Tag Archives: side dish

Crispy Artichokes

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I watched David Rocco make a raw artichoke salad on his show months ago and my mouth dropped.   “That is so easy,” I thought.   He removed most of the outer leaves of the artichoke and then thinly sliced the remaining part, added some olive oil and parmesan and ate it raw.    I immediately tried it but his artichoke must have been a lot fresher than mine.   Probably picked that day from an artichoke plant in his yard.     I threw my raw artichoke salad into a skillet with some olive oil and garlic cooked it for about 5-10 minutes.  Viola, a wonderful salad.

It reminded me  of a late night meal I had in New York City a few years ago with my husband and a friend at a restaurant in lower Manhattan.   Our friend, Bryant, was just getting off work and was eating a late dinner.  Eric and I had just come from an earlier dinner with friends and weren’t the least bit hungry but before we knew it, we had ordered a couple appetizers.  We couldn’t resist.  They sounded too good.   And the two things we ordered from the menu both stick in my mind to this day.   Crispy Artichokes was one of them.   Best thing ever.   Fried of course.  And in thin strings.  I couldn’t put my fingers on how they actually made this.  Until now.   And the other item was pasta with onion sauce.   They must have cooked those onions for 2 days.  I have tried to replicate it and will continue to try.  I just never seem to have the patience to wait that long for onions to cook.

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These crispy artichokes are so quick and easy.   Gone are the days that you have to boil an artichoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   Although, dipping those leaves in butter is so comforting.   But this is quick and delicious.   Perfecto!

Here is a loose recipe.   A little of this, a little of that.   You need to peel away most of the outer leaves until you get to the softer center.   Eating those tough leaves will not be a pleasant experience.   And of course, the fresher the better.  If your artichoke has been sitting in the fridge for a couple weeks, turning brownish, don’t use it for this recipe.   I love how the parmesan gets crisp when it fries in the pan.   It’s like that part of a grill cheese sandwich where a little piece of the cheese is hanging over the bread and it gets fried in the pan,   That is the best part of the whole sandwich.

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Quinoa Salad with Beets and Cucumbers

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Happy Fathers Day!   I hope you are all celebrating the amazing father’s and men in your life.  After a filling family breakfast and looking at all the cards the kids decorated for Eric, we sent him off for a long hike with some of his good friends.   The kids absolutely adore their dad, as do I.

I think about my father often, but especially today.  This is my fourth father’s day without him.   I picture him playing bridge somewhere and passionately discussing politics while eating chinese food, or maybe a big plate of onion rings.   To this recipe he would say keen-what?  And I would reply, Keen-WAH, Dad – Try it, it’s really good for you.  You’ll like it .  And by the way, you would have loved the hike I went on today.   The Lupine were just incredible.  If only I could tell him about it.   If only he could hike with me again.

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I am not sure if I had even heard of quinoa four years ago.

This is a great summer meal.  It is perfect for lunch, dinner or potlucks.  It keeps well so you could make it on Sunday and take it to work for lunch over the next several days.  Also great to take camping for the weekend.

I had just roasted some beets and hadn’t decided what I was going to do with them yet.  I looked in the index under beets in this fabulous cookbook called La Tartine Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre and came across a beet and quinoa tabouli, as she calls it.   Perfect.

Roasting the beets takes about an hour and the quinoa needs to cool down so this is not a last minute type recipe.   You need about an hour and a half- even though it’s really only 15 minutes of active cooking time.

I changed some of the ingredients, adding basil and cucumbers, and omitted a few others, but otherwise  followed her recipe.   This cookbook is truly one where every time you turn the page another delicious recipe appears after another.  I used red quinoa because it is what I had on hand but I think it would look prettier with white quinoa  (as Beatrice uses) and the beets would turn it a light pink.

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Enjoy!

Summer Quinoa Salad (serves 6)

adapted from La Tartine Gourmande Cookbook

1 Cup Quinoa (red or white)

2 Cups Water or Vegetable Broth

1 Large Beet, Roasted and diced

1 Cup diced Cucumber

1/4 Cup Feta crumbles

2 TBSP Pine Nuts (optional)

Vinaigrette

Zest of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP Basil, chopped

1 TBSP Mint, chopped

1TBSP Parsley, chopped

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Wrap the beet (unpeeled) in tin foil and in a 400 degree oven and roast the beet for 45min.-1hour.   Let cool and then peel off the skin with your fingers and dice it. 

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh colander.  Add it to a pot with 2 cups of water or vegetable broth and a pinch of salt.   When it comes to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat, let it stand for 5 minutes and then put it in a bowl to cool. 

In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and stir well. 

Add the beets and cucumbers to the quinoa and stir well.   Pour the viniagrette over the salad and mix together.   Then add the feta crumbles and pine nuts on top.

