Fish Tacos

IMG_0452

A few weeks ago, I had Sunday dinner at my friend Maitland’s house.  She and the five other girls I ate with do these dinners pretty regularly, but this was the first time I cooked with them.  We decided to make fish tacos – something I had never made for myself before.  They found all of the recipes and I just helped with the prepping and cooking.  My main responsibility was the guacamole.  This was easy for me because I love guacamole.  It is so simple to make, and it is so much better fresh than store-bought.  I basically just combine all of the ingredients and keep adding and tasting until I achieve the right balance.

The tacos were amazing.  It was the first warm-ish day that we had had in DC, and these tacos tasted like summer.  I could have eaten eight of them if I hadn’t been careful.  All of the components were simple, and the combined result was delicious – the black bean mango salsa added just the right amount of sweetness; the cabbage slaw gave it a nice texture; the blackened seasoning on the fish was perfect (I loved the complexity that the brown sugar added – almost gave it a barbecue flavoring).  I am sure I will be using these recipes again in the future.

Note:  The recipes below might need to be fiddled with to yield the right amounts.   I am assuming that they each make about 4-6 servings.

Fish Tacos

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Blackened Tilapia (recipe below)
  • Black Bean and Mango Salsa (recipe below)
  • Cabbage Slaw (recipe below)
  • Guacamole (recipe below)
  • Additional toppings – Salsa/Pico/Fresh Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Queso Fresco, Fresh Cilantro

Wrap ingredients in tortilla and enjoy!

Blackened Tilapia (from Cooking Light)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients (through ground red pepper); sprinkle evenly over fish. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Enough fish for 8 tacos.

Black Bean and Mango Salsa (adapted from the Food Network)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango, finely diced (could substitute pineapple and it would be good, too)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the beans into a large bowl and add the diced mango, red onion, cilantro, lime zest, orange zest and juices and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Lightly toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Red Cabbage Slaw (from Food Network)

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, cut into fine julienne
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Guacamole (I usually just wing it, so these measurements might be a little off.  Honestly, just add a little more of each ingredient until you find the right balance.  Lime and salt are key)

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of fresh lime
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Slice avocados into quarters.  Mix all ingredients together in bowl.

Advertisements

S’mores Bars

smores2

One of my coworkers recently left our office to work elsewhere, and so in the spirit of tradition, we threw her a going-away party.  I love work parties.  Birthday parties, going-away parties, engagement parties, parties surrounding sporting events – you get the picture.  I love work parties for a lot of reasons, the main reason being that they allow me to bake three dozen chocolate chip cookies without the burden of having them stare me in the face every time I walk into my kitchen.

My coworker who just departed, Cass, is a huge fan of s’mores.  Don’t ask me how that ended up determining the theme of the party, but it did, so we had a s’mores themed going away party.  There were s’mores cookies, s’mores cupcakes, and some s’mores bars that I provided.  The bars were such a hit that there weren’t even any left for me to try by the time I got back to the party.  They were also so good that I decided to make a second batch the next night with my leftover marshmallow fluff (I mean really, though, what was I going to do with a half a jar of marshmallow fluff other than eat it with a spoon… not acceptable).  These were meant for a party that my chief of staff was throwing for the incoming chiefs of the new Senate offices, but I “accidentally” offered them up to my coworkers before the party (read: I hadn’t gotten to try them yet and temptation got the best of me).  Needless to say, my chief of staff claimed that I “stabbed him in the back front,” to which my coworker Beth responded, “they were worth it, I regret nothing.”  Needless to say, these bars are awesome and you should make them.

DSC_2208

S’mores Bars (from Wit and Whistle)

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

DSC_2218

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

DSC_2232

Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small shingles and laying them together).

