Monday, May 22, 2017

Harissa, Herb, & Lemon Chicken Salad

This salad came together in my kitchen with some leftover rotisserie chicken I had made the night before; since my family doesn't enjoy leftovers I always try to recreate ones we have into something new. I removed all the chicken skin, and shredded the chicken breasts just by pulling it gently apart. This salad is so easy to make and great way to transform your chicken dinners. We ate this over fresh salad, and also in a grilled corn tortilla (both ways were amazing!!). 
Yields: 4 servings 
Salad Ingredients 
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (white meat)
2 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, halved 
1 stalk celery heart, small chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, rinsed and dried 
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and small diced

Dressing ingredients 
1/4 cup Harissa paste
2 tbsp preserved lemon in oil
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 lemon, juiced 
1 tsp ginger, grated 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp kosher salt 
1 tsp coarse black pepper 

1. In a large bowl add the shredded chicken, heirloom tomato halves, chopped celery hearts, small diced jalapeno. Remove mint leaves from stem and add to bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together harissa, preserved lemon, olive oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over chicken salad and toss until completely combined. 
*Eat salad with avocado, fresh lemon, and hot sauce in a tortilla, sandwich, or to top any fresh salad.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

3/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon Illy espresso powder
1 cup flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt 

Cheesecake filling
1 8oz package cream cheese
1/3 cup granulater sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a large bowl whisk together the cocoa, oil, and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. stir in remaining ingredients. Pour batter into the baking pan. in another bowl, with an electric beater, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until completely combined and smooth. Dollop tablespoons of filling all over the brownie batter. Using a fork or knife, swirl filling around the brownie batter. Place brownies in middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes until completely set.

Cut brownies into 2"x2" squares.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Chocolate Pretzel Cheesecake Tart

Holiday on my mind! Here's a perfectly thin, salty, chocolatey, dessert for Shavuot. So easy to make---and really-- will blow your mind away. This cheesecake is insanity. I always find cheesecake to be very rich and hard to eat when its cut into thick slices; which is why I decided to make a cheesecake tart instead. This can be cut into very thin wedges, and is not overwhelmingly thick. You can crumble the pretzels on top for garnish, although I think it looks really beautiful in a small pretzel pattern. 

Tart Crust  
8 graham crackers
1/2 cup salted pretzels
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2- 8oz bars cream cheese 
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt 

6 oz bittersweet chocolate 
6 oz milk chocolate 
1 cup heavy cream 
whole small pretzels, for garnish

Crust: Preheat oven to 350°. In a food processor, grind graham crackers, pretzels, and sugar until finely ground. Add butter and process until soft and moist. Press filling into a 9" removable-bottom tart pan. Using a glass cup, gently press filling evenly on sides and center of pan. Freeze on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. 
Filling: Clean food processor and dry. Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, egg, vanilla, and kosher salt in food processor. Blend ingredients until smooth. Remove tart from freezer and keep on baking sheet. pour filling evenly into tart. Bake on the middle rack of oven for 30 minutes. Transfer tart to a cooling rack, until room temperature.
Ganache: Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. In a small pot over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 15 seconds. Stir until smooth and then pour the chocolate mixture into the tart shell over the cheesecake layer. Garnish the tart with pretzels (in a pattern or crumbled over the surface). Cool completely at room temperature, at least 1 hour, before slicing and serving.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Olive & Chickpea Masala Bowl

I know I've done a good grocery haul when making meals takes me under thirty minutes. Having a well stocked pantry and refrigerator allows me to make healthy-quality-meals in no time. For example, this recipe was a quick grab of good quality canned tomatoes, organic canned chickpeas, and trader joe's Manzanella green olives! Everything else was from the spice rack, and freshly bought greens. You can switch out the farro for quinoa, or rice- I chose farro because of the great health benefits but anything would work!

