ramp + herb frittata

eggs in general are not the most interesting thing to talk about.  so instead i’m going to talk about the plethora of amazing produce that was at the farmer’s market this weekend.  there were all sorts of greens: mugwort, miner’s lettuce, mustard greens, tatsoi (which i learned is a variation of mustard spinach), watercress, and ramps.  out of all the greens i came across i chose to incorporate ramps into my dish because of their subtle onion flavor, and because their greens (unlike some other onion plants) can be eaten and enjoyed.  i decided to use parsley and thyme because that’s what i had that was fresh.  this was the first time i used yogurt instead of milk.  i was pleasantly surprised by the end result: the egg had a soft, creamy texture, and was really light.  i used unsweetened soy yogurt, but i could see how greek yogurt would add an even greater flavor.  this is one of those recipes you can add to, and play around with ingredients.  so please do : )

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1 bunch ramps, trimmed, bulbs sliced, and greens chopped (reserve some greens or garnish)

1 small shallot, minced

1/4 cup fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, tarragon, cilantro), chopped

5 eggs

1/2 cup yogurt (i used soy yogurt, but greek yogurt would be delicious as well)

salt and pepper to taste

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// directions

pre heat oven to 350°

in a medium bowl, mix eggs with chopped herbs, yogurt, salt and pepper.  let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes

in an oven proof skillet, heat olive oil over a medium heat.  (i took a pastry brush and coated the sides of the skillet, so that way the eggs wouldn’t stick when i added them later on.) add ramp bulbs and shallots.  cook for 5 minutes.  add ramp greens and cook until wilted – about 2 minutes

add the eggs to the skillet, turn down the heat to medium low.  let the eggs set a bit; until the sides are solid and the top is set and maybe a little jiggly

transfer the skillet to the pre heated oven.  bake for 7-10 minutes.  eggs should be set and fluffy.  cut, serve, and enjoy

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huevos rancheros + black bean puree

as i’ve gotten older i have come appreciate different flavors and textures coming together in one dish.  that said, for a long time i stuck to eating a limited amount of food because of my dislike for so many things out there.  so, if you asked me a few years ago if i would eat eggs with beans and avocado, my answer would be “absolutely not!”   this dish is composed of a bunch of ingredients i wasn’t too familiar with, mostly black beans.  i’m not a bean person.  i don’t like them cooked, baked. fried, nothing.  but i really liked the idea of making a puree out of them, much like making hummus out of chickpeas.  but i wanted somewhat of a molé sauce flavor, kind of like the sauce frank and i get at our favorite mexican restaurant.  therefore, i added nuts, seeds, some garlic and shallot, and even cinnamon to bring out the molé tastes and tones.  the puree has quickly turned into one of my favorite things.  it has a distinctly sweet and savory flavor which i  look forward to pairing with other dishes.

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i chose to make the huevos rancheros with poached eggs.  my  blogger-friend, edelyn over at egeedee.wordpress.com, posted an amazing looking poached egg recipe.   since then i have been honing my poaching skills and i think they’ve gotten good enough to offer the rest of the world some advice on egg poaching.  anyhoo, you can scramble your eggs, fry them, soft boil them, whatever makes you happy.  it will all taste good with what’s going on here.

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·· black bean puree ··

2/3 cup dry black beans, soaked and cooked

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon sliced almonds (if you’re using whole almonds you may want to toast them in the oven)

1 tablespoon pepitas

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more or less depending on your preference)

3-4 peppercorns

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup reserved water from the beans (if you’re using canned beans lukewarm tap water will work)

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for sautéing

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

fine ground sea salt

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·· directions ··

soak your bean overnight (in a bowl, cover the black beans with a couple inches of water.  they will expand and soak up some water, so use more water than less.)

