roasted market salad

spring is definitely being felt here in nyc.  the past week we have had temperatures coming close to 60°!  after the winter we’ve had those temps feel amazing.  this past weekend frank and i were able to relax for a little while at our neighborhood park that overlooks new york harbor and the lovely lady liberty (statue of liberty).  we enjoyed the sun’s warmth; frank reading the newspaper, and me trying to soak up as much vitamin d as i possibly could.  it was a couple hours much needed.   just enough to forget the cold days that are behind us, and to remind us of the warmer ones that lie ahead.

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most of the farmer’s markets here (at least in brooklyn) are year round.  but you notice that as soon as spring hits the vendors are carrying things are actually green! i think i went a little overboard on shoots and sprouts this time.  a vendor had buckets upon buckets of the most beautiful looking little sprouts, i would have bought them all if i could! one of our favorite vendors that we usually see in brooklyn was there (we call him the “potato man” because he’s the only person to carry our white yams that we’re obsessed with), and he brought with him these awesome spring shallots (pictured above).  alone and raw the shallots are quite tasty, but roasted with some olive oil and salt, and these onions are really good!

the ingredients in the salad were inspired by what i saw at the market; what was fresh, and in season.  i understand that not everyone has a farmer’s market in their neighborhood. so if you’re wanting to make a roasted vegetable salad, use what looks good to you, or what veggies you like, and go from there.

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• for the salad •

1 bunch baby carrots, cut lengthwise

4.5 oz asparagus, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

2 oz spring onions, rinsed and bottoms trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil (for roasting)

2 teaspoons thyme (i used dried, but if you have fresh thyme 3-5 sprigs)

2 teaspoons parsley

large grain sea salt to taste

fresh ground pepper

3.5 oz pea shoots, sprouts, and baby spring greens (likewise, you can use mesclun or any other greens)

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• poppy seed vinaigrette  •

2 tablespoons shallot (about 1 shallot), chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons good dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

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• directions •

pre heat oven to 400°

line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

in a mixing bowl, combine the carrots with some of the olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. (i don’t give a precise amount of each, because it really depends on your preference.) turn out onto the prepared baking sheet and place in oven.  time the carrots for 15 minutes

while the carrots are baking, toss the asparagus in the same mixing bowl with olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  after the 15 minutes, place the asparagus onto the baking sheet with the carrots, toss gently – turn timer to 5 minutes

in the mixing bowl, combine the onions with the last of the olive oil, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper.  add onions to the baking sheet, toss the vegetables again – return the pan to the oven, lower the temperature to 375° and time for 15 minutes

the vegetables should be lightly browned when ready (you may need to adjust the cook time depending on your oven).  remove from the oven and let cool

while the veggies are cooling, make your dressing (i made the dressing a couple days in advance, so you can totally do this whenever). combine all the dressing ingredients, except the poppy  seeds,  in a small (or large) food processor and blend until the ingredients are combined and smooth.  pour into a container and add the poppy seeds, mix to combine

in a large bowl, combine your greens with some dressing to coat.  add the roasted veggies and drizzle with more dressing.  serve and enjoy

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spring · spring · spring

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buttermilk pancakes + blueberry sauce

i have fond memories of pancakes.  growing up my dad would usually make them on saturday or sunday mornings.  sometimes we would add blueberries, or bananas, or if we were super lucky we would be allowed to add chocolate chips.  as my brother and i got older my dad taught us how to make pancakes: how to cook them evenly, how flip them without getting the uncooked batter all over the place. and lastly he taught us that adding butter instead of oil makes pancakes even that much tastier.  the little tips that he gave us along the way have stayed with me to this day.  i don’t think i’ll ever be able to make pancakes without thinking of him.