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars (seriously… you have to wait).

smores

Culinary Spotlight: New York City

memaandcousins

There is no one like my grandmother, Mema.  She is a one of a kind, incredible lady.  She recently had her 87th birthday, so to celebrate my two cousins, Anna and Phoebe, and I took her to New York City for a weekend.  A couple of years ago the four of us did Paris together, and we make a pretty agreeable group.  During our weekend in New York, we ate, saw the Blue Man Group, went to the Met, ate, walked around SoHo, ate, watched old movies, and oh yeah, did I mention that we ate?  Highlights are below:

Friday night, my cousins and Mema picked me up at Penn Station and we took a cab to dinner at the Waverly Inn in Greenwich Village.  The entrance to the restaurant feels like the side entrance to a carriage house – it is hidden under a staircase and you have to squeeze through a tiny door to get inside.  Maybe they keep it difficult to find for a reason – apparently it is quite difficult to get a table, and I owe the experience completely to my cousin Anna who somehow seems to have all the ins after living in New York for half a decade.  The interior feels like your grandfather’s study, decorated with dark, warm reds and low-wattage lighting, full of unique tschotskes that seem like they have been gathered over the years and just happened to come together perfectly in this musty, low-ceilinged space.  The restaurant was bustling, and trying to talk to an 87 year old in a crowded restaurant can be impossible, but Anna was able to get us a booth in a quiet corner.  We were right next to a fireplace and had a fabulous view of the other patrons.

But enough about the ambiance – on to the food:  there were no photographs allowed, but I wish I could have taken embarrassing foodie pics in the restaurant – the dishes were complex and beautifully plated.  I started with a roasted beet and fried goat cheese salad that had a balsamic reduction and some sort of nut (I really need to start writing these things down – I have eaten so much good food in the last few weeks that all of my meals are starting to blend together).  The salad was divine – I think I could eat anything that included fried goat cheese, honestly.  For my main course, I ordered duck served over wheat berries with pomegranates.  The duck was cooked perfectly, and pomegranates added a perfectly sweet crunch.  Dessert was the main event though – we had a warm chocolate cake with espresso gelato and a baked alaska that had a lemon chiffon ice cream inside. We left the restaurant fat, happy, and pretty intoxicated and returned to our hotel to turn in for the night.

Saturday morning we woke up (some of us with a hangover, *ahem… my cousin and grandmother who had two manhattans at the hotel before dinner*) and went to brunch at Balthazar – a traditional french bistro in SoHo.  The restaurant had an animated, authentic Parisian feel – there were paper tablecloth toppers, mirrors on all of the walls, tiled floors, tables that were arranged almost on top of each other, and freshly baked bread on racks by the entrance.  I decided to go with the Eggs Benedict, and thank God I did – it was perfect.

One of my dad’s favorite brunch dishes is Eggs Benedict, and my mom worked hard to perfect it when I was growing up.  The main component that distinguishes a good benedict is the hollandaise sauce, a lemony butter sauce that tops the dish.  I learned to make it from my mother, who learned to make it from Mema, and although it is a relatively simple sauce, it is easy to ruin.  Balthazar’s was perfect – hollandaise can sometimes lack lemon flavor and turn out like a salty, buttery mess, but theirs was smooth with the perfect balance of creaminess, saltiness and acidity.  I couldn’t find the recipe they use, but the recipe below is the one we use in my family – comparably flawless, I think.

benedict

Hollandaise Sauce (adapted from Adelle Davis'”Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”)

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 1 stick butter

On top of double boiler whisk together: 2 egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 generous pinch salt

Place over simmering, but not boiling water and whisk in 1/4 stick butter

When butter is almost completely melted, whisk in 2nd  1/4 stick butter

When butter is almost completely melted, whisk in 3rd  1/4 stick butter

When butter is almost completely melted, whisk in 4th  1/4 stick butter

Just before last butter is completely melted, remove from heat.  Overheating will cause the sauce to “break”.  If this happens, vigorously whisk in 1 tablespoon of milk.  Leftovers can be frozen and gently reheated.

The final culinary highlight of our stay in New York was the burgers we had Saturday night after seeing Blue Man Group.  In the lobby of our hotel, Le Parker Meridien, there is a hole in the wall burger joint that is discreetly hidden behind a black curtain.  The only way you might know it is there is by the line of people that overflows out into the lobby.  The walls inside are wood panelled and covered with old movie posters and “Daniel wuz here”s written on every possible surface.  I have eaten a lot of burgers in my life, and this was one of the better ones I’ve had.  It might have been the pitcher of beer that we got to complement it, but the burger was awesome – cooked the way I wanted and topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle.  What else could you possibly need?  Maybe an ice cream sundae?  Because we got that too. We went back to our room, settled in to watch Casablanca, which serendipitously just happened to be showing on tv, and ordered two ice cream sundaes from room service.  A perfect end to a perfect night.  We left the next morning and I couldn’t have had a better time.  I am so lucky to have an adventurous grandmother who is constantly amazing me with her willingness and ability to do things that most 87 year olds wouldn’t even dream of doing – may I someday be just like her 🙂

