BLACK RICE SORREL BOWL

It’s not very often where I dine somewhere and feel so emotionally connected to the food.  At Sqirl, the food doesn’t just remind me of my home (California) with it’s slight hippie sensibility, but feels like food you’ve been dreaming of and didn’t know you were missing.  

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a cookbook - not just for inspiration, visually or otherwise - but for once, to actually cook from it.   Crispy rice, sorrel pesto rice bowl, buckwheat financiers - I cannot get enough of Jessica’s food.  It was shocking to realize the simplicity of some of these recipes.  Specifically the famous sorrel pesto, which includes almost exclusively - lemon, olive oil and sorrel.   Most of the recipes are remarkably uncomplicated in a way that can only be described as everything I want to eat…and cook, too.   

 

SQIRL SORREL PESTO BLACK RICE BOWL (Gluten-free)  Serves 2

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2 watermelon radishes, thinly sliced (on mandolin)
  • 1 lemon, divided 
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill, parsley, chives
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, peel finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon preserved lemon juice
  • 1-2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 large eggs
  • Hot sauce, to serve

Sorrel Pesto:

  • 1 cup chopped sorrel, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale leaves, lightly packed 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt, to taste

In a large saucepan, add rice, two cups of water and a generous pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes until rice is tender and water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a small bowl, add sliced radish, about 1/2 lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Leave aside to marinate while you prepare the pesto.

To make pesto: in a blender or food processor, add sorrel, kale, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the rice with herbs, preserved lemon, about a teaspoon of preserved lemon juice and prepared pesto.  Season with salt.  

To poach eggs:

Fill a large saucepan with water and a good splash of white vinegar.  Over med-high heat, let the temperature come up until you begin to see tiny bubbles around the rim.

Crack your eggs into tiny ramekins.  Then gently whirlpool the water and slide in your eggs (one at a time, if you’re nervous)  into the center of the whirlpool.  Let the eggs sit for about 30 seconds, then slowly stir in a circle making sure the egg white wraps around the yolk.  *If you are poaching two at a time, now add your second egg, repeating the process (and steering clear of your other egg)/  If your egg gets stuck on the bottom of the pan, don’t fret, use a silicon spatula to carefully remove it.   If your water gets close to boiling or simmering, reduce heat.  You want a still, steady heat to poach them in.  Let cook, gently stirring in a circular motion, until egg whites just begin to firm (or set, gently touch the egg white to judge doneness), and aren’t translucent.    Remove with a slotted spoon, draining the water, then top an egg on each serving. 

Assemble your bowls:   Divide rice among bowls with hot sauce, crumbled feta, marinated radish and top with a poached egg (see above). Garnish with more herbs, flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve immediately!

BUCKWHEAT APPLE GALETTES WITH CARDAMOM CRUMBLE (Gluten-free)

In the Summer months, when the markets are bursting with tomatoes, corn, strawberries and the like, I can't imagine eating anything but the brightest, most Summery produce. I cant imagine wanting to turn my oven on to warm the apartment, to crave eating heavy squashes and Winter soups.  But then you wake up, and it's October. The last Indian summer has subsided and the heat is officially on in the building. You put on boots again, and try to re-remember how to dress for 58 degrees. Before you've even thought about the transition, it happens and all of a sudden you're there.  

So, now it's late October. I am appropriately eating soup, baking to warm the apartment and wearing boots. The heat is on in the apartment and I've started to layer successfully for the correct temperature (still rusty, though).  I can't imagine eating salads of cucumbers and dill, I'm craving hearty things, broths, anything warm.  Apple season is winding down, but I'm trying to do as much as possible with them until all we've got is citrus for the dark, Winter months.  

Apples are that fruit to me that I would never say is my favorite, but I eat one at least everyday, sometimes two.  I crave them consistently and so look forward to honeycrisp season (and apple season in general) where the varieties are overflowing.  Apples symbolize those first signs of Fall, that lead us from melon and currants to warm, baked apple desserts.  

And then just like that, before you've even thought about the transition, it will be the dead of Winter.  And all of a sudden you'll be there. 

