Tallarin Verde con Bistec

Tallarin Verde (green pasta) is a variation on one of my favorite dishes – Tallarin a la huancaina (which I will need to link another day). In short, Tallarin Verde is the Peruvian version of pesto pasta. It’s delicious, fresh, and it does really well with your favorite steak. I tweaked this recipe and loved it! Keep reading to try mine:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 5 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fresh, packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 block queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 saltine crackers
  • 1/4 package uncooked thick spaghetti

Directions:

  • Cook the thick spaghetti in a pot of salted water, according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  • Cook red onion in olive oil until tender. When cooled, transfer to a blender or food processor.
  • Once a large pot of salted water has boiled, add spinach and basil and cook just until wilted (under a minute). Using a strainer, transfer the basil/spinach mix to the onion mixture.
  • To the food processor/blender, add evaporated milk, queso fresco, garlic, lime juice, salt, pepper, crackers, and a little bit more olive oil
  • Pulse until smooth, and transfer mix to a pot. Cook until simmered and add spaghetti. Toss and serve with your favorite steak! Top with extra, fresh basil if desired.

Bulgar Banadora (Bulgar and Tomatoes)

Bulgar Banadora (Bulgar Wheat and Tomatoes) is a classic Middle Eastern meal. It’s a fantastic side dish or can stand alone as a main meal. In Middle Eastern cuisine, we use a lot of rice, so bulgar, a tasty, low-fat, low-calorie, whole grain, is a welcome change. See below for the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bulgar wheat
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce (plain)
  • 2 tomatoes, whole
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs sweet red pepper paste (Turkish pepper paste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Scallions, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Before you begin cooking, place two whole tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. You will need to do this to peel off the tomato skins. You can also use the microwave to peel the skins, too! Once you peel the skin off the tomatoes, set the tomatoes to the side.
  2. Heat the EVOO in a small saucepot and add in the finely chopped onions. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to sweat.
  3. After a few minutes of cooking the finely chopped onions, add in the finely chopped half bell pepper. Allow them to soften and cook with the onions.
  4. Wash the cup of bulgar wheat with cold water and strain, and add the bulgar to the pot. Stir.
  5. Once the bulgar has mixed with the onion and peppers, add a can of plain tomato sauce.
  6. Dice your whole tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the 2 Tbs of tomato paste and the 2 Tbs of sweet, Turkish red pepper paste.
  7. Add a little bit of hot water if the mix looks dry and lower the heat. Stir every so often to check for doneness.
  8. The bulgar should cook in 10-15 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Once plated, bulgar banadora pairs very well with fresh onion. I personally love to garnish with green onion/scallions that are finely chopped for a mild, yet fresh oniony flavor.

Breakfast Bowls

Fruit Breakfast Bowls are our go-to breakfast. They’re delicious, filling, and good for you. Take a look at our recipe below to see how we do it! Better yet, you can swap out everything and replace them with your favorite options!

Ingredients:

  • Lowfat Yogurt
  • Honey (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal (or granola)
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Salted almonds
  • Peanut butter (1 tsp)

Directions:

  1. Take a cereal bowl and place a few scoops of your favorite yogurt. We love low-fat yogurt, and I put about 3-4 heaping tablespoons.
  2. Drizzle honey on the yogurt for some sweetness
  3. Place a layer of your favorite cereal or granola. We love Kashi GoLean Crunch for this.
  4. Top with your favorite fruits. For this bowl, we used blueberries and bananas.
  5. Place a handful of almonds in the bowl, and an optional teaspoon of peanut butter for extra protein and yumminess.
  6. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon

Enjoy!

Easy French Onion Soup

Ouí ouí, nothing says “classy soup” quite like French Onion Soup. Maybe it’s the broiled, bubbly, nicely-browned cheese, or maybe it’s the act of cutting through the cheese and bread to scoop a delicious broth that makes it so intriguing. No matter the “Je ne sais quoi,” French Onion Soup is a classic. Better yet, it’s really simple to make. With our recipe below, your dish will look so good that your guests will think you worked a lot harder than you actually did.