How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

DSC_1901

In addition to eating soup on Christmas Eve, my family has a tradition of roasting a turkey for Christmas dinner.  We have had a turkey (or a cousin of a turkey) almost every year since my great-grandmother passed a little over 10 years ago, one of my favorites being the year when my aunt forgot to defrost the turkey and had to run out hours before the whole family came over in a desperate attempt to secure a defrosted bird.  She struck out at most places, and finally got to Royal Farms (a Baltimore convenience store known for their fried and grilled chicken) in the hopes of finding at least a chicken, if not a turkey.  When she got there, they only had prepared chicken and some raw chickens in the back to be cooked for customers.  When they refused to give her a raw chicken citing health laws, my aunt pleaded, saying: “what would Jesus do?”  Needless to say, they gave her the raw chicken with just enough time for her to cook it before the entire family arrived.  A true Christmas miracle.

Anyway, this year we had the turkey defrosted well before roasting-time.  As I’m sure you can tell from my previous Christmas posts, my mom was the head chef this Christmas and I, her sous-chef.  She planned the menu and I helped execute.  I had the job of reaching into the bird’s cavity and pulling the giblets out.  Having never had my hand up a turkey’s rear end before, this was a novel experience.

We stuffed the raw bird with salt, pepper, red onion, lemon, thyme and garlic, and slathered it with butter.  Then we draped a cheese cloth soaked in white wine and butter over the breast – a technique my mom came across that was supposed to increase the tenderness and flavor of the finished product (thanks Martha Stewart!!).  This had the effect we had hoped for – the breast was so juicy and flavorful.

The Perfect Roast Turkey (recipe adapted from The Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart)

  • 1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme + 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole lemon, halved
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • cheesecloth, folded in half to cover turkey breast

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place rack on lowest level.

DSC_1863

Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave.  Add the juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves and the white wine to the butter mixture.  Fold a large cheesecloth in half.  Cut to cover turkey breast.  Immerse cheesecloth in butter and wine mixture; let soak.

Remove giblets from the turkey; wash the turkey inside and out with cool water and pat dry with paper towels.  Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.  If turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity.  Stuff the cavity with bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic.  Brush the outside of the turkey with butter and wine mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.

DSC_1895

Lift cheesecloth out of liquid and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey; it can cover some of the leg area.  Place turkey in the oven.  Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush or baster, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with leftover butter and wine mixture.  Continue cooking turkey and basting every 30 minutes.  After an hour and a half to two hours, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth.  Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully.  Cook 30-45 more minutes, or until a instant-read thermometer registers 160 – 180 degrees when inserted into thigh (avoid poking into bone) and the turkey is golden-brown.

Daddy and Turkey

When fully cooked, remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest 20 – 30 minutes.  Slice the turkey and serve.

DSC_1912

The aftermath:DSC_1913

A Christmas Breakfast of Champions

DSC_1833

This Christmas, we decided to keep breakfast somewhat easy by having a sausage, egg and cheese casserole that could be made the night before, as well as some sticky buns that my grandmother ordered from Williams Sonoma.

We had cooked the casserole a few times before, and it was as simple and delicious as it had always been.  Some casseroles have a tendency to be bland, but this one is the perfect combination of moist, spicy (by choice – you can choose your sausage based on level of heat), cheesy and flavorful. We prepared it the night before and let all of the ingredients soak into the bread overnight.  Then we popped it in the oven Christmas morning, et voila!

DSC_1848

Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole (from Bon Appetit)

  • 8 white bread slices, cut into cubes (we used an artisan french loaf – less of a sweet flavor which we liked)
  • 1 lb bulk pork sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 10 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper

Grease 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Place bread in prepared dish. Top with sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs and next three ingredients. Season with pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake casserole until puffed and center is set, about 50 minutes. Cut into squares.