drain and rinse the soaked beans.  place them in a saucepan with a couple inches of water covering them.  bring the water to a boil and simmer the beans until they are cooked through and tender – about 20 – 25 minutes (it might take longer depending what kind of beans you are using.)  drain beans and let them cool.  *don’t forget to reserve 1/4 cup of cooking water

while the beans are cooking, heat a skillet on medium heat.  once hot, add a layer of olive oil.  add the shallot – cook for 3-4 minutes stirring often.  next, add the garlic – cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.  add the almonds, pepitas, and sesame seeds.  cook until the nuts and seeds are lightly toasted and fragrant (you may need to adjust the heat on your stove, as you don’t want the shallot or garlic to burn) about 7-10 minutes.  remove from heat

in a food processor, combine cooled beans, shallot and nut mixture, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices.  as the mixture is blending, drizzle the reserved water in a little bit at a time until you have reached desired consistency.  add salt to taste

transfer the puree to a bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, more if you can

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·· huevos rancheros ··

// serves 2

2 mini tortillas

2 eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup black bean puree

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

hot sauce to taste

·· directions ··

pre heat oven to 350°

prepare a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil

toast tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes.  remove from oven, turn down the temperature to 200°.  slather the tortilla with black bean puree.  transfer back to baking sheet and keep warm in the oven

bring a pot of water with about a tablespoon of vinegar to a simmer.  while the water is heating crack each egg into a small bowl or cup.  just before the water starts to boil, use a spatula to make a vortex.  (the spinning water helps the egg white to form a “shell” around the yolk.)   gently slide the egg into the water, let it simmer for a few minutes.  i don’t like my eggs too runny, so i poached them for about 4-5 minutes.  if you like yours runny, poach for 3-4 minutes.  remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.  repeat with the other egg

remove tortillas from oven and top with poached egg, sliced avocado, cilantro, salt, pepper, and hot sauce.  enjoy 🙂

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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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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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rice paper ravioli salad

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rice paper ravioli? yes.  wrap your heads around it people, it happened.  and it was good.  like, really good. believe it or not, rice paper is a great substitute for all things pasta. these are not the fresh, homemade raviolis i grew up eating from the Bronx, but they are a really great alternative.  after doing some research  on how to use rice paper as pasta i took to testing it out.  i learned some valuable lessons that day that resulted in me getting a good bearing on how to treat these delicate little raviolis.

*just to note, if you are using wonton wrapper or egg roll wrappers you may want to research how you should treat the paper, it may be different from the directions i give below.

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i put my raviolis over a salad, but they work in any capacity.  you could totally use them in any authentic italian recipe, or use a pesto sauce, you could even go the sweet route and fill them with a nutella-like substance.  the filling i chose was broccoli- ricotta puree.  here i used tofutti ricotta cheese, which is soy based (you can easily substitute this with regular dairy ricotta).  because i don’t eat cheese, i left out reggiano cheese – which adds a certain depth of flavor to the filling – so i replaced it with a healthy amount of spices and salt.  this was a fun little project, i hope you try them out some day!

:: makes 24 raviolis ::

prepare a large bowl with water (you will use this to dip the rice paper in)

prepare a platter or large plate with a coating of olive oil

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for the ravioli //

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

8-10 ounces of broccoli (a small head of broccoli) cut into florets

1/2 cup ricotta

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)

pepper to taste

12 pieces of rice paper

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for the salad //

3 ounces mixed baby greens

a handful broccoli sprouts (or micro greens)

1 radish sliced thin

2 small beets, grated

1 tablespoon toasted pignoli nuts

dressing //

2 tablespoons basil oil

1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

salt to taste

directions //

toast pignoli nuts

prepare a medium saucepan with water that reaches 3/4 of the way up to the top and olive oil (the raviolis tend to stick to one another)

in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  add the broccoli, 1/2 cup of water, and 1 more tablespoon of olive oil, cover and cook over a low heat until tender, about 10-15 minutes. let cool.  coarsely puree the broccoli in a food processor; transfer to bowl.  stir in the ricotta, salt, red pepper, oregano, and pepper