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this pancake recipe is technically gluten free, and dairy free.  it’s not quite vegan because it contains eggs, but i suppose you can swap the eggs for flaxseed or chia seeds.  similarly, you can use any flour you have on hand, just make sure that whatever flour you’re using equals 1 cup.  the vegan buttermilk can be swapped for dairy buttermilk.  the coconut oil can be substituted with butter.  and the agave can be replaced with sugar or honey. the 3 flours used here are a great trio.  the oat flour makes for a nutty, almost toasted tasting pancake.  the almond flour provides a subtle sweetness. and the buckwheat flour brings its own distinct flavor, along with a slightly grain(y) texture.  the whisked egg whites provide the gluten-less pancakes with some extra fluff that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

the blueberry sauce is just an added bonus as far as i’m concerned.  it’s like having inside out blueberry pancakes.  easy breezy to make, and really delicious.  i encourage you to give it a go.

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makes about 2 dozen pancakes

1/2 cup oat flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs (room temp.), separated

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled. plus more for cooking

1 cup vegan buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

berries

« blueberry sauce »

(adapted from How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

1 cup blueberries

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons agave nectar

fresh squeezed lemon juice

in a large bowl, sift the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  set aside

in a medium bowl combine the egg yolks, agave nectar, coconut oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined – don’t over-mix, you want the mixture to be clumpy

(this is a good time to get your skillet pre heated. turn heat to medium low-medium, depending on your stove.)

using a hand mixer (or a whisk), whisk the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak.  gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter until combined

melt about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil into your skillet (this of course depends on the size of your pan, if large add more, if small add less).  spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each pancake – work in batches.  you want these to cook relatively slow, i would say about 2-4 minutes on each side

keep pancakes warm in the oven or toaster oven set at 200°

combine the blueberries, cornstarch, water, and agave in a small saucepan.  turn the heat to medium-low.  cook, stirring until the liquid gets thick and blueberries get soft, about 10 minutes.  taste, add lemon juice to your liking

you may need to thin the sauce a bit – if so, add water a spoonful at a time until you have the desired consistency.  add more agave if needed

spoon the sauce over the pancakes. serve and enjoy

pancakes

· good things ·

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buckwheat soba noodles with dandelion greens pesto

over the past few weeks i’ve been experimenting more with buckwheat flour, baking with it alone, and also combining it with other flours.  i’ve come to appreciate its curious taste and its grainy texture.   therefore, when i went to pick out soba noodles i naturally went with the buckwheat ones.  i debated whether to prepare them in a more traditional way and pair them ingredients i usually see: tofu, scallions, sesame seeds and oil, tamari, or in a yummy broth.  i had my menu all planned out with a lot of the ingredients noted above.  but i also wanted to see how the noodles would hold up in a traditionally italian dish, using a pesto sauce.  i had been making note of the greens at my local farmer’s market and had been seeing a lot dandelion greens.  as we all know, there is an abundance of dandelion flowers in the spring (at least here in new york), so i thought it only natural to use what was in season and make dandelion greens pesto.

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*i left cheese out of my pesto.  however, pecorino-romano, or reggiano will work with the dandelion greens.

// dandelion greens pesto

1 package buchwheat soba noodles

1 bundle dandelion greens, stems removed and blanched

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1/3 cup unsalted raw pistachios, toasted (plus more for garnishing)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

sea salt + pepper

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// for the salad

2-3 cups arugula

1 cup pea shoots

1/2 watercress (i had the pea shoots + watercress on hand, but you can use whatever greens you want, or just use more arugula)

1 tablespoon unsalted raw pistachios, toasted (likewise, you can also use roasted and salted pistachios)