DSC_1916

Serve with Williams Sonoma sticky buns 🙂

DSC_1857

Christmas Eve + a Pot of Fish Chowder

DSC_1689

I’ve just returned to DC after a few wonderful days in Richmond at my parent’s house for Christmas.  It is the first year having Christmas at my childhood home – we usually celebrate in Baltimore but my grandmother recently moved into a smaller home and couldn’t host us all this year.  So, my mom volunteered to host and my aunt, two cousins, grandmother and her dog, Miss Marple, were able to come down from Baltimore/NYC and spend Christmas with us in Richmond.

On Christmas Eve we traditionally have gone to a church service at my grandmother’s church and then come home to hors d’oeuvres, beef tenderloin, and a host of other dishes.  However, over the past couple of years we have started having soup and a salad instead.  This was mostly to cut down on the enormous amount of energy that my grandmother typically put into the meal, but didn’t hurt the waistline either so we decided to stick with it.

This year’s soup was a fish chowder that my mom created.  I was initially wary of a seafood chowder since the only fish soups I’ve ever had were made by Campbell’s, but this soup opened my eyes to the potential of chowders.  Full of fresh halibut, waxy yukon potatoes and other seasonal vegetables, it had a rich, creamy flavor with a depth and warmth that lent itself to the coziness of Christmas Eve.  We ate it crowded around our dining room table (and I truly mean crowded – quite a few of us were straddling table legs trying to fit 7 at a table made to comfortably seat 4) with my mom’s Christmas flower arrangements in the center.

In addition to the soup, we served a salad of mixed greens, goat cheese, grapes, toasted pistachios and a lemon vinaigrette.  It was refreshing and balanced the heaviness of the soup.  We used my mom’s special lemon olive oil and it really made the dish.  I would recommend purchasing some if you can find it, as it adds a less acidic lemon flavor to dressings and is a great base for sauteing vegetables or proteins.

DSC_1810

Fish Chowder (adapted from Simply Recipes)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay (optional, can use a little paprika and a dash of cayenne)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs halibut or other white fish, bones removed and filleted
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped

DSC_1766

Heat oil and butter in the bottom of a large pot (6-qt) on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, if using, and turn up the heat, cook, uncovered until the wine reduces by half. (If not using wine, add 1/4 cup of water with the clam juice.)

DSC_1795

Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, and Old Bay spice. (The potatoes should be just barely covered with the liquid in the pot. If not, add water so that they are.) Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost done, about 10-15 minutes.

DSC_1800

Add the fish to the pot of potatoes. Return to the stove. Cook on low heat, uncovered, until the fish is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. When the fish is just cooked through, slowly add cream and stir to heat (watch the heat and make sure not to boil).  Once heated through, remove from heat. The flavors will improve if the soup rests 30 minutes before serving.

DSC_1802

Top each bowl with a dash of parsley and chopped bacon, and consume!

DSC_1806

Grape, Goat Cheese and Pistachio Salad

For Salad (use the following in whatever amounts you would like):

  • Red Grapes, sliced
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Mixed Greens
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon olive oil (or olive oil and lemon zest)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl or dressing container and mix.  Top greens with all ingredients, add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss.

DSC_1807

Chocolate Caramel Brownies

DSC_1010

I live for office parties.  Birthdays, holidays, farewells, sporting events, and basically any other excuse for celebration.  I love work parties because they give me a justification for baking, and since someone else eats the fruits of my labor I don’t have to worry about having 2 dozen cookies staring me in the face every time I walk into my kitchen.

A few of my coworkers were celebrating birthdays in mid-November, so we had a party to celebrate.  I volunteered to make something chocolate and went to work tracking down something delicious looking on pinterest.

I came across these brownies and they looked delicious and easy – always a plus when baking on a weeknight.  They were the perfect combination of fudgy and cakey – moist but not too rich – and the caramel in the middle added a little something extra.  Warning: these are not diet approved….

DSC_0946

Brownies That Will Change Your Life (from Zesty Cook)

  • 1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 35 (10-oz. pkg.) caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put cake mix in large bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup evaporated milk and butter (batter will be thick). Spread half of batter into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

DSC_0927

Heat caramels and remaining evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Sprinkle morsels over brownie; drizzle with caramel mixture.

Drop remaining batter by heaping teaspoon over caramel mixture – don’t worry if there is space between the mounds of batter, they spreads out quite a bit while cooking.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set.  Cool in pan on wire rack.

Quinoa Sliders

Image

At then end of my first year of college, I read a book called Skinny Bitch that turned me into a vegetarian.  As superficial and fluffy as it sounds, the book was eye-opening and, if anything, it made meat seem so unappetizing that I couldn’t stomach eating it after reading the book.  I adhered to the diet pretty strictly for almost 2 years, until I remembered how much I love meat.

Now, I like to call myself a “non-practicing” vegetarian, i.e. a conscious meat eater.  I still feel strongly about the benefits of vegetarianism (health-wise and environmental), and I make an effort to only eat meat that is locally and organically raised.

My stint as a vegetarian taught me that not every meal has to include meat.  Vegetarian dishes don’t have to be tasteless or bland, and much of the time I prefer a meatless alternative to a juicy steak.  I saw these quinoa patties on one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is, a few weeks back and decided they looked simple enough to try out on a weeknight.  I am constantly searching for a good homemade veggie burger recipe, and although these are not heavy on the veggies, they taste amazing and still include the protein provided by quinoa.

They crisp up nicely and although they are a bit crumbly, you can smush them back together in the frying pan.  I served them on mini pitas with avocado and dijon mustard, and I froze the leftover patties for another time.

Crispy Quinoa Sliders (from How Sweet It Is)

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (I used whole grain bread crumbs because I didn’t have panko – still turned out fine!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (I used regular sweet onion because I didn’t have green onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 multigrain slider buns or dinner rolls (I used mini pitas)
  • 2 avocados, sliced for topping
  • topping condiments

Add quinoa and stock to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 10-12 minutes.  Then let stand off heat, covered, for 5 minutes. You can do this ahead of time or even the night before (and store quinoa in the fridge) so the quinoa can cool.

While quinoa is cooking, slice the onions, chop the carrots, mince the garlic and grate the cheese. Place it all in a bowl, then add bread crumbs and mix. Coarsely chop the chickpeas and add to the bowl. One quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the bowl and mix well until incorporated. If needed, let cool or place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Add in beaten egg + egg white, salt, pepper and mix well. Form into patties (I really squeezed a handful of quinoa together and smoothed it into a round, it may take some squeezing and forming to get the patties to stick – be careful, they stick to your hands) that fit the size of the buns you have. <- this will differ!

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add 5-6 quinoa patties and cook until deeply golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove and continue with remaining olive oil and patties. Serve with sliced avocado and whatever other toppings you like!

Brussels Sprouts with Honey, Lime and Sriracha Glaze

I published this post a month or so back on my other blog, Instructions for Living a Life, but decided to start this blog,  so I am posting it here as my first post!

I used to hate brussels sprouts.  It wasn’t until I had a dish at Estadio a few months ago that I realized their potential.  The chef roasted them and prepared them with pine nuts, currants and caramelized onions.  They were decadent – crunchy and melt in your mouth good.

Since then, I have been on a mission to find a good brussels sprouts recipe. I stumbled upon this one on Pinterest and have made it a few times.

It is perfectly spicy, sweet and tart – the brussels sprouts are roasted and then glazed with honey, lime and sriracha.  Sprinkle some peanuts on top and you have a tasty side dish, or in my case, main course.

Having made this dish a couple of times, I departed from the recipe in a couple of ways – I used olive oil because I did not have peanut oil on hand, and I eyeballed the mixture for the glaze.  I like to add a little more sriracha and lime than is called for.

With the brussels sprouts, I served boiled beet greens.  To give them some flavor, I added cayenne pepper and bacon salt to the boiling water.

The finished product was delicious and one that I am sure I will make again.

Brussels Sprouts with Honey, Lime and Sriracha Glaze (from A Crafty Lass)

For 2-4 servings:

  • 3 cups brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • ½-1 teaspoon sriracha
  • The juice of half a lime
  • 2 tablespoons peanuts

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Trim the woody ends off the brussels sprouts and then slice them in half lengthwise. On a baking sheet, toss the brussels sprouts with the peanut oil and season lightly with salt. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Toss the sprouts and roast for 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, whisk together the honey, sriracha and lime juice until combined. After the brussels sprouts have roasted for 20 minutes, pour the glaze over them, toss to combine, and roast for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the peanuts, and serve immediately.