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prepare a work surface with water for dipping rice paper, and a platter coated with oil

dip the rice paper in the water, rotating it until it is completely wet, set it down on a large cutting board.  using a small spoon, dollop 4 mounds of ricotta mixture onto the paper.  take your second piece of rice paper, and dip in the water, wetting it completely.  lay the top piece over the bottom piece – the paper takes about a minute to really soften – let it sit until soft.  take a sharp knife or pizza cutter and cut into 4 equal pieces.  here is the somewhat tricky part: you don’t want a lot of air getting caught when you seal the ravioli, so make sure there is a hole to push the air out of (this sounds much more complicated than it actually is).  next.  use your fingers to press the pieces of rice paper together, creating a seal.  take a round cookie cutter and cut out your ravioli. transfer to the oiled platter.  repeat with remaining papers.  i had extra filling leftover; i froze it for another time.

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bring the water in your saucepan to a boil

2 at a time place the raviolis in the water, turn the heat to medium low – you want the water to boil but not so hard that it breaks the ravioli.  after 1 1/2 – 2 minutes use a slotted spoon to remove the raviolis, place them back on the oiled platter until they are all cooked

repeat with remaining ravioli

let them cool while you assemble your salad.  combine all salad ingredients, toss in the raviolis, dress with the basil oil dressing (you can also totally substitute this dressing with something else) and enjoy!

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chocolate dipped granola bars

i’m not sure how many of you out there have tried, or heard of, 5 star bars..?  they’re small chocolate bars that come in various flavors like: caramel, peanut butter, fruit and nut, and my favorite, granola! it’s the kind of chocolate bar that’s so small that you don’t feel that guilty eating it, but then once you take that last bite you’re thinking “what did i just do?” basically, they’re best eaten by two people, or – if you have enough willpower – save the last half for another time.  in any event, the recipe here is inspired by the amazing 5 star granola bar.

i didn’t think i would come close to replicating it, and i didn’t.  i suppose i wanted to make a slightly healthier version of it – making it more granola bar with some chocolate, versus, a chocolate bar with some granola.  i found the granola bar recipe from Whole Living Magazine.  the bars are vegan (you just need to substitute the honey for agave) and gluten free.  they’re naturally sweetened with honey and unsweetened applesauce.  plus, it’s a recipe that can easily incorporate any additional flavors that you enjoy – i added shredded coconut and sliced almonds.  i also thought the flavors in the bars were well suited for a layer of dark chocolate.  turns out i was right.  the lightly sweetened granola bars work really well the sweetness of (i used 65% cacao) dark chocolate.  you may want to leave a few without chocolate; they’re really good on their own as a breakfast bar or a snack.

granola

adapted from Whole Living, December 2012

makes 15 bars

pre heat oven to 350°

line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and brush with olive oil (or coconut oil)

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:: dry mix ::

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 1/2 cups dried blueberries (or dried fruit of your choosing)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (or more) shaved almonds

1 teaspoon course sea salt

:: wet mix ::

1/2 cup natural almond butter (at room temp, so it can soften a bit)

4 tablespoons ground flaxmeal

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup honey

3 tablespoons orange juice (i squeezed half of one orange, but you can just as easily use orange juice from your fridge)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

:: chocolate sauce ::

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

3-4 tablespoons almond milk (or milk of your choosing)

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:: directions ::

in a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, dried blueberries, cinnamon, shredded coconut, almonds and sea salt

in a medium bowl, combine the almond butter, flaxmeal, applesauce, honey, orange juice, and vanilla extract

mix the wet ingredients into the dry, mix until combined

pour the mixture into the pan and press evenly with the back of a spatula

bake on the middle rack until golden brown, 30 minutes (halfway through i rotated the pan so that the granola would bake evenly)

let the granola cool completely, then remove from pan

cut evenly into 15 pieces (you can cut them bigger, i wouldn’t cut them any smaller they may crumble and fall apart)

in a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and almond milk.  melt on a low heat, checking every 5 seconds until half the chips are melted

whisk the mixture until combined

next, dunk a quater or half the bar into the chocolate and set aside.  continue with the rest of the bars.  place them in the refrigerator so the chocolate can settle – about an hour.  i topped mine off with some fleur de sel

store in an air tight container

:: enjoy ::

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