 

Prep: 10 minutes  Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 2 Tbs salt, 2 Tbs EVOO
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly longways
  • 1 32 oz carton of your favorite beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • French bread (to cube); old bread will do just fine

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter with some extra virgin olive oil
  2. Add your thinly sliced onion and melt, until translucent. Do not brown or burn
  3. Then, add your beef broth and add the thyme and additional salt and pepper seasoning.
  4. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. While your broth simmers, cut your baguette or favorite bread into cubes and toast in the toaster oven until crunchy and lightly browned. It’s very important that they are toasted so they don’t sog up too much when placed in the soup. Set aside.
  6. When the broth is cooked, divide the broth into two soup bowls. Top with equal amounts of bread per bowl. On top of the bread, lay two pieces of provolone cheese per bowl.
  7. Place in the broiler/toaster oven on broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and has been darkened by the heat.

Easy Homemade Ramen Bowls

Ramen bowls are a delicious and hearty meal. They are warm, homey, beautiful in their colors and texture, complex in their flavor profiles, and better yet, they are really simple to make! I used this recipe to get started on my bowls, but diverged in a few places, including the vegetables used for topping. Keep reading to make your own delicious bowls!

Ingredients (for 2 bowls):

For the broth:

  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 32 oz carton chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 packets of ramen (discard the flavor packets)

Toppings:

  • Shredded rotisserie chicken, about 1/2 cup or to your liking (Whole Foods lets you buy half a chicken!)
  • Sliced jalapeño
  • Loose corn
  • Handful of arugula
  • Sliced green onion
  • Runny egg (1/2 egg per bowl)
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Aleppo chili powder for sauce

Directions:

The first thing you should do is heat up a medium size saucepot and pour in 1 Tbs of sesame oil and 1 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. When hot, add 1 tsp of minced garlic. Do not brown garlic, as it will become bitter, but heat to allow to soften. Add 1/4 tsp of powdered ginger and cook for another 30 seconds. Add 1 carton (32oz) of your favorite chicken or vegetable broth2 Tbs soy sauce1 Tbs rice vinegar, and 1 Tbs sriracha.  Bring to a simmer.

While your broth heats up, prepare your runny egg. Bring a small saucepot with cold water to boiling. Once boiled, cook 1 egg for exactly 6 minutes. Remove after 6 minutes into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and set aside.

You can also make your chili oil and set aside, by combining some sesame oil with about 1/4 tsp of Aleppo chili powder and heating for a few minutes. You can drizzle this on your bowls at the end!

Next, add the two packets of ramen noodles to the broth. Discard the flavor packets (we are making our own flavors here!). Cook for about 2 minutes and scoop noodles and broth into two large bowls.

Finally, shred some rotisserie chicken and add a handful to each bowl. Next to the chicken, arrange your favorite vegetable topping! I love arugula, jalapeños, corn, and green onion. Don’t forget to place half of the cooked egg in each bowl and to drizzle some chili oil and sprinkle black sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Sushi at home!

When we first started cooking at home, we would explain to others, “we cook the things that are quite easy to reproduce. We would still eat out for something we can’t make at home, like sushi.” Our friends nodded in ardent agreement. Then, it happened. We experimented with some recipes and found that we can make our own sushi at home! The only exception is, we don’t use raw fish. Living in NYC, we have access to raw, sushi-grade salmon and tuna, but something weirds us out about bringing it into our tiny little apartment. With a few cooked fish replacement options, we were able to still make delicious rolls, without the threat of food poisoning. We satisfied our sushi craving and got to stay home on a Saturday night!

For this blog post, the recipe posting is going to be a little bit different. I have been inspired by Bon Appetit’s Cooking Without Recipes, where you’re given a basic recipe, but without the nitty-gritty details. So, will try that here!

To make sushi, you’re going to need some tools. While there are many people use, the only non-negotiable, in my opinion, is a bamboo rolling mat. I cover the entire mat with saran wrap, to help keep anything from sticking and for easier cleanup.

To start, you’re going to need some sushi rice. Wash 1 cup of this rice thoroughly with cold water, until the water runs clear. While this is washing, boil a few up cups of water in a hot tea kettle. Next, pour your sushi rice into a little pot and add 2 cups (double the amount) of boiling water. Raise the temperature to high and cook without a lid until the water and rice are just about the same level. Then, lower the heat to low, cover and cook for about another 12 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked. I have tried many ways to cook sushi rice, and the method I use for Middle Eastern rice works the best for me! When the rice is cooked, add 2 Tbs rice vinegar, 2 Tbs white sugar, and about 3/4 tsp salt. I got those amounts from this sushi recipe and found that they do a great job showing how to roll sushi!