BUCKWHEAT APPLE GALETTES WITH CARDAMOM CRUMBLE (Gluten-free) Makes 4 Mini Galettes

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg, whisked, for wash

Crumble:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled + cubed
  • Pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 2 medium honey crisp apples, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar, to top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For crust:  Add first seven ingredients to a food processor.  Pulse to mix dry ingredients well.  The add cubed butter, pulsing until butter is evenly mixed.  Then, drizzle in ice water - pulsing as you go - until dough comes together and away from the edge.  Form dough into a disk, dust with tapioca flour and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for 30 min - 1 hour.

For crumble:  In a small mixing bowl add all ingredients, using your hands mix together well - breaking up butter cubes with your fingers - until the dough starts to look like oatmeal cookie batter.  Set aside.

For filling:  Slice apples thinly and add to a small mixing bowl.  Toss gently with cinnamon and maple syrup until all apples are coated.  Set aside.

To assemble galettes:  Once dough has chilled, remove from fridge and let sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes.  “Flour” a surface with tapioca flour.  Divide the dough by four equal parts.  Roll out each portion evenly to approx. 6-7 inches or so.  Assemble apples overtop, leaving t least once inch all around to fold.  Fold over crust working each edge at a time.  Brush crust with egg wash, then sprinkle coconut sugar overtop apples and crust.  Top with cardamom crumble and add to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Continue until all galettes are assembled - I made 4 galettes, but feel free to make them whichever size you like, but note the baking time will change.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden browned and “dry” to the touch.  Set aside to cool for 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately!

WHOLE GRAIN MILLET & BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA

Finally the weather has started to shift in NYC and it feels like we’re collectively taking a deep sigh. There’s nothing like those first few days when you no longer need AC to sleep and there’s finally a cooler breeze in the air. This is hands down my favorite time of the year.

Now that the summer heat has subsided, I’m starting to feel my oven again. I can appreciate baking and filling my house with those warming smells without worrying about overheating the house (or myself). This granola is the perfect transition treat filled with, not one, but three whole grains. Top with your favorite add-ins or whatever you have on hand, then store in an airtight container. Although this granola technically keeps for over a week, mine never lasts that long ;)

WHOLE GRAIN MILLET & BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA (Gluten-free, Dairy-free) Makes 3 1/2 cups 

  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup clover honey
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the first eight ingredients. Once mixed, add in all wet ingredients. Using your hands, mix together all ingredients to make sure everything is well-coated.

Add to a baking sheet in one even layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven, mix together granola with a spoon, then add back to oven for 5 minutes. Then set granola aside to cool.

Your granola will stay good in an airtight container for about 10 days. Storing in the fridge will help it keep even longer.

AUGUST 2016 FAVORITES



SALTED PUFFED BROWN RICE BARS WITH TAHINI & BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE

In the warmer months, I’m always looking for easy, throw-together meals that are more about “assembling” than actual cooking.  Smoothies are great, of course, but in looking to change things uplittle I found these amazing breakfast bars. I know they look like candy, but they’re actually protein-packed, whole grain and totally capable of being a breakfast food. (* If you remember, I posted these to instagram a few weeks ago and I promised I'd post it)  You could always omit the chocolate part, but I believe there’s nothing wrong with just a hint of decadence at breakfast.  Not only are they completely addicting, but because they can double as a sweet treat and feed a crowd.  

Puffed Brown Rice Bars with Tahini & Bittersweet Chocolate (gluten-free, vegan) Makes 18 bars

  • 9 medjool dates, pitted and mashed
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter(or almond butter!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil 
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (I even use my leftover almond pulp, that I dehydrate at 200 until golden brown - works great for this recipe)
  • 1 cup puffed brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces

Using a fork, mash the dates on a plate into a thick paste.  It’s ok if there’s a few chunky bits, but make sure the dates are generally broken down.  Add to a large mixing bowl with tahini, peanut butter, vanilla, and coconut oil.  Using a fork or whisk, mix ingredients until well combined.  

Add sunflower seeds, almond meal, puffed brown rice and cinnamon.  Add a generous pinch of sea salt and mix together until ingredients form a thick, cohesive batter.  

Line a square dish, 8 or 9 inch is best, with parchment paper then add mixture in.  Using the heel of your palm, flatten until it’s in one even layer.  

Double broil the chocolate*. Once all chocolate has melted, spoon over the prepared bars, either coating entirely or in a zig zag shape.  Add another pinch of sea salt over top, then add to the fridge to set for 1 hour.  Cut into 18 bars and serve.  You can store these in the fridge for a week or store in the freezer as a treat.