2 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette

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in a medium saucepan bring about 4 cups of water to a boil.  while water is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath.  when water comes to a boil add the greens.  blanch for 20 seconds.  transfer the greens to the ice bath, let soak for a couple seconds.  remove the greens while squeezing out water from them.  let them dry on a kitchen towel

while the greens are drying, toast the pistachio nuts ( if you’re using dry roasted pistachios, there is no need to toast them).  let them cool

in a food processor or blender, combine the dandelion greens, chopped garlic, toasted pistachios, olive oil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, and salt +pepper.  blend, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  you may want to add more olive oil depending on how you prefer your pesto

transfer the pesto to a bowl. cover and let it sit in the refrigerator while you cook the soba noodles.  cook the noodles according to the directions on the package, reserving about a 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  drain the noodles.  transfer to a large bowl.  add about 1/2 the pesto and a 1/4 of the reserved water to the bowl and stir to combine.  add more according to your preference.  season with salt + pepper, and garnish with extra pistachios.  you can leave the dish like this, or you can put it over greens

mix salad greens together in a separate bowl, toss with pistachios and pesto vinaigrette.  add the soba noodles to the salad and enjoy

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time for macaroons

march is quickly becoming a busy month.  i’ve been trying to keep to up with the various holidays, celebrations, and observances.  last week was st. patty’s day, this week passover begins, and next weekend is easter.  i feel the urge to make something for each event because in some capacity or another my family celebrates each one.  so, for passover, i decided to make macaroons.  i chose to make 3 different kinds of macaroons.  why make something more difficult than it has to be? because that’s what i’m good at.

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this is the first time i’ve made macaroons.  i never really liked them until a few years ago when i developed a liking for coconut.  here, i provide 3 different recipes; the first two are egg white based, and the last one is egg and nut free.  the first recipe, coconut macaroons, were a little plain.  so, i decided to dunk them in chocolate sauce…soo (extra o for emphasis) much better.  the almond-coconut macaroons were pretty good;  next time i might add more almonds, and a bit more almond extract.  lastly, the chocolate macaroons.  these are by far my favorite.  i decided to dunk 5 of the 9 macaroons in chocolate because i had some leftover, and because chocolate-chocolate macaroons are naturally better than chocolate macaroons.

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// coconut macaroons

adapted from elana’s pantry

makes about 24

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

3 large egg whites

1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

directions:

with an electric mixer, beat egg whites with salt until the whites form a peak – about 5-6 minutes

fold in agave, vanilla, and coconut with a spatula

using a tablespoon, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

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// almond-coconut macaroons

adapted from martha stewart

makes 16

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 large egg white

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup whole almonds, chopped

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

pinch of salt

directions:

in a large bowl, whisk agave and white.  stir in the remaining ingredients

using a tablespoon measurement, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake until top and bottoms are lightly browned, 15 minutes

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

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// chocolate macaroons

adapted from against all grain

makes 9

pre heat oven 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment

ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk

in a medium sized bowl, combine coconut, cocoa powder, and salt

in a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  combine using a spatula, work the coconut oil into the mixture until smooth

add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  mix until combined

using a tablespoon, scoop macaroon balls onto parchment paper leaving about 1 inch between each cookie

bake for 10 minutes – allow to cool before removing from baking sheet

can be stored in an air tight container for about 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to one month

// chocolate sauce

1/2 cup dark chocolate (either chips or a bar)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

directions:

set a heat proof bowl over simmering water

add the chocolate and coconut oil

use a spoon or whisk to stir until melted

remove from heat and dunk the bottoms, tops, or sides of macaroons

with help from a spoon or spatula, lift the macaroon out of the chocolate sauce

place macaroons on a parchment lined baking sheet or platter.  when all the macaroons are dipped, place in the refrigerator for an hour or so

serve at room temp and enjoy (*if you’re freezing them, seal in an air tight container.  set on counter and thaw a couple hours before serving.)

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cashew ricotta cheese pizza

for all my vegans out there, or lactose intolerant people, this recipe is for you! of course, this is also for people who want to make homemade cheese deriving from nuts. all-in-all, the cheese was pretty good (still not as tasty and amazing as real homemade ricotta cheese).  it stood up to dairy ricotta pretty well on pizza and i’m looking forward to using it in pasta, and with these little guys.  the taste was a bit on the sweet side (much like a cashew nut). i’ve read that nutritional yeast adds more of a cheesy flavor, perhaps next time i’ll try it out.  as far as the pizza goes in this recipe here, you can obviously choose whatever toppings you like.  the onion and zucchini were really tasty and married well with the cheese.  likewise, the fresh chopped garlic tasted awesome with the tomatoes and cheese.  i’m quite confident that whatever toppings you choose it will work well with the cashew ricotta.