While the rice cooks, you can get your vegetables ready. Cut 1 English cucumber into thin julienne “sticks.” I find it best to half the cucumber, half it again, and then cut. You also need 1 avocado, pitted and cut into strips.

For the meat, I used imitation crab meat (you can get just the meat or buy a mix) and salmon salad mix, both can be found in your local Whole Foods.

Finally, you should have some yummy sides for your sushi. Grab your favorite soy sauce, pickled gingerwasabi powder (add water to make a paste), and mix some Japanese mayonnaise with sriracha for spicy mayo. I also love to top my sushi with black and white sesame seeds, or even use panko for some extra crunch in or on the roll!

Once your rice has cooked, you are ready to roll! Place the nori on the bamboo mat, rough side up and smooth some sushi rice over it. You should leave about an inch on the top of the nori so the rice doesn’t pour out.

Next, mix any combination of the cucumber, avocado, crab, or salmon in the roll and roll it up!

When finished rolling, plate your cut sushi, and top some (or all!) with some spicy mayo.

Vegetarian Lasagña

The hearty, homey dish you know and love, without the meat! And…just as tasty. I have used this lasagña recipe in the past and have now tweaked it to reflect my mission to eat less meat. Below is the recipe for a vegetarian lasagña, with seitan as a ground beef replacement. You can read about what we think of seitan here.

Continue reading for the recipe!

Cheesy Cauliflower Pasta

Cauliflower has such a delicious flavor when baked or fried. It’s a vegetable that is often forgotten when it shouldn’t be! The dinner we had the other night reminded us of that, when we made a cheesy cauliflower pasta, using this recipe from Bon Appetit. Garnished with toasted pine nuts and some parsley, this delicious pasta dish looks impressive and like it was a lot more difficult to make than it actually was.

Bon Appetit does a great job telling you how to make the dish anecdotally (their idea of cooking without recipes is fascinating). The link I provided above gives you the steps, but feel free to depart from the recipe where you deem appropriate. We didn’t have whole garlic cloves on hand, so I cooked minced garlic in some oil to release the flavor and soften them and added them to the cheese mixture before combining. Enjoy!

Making home-made Chipotle

Chipotle is one of our all-time favorite restaurants. The company prides itself on not only its delicious meals but its wholesome and transparent ingredients. This is a place we can get behind! While this go-to meal is worth every penny, it’s even cheaper (and dare I say, just as delicious) to make at home. This is one of our favorite meals to make on the weekdays. It’s quick, tasty, and fulfills all your Chiptole cravings. Best of all, you can pack leftovers for a yummy lunch the next day!

Continue reading for the recipe!

“Better than meat” Vegetarian Tacos

When we buy meat, we hardly stop to consider where that meat came from. Yes, obviously, it came from some type of animal, but what was involved in the process of getting that meat into your local supermarket and onto your plate? Every year, billions of animals are raised for food under deplorable conditions. They are over-crowded, poorly-handled, and most endure inhumane conditions. Whether we like it or not, that blood is on our hands as consumers.

We have the power to change that. As consumers, what we choose sends a message. So, if we are going to buy meat, we should buy from welfare-certified farms. Similarly, we should try to choose plant-based alternatives when possible. Hani and I have signed the ASPCA’s pledge to shop with our hearts, and so, we are eating plant-based foods whenever possible in order to be more responsible consumers.

 

Recently, we have discovered Seitan (pronounced “say-tan”). Seitan is “a traditional Japanese food made by rinsing the starch away from wheat and retaining the protein. With an impressively meat-like texture and robust flavor, seitan is both high in protein and low in fat without the cholesterol associated with meat.”We have incorporated Seitan into tacos (recipe posted in this article!) as well as other dishes like lasagna. We find the texture to be impressively meaty and the spices used in Upton’s Naturals (our favorite Seitan brand) make you forget that you aren’t eating meat. As meat-lovers, this substitute rivals meat in both texture and flavor. We don’t feel like we are missing out on anything by using this substitution. I couldn’t tell (especially in the lasagna) that this was a meat substitute, but Hani said he could if he paid close enough attention. With that in mind, he said he would still pick it nine out of ten times over ground beef. We find Upton’s Natural at our local grocery store, Fairway, but if your local grocer doesn’t carry it you can always find it at Amazon (see here).

Continue reading for the recipe!