1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup good marinara 
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup pitted green olives
1.5 cups chickpeas
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup Farro, cooked according to package
*optional toppings
1 cup small chopped chives
1 cup shredded cheese

In a small bowl stir together all spiced and set aside. In a large sauce pan, bring tomatoes in sauce and marinara to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in spices. Continue simmering, about 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, and olives stirring together in sauce. Add spinach, turn off heat and cover pan letting spinach wilt. After 2 minutes stir in spinach evenly into sauce. Serve warm over Farro. Top with freshly chopped chives and shredded cheese.
Yields: 4 servings 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pesto Salmon

2lb side salmon, rinsed and pat dry
2 Spanish onions
2 Red onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, thinly sliced 
1 tsp kosher salt 
1 tsp coarse black pepper 
Pesto recipe

Preheat oven to 425°. Thinly slice onions and spread on a baking sheet with lemons. Toss in olive oil with salt and pepper. Set salmon on top of onions and lemon. Coat salmon in a thick layer of pesto sauce. sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake in oven for 22 minutes. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Butter Lettuce Salad

I really wanted to make something refreshing and light after this long eight day eating fest-- called Passover! I recommend keeping the raspberries refrigerated until assembly. After rinsing them, dry them well, and coarsely chop. I used toasted pine nuts and this adds a whole layer of flavor to the dressing, and to the salad. Using raw pine nuts will change the flavor of this salad; if you only have raw pine nuts, toss them into a skillet for 2 minutes on a medium flame until fragrant and lightly toasted. Save the extra pesto sauce to marinade any protein or toss into pasta! 

Here's my little guy hanging out with me while I snapped some pictures this pretty salad.

Salad Ingredients 
14 oz butter lettuce
1 cup fresh raspberries, coarsely chopped  
1 cup toasted pine nuts 
1 bunch scallions small chopped 
Pesto Dressing 
1 cup toasted pine nuts 
1 cup, tightly packed basil
1 cup, curly parsley 
6 garlic cloves, crushed  
1 tbsp kosher salt 
1 tbsp coarse black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zest and juice

Add the pine nuts, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until ingredients form a dough-like ball. Transfer mixture to a bowl and whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Zest and juice one whole lemon over the pesto sauce. whisk until completely combine. 
Assemble salad right before serving: Toss lettuce in a 1/4 cup of dressing until even coated (add more if desired). Top with raspberries, pine nuts, and scallions. Give salad one more toss and serve. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake

 Growing up, there was never a shortage of good desserts for Pesach. My mom who is the Moroccan equivalent of Julia Child, always prepared rich chocolate mousses topped with fresh cream, meringues with the tallest peaks, pans of sinful brownies, and almond flour cakes that were more beautiful and decadent than most year round bake shops. However, bad dessert is usually synonymous with Pesach for most people, so I decided it would be a good idea to share a full proof dessert to help everyone out. Here's a brownie cake recipe I whipped together this week to share with you; the ganache has a special note at the end of the recipe if you'd like to turn it into a frosting for a cake.  

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs 
1 tsp kosher salt 
3/4 cup dutch cocoa powder 

Chocolate Ganache
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup coconut cream
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt 
**for frosting 
add 3 cups confectioner's sugar

Coconut Streusel 
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Maldon sea salt 
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8" cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, grease parchment paper. in a double boiler set chocolate and coconut oil. Melt chocolate in oil and continue stirring until chocolate is smooth and glassy. Remove bowl from boiler and whisk in sugar. Continue whisking in one egg at a time. Stir in kosher salt. Sift cocoa powder over batter and gently stir in until completely combined. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 25 minutes until top has set. Remove pan from oven, cool for 5 minutes and gently flip onto a plate.

In a small sauce pan heat coconut cream and oil until just about to boil. Once coconut cream and oil begin to lightly simmer, pour over chocolate in a large bowl. Whisk chocolate as it melts. continue whisking quickly- this is what makes a ganache glassy and smooth ( the rapid whisking). Once completely melted, stir in the vanilla and salt. **notes at bottom for making this into frosting.

Heat a large pan over a medium flame. Spread out coconut and let toast. Gently fold over coconut to keep it from burning, once coconut is fragrant and lightly toasted about 2-3 minutes, remove from flame. stir in coconut oil, vanilla, salt, and honey. 

Top brownie cake with a thick layer of ganache, letting it drip down the sides. Heavily sprinkle toasted coconut all over ganache.

**If you chose to make ganache into frosting, refrigerate ganache for 30 minutes, then with an electric beater, beat in 2 cups of confectioner's sugar until ganache has become light and fluffy.