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*i don’t tolerate bread that well.  therefore, i use sprouted tortillas when i make pizzas.  i get the  ezekial brand at my local fairway supermarket.  however,  i’ve been told that they’re not that easy to find.  i assume that most whole foods markets carry them, as well as health food stores, or large supermarkets.  but you can just as easily use regular tortillas, or pizza dough.

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adapted from The Simple Veganista

makes about 2 cups of cheese

• ingredients:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon chopped oregano

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

sea salt and pepper to taste

• directions:

soak the cashews for at least 2 hours, make sure the water covers the cashews

drain cashews and place all the ingredients in a blender (you can also use a food processor), blend scraping down the sides.  adjust seasoning

chill in the refrigerator.  the cheese will stiffen up a bit and will take on the flavor a bit more

// pizza

makes 4 mini pizzas

pre heat oven to 375°

prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper

• for the zucchini pizza:

2 mini sprouted tortillas

4 tablespoons cashew ricotta cheese

1/4 of a red onion

1 small zucchini

drizzle of basil oil

• for the tomato + garlic pizza:

2 sprouted tortillas

4 tablespoons cashew ricotta cheese

2 vine tomatoes, sliced thinly

one clove (or 2) of garlic, chopped

• directions:

coat both sides of the tortillas with a thin layer of olive oil.  place tortillas in oven for about 3 minutes (until the edges are slightly crispy).  remove from oven and top your pizzas.

bake pizza for 6-8 minutes, until slightly browned

slice and enjoy

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fresh + dirty

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irish soda bread x 2

soda bread is easily my favorite baked good.  whether it’s fresh out of the oven, a few days old, slathered with butter or jam, or plain, soda bread is one of those foods that speaks to me.  i chose to post two irish soda bread recipes – one is grain and gluten free soda bread that is almond-based.  the other is a whole wheat recipe that resembles a more traditional st. patty’s day soda bread (i figured i shouldn’t deprive poor frank of some soda bread just because i can’t eat wheat).  i was curious as to how the gluten free/grain free soda bread would compare to the wheat soda bread.  i have to say its consistency is obviously different, but the taste was spot on!  needless to say, i was impressed.  in any event, whichever soda bread recipe you choose you will not be disappointed!

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the whole wheat soda bread recipe (which is seen above on the dish towel) originally called for 4 cups whole wheat flour.  i substituted 2 cups with whole wheat pastry flour just to make it a little softer and not as grain-y. the recipe does not call for any sweetener, i chose not to add any simply because i don’t like my soda bread sweet, plus i figured it’s healthier without the sugar.  if you do want to add sugar, i would say 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons should sweeten things up a bit.  also, i used yogourt here.  alternatively, you can substitute it with buttermilk, or even sour cream.  and lastly, because this was a real irish soda bread recipe, it did’t call for currants (apparently that’s an american thing), but i love currants, especially in soda bread!  so i added them.

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// gluten free irish soda bread

recipe adapted from Elana’s Pantry

pre heat oven to 350°

line a baking sheet with parchment paper

// ingredients

2 3/4 cups almond flour

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup dried currants

2 eggs (room temperature)

2 tablespoons raw honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

// directions

in a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and currants.  mix with a whisk

in a small bowl, whisk eggs with honey and apple cider vinegar

using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients

place dough on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and form dough into a flattened disk – about 8″ across, and 1 1/2″ tall

using a sharp knife, score the dough a half inch deep, making an “x” over the top

bake for 20 minutes. then, turn oven off and leave in the oven for another 10 minutescool bread before serving, and enjoy