*Add a heat-safe (glass) bowl fitted over a saucepan with 2-3 inches of water.  Make sure the water does not touch the bowl.  Add chocolate to the bowl and bring to a rolling simmer, stirring chocolate until it melts completely.  You can also melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until chocolate melts completely. 

SASSY KITCHEN x MERCEDES-BENZ

I had the pleasure of working with Mercedes-Benz on their She's Mercedes campaign this month.  It's all about work lunches & how to survive them without losing your mind.  Whether working in an office or freelance, lunch has always been a point of tension personally.  I felt like I was spending a small fortune eating out and not even really getting what I actually want or eating something weird (and usually cold) out of my fridge on a deadline.  Not cute or fun.  I think we can do better.

It doesn't require hours of "batch cooking" or whatever people say they do on Sundays.  It requires a little prep, a little patience and some hope that lunch actually can be great.  Read below for my "tips" ;)

5 essentials for a perfect work lunch

A healthy, convenient and inspiring work lunch sounds like a paradox, but it doesn’t have to be. If the phrase conjures up images of heavy restaurant pastas, long lines and ticking clocks, it’s time to rethink your routine. While make-it-at-home lunches may seem daunting at first, it means you’re eating wholesome nutritious food that will give you enough energy to breeze through your late afternoon meetings. Whether it’s a hearty, protein-packed salad or a nourishing grain bowl, it’s time to recreate the homemade meals we love at home and enjoy them at the office, too.

It doesn’t take a ton of effort--just a little inspiration, some simple tips and a bit of prep. Once you get the formula, you’re golden. Now, you’ll have a meal you’re actually excited to break for

MAKE IT AHEAD | PROTEIN

Grains, legumes, baked tofu - you name it. Making ahead is the key to having perfect lunches all week long. Make a big batch of lentils, quinoa or baked tofu - the most important part is making sure you have enough protein to keep your hunger at bay. Without enough, you might be susceptible to brain fog or blood sugar drops, so always make sure to include at least one hearty source. Use last night’s baked salmon or a serving of lentils for an instant boost to any salad. Why not make a full on grain bowl? Add it all to a mason jar for a perfect lunch vessel (which will naturally toss your ingredients for you).

A SPLASH OF CITRUS

There’s truth to the healing powers of citrus. Whether it’s adding a slice to your Pellegrino, or squeezing a wedge over your salad, citrus benefits everything from your skin and gut to your immune health. Citrus, especially lemons, can aid in digestion and help naturally flush toxins out. It’s the easiest way to add a little “detox” to your lunchtime. Besides the nutritional aspects, lemon adds the necessary “pop” of acid that almost every meal needs. A squeeze of lemon over a salad or grain bowl goes a long way. Plus, your fizzy water will feel a little extra special.

SOMETHING GREEN

Green is the true color of health, so make sure your lunch has got some of it. Whether it’s zucchini or swiss chard, think outside the box when it comes to your “greens”. Most dark, leafy greens are considered superfoods, so you really can’t go wrong here. Just because you don’t have baby kale in the fridge does not mean you can’t make a salad. Shaved asparagus and broccoli stem are two of my favorite non-lettuce salads that are hearty enough to last you all day.

BRING YOUR OWN SALT

Sea salt, the purer, less refined option to the usual table salt, is actually not something you should be avoiding. Because it’s produced through evaporation of ocean water, it can leave trace minerals and elements that actually help your body function better (like cell cleansing and balancing your pH). Himalayan sea salt, the pink-hued cousin to sea salt, is actually known to help detoxify the body. Not to mention, salt truly enhances flavor, so a pinch of flaky sea salt will help intensify your already delicious lunch. So, salt your salad and sandwiches with (almost) no abandon.

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AVOCADO ON EVERYTHING

What dish isn’t better with avocado? It’s no secret that avocado is a nutritional powerhouse. They’re full of omega-3 fatty acids (keeps your hair, skin & nails glowing), stabilises your blood sugar and is full of too many nutrients to list. Luckily for us, the creamy, nutty “fruit” is the tastiest way to bump up any everyday meal. Add avocado to salads, sandwiches, or grain bowls for a little bit of decadence and a lot of nutrition.