure the temperature of my oven was correct (as it’s often not).  and lastly, i should have cut the recipe in half (something i always do when i first try a recipe) so as to not waste my (relatively pricey) baking ingredients.  i wish you all much success, and i’m sure your rolls will be much more successful than mine!

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the cinnamon roll recipe i provide here is grain-free, butter and milk-free, and uses raw honey as a sweetener.  i understand that most people without dietary restrictions do not have almond flour or coconut oil lying around the kitchen.  therefore, if you are not wanting to purchase special ingredients, i urge you to use Joy the Baker’s recipe for biscuit cinnamon rolls.  those of you with restrictions, here is an awesome recipe that is good for any breakfast or brunch.

from The Urban Poser

makes about 8 rolls

:: for the dough ::

3 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 large eggs (room temperature)

 

:: for the filling ::

1/4-1/2 cup raw honey (depending on how sweet you want it)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup currants

1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

:: directions ::
preheat the oven to 340°
line a baking sheet with parchment paper
in a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda ( when measuring the almond flour make sure not to pack it, it should be loose)
in a separate bowl, gently beat the coconut oil, honey, and eggs together
add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture using a spatula.  mix until dough is formed. refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes
roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper (sprinkle a little almond flour on the bottom piece) into a 9×13″ rectangle
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drizzle the 1/4-1/2 cup of honey evenly over the dough – this is where i made the mistake of warming my raw honey, if your honey is
hard, like mine was, then wait for it to cool before you spread it across the dough
once the honey is spread, sprinkle the raisins, grounds pecans, and cinnamon
time for the rolling.  roll the edge of the dough away from you.  start a tight roll from the beginning. continue to roll until you have a nice uniform log. use the parchment paper to help you roll if needed. be careful when rolling up the dough, as it is very soft
roll the whole log of dough, gently lengthening it out just a bit (like making a snake out of play-dough). it should be smooth and about a 4 inch thick roll
with a sharp knife, cut the roll into about thick slices (about 1 1/2″ thick)
lay the rolls cut side down on to a parchment line cookie sheet
bake 10-15 min rotating midway through
i drizzled warm honey over the four rolls that made it
:: enjoy ::
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:: love ::

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this past weekend was a special one.  not only did frank and i celebrate our 3 year anniversary, but we celebrated a year of being engaged.  3 years ago this past sunday we had our second date.  that was a special date for both of us.  by the end of it we had both realized we had a connection far deeper than a physical attraction.  the date started off at the lincoln square cinema to see a movie. afterwards frank suggested we walk through central park. we walked from the west side to the east side, pausing for a moment to look at wollman rink (if you’ve ever seen the movie serendipity then you know which one i’m talking about).  as we exited the park frank kissed me. a kiss that, as i told my friends the next day, solidified my feelings that this was a man i never wanted to let go of.  we continued our walk out of the park and were right by the plaza hotel, when to my surprise frank playfully threw a snowball at my back.  it was a very silly and innocent moment that i will never forget.  we stopped briefly at the restaurant, serendipity for coffee and dessert.  we found ourselves walking and talking for over 30 blocks until we stopped at a restaurant for some drinks.

2 years later we celebrated our  anniversary by re-doing our second date.   we took our stroll through the park, and stopped at wollman rink.  i turned around and frank was on one knee asking me to marry him.  this year we celebrated our 3 year anniversary by doing the same thing(minus the proposal of course).  it has been one of the best years of my life, one marked by immense happiness and a love i never thought was possible.   i can’t wait for more strolls, discussions, movie-watching, hand-holding, picture-taking, disagreements, kisses, and everything else that we share with one another..

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baked potato chips + dip

most baked potato chip recipes direct you to heat the oven to 400°.  so like an obedient direction follower i did.  to my disappointment my chips would inevitably blacken, burn, and (on one occasion) catch fire.  so i’m sure you can imagine how happy i was when i found a solution to my charred chip problem.  the solution is a lower oven temperature. duh? i don’t know why i never thought of that.  the result, i must say, is pretty awesome.   frank and i were super proud of ourselves when our hard (potato-slicing) work had finally paid off!  we ended up with some pretty perfect potato chips – crispy, and crunchy chips that were lightly golden.  however, if you’re looking for a Lays-type of a potato chip this is not the recipe for you.  if you are looking for a chip that’s closer to a Terra Chip (but not as greasy) then stay tuned and give this recipe a shot. {side note: i used white yams, but any potato works here}

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initially, i was not planning to do a chips + dip post, but i had some greek yogurt in the fridge and thought it would be a nice addition.  for the dip i used 0% Fage greek yogurt, alternatively you can totally use 2%, or full fat – up to you.  (for a vegan alternative you can easily substitute your favorite vegan sour cream.) again, if you’re looking for a traditional sour cream and mayo-type dip, this is not the dip for you.  the dip highlighted here is super tasty, but not heavy at all. additionally, it’s low in calories and fat-free 🙂 hopefully you will enjoy this almost guilt-free snack food.

**make sure to pay attention to how thin you slice your potatoes and how long you bake them.  obviously the thinner you slice the shorter you bake and vice versa.  also, if you’re using a mandolin, be careful! i nearly sliced off the tip of my finger off last year.  since then i have invested in a de buyer mandolin. while it was much pricier than the OXO ones, it was well worth it…DSC_0077

:: for the chips ::

2 potatoes (i used white yams)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoons dried parsley

ground pepper

coarse sea salt

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:: for the dip ::

1/2 cup (6oz.) of 0% fat greek yogurt

2 teaspoons dijon mustard (my favorite is Maille)

1 shallot finely chopped

salt and fresh ground pepper

:: makes about 60 chips ::

pre heat oven to 300°

line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper

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:: directions ::

using a mandoline or a knife, slice potatoes thin

combine the potatoes and olive oil until each slice it coated with oil

add paprika, parsley, salt and pepper, mix until combined

spread the slices on the parchment lined baking sheets, try not to let them touch or overlap

place the baking sheets in the oven

bake for 30 minutes – 1 hour depending on your oven and how thin you sliced your chips (some of my chips were stubborn, so the baking process took a little over an hour)

while the chips are baking, mix: yogurt, chopped shallot, dijon mustard, salt and pepper until combined

refrigerate the dip and stir before serving

the chips are ready when they are slightly browned and their edges are curled

:: enjoy ::

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♥ whoopie pies!

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i have been meaning to make these whoopie pies for a while now and thought valentine’s day was a perfect excuse to do so.  we live across the street from Baked, a bakery known for all things sweet and indulgent.  occasionally frank will get one of their whoopie pies, and even though i cannot eat them, i always find myself taking a bite (and then regretting it).  the cake is light, moist, and not too sweet. while the cream is smooth and buttery, and also not too sweet.  after tasting some other whoopie pies in and around brooklyn, frank and i both believe that Baked has mastered the art of the whoopie pie! why might you ask i try to remake something that is already perfect? i’m not attempting to outdo the Baked whoopie, i am merely trying to make a whoopie pie that i can eat without feeling ill.  some might be scared that these pies are grain-free, and gluten-free (these can easily be vegan if you replace the eggs with ground flaxseed),and that the cream is completely vegan. but fear not, frank (the man has no dietary restrictions whatsoever) has tested the whoopie pies (3 of them, in one sitting!) and he has given them his solid stamp of approval ✓

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adapted from Health-Bent

:: makes 16 cookies and 8 whoopie pies ::

pre heat oven to 350°

line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

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**just a note on the coconut milk.  do not shake the can.  the top half of the can is where the “full fat” coconut milk resides.  i usually get 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk out of a single can.  you will notice a watery looking liquid when the full fat is gone.

:: directions ::

2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon powder

1/2 cup full fat, canned coconut milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

whisk all the dry ingredients until combined

then add the coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla – mix

using a cookie scoop (i didn’t have one so i used a tablespoon), scoop even amounts of the batter onto the lined baking sheets.  make sure you leave at least 2 inches between each cookie

bake for 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through

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:: vanilla bean cream ::

3/4 cup palm shortening

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons raw honey (you can also use powdered sugar, or agave)

1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

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in a bowl, beat the shortening, coconut oil, vanilla bean/extract, and honey with an electric mixer.  beat for 2-3 minutes or until ingredients are combined and creamy

**let the cookies cool completely before assembling with cream

put as much or as little cream between the cookies, i put about 1/4 inch of cream – i may use more next time

i stored my whoopie pies in the fridge and took them out 15-20 minutes before serving

:: enjoy ::

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poppies :: polaroids :: blizzard

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two minute chocolate cake

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so i was wanting to make a dessert for tonight but i wasn’t wanting to do much work or cleanup.  i’m sure many of you can relate to having days like this.  i was trying to think of something simple, that would still be yummy, but not make me hate the idea making it.  i remembered this easy little cake recipe that i surprised frank with one weeknight after he came home from work.  it’s a fun dessert you can get away with making anytime because you don’t need any fancy ingredients or baking pans, you just need a coffee mug.  one of frank’s favorite drinks is a cafe mocha, so this was perfect for him because it delivers chocolate in a mug.  if you can believe it, you just mix the cake mix in a mug, microwave it, and you can pop it right out and onto a plate or eat it out of the mug.  this is a great single serving and fast cooking dessert if you’re ever in a mood or a pinch that won’t leave you with any hassle of leftovers (and by “hassle of leftovers,” i mean no temptation to eat more than a healthy portion) or a bunch of bowls to clean.

i ended up adding some unsweetened coconut and walnuts.  but you can add whatever you like, whether it’s various nuts, espresso grounds, chocolate chips, or cinnamon. this cake will taste awesome with whatever you choose, even if you choose to keep it plain.

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adapted from Delighted Momma

:: makes 1 small cake ::

3 tablespoons almond meal (or flour of your choice)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons raw honey (or sugar)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg

1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut

a handful of walnuts

a few pinches of fine grain sea salt

:: directions (or lack thereof) ::

mix all the ingredients in a large coffee mug until combined. (i would use a small spatula or a spoon.)

place in the center of your microwave oven.  cook for 2 minutes.

cool for a minute or 2.

:: enjoy ::

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mango poppy seed muffins

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when frank lived in the city he would often take me to his neighborhood coffee shop, third rail coffee.  we would go in early on a saturday morning and have a coffee and a muffin before the nyu students descended upon us.  each time we got a muffin they were different, with various fruits, nuts, and added flavors. sometimes they would have: cranberry-peach, raspberry-chocolate, pumpkin-pecan-apple, and bran with mango and raspberries.  each time we ate one of those yummy muffins they were spot on – despite the fact that some of the concoctions were a little “out there.”  we found out they were made at blue sky bakery, in brooklyn. now that we live in brooklyn, you would think we would go there everyday. we don’t. haven’t been there once.  one day we will…something to look forward to.  in any event, the muffins before you are inspired by the muffins at blue sky bakery.  i tried to combine 2 ingredients that are uncommon but complimentary at the same time. i found that the end product was super satisfying in my quest for weird. hopefully you will agree.

this recipe calls for almond flour.  i used honeyville, because it is a finer grind of almond flour than bob’s red mill, and therefore bakes with better results.  you can use bob’s red mill but may find that your muffin will be more dense.  alternatively, you can use the mango and poppy seed combination in a muffin recipe of your own.  i use it here, with almond flour, because it is what my body tolerates.  lastly, i used honey as a sweetener, but feel free to substitute that with agave nectar.

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adapted from Elana’s Pantry

:: makes 4 muffins ::

1 cup almond flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons raw honey

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 quarter mango cut into pieces

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

a pinch of fine grain sea salt

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:: directions ::

preheat the oven to 350°

•line a muffin tin with paper holders

•cut one side of the mango. slice and cut into cubes or slices – set aside

•combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt – combine with a whisk

•mix the eggs with the honey and then add the apple cider vinegar

•next, add the flour mix to the wet mix and combine

•using a spatula, fill tins a quarter of the way up with batter

•arrange the cubes or slices of mango, then divide the rest of the batter to fill the muffin tin

bake for 16-20 minutes, depending on your oven

let cool for 30 minutes before devouring

:: enjoy ::

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