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// whole wheat irish soda bread

adapted from: the dish towel with no author

pre heat oven to 375°

line a baking sheet with parchment paper

// ingredients

2 cups stone ground whole wheat flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

3/4 cup dried currants

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups yogourt (i used 2% fage greek yogourt)

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// directions

in a large bowl, mix flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and currants

in a medium bowl, beat egg and add yogourt – combine

add the wet ingredients to the dry – combine with a spatula

when dough gets crumbly, start kneading it

divide into 2 equal, slightly flattened rounds

slash the tops with a knife

bake for 35 minutes

enjoy your weekend and/or st. patty’s day!

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garlicky accordion potatoes

i’m pretty sure i’ve eaten potatoes every which way.  that is until the accordion potato, or as some people refer to it: hasselback potatoes. accordion potatoes are a swedish tradition dating back to the 18th century.  i never knew about them until i saw a picture of them on instagram.  since that day i have been obsessed with getting them perfect – tender and mushy on the inside, and crispy and crunchy on the outside.  it took many attempts and caused quite a bit of frustration…first, i tried covering them with foil for the first 40 minutes, then uncovering them and bumping up the heat for the last 20 minutes.  the second time i tried keeping them uncovered at a steady temperature for a little under an hour – this yielded dry and unevenly cooked potatoes, yuck.  the third time i kept them uncovered, at a steady temp, and i checked on them every 20 minutes to turn them and coat them with olive oil – this yielded some pretty amazing accordions!

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the thing i didn’t think about was the fact that these are essentially a baked potato, but by cutting the slits in them you’re exposing them to air (duh), and therefore they are much more prone to drying out during the baking process.  so, the trick is to coat them with a generous slather of olive oil before baking, and to continually re-coat them with olive oil while they are baking. i chose to stuff these little guys with thinly sliced garlic.  similarly, you can stuff them with shallots, onions, or herbs.  the only piece of advise i have is to slice the stuffings thin enough so that they fit in the potato slices.  in this recipe i use white yams, they tend to take longer to cook so i chose  to slice them in 1/8″ slices – if you’re using a regular potato i would probably use 1/4″ slices.

*non-vegans, you can totally use melted butter in conjunction with the olive oil.  just melt a tablespoon or 2 (depending on how many potatoes you are using) in a microwave safe bowl, and slather all over the potatoes.

thank you, frank for taking these lovely photos.  couldn’t have done it without you

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bake time: 60 minutes

pre heat oven to 400°

prepare a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil

// ingredients

3 medium sized yams

3 large cloves of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil (decrease amount of oil if using butter as well)

sea salt

garlic

// directions

prepare a small bowl with a 1/4 cup of olive oil

scrub potatoes clean

while the potatoes are drying, thinly slice the garlic (i used 3 cloves because i love garlic, if you’re not such a lover reduce the amount)

slice the potatoes 3/4 of the way down being careful not to slice them all the way through. repeat with the other potatoes

take your garlic slices; one at a time insert them into the potato slices (like i mentioned, i love garlic so i put a slice in each potato slit. likewise, you can do every other slit or every third slit)

using a pastry brush, brush the potatoes with the olive oil making sure to get in between each potato slit – repeat with remaining potatoes. use the leftover oil and drizzle it around the bottom of the baking dish (this will be used when you re-coat the potatoes as they are baking)

season with salt place in the middle of your oven – set a timer for 20 minutes. after 20 minutes take the potatoes out. using your pastry brush re-coat the potatoes with the oil at the bottom of the baking dish, trying to get in between each slit.  place back in oven and set timer for another 20 minutes – repeat when buzzer goes off.  set for an additional 20 minutes – when the buzzer goes off your potatoes should be cooked through.  if you like a crisp skin, keep them in the oven and turn the heat up to 500° or broil, for 5 minutes to get them really crispy.  serve, and enjoy

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