 

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Cauliflower Rice with Artichokes

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I  was experimenting a little bit with being grain-free just to see how I felt and saw various recipes for cauliflower rice on Paleo websites.  It is one of my new favorite things of 2013- although just to be fair I don’t have many new things in 2013 yet.  But still.  All you do is put your cauliflower in the Cuisinart until it is finely blended and saute for a few minutes.  Genious.

Are any of you grain-free?  It is an adjustment but I do notice a difference in how I feel.   I have been wheat free (again) for the last few weeks and mostly grain free but not totally.   As someone who loves to bake, that poses a bit of a problem- until Almond Flour came into my life.  I was a little obsessed with almond flour this holiday season and cooked probably a dozen things from this cookbook- almond flour pizza crust, almond flour quiche, almond flour biscotti (dynamite!), almond flour pancakes…it’s good stuff and a great alternative to wheat flours and less healthy gluten free flours.

Anyway, now I have an alternative rice to add to the mix.   This is a quick and easy side dish – takes 15 minutes tops- and you can add whatever flavors you like.   Read the rest of this entry

Tomato, Green Chili and Corn Tart

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Eric and I bought a bunch of Hatch roasted green chilies from a women on the side of the road in Taos, New Mexico thinking we would freeze most of them for later use.    Now we are wondering why we didn’t buy more!   First I made a batch of Green Chili Sauce and used it for a quick meal one night with a package of premade polenta, green chilies, cheddar cheese.  I had to go to a meeting that evening so I prepared the dish and left Eric with instruction to bake it for about 30 minutes.  I got home at the tail end of dinner to an almost finished baking dish.   It tasted somewhere between an enchilada and a tamale and had plenty of heat.

This week I made a tart using cherry tomatoes, roasted green chilies, and fresh sauteed corn.   I did cut a corner and used a frozen pie crust.  I know it’s shocking.   But true.  It was gluten free though which is really neither here nor there, but if you are GF, it is good to know that there are frozen pie crust options at the store.

I brought this to a friends house that night and actually finished baking it there because I was running late.   When I took it out of their oven, my friend starting digging in with a tortilla chip and eating it as an appetizer.  Not quite how I imagined it going down… but it worked.   And it disappeared pretty quickly.   So you could forgo the crust and make this into more of an appetizer/dip kind of dish. Read the rest of this entry

Sweet Potato Cakes

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These are so delicious.  Really.  They are.  They are the perfect appetizer to bring to a party or would make a great lunch with a salad or soup.

I was looking at some food blogs a couple of months ago and I tend to be a little tab crazy. Oftentimes there are a dozen tabs open on my browser and I can’t even remember what linked me to where,  But somewhere along the way, someone recommended a cookbook that interested me and next thing I knew, I was ordering it.

It is a beautiful vegetarian cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi from his column ‘The New Vegetarian’ for London’s The Guardian’s Weekend magazine.   I looked at it for a month or so before I actually tried one of the recipes mainly because I couldn’t decide which to try first.   I think I made a good choice.  It was one of the less complicated recipes and since my kids love sweet potatoes, I thought they would love them.

My hopes were a little to high in that regard.   On the plate below, the only thing the kids ate, besides a fly size taste (and that might be too generous)  of the sweet potato cakes, were the carrots and peppers.   Followed by more carrots and peppers.  Followed by whole wheat toast with butter, sprinked with ground flax seed,  It’s one of the few things I can get away with!  Followed by another piece of toast with jelly – and some peanut butter hiding under it.   Oh well.   Just gotta keep trying I guess.  Eric and I talk the talk about being firm with the kids and saying, “if you don’t eat this, then you can go to bed hungry.” but we don’t walk the walk.   We cave.    After they took the ” try it bite” aka the “no thank you bite,”  they had worked themselves up to an intensity far beyond what you would think would be the normal scope for trying a bite of a new food.  It really would have been cruel not to give them something else to eat.

If you are making this for kids who don’t like spicy food  I would take out some of the mixture before adding the red pepper.  And if you don’t want to fry the cakes, I am sure they would taste great baked.  Let me know if you try that!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Eric and me.

RECIPE:  makes about 16-20 small cakes

(adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi)


2 medium Sweet Potatoes, cut into chucks

2 tsp Shoyu soy sauce

3/4 cup flour ( I used a gluten free blend, but use your favorite)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp green onions, chopped

1/2-1 tsp finely chopped red chili (OR NOT, if you are serving to kids or don’t like spice)

2 Tbsp butter, for frying

Sauce:

2 Tbsp mascarpone (sour cream or plain yogurt)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 Tbsp Olive oil

Steam sweet potatoes chunks for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft all the way through and you can easily stick a fork in it.    In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher.  Add shoyu, green onions, flour, salt, sugar, and pepper( if using) and mix.   Form into patties.

In a large pan on medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter (or oil) and fry half of the cakes.  Fry for about 6 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.  Place in between two sheets of paper towel to soak up the extra butter. Repeat with the rest of the cakes

For the Sauce, mix all ingredients well and add a dollop on top of each sweet potato cake.