Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Blackened Tilapia

This is my husband Ari's favorite dinner. Lucky me because it's simple, healthy, and so flavorful. I served this with avocado salsa, and potato mash. Sometimes I'll blacken the Tilapia and make clean fish tacos. After having our baby only two months ago I realized that cooking would require a new creativity; preparing delicious dinners (or any meal for that matter) very quickly. Sometimes I only have twenty minutes to get everything going and on those nights this is the perfect meal!

4 Tilapia fillets 
2 tbsp hot paprika
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp cumin 
1 tbsp kosher salt 
1 tbsp coarse black pepper
1/3 cup parsley flakes
olive oil for searing
1 lemon, quartered
Rinse fillets and pat dry. In a large bowl mix together all the spices. Coat each fillet well on both sides in the spice rub and set them on a piece of wax paper or foil. In a medium skillet heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a high flame. Once the oil is nearly smoking add a fillet. Sear for about 2 minutes on each side. If your oil turns black, lower the flame slightly and add a bit more oil. Serve fillets with a wedge of lemon.
Bon Appétit! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Warm Lemon Quinoa & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I usually make this with out the brussels sprouts as a substitute for macaroni on the nights that i've craved macaroni and cheese. but having a full bag of fresh brussels sprouts- left over from thanksgiving- I decided to roast and toss them in. This is an extremely filling meal, but also makes a wholesome and flavorful side dish.
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups brussels sprouts
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese
2 tsp crushed chili flakes 
1 lemon, zest and juice 
1 handful chopped parsley
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. rinse, dry, and halve brussel sprouts. toss in olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. place brussels sprouts on baking sheet and roast until they begin to lightly brown, about 15-20 minutes. In a small pot, put the quinoa over a medium flame, add almond milk, cheese, and chili flakes. Once cheese has melted, stir gently adding the zest and juice of the lemon. Once brussels sprouts finish roasting, stir into quinoa. before serving mix in the fresh parsley and slivered almonds.
Bon Appétit! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fall Spiced Carrot Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Frosting

Every year my family spends thanksgiving together. However this year not all of us made it home, but for good reasons; in the last two years, two of my sisters and myself got married, welcoming three new members (husbands), and we also welcomed two new additions to the family-baby Myku and Reeva! We're getting so big in size that traveling is becoming harder, especially when some of us are across the country. Not being with them made me realize how thankful I am for them. 
All 10-inches of this carrot cake are delicious. Hitting every flavor note and texture- spicy cinnamon, fresh vanilla bean, sweetness from the carrots, nuttiness and chewiness from the pecans, and a hint of saltiness- made this a winner cake.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 cup toasted pecans
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean (pure vanilla extract)
4 large eggs 
2 cups sugar
1 lb. carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Frosting Ingredients
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 
16 oz cream cheese, softened 
2 tablespoons vanilla bean (pure vanilla extract)
1 tsp. cinnamon, or pumpkin spice
2 cups confectioners' sugar 
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line the bottom of a one- 10 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. Butter pan, and flour sides. In a bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. In a standing mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly beat in the wet ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in the carrots, pecans, and chocolate chips. Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 1 hour until golden and nicely risen. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes before removing from mold. Remove cake from the mold and let it completely cool before frosting. 
Frosting Directions
In a large mixer, on high speed beat the butter and cream cheese until pale and creamy, about 7 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice, and confectioners' sugar on a low speed. Beat frosting on a high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Bon Appétit! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pan Roasted Chicken Stew

This time of year is when the hearty dishes start taking the spotlight on our dinner table. Pots and ceramic dishes filled with herbs, root vegetables, and spices topped with chicken, meat, or even salmon make the warmest and most filling meals. Just right for the season, this chicken stew comes out so soft , while the vegetables soak up all the great flavors from the spices and chicken broth. I love to sop up the broth and soft tomatoes on warm bread or eat this out of a bowl with a spoon over quinoa or rice.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 skin-on, chicken thighs 
4 skin-on, chicken legs 
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups pearl onions
1 cup garlic cloves
4 soft medium tomatoes, medium chopped
2 cups crimini mushrooms, quartered 
2 cups mixed colored baby potatoes
1 handful, fresh oregano
8 fresh bay leaves
1 Tbsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. hot paprika
Preheat oven to 450°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken legs and thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Working in two batches, cook chicken until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Set chicken aside on a plate (**keep chicken uncovered). Leave the drippings on the pan, and pour in the vegetable broth. scrape the chicken drippings from the pan in the broth and let cook until bubbling.
2. In a separate oven proof dish or dutch oven mix together the pearl onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, oregano bay leaves, turmeric, and paprika, kosher salt and black pepper. Pour broth over vegetables. Top with chicken pieces, skin side up; transfer dish to oven. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through, 40 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
** Keep chicken uncovered so the skin stays nicely crisp. 
Serves: 4 servings
Bon Appétit! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Toasted Almond Thumbprint Cookies

These almond thumbprint cookies are fun to make, and the perfect recipe to follow if you're not a baker- since they are so simple. They are just the right blend between linzer cookies and almond thumbprints, both holiday friendly cookies that look beautiful when gifted. I like when cookies are more toasted so they have a good crunch to them. For a softer version bake these two minutes less. You can buy roasted almonds however, toasting your own in the oven for a few minutes gives a bolder and fresher flavor.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted, roasted almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw cane sugar 
Jams for filling
1.Preheat oven to 375°. Place racks in the middle and upper part of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a food processor combine the almonds and flour until they are finely ground. Add baking powder and salt and blend. 
2.In a separate bowl with a hand held mixer or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Put the mixer on a low speed, and gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix just until they are combined.
3. In a medium bowl pour in the raw sugar cane. *Spoon the dough (using a tablespoon) and roll into balls. Roll each ball of dough into the sugar cane and place on the baking sheets. Each cookie should be about 2 inches apart. Using your thumb make a hard indent in each ball. Bake cookies until golden for about 13-14 minutes. Let cookies cool and fill with with jam. 
*If the dough seems sticky, you can chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes before forming cookies. 
Servings: 3 dozen cookies
Bon Appétit! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sweet & Sour Herb Meatballs

Sauce Ingredients 
3 medium Spanish onions, thinly sliced 
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Turbinado sugar
1 handful fresh parsley, medium chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary 
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp coarse black pepper 
2 cups Hunt's crushed tomatoes
2 cups red wine
24 oz can marinara sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
Meatball ingredients 
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup dried parsley flakes
1 small onion, minced 
1/2 tbsp kosher salt 
1/2 tbsp coarse black pepper 
1 large egg, beaten 
1/4 cup water 
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. In a 6-qt pot saute the onions, shallots, sugar, parsley, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper over a medium-low flame. Keep pot uncovered and let onions slowly caramelize, stirring occasionally. Once onions are caramelized, deglaze the pot with 1 cup of red wine. Add crushed tomatoes and gently stir for 1 minute. once tomatoes begin to bubble add marinara sauce, vegetable broth, and the remaining cup of red wine. Stir, cover pot and leave on a low flame. 
2. In a large bowl combine all meatball ingredients well. Let mixture set for 15 minutes. Make 1 1/2 inch round meatballs and gently drop them into the pot. Leave flame on medium low and cover pot with lid. After 7-10 minutes of cooking, carefully toss meatballs covering them completely in the sauce. Finish cooking the meatballs on a low flame covered for 20 minutes.
Bon Appétit! 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Red Lentil Soup

5 shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp curry
1/2 tbsp turmeric
1 1/2 cups red lentils 
3 small sweet potato yams, peeled and chopped 
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 cups water
*Leben yogurt and Fresh Parsley for serving

1) Sauté the shallots, garlic, onion, ginger, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large pot until lightly browned. 
2) add cumin, curry, turmeric and lentils. Toss lentils in for 1 minute. 
3) add sweet potatoes and Yukon potatoes. Cover with vegetable broth, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil and let soup simmer for 25- 30 minutes.
4) let soup cool, then puree with a hand blender. Add leben yogurt and fresh parsley before serving